Elon Musk and his company SpaceX have their sights set on commercial space travel is not new news: since in 2002 the controversial tycoon – also founder of Tesla , among other companies – created the space company, his goal has been to create a “Multiplanet humanity”.
Since then, the famous Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy reusable rockets have been developed , as well as Dragon cargo capsules and the Crew Dragon spacecraft to take and bring astronauts to the International Space Station.
At the moment, it has launch platforms in Florida , California and Boca Chica (Texas) and at the end of August it was testing the Starhopper prototype.
This last is where Musk has shown the Starship Mk1 prototype this weekend, a rocket destined for the first orbital flights and in which the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and other celebrities will make the first commercial flight to space.
Musk used the eleventh anniversary of the first successful orbital launch of Falcon 1 to announce the new version of the Starship project, which aims to transport up to one hundred people inside the space, true “colonies” to other worlds.
According to his calculations, this could be soon: in six months the definitive tests will be carried out and in a year there could be civilians on vacation in the Earth’s orbit.
To accelerate the process, the entrepreneur is creating another similar prototype in Califorma, the Starship Mk2, which is expected to be presented after the first tests of the Mk1.
“I think this is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen,” Musk said in front of some 200 employees, guests and reporters near the Boca Chica launch pad, according to Space.com.
“This is the fastest road to a self-sufficient city on Mars,” the tycoon continued in Saturday’s presentation, referring to Starship-Super Heavy, the future evolution of the Mk prototypes to transport up to one hundred people on upcoming flights to the Moon or to the red planet, according to his plans.
The presented prototype will be 118 meters high and will be the “most powerful reusable rocket in history.”
Starship will use the transfer of propellers in space to allow the delivery of more than 100 tons of useful mass to the surface of the Moon or Mars. The method can be seen in a new video of the program broadcast by SpaceX on its Twitter account.
Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond pic.twitter.com/LloN8AQdei
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019
The SpaceX interplanetary spacecraft concept has undergone a kind of rocket evolution in the three years since Musk first introduced it to the world in September 2016 at the International Astronautics Union meeting in Mexico.
At that meeting, Musk unveiled what he called the Interplanetary Transportation System, or ITS, for the colonization of Mars.
The ITS requested a fully reusable spacecraft (with two fins) and a pressure lifter that would have a height of 122 meters after assembly. Its first stage would have 42 next-generation Raptor engines. The spacecraft itself would have nine Raptors.
Its propeller would have 31 Raptor engines, while the spacecraft would have six.
Then, in 2018, Musk unveiled another design (and the name of the spacecraft): a stainless steel vehicle with three rear wings that would be taller than its 2017 predecessor, with a height of 118 meters.
The spacecraft would be powered by six Raptor engines, with up to 37 Raptors feeding the booster, now called Super Heavy.
In the new design, a 118-meter-high Starship-Super Heavy is presented, with six Raptors in the spacecraft.
The number of engines in Super Heavy could vary from one flight to another; Musk says the rocket has room for up to 37 Raptors, and each mission will probably require at least 24.
“Starship will allow us to inhabit other worlds. Make life as we know it interplanetary,” he said through his Twitter account a day before the presentation.