SpaceX Starship travel plan: Delhi to Sydney in 36 mins

Concept video by the Elon Musk venture promises travel time of just one hour between any two places on the Earth

Ferrying passengers at over 20 times the speed of sound, SpaceX's Earth-to-Earth concept basically meant this: Travellers could step into a full two-stage rocket, lift off and land within 30-60 minutes anywhere on Earth.

Sydney to Delhi in 36 minutes, London to Dubai in 29 minutes! No two cities on Earth will be an hour's flight away on the SpaceX Starship! When Elon Musk announced this a while ago, eyes had popped globally. But this remark, which sounded so incredible then, had more believers on Twitter when Musk came online for a chat recently.

Ferrying passengers at over 20 times the speed of sound, SpaceX's Earth-to-Earth concept basically meant this: Travellers could step into a full two-stage rocket, lift off and land within 30-60 minutes anywhere on Earth. When articulated first by Musk, this was in the realm of fantasy.

A concept video put out by SpaceX showed a potential Starship travel plan in arresting detail: A boat picks up passengers from the shore, heads to a giant, floating platform where they get into the waiting Starship. Launched by boosters, the Starship takes off into space and lands on an identical offshore platform close to the destination.

Despite the video's enticing realism, doubts lingered among space buffs and experts alike. But Musk's readiness to answer questions on Twitter had everyone excited. Questions on the Starship's occupancy, safety, timelines came thick and fast.

“How many passengers can you carry with Earth to Earth transportation?” asked Alex Korocencev in a tweet. Pat came Musk's reply: “Nearly 1,000, as all seats would be “coach” & no toilets, pilot area or food galley needed.”

Most flights would only be 15 to 20 mins, claimed Musk. “It’s basically an ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) travelling at Mach 25 that lands,” he explained, putting the absolutely out-of-the-world speed in perspective.

But the tweets would not stop at that. “Will passengers be allowed to move around during the flight?” asked another user, salivating at the prospect of an aeroplane-like experience.

Musk would not let that hope soar. He tweeted in response: “That would be unwise. Probably needs a restraint mechanism like Disney's Space Mountain roller coaster. Would feel similar to Space Mountain in a lot of ways, but you'd exit on another continent.”

Inspired by Starship's potential to break every speed record imaginable, a YouTuber Michel Melinot posted a 24hour Starship Challenge: “6:00 AM running in Los Angeles, 9:00 AM breakfast in New York, 1:00 PM lunch in Paris, 4:00 PM snack in Bangkok, 7:00 PM dinner in Hong-Kong, 11:00 PM party on Sydney's beach, 3:00 AM last drink in Cape Town, 6:00 AM back in Los Angeles to sleep.”

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