Elon Musk named the condition for a flight to the moon
It may take up to 16 launches.
Astronauts can spend six months in orbit waiting for a full refuel to land on the Moon, Chronicle.info reports with reference to Focus.
The NASA Saturn V rocket, for flights to the moon, absorbed 20 tons of fuel per second, working a total of 2 minutes.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is also going to get people to the moon with his Starship launch vehicle, but this time with refueling in space. SpaceX recently said it could take up to 16 launches to reach the Moon.
True, the head of the company was quick to soften the blow, writing that in fact it will take fewer launches.
& # 171; It is highly unlikely that 16 launches will be needed. The Starship's payload into orbit is about 150 tons, meaning a maximum of 8 launches would be required to fill Starship's 1200-ton tanks to the moon. Without the flaps and heat shield, Starship is much lighter. Lunar landing legs also don't add too much weight. So it might only take 4 flights to refuel & # 187 ;, Musk replied on Twitter.
And even if all 16 launches were needed, Musk said, this is not a problem.
& # 171; However, even if it is 16 flights with a connection, it is not a problem. SpaceX completed more than 16 orbital flights in the first half of 2021 and docked with the ISS more than 20 times, which is much more difficult than docking with our own spacecraft & # 187; – emphasized the head of SpaceX.
But the launch of Starship and its giant super-heavy rocket stage is much more serious than the launch of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9, and even the more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket.
This raises another key question: Does Musk mean that astronauts you will have to wait six months in orbit for a full refueling to go to the moon.
Other difficulties also arise. First, the first stage of the Falcon 9 includes only nine Merlin engines. The Super Heavy rocket, which will only be used as a first stage for takeoff from Earth, will use 29 much more powerful Raptor engines.
SpaceX recently installed a Starship prototype in the super-heavy rocket stage for the first time ahead of the launch vehicle's maiden flight. … If everything goes smoothly, Starship will enter orbit by the end of the summer.
Only then can SpaceX overcome the next obstacle: refueling in space with the participation of two Starships. According to Musk's idea, refueling on the lunar surface will not be required if it is carried out using refueling depots in Earth orbit before flying to the satellite. Whether it succeeds or not, SpaceX will only understand the field of launching two Starships into orbit.