Boeing is undeterred by all the thrill round SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk, which launched its Falcon Heavy rocket into historical past final week.
“They’re including power to the area market and we like the eye that that is producing,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg instructed CNBC’s “Squawk on the Avenue.” “I believe it is good for the nation.”
The profitable check flight of the brand new SpaceX rocket made it essentially the most highly effective in operation, able to lifting a payload almost 3 times that of the following largest rockets from United Launch Alliance – a three way partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin – and Arianespace. Whereas Falcon Heavy might crush its present competitors, Boeing is the first contractor for a brand new rocket constructed for NASA: House Launch System (SLS).
“We’re constructing the primary rocket to Mars, and, as I instructed you, it is about 36 tales tall,” Muilenburg stated. “It is first check flight is in 2019.”
Improvement for each Falcon Heavy and SLS started about seven years in the past. However, whereas Falcon Heavy roared to life on Feb. 7 at Kennedy House Heart, the primary flight for SLS slipped to 2020, in response to NASA Administrator Robert Lighfoot on Monday. Lightfoot known as SLS one of many “essential spine components” to NASA’s effort to return people to the Moon and “for shifting farther in deep area,” together with human missions to Mars.
“I firmly imagine that the primary person who will get to Mars goes to get there on a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg stated.
A jubilant Musk stated after Falcon Heavy’s launch that he needs “a brand new area race,” as he thinks the success will “encourage different firms and international locations” to be bold in the identical means as SpaceX.
Musk’s firm launched plans in September to develop its BFR program (Large Falcon Rocket) as the premise to ship cargo, and ultimately individuals, to Mars beginning in 2022. But SpaceX might return to the Moon with simply Falcon Heavy.
“It will possibly launch issues direct to Pluto and past. Do not even want gravity help or something,” Musk stated.
Whereas the check flight model of SLS will elevate across the identical quantity of mass in comparison with Falcon Heavy, that is the place the similarities finish. NASA has spent over $10 billion growing the SLS rocket to date; Musk says SpaceX spent over $500 million in inside funds to construct Falcon Heavy. The SLS model for crewed flight will elevate 105 metric tons; Falcon Heavy tops out at round 64 metric tons. Every SLS rocket is expendable; Falcon Heavy is available in reusable and expendable configurations. A SLS launch comes with a price ticket of over $1 billion; Falcon Heavy rockets go for $150 million at most.
That is additionally not the primary time Muilenburg’s touted that Boeing will energy a crewed maiden voyage to the purple planet: he made the identical declaration in December.
“Do it,” Musk tweeted.
@elonmusk: Do it