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SpaceX’s Starship landing bodes well for NASA’s Moon mission

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    8th May, 2021


Serial number 15 (SN15), a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket was able to launch and successfully land. It has heralded a new era in space exploration for NASA. Earlier the four previous prototypes of Starship had failed. The SN15 did not run into such problems.

About Serial number 15 (SN15) prototype

  • Privately developed: It is designed by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, which is the first private company to do so.
  • Reusable: The spacecraft is considered as a game-changer for space travel, as it is a fully reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
    • It is full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocketship.
  • Starship’s Prototype: Serial number 15 (SN15) is a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket.
    • Starship is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket.
    • tarship has been under development since 2012
    • It is a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
    • It has an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.

Advantages over other rockets

  • Replacement: Starship system is expected to replace SpaceX’s partially reusable Falcon rockets, which is partially reusable and currently in operation.
  • Reduced cost: Starship can deliver satellites at lower marginal costs than Falcon vehicles.
    • It can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
    • As it is reusable, it would reduce the cost of travelling to space by a hundredfold.
  • Large cargo: Starship is also expected to carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon.
  • Interplanetary: The spacecraft is being designed for carrying the crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.
  • Resistant: The Starship spacecraft will enter Mars’s atmosphere at a speed of 7.5 km per second.
    • It will be designed to withstand multiple entries.
  • First to mars: While no human being has set its foot on Mars yet.
    • SpaceX is planning the first cargo mission to the red planet by 2022 and by 2024.

How it is supportive to NASA’s Artemis mission?

  • Successful bidder: SpaceX has been choosen to build a lander for NASA’s Artemis programme, which plans to send humans to the Moon.
    • SpaceX won it in a bidding war against traditional space giants, Amazon and Dynetics.
    • The present flight success supports it current Artemis bid.

Artemis Program

  • The Artemis Program is a NASA’s international human spaceflight program.
  • It was launched in 2017 to return humans to the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region, by 2024.
  • It will be the first crewed lunar mission after the Apollo program in 1972.
  • NASA aims to demonstrate new technologies, capabilities and business approaches which will ultimately be needed for the future exploration of Mars.