WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Elon Musk is inventing numerous industries and has ambitions to create the first human colony on Mars, and he’s getting closer to realising his goals.
A while ago I discussed how Elon Musk and SpaceX were planning on, on the one hand build a colony of over one million people on Mars starting from 2024, and on the other transport people around the world at over Mach 25 using reusable passenger rockets. And now SpaceX has announced it’s hiring experts in “Offshore Operations in Brownsville,” the purpose of which is “to help the company develop and build floating spaceports that will provide launch sites for the company’s Super Heavy-class launch vehicles.” SpaceX will use these larger rockets to get its forthcoming large payload rockets to the moon, to Mars — and also for point-to-point travel right here on Earth, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk himself.
Musk said on Twitter that this was the purpose behind the new job posting, which was originally spotted by Dan Paasch. SpaceX has previously shown concepts of its forthcoming Super Heavy rocket booster, paired with its Starship spacecraft, launching for hypersonic Earth travel — which would reduce the trip time for long-haul flights to merely a couple of hours. Those concepts have thus far consisted only of renders, however, and we didn’t know what the plan was in terms of how and from where those spacecraft would launch until today.
SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth https://t.co/zLJjz43hKw
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2020
Starship and Super Heavy are primarily being developed to help SpaceX and Musk realize their goal of delivering humans to Mars, in order to colonize that and other interstellar destinations, including the moon to “make humans an interstellar species.” But while those goals may seem out of reach to most people, the company’s aims of using the same fully reusable spacecraft to greatly decrease the cost of point-to-point supersonic travel here on Earth are likely to be much more relevant.
Anywhere on Earth in under an hour
Point-to-point space-based transportation is not a new concept, and others beyond SpaceX are working on developing ways to make this happen.
The idea is that by traveling at the edge of, or beyond Earth’s atmosphere, you can greatly reduce the fuel cost and duration of flight — traveling the distance between New York and Paris, for instance, in under an hour. In fact, SpaceX claimed during a presentation in 2017 that point-to-point transportation with its Starship could reach any city on Earth from any other city in less than an hour.
SpaceX has been developing Starship in Texas, near Brownsville where this new job posting is seeking Offshore Operations Engineers. The company has been expanding its testing and development site in the area, and has also sought to increase the resources dedicated to its operations in the state.
Musk didn’t share much more about the plans, but did allude to the fact that these new “Space ports” could be serviced by autonomous passenger ferries as well as Hyperloops, a futuristic “train in a vacuum tube,” that could transport people to the sites from cities all around the US at speeds of over Mach 1. And after a year or so of talking about it it’s awesome to finally see the plans moving ahead.