SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said that the “holy grail” to making human life multiplanetary lies in our ability to make a completely reusable rocket system that can carry a massive amount of equipment, supplies — and people — deep into space.
That’s why SpaceX created Starship.
The vehicle is composed of two stainless steel components, with the company’s first-stage Super Heavy booster at the bottom and the second-stage Starship spacecraft on top. It will be able to carry more than 100 metric tons of cargo and crew per launch.
Collectively referred to as Starship, the two components loom nearly 400 feet into the air, almost 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Getting all that weight off the ground is no easy task and requires 33 of SpaceX’s Raptor engines for the booster. For good measure, the spacecraft carries an additional seven engines.
The project could be alluring to investors. According to McKinsey & Co., private funding in space-related companies topped $10 billion in 2021 — a tenfold increase over the past decade. Traditionally, most of that funding has concentrated on activities closer to Earth, such as building out satellite communications, but there’s some evidence that may be changing.
“Recently, there’s been increased focus on lunar,” Brooke Stokes, associate partner at McKinsey, said in an interview. “So the moon and beyond. Think moon, Mars [and] deeper planetary exploration. Lunar and beyond investment was about $1 billion from private investors in 2021, the highest sum we’d seen to date.”
Some experts have estimated that if SpaceX succeeds with Starship alongside its global satellite internet venture Starlink, the company’s valuation could skyrocket into the trillions of dollars.
Watch the video above to find out more about what Starship could mean for the future of space travel and for Elon Musk’s SpaceX.