Finally, the Star ship is real.
Elon Musk said this in a message published on January 10: "It's a real picture, not a rendering." @SpaceX Texas Startup Site. This is a real picture, not a rendering. He added: "It had to be real," and clarified that the star ship SpaceX had Just built in Texas is a prototype built for "suborbital [vertical take-off and landing] tests" to prove that the world's largest spacecraft can be fired from the Earth and returned back to Earth, like the smaller ones Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy on SpaceX.
After completing these VTOL tests, SpaceX will continue to build an "orbital version" of the rocket, which will be "higher", with "thicker skin … and smoothly curved nose," according to Musk .
Let's not overtake ourselves. What do we know about Starship today ? Because this is a pretty good story in itself.
What we know about Starship
Originally expected to be made of carbon fiber. Instead of a heat shield to protect the ship when it re-enters the atmosphere, the Star ship will cool off, circulating "residual (cryogenic) liquid methane". As for the engine, the Starcraft prototype will fly with three "radically redesigned" Raptor engines to power it. (Seven will be obliged to feed the production version of Starship.)
Originally, Musk planned to launch Starfleet test flights – the top of the two-stage missile, previously known as the "BFR" – not earlier. But these initial plans are changing rapidly. Over the past few months, the photos have been filtered from the SpaceX test site in Boca Chica, Texas, which shows the rapid prototyping of work to construct and test the Starship concept – months before schedule.
Last month, musk announced that the first test of a 30-foot "sub-bib" version of the Star Ship (Starhopper) could actually take place in March or April 2019. Test shots will climb between 0, 3 miles to 3 miles – the ambitious development schedule requires that the orbital flight tests of the Starship Mk I orbital design be performed quickly (launching the top stage of the Super Heavy prototype).
Musk now puts the chances of Stark Mark I, reaching orbit by 2020, at 60% [and] growing fast. "
Time expires for Boeing, Lockheed Martin – and NASA's Space System
This is great news for SpaceX – but potentially very bad news for space e stwarts like Lockeed Martin Northrop Grumman and Aerojet Rocketdyne are committed to helping NASA to build a giant
Why is bad news?
Simply put, because time may end for SLS. Beyond the budget and now behind schedule, with criticism in Congress, SLS is now expected to not make its first test flight before the middle of 2020 – and perhaps even then.
If SpaceX succeeds in starting at least a sub-test this year, she will probably have won the SLS in at least one race. And if SpaceX succeeds in orbiting next year Starship Mark I, and depending on how many extra delays SLS suffers, SpaceX can also win the orbital race.
If this scenario unfolds, SLS will be in a difficult situation: SpaceX will have a spacecraft capable of delivering more payload than SLS 1. He will carry this load at a lower cost. He will be able to carry payloads repeatedly times because it is reused (SLS is not). Most importantly, SpaceX spacecraft will be ready to fly – while SLS is not yet.
The result of space investors
If SpaceX succeeds in gathering all these benefits, it will be very difficult for NASA to Congress to spend the extra $ 9 billion needed to develop SLS when there is already a cheaper and more capable alternative.
Of course, this scenario is still not certain. SpaceX's striving to complete Starship's development before and before SLS can still escape the rails, giving SLS time to catch up. For now, however, the inertia seems to be on SpaceX.