SpaceX Starship: SpaceX rapidly builds, tests Moon elevator for NASA | Starlink now in Malaysia

SpaceX Starship: SpaceX rapidly builds, tests Moon elevator for NASA | Starlink now in Malaysia

Hello Friends, Welcome back to our website, and hope you are having a great ride with us so far. Again we are back with Starship news for you, this time it’s regarding SpaceX's Starship Moon elevator for NASA. 

SpaceX rapidly builds, tests Moon elevator for NASA

SpaceX Starship
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SpaceX is thoroughly engaging itself with the test and preparations of Starships to become part of NASA’s lunar lander programs. The latest updates say that SpaceX teams have most recently built and demonstrated a mockup of an elevator concept within a very short period of time. 

NASA has not clearly stated the features they're availing from their launch providers on investing $820 million for the Human LandingSystem (HLS). Aside from paperwork, models, and a couple of few completed design reviews nothing is known they’ve got from their providers. 

NASA has selected three providers for their Human Landing System (HLS) program, first one is a subsidiary of Blue Origin, the second one is Dynetics, and the third one is obviously SpaceX. They’re selected to construct prototypes and aiding the upcoming lunar lander mission in the future. 

NASA awarded SpaceX $135 million; they also awarded the “National Team” (Blue Origin led consortium) with $570 million and Dynetics with $250 million. After getting the awarded money from NASA, SpaceX has manufactured eight fully assembled Starship prototypes, carried out numerous wet dress rehearsals (WDR) and static fires. 

Also Read: How will Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink Change the Internet and the World?

They’ve also completed two low-altitude powered hops and two high-altitude test flights. Recent updates say that SpaceX has also built and tested a functioning prototype of the elevator which they would be using for their starship vehicles. 

That elevator would be used to lift up and down astronauts and cargo to and from the Moon’s surface. SpaceX’s proposal has a glimpse of a unique touch. Starship is several times taller and heavier than the vehicle of the other two competitors. But the complexity of Blue Origin’s three-stage, four-component lander makes even SpaceX’s Starship more promising in this mission. 

The complexity that lies in the Blue Origin’slander i.e., it necessitates a crew cabin, a separate transfer stage, ascent stage, and descent stage. But in terms of reliability, SpaceX’s elevator approach seems to be undeniably risky, which gives an upper hand to both Blue origin and Dynetics. And it’s safe to say that a reliable and less risky approach will be a necessary requirement for NASA to ever accept that elevator concept as a solution. 

SpaceX could also add up a manual backup system and a ladder on Starship’s exterior to serve as a backup in case of a total system failure. The massive 8 or 10m stacks of separate spacecraft crew cabins at the top of Starship would force NASA astronauts to climb up or down a several-story ladder to and from the lunar surface. 

Climbing on a ladder of such a height while wearing heavy lunar spacesuits, would be extremely challenging and relatively risky for the astronauts. The elevation system provided by Dyneticsis less risky in comparison to Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. 

Stephen Clark tweeted on 24th February 2021, “NASA’s Mark Kirasich says the agency hopes to select “up to two” Human Landing System contractors “hopefully within the next few weeks … We’re getting down to the wire.” SpaceX didn’t disclose the whereabouts of the building and testing the first Starship elevator. 

The photo provided by NASA’s Mark Kirasichclearly shows an elevator prototype situated inside a steel Starship ring with the sky visible. It’s surprising that nothing of that sort has been spotted at SpaceX’s Boca Chica Starship factory. There’s a possibility that the picture might be of either Hawthorne, California factory or “Roberts Road” facility situated at Kennedy Space Center. 

Starlink now in Malaysia

It certainly proves that SpaceX has more surprises in its stock and that Starship is worth coming especially for HLS contracts. All the construction and testing procedures of SpaceX for making a Starship Moon elevator prototype make it reasonable that they will surely bring up a safe and reliable elevator. 

SpaceX’s Starlink to start accepting deposits from Malaysian Customers

Now SpaceX Starlink has started its functionality in Malaysia. SpaceX has now begun to accept deposits from willing customers who are interested in avail of the Starlink network connection in Malaysia. SpaceX announced that news by mailing it to prospective registered customers. 

SpaceX also mentioned in the mail that it would take nearly a year or so for Malaysian customers to use Starlink internet. According to a report, Starlink’s website says that network service in Malaysia, particularly in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas, would start as early as 2022. 

“Measat”, a local satellite operator of Malaysia, provides an internet service ‘CONNECTme’ with a download speed of up to 20Mbps as well as 1Mbps upload speed. Starlink as a new competitor surpasses it with a speed ranging from 50mbps to 150mbps with a latency of 20ms to 40ms. 

SpaceX has not announced anything about the price tag of network connectivity for Malaysia. Starlink’s beta price in the U.S covers a monthly cost of $ 99, which is nearly RM 401 in Malaysian currency. The connectivity cost charged by Measat ranges between RM 198 to RM 298 per month for ‘CONNECTme’ network connection. Thus it seems that Starlink might be expensive in terms of price, but in terms of quality, they’re superior. 

It is still not disclosed whether SpaceX has received license approvals or start a joint venture with local authorities like MalaysianCommunications and Multimedia Commission to start their internet connection service. 

According to the Deposit Payment Terms given on Starlink’s official website, once the connectivity is available in the country the refundable $99 deposit will be consumed for acquiring the Starlink user package. 

Also Read: 8 Tech Industries Revolutionized by Elon Musk - Tesla, SpaceX and More

The original price to be charged for the user package is not yet been revealed by SpaceX. Comparing with a price of the kit in the US is $499which is nearly RM 2,022 in Malaysian currency excluding taxes and shipping charges. Now move on to our last news regarding relativity space, which could be the future competitor of SpaceX. Relativity Space is going to be the future competitor of SpaceX. 

With their 3D-printing rocket builder, RelativitySpace is initiating to build a full-scale fully reusable rocket. The company names this rocket “TerranR.” Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space said that they’re expecting to launch their first“Terran R” rocket in 2021. 

Relativity also says that this rocket is “an obvious evolution” of their Terran 1 rocket. Tim says, “It’s the same architecture, the same propellant, the same factory, the same 3D printers, the same avionics, and the same team. I’ve always been a huge fan of reusability. No matter how you look at it even with 3Dprinting and dropping the cost, and automation of a launch vehicle making it reusable has got to be part of that future.” According to Relativity, Terran 1 costs about$12 million per launch. It can easily carry 1,250 kgs to Low Earth Orbit. 

The company will disclose further details about the design and configurations of their ‘Terran R’ rocket in near future. From the words of Ellis, it seems that relativity will follow the same path as SpaceX to land their rockets, i.e. using landing pads and drone ships. Just like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Ellis also has a dream of colonizing Mars. He wishes to use 3D-printed reusable rockets as “the inevitable technology we need to build humanity’s industrial base on Mars.” Ellis praises SpaceX’s future goals and says “We need to inspire dozens to hundreds of companies to do this.” He expresses that Relativity and SpaceX can be two companies that could carve out the future era of Space. 

‘Terran R’ is the first big-budget project from Relativity Space for this year. Relativity says that it will manufacture TerranR utilizing the world’s largest 3D printers as what Ellis calls “the factory of the future.”

He announces that Relativity is very focused on getting Terran 1 to launch first. He describes ‘Terran 1’ as “it’s a great product. We’re not pulling a ‘Falcon 1 to Falcon9’ change.” Ellis said that the carrying capacity of ‘TerranR’ will be twenty times greater than their ‘Terran 1’ rocket. Relativity is targeting their rocket ‘TerranR’ to launch more than 20,000 kgs to Low Earth Orbit. That would be near the 22,800 kgs that SpaceX’sFalcon 9 rockets could launch. 

He said that Relativity plans to keep such a price for launches which would capable of keeping healthy competition. SpaceX marks Falcon 9 rocket launches with a $62 million price tag. But in actual launches costs around $28million as the reusability of boosters saves a lot of money. Ellis points out that SpaceX’s work on reusability works as a beacon for Relativity’s reusability approach of Terran R, which will be a fully reusable vehicle. 

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are partially reusable, in that the company lands the first stage i.e. the booster, and often recovers the rocket’s payload fairings. But SpaceX till now did not recover Falcon9′s second stages. 

Relativity at this time aims to work out that goal of recovering second stages also with the improvement in 3D printing designs. Ellis notes that this improvement in rocket designs wouldn’t be possible with traditional manufacturing procedures. 

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