SpaceX made its first manned space flight a week ago, but CEO Elon Musk doesn’t want the company to stop. According to SpaceX’ email, Musk urged SpaceX employees to speed up the development of the next generation of Starship rockets “immediately.” “Please treat SpaceX’s first priority (in addition to reducing the risk of the Return of the Dragon) as a Starship,” Musk wrote in an email. “
On May 30, his space company sent two NASA astronauts into space, the first manned launch in SpaceX’s historic debut and a crucial step forward for the U.S. space program. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft will send astronauts to orbit and the International Space Station. As Musk points out, the mission is under way and the spacecraft will send astronauts back to Earth in the coming months.
The Falcon 9 rocket, which sent astronauts into space, is A pillar of SpaceX’s business, completing 85 missions over the past decade. But Starship represents the company’s goal of eliminating the low-cost Falcon 9 fleet. The Falcon 9 rocket is partially reusable. But Musk’s goal is to make the starship completely reusable — envisioning a rocket more like a commercial aircraft, making the turnaround time between flights shorter.
SpaceX has raised nearly $1.7 billion since the beginning of 2019, according to CNBC. The company has steadily raised money by developing three major projects: a manned Dragon spacecraft, a Starlink Internet satellite and a giant Starship rocket.
The starship’s prototype has passed several key milestones, but SpaceX has yet to begin testing its latest design. The last rocket, called Starhopper, completed a short launch and landing flight test in August.