"We’ll probably put a first man in space in about three years," Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal Saturday. "We’re going all the way to Mars, I think… best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years."
Which is big talk for an operation without a crew-rated vehicle capable of direct transLunar injection, let alone transMars injection.
Their Falcon Heavy is being touted as “the world’s most powerful rocket,” but that is a carefully relative term. The heavy-launcher field is not what it was. The Falcon Heavy is intended to loft payloads of 117000 pounds to Low Earth Orbit. The Saturn V could lob 262000 pounds into LEO, and chuck 100000 pounds directly into TLI. The Falcon Heavy is perhaps the world’s most powerful rocket right now. No-one’s going out of town on a Falcon Heavy without a lot of staging and reassembly in orbit. At best.