Elon Musk is known for his limitless ambition, which seems to exceed every limit placed before him. Space is no exception. The billionaire has set his sights higher: And he wants to launch the world’s biggest, most powerful rocket, then use it to take humans to the Moon and then Mars. After more than 10 years of development, Musk announced that SpaceX is set to attempt the maiden flight of its Starship mega-rocket in March. “If Starship triumphs, I have no doubt that it will be the workhorse that gets humans back to the Moon and Mars,” Olivier de Veck, a professor of aeronautics, astronautics, and engineering at MIT, told Insider. But it really has the potential to change the fate of humanity, he added, Here are 14 facts you should know before Starship’s first launch attempt, “It’s not just a cool rocket project,
Starship dwarfs other rockets, at about 390 feet tall,
The rocket is taller than any other operational heavy-lift launcher, at 394 feet. Which is about 30 feet longer than the SLS mega-rocket that NASA launched around the Moon on its Artemis mission.. De Veck said designing a rocket of this detail is a lot of engineering work. “A rocket that’s twice as big as a rocket half its size is about eight times as challenging to build and test and fly,” he said.
It’s not only the tallest rocket ever created but also the most powerful.
SpaceX wants to make Starship the most powerful rocket ever. Technically speaking, a starship is the name of a spacecraft that sits on top of a rocket. The bottom part of the rocket is a booster, dubbed the “Super Heavy,” which packs a real punch. The rocket is powered by this booster, which generates about 17 million pounds of thrust. which has 8.8 million pounds of thrust, twice as powerful as NASA’s SLS mega-rocket booster, The rocket should be capable of carrying up to 250 metric tons of payload into low Earth orbit.
Starship is designed to be reusable.
This means that Starship is designed to be reusable, it should be able to come back to Earth, ready to be used again.
Musk believes that reusable rockets are the future of space travel, allowing companies to cut costs and time with every launch.
SpaceX successfully launches a reusable prototype of Starship in 2021.
SpaceX triumphed in 2021 when it successfully landed its fifth Starship prototype, called SN15. The unmanned vehicle flew in the sky for about 10 km before coming back down six minutes after taking off and landing safely on the landing pad. It dramatically exploded just 10 minutes later. One of the previous prototypes managed to land successfully once before
The booster is also designed to return to earth.
The only part of the rocket is not designed to be spacecraft reusable. SpaceX aims to safely land the booster on Earth and reuse it.
The rocket has incredible thrust due to the trademark Raptor engines
The bulk of Starship’s thrust comes down to SpaceX’s Raptor engine. Each of the 10-foot-long engines generates about 500 pounds of thrust. These engines use a fuel called metal ox, a combination of methane and oxygen, to propel themselves. Which uses a combination of kerosene and oxygen, a very different type of fuel from SpaceX’s other rockets, or NASA’s SLS rocket, which is powered by oxygen and hydrogen. “It’s not a combination of stimuli that we have a lot of dealing with,” de Veck said. The use of fuel will be of double benefit, he said. Methane, as a molecule, contains much less carbon than kerosene—one carbon atom for methane versus 10 to 16 for kerosene. In real terms, this means that burning methane produces far less soot than kerosene, which is the kind of engine you want to reuse. It’s easy to imagine how you could make methane on Mars to fuel rockets.
which is available from the atmosphere of Mars, you would expect CO2You need water, which exists as subsurface ice deposits on Mars. And you need energy. Dr. Beck said, then of course you need a chemical plant.”
Starship makes clever use of stainless steel, a metal that is considered very heavy.
Typically made of aluminum and unlike rockets, Starship’s body is mostly made of stainless steel. Using stainless steel may seem counterintuitive—after all, it is a heavy metal, about three times denser than aluminum. But there are some arguments for why steel was the right choice. There was a price – bulk steel is much cheaper than aluminum. The second is power. “Steel is much, much stronger than aluminum, so you can make parts much thinner than aluminum,” de Veck said. In the extreme, the parts become lighter. The third is corrosion. Because these rockets are built to be reusable, they need to stand the test of time.
33 Raptor engines are in the Super Heavy Booster.
There are 33 Raptor engines per booster, so a lot can go wrong when you try to fire them.
“Getting all 33 of these engines to light up at once is the big challenge.”
“All 33 are predicted to fire at the right time, even though there is a 99% chance of each engine working properly,” de Veck said.
SpaceX successfully tested a booster on Thursday.
On Thursday, Elon Musk did a static fire test of the Super Heavy Booster. A total of 31 of the 33 Raptor engines fired for a few seconds long check, which Musk hailed as a victory. First 1 engine shut down” The team stopped right before starting and 1 stopped itself, so a total of 31 engines fired. But still enough engines to reach orbit!” he said in a tweet.
NASA teams up with SpaceX to use Starship in future crewed missions
NASA awarded a $3 billion contract to SpaceX in 2021 to upgrade a commercial launcher that could carry humans into space.
The launcher will be used on two upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon, NASA hopes
A Japanese Billionaire Booked the First Flight of a Rocket Around the Moon
SpaceX also envisions civilian-crewed missions on Starship.is due to carry a team of eight people of his choice and it is Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. Massawa recently announced the composition of its crew. This includes artists, merchandise producers, athletes, a K-pop star, and a DJ. The mission, named “Dear moon” by Maezawa, would bring Maezawa and his crew within 200 km of the lunar surface. In 2020, a year before launching an open call for a Moon mission, Maezawa said he was looking for a romantic “female partner” to accompany him to the Moon. Later he called off the search.
The rocket could be used in 30 minutes a day to cross the globe.
Kasturi also plans to use the starship for an Earth-to-Earth makeover. “With Starship and the Super Heavy, extremely international long-distance flights will be completed in 30 minutes or less,” the SpaceX website says. De Veck said it “probably seems worth doing, but maybe not so good for the environment.” De Veck wrote a paper last year about the growing risk of the space business releasing more greenhouse gas emissions. Starship’s fuel is made of methane—a potent greenhouse gas that is much more potent than CO2 if it is not burned before being released into the atmosphere.
Musk wants Starship to take colonists to Mars first
The moon isn’t the only thing in our solar system Musk wants to see.
SpaceX aims to take humans to Mars on this launcher.
It could happen in the next five years, Musk predicted in a tweet on Thursday “I must admit to being an innate optimist (SpaceX and Tesla would not exist otherwise), but I think 5 years is possible and 10 years highly likely,” he said.
The launch may go ahead, an expert said there is a 60-70% chance
De Veck said SpaceX has made huge strides since it began making the Starship advancements. A lot can go wrong before the launch date. “Will it happen in March? But I still wouldn’t give it more than a 60 or 70% chance,” he said, adding that I’m more optimistic about it than I was last July. Not jumping to conclusions quickly, however, he called for a lot from the people.
“Let us all be patient if there is an explosion or the booster does not come back and recover, this launch goes bad, keep in mind this is just one test out of hundreds. And if anything, SpaceX has shown us that they learn a lot from failures,” he said.