- Allistair Mitchell
Tales from the Edict 37 - SpaceX to SpaceY?
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
In less than 20 years Elon Musk had gone from a successful tech entrepreneur to being the foremost engineering industrialist in the world, running a handful of companies that each had a colossal impact on the industries they would come to lead or dominate.
At the zenith of SpaceX’s ascendency Musk suddenly announced the sale of his controlling stake in the business to the US taxpayer. For many of his fans worldwide 2029 was a dark year, although in a short time it would pale to insignificance, at the time it was as if he were selling out the dream. Yes, Space X had succeeded in landing humans on Mars in 2032 aboard the Liberty Bell, but the duration of the visit was seven weeks, and no further human missions to the red planet were in the NASA planning pipeline.
The prospect of a return trip and the commencement of colonisation had seemed a real possibility in the first half of the decade but hopes faded as the US came to rely ever more on SpaceX as its primary launch contractor. The inflight emergency of Silver Bare in 2031 only reaffirmed the difficulties of space travel beyond the protective heliosphere of Earth and with the capacity of a Starship vehicle, NASA and America were reluctant to take the risks deemed necessary to establish a colony beyond the moon which, in any case, had been successfully colonized by 2027.
Burdened with the strategic work of government and space agency, Space X was no longer a company able or willing to take commercial risks. Musk understood this and was a major factor when it came to selling his share. Within a year, in the darkening days of the global depression, Musk announced the launch of his next space venture, aptly named Space Y? In answer to his own question, over the next couple years he contracted his old company to deliver 14 modules to the surface of the moon to establish Radix-M, an automated manufacturing facility. Rotated engineer teams followed, and the first off-world space yard was born.
In late 2033 under full impulse power, the Affinity Star departed the surface of the moon. Massing at 2,578 tonnes, this was the largest space vehicle ever to be launched into orbit. With just enough fuel on board to reach lunar orbit it would take another six months to fuel the Star and receive cargo delivered from Earth including nuclear fuel elements as part of the propulsive technology. In 2034 the Affinity Star left lunar orbit and returned to HEO to pick up a crew of 30 specialists and colonists before it set off to establish the first Martian colony.
In 2034, Space Y?’s Affinity Star departed Earth for Mars on the first formal colonisation mission. Elon Musk had delivered on his promise to colonise Mars, albeit ten years behind schedule.