Lizhi Technology | After more than two years, what did Musk say at the Starship conference?

Lizhi Technology
Value Techy Talk

According to Unshared News : On the evening of February 10, 2022 local time (the morning of February 11, Beijing time), the American space exploration technology company SpaceX held a press conference. The company's CEO and CTO Elon Musk introduced the "Starship" spaceflight to the world The latest progress of the project.

"Starship" (also translated as "Starship") is SpaceX's next-generation heavy-duty launch vehicle and manned spacecraft project. Because of its sci-fi appearance, claimed powerful performance and repeated explosions in research and development, it has become the global aerospace industry and Top topic for aerospace enthusiasts.

At the press conference held in Texas, the United States, Musk did not bring shocking new breakthroughs, but in the question-and-answer session, he revealed some production capacity information of the "Xingzhou" project, as well as the latest R&D test schedule.

According to his description, the "Starship" system is a reusable space-to-earth round-trip transportation system, consisting of a boosted Super Heavy rocket and a manned spacecraft "Starship". The payload will reach 100 to 150 tons, making it easier and cheaper to travel to the space station, the moon, and even Mars, creating a self-sufficient "Mars City" on Mars.

Matching the huge space carrying capacity is the super size of the "Xingzhou" . According to the latest data released this time, the 50-meter-high "Xingzhou" spacecraft and the 69-meter super-heavy rocket form a behemoth with a total height of nearly 120 meters and a diameter of 9 meters.

It was also announced at the press conference that the super-heavy rocket of the "Xingzhou" system will be equipped with 33 Raptor engines, and one Raptor engine has a thrust of up to 230 tons.

The latest version of the Raptor engine, the V2 (right), has more thrust and a more compact design than the previous V1 version (left).

Interestingly, in order to launch the launch tower specially built for the " Starship" , it is equipped with a device called Mechazilla. Two huge robotic arms can clamp the spacecraft and assemble vertically with the rocket, so it is called by netizens and Musk. "Giant Chopsticks". In the video displayed at the press conference, the pair of "giant chopsticks" will also be used to "clamp" the super-heavy rocket that falls vertically to help it be safely recycled and reused.

At this conference Technology of Musk updated the height of the super-heavy rocket in details (from 70 meters to 69 meters), introduced the upgrade of the Raptor engine version, the heat shield technology, and looked forward to the on-orbit filling technology, but there was no The information of a substantial breakthrough has slightly disappointed aerospace enthusiasts around the world.

But in the question-and-answer session, Musk revealed that the current production efficiency of the Raptor engine is close to one a day. He expressed confidence that the "Xingzhou" will enter orbit by the end of this year, and is optimistic that the orbital refueling test will be carried out by the end of next year.

Prototype SN15, Part of the Starship Spacecraft, Successfully Landed

At the first launch of the "Starship " project in September 2019 , Musk said at the time that the Starship would be put into orbit within six months. However, after several explosion failures, it was not until May 2021 that the prototype SN15 of the spacecraft part of the "Xingzhou" system completed its first successful launch, maneuver and landing. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still conducting an environmental impact assessment for the first orbital-level flight test plan of the "Starship" system, and the completion time has been postponed from the end of last year to the end of February this year.

After the press conference, some international aerospace industry experts analyzed that although SpaceX has made breakthroughs in the research and development of the "Xingzhou" system, it is still too long to achieve Musk's ambition to achieve the blueprint of "'Xingzhou' flying three times a day" way to go.

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