Starship 420 takes off for Mars

Going where no human has gone before

On this day six years ago, SpaceX Starship #24 made its first orbital launch attempt. At the time there was great excitement for the world’s biggest rocket, and the new era of super-heavy launch vehicles and space exploration that was just beginning.

But it was more than just a spectacle, as the gleaming giant rocket blasted off into the morning sky. Few people not connected to the aerospace industry realized how profound that moment was. Starship was the first, fully-reusable spacecraft capable of carrying 150 tons to orbit, and beyond. Space had been conquered, the way aircraft conquered the skies. Space had just got its first jetliner, and Starship was the Jumbo Jet of spacecraft.

Since then, SpaceX has been building Starships at a furious pace at its two Starfactories in Texas and Florida. Dozens have been retired, as the technology improved, and many more deployed as orbital fuel tankers and lunar transit vehicles, never to return to Earth. Others ply the upper stratosphere between continents, carrying urgent cargo from New York to Shanghai in an hour or so.

Now Starship 420 is on the launch pad, and this one is special. It’s fully crewed and going to Mars. Robots and autonomous oxygen and fuel factories have been preparing the base for months, and it’s time for a visit. We’ve all seen the spacecam videos and read NASA and SpaceX Mars blogs, but no-one knows for sure just how this mission will pan out.

What we do know is that, just like the launch of Ship #24, excitement is guaranteed!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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