SpaceX Starship landing leg upgrades Concept | NASA Perseverance makes its first drive on Mars

SpaceX Starship landing leg upgrades Concept | NASA Perseverance makes its first drive on Mars

Hello Friends, Welcome to Digital Guru and we are back again with some latest news for you. Let’s begin with our first news regarding SpaceX Starship landing leg concept. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been pointing out for a long time developing newer versions of landing legs for SpaceX’s.., Starship. 

Starship leg designs

SpaceX Starship

After SN10 has created the history of becoming the first Starship prototype to land in one piece, instead of landing leg problems, SpaceX is now moving for a series of upgrades for their next prototypes. SpaceX has suffered a problem in deploying the landing legs during the SN10 test, so they’re keeping in mind to create such anew design which would significantly improve reliability, stability, and durability. 

In the meantime, Erc X, a graphic artist, who is also a fan of SpaceX, brought forth a design of landing legs as a suggestion for the new upcoming Starship rockets. Erc X tweeted on 5th March with a graphic illustration of the landing legs. “Based on the new DearMoon renders, I have modeled some possible Starship leg designs. The only question is, how will they work? Here are a couple of different options, please tell me what you think!” –He tweeted. During SN10’s historic landing, some of the legs out of the total six legs of Starship failed, forcing it to land in a tilted way. 

SpaceX Starship landing leg

Leo of TerminalCount tweeted, “So the landing legs did deploy! But if you look closely, some of them didn’t lock in-place... you can see them dangling! I don’t think they would’ve made much difference anyway, given the touchdown velocity! Credit: @LabPadre" 

Though the landing velocity was reduced by a large extent yet it was nearly 15 to 20 miles per hour, relatively fast for a soft landing. As a result, Starship crushed some of its legs leaning the rocket tilted to a side with a few inches of ground clearance. 

Though the vehicle exploded a few minutes after touchdown, landing the giant was definitely a hard one. The SpaceX team had done it and achieved historic success. SpaceX is gathering data from the SN10 mission and is also analyzing the shortcomings of SN10. They will use this data and analysis to carrying out flawless Starship tests and missions in the future. 

Also Read: SpaceX Starship: SpaceX rapidly builds, tests Moon elevator for NASA


SpaceX has given some landing upgrades in an update prior to Starship SN10’s successful launch, landing, and self-destruction. SpaceX renders released as part of the update for a private Starship launch around the Moon have also revealed hints of certain changes in the landing leg design. 

After successfully completing the StarshipSN10’s landing, SpaceX is gearing up for the Starships SN11 completion and also SN15in the line, up to SN18. Several upgraded landing leg equipment are expected to appear very soon at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas factory. The concept and design of the landing legs brought forth by Erc X is a follower of the previous landing leg concept issued by SpaceX earlier. But Erc X has modified the design further. 

SpaceX Starship landing leg upgrades

He has shown many different possible landing leg versions that could easily be installed inside the trapezoidal covers visible on SpaceX’slatest official Starship updates. SpaceX has also given a hint about their next-gen landing legs. Instead of using six narrower legs, Starshipcan uses four broader legs protruding from the four sides, covering a larger area. 

NASA Hike Prices

NASA Hike Prices

Pricing policy, which NASA had published nearly two years ago as part of a new Low Earth Orbit commercialization strategy. That policy comprises a price list for resources such as cargo to and from the station and crew time. NASA has increased the price it charges from commercial users of the International Space Station for cargo and other resources by a large extent. 

This huge change in price has tensed some companies, especially commercial users. In the statement, published on NASA’s website, NASA said that they’re updating the price list to reflect full reimbursement for the value of NASA resources. NASA also said that they are taking the decision after conducting discussions with stakeholders, analyzing the current market growth, and they're also hoping for getting future commercial entities capable of providing similar services. 

Jeffrey Manber, chief executive of Nanoracks, said, “NASA has not done a good job communicating with the stakeholders. We are in discussions with customers and suddenly we are being notified of a major increase.” Manber said that the sudden increase in prices has forced Nanoracks to suspend discussions with their two potential customers. After the removal of the subsidy, the prices of those services went up significantly. 

The price to be charged for transporting one kilogram of cargo up to the station (upmass) rose from $3,000 to $20,000. The price to be charged per kilogram down to Earth (down mass) increased from $6,000 to $40,000. Charge of one hour of crew member time rose from $17,500 to $130,000. NASA said, “Nearly two years have passed since NASA released the initial pricing policy. 

The pricing policy from June 2019 did not reflect full reimbursement for the value of NASA resources; it was intended to stimulate the market and was planned to be adjusted.” Manber said that NASA may be reacting to language in a report accompanying the final fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill, which provided NASA with just $17 million for LEO commercialization efforts, compared to its request of $150 million. 

Also Read: ISRO- Is India The Next Space Superpower?

NASA also points out that there has been a solid demand for commercial and marketing activities from both traditional aerospace companies and from novel industries. The report states, “It is clear that no appropriated funds could be used to subsidize certain commercial use activities. Thus, less than full reimbursement was determined to be inconsistent with the report language. 

Other activities that are educational in nature, or scientific or research and development, can and should fly via the International SpaceStation U.S. National Laboratory. There is no change to process or costs for these activities.” Manber also said, “I believe there are commercial projects, along with education efforts and partners that bring value to the international space station. They show American leadership. There’s a nuanced discussion that needs to be made with Congress and NASA.” 

At last, Manber says, “I’m hopeful that this is the beginning of a dialogue on more mature support for commercialization.” The LEO commercialization policy has enabled private astronaut missions to the ISS on one hand and also provided a price list for resources such missions on the other hand. That price list charges $22,500 per person per day for crew supplies and $11,250 per person per day for life support. 

Perseverance moves on Mars. 

On 5th March, NASA’s officials said that their “Perseverance” rover has made the first move on the land of the red planet. They stated this, during an ongoing press briefing, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Perseverance has landed on the Jezero Craterin Mars on 18th February. According to the NASA officials, Perseverancehas moved forward for four meters. It has turned around 150 degrees to the left side and then moved 2.5 m backward. 

NASA’s rover has started roaming on the Martian surface as mission scientists are gearing up to send the rover toward a dead river delta to find signs of life from the past. Anais Zarifian, Perseverance Mobility TestBed engineer, said at the briefing, “Our first drive went incredibly well. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see wheel tracks.” The Martian rover also captured images of marks of the tracks created by its wheels on the Martian soil. 

NASA Perseverance moves on Mars.

Robert Hogg, Perseverance deputy mission manager, said at the briefing, “We haven’t had any hardware issues. Everything has been working that we’ve been checking out. It’s actually been amazingly smooth.” NASA officials said that the first drive by the rover is carried out for thorough checkouts of the rover and adaptability of its instruments on the Martian surface. Perseverance will later deploy “Ingenuity”(a small helicopter designed to fly on the Martian surface.) The helicopter will come out from the rover’s undercarriage and carry out flight tests scheduled to last for a month. 

After “Ingenuity” comes out, perseverance will move on to the river delta. Hogg said that engineers are now searching for a perfect place suitable for conducting flight tests. Scientists are capturing photos using the rover. These photos will help to find out a suitable location. To quote Hogg, “We’re still analyzing various areas to determine the best place to do that. 

We hope to get the whole helicopter thing going before spring is over.” Project officials said that engineers will continue to test the equipment installed in the rover. Sample collection systems will also be tested. Hogg said commissioning of the sample collection system will be completed after the helicopter tests. 

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

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