Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said the Chicago-based aerospace company plans to land the first human on Mars and that he expects space tourism to develop into a “viable commercial market“ over the next 20 years, Bloomberg Technology reported Tuesday.
“I'm convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,“ Muilenburg told attendees of an Atlantic magazine-hosted conference Tuesday in Chicago.
He told event attendees that Boeing also plans to explore use of hypersonic aircraft that would send passengers to low-Earth orbit and travel between continents as part of the firm’s concept for a commercial space travel market, Julie Johnsson writes.
Boeing has partnered with NASA to build the Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket designed for use in deep space exploration missions, according to the report.
Muilenburg's remarks come a week after SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled plans to develop an integrated spaceship and rocket platform called the Interplanetary Transport System, which he hopes can bring 100 people to Mars and start a civilization on the planet.
NASA awarded a $4.2 billion contract to Boeing and $2.6 billion contract to SpaceX in 2014 to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of the space agency's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program.