Elon Musk discusses future of SpaceX's Starship system
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Elon Musk wants to put humans on Mars before the decade is out and Starship is going to be his ticket to the Red Planet. The SpaceX chief has been working on the interplanetary vehicle for close to 10 years now after first unveiling his plans for a Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) in 2012. Starship has gone through multiple names and design changes since and has even at one point resembled a spacecraft straight out of the Flash Gordon comic strip.
But fans may be surprised to learn Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedic actor and creator of characters such as Borat and Ali G, has had an influence on Starship’s looks.
Mr Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast this week, where he talked about the progress of Starship’s development with host Joe Rogan.
At the start of the podcast, the South African billionaire revealed Starship was made to look pointier after being inspired by a scene in Mr Cohen’s 2012 film, The Dictator.
Mr Cohen stars in the film as Aladeen, the clueless dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya.
In one scene, the dictator inspects a team of scientists building nuclear weapons for the dictator, including a rocket dubbed the “Beard of Doom Rocket”.
Dissatisfied with the design of another nuclear device, Aladeen tells his scientists to make it more pointy.
He says: “It is too round on the top. It needs to be pointy.
“Round is not scary. Pointy is scary. This will put a smile on the faces of the enemy.”
Mr Musk has now revealed this very scene inspired him to make the Starship more pointy, even though it would not have any aerodynamic benefits for the spacecraft.
He said: “They show him the new missile they have developed but it has kind of a round head, and he says, ‘You need to make it more pointy’, to his engineers.
“And actually that’s also what I said, the same thing.
“You know, Starship, we need to make it more pointy.”
Mr Rogan, in slight disbelief, asked the billionaire whether he really did so because of the film.
He said: “You literally told them to make the Starship more pointy because of the movie The Dictator.”
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Mr Musk replied: “Yup, and they know it too. It’s not like haven’t – they’re unaware of it.
“Everyone thought it would be funny if we made the rocket more pointy, so we did.”
The tech mogul went on to say Starship could have been a much blunter rocket and it could still fly and only be “arguably slightly worse”.
SpaceX is developing Starship as a fully reusable spacecraft capable of reaching the Moon, Mars and possibly beyond.
Mr Musk is hopeful the spacecraft will become operational by 2023, meaning he only has two years to power through the development progress.
Starship is being currently developed at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, South Texas.
SpaceX has so far only launched two Starship prototypes on suborbital flights and both launches ended in disaster when the rockets crashed into the launch pad.
Mr Musk, however, is aiming for an orbital launch before the year is over.
Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) is the next rocket fans are hopeful will be the first to ace the flight and landing.
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