Elon Musk’s dream of moving Earthlings to the red planet is very intact and the company he built, the Space X is ensuring that goal is realized in his lifetime. That brings us to the situation of the company’s new Spaceship which Musk believes will enhance that goal.
At the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, Musk detailed what’s next for the mighty would-be Mars rocket that could one day ferry humans to the Red Planet.
“This is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen,” Musk said, standing in front of the Starship Mk1 prototype space vehicle.
The first time SpaceX made it to the orbit was some 11 years ago at exactly September 28. The CEO of SpaceX walked journalists around also detailing in tweets how awesome the Starship would be.
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What’s next for Starship?
Some three years back, Elon Musk relayed the plan of conquering Mars using a gigantic two-stage and reusable rocket. The Starship sees to be the result of that proposition and it’s becoming real everyday.
Some weeks back, there was a test using a cloned but smaller rocket which was dubbed the Starhopper and it has completed about two low-altitude flights or “Hops” as they call it even without a single Raptor engine in it.
So the next thing for SpaceX is to get the triple-engine prototype called the MK1 off the ground at leasts to an altitude of about 12 miles (20 KM). A second prototype, Mk2, is being built at the SpaceX facility in Florida. Musk said an Mk3 prototype would begin construction at Boca Chica “in about a month” and could be complete in three months.
“This is going to sound totally nuts, but we want to try and reach orbit in less than six months,” he said.
Of course, deadlines have slipped before. Musk believes if the rate of production continues to proceed as quickly as it has already, the orbital vehicle could be a Mk4 or Mk5 prototype.
A little bit of a background
Elon Musk explained how the Starship would control it’s own landing but then announced that another testing is being scheduled to take place in about a month or two.
“This is quite a new approach to controlling a rocket,” Musk said. “Much more akin to a skydiver than a plane.”
Musk laughed as he showed the crowd in Boca Chica how the craft would control the fall, with his hands acting as the ship. Getting into the specifics a little more, Musk explained the importance of a steel heat shield that would only cost a fraction of a carbon fiber heat shield. “I’m in love with steel,” Musk said.
The rocket that is being built will serve as the booster which pushes the Starship right into the orbit. Musk also said that it’s twice as much as the trust of the most powerful rocket ever built, the NASA’s Satur V which features about 37 Raptor engines.
One interesting thing Musk narrated was the “Orbital Refilling” which allows fuel to be transferrd between spacecraft in the orbit. Elon Musk said that this process is a lot more easier rather than docking with the ISS which the Space X is even fantastic at doing in the first place. “This is one of the other critical pieces of the puzzle to establish a base on the moon or Mars,” Musk noted.
Starship’s ambitions aren’t just the moon or Mars. Musk showed off promo art of a potential future for Starship that would have it head farther out into the solar system. Next destination? Saturn! (Well … maybe not the next, next destination.)
Musk concluded his press conference with a belief he’s been championing ever since those initial Starship plans were detailed three years ago.
“I think we should do our very best to become a multiplanet species, and we should do it now.”
Any other SpaceX projects
Landing on Mars is one thing the company is working hard towards meanwhile, other projects includes working closely with NASA on Commercial Crew project which is aiming to launch Astronauts to the ISS directly from the US.
In a post-conference Q&A session, Musk provided a brief response.
“From a SpaceX resource standpoint, our resources are overwhelmingly on Falcon and Dragon,” he said. “It was really quite a small percentage of SpaceX that did Starship.”
Although the entire progress of the SpaceX’s Commercial Crew project wasn’t spelled out by Musk but then he made mention of difficulties during the optimization process. With a recent explosion during the resting of the Dragon crew capsule, a momentary delay was placed on SpaceX’s ambitions of landing Astronauts in the ISS just before the year ends meanwhile that could restart from early 2020 with NASA stating future flight dates are under review.