SpaceX Starship

Super heavy-lift reusable launch vehicle / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Starship is a super heavy-lift space vehicle under development by SpaceX. At 120 metres (394 feet) in height and with a liftoff mass of 5,000 metric tons (11,000,000 pounds), Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever flown, surpassing the thrust of the NASA Space Launch System and Saturn V, as well as the Soviet N1, which had previously held the record.[2]

Quick facts: Function, Manufacturer, Country of origin, Pr...
Starship during its first test flight in April 2023.
Country of origin
  • United States
Project costat least US$3 billion[lower-alpha 1] [1]
  • 120 m
  • 394 ft
  • 9 m
  • 29.5 ft
  • 5,000 t
  • 11,000,000 lb
Payload to low Earth orbit
  • 150 t
  • 330,000 lb
  • 1,000 
  • 35,000 ft³
Launch history
Launch sitesSpaceX Starbase
Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A (planned)
Total launches1
First flight20 April 2023
First stage – Super Heavy
  • 69 m
  • 226 ft
  • 9 m
  • 30 ft
Empty mass
  • 200 t
  • 440,000 lb
Gross mass
  • 3,600 t
  • 7,900,000 lb
Propellant mass
  • 3,400 t
  • 7,500,000 lb
Powered by
Maximum thrust
  • 74,500,000 N
  • 7,590 Tf
  • 16,700,000 lbf
Second stage – Starship
  • 50 m
  • 164 ft
  • 9 m
  • 30 ft
Empty mass
  • 100 t
  • 220,000 lb
Gross mass
  • 1,300 t
  • 2,900,000 lb
Propellant mass
  • 1,200 t
  • 2,650,000 lb
Powered by
Maximum thrust
  • 14,700,000 N
  • 1,500 Tf
  • 3,300,000 lbf

The space vehicle consists of the first-stage Super Heavy booster and the second-stage spacecraft also named Starship. Both stages are powered by Raptor rocket engines, which burn liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants in a full-flow staged combustion power cycle. Both are designed to be fully reusable, performing controlled landings on the arms of the launch tower used to lift the vehicles and reflown within hours. Starship is designed to have a payload capacity of 150 tonnes (330,000 lb) to low Earth orbit in a fully reusable configuration and 250 t (550,000 lb) when expended.[3] Starship vehicles in low Earth orbit are planned to be refilled with propellant launched in tanker Starships to enable transit to higher energy destinations such as geosynchronous orbit, the Moon, and Mars.[lower-alpha 2]

Plans for a heavy-lift vehicle at SpaceX date to 2005, with the earliest concept resembling the modern vehicle announced in 2016. SpaceX's Starship development follows an iterative and incremental approach involving frequent, and often destructive, test flights of prototype vehicles.[4] The first and so far only orbital test flight was attempted on 20 April 2023, when an anomaly caused the vehicle to tumble out of control four minutes after launch. SpaceX activated the flight termination system, which fired the explosive charges but did not destroy the vehicle. Approximately 40 seconds later both stages were destroyed due to increased aerodynamic forces.[5] After the test, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded the launch program pending results of a standard "mishap investigation".[6]

SpaceX intends Starship to become its primary space vehicle, superseding the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles as well as the Dragon 2 spacecraft currently used as part of NASA's commercial crew program to the International Space Station. Starship is often coupled with the company's Mars ambitions. Planned Starship flights include the development of SpaceX's Starlink internet constellation, crewed flights under the Polaris and dearMoon programs, and a crewed lunar landing with a modified Starship spacecraft under the Artemis program.