SpaceX is continuing to move forward with its plan to reach Mars in the coming years. Its Falcon 9 rocket launched on Thursday morning (March 11), sending 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit. British astronaut Tim Peake, 48, has backed Elon Musk’s plan to reach Mars, although he expects challenges along the way.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched for Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the early hours of Thursday morning.
It was used to send 60 satellites into orbit, in what was SpaceX’s seventh mission of 2021.
Almost 10 minutes after launch, the rocket’s reusable first stage returned back down to Earth, and landed on one of SpaceX’s ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Peake firmly expects humans to reach the Red Planet, it’s been revealed.
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When asked whether he thought SpaceX’s plan to get humans to Mars was achievable, Peake told Express.co.uk: “Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt.
“We’ve obviously got a lot of technological hurdles to overcome before that is a reality. We’re working on the propulsion systems that could get us to Mars faster.
“We’re working on radiation protection that could shield the crew better. They’re not insurmountable hurdles.
“We’ve made great strides in learning how to get to Mars and how to land on Mars – which is much more difficult than landing on the Moon, or the Earth in fact, where you’ve got a thicker atmosphere to use as an airbrake.
“It’s challenging, but I have no doubts that at some point in the future, we’re going to send our first humans off, and ultimately establish a permanently occupied research base on Mars.”
Meanwhile, SpaceX chief Musk has recently unveiled plans to rename a small city in Texas to ‘Starbase’.
Boca Chica isn’t governed by a local municipal corporation, and is already used to launch Starship prototypes.
When the rockets are ready to launch across the solar system, Musk hopes to change the city’s name to Starbase.
The city will act as a central hub for SpaceX, and it will connect Earth to Mars, he said.