Mars is waiting to be explored! SpaceX is working to develop the Starship launch system that will enable humans to set foot on the Red Planet. This might sound like a science fiction plot to many but SpaceX employees work every day towards making life multiplanetary. “It appears that consciousness is a very rare and precious thing and we should take whatever steps we can to preserve the light of consciousness,” says SpaceX founder Elon Musk. He envisions a fleet of Starships transporting cargo and hundreds of passengers to build the first colony on the Martian surface before the year 2050.
Saw Starship SN15 & SN16 up close! A work of art! pic.twitter.com/kPHULQyWqO— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo (@JaneidyEve) July 26, 2021
Colonizing another planet will be humanity’s greatest challenge. To achieve this ambitious venture, SpaceX will have to innovate quickly and have a rapid production rate. Musk says that in order to make a self-sustaining (permanent) colony on Mars’ surface, the company will have to manufacture enough Starships to transport megatons of cargo over the course of the next 20 years. “Building ~1,000 Starships to create a self-sustaining city on Mars is our mission,” Musk said last year. “Building 100 Starships per year gets to 1,000 in 10 years or 100 megatons per year or maybe around 100,000 people per Earth-Mars orbital sync,” he stated.
The Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket booster will become the world’s most powerful rocket, equipped with a total of 39 Raptors. These engines are specially designed by SpaceX, powered by methalox – a combination of cryogenic liquid methane (fuel) and liquid oxygen (oxidizer) that operate in a full-flow staged combustion cycle. Building this engine is a delicate process because engineers must develop fully reusable and efficient engines. Today, July 26, SpaceX announced it achieved production of 100 Raptor engines for the Starship launch vehicle. To celebrate the achievement, SpaceX shared a photograph of its employees posing with the 100th Raptor at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, in front of the display of the first Falcon 9 rocket that ever landed. Raptor engines are shipped to Texas, where SpaceX is developing Starship at its Starbase facility. Engineers are preparing to conduct the first orbital flight test that will require to equip a Super Heavy booster prototype with 33 Raptor engines and Starship with 6 Raptors, three will be vacuum-optimized for propulsion in space.
To boost production rate SpaceX will set-up a new Raptor engine manufacturing factory soon. “We are breaking ground soon on a second Raptor factory at SpaceX Texas test site,” Musk said. The factory will be located in McGregor, TX, where SpaceX currently manufactures and tests the Falcon 9 Merlin engines. “This will focus on volume production of Raptor 2, while California factory will make Raptor Vacuum & new, experimental designs,” he said. “By ‘volume production,’ I mean 2 to 4 engines per day. That’s super high volume for big rocket engines, but low volume by automotive standards,” Musk added. Long-term, he said that SpaceX targets to manufacture “Roughly 800 to 1000 [engines] per year.” “That’s about what’s needed over ten years to create the fleet to build a self-sustaining city on Mars. City itself probably takes roughly 20 years, so hopefully it is built by ~2050,” Musk said.
100th build of a Raptor engine complete pic.twitter.com/ymoJmV820Z— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 26, 2021
Congratulations to SpaceX on this achievement from TESMANIAN!
Fellowship of the Raptors pic.twitter.com/Xz3rOsfA2h— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2021
Featured Image Source: SpaceX