Elon Musk’s firm, SpaceX, is developing the vehicle, Starship, along with a rocket called the Super Heavy. They will combine to provide the means to take people to and from destinations like the Moon and Mars. The work is progressing at the facilities of SpaceX in California and South Texas, with the latter identified as the location for the first flights. Elon Musk has said the silver Starship prototype, Hopper, will be in the skies for its maiden flight within weeks.

The Daily Mail UK reports Elon Musk believes Starship, also known as Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), will be the key to sending humans to the red planet.

Musk prefers to call it the “Stainless Steel Starship,” as revealed in one of his Tweets at the end of December. He is upbeat about the prospects and feels the first crewed mission to Mars for the rocket and Starship could happen by the mid-2020s.

Future plans of SpaceX

From the look of things, Elon Musk paints an attractive picture. He had said that he would like to be one of the first travelers to go to Mars. The price of tickets could be at around $200,000 per person. Elaborating on future prospects, Musk says Starship will have capabilities to undertake missions to the moon, apart from long-distance flights to Mars and other planets. Musk also plans to colonize Mars.

SpaceX hopes to have an unmanned flight to Mars in 2022, followed by a manned one.

Sandwiched in between those missions, there are plans for a private mission, with a single passenger on board, in 2023. Mars is getting crowded with two of NASA's robots, Curiosity, and InSight, carrying out exploratory work. Recently, ESA’s Mars Express discovered a source of water in the form of a giant ice crater and the competition is tough.

On the subject of Moon missions, SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said that there is a proposal to put a large cargo on its surface by 2022.

The crowd is growing, with China landing its Chang’e 4 robotic probe on the far side of the moon.

Outlook of SpaceX’s is positive

According to the Los Angeles Times, Elon Musk has said his company’s goal is “of making humans into a multi-planetary species to protect against any potential extinction on Earth.” His estimate of the cost to develop Starship and the Super Heavy booster would be in the region of about $5 billion. The current revenue of SpaceX comes from two basic sources - satellite launches for commercial and government customers and resupply missions for NASA to the International Space Station.

The design of Starship will permit the carrying of as many as 100 passengers to the Moon and Mars. Recently, the company announced its first paying customer. He happens to be Japanese and he will travel around the Moon, probably in 2023.