SpaceX Test Rocket for Mars
SpaceX Launching Experimental Mars Rocket Prototype
|Source: Space X|
"Hop Tests Of Starship"
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has plans to colonize Mars. To take the new colonists, who choose to go there, he's working on an experimental rocket prototype and has been launching it on what he calls "hop tests". The vehicle is called SN5 and doesn't look like a rocket. It looks like a large, steel silo with a rocket strapped underneath. It's been launched to 500 feet and landed with success in late summer 2020 in south Texas. This prototype is designed to help SpaceX precisely launch and land a huge spacecraft with spot-on accuracy from the Earth to other planets.
Starship to Mars
SpaceX is accelerating the development of a massive spacecraft and rocket system called Starship which the CEO hopes will carry the first humans to Mars. He tested a series of prototypes including Starhopper several times in 2019 with some successes and failures. Musk has spent 2020 developing much larger test vehicles. The success of SN5 sets up more test hops beyond 500 feet. SN5 has one rocket motor. Starship will need at least 6 to go into orbit and a rocket - Space Heavy - with 30 engines at its base. There is a big engineering and rocket science journey going forward to make Starship Mars-worthy.
Starship is designed to carry massive loads, including 100 tons of cargo into Earth orbit such as satellites. But Musk says he will retrofit Starship to carry dozens of humans to the International Space Station, the Moon and Mars. It's the future of human travel into space being developed right now.