SpaceX: Starship, Mars, sexual accusations… a somewhat complicated 20th anniversary

SpaceX celebrated its 20th birthday just a few days ago. On May 6, 2002, Elon Musk founds SpaceX thanks to the 200 million dollars raised from the sale of PayPal and Zip2. The development of the first rocket Falcon will not start until 2005, and the first three test launches… will all be failures! SpaceX is already in trouble, but NASA has a hollow nose to inject $300 million into the project (via the program Commercial Orbital Transportation Service). These new funds allow SpaceX to launch the design of the Falcon 9. The first launch of a Falcon 9 in 2010 seems almost anecdotal today compared to the exploit of December 22, 2015. A few days before Christmas, a Falcon 9 has indeed managed to land on dry land… vertically!

Since then, successes and major milestones have marked the adventure of SpaceX, as if nothing could hinder the forward march of Elon Musk’s private space company. In 2018, The Falcon Heavy takes off and sends a Tesla and its pilot-dummy into space dressed in the new costume that astronauts will now wear. In 2019, Starlink began orbiting internet satellites, and a year later, the capsule Crew Dragon joined the ISS with 2 American astronauts on board.

And yet, the first clouds are gathering. Astronomers’ criticism is piling up against Starlink, the subsidiary of SpaceX: the armada of satellites in orbit would interfere with observations made from Earth. A few weeks before SpaceX’s 20th anniversary, Elon Musk did not hesitate to advance the date of the first manned mission to Mars to 2029, 10 years ahead of NASA’s schedule! The announcement, however, looks a lot like a rant from Elon Musk (one more will say the gossip): the Starship rocket is still grounded and awaits authorization from the FAA to carry out its first major test flight, which could at best take place during the month of June. For specialists, a landing on Mars before the start of the next decade is simply unthinkable, unless SpaceX has found a way to slow down time.

Elon Musk

The first success of Boeing’s Starliner also puts a lot of pressure on Musk’s firm, whose Dragon capsule is no longer the only space taxi to the ISS. And then, above all, there is this terrible accusation: during a private SpaceX flight, Elon Musk would have shown his erect penis to a flight attendant who was giving him a massage, even allowing himself to touch his leg without it. consent of the lady. The hostess immediately filed a complaint, but SpaceX reportedly buried the scandal with a $250,000 court settlement. Elon Musk may cry political conspiracy, the shock is necessarily very harsh in the post-meetoo context. 20 years old, obviously a bit complicated for SpaceX and its whimsical boss.

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