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.”
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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The Tate Brothers and Associates Face Human Trafficking Charges in Romania
In a recent development, the Tate brothers, Andrew and Tristan, along with two associates, find themselves at the center of a high-profile case involving human trafficking allegations.
The charges leveled against them indicate the formation of an organized criminal group in 2021 with the intent to carry out human trafficking operations not only in Romania but also in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the BBC.
The investigation, which led to their arrest in December last year, has culminated in an indictment filed with the Bucharest court. According to the indictment, the Tate brothers are accused of luring their victims with false promises of love and marriage. Seven individuals have been identified as alleged victims, who were later coerced and subjected to a harrowing ordeal.
Prosecutors contend that the victims were taken to locations in Ilfov county, Romania, where they faced constant surveillance, intimidation, and control. The defendants allegedly forced the victims into debt and coerced them into participating in pornographic activities, with the explicit material subsequently shared on social media platforms. Shockingly, one of the defendants is accused of raping a woman on two occasions in March 2022, further amplifying the gravity of the charges.
While the trial is not expected to commence immediately, as a Romanian judge is granted 60 days to inspect the case files, it is anticipated to be a protracted legal battle. The complexity of the case and the severity of the charges will undoubtedly result in a lengthy trial process, with several years potentially passing before a verdict is reached.
Representatives for the Tate brothers released a statement acknowledging the unsurprising nature of the news but maintaining their belief in their innocence.
As reported by the BBC, the Tate brothers media team stared, “While this news is undoubtedly predictable, we embrace the opportunity it presents to demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation.”
They expressed their eagerness to present a comprehensive body of evidence meticulously collected over time, which they believe will substantiate their claims of innocence and restore their tarnished reputation.
However, it should be noted that additional charges, such as money laundering and trafficking of minors, are still under investigation. If evidence is uncovered to support these allegations, a separate indictment could be filed, further complicating the legal proceedings for the defendants.
Andrew Tate, who gained notoriety through his participation in the reality television show Big Brother, has a controversial past, having been removed from the show in 2016 following a video that appeared to depict him assaulting a woman.
Despite subsequent bans on social media platforms due to his contentious statements, he has managed to amass a following, particularly among young men, by promoting an ostentatious and hyper-masculine lifestyle.
As the case unfolds, public attention will undoubtedly be drawn to the trial, with many eagerly awaiting the outcome and hoping for justice to be served for the alleged victims. The complex web of charges and the high-profile nature of the defendants ensure that this trial will be closely monitored and scrutinized by the media and the public alike.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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