SpaceX chief announces plans for high-speed transportation
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX chief Elon Musk’s elaborate plan for a megarocket to carry astronauts to Mars may have some downto-Earth applications.
At a conference in Australia on Friday, Musk said if you build a ship capable of going to the moon and Mars, why not use it for high-speed transport here at home. He proposes using his still-in-the-design phase rocket for launching passengers from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes flat.
Los Angeles to New York, or Los Angeles to Honolulu in 25 minutes. London to Dubai in 29 minutes.
“Most of what people consider to be long-distance trips would be completed in less than half an hour,” Musk said to applause and cheers at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide.
A seat should cost about the same as a full-fare economy plane ticket, he noted later via Instagram.
Friday’s address was a follow-up to one he gave to the group last September in Mexico, where he unveiled his grand scheme for colonizing Mars. He described a slightly scaled-down 348-foottall rocket and announced that the private space company aims to launch two cargo missions to Mars in 2022.
“That’s not a typo,” he said, pausing, as charts appeared on a large screen. “Although it is aspirational.”
Two more cargo missions would follow in 2024 to provide more construction materials, along with two crewed flights. The window for launching to Mars occurs every two years.
For the approximately sixmonth, one-way trips to Mars, the SpaceX ships would have 40 cabins, ideally with two to three people per cabin for a grand total of about 100 passengers. Musk foresees this Mars city growing, and over time “making it really a nice place to be.”