The company is hosting a Starship career day today (Feb. 6) at its facility near the South Texas village of Boca Chica, where the big spaceship is coming together.
“This is mainly for staffing up 4 production shifts for 24/7 operations, but engineers, supervisors & support personnel are certainly needed too. A super hardcore work ethic, talent for building things, common sense & trustworthiness are required, the rest we can train,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter Tuesday (Feb. 4).
That explanation came a day after another tweet, in which Musk stressed that Starship production is already humming along. “Going max hardcore on design/production Starship here in Boca. It’s awesome! Feels a bit like a Mars simulator,” the billionaire entrepreneur wrote. (“Hardcore” appears to be the term of the moment.)
Starship is a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft that SpaceX is building to take people to and from Mars, the moon and other distant destinations. The ship will launch off Earth atop a huge rocket called Super Heavy; both of these vehicles will be reusable. (Starship is powerful enough to get itself off the moon and Mars, both of whose gravitational clutches are much weaker than Earth’s.)
The only version of Starship to get off the ground to date is a single-engine prototype called Starhopper, which made a few brief test flights last year before being retired. But that could change soon; SpaceX has filed paperwork with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch a 12-mile-high (20 kilometers) test flight with Starship between March and September of this year, The Verge reported.
Things will move quickly after that, if all goes according to SpaceX’s plan. Company representatives have said that the first operational Starship missions, which will likely loft commercial communications satellites, could launch as early as 2021.
And SpaceX has one crewed Starship mission on the docket already: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa booked the vehicle on an around-the-moon flight, with a targeted launch date of 2023.
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Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter@Spacedotcom or Facebook.