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Iceland might have been the popular destination in recent years, but a new one is on the way: space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, a private aerospace manufacturer, has plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2021.
“This is gonna sound pretty crazy, but I think we could land on the moon in less than two years,” Musk previously told Time magazine. “Certainly, with an uncrewed vehicle, I believe we could land on the moon in two years. So then maybe within a year or two of that, we could be sending a crew. I would say four years at the outside.”
And now it seems the billionaire is one step closer to making his space dream come true. Just last week, SpaceX’s Starship rocket successfully completed an unaided flight where the aircraft was able to hover 60 feet off the ground. Musk shared the news in a series of tweets that showed footage of a drone and engine camera. This marked the first flight in a series of several that hopes to have the Starship in the upper atmosphere in just a few months.
What’s more, is the company is already in talks with prospective customers proving the targeted 2021 is a very real possibility. “We are in discussions with three different customers as we speak right now to be that first mission,” Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales, said at the APSAT conference. “The goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021.” Those first customer, according to Hofeller, are “all telecom companies.”
All of these announcements are part of the private space race happening. SpaceX is competing with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin to be the first company to launch tourists into space successfully. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos previously said he hoped it would happen with his Blue Origin company by 2018. But that mission never came. It remains to be seen who will ultimately win the race.