Elon Musk has revealed that SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket could launch for much less than it costs NASA. Musk was speaking at the Air Force’s Space Pitch Day, which is a new type of procurement effort in which the military is giving small investments of less than $1 million each to young space companies developing technologies in which the Air Force is interested, such as satellite propulsion and Earth-imaging devices.
Musk told Lt. Gen John Thompson that a fully reusable system to orbit will take $900,000 worth of propellant. With operational costs, “like $2m” and added that “much less than even a tiny rocket” An average NASA launch costs $152m, thus SpaceX will be launching for about 1.3% of that.
Musk also revealed that SpaceX’s Starship could make its first trip into orbit within the next 6 months. An early version of the Starship had some successful tests over the summer. Musk unveiled the Starship at an event in September.