The Big Rocket Race
A major race is coming up in the next few weeks, a race between two rockets.
But the rocket that’s the clear winner is being hobbled by the government. It’s SpaceX’s Starship. Starship’s alleged competitor is NASA’s Artemis Moon Rocket.
NASA has been working hard to focus all the media attention on the Artemis Moon Rocket, but in reality, the Artemis can’t compare with the Starship.
· When the Artemis Moon Rocket tries to put humans in space in roughly 2024, it will loft four people at a time. When the Starship takes passengers to space in 2023 or 2024, it will be capable of carrying 100 passengers at a time. In other words, with just one Starship, you could transport the crews of 25 Artemis rockets.
· Next, there’s the financial comparison. SpaceX aims to get the cost of a Starship launch down to $2 million. A lot of money, right? But the Artemis Moon Rocket will cost $4 billion per launch. Four billion with a “b.” In other words, for the cost of just one Artemis Moon Rocket Launch, you could buy 2,000 Starship launches. Two thousand.
· Then there’s the intended launch frequency. The Artemis Moon Rocket will launch once every two years. The SpaceX Starship aims to launch three times a day.
Which means that a whole fleet of Starships could be built to go to Mars during our planet’s next approaches to Mars in 2024 and 2026.
· There’s one more killer fact. The Artemis Moon Rocket can’t land on the moon. The SpaceX Starship can land on the lunar surface, then take off again and return to earth. Which means that compared to the Starship, the Artemis Moon Rocket is not a moon rocket at all.
In other words, Starship can fill the goals of the entire Artemis program without the use of the Artemis Moon Rocket. And a Starship may even be able to get the first woman of color to the moon along with 99 companions by the original Artemis target date of 2024.
But there’s a problem. The first orbital launch of the Starship has been held up since the summer of 2022 by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has not issued permission to fly. Some suspect that the forces within Congress and the Senate who have championed the Artemis Moon Rocket since 2011 want to make sure that the Artemis flies before the Starship so it can scarf up all the headlines.
Which means that if we stop hobbling the Starship, we could open up the skies to life the way the transcontinental railroad opened the American West. SpaceX has a simple goal: a city of a million people on Mars. Giving life a second home.