SpaceX founder Elon Musk reportedly announced in a Time interview that took place on July 12 and was published on July 18, that SpaceX Starship spacecraft could re-transport humans to the surface of the moon within just a few years' time.
He has estimated 2023 to be the year when SpaceX vehicles could reach for the moon and land there with humans onboard.
Well, this is gonna sound pretty crazy, but I think we could land on the moon in less than two years. Certainly, with an uncrewed vehicle. So then maybe within a year or two of that, we could be sending a crew. I would say four years at the outside - Elon Musk, Founder, SpaceX
This statement comes after NASA said it would consider using a third-party rocket like the SpaceX Falcon Heavy for its return to the moon but finally decided on using NASA's new Space Launch System to that end.
This might have promoted Musk to declare that going to the moon alone may be the quickest way to go.
If it were to take longer to convince NASA and the authorities that we can do it versus just doing it, then we might just do it. It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can - Elon Musk, Founder, SpaceX
SpaceX's ongoing projects seem to be working through minor setbacks which was seen especially when a hold-down test firing of a single-engine SpaceX Starship prototype on Tuesday resulted in an unexpected fireball that, though did not cause serious damage the prototype, did cause subsequent delay to this week's plans for 'Starhopper' to lift off the ground for the very first time and hover before landing.
Earlier this year, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft faced ruination during a test firing due to a leak in the craft's pressurization system, which pushed back the mission of carrying its first crew to this December instead of the target month of July.