Starship and its Goal

Nithin Prabhu, Writer

Have you ever wondered if we humans will get to Mars? Or if rockets will ever stop wasting their parts?

Starship is a fully reusable rocket which is a two-stage rocket, with its first stage booster called “Superheavy”. And the second stage is called “Starship.” Right now, the prototype is sitting in Boca Chica, Texas. The booster is called ‘Booster 4’. Booster 4 has been equipped with 29 Raptor Engines. And Starship is equipped with 3 sea-level Raptor engines and 3 Raptor Vacuum engines. The 3 Raptor Vacuum engines are to be used in the emptiness of space, where there is no atmosphere.

Starship’s superheavy booster will push Starship into the end of Earth’s atmosphere until it will release from Starship and fall back to Earth. Superheavy will do an entry burn to slow down its speed otherwise it will burn up in the atmosphere. Superheavy will have grid fins to help control its flight path while falling. Superheavy will start a landing burn where a Starship tower has ‘chopsticks’ and will catch Superheavy, later to be refueled and relaunched. 

On the contrary, Starship will power its engines and continue its flight path. When entering the atmosphere, it will do a belly flop, the side facing the ground has heat shields, and when close to the ground, Starship will flip around, using its engines that gimbal, and land on the ground. Here is the animation for how Starship will work. Starship Animation.

Starship’s main goal is to colonize Mars by sending fleets of Starships to Mars. Musk wants to make humans a multi-planetary species. Starship enthusiasts are agreeing with Nogueira’s statement,” I feel like yes and no. We need some sort of protection on Mars because humans can’t stay on Mars for a long time due to its environment. But I can see it in the next 5-10 years”. Nogueira believes that the technology will evolve along with Starship and everything will be ready when it’s time. 

As of now, Starship is awaiting FAA approval for its first orbital flight. Elon Musk is building Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas. The FAA approval was first said to be released in Dec. then to Feb. then to March and now to April.