What is Starship?

June 12, 2024

SpaceX’s Starship rocket accomplished its first fully successful test flight last week, with both its booster and spacecraft making a gentle splashdown after an hour-long sub-orbital space flight.

About Starship

  • SpaceX's Starship is an ambitious spacecraft designed to be fully reusable for missions to various destinations in space, including Mars.

Design and Specifications

  • It is part of a two-stage-to-orbit launch system composed of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft itself:
    • Super Heavy Booster: The first stage, responsible for lifting Starship out of Earth's atmosphere.
    • Starship Spacecraft: The second stage, designed for space travel, including carrying crew and cargo.
  • Reusability: Both stages are designed to be fully reusable, aiming to significantly reduce the cost of space travel.
  • Capacity:
    • Crew: Can carry up to 100 passengers.
    • Cargo: Large payload capacity, with different configurations for various missions.
  • Engines: Powered by Raptor engines, which use liquid methane and liquid oxygen (Methalox) as propellants.

Objectives and Missions

  1. Mars colonization: Central to SpaceX's long-term goal of making humanity multiplanetary by establishing a self-sustaining colony on Mars.
  2. Lunar missions: NASA's Artemis program has selected a variant of Starship to serve as a lunar lander for returning humans to the Moon.
  3. Orbital flights and beyond: Designed for a variety of missions, including satellite deployment, interplanetary exploration, and even space tourism