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SpaceX’s Starship landing bodes well for NASA’s Moon mission

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    10th May, 2021

Serial number 15 (SN15), a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket was able to launch and successfully land. It has heralded a new era in space exploration for NASA. Earlier the four previous prototypes of Starship had failed. The SN15 did not run into such problems.

Context

Serial number 15 (SN15), a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket was able to launch and successfully land. It has heralded a new era in space exploration for NASA. Earlier the four previous prototypes of Starship had failed. The SN15 did not run into such problems.

About

About Serial number 15 (SN15) prototype

  • Privately developed: It is designed by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, which is the first private company to do so.
  • Reusable: The spacecraft is considered as a game-changer for space travel, as it is a fully reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
    • It is full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocketship.
  • Starship’s Prototype: Serial number 15 (SN15) is a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket.
    • Starship is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket.
    • tarship has been under development since 2012
    • It is a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
    • It has an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.

Advantages over other rockets

  • Replacement: Starship system is expected to replace SpaceX’s partially reusable Falcon rockets, which is partially reusable and currently in operation.
  • Reduced cost: Starship can deliver satellites at lower marginal costs than Falcon vehicles.
    • It can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
    • As it is reusable, it would reduce the cost of travelling to space by a hundredfold.
  • Large cargo: Starship is also expected to carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon.
  • Interplanetary: The spacecraft is being designed for carrying the crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.
  • Resistant: The Starship spacecraft will enter Mars’s atmosphere at a speed of 7.5 km per second.
    • It will be designed to withstand multiple entries.
  • First to mars: While no human being has set its foot on Mars yet.
    • SpaceX is planning the first cargo mission to the red planet by 2022 and by 2024.

How it is supportive to NASA’s Artemis mission?

  • Successful bidder: SpaceX has been choosen to build a lander for NASA’s Artemis programme, which plans to send humans to the Moon.
    • SpaceX won it in a bidding war against traditional space giants, Amazon and Dynetics.
    • The present flight success supports it current Artemis bid.

Artemis Program

  • The Artemis Program is a NASA’s international human spaceflight program.
  • It was launched in 2017 to return humans to the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region, by 2024.
  • It will be the first crewed lunar mission after the Apollo program in 1972.
  • NASA aims to demonstrate new technologies, capabilities and business approaches which will ultimately be needed for the future exploration of Mars.
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