The Wall Street Journal claims that SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s optimism on his timeline to take humans to Mars stands in stark contrast with the extended delays SpaceX has suffered on a NASA project aimed at transporting astronauts to the international space station.
The Wall Street Journal reports that SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made yet another ambitious timeline prediction, claiming that his proposed megarocket targeting Mars could be taking passengers on orbital test flights around Earth as early as next year.
But Musk’s ambitious claims have now drawn the attention of NASA which is still waiting for SpaceX to deliver on a project aimed at transporting U.S. astronauts to and from the international space station. The WSJ writes:
On Saturday, Mr. Musk laid out a rapid timetable, sped up from his earlier projections and faster than any major space endeavor in memory. The hurry-up approach is particularly unusual considering the multibillion-dollar project hasn’t yet flown a single full-scale prototype and its engineers haven’t publicly disclosed what type of life-support systems they will employ.
Over the years, both supporters and critics have acknowledged Mr. Musk’s time lines often are intended more as tools to push employees and managers than firm or reliable deadlines.
While Musk’s latest Mars timeline may have consumers excited, NASA officials appear to be running out of patience as SpaceX continues to delay the government project:
This time, however, the purported timetable elicited an uncharacteristically sharp response from James Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, one of SpaceX’s biggest customers. Before the SpaceX event for media and employees at its Texas facility, Mr. Bridenstine said in a message on Twitter that he was looking forward to the announcement. “In the meantime,” the NASA chief said SpaceX’s commercial-crew capsule to take astronauts to the orbiting international laboratory “is years behind schedule” and “NASA expects to see the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the taxpayers.”
Mr. Bridenstine added: “It’s time to deliver.”
Musk claims the SpaceX Dragon capsule will go into service in 2020, over three years behind schedule, but it could be completed before the Starship’s first orbital test mission with a crew. Musk stated in a question-and-answer session recently that the firm is focusing the majority of its efforts on delivering existing programs, with a heavy focus on the agency’s crewed capsule.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.