Musk outlines plans to increase Starship launch rate and performance

Musk outlines plans to increase Starship launch rate and performance

WASHINGTON With Elon Musk outlining plans to raise the launch vehicle’s performance and flight rate, SpaceX may try to land a Starship rocket as soon as the vehicle’s fifth flight.

SpaceX shared content on social media. the video of the company’s founder and CEO giving a presentation at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on April 6. The presentation is undated but appears to have been recently. The Starship vehicle that was developed and deployed there was the main topic of the presentation.

The fourth Starship/Super Heavy launch is scheduled to occur “in about a month or so,” according to Musk. This is in line with what SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell stated on March 19 at the Satellite 2024 conference, when she stated that the mission was planned for early May, subject to receiving an amended launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Less than two months would pass between the launch and the vehicle’s third flight if the corporation sticks to its original timeline.

According to him, the objective of the fourth mission is for the top stage of Starship to successfully navigate through the “high heating regime” of reentry and execute a “controlled splat” into the ocean. During reentry on the third trip, Starship split apart.

Musk expressed optimism that SpaceX will be able to return a rocket to the tower this year and support it with two enormous arms known as “Mechazilla.” He stated, “It’s probably 80 to 90% that we can actually catch the booster with the Mechazilla arms this year.”

It will take more time to recover the Starship top stage, or ship. Before trying a landing at Starbase, Musk stated that he needed to see at least two successful controlled splashdowns of Starship in the water. He declared, “We do not want to pour debris over the United States or Mexico.” “I believe we will be able to utilize Starship again next year.”

In order to accommodate more frequent flights, SpaceX is attempting to quicken the manufacture of Starship spacecraft. Company representatives stated they had four pairs of spacecraft and rockets at Starbase for future launches prior to the March launch. During the presentation, Musk stated that the business plans to produce “roughly six” more cars this year.

“Next year, that output rate will rise significantly. That’s why the massive plant that is envisioned for Starbase is being built, he stated.

He said the business was building a second launch tower at Starbase in addition to increasing the production of Starship spacecraft, and it planned to have its first launch tower operating by the middle of next year at Cape Canaveral, Florida. “It’s likely that we will conduct development launches, test new ideas, and construct rockets here at Starbase. The majority of operational launches will likely originate from the Cape.” he stated.

There will be an increase in cargo capacity along with the higher manufacturing rate. According to Musk, the Raptor engine will include enhancements that will boost its thrust from 230 to 280 metric tons and “ultimately” to above 330 metric tons.

The upgraded engines would enable a “Starship 2” with a somewhat longer ship and booster. According to Musk, it will be able to launch over 100 metric tons into orbit in a fully reusable design. In a completely reusable configuration, a hypothetical “Starship 3,” which would stand around 25 meters taller than Starship 2, could launch over 200 metric tons into orbit. He did not say when any version of Starship will be put into operation.

Due to complete reusability, Musk asserted that the future Starship 3 will launch for less money than SpaceX’s initial rocket, the Falcon 1 small launch vehicle, which retailed for around $10 million. He predicted that the cost of launching a Starship may drop to as little as $2–$3 million.

He said, “These are kind of unthinkable numbers.” “Nobody ever imagined that this could happen. However, to do this, we are not violating any laws of physics.




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