Elon Musk, a visionary entrepreneur, has changed the scope of innovation in rocket design. His ambition to own Mars made him develop several denominations of the starship, which certainly beat the concept of all other rockets that existed in history.
Spacex and Elon Musk work so hard day and night to improve the development of starships and make them efficient enough to withstand any hassle during space travel. And you won’t believe that the boost 7 rocket with 33 raptor engines which just concluded its static fire test is the only rocket that has ever been successfully test fired in the history of mankind.
Spacex’s goal is to develop the starship in a way that it can withstand rapid reusability. Elon Musk once made it clear that the starship will be ready to embark on another flight after every one hour of landing – that means spacex engineers will use the simulation system to scan any fault which the starship may have sustained in less than an hour before it will be all set for another lift off.
What are the possibilities that the starship will be able to journey from earth Mars with 33 powerful engines without facing any malfunctioning that may lead to a disaster, and how will spacex avoid serious disaster that may likely occur during the starship’s journey?
Let’s find out in today’s episode. Shotwell, spacex president, has assured astronauts and the public that each starship will be tested 100 times before humans can go onboard for any space travel. This clarifies the fact that astronauts or passengers traveling on the starship are assured of safe space flight.
Now imagine that the starship uses 33 powerful raptor 2 engines because rockets with a large number of engines are designed to generate more thrust and lift heavier payloads into space. But they can be easily damaged.
However, they also come with added complexity and higher costs, as each engine must be carefully designed, tested, and integrated into the rocket. Even so, any little errors in engine development will lead to serious disaster that will hamper human life.
So spacex has to test the starship and work on it to make sure that 99% of the time, humans onboard will experience a safe trip. The booster rocket is the only rocket that has ever been tested with 33 engines though; there have been several rockets throughout history that have used many engines.
Let’s discuss more about these engines. For instance, The Atlas-Centaur used two RL-10 engines, and it was the world’s first operational liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen high energy rocket engine designed to restart in space.
Each of the two RL-10 engines produces 15,000 pounds of thrust made up the Centaur upper stage used with the Atlas and Titan launch vehicles. A cluster of Six RL-10 engines is also used to fire the second stage of the Saturn 1 vehicle. Next is the Saturn V rocket which uses ten engines.
It was used by NASA during the Apollo program to send astronauts to the Moon. The first stage of the Saturn V was powered by five F-1 engines, while the second stage had five J-2 engines, making it 10 engines that powered the Saturn V rocket. Another rocket that uses up to nine engines is the Falcon 9.
The rocket is a launch vehicle developed by SpaceX. The first stage of the rocket is powered by nine Merlin engines, while the second stage is powered by a single Merlin engine – making it 10 engines. The Merlin engine was developed in-house to be capable of producing up to 190,000 pounds of thrust.
The Falcon 9 rocket has been used to launch a wide range of payloads into orbit, including communications satellites, cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, and even crewed missions to space.
And it’s one of the rockets SpaceX created to be successfully reusable. Next is the New Glenn – a launch vehicle currently being developed by Blue Origin, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who lost the 2.9 billion Lunar contract to spacex, and perhaps felt embarrassed and decided to step down as CEO, hand over to Bob smith and went back to his cave.
The New Glenn rocket is designed to have the first and second stage. First stage of the rocket is powered by seven BE-4 engines, while the second stage has a single BE-3 engine. The BE-4 engine is a new engine currently under development by Blue Origin, and it is designed to use liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas as propellants.
Another engine worth discussing is the NASA’s SLS rocket; The rocket is a heavy-lift vehicle that will pave the way for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. With its unprecedented power and capabilities, the aim for SLS development was to send Orion, astronauts, and cargo directly to the Moon on a single mission.
Offering more payload mass, volume capability, and energy, SLS, one of the world’s most powerful rockets, can carry heavy payloads to deep space than any other vehicle, as claimed by Nasa. And that makes it possible to fly more types of missions, including human missions to the Moon and Mars and robotic scientific missions to places like Saturn, and Jupiter.
Every SLS configuration uses the core stage with four RS-25 engines. The first SLS vehicle, called Block 1, can send more than 59,500 pounds of load to orbits, and beyond the Moon, but since the rocket hasn’t done all these yet, we can’t really confirm that the sLs is capable of performing as claimed.
The SLS rocket is powered by twin five-segment solid rocket boosters and four RS-25 liquid propellant engines. After reaching space, the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage will send Orion to the Moon. Block 1B crew vehicles will use a new, more powerful Exploration Upper Stage to enable more ambitious missions.
The vehicle can, in a single launch, carry the Orion crew vehicle along with large cargo needed to support a sustained presence on the Moon. The SLS Program has an inventory of 16 RS-25 flight engines, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne of El Segundo, California, transferred from the Shuttle Program.
Then, spacex came out of the blue and did something remarkable, developing a rocket that broke historical records. Technicians and engineers cracked SpaceX the code and wowed the world by building 33 Raptor 2 engines and fixed it to the booster rocket.
Each with intricate plumbing lines and connections. 29 raptors was initially the number of engines that Super Heavy was designed to fly with. But after much consideration, it was confirmed that the fully stacked starship will need more engines to be able to lift heavier loads, and propellants into orbit, and that was a strong reason to develop the final configuration with 33 engines.
Despite losing two Raptor engines in the testing phase, SpaceX still broke the all-time record for the number of rocket engines ignited simultaneously. That record was held by the Soviet N1 rocket before booster 7 came into the picture, which launched four times with 30 NK-15 engines in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Though spacex hasn’t launched the starship rocket yet, if everything goes as planned and the starship rocket gets into orbit successfully, then the starship will be the king of all rockets. None of the N1 rockets was successful, even though it set the record for the most thrust produced by a single rocket, generating up to 4500 tons of thrust at liftoff.
And breaking that historical record was a glory for spacex and Elon Musk to celebrate. So the last static fire test, which fired 31 raptor 2 engines, was certainly a test to show that spacex is equal to the task. According to the company, each Raptor 2 engine can generate up to 230 tons of thrust at sea level.
Raptor is theoretically designed to throttle as low as 40%, or 92 tons of thrust. With 33 engines operating nominally at their minimum throttle setting. The good news is The 33 Raptor engines can generate more than 16.5 million pounds of thrust at full power, giving it the capacity required to lift off heavier payload above the earth.
From SpaceX’s perspective, the fact that the starship is an orbital-class vehicle, that got tested of its 33 raptor engine on the launch mount without any damage is likely enough for it to consider the static fire a success. But the test was much more than that.
SpaceX is currently warming up and preparing the starship for the first-ever orbital flight test of a Starship vehicle, one that will involve the Booster 7 Super Heavy prototype and an upper-stage variant called Ship 24.
To the company and the public, the starship is a potentially revolutionary transportation system, one that could make Mars colonization and other ambitious off-Earth feats economically feasible. And again with the aid of the starship Elon Musk will send scientists to planet Mars to study the planet, carry out all testing and experiments possible and develop it for humans to adapt without any health risk.
Do you think the starship’s first test flight will be successful? It is also good news that SpaceX Booster 7 have just completed its longest static fire test duration breaking record, just click to know more about this.
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