What is Elon Musk Starship

What is Elon Musk Starship ?

Elon Musk, the founder of X.com (now known as PayPal), SpaceX, and Tesla, will introduce a vehicle that will change the entire space travel industry. This vehicle has been named Starship. This space vehicle will be a wholly reusable transport system with a capacity to carry around 100 people. 

The private spaceflight company of Elon Musk, SpaceX, is looking forward to making life multi-planetary. This is motivated by existential threats like asteroid collisions big enough to wipe out the entire humanity. Previously in 2016, Elon Musk highlighted his point at an international conference held in Mexico that history will be divided into two directions. One direction is to stay on Earth forever and wait for some eventual extinction event. He further added that the other direction is to become a multi-planet species. Elon Musk has talked about his dream of building a city on Mars on several occasions. He says that settlements will require a large number of people to become self-sustaining. To fulfill his dream, he realized that he would need a vehicle, and that’s how he came up with the idea of Starship.

About Starship

At the time of launch, Starship will sit at the top of a rocket named Super Heavy. The entire system will have a height of 120m. Now starting with spacecraft, the spacecraft features a nose cone and landing fins which makes this vehicle similar to the ships from the golden age of science fiction. At the rear of the 50m long spacecraft, there are six highly efficient Raptor engines developed by SpaceX. The combustion process in the spacecraft occurs in stages, and the engine’s design reduces the amount of propellant wasted. 

In the middle of the vehicle, there are propellant tanks. The purpose of these tanks is to feed the Raptors with methane and liquid oxygen. Methane is the fuel of the vehicle, whereas oxygen acts as an oxidizer. When both oxygen and oxygen combine, it is known as methalox.

Although the choice of fuel is unusual for rocket engines, still methane provides enough thrust. Elon Musk adds that methane can be easily synthesized from the Martian subsurface water and the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide through a chemical called the Sabatier reaction. Refueling the vehicle for the return trip to Earth with the help of Martian resources will make the journeys feasible and cost-effective. Also, it will confer a level of self-sufficiency.

The front of the spacecraft also referred to as the upper stage, features a vast payload compartment that will help to haul large cargo or people to various destinations in deep space. 

Usage of the Starship

  • The Starship will be used for long trips to and from Mars. Whether it is from Earth to Mars or Mars to Earth, it will take around nine months each way. Musk says that he is looking forward to installing about 40 cabins in the payload area near the upper stage.
  • Elan Musk says that if you want to crowd the people in, then five to six people per cabin will be preferred; otherwise, he says that two or three individuals per cabin will be ideal, and each flight will carry around 100 people to Mars. The payload bay will also feature common areas, storage space, a galley, and a shelter where people can shield themselves from solar storms where the Sun belches out harmful charged particles.
  • Starship will also play a vital role in the Artemis program of NASA. In the previous year, 2020, NASA awarded SpaceX $135 million to advance the Starship design so that they could use it as a crewed lunar lander.

Leave a Reply