But there are a few hurdles the company has to get over first.
Sooner Rather Than Later
SpaceX founder Elon Musk hinted that Starship will likely be ready to land astronauts on the Moon before the projected 2024 launch date.
Musk was responding to a tweet on Saturday asking the Tesla CEO whether the super heavy-lift launch vehicle will be ready to bring astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024 — to which he responded, “Probably sooner.”
Is He Right?
Of course, this might just be more of that classic Elon braggadocio we’ve all come to loathe and love — especially if you take into account the fact that SpaceX has a less-than-stellar history of hitting deadlines for missions and launches.
There’s also the fact that Artemis is going to be an intensely challenging mission that might require anywhere from eight to 16 launches to fuel up for a single trip to the Moon. On top of all this, NASA’s own inspector general recently released a report saying that a lunar landing in 2024 is “not feasible” due to delays in spacesuit development.
But there are signs that things are pretty much on track. For one, SpaceX recently mounted Starship atop the Super Heavy booster creating the largest rocket ever. Now they’re just waiting for an environmental review from the FAA before their first orbital test launch. That means there’s a good chance that Starship might go to orbit in the fall.
Plus, NASA recently made a hefty $300 million payment to SpaceX for the projected $3 billion project, reports Fox Business. So at the very least the agency still has full confidence that Musk’s company can get the job done.
Regardless, it’s best to take projected launch dates for big hairy complex missions like Artemis with a grain of salt. The mission will eventually get done — and it’s best not to rush things even if you want to dunk on Blue Origin (looking at you, Elon).
READ MORE: SpaceX boss Elon Musk says Starship will land humans on moon ‘probably sooner’ than 2024 [Fox Business]