Video: Is SpaceX’s New Engine and Spacecraft Designed for Mars?

In this interview with the Royal Aeronautical Society, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is asked about a rumored new project called the Raptor MCT (4:28):

MUSK: “Now and again, I just throw something out just for fun. I can confirm that the name of the engine is Raptor. I’d like to announce maybe some details about the engine next year. But, perhaps what’s even more interesting is the spaceship that that’s attached to it.”

Q: “Does the M in MCT stand for anything to do with Mars or Martian?

MUSK: (Laughs) “I have to leave a little. You show a little leg but not all of it.”

Editor’s Note: Musk said during a separate talk that Raptor is a methane engine.

A few other comments of note:


We hope to demonstration high altitude supersonic liftoff and return — have stage take off, go supersonic and land with propulsion at landing site

Grasshopper is a test bed for recovering Falcon 9 stages for reuse

It consists of a Falcon 9 first stage and a Merlin I-D engine


“That’s definitely not one of our main initiatives. And think there’s likely to be some changes in that program.”

Can’t comment on changes

SpaceX’s role is to supply a downsized version of the Falcon 9 rocket that would be air launched from the company’s carrier aircraft

Falcon Heavy

We hope to fly a demonstration flight by the end of 2013

Planetary Resources

“Our rockets are standing by.”

Believes there is potentially a market for mining asteroids as a refueling station. Not sure about the market for mining platinum and other resources.

Planetary Resources is the start up looking at mining asteroids founded by Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis


Doesn’t know project very well. His calculation show that single-stage-to-orbit does not make sense, but he could be wrong.

Skylon is the Reaction Engines’ SSTO

Human Mission to Mars

10 or 15 year time frame