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Shit Elon Says - Transcript - Elon Musk on the future of SpaceX

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So the plan going forward is obviously to launch a bunch of Falcon 1s. Make any - I'm hoping make any remaining mistakes that remain on the Falcon 1, so we that we make either no mistakes on Falcon 9. The first Falcon 9 launch is intended to be sometime next year, I'd say probably sometime in the second quarter-ish. We do expect to have Falcon 9 at Vandenberg by the end of year, and we're working to finish all the qualification tests. We'll probably finish the first stage but not necessarily the rest of the vehicle. We will have a fully assembled vehicle at the Cape [?] by the end of the year.

And then Falcon 9 Heavy would be in a couple years. So if we launch Falcon 9 next year, about two years after that we launch Falcon Heavy with a kerosene upper stage, and probably I'm guessing 2-3 years after, so 5, 5ish years from now is is when we hope to have the cryogenic upper stage (the hydrogen upper stage), although that's... there's a lot of risks associated with that development. It's a very difficult stage to do, and we want to ensure that, at least foundationally, it's capable of very reliable restart. [unintelligible]

Anyway we've got our Dragon spacecraft in development, which is what will replace the Space Shuttle after that retires in 2010, initially for cargo transport to the station and cargo return to Earth, although we've been cited to require minimal changes, in fact almost no changes, to carry crew. There is some additional hardware that needs to be built, in particular an escape tower, mostly seats (but that's relatively easy), and some enhancements to the life support system. We already have most of the large support systems for the cargo version of Dragon which we require to carry biological cargo to the station and back: mice and plants and things like that. And some of the hardware is quite sensitive so we have to maintain temperature and O2 within a narrow range, humidity, that kind of thing.

So yep, that's how things are sort of progressing, [unintelligible], but we're certainly making progress, we'll keep going until we ultimately have the capability to go to Mars, and not just get to Mars, but do so in a manner which is substantially better economics than are predicted today. And I think we ultimately need to get to a cost-per-person of around maybe a million dollars or two million dollars for a one-way ticket. *laugh* The return ticket's much more expensive! *laugh* It is much eas- yeah. It's, I dunno, I guess probably five times easier or thereab- four times easier to just get a one-way thing than to do a return. And if people are going to go there to settle, then hey, you don't need a return ticket. When people came over here from England in the beginning I don't think they bought return tickets.

But anyway, I think if we can get it down to a few million dollars, if we can get to some sort of point where the cost of a ticket to Mars is less than, say, the average house price in California, then I think there's some number of people who would be willing to sell their house and all their stuff and go to Mars. At least enough to get things started.

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