Home / Science / SpaceX's spaceship, Meant for Mars, prepares for a first jump

SpaceX's spaceship, Meant for Mars, prepares for a first jump

Last Sunday, when much of the country plunged into the Super Bowl, SpaceX boss Elon Musk and a crew of engineers gathered in McGregor, Texas, the small town where the company runs a missile test site. In the early evening, a new engine sounded in the plains for a few seconds . "First launch of a Starship Raptor aircraft engine!" (19459007) tweeted along with video footage of the test fire.

The engine will power the upcoming SpaceX heavy-load launch system consisting of two components . : A big rocket called Super Heavy and a crew transporter called Starship first presented by Musk 201

6 at a meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, capable of carrying up to 100 people Moon and Mars: In true SpaceX -Manier, both the rocket and the transporter will be reusable: you can start, land and repeat many times.

SpaceX tends to behave in its affairs, but the company will not miss much of it The Biggest Enthusiasts: In January, the eagle-eyed watchers near the company's Texas facilities saw the appearance of a silver spaceship otherwise flat landscape that confirmed Elon Musk as SpaceX's spaceship The Starship transporter is a colorful paint job from the Falcon rocket range and features a shiny stainless steel skin reminiscent of an old sci-fi ambience. According to Musk, the vehicle is a prototype version of the ship that will someday carry people.

This prototype is now preparing to participate in a series of short flights known as "hop" tests. According to FCC applications, it will operate both low-altitude and high-altitude flights, which could rise to 16,400 feet. The van that performs these flights is powered by three engines identical to the engines fired on Sunday. In December, Musk indicated that hop testing should start in early spring. But in January gusts of up to 50 mph overturned the prototype and broke the mooring lines securing the spacecraft on the ground, Musk reported Twitter . The necessary repairs could displace the timing of the tests.

The Starship system is the latest in SpaceX's parade of ever-increasing rockets. A year ago, SpaceX launched and landed its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time, generating 5 million pounds of thrust from the rocket's 27 engines. Tens of thousands of people watched as two of their three boosters landed in perfect harmony on their landing zone. (The core of the rocket did not land on either of the company's two drone vessels.)

This was Falcon Heavy's only flight so far, although the next launch is unlikely to start until March. As the most powerful carrier vehicle on the market today, Falcon Heavy can deliver more than double the payload capacity of its Falcon 9 counterpart in a low Earth orbit. But even Musk can not help bring people to the moon or Mars ambition that he has been repeated repeatedly since the founding of SpaceX. Musk needs the Starship for that.

Sunday's test was not the first time a Raptor was powered up, but it's the first test of a "flight ready" engine. Afterwards, SpaceX posted on Instagram that the engine has achieved about 60 percent of its power – a milestone for the Starship program. Unlike the engines currently powered by SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, which use a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen, the Raptor is powered by methane. (SpaceX's competitor, Blue Origin, is also developing a methane-powered engine called the BE-4.) Mars has a generous supply of methane that could make refueling missiles that land there relatively uncomplicated.

After his hop tests Musk has said he will reveal more details of the vehicle design. Some of its specifications have changed from those previously published. When, for example, the concept of an interplanetary transport system was first revealed, he said the giant rocket would be made of carbon fiber composites. The debut of a metallic prototype shows SpaceX taking a different approach. Musk says that the stainless steel alloy that makes up the spaceship can withstand the searing temperatures of the various phases of space travel. Similar to the Atlas rockets of the early space program, the metallic outer skin of the Starship does not need as much thermal protection as other materials. Areas that take the brunt of heat during atmospheric entry are actively cooled with the remaining liquid methane. The vehicle will also be equipped with landing legs and windows so passengers can see outside during the flight.

Musk and SpaceX drive a lot with this engine as they will power both the super heavy rocket during takeoff and the spacecraft starship in space. Last September, SpaceX announced that it had signed its first passenger with the Starship Transporter. Yusaku Maezawa and a group of artists will embark on a week-long journey to the moon. The mission is scheduled for 2023, but the development of rockets costs money, and the viability of the SpaceX spaceship has been in question since its inception. So far, Maezawa's trip was the only mission booked for this ship, but as SpaceX moves through the design process and Musk reveals the capabilities of the missile, more missions could come.

Even Musk knows that the idea of ​​Starship being underground is His development as "absolutely insane". According to the CEO, work on this project and the company's space-based Internet company, Starlink, were the last three reasons why SpaceX restructured its workforce and dismissed 10 percent of its workforce. He described this as a precautionary measure in the statement of the SpaceX layoffs during last month's Tesla earnings call (where Musk is CEO), as such massive projects have bankrupted other organizations.

So that the project does not get out of hand, Musk says SpaceX plans to build its starship as fast as possible. First, SpaceX must prove that it can transport people safely – starting with another existing rocket and an upcoming trip to the International Space Station.

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