SpaceX’s Super Heavy and Starship systems will have their 1st commercial missions by 2021, stated Jonathan Hofeller of SpaceX. He said that SpaceX was talking to around 3 telecom company customers looking for launch in 2 years. Hofeller stated that Starship and Super Heavy missions could launch around twenty metric tons into geostationary orbits or over a hundred metric tons into low Earth orbits. The system was actually designed for transporting resources and crew to the Mars and moon. However, it will also be used for satellite launches. Hofeller stated that SpaceX would perform several flights prior to using this sat launch system. These flights would assuage insurer concerns over its reliability and also showcase its launch system to potential customers.
SpaceX demonstrated a hopping mechanism with its Starship prototype that launched the vehicle mere centimeters above the ground. Jonathan stated that upcoming tests would hit higher altitudes, with more tests coming this year. The aim is to achieve orbital quickly, hopefully by this year. The complete stack would be operational before next year, with customer launches in 2021. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 will eventually be replaced with these new systems. However, customers won’t be pushed to utilize next-gen vehicles. The older vehicles will be available for customers as per their demand. However, if lower prices and better products could be enabled, that was great news.
The pricing SpaceX had provided early Falcon 9 customers, is now its normal pricing. While the missions had earlier been priced at $62 million, it was now at $50 million. Prices would decline further, since Starship and Super Heavy were fully reusable, enabling lower prices and allowing various mission possibilities. Hofeller stated that a satellite could be recaptured and brought back this way. SpaceX had earlier attempted to provide full reusability abilities to Falcon 9. However, they failed. SpaceX has so far used the same Falcon 9 booster over 3 times. This has a maximum capacity of 10 launches. The same booster will be used at least 5 times before this year ends.