Redmond, WA and Hawthorne, CA — January 5, 2023 — Microsoft and SpaceX announced today a partnership to develop electric rockets for space travel. This collaboration will leverage the companies’ expertise in software and electrical engineering, respectively, to bring advanced electric propulsion technology to the mainstream. These rockets have the potential to significantly reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of space missions, while also having a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional chemical propulsion systems.
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“We are very excited to be working with SpaceX on this groundbreaking project,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “SpaceX has a proven track record of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the space industry, and we believe that our expertise in software and electrical engineering can help take their vision to the next level.”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk added, “Electric propulsion is the future of space travel, and we are thrilled to have the support of Microsoft as we work to bring this technology to the mainstream. These rockets will not only be more cost-effective and efficient, but they will also have a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional chemical propulsion systems.”
The electric rocket project is part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to drive innovation in the aerospace industry and reduce its own carbon footprint. In recent years, the company has invested heavily in renewable energy and has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030.
“This partnership with SpaceX aligns perfectly with our sustainability goals and our mission to empower every person on the planet to achieve more,” said Nadella.
The electric rockets developed by Microsoft and SpaceX will be capable of transporting both cargo and humans to and from low Earth orbit, the Moon, and beyond. They will use advanced electric propulsion systems, which use electricity to ionize a propellant and generate thrust, rather than traditional chemical reactions. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of space missions, as it requires less fuel and generates less waste. In addition, electric propulsion systems are more reliable and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional chemical propulsion systems, which can degrade over time and require frequent maintenance.
In addition to the electric rocket project, Microsoft and SpaceX will also collaborate on the development of new space-based solar power systems. These systems will use solar panels placed in orbit around the Earth to generate electricity, which can be beamed back to the surface using microwaves or lasers. This technology has the potential to provide a virtually unlimited source of clean energy and could help address the global energy crisis.
“We believe that the combination of electric rockets and space-based solar power has the potential to fundamentally transform the way we live and work, both on Earth and in space,” said Musk. “This partnership with Microsoft is a critical step towards realizing this vision.”
Microsoft and SpaceX are committed to working together to advance the capabilities of electric propulsion technology and make space travel more accessible to the general public. The companies will continue to work closely with regulators and industry partners to ensure the safe and responsible development of these technologies.
“Space travel has always been a dream for humanity, and we are committed to making it a reality for everyone,” said Nadella. “We are confident that this partnership with SpaceX will lead to significant advancements in the field of space travel and help pave the way for a more sustainable future.”