Two young US companies want to launch the first commercial mission to Mars in just a few years. Impulse Space and Relativity Space announced on Tuesday that they plan to send a lander to the Red Planet in 2024, helping to make humanity a multiplanetary species.
The two companies are thus making explicit reference to statements made by SpaceX boss Elon Musk, who is pursuing the same goal. Your project is extremely ambitious, not least because Impulse Space was only founded last September. Relativity Space has been around since 2015. The company wants to revolutionize the construction of rockets, but its own Terran 1 has yet to take off.
Many questions still unanswered
Impulse and Relativity want to send their probe to Mars in the favorable launch window after next. From September 2024 to May 2025, the flight time there is comparatively short. A Terran R rocket will then send the Mars Cruise Vehicle on its way, with the Mars Lander on board. The companies explain that it should then be protected by a protective shield and land on the red planet hanging from a parachute. There he should then “support the research that is necessary for the multiplanetary future of mankind”. The companies do not explain exactly what the lander is supposed to do. The announcement also does not reveal the specific goals of the mission as a whole.
Overall, the announcement is reminiscent of the mostly over-ambitious promises made by the space company SpaceX and its boss Elon Musk. This is probably no coincidence, because Impulse Space was founded by Tom Mueller, who for a long time headed the drive development at SpaceX. He thinks the launch of space rockets is solved, he told ArsTechnica and now wants to devote himself to the technology for space flights. Relativity Space, on the other hand, is developing two rockets, the Terran 1 and the Terran R, which can be manufactured in just a few weeks thanks to 3D printing and automation. With this, the company wants to further revolutionize the market for launches into space.
It remains to be seen whether the ambitious goal of a Mars mission from 2024 can be met. So far, only the USA and China have managed to bring probes safely to the red planet. There have not yet been any private-sector missions there. SpaceX boss Musk also has gigantic plans for the early start of the colonization of Mars, but he is downright notorious for grandiose announcements and schedules that are not adhered to. The Starship giant rocket planned for this has yet to complete its maiden flight.
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