On November 20, US space exploration technology company SpaceX is integrating the Starship system, and its CEO Elon Musk will use it to realize the grand plan to go to the moon, Mars and other places. This aircraft will help “star jump” and then help humans fly out of the solar system.
At the joint meeting held by the space research committee and the physics and astronomy Committee, musk outlined how the rocket being developed by the company will achieve 12 launches of “high frequency orbital flights” in 2022. This will enable the Starship to launch the actual payload in 2023, and then turn to more ambitious goals, such as sending humans to the moon and Mars.
This project may help SpaceX achieve many of its most important goals. The Starship made its debut in 2017, when musk introduced that it was a stainless steel equipment, which could reach a height of 120 meters when integrated with its super heavy rocket booster. It is fully reusable and designed to fly up to three times a day, each time sending 150 tons of payload or 100 people into space.
Starships use liquid oxygen and methane as rocket fuel, which means that astronauts can fly to Mars, refuel with earth’s resources, and then return to earth, or venture farther and even beyond the solar system as part of the “star jump” network.
Musk said at the meeting: “in the final analysis, starships are designed as a universal transport mechanism for the large solar system.” SpaceX’s activities next year will help achieve these goals:
Multiple orbital flights in 2022
Musk has confirmed that the highly anticipated first orbital flight of the Starship may be carried out as early as January 2022. As early as September 2019, the company built the first full-size starship prototype. In May 2021, SpaceX successfully launched and recovered the first full-size prototype sn15, with an altitude of more than 10 km.
The next stage is orbital flight, which will take the Starship and its booster on a 90 minute journey. The Starship will take off from a facility in Texas, separate from the booster in about two minutes, and end its flight about 100 kilometers northwest of Kauai, Hawaii.
Musk said the launch pad and tower would be completed in late November. SpaceX will then complete a series of tests in December and then orbit in January 2022. Since then, musk plans to conduct about 12 orbital test flights in 2022.
Big plan after 2022
From here on, musk has a more ambitious plan for the future.
1) Launch payload
Assuming the successful orbital test flight of the starship in 2022, musk plans to launch the real payload before 2023. It is unclear whether this means that SpaceX still plans to launch Japanese billionaire youzuo Maezawa for a trip around the moon in 2023. The mission was originally announced in 2018 and will also include eight lucky artists.
2) Landing on the moon
As part of NASA’s Artemis return to the moon program, starships are also expected to send humans to the moon. NASA Director Bill Nelson said earlier this month that the mission is likely not to take place earlier than 2025.
However, these capabilities will eventually be used to build a lunar base. Musk said: “the Starship has the ability to transport enough materials and personnel to the moon, so it actually has the ability to establish a permanent human base on the moon, just as we establish a permanent base in Antarctica.”
3) Landing on Mars
SpaceX also plans to send humans to Mars. The specific time is unclear. At the unveiling ceremony of BFR plan in 2017, musk outlined an ambitious timetable, that is, to send two unmanned spacecraft to Mars in 2022 and two unmanned spacecraft and two manned spacecraft in 2024.
In recent activities, musk suggested that SpaceX send at least two or three unmanned starships to prove that the spacecraft can land safely on Mars. “We may be working with NASA or other countries to send humans to Mars,” he said
All this paves the way for Musk’s long-term goal of building a big city on Mars that can accommodate 1 million people by 2050.
4) Beyond Mars
Musk explained that the Starship can realize the “star jump” network because it can refuel in the propellant warehouse on the moon or Mars and then continue their space journey.
Musk said: “if we have a permanent base on Mars, you can really jump from Mars to Ceres, then to the moon of Jupiter, and finally to the outside of the solar system.”
Musk even hinted at sending a 100 ton object to Europa’s surface. “At the structural level, starships can transport almost any mass to any solid surface of the solar system,” he said
Starship birth and test process
— in November 2018, musk first announced the BFR project in September 2017, and then changed its name to starship
— in December 2018, musk confirmed that the spacecraft had been made of stainless steel
— in January 2019, starhopper, the prototype of the Starship test version, appeared, and musk explained the reason for switching to steel
— in February 2019, raptor engine broke the long-term rocket record
— in April 2019, starhopper completed the first low altitude short distance “jump” fixed on the ground
— in July 2019, starhopper was launched to a low altitude of 20 meters and reached an altitude of 150 meters in August 2019
— in September 2019, the full-scale prototype mk.1 of the Starship was unveiled for the first time
— in May 2020, the static ignition test of the full-scale prototype Sn4 of the Starship will be completed
– in August 2020, the full-scale prototype SN5 of the Starship was launched to an altitude of 150 meters
— in October 2020, the full-scale prototype SN8 of the Starship completed the first static ignition test of three Raptor engines, and was launched to an altitude of 12.5 kilometers in December 2020
– in February 2021, the full-scale prototype sn9 of the Starship was launched to an altitude of 10 kilometers, and exploded when landing
– in March 2021, the full-scale prototype Sn10 of the Starship was launched to an altitude of 10km and exploded 8 minutes after landing. In the same month, the full-size prototype of the Starship sn11 was launched and exploded on landing
– in May 2021, the full-scale prototype sn15 of the Starship was launched to an altitude of 10 km. Except for a small fire, it landed successfully without any obstacles (reviewed by Tencent technology / Jinlu)