Home > Information news > Elon Musk Says SpaceX To Solve In-Space Refueling For Starship By Next Year: 'Necessary To Make Life Multiplanetary'

Elon Musk Says SpaceX To Solve In-Space Refueling For Starship By Next Year: 'Necessary To Make Life Multiplanetary'

Release: 2024/04/28 10:02 Reading: 938

Original author:Anan Ashraf,Benzinga

Original source:https://www.benzinga.com/news/24/04/38475303/elon-musk-says-spacex-to-solve-in-space-refueling-for-starship-by-next-year-necessary-to-make-life-m

Elon Musk Says SpaceX To Solve In-Space Refueling For Starship By Next Year: 'Necessary To Make Life Multiplanetary'

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Friday said that the company is working on solving the refueling of its two-stage launch vehicle Starship in space by the end of next year and advancing technologies that would eventually allow for people on Mars.

What Happened: “Full & rapid reusability of booster & ship and orbital refilling of ship are the 2 fundamental technologies we aim to solve by the end of next year,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter while adding that these technologies are essential to enabling life on another planet besides Earth.

Musk has often talked about making life multi-planetary by building a self-sustaining city on Mars and taking humans there via Starship. The reusability of the vehicle is key to bringing down the costs of this dream.

Orbital refilling, meanwhile, is a process aimed at refueling the ship in space with tanker versions of the starship from Earth. While the process is not easy, it is still a better alternative to docking with the Space Station, Musk said.

“It's just docking with ourselves,” Musk wrote. “Not trivial, but certainly easier than docking with the Space Station, which is far more complex.”

The Starship is composed of two stages- the super heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft. A booster catch attempt is highly likely this year, Musk said in another post. Earlier this month, in a talk at Starbase, Musk said that the company will attempt to land the booster on a virtual tower during the upcoming flight test. Once that is achieved, the company will attempt to land it on a physical launch tower in a subsequent flight. The CEO pegged the chances of catching the booster with the mechanical arms on the launch tower at 80-90% this year.

As for the starship spacecraft, the company does not intend to bring it back to the launch site until it can land a specific design twice at a particular point in the ocean, Musk said.

Why It Matters: Starship is touted as the world's most powerful launch vehicle with its 121-meter tall frame weighing approximately 5000 tonnes.

During Starship’s latest and third flight test on March 14, the spacecraft lost contact and broke down while re-entering the planet's atmosphere instead of splashing down as planned in the Indian Ocean. The entirety of the last flight lasted about an hour.

SpaceX launched the Starship twice last year — the first time in April and then in November. The next test flight of Starship is expected in May and the company aims to have the ship re-enter Earth’s atmosphere with all its systems functioning despite the extreme heat.

NASA is currently relying on the success of Starship to land humans back on the moon. The agency expects to land two astronauts on the Moon no earlier than September 2026 in the Artemis III mission with a lunar lander variant of the Starship.

The last crewed lunar mission occurred in 1972 with Apollo 17. Since then, no crew has traveled beyond low-Earth orbit.

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