Key differences between NASA and SpaceX heavy launchers

À gauche, le SLS de la Nasa, construit par Boeing et, à droite, le Starship de SpaceX. © Nasa, SpaceX

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[EN VIDÉO] SLS, the most powerful launcher in the world
Video presentation of the world’s most powerful launcher created by NASA for the Artemis lunar project.

Today, NASA and SpaceX Each builds a heavy missile capable of sending humans நிலா And on Mars. With Space launch system (SLS), built by Boeing, NASA receives a launcher for the Moon, Mars and a future human exploration mission. Asteroid. It will also be used to send explorations around distant worlds The Solar System. Finally, it can be used to send ten tons of infrastructure into low orbit. Used to launch the Artemis Return to the Moon program Orion Capsule. This future launcher will use two Motivations Driving force catalyst Solid Retrieved directly Solid rocket booster (SRB) space flight. The only difference, if boosters Spacecraft The booster had four sections, while the SLS had five sections. With a height of 54 meters, they will be the tallest boosters ever built.

As for SpaceX, it makes for a giant launcher Starship Its main purpose is to send hundreds of humans to settle on Mars The red planet. As a reminder, “starship” refers to the spacecraft and the upper level of the launcher. Main site, viz Stimulant What is needed to launch a starship is called “super heavy”. This future “all-purpose” and reusable transportation system will have to change the entire current range, in the shortest possible time, once it comes into service. Initiators And freight and manned transport systems from SpaceX. I.e. The Falcon Heavy And this Hawk 9Used to launch satellites and refuel International Space Station And group rotation. The launcher will also be used for business missions to the moon and NASA plans to use it to land. Astronauts In the moon.

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Yes, unlike SLS, Starship is a fully reusable transportation system capable of landing on the Moon or Mars. Balkan 9 and The Falcon Heavy Only partially because the main site was restored. The top level of each launcher is lost on each launch.

Established at its Kennedy Space Center launch pad, SLS is preparing for a series of tests, considering that its first flight may take place in June or July, although NASA has not ruled out launching in early May. The mission, Artemis I, will have an unmanned test flight around the moon, similar to the orbit. Apollo 8, using Gravity Moon to earn Speed About 70,000 kilometers beyond the moon, about half a million kilometers from Earth – a distance that no human has ever traveled. On his return journey, Orion Performing a Overview From the moon before returning to Earth. The mission will take about 20 days and will conclude with a swim in the Pacific Ocean.

A roller coaster and a point-to-point flight around the moon

As SpaceX Starship, The date of the first flight is also very uncertain. In the last message, Elon Musk Predicted in May. Unlike the SLS Moon roller coaster, Starship’s first flight will be less ambitious. This is called a point-to-point flight, which aims to connect Texas to space.Archipelago Hawaii, without reaching a full orbit around the Earth.

On the performance side, SLS is available in three versions with different transport capabilities depending on the version. The Black 1 version, the only version in development, will be used to launch the first three Artemis missions. This version will have a capacity of 95 tons in low orbit and 27 tons for lunar missions. In version 1B, the capacity is increased to 105 tons in low orbit and 42 tons sent to the moon. The Black 2 version is expected to orbit at 130 tons and send 46 tons to the moon. As for the starship, it will be capable of sending more than 100 tons into low orbit and 21 tons into geostationary orbit. But, this is the specialty of the spacecraft, when it is refueled, it significantly increases its efficiency and goes from 100 to 150 tons to the moon or Mars.

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Surprisingly, SLS may not be cheap, but not later. In 2019, Ars-Technica It is estimated to cost more than $ 2 billion to start Rocket Once a year. In March 2022, a study concluded that it would cost twice as much, up to $ 4.1 billion. Starship, on the other hand, is obviously cheap, but certainly not as cheap as Elon Musk says, he estimates its cost to be only $ 2 million at “travel speed”, thanks to the capacity savings that come from reuse.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

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