Massive Starship rocket of SpaceX is on a verge of completion which will start building a permanent human settlement on planet Mars says Elon Musk.
Elon Musk: Plans for Future
SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk on Friday at the International Mars Society Convention said that counting about four years from now, the private spaceflight company is on the way to launch its first unmanned mission to Mars.
In a discussion with the Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, he said that he thinks, they have been fighting the chance of making that second Mars transfer window. This window mentioned by Musk is the opportunity of launch that arises after every 26 months for continuing the mission for Mars. And many countries have been utilizing this opportunity by launching missions like China and the UAE did in July this year. This window will reoccur in 2022 which will ultimately lead us to Musk referring 2024 Mars launch opportunity. Although you can re-watch the talk over below.
Starship Vehicle: Reusable Rocket
SpaceX will be making use of the Starship vehicle which is a reusable rocket-and-spacecraft combo in the mission that will launch to the Red Planet and the vehicle is currently under development at the company’s South Texas facility. Along with the usage of Starship vehicle to Mars, the company is also thinking of using it for missions to the moon starting in 2022, as well as point-to-point trips around the Earth.
Mars: An Exit Plan
Musk has been focusing on the point that human civilization needs to think and establish an exit plan just in case planet Earth is left uninhabitable by a something like a nuclear war or an asteroid strike by establishing permanent and self-sustaining availability on Mars.
Although no such plans have been built for the formation of Mars base by SpaceX. The company is acting as transportation with its only objective to ferry cargo and humans to and from Mars which will eventually help in the development of some other company’s establishment of Mars base.
And during the convention, Mars Society founder Robert Zurbin said that the biggest single challenge is been handled by SpaceX, which is the transportation system. Although that is not alone needed because we also need to civilize there and a sort of other systems will also be needed.
Zubrin also added that he hopes, the Starship is soon be seen in the stratosphere before this year is ended and if Musk is right, the vehicle will also reach the orbit in next year or the year after. This achievement will lead to a change in people’s minds about the fact that what is possible. And if this is successful, it will lead many enthusiasts or NASA that will like to fund the remaining pieces of puzzles or it could be some entrepreneurs leaping forward to innovate the remaining pieces of the puzzle.
SpaceX: An Ally for NASA?
However Musk is known for his overly ambitious timelines but if his projections are correct, SpaceX’s first Mars mission will be launched at the same time of the year when NASA astronaut will return to the moon under the Artemis program. SpaceX has programs under planning to fly tourists on a Starship mission in 2023 around the moon. And Space X has been chosen by NASA as one of the three commercial teams to develop moon landers for the Artemis program.
Musk made it clear on Friday that if the special window of 26 months did not exist, SpaceX could have given multiple tries or shots of sending or trying to send something to Mars in three years. But this is due to the orbital mechanics of Earth and Mars as they exist in a different part of the solar system that won’t be in the best position and the window is four years away.
SpaceX Starship Prototypes
In 2016 Musk threw some light on its SpaceX Starship vehicle that the project aims to launch a spacecraft atop a massive booster for deep-space missions to the moon, Mars, and elsewhere which is 165 foot or 50 meters long. And as the company focuses on reusability, so will be the Starship and its Super Heavy booster.
Two test lights of Starship prototypes were launched by SpaceX this year known as SN5 and SN6, reaching a height of 500 feet i.e. is 150 meters from the Boca Chica test site in Texas. Another prototype of Starship is been built by SpaceX called SN8 in near future for a test flight with a goal of 20 kilometers (12 miles) height.