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SpaceX can beat NASA and land on moon ‘within two years’, says Musk

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, has claimed it would be easier for his company to land on the moon than try to convince NASA that the company is up to the task.

In an interview with Time magazine, Musk acknowledged he was going to "sound pretty crazy", before stating: "I think we could land on the moon in less than two years."

Marking the 50th anniversary since the Apollo 11 mission in which humans first stepped onto the moon, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has told Sky News the agency is sending a woman to the moon in 2024.

Woman set to be next person on moon 'in 2024'

However, Musk, who is SpaceX's chief executive, is optimistic about his company's ability to reach the moon by 2021, and potentially by 2022 with crew.

He told Time: "Certainly with an uncrewed vehicle I believe we could land on the moon in two years. So then maybe within a year or two of that we could be sending crew."

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He explained that "we" did not necessarily mean the United States, but could just refer to SpaceX.

"If it were to take longer to convince NASA and the authorities that we can do it versus just going it, the we might just do it," Musk added.

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"It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can."

Starship is the company's new spacecraft, which will only complete sub-orbital flights, or "hops", racing high into the atmosphere before landing back on Earth.

The picture of SpaceX's new rocket Starship. Pic: Elon Musk
Image: The picture of SpaceX's new rocket Starship. Pic: Elon Musk

An orbital version has been developed which will work in conjunction with SpaceX's new rocket booster called the Super Heavy.

The orbital version is taller, has thicker skins which will not wrinkle when exposed to the pressure of orbital flight, and also has a smoothly curving nose section.

The spacecraft has been troubled this year, with a prototype being toppled and damaged by high winds in Texas back in January.

A blaze at the experimental facility in California earlier this month caused up to $100,000 (£80,000) damage to equipment and infrastructure.

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