Elon Musk’s Mars-Bound Starship Will Take Off This Week
SpaceX has had an incredible year, sending rockets up to the International Space Station and launching many satellites. These bold ventures look set to continue as the company tests its Mars-bound Starship in its first high-altitude test.
The Starship is intended to be a giant spaceship that will be able to transport people and cargo across the solar system. While there is very little need for this kind of transport at the moment, this ship may tie in with SpaceX’s plans for life on Mars as well as ambitions to land on the Moon in 2024.
However, before grand ambitions can be realised the ship needs to be tested, and the first high-altitude test of the Starship will take place between Tuesday, December 1, and Wednesday, December 2. This marks the eighth Starship prototype, with at least seven more planned in its development.
The Starship will perform a short lift-off, going up 15 kilometres before landing. This will test the three engines, body flaps and curiously the eventuality of a landing flip.
While the Starship has had successful static tests, previous performing a short 150m lift off and landing, it seems that there may be concerns about how it will land and some are worried about how this test will pan out after tweets from Musk.
Musk, 49, went on to explain that he felt there was a ‘1/3 chance’ of the rocket landing in one piece. While these aren’t great odds, it may be necessary to undertake these tests to ensure a safer vessel in the future. This would make sense given that several prototypes of the Starship are anticipated to be tested in the future.
Musk has previously discussed his wishes to visit Mars and even die on the Red Planet, ‘just not on impact’. It’s hoped that SpaceX will be able to carry up to 100 people to Mars.
While speaking at the Satellite 2020 conference earlier this year, he said as per The Independent:
The thing that concerns me most right now is that unless we improve our rate of innovation dramatically, there is no chance of a base on the moon or a city on Mars. We’ve got to improve our rate of innovation or, based on past trends, I am definitely going to be dead before Mars.
Despite concerns about the ship’s survival, the test will be available to the public through the SpaceX’s website and YouTube channel, ‘warts and all’. Many will hope to see a successful test, but those who tune in may just see a crash landing. Either way, SpaceX will be pleased if they manage to get the data to create a better Starship in the future.
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