Musk promises 1st 'up-and-down flight' for SpaceX Mars rocket next year

SpaceX Mars launch BFR rocket

SpaceX Mars launch BFR rocket

"It's hard, dangerous, [there's a] good chance you will die, excitement for those who survive, that kind of thing", Musk told the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, of his timeline for launching a Mars-bound space vehicle.

With the expectation that the interplanetary ship will be operational next year, Musk discussed the struggle that pioneering travelers may face.

Musk has said he believes SpaceX rockets will be able to start taking people to Mars by 2024. "Excitement for those who survive".

PHOTO: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, attends SXSW to answer questions from registrants at ACL live, March 11, 2018, in Austin, Texas.

While Musk identified the first half of 2019 as a tentative launch date for the first Mars flights, he conceded that his timelines for new innovations have been "optimistic" in the past.

Jumping ahead, Musk said others like him would flock to a Martian colony in an "explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity" to build everything from "iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs".

"I think Mars should really have great bars", he added.

SpaceX ran into trouble in 2008 when its Falcon 1 rocket failed to launch, and Tesla, named after 19th-century Serbian-American scientist Nikola Tesla, narrowly avoided bankruptcy just before Christmas that year. It was the company's most powerful, and reusable, rocket yet that helps pave the way for Musk's goal of getting to Mars. And, as befitting Musk's assertions that the rockets need to be reusable, he also said the spaceships would not only go to Mars, but make a return trip back to Earth.