A few weeks ago Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX, revealed his new rocket prototype called Starship which aims to reach Mars one day. However before taking off, the rocket engines need to be evaluated. One of the engines has just been tested and an impressive video of the test was published on Twitter.
In order to reach Mars you need to have a certain amount of fire power. With a distance of 70 million km to cover, the red planet is certainly not just next door. So they can cover the distance, SpaceX, the new aerospace giant, plans to use new engines called Raptors. These engines are still fueled by cryogenic liquid oxygen but this time the engine is combined with methane as well as kerosene like what is currently used in Merlin engines used on the Falcon rockets. Thanks to this combination, Raptor engines should be two times more powerful than Merlin engines. It remains to be seen if these rockets work but to find out SpaceX have just lit the fuse.
A mind blowing engine
One of these engines has just been tested in the SpaceX workshops in Texas. Elon Musk who obviously wasn’t going to miss the occasion, posted the test on Twitter. The flames only last a few seconds but one thing is for sure: you wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity of the flames and you’d definitely need ear protection.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2019
Once the Starship space ship is built it should be able to transport one hundred people to Mars. The vehicle made of stainless steel will measure 55 metres long. It will be launched at the top of the Super Heavy rocket booster, powerful enough thanks to 31 Raptor engines to lift about 100 metric tons of payloads into space. A first official launch of an unmanned rocket is meant to be planned in 2020, to orbit the Earth before a first unmanned mission to Mars will be carried out 2022. If humans make it to Mars, this historic launch won’t happen until at least 2025.
The new Space X motors are not the only expected changes. Starship will be made of stainless steel unlike the majority of rockets that are made of aluminum and carbon fibre. The exterior shell will resemble a sandwich form made up of two layers of stainless steel that are slightly porous and separated by a layer of liquid coolant that can “bleed” through the walls. This innovation will at the same time help to cool down the temperature of the space ship while also making sure there is a certain rigidity to the outer shell.