MAY 29, 2019 5:43 PM PDT

The Science Behind SpaceX's Interplanetary Rocket Concept

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a long-term goal of sending humankind to Mars such that we can colonize the red planet and exist in more places in our solar system than Earth alone. The concept challenges not only modern technology, but also science, and that’s why SpaceX alone has taken much of the burden of developing a rocket capable of such a feat.

Starhopper is the nickname given to a prototype of SpaceX’s upcoming interplanetary rocket, which will be powered by a brand-new Raptor engine. SpaceX recently performed a test ignition of Starhopper’s Raptor engine, enabling the prototype to ‘hop’ off the ground for a short period. SpaceX will gradually increase the height at which Starhopper jumps until the company is confident that it will perform to expectations.

Assuming the Starhopper project goes according to plan, SpaceX will move forward with an orbital version of the rocket that will still use SpaceX’s in-house Raptor engines. This orbital version will endure additional testing to ensure the stability of the platform before SpaceX finally moves forward with the final design for its interplanetary rocket.

Designing such a rocket for interplanetary travel is no easy feat, as SpaceX will need to make it light and powerful enough to transport several tons’ worth of cargo from one world to another – this includes people. The rocket will need to be capable of entering a planet’s atmosphere unscathed and being re-used several times.

It should be interesting to see how this project goes, especially since Martian colonization is a shared goal among SpaceX and NASA. Of course, only time will tell…

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 23, 2019
The Trouble With the InSight Mission's Burrowing Mole Explained
NASA’s InSight mission is designed to probe the red planet’s internal physical characteristics, including heat emanating from its core and Mars...
DEC 29, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 29, 2019
New Record for Longest Female Spaceflight Set
2019 was chock-full of record-setting precedents for NASA, especially in terms of women’s accomplishments. Perhaps the most substantial of those was...
JAN 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 19, 2020
A Brief Summary of Everything We Know About Pluto
Pluto was once considered one of the solar system’s planets but was later downgraded to the status of ‘dwarf’ planet after several more s...
JAN 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 21, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX Blew Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in Mid-Air
SpaceX completed a substantial milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program this week, an undertaking that involved one of the commercial space compa...
MAR 11, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 11, 2020
Generating Human Tissues in Space
Researchers from the University of Zurich are studying how weightlessness impacts the production of human tissue....
MAR 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 17, 2020
This Supermassive Black Hole Ejected Matter Faster Than 99% the Speed of Light
Almost a year ago, astronomers released the first true image of a black hole. All efforts were focused on a supermassive black hole 50 million light-years...
Loading Comments...