SpaceX, the Elon Musk-owned spacecraft manufacturer, is all set for the second attempt to launch its Starship rocket, which is touted to be the world’s most powerful spacecraft—capable of taking astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
How is Starship different from previous SpaceX rockets?
The Starship spacecraft is SpaceX’s most ambitious rocket yet, with six engines—three Raptor engines and three Raptor Vacuum (RVac) engines. ‘Super Heavy,’ which is the first stage, or booster, of the Starship launch system, has 33 Raptor engines on board. Starship is reportedly even bigger than NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, which has been in development for a decade. Ergo, combined, the rocket is a two-part system comprising the Super Heavy booster and the Starship itself.
The Starship is so powerful that it generates twice the thrust of the Saturn V, which took astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo mission. Collectively, the Starship generates a gargantuan 17 million pounds of thrust.
According to SpaceX, Starship is 120m tall, has a diameter of 9m, and has a payload capacity of a massive 100-150 tonnes, which is fully reusable. Moreover, the Raptor engines used in the Starship utilize a reusable methane-oxygen staged-combustion engine that powers the Starship system and has twice the thrust of the Falcon 9 Merlin engine.
Starship also towers over other big rockets from NASA. Starship stands at 394 feet tall, compared to the 363 feet Saturn V and 365 feet SLS.
When it comes to onboarding astronauts, the Starship is capable of hosting over 100 people on long interplanetary flights, and as per SpaceX, the rocket will also help in delivering point-to-point transport and most importantly, help establish a base on the Moon and other planets like Mars.
Moreover, NASA’s Artemis mission will see both SLS and Starship operating together to facilitate the Artemis mission.
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