Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly caught wind about SpaceX’s ambitious Starship project. Starship is still very much in its prototype stages, and despite a recent setback that transpired during a scheduled pressure test at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas-based facility, the team continues to press on with the project to bring the concept to life.
Starship, paired with the commercial space company’s upcoming Super Heavy rocket booster, will be the most powerful and versatile deep space launch vehicle for ever conceived. The Super Heavy rocket booster alone will sport 37 of its own cryogenic fuel-powered Raptor engines, while the Starship payload itself will come equipped with an addition 6 Raptor engines for thrust beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
Starship will be crafted out of stainless-steel due to its ideal density and thermal properties, and it will be large enough to seat 100 passengers and plenty of cargo on top of that. The size and seating capacity are no coincidence; Elon Musk hopes that Starship will eventually contribute to the colonization of Mars, a long-term goal shared by SpaceX and NASA alike.
SpaceX plans to fund the development of Starship by using later prototypes for commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station for a smaller price tag than what is currently being paid to use the Falcon rockets. Moreover, it could even be used to send astronauts to the International Space Station. Much like the Falcon rockets, the Starship system will be reusable, enabling SpaceX to save money as it conducts business.
There’s still a lot of work to be done before Starship is ready for anything serious, but SpaceX appears to be moving very rapidly to get things ready for the future.