SpaceX Targets 2018 for First Mars Mission
SpaceX plans to send an unmanned Dragon capsule to Mars as early as 2018, the company said Wednesday.
Ultimately, SpaceX, founded and run by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, plans to fly people to and from Mars.
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"Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018," SpaceX posted on Twitter.
SpaceX currently flies Dragon cargo ships to the International Space Station for NASA. It is developing a crewed version of Dragon to fly astronauts as well, with test flights of the new capsule planned for 2017. The company calls its planned Mars ships "Red Dragons."
"Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system. Red Dragon Mars mission is the first test flight," Musk wrote on Twitter.
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The company plans to debut a heavy-lift version of its Falcon rocket, which will be needed to dispatch Dragon capsules to Mars, before the end of the year.
Musk previously said that details of SpaceX's Mars initiative will be unveiled at the annual International Astronautical Congress in September.