I think you had heard about the starship presentation by Elon Musk, the lead designer of Starship. I aim to write about Starship. Before that, I would like to speak about Elon Musk.
Who is this Elon Musk?
Some of you had known him. His name is attached to PayPal. PayPal is a money transfer service. He was the founder of it. Musk is an American entrepreneur and businessman. His other foundations are Spacex and Tesla motors. Nowadays, his main objective is colonization on Mars by 2024. For that, the Starship is the new invention of Spacex. They are planing that space journey to reach Mars and return to Earth. Then I would move to the Spacex. You may find even curious about that company. It is an American company.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation is called the Spacex. In 2002 Elon Musk the founder of that. The CEO of SpaceX is Elon Musk, while Gwynne Shotwell is the president and COO of it. The primary motivation of the SpaceX is the colonization of Mars. There are others too. Later I will mention them. Dragon and the Falcon are the main Spacecrafts designed by SpaceX. Headquarters of the SpaceX is in Hawthorn, California. At present, SpaceX engineers are mainly targeted at reusable systems. The main obstacle that spacecraft engineers faced is the high cost. Therefore somehow, they had to reduce expenses. As a solution for that, they tested how to design reusable spacecraft. Falcon rocket is a result of that. The planned phase of the SpaceX reusable project was completed in February 2012. It was finished within a short period for about one year. As above mentioned, other than Falcon and Dragon spacecraft ASDS landing, platforms, merlin kestrel, raptor rocket engines are SpaceX inventions. The starship system is not yet finished. It is under developing. SpaceX have some records in spacecraft history. I like to mention a few of them here.
- In 2008 Falcon 1 is the first launch of the liquid propellant rocket to the orbit.
- In 2010 Dragon is the first private company that launches orbit and recovers a spacecraft.
- In 2012 Dragon is the first spacecraft sent to the International Space Station by a private company.
- In 2017 is the first reusable orbital rocket.
- In 2011 NASA awarded a development contract with SpaceX that for transport astronauts and return them from the International Space Station.
- The first step of the invention of the starship craft begins with the successful propulsive vertical landing of falcon 9.Then CRS-8
Vertically landed on an ocean drone ship in 2010. In 2017 SpaceX succeed in landing the orbital rockets. After that, Elon Musk decided the project starship with those successful steps. I thought before starting the main topic. We should be aware of the background. Therefore I mentioned the above information. Now we can move to the central theme.
The upper part of the rocket is called the Starship, while the lower part is called a super-heavy booster. In the upper part, there are three versions. In the first version, the luggage can be transported to space. People or the astronauts can be transported to the area by the second version. The part that is carrying passengers is called as the spaceship. Fuel can be stored and transported in the third version. Satellite delivery spacecraft is called as a part that can move a spaceship to another place by the help of this part. In above I mentioned about the main functions of the Starship. But there are some others too. Space tourism, multi-planetary, transport, fuel, luggage, and people are the others. In the beginning, Elon Musk stated that the Starship is made out of carbon composite materials. It is a solid material and as well as that it is highly expensive. Its first design with the six raptor engines. Those engines are with two sea-level engines and for vacuum engines. Not only the Starship but also the two parts of the shuttle are decided made out of carbon composite materials. The combination of the spacecraft and the booster is called the Starship. Starship has to made to capable of high mass, according to landing capabilities. The engineers of SpaceX assume that the diameter of the spacecraft should be 9 meters. Then the engineers decided to make some differences to Starship from falcon. In the space shuttle falcon, the engine is the first part that enters the atmosphere. Then the speed is reduced by burning methane as a fuel. It is called as re-entry burning. But Starship is not like that. It enters the atmosphere as a skydiver enters the atmosphere. He can change his direction by moving his legs and hands. Space shuttles don’t have legs and hooks so that shuttles have different parts. As I above told first, they have planned to make this out of carbon composite materials, but later they thought stainless steel is the best material. Carbon composite is also a durable material, but the cost is about 50 times of stainless steel. Starship is made to use in deep space. In there, the temperature is freezing. Stainless steel becomes very most reliable in these low temperatures. Therefore it is the most suitable material to make a spacecraft. Other than that, steel is straightforward to fix. Later the number of raptor engines also changed. The total raptor engines are six, while 3 of them are sea-level engines, and the other three are vacuum engines. We can change the directions by the rocket nozzles in the sea level engine. But the vacuum engines are fixed permanently. The path can be changed by cold air thrusters or the reaction control thrusters. SpaceX engineers made this shuttle according to land on Mars, moon, and the Earth. There is no atmosphere on the moon. The six land legs made suits to land in rough areas like moon and mars. This shuttle can park in orbit. While parking, they are filling fuels to a space shuttle.
Super heavy booster
The booster of this shuttle is called as a super-heavy booster. Thirty-seven raptor engines can be used in this super-heavy booster. There are six landing legs. This is the large version of the Falcon nine booster. SpaceX engineers said that it could be made out easily than the shuttle.
The mass of Starship is a
bout 120,000 kg. And it is tall about 50 meters. This is a fully reusable shuttle. This is capable of landing vertically after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
Starhopper is the prototype of the Starship. The high winds damaged Starhopper’s upper section. And after that, there are two other prototypes as Mk1 and Mk2. After that prototype, Mk3 started as well. Mk1 and Mk2 are planned for high velocity and high altitude testing. The differences between those two from Mk1 and Mk2 are the tall and the thickness of the metal. Mk1 and Mk2 both are taller than star hopper and thicker than the Starhopper. Within 2020 – 2024, this project of SpaceX will be successfully finished, but still, this is a developing project.