Elon Musk remains determined to push forward with SpaceX’s plans for its Starship rocket, despite the recent explosion shortly after its launch on 4/20.
During a discussion on a subscribers-only Twitter Space on Saturday, the tech billionaire provided insight into both the successes and shortcomings of the launch. Musk revealed that SpaceX expects to spend approximately $2 billion on the Starship rocket’s development in 2023 without raising additional funding.
Musk congratulated the SpaceX team on an “exciting test launch” following the mega-rocket’s explosion. He tweeted that he “learned a lot for the next test launch in a few months.” The SpaceX founder explained to listeners that he had anticipated the outcome of the April 20 launch and that it had met his expectations.
As for a timeline, Musk stated that there was an 80% probability of reaching orbit with the Starship rocket in 2023. He was even more confident about the chances of achieving the feat in the following year. Musk believes there is “close to 100% chance of reaching orbit within 12 months.”
During the April 20 launch, the 40-story mega rocket’s engines sent debris flying through the air, reaching a town about five miles away. When the booster failed to separate about 24 miles above the ground, SpaceX had no choice but to destroy the rocket in an explosion.
An unexpected “rock tornado” left behind a crater and damaged the launchpad. Musk took to Twitter to explain that the damage to the launchpad “was actually quite small” and would be repaired quickly.
Despite the setback, Musk remained optimistic about trying again in six to eight weeks, noting that SpaceX is working on multiple Starship prototypes. During the Twitter Space, he praised his team’s hard work, describing the project as “certainly a candidate for the hardest technical problem done by humans.”
The SpaceX CEO also emphasised that upcoming Starship missions aim to gather information. While SpaceX typically does secondary rounds about twice a year to give employees and other company shareholders a chance to sell stocks, Musk stated that he does not anticipate raising funding further to bolster the Starship program and its other ventures.