Chalk up another astonishing tech development for entrepreneur and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Musk unveiled a prototype design of its next-generation Starship spacecraft that will take people or cargo to the moon, Mars or other destinations in space or around Earth, the Indian Express reported.
“Starship will allow us to inhabit other worlds to make life as we know it multiplanetary,” Musk said in a tweet. According to Musk, Starship has been designed for full, “rapid reusability.”
The latest version of the Starship was showcased at the company’s test site at Boca Chica in South Texas in the US on September 28. The date also marks the 11th anniversary of the first successful orbital launch of Falcon 1, which is SpaceX’s first rocket.
SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft will be capable of carrying up to 100 people on long-duration interplanetary flights and deliver as much as around 100 tons of payload for building bases on Moon and Mars cities, SpaceX claims.
Musk’s ultimate goal — and this is a woosie! — is to colonise Mars over the next 100 years, and, he has been quite vocal about it in the past.
According to the SpaceX CEO, the Earth will face a near-extinction event at some point in time, which is why a “backup” plan for all humankind is needed.
“Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” SpaceX said in a tweet. Starship is expected to reach orbit in six months, thanks to design improvements in the spacecraft, the Indian Express reported.
According to engadget, Starship Mk1 (pictured above) should have a suborbital test flight within one to two months.
After that, a competing team in Cape Canaveral, Fla. will conduct a similar test with a Mk2 ship as soon as November. Mk3 will start construction in October with aims to fly in December, while the competing Mk4 could come in January.
If all goes well, either Mk3 or an eventual Mk5 would fly an orbital test within six months. Production for the Super Heavy booster won’t start until Mk4 is complete, Musk added.
Starship was first unveiled in 2016 as a fully reusable spacecraft and back then, it was called Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). In 2017, it was renamed the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) and the design was updated as well. The spacecraft was finally named Starship in 2018 with more design improvements.
The Starship is 164 feet (50 meters) tall and has a diameter of nine meters. Starship will be launched into space with the help of its Super Heavy booster, which can include up to 37 Raptor engines, though only 24 would be required for each mission.