The Biggest Rocket In History

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Article

The SpaceX Starship has launched its second orbital test flight.

Which means that America now  is about to have two mega-rockets, two of the biggest rockets ever to take to the skies.  One is SpaceX’s Starship.  The other is NASA’s Artemis Moon Rocket.


How do the two stack up against each other?

The Artemis Moon Rocket’s engines generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust. Utterly phenomenal. But the Starship’s engines generate nearly twice as much–17 million pounds. In fact, the Starship’s engines generate twice as much thrust as any rocket humans have ever flown.

But that’s just the beginning.

The Artemis Moon Rocket carries four passengers.  The Starship will carry 100.

And the Artemis Moon Rocket costs $4.1 billion to launch.  SpaceX is hoping to bring its Starship down to $2 million per launch.

That means:

·        for the price of one Artemis Moon Rocket launch, you could launch 2,000 Starships

·        for the price of one Artemis Moon Rocket launch carrying four passengers to the moon, you could launch 200,000 passengers to the moon or Mars on the Starship.

There’s more.

  • The Artemis Moon Rocket’s Orion capsule can only circle the moon, orbit it, and allow its astronauts to look down with envy at the surface they can’t reach.  The surface on which the Chinese and Russians plan to build a base by 2028.
  • The Starship can be used as a lunar base.  It’s designed to carry its 100 passengers in cruise-liner luxury.  It can eliminate the cost of building the smaller, as-yet-undesigned lunar bases NASA  has talked about.
  • Artemis will land only two astronauts on the moon. On their way, the hapless astronauts will have to transfer to a structure in lunar orbit that hasn’t been built, a tiny space station circling the moon–the Lunar Gateway.  Then they will have another transfer, boarding guess what vehicle to land on the moon’s surface?  A SpaceX Starship.
  • The Starship can take 100 passengers on a flight from earth to the moon, land them there, and house them.  Then the Starship can bring its 100 passengers back home.  Something the Artemis Moon Rocket can’t come anywhere near.
  • The Starship has approximately the same interior space as the International Space Station.  Put one Starship in orbit, and you have a brand new, roomy American space station.

If you were given a choice, which rocket would you pick?