SpaceX launches biggest rocket ever
The space company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, plans to launch the largest rocket of all time, called Starship, on Monday. This will be done without any crew on board during the test flight. The rocket is 120 metres tall, which is 10 metres taller than the Saturn V rocket, which carried people to the moon and back between 1968 and 1972. The Starship is also twice as high as space shuttles and almost three times as high as the Soyuz rocket with which Dutch astronaut André Kuipers went to space. SpaceX’s goal is to eventually take 100 passengers to space at a time.
The Starship will be launched from SpaceX’s space base in the US state of Texas, on the border with Mexico. The lower part is the 70-metre-long Super Heavy booster, with the engines to ensure the rocket takes off. After launch, the Super Heavy booster will land in the Gulf of Mexico. The 50-metre-long Starship capsule, which should later contain people, will then fly on. It will fly over the Atlantic Ocean, southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. After an hour and a half and almost a complete orbit around the earth, the capsule will touch down in a controlled manner in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
SpaceX has spent years developing the mega spacecraft. Plans were first presented in 2017 and the craft was then called Big Fucking Rocket, which was later cleansed to Big Falcon Rocket. In late 2018, SpaceX opted for the name Starship. The craft will initially stay near Earth, but it is planned to eventually head towards the moon and Mars. It is not yet known when the first manned flight of Starship will be carried out. Among other things, the spacecraft should fly a tourist round the moon and back sometime in the next few years. Seats on board have already been bought by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He will go himself and bring along DJ Steve Aoki, among others.
SpaceX’s goal is to use the Starship for manned and unmanned missions to the moon, Mars and other parts of the solar system. The company is currently working on developing technologies that will make the rocket reusable, making it more affordable to carry out space missions. The company has already conducted some successful test flights with earlier versions of the Starship rocket and the Super Heavy booster.
(c) Photo: SpaceX