Elon Musk Predicts When First SpaceX Orbital Flight Will Happen

by Michael Freeman

If humanity wants to realize the dream of getting to Mars, a number of things need to happen first. One of those is an orbital flight around Earth and Elon Musk says SpaceX could be doing just that and soon.

According to Elon Musk, the first-ever orbital flight for his Starship rocket could come as early as March. The New York Post reports this would be a crucial step in eventually realizing his goal of landing humanity on Mars. “This is the first point in the 4.5-billion-year history of Earth that it has been possible,” Musk said last Thursday.

Speaking at his company’s spaceport in Boca Chica off the Gulf Coast, he emphasized a need to do it sooner rather than later. “We need to seize the opportunity and do it as quickly as possible. I want to be frank: Civilization is feeling a little fragile these days.” Standing near the Starship rocket, he expressed awe about how far humanity has come. “This is really some wild stuff here,” he said. “In fact, hard to believe it’s real.”

For the orbital flight to come to fruition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must approve the endeavor and sign off on the last stage of the rocket’s development. Musk estimates the FAA will do so in March. The timing is perfect, as he also thinks the rocket will be flight-ready by then.

Musk believes wholeheartedly in Starship, his fully reusable heavy-lift stainless steel rocket. Nonetheless, it has suffered numerous setbacks, which include crashes and even explosions. Even so, he states the final product is ready to be revealed and it doesn’t have those issues.

Additionally, Musk said if the orbital flight goes well, he hopes the rocket will orbit the moon before 2022 ends.

Elon Musk Talks about SpaceX’s Starships and Potential Mars Missions

With Starship’s orbital flight possibly happening next month, the moon and Mars are looking closer than ever for humanity. Elon Musk recently spoke about these missions and what they will entail last Thursday.

Holding a press conference at Starbase, the SpaceX headquarters, Musk covered numerous space-related topics last Thursday. Of interest to Mars’ enthusiasts was an update about Starship and Musk’s roadmap to getting us to the red planet. More so than simply going to Mars, he talked about setting up a self-sustaining city, Space.com reported.

“Starship is capable of doing that,” Musk said when discussing bringing millions of tons of materials to Mars. “And I think we should try to do that as soon as we can. The window of opportunity may be open for a long time — and I hope it is — but it may also be open for a short time.”

Musk said he hopes this will become a reality by 2030, but that hinges on important milestones like the orbital launch around Earth and the moon.