SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled a prototype design of its next-generation Starship spacecraft that will take people or cargo to the moon, Mars or other destinations in space or around Earth. “Starship will allow us to inhabit other worlds to make life as we know it multiplanetary,” Musk said in a tweet. According to Musk, Starship has been designed for full, “rapid reusability”.
The latest version of the Starship was showcased at the company’s test site at Boca Chica in South Texas in the US on September 28. The date also marks the 11th anniversary of the first successful orbital launch of Falcon 1, which is SpaceX’s first rocket.
SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft will be capable of carrying up to 100 people on long-duration interplanetary flights and deliver as much as around 100 tons of payload for building bases on Moon and Mars cities. Musk’s ultimate goal is to colonise Mars over the next 100 years and he has been quite vocal of his idea in the past.
According to the SpaceX CEO, the Earth will face a near-extinction event at some point in time, which is why a “backup” plan for all humankind is needed.
Starship will allow us to inhabit other worlds
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2019
“Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” SpaceX said in a tweet. Starship is expected to reach orbit in six months, thanks to design improvements in the spacecraft.
Starship was first unveiled in 2016 as a fully reusable spacecraft and back then, it was called Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). In 2017, it was renamed the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) and the design was updated as well. The spacecraft was finally named Starship in 2018 with more design improvements.
The Starship is 164 feet (50 meters) tall and has a diameter of nine meters. Starship will be launched into space with the help of its Super Heavy booster, which can include up to 37 Raptor engines, though only 24 would be required for each mission. Super Heavy measures 223 feet in length, while its diameter is also nine meters.
Earlier this year, Musk shared pictures of the orbital prototype of Starship from the company’s Texas site. Musk tweeted out pictures of dome-shaped bulkhead of the Starship as well as its airframe behind windbreak. The bulkhead measures 9 meters in diameter.