25 Sep What is the SpaceX Starship?
There’s a lot that can be said about Elon Musk–but there’s no denying the fact that the entrepreneur and engineer has seriously disrupted the aerospace industry with SpaceX. The private spacecraft engineering company was first launched by Musk just twenty years ago in 2002 and has already become one of the leaders in space transportation and innovation.
Case in point: the SpaceX Starship. Musk’s latest Starship was designed to cut down the transportation costs and waste that come with space travel, resulting in a more sustainable form of aerospace exploration and space tourism thanks to its aerodynamic design and fully-reusable transportation system.
Curious to understand more about the latest innovation from SpaceX? Here’s everything you need to know about the Starship, including how much it might cost if you want to book a future flight to the Earth’s orbit or beyond.
What is the SpaceX Starship?
The SpaceX Starship is a deep-space transportation system that many industry experts and astronauts are calling a game changer in space exploration and the future of space travel, both commercial space tourism and further aerospace research.
The SpaceX Starship spacecraft and its Super Heavy rocket, known simply as Starship, is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to the moon, mars, and to the Earth’s orbit. The super-heavy-lift launch vehicle is the tallest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built, but it’s equally important to note that this breakthrough in aerospace engineering is also helping to create a more eco-friendly and sustainable future in space exploration.
The two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle hits 400 feet in height and uses liquid oxygen and liquid methane for propellant and is powered by Raptor engines. This technique allows for a significantly reduced launch cost and increased launch frequency.
How much does the SpaceX Starship cost?
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently stated that he expects the SpaceX Starship to cost “less than $10 million all in,” which is significantly less expensive than the current industry standard. Musk later added that he expects a Starship flight to eventually cost “maybe even as low as a million dollars per flight” as space travel on the Starship becomes more and more frequent.
To give you an idea, the current cost of a flight on SpaceX’s current Falcon 9 runs closer to $62 million to launch, while private NASA flights to the International Space Station sell for $55 million each.
When will SpaceX launch Starship?
The SpaceX Starship serial number 15 (SN15) successfully completed SpaceX’s fifth high-altitude flight test from Starbase in South Texas. The test Starship test flights are executed to improve understanding and development of the reusable transportation system while testing the Raptor engines and propellant transition in a controlled environment.
There’s no set date for when the Starship will go orbital, but Elon Musk has hinted that the massive rocket could launch as soon as next month. “Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months,” the SpaceX CEO said on Twitter.
Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2022
That said, SpaceX plans to officially launch the space tourism side of the Starship in 2023, when Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa and the crew of his dearMoon lunar tourism mission will become the first passengers on a lunar Starship mission. The week-long aerospace trip will include a fly-by of the moon and is considered to be a vital first step in space tourism that goes beyond the Earth’s orbit.
Source: Fast Company