The energy needed to hurl three people out to the moon, land two of them on its surface and bring them all back to earth is outrageous. To do this job during the Apollo program, NASA developed the Saturn V rocket.
Each Saturn V rocket was about 111 meters high and 10 meters wide. The scale is hard to fathom, but it is equivalent to filling a small skyscraper with enough liquid fuel and oxidizer to level a small town.
The gigantic machine drove the world's first manned lunar landing mission – the Apollo 11 astronauts entered the moon on July 20, 1969. Five more moon landings followed, although no one has returned for decades.
Now, 50 years later, private interests aim to send people back to the moon. Blue Origin, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is pushing for a return to the moon, as has SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk.
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Musk has unveiled several versions of a huge new launch system called Starship in recent years. He says that by the mid-2020s about 100 people and 150 tons of cargo could be transported to Mars.
NASA also plans to bring humans back to the lunar surface in 2024 with their own missile system, the Space Launch System (SLS). But this program is years behind the schedule and exceeds the budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. That's why Musk raises starship as a viable alternative.
"This is going to sound pretty crazy, but … with a trailer not bolted on, we could be landing on the moon in two years," Musk said on July 12, to the time editor Jeffrey Kluger. Maybe we could, within a year or two Send crew. I would say four years outside.
Musk is to show his ship The latest version The Starship design of the engineers in the summer: his last presentation on the launching system took place in September 2018 and showed a vehicle 118 meters high and 10 meters wide.
To make the booster-and-rocket ship Making the system a reality, SpaceX prototypes are being developed in South Texas, and the figure above compares two of these early test benches (left) with Starship, NASA's Saturn V and the Space Agency's planned SLS.
Starhopper , which was not developed for space, is to be presented for the second time next week.Musk said that the rocket will fly about 20 meters into the air, and then float anden.
SpaceX engineers are also building a seemingly 180-foot (55 m) model of the Starship system spaceship called Starship Mark 1 . According to Musk, the prototype could enter orbit later this year.
It is currently planned to manufacture Starship from stainless steel, which, according to Musk, would make the launch system more durable, reusable and cost effective. The Starhopper prototype demonstrated this durability on Tuesday, when a fuel leak triggered a fireball that temporarily flooded the vehicle.
"Great advantage in the production of high-strength stainless steel: no heat!" Musk tweeted on Wednesday.
A fully-refueled spacecraft could weigh more than 4 million kilograms on the launch pad – about 30% heavier than a Saturn V.
This story has been updated.