STARSHIP ROCKET (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     7th June 2024        
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Context: SpaceX’s Starship rocket blasted off to space and plunged through Earth’s atmosphere for an ocean landing, notching a key objective on its fourth major test flight.

Starship Rocket

  • About: Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket – collectively referred to as Starship – represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

o It is the fully reusable spacecraft and second stage of the Starship system.

  • Launch Vehicle: Starship is the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, capable of carrying up to 150 metric tonnes fully reusable and 250 metric tonnes expendable.
  • Configurations: The vehicle comes in several different configurations, offers an integrated payload section, and is capable of carrying crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
  • Point-to-Point Earth Transport: Starship is also capable of point-to-point transport on Earth, enabling travel to anywhere in the world in one hour or less.
  • First Stage: Super Heavy is the first stage, or booster, of the Starship launch system.
  • Raptor Engines: Powered by 33 Raptor engines using sub-cooled liquid methane (CH4) and liquid oxygen (LOX), Super Heavy is fully reusable and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere to land back at the launch site.

o The Raptor engine is a reusable methane-oxygen staged-combustion engine that powers the Starship system and has twice the thrust of the Falcon 9 Merlin engine.

  • Engine Configuration: Starship will be powered by six engines, three Raptor engines, and three Raptor Vacuum (RVac) engines, which are designed for use in the vacuum of space.

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