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Elon Musk: I’m ‘highly confident’ SpaceX’s first crewed Mars mission will launch in 2026, maybe as early as 2024

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday said he’s “highly confident” that his commercial space company will launch its first manned mission to Mars in 2026, adding that it could happen as early as 2024 “if we get lucky.”

The billionaire entrepreneur during a webcast interview with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German media company Axel Springer SE, expressed this estimation of his. The pair talked with each other about a variety of topics at Axel Springer’s headquarters in Berlin as part of a ceremony honoring Musk, who won this year’s Axel Springer Award.

Watch the full 30-minute interview on YouTube here.

“And then we want to try to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years,” Musk also told Döpfner. Space.com noted in its detailed Wednesday article after this quote that “the two-year target intervals are dictated by orbital dynamics: Earth and Mars align favorably for interplanetary launches just once every 26 months.”

RELATED: Four astronauts arrive at International Space Station for historic SpaceX-NASA mission

The 165-foot-tall (50 meters) Starship will be the vehicle that will make these voyages to Mars and will launch from Earth on top of a large rocket known as Super Heavy, according to Space.com. Both spacecraft will be completely and quickly reusable—with Musk having said that the latter will return to Earth for vertical touchdowns shortly after liftoff, and the former will be able to venture from Earth’s orbit to Mars and back again many times. Space.com said that Starship will have enough power to “launch itself off both Mars and the moon, which have much weaker gravitational pulls than that of Earth.”

SpaceX has been inching closer to what will eventually be the final version of Starship by testing a series of prototypes. The company’s most recent prototype, called SN8, short for “Serial Number 8,” is currently preparing for a major test flight this week, Musk stated Tuesday last week in a tweet just after a successful SN8 test.

“Good Starship SN8 static fire! Aiming for first 15km / ~50k ft altitude flight next week,” the eccentric billionaire wrote. “Goals are to test 3 engine ascent, body flaps, transition from main to header tanks & landing flip.”

On top of that, this week’s upcoming test will have a target altitude of nine miles (15 kilometers), Space.com noted.

Also during the Tuesday interview, Musk re-emphasized his foundational goal of SpaceX to make humans a multiplanet species and doubled down on his wish to die on the Red Planet, something he has stated before.

“Just not on impact,” Musk joked to Döpfner.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Kyle Rittenhouse Found ‘Not Guilty’ On All Counts

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Rittenhouse

After three and a half days of deliberation, the jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all counts. “Jurors in the polarizing case said they had voted to acquit Rittenhouse, 18, of homicide, attempted homicide and other charges related to the August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin” reports The Washington Post.

Rittenhouse testified during the trial during which he  became so emotional he was unable to speak in between sobs as he attempted to describe the shootings. The judge called a brief recess for Rittenhouse to regain composure.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Rittenhouse said on the stand. “I defended myself.”

National Review reports “As the verdict was announced, Rittenhouse, overwhelmed with emotion, burst into tears and dropped to the ground, struggling to breathe. After collecting himself, he embraced the defense counsel who represented him throughout the trial.”

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who was 26 at the time. Rittenhouse testified that he fired in self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all counts.

National Review reports:

“Rittenhouse was arrested on August 26, 2020, after shooting three people during the riots that followed the police killing of Jacob Blake, a black man who was brandishing a knife and in the process of violating a restraining order when police arrived on scene.

He was initially indicted on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide, failure to comply with an emergency order from a local government, and possession of a dangerous weapon.”

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