Recently, a prototype of the SpaceX’s uncrewed “Mars ship”, a stainless steel test vehicle called SN5, and which is a part of the Starship spacecraft, successfully flew to an altitude of over 500 feet for a little less than 60 seconds.
What is ‘Startship’?
- Designed by SpaceX, Starship is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket meant to act as a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars. SpaceX has described Starship as “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle” with an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.
- Starship has been under development since 2012 and is a part of Space X’s central mission to make interplanetary travel accessible and affordable and to become the first private company to do so. Therefore, the company is working on building a fleet of reusable launch vehicles, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.
- Starship can deliver satellites further and at lower marginal costs than SpaceX’s Falcon vehicles and it can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
- Once developed, Starship is also expected to help carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon, for human spaceflight development and research. Beyond the Moon, the spacecraft is being designed for carrying crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.