This film that inspired the design of SpaceX’s Starship

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During a podcast recorded this week, Elon Musk said he was inspired by a film by Sasha Baron Cohen for the design of his Starship. In addition, the boss of SpaceX is still planning a first manned flight of his spacecraft for 2023.

The dictator

In January 2019, Elon Musk posted via Twitter a first image of the assembled version of his Starship, SpaceX’s future interplanetary spacecraft. A vintage design rocket was revealed, reminding us of that of the famous Tintin rocket. In reality, it was not the comics signed by Hergé that inspired the aesthetic of the Starship, but the movie The dictator (2012), by British actor, screenwriter and producer Sacha Baron Cohen, said Elon Musk this Thursday during his Podcast with Joe Rogan.

During this interview, Musk notably cited the scene of Admiral General Aladeen de Cohen, the authoritarian ruler of the fictional nation of Wadiya, evaluating the missile developed by his engineers at the start of the film. The vehicle then displays a blunt head, which displeases Aladeen. “It’s too round at the top. It must be sharp ”, he then declared to the head of his nuclear program. “The circle is not scary. Pointy, it’s scary ”, adding that with such a design, their enemies will believe that a “Giant sextoy rushes over them”.

Originally, the Starship was also originally supposed to have a relatively blunt headdress, Musk explained. Finally, the boss of SpaceX asked his engineers to develop a more “sharp” vessel. Joe Rogan then asked him if this shape gave the Starship an aerodynamic advantage. To which Musk replied: “it’s probably slightly worse “, eliciting laughter from both men. But, he added, “he looks cooler like that “.

Screenshot from the movie “The dictator”. Credits: Four by Two Films / AmazonPrime

A first manned flight for 2023

Rogan and Musk touched on other interesting points during their more than three-hour interview. For example, Musk said SpaceX still aims to put a prototype Starship into orbit as early as this year. He also thinks that the first manned flights could be scheduled from 2023.

Meanwhile, the SN10 prototype is preparing to carry out its test flight at ten kilometers altitude, hoping for a happier end than its predecessors SN8 and SN9.

Note that this is the third time the two have met. During his first appearance, in September 2018, the entrepreneur distinguished himself by smoking a little weed on the air. Senior NASA officials did not appreciate it too much. The latter had even triggered a security investigation at SpaceX but also at Boeing, the two companies under contract with the agency to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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