Elon Musk livestreamed the introduction of the prototype SpaceX spacecraft which aims to complete it’s first orbital flight in 2020.
The SpaceX Starship is planned to be ‘a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both cargo and crew to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond,” according to the SpaceX website.
The new version of the Starship, Starship Mk1, was unveiled by Musk at the SpaceX’s launch facility in Texas on the 11th anniversary of the first SpaceX ship reaching orbit. Standing under the towering prototype, Musk praised the SpaceX team for their work.”Wow, what an incredible job by such a great team to build this incredible vehicle. I’m so proud to work with such a great team,” he said.
This iteration has a 68 metre Super Heavy Stack (booster) and will use sub-cooled liquid methane and liquid oxygen propellants from it’s 37 Raptor engines to get the Starship off the ground. This is a change from the RP-1 kerosene and LOX used in SpaceX’s previous Merlin engines.
As Musk aims for this to be a reusable form of transport, unlike current spacecraft boosters which are left in space, this booster is planned to return to earth and land on the launch site on it’s six legs.
The reusable secondary stage is the Starship which will have capacity for 100 passengers or 100 metric tonnes of cargo, depending on what it is configured for. Musk plans for this section to complete interplanetary
“Starship will allow us to inhabit other world’s,” Musk teased on Twitter before the unveiling.
Image source: SpaceX