SpaceX is always working on some big projects and surprising us. This time we observed some activity at the space port located in Boca Chica. As always, Elon Musk keeps us updated via his Twitter account. Back on Christmas Eve he posted a photo and a video.
He wrote “Stainless Steel Starship” when tweeting the image. The next launch system has been named spaceship, and its initial name was Big Falcon Rocket (or BFR for short). “That metal is stainless steel, in particular a family of alloys called 300 Series, known to maintain its strength at high temperatures,” explained SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
SpaceX intends to combine high altitude flights with low altitude ones. While the first flights could go as high as 5000 meters, the low ones shouldn’t go over 500 m. SpaceX filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for an experimental license to support communications during flights.
Flights are expected to begin in 2019, and we might get them in the first half of the year as well. “I will do a full technical presentation of Starship after the test vehicle we’re building in Texas flies, so hopefully March/April,” tweeted Elon Musk.
His tweets provided many other interesting details about this project. For example, we now know that SpaceX will replace carbon composite materials with stainless steel. While this material is heavier, it is a lot better when it comes to dealing with high temperatures. Musk also explained that the stainless steel surface won’t be painted. “Skin will get too hot for paint,” he tweeted. “Stainless mirror finish. Maximum reflectivity.” Three methane/liquid oxygen engines will be used to power the test hopper and they are all produced by the company.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.