- establishing an initial infrastructure on the Moon -


SpaceX is rapidly developing a truly revolutionary spacecraft. If that development proves to be successful, it will change everything. If successful, history will point to the Starship as being the vehicle that started humanity's move off Earth.

To his credit, Elon Musk has continued to evolve the design of the Super Heavy booster and its upper stage, the Starship. SpaceX seems to have an urgency to get the Starship and Super Heavy booster built and flying as soon as possible. In his 2016 Guadalajara speech, Elon probably gave the explanation for this urgency. He stated that he thought that this effort would turn into a large public-private program and that that would happen only when his super heavy vehicle started showing real progress. The sooner that he can demonstrate that it is real, the sooner he could establish a working relationship with NASA and thereby receive the funding necessary to complete the development and start operations. Delaying the development would only mean NASA spending more money along other lines and progress towards Elon's vision for Martian settlement being unnecessarily delayed.

Starship - Moon Rocket?
SpaceX is presently building two competing copies of the StarHopper which will be a test article to conduct increasingly high hops and so learn how the Starship can land tail-first. Videos of those increasing hops will be a media sensation and will likely cause the public and the decision-makers to increasingly question why NASA is pursuing its current path rather than partner with SpaceX on a clearly more capable design. But, we need to bear in mind that, even for SpaceX, setbacks do happen and so will likely delay the date when we watch a Starship land on the Moon and go to Mars.

It is here proposed that a formal "tipping point criteria" be set for when policy makers to transition from support for the Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy lift vehicle (SHLV) to the Starship as part of a public-private program.

If the Starship becomes reality, it will completely revolutionize space access leading to settlement.

Next: The Starship Tipping Point