Elon Musk’s space ship to Mars, The Starship test vehicle, completed a successful test flight day before yesterday. The Mars ship is still a prototype, it managed to fly, or we can better say hopped to an altitude of 150m (500ft). The test-flight was unmanned, the test craft rocketed skywards for a short while and then deployed its landing legs and landed gently on the ground.
SpaceX Starship SN5 leaps towards Mars with 150-meter test hop
The Test Flight
This endeavor took place at the company’s test site which is near the village of Boca Chica in south Texas on Tuesday evening. The Starship uses SpaceX’s latest Raptor engine and this is its first test flight in almost a year. The test vehicle is made from stainless steel, Mr. Musk is so confident in stainless steel that he has used the same to build the rugged Tesla Cybertruck. The test vehicle has been named the “SN5”, the test vehicle took off at 7:57 p.m. EDT(eastern time) [23;57 GMT; 6;57 p.m. local Texas time). It did not go straight up; it flew sideways a bit during the entirety of the flight.
THAT THING CAN FLY?
Credit: @LabPadre pic.twitter.com/wybRMtvVXD
— Supercluster (@SuperclusterHQ) August 5, 2020
The SN5 is the second test vehicle of the Starship prototype to be tested; the previous test was conducted a year ago. The other test vehicle was named the Starhopper and took a series of its own brief flights in the summer of 2019, even the Starhopper successfully completed a 150m hop before it was retired. Several of SN5’s predecessors were destroyed during the pressurization and the engine-firing tests.
How will the final version of the Starship be?
The final iteration of the Starship will be equipped with six raptor engines, it will a gigantic structure at 165 feet and has a payload capacity of 100 people according to SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk. The Starship will use an extremely powerful rocket called the Super Heavy for its launch, the Super Heavy is a rocket that is designed to launch “heavy” cargo to outer space, it features 31 raptor engines of its own. SpaceX has designed both these vehicles in such a way that they will be fully and rapidly reusable, this is going to save millions of dollars for the company, this will probably mean that SpaceX will be able to conduct manned missions to the moon, Mars and other “intergalactic” destinations at an economically feasible rate.
Mars is still long freaking way away. So very far. But the first step is low-cost, frequent access to space for tons of stuff. This is the first step toward that first step. And it's a big one.
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) August 5, 2020
The Superheavy unlike conventional launch vehicles that are designed to crash back to Earth after each liftoff, will be able to launch the cargo and then land back to be reused again for multiple launches. The Starship has enough thrust of its own to get to the moon or Mars and then return back to Earth, although the starship has only a fraction of the Superheavy’s power, it will be able to lift off from Moon and Mars as these celestial bodies do not a very strong gravitational pull like Earth.
Musk has been obsessed with Mars since forever, the primary reason behind establishing SpaceX back in 2002 was to colonize Mars someday. If things go according to Musk’s plans, the SuperHeavy will be able to launch the Starship to Mars, his aim is to set up a human colony, specifically a million-person city on Mars in the next 50 to 100 years. This equates to an entire human lifetime, but these colonize are to be developed and used to their maximum potential by the generations that come after us.
To Infinity and beyond
The Starship to Mars is still in its testing stages and there is a lot of work to be done before the vehicle can actually be launched, besides, no versions of the Superheavy launch vehicle has been built yet. SpaceX will have run millions of computations and permutations before D-Day. The next series of tests will take place in the coming weeks; it will be similar to the hops we saw now. After that Musk said that they will conduct a high altitude test with body flaps. SpaceX is progressing in this mammoth endeavor one step at a time.