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Starship spacecraft’

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    17th Aug, 2020

Just two days after SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule landed in the Gulf of Mexico, a prototype of the company’s uncrewed “Mars ship”, a stainless steel test vehicle called SN5, and which is a part of the Starship spacecraft, successfully flew to an altitude of over 500 feet for a little less than 60 seconds.

Context

Just two days after SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule landed in the Gulf of Mexico, a prototype of the company’s uncrewed “Mars ship”, a stainless steel test vehicle called SN5, and which is a part of the Starship spacecraft, successfully flew to an altitude of over 500 feet for a little less than 60 seconds.

About

  • What is Starship?
  • Designed by SpaceX, Starship is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket meant to act as a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
  • SpaceX has described Starship as “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle” with an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.
  • Starship has been under development since 2012 and is a part of Space X’s central mission to make interplanetary travel accessible and affordable and to become the first private company to do so.
  • Therefore, the company is working on building a fleet of reusable launch vehicles, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

Why the focus is on ‘reusable transportation system’?

  • Reusability is at the heart of making interplanetary travel accessible.
  • Since a majority of the launch cost is attributed to the expense of building a rocket which is ultimately designed to burn up during re-entry.
  • Following the commercial model, a rapidly reusable space launch vehicle could reduce the cost of traveling to space by a hundredfold.

Significance of the Starship

  • Functional at lower cost: Starship can deliver satellites further and at lower marginal costs than SpaceX’s Falcon vehicles and it can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Ability to carry large amounts of cargo: Once developed, Starship is also expected to help carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon, for human spaceflight development and research.
  • Interplanetary missions: Beyond the Moon, the spacecraft is being designed for carrying crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.

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