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Elon Musk to share his latest Starship and Mars vision soon

The SpaceX Mars mission is officially off the ground, if only a little bit.

To the moon (and Mars)!
Elon Musk/SpaceX

Less than three years after presenting an audacious plan to start a civilization on Mars, Elon Musk's biggest mission has some real fire under it. A SpaceX single-engine Starship prototype nicknamed "Starhopper" blasted off for the first time last week. Although the early model of the ship Musk hopes to send to the moon and Mars hovered only for a few seconds before landing again, Musk plans to take a victory lap.

"Now that Hopper has flown, Starship update probably in two weeks or so," Musk tweeted Sunday. 

For each of the past three years, we've heard something new in the summer or fall about Musk's plans for his deep space vehicle.

Musk first wowed the world in September 2016 with his vision of a city on Mars populated by up to a million adventurous Earthlings. In a June 2017 follow-up, he fleshed out exactly how his biggest rocket yet, then referred to as BFR, would enable both travel to Mars and make extremely fast international flights.

Last September came the announcement that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is the first paying customer to book a Starship trip, securing space for himself and a handful of artists on a voyage around the moon in 2023.

Now it looks as though Musk will use a mid-August date to fill us in on his latest plans for Starship and Super Heavy, previously known together as BFR. (To be clear, Super Heavy is the next-generation rocket beyond Falcon Heavy, and Starship is the crew or cargo craft that sits atop it.)

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It's not clear what Musk will say next month, but it will almost certainly include updates on the design of Starship at a minimum. There have been other hints in recent weeks that a real push is on at SpaceX to get the big rocket into space. 

Musk recently said he thought it would be possible to land Starship on the moon within two years, beating NASA's accelerated timeline of landing astronauts on the lunar south pole by 2024. 

In June, SpaceX commercial sales head Jonathan Hofeller said the company has been talking to three potential telecom customers looking to use Starship and Super Heavy as soon as 2021.

"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," he told the crowd at the APSAT 2019 conference in Indonesia last month, according to SpaceNews.  

Regardless of which rock Musk hopes to reach next, one thing is sure: This world will be watching for updates on his dream to make us a multiplanetary species.