Boeing Also Plans to Send Humans to Mars, and Wants to Retrieve Elon Musk's Tesla

Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 7:26PM
Space
Mars
SpaceX
Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 7:26PM
Boeing Also Plans to Send Humans to Mars, and Wants to Retrieve Elon Musk's Tesla
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SpaceX
SpaceX and Boeing, being competing aerospace companies in a brand new space race, have naturally developed a rivalry.

And when SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket at the beginning of the year, sending Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla into space with a mannequin at the wheel, that was just one victory in a long competition between the two companies. Both are now focusing on sending a rocket to Mars, and while SpaceX is working on a fancy new rocked called the BFR to do so, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is apparently not impressed.

Muilenburg spoke at a recent Politico Space Forum, and mostly explained his own company's Mars aspirations. When asked if Boeing has any plans to launch cars into space, Muilenburg said no (and not just because he doesn't also own a car company like SpaceX/Tesla founder Elon Musk), but he did take a chance to jab at SpaceX by musing that they could send a rocket into space to bring back that Tesla.

In Muilenburg's own words, in reference to cars currently in space: "We might pick up the one that's out there and bring it back."



But while that was largely a joke, he does seem confident that the first people to land on Mars will be in a Boeing spacecraft. Unlike SpaceX, which has laid out a detailed plan for their future Mars travels over the next several years, Boeing is a little more secretive about it. And it's not immediately clear if he means a 100 percent Boeing spacecraft or a joint project with NASA.

It's more likely that Boeing is taking co-credit for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), which is the most likely rocket to reach Mars first, and which Boeing has helped out with during the SLS' lengthy and often over-budget construction phase. It's possible he could also mean Boeing's experimental spaceplane, the Phantom Express, which is currently designed to launch small satellites into orbit.

And while not a rocket, Boeing's CST-Starliner is a craft designed to carry humans through space similar to SpaceX's Dragon capsule or NASA's Orion spacecraft. It would need an actual rocket to carry it, but if astronauts ever reached Mars inside a CST-Starliner craft, that would still count for Boeing.

But regardless, Muilenburg believes that humans will reach Mars in his lifetime (he's 54) and said the following during the conference:

Opening quote
"I certainly anticipate that we're going to put the first person on Mars during my lifetime, and I'm hopeful that we'll do it in the next decade. And I'm convinced that the first person that gets to Mars is going to get there on a Boeing rocket."
Closing quote


If Musk does ever respond to this, it'll probably look something like the last time Boeing claimed they could get to Mars first:


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