SpaceX and the Road to Mars |
On February 3rd, Elon Musk shared his excitement about the new Raptor rocket engine. This next-gen rocket technology will eventually be used for the exploration of Mars.
The Super Bowl was on most of America’s mind, but Musk’s attention was exactly where it needed to be. Musk was hard at work in the SpaceX testing site at Texas. The rockets had recently been shipped from California. A huge team of specialists was preparing for the first test at Sunday night.
When a few hours had passed, the world got its first glimpse of the Raptor engine thanks to a tweet by Musk.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2019
Musk also shared a few videos of the engine which seemed to show something out of a sci-fi movie. The videos show an incredibly long flame shooting from the Raptor engine.
The Raptor engines are intended to be reusable. They use a cryogenic liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Previous SpaceX rocket models used RP-1 Kerosene and liquid oxygen.
Musk also noted that Tesla is hard at work to get a moon-worthy rocket ready soon. The Raptor rockets however are mainly designed for the exploration of Mars. If there are no evident drawbacks, the Raptor rocket will replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon.
The raptor rocket is the first step to Mars
Despite Mars being the primary goal, Musk previously tweeted that Tesla will first attempt a moon trip. The company however, is under immense financial pressure to develop revenues. If Tesla is good at one thing, it’s winning open contracts from governments and other large companies from around the world.
Despite that, the company still suffered from many layoffs. Musk accredited the layoffs to the Starlink global high-speed internet project as well as a co-existing Mars rocket project. According to him, Tesla should strive to be “Spartan” in expenditures.
This is why the Raptor seems to be a cost-reducing attempt. The rocket is set to be developed and tested in several stages. The first stage will test the rocket with a trip to the moon and a potential orbit around the Earth. The rocket will be later upgraded with and set send out to explore the primary target: Mars.
Musk still believes that the layoffs at Tesla were probably for the best. That being said, the layoffs in SpaceX seem to be unfortunate, but necessary. Which is why a lot of experts have wondered why Musk hasn’t attempted to start an IPO.
There were a lot of rumors which shook the investor community back in 2017 for a SpaceX IPO. In 2018 however, the company went for more venture capital funding and sold some shares at $135 to Fidelty. At the time, its valuation was $27.5 billion.
SpaceX’s main mission is the exploration of deep space. Since this venture is still well within sci-fi realms, it’s impossible to tell what sort of profits can be expected. One potential area of investment would be mineral acquisition. There is far more gold, platinum and other rare minerals in space than there are on Earth. There is even a whole planet with over 80% of it being composed entirely out of diamonds.
If SpaceX finds a reliable way to extract minerals from foreign planets, the company can turn into the wealthiest corporation on Earth.
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