Elon Musk Wants SpaceX's Rockets to Take People Around the World

Mars is still the big picture, but why not take passengers from New York to Hong Kong in under an hour?

“I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” Elon Musk told the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, on Thursday. The SpaceX CEO and lead designer was the keynote speaker and presented the latest on his push for “Making Life Multiplanetary,” of which the ultimate goal is a “permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.”

Musk said he believes the next step is to make SpaceX’s current fleet redundant by creating one ship and booster that can replace Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon, so the company can focus all of its resources on one slightly smaller rocket that can do everything. Still, customers who want to stick with the proven product will have a choice when it comes time for the family vacation to the Red Planet, as Musk said SpaceX will still build ahead so people can choose between the Falcon 9, Dragon and the all-in-one rocket ship.

Construction of the first ship is expected to begin within six to nine months, and the initial mission goals include landing at least two cargo ships on Mars, confirming water resources and identifying hazards, and establishing power, mining and life support infrastructure for future flights. The first cargo flight, Musk explained, could be made in 2022, but ever the optimist he added, “Five years seems like a lot to me.”

But the excitement of the future of rocket travel wasn’t limited to space.

“If you build a ship that’s capable of going to Mars,” Musk pondered near the end of his speech, “what if you take that same ship and go from one place to another on Earth? We looked at that and the results are quite interesting.”

With that, he shared a concept video that imagined people in New York City boarding a boat that then takes them to a rocket, which will ultimately send them to Shanghai in less than 40 minutes.

The rocket would travel at approximately 18,000 mph, taking people from London to New York in 29 minutes and New York to Paris in 30. “Anywhere on Earth in under an hour,” the presentation boasted.

Only recently, Musk said he believes the future of travel is not in the sky, but instead underground. While his fellow Silicon Valley visionaries like Sebastian Thrun and Larry Page are pursuing the dream of flying cars, Musk has been increasing efforts on his Hyperloop and the Boring Company. Now, it seems the ambitious billionaire simply wants it all.