Elon Musk said that the version of Starship intended for missions to the moon, not the heat shield, flaps and engine stabilization. According to his messages on Twitter, the first ships will not necessarily return: they will serve as a base for astronauts. Therefore, they can be instead of systems for atmospheric flight to position an additional payload.
After a successful docking, the Crew Dragon with the ISS SpaceX’s main priority — the development of the Starship, a fully reusable super-heavy rockets, which can deliver hundreds of tons of cargo or passengers to Mars due to the possibility of refueling in orbit. Testing her prototypes going on with varying success: sample SN4 recently survived a test firing, but then still explodedas previous sample SN3.
The explosions at the test perfectly normal when designing new equipment, but indicate an early stage of development. In addition, since the announcement in 2016, the project managed to change the material from carbon fiber to steel, to reduce the lifting capacity of two times and go through several aerodynamic designs, as we told you in detail in a material “a strange missile”. Despite this, Elon Musk insists that the rocket is ready to fly to Mars in 2022.
In addition, in 2020, SpaceX has demonstrated the project of a lunar variant Starship that looks significantly different from the baseline. This is logical, since the conditions on the moon and on Mars are significantly different on Mars is the atmosphere, which would slow the ship and may become a source of carbon for methane fuel Starship on the way back.
Now the CEO of SpaceX said, what exactly will be different versions of the ships. So, no on the moon the wind will save weight and not to install additional thrusters that kept the ship upright when landing in a storm. In addition, lunar Starship no flaps and heat shield. They’re certainly not useful when planting in a vacuum, but without them the ship will not be able to return and land on the Ground, as it will burn up in the atmosphere, and this means that all flights of the lunar versions will be one-way.