Tech | September 29, 2017 10:36 am

SpaceX Reveals Updated Plan to Reach Mars by 2022

Musk laid out the plans at the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Australia.

Elon Musk has big plans, and a lot of them revolve around getting to Mars. At the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Australia, Musk revealed SpaceX’s new plan to reach Mars by 2022.

Musk acknowledges that getting to Mars will be very expensive, writes TechCrunch, and said that he believes SpaceX has figured out a way to pay for it. He has plans to open up new revenue streams to fund Mars missions, such as city-to-city travel by rocket. (See the video above.)

According to TechCrunch, a big part of the plan is to focus on the BFR rocket, which will be scaled down from its original very large concept design and will instead become a booster and ship that replaces Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon. TechCrunch says that the rocket will have capabilities to service the International Space Station and also SpaceX’s current Earth orbital satellite customers. It will also be able to reach Mars and help establish a moon base.

Musk showed off the company’s rocket engine tests. To land on Mars, the “so-called Raptor engine” has to pass a burn test for 40 seconds. SpaceX noted that the longest continuous burn for the Raptor engine is 100 seconds, reports TechCrunch. 

SpaceX is hoping to do 20 launches by the end of this year, with 30 launches by next year. Another thing SpaceX is working on it an automatic rendezvous and docking to a space station, writes TechCrunch. 

Musk believes the Falcon Heavy should launch by the end of this year. The boosters have been tested and are on their way to Cape Canaveral, and SpaceX is beginning “serious development of BFR” according to Tech Crunch. 

Once in service, the BFR can deploy large satellites, pick up space debris and service the space station.

Musk wants to have landed at least two cargo missions on Mars by 2022, and the company plans to start building the first BFR ship in the next six to nine months. Musk “feels confident” the first mission could be done in about five years. According to TechCrunch, the first mission will be to confirm water resources and spot hazards, as well as to put in place “power, mining and life support systems to support future missions.”

“It’s 2017, I mean we should have a lunar base by now – what the hell’s going on,” Musk said at the conference, while on stage, reports TechCrunch.