He expects to fail, but he is confident Starship will be in orbit by the end this year.
Musk gave his first major Starship update for more than two decades while standing beside the rocket measuring 390-foot at SpaceX's Texas facility. Musk urged the nighttime crowd to "Let's get this real!"
He said, "This is some crazy stuff here." It's hard to believe that it's true.
NASA intends to deploy the fully-reusable Starship to land astronauts at the moon in 2025. Musk hopes to use a fleet Starships to transport equipment and people to Mars.
Musk's internet satellites, Starlinks, will be carried into orbit by the first flights.
He said that there will be some bumps along the way, but that we are determined to get them over with satellite missions and testing missions before sending people onboard.
SpaceX's Super Heavy first stage booster has not yet been launched. The futuristic, bullet-shaped, and steel Starship, perched on the top and serving as an upper stage, was launched and landed successfully last May after a series spectacular explosions. The rocketship flew more than 6 miles.
SpaceX is currently awaiting approval from Federal Aviation Administration before moving on to Starship's next phase, which will be going into orbit. Musk stated that he expected the go-ahead to launch the rocket in March. He said that this would mean the launch will take place in the next few months.
Musk suggested that Starship launches could be moved to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, if the FAA requests more information on potential environmental impacts and lawsuits. He noted that this would delay the first orbital rocket launch by more than half an year.
Starships full-size are enormous -- they are taller than NASA's moon rockets and have twice the liftoff thrust.
Musk stated that Starships could launch from floating ocean platforms around the globe, including Florida's Cape Canaveral, and the southern tip Texas near Boca Chica. Musk envisions Starships being launched three times per day, allowing for "rapid reuse" and refilling stations in space to reach longer destinations such as Mars. He said that the first refilling test could occur by the end next year.
Musk believes that a Starship launch might cost less than $10million. A high flight rate would also help to lower prices. It was "crazy low" and "ridiculously great" according to current space standards.
Starship already has one customer private: a Japanese entrepreneur, who bought a flight around Moon and plans to bring a dozen artists along. Musk suggested that there might be others interested in purchasing trips and said future announcements would follow.
SpaceX relied until now on its smaller Falcon rockets for satellite launches, astronauts, and cargo to the International Space Station. The billionaire who purchased the first private flight was in September. A second is on the way at the end March. This one will take place to the space station, with three businessmen paying $55 million each.