According to media reports, Musk thinks that the company needs to ramp up production of its next-generation engine or face dire consequences.
Raptors will be the main power source for the huge, fully re-usable vehicle that will take people and cargo to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations. Raptors 33 for the giant first-stage booster, called Super Heavy, and six for the upper-stage spaceship, known as Starship, are required for each Starship.
In the coming years, the company wants to operate a large fleet of spaceships. One of Musk's long-held dreams is to colonize Mars, and he said at the fall meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Board on Physics and Astronomy that maybe 1,000 of the vehicles will be needed.
The astronauts from the Inspiration 4 returned to Earth with a splashdown.
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Raptors are going to be manufactured by SpaceX in the relatively near future. The company is not on track to meet that challenge at the moment, according to an email Musk sent to employees over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The email, obtained by Space Explored, describes the production situation as a crisis that is worse than it had seemed a few weeks ago. He says that he was going to work on the production line on Thanksgiving weekend, and that he was asking all of the employees to help him out.
"If you can't physically return to Hawthorne, we will need all hands on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster," reads the email, which Space.com has not seen directly. Hawthorne is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Musk says that the second version of the Starlink internet satellites is needed. The company has lofted more than 1,600 V1 Starlink craft, and 100 of the more advanced V 1.5 line, with its Falcon 9 rocket. The bigger V2 satellites can't be accommodated in the workhorse launcher, which Musk sees as vital to the company.
Satellite V1 is financially weak, while Satellite V2 is strong, according to an email. We are ramping up terminal production to several million units per year, which will consume massive capital, assuming that satellite V2 will handle the bandwidth demand. These terminals will be useless if not used correctly.
Musk says in the email that time is of the essence to fix the problem.
If we can't achieve a flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year, we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy.
It's likely that just a few operational vehicles will be needed to be able to fly twice a month. Right now it doesn't have any, as it is in the test-flight phase.
That could change soon. The program's first test flight will involve a prototype called the SN20 and a Super Heavy known as Booster 4. If the FAA finishes its review of the South Texas launch site by the end of the year, that landmark mission could occur as soon as January or February.
Space.com reached out to Musk's company, but has not heard back yet. The email in the Space Explored story is full of interesting details.
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