Boeing vows to beat SpaceX to Mars, kicking off modern day space race

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Oct 5, 2016, 5:03 PM EDT

Back in the 1960s it was the U.S. vs. Russia in a race to the moon. Now? There’s a whole lot more folks on the track in the sprint for the moon.

Bloomberg Technology reports Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg recently called out SpaceX’s Elon Musk, noting he is “convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket.” The company is also helping NASA develop its Space Launch System rocket for the space agency’s own Mars mission. It’s important to remember Boeing built the first stage for the Saturn V rocket, so SpaceX might have the buzz, but Boeing still has the experience and legacy.

Musk has made no qualms about his desire to be the first company to put humans on Mars (SpaceX’s current roadmap has the company beating NASA there by a full decade), though the company still has a lot to prove when it comes to actually meeting those deadlines. The first major milestone in SpaceX’s plan is to put astronauts on Mars by 2025, but they have to test out a whole lot of technology between now and then.

Muilenburg was speaking at a conference earlier this week when he laid out some of Boeing’s plans, describing the company’s role in helping create a commercial space-travel market that could also feed into eventual Mars missions. He didn’t go into any heavy specifics, but noted Boeing has been a player in space travel for decades — and the company has no plans for giving that up.

(Via Bloomberg Technology)