The Starship system is a fully reusable, two‑stage‑to‑orbit super heavy‑lift launch vehicle under development by SpaceX.
- Type : Fully reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle.
- Origin : United states.
- Manufacturer: SpaceX.
- In service : Currently in development.
- Mass : 5,000 t (11,000,000 lb), estimate incl. max. payload.
- Length/Height : 120 m (390 ft).
- Diameter : 9 m (30 ft).
- Payload to LEO : 100–150 t (220,000–330,000 lb).
- Payload to GTO : 21 t (46,000 lb) or 100 t (220,000 lb) with refueling.
- Payload to the Moon : 100 t- 200 t with refueling.
- Payload to Mars : 100 t -150 t with refueling.
- Propellant: Subcooled CH4 / LOX.
- Engines: First stage(Super Heavy): 29–32 Raptor engines with thrust of 74 MN (7,500 tf; 17,000,000 lbf). Upper stage (Starship) : 6 Raptor engines with thrust of 4 MN (1,400 tf; 3,100,000 lbf).
The Starship system is a fully reusable, two‑stage‑to‑orbit super heavy‑lift launch vehicle under development by SpaceX. The system is composed of a booster stage named Super Heavy and a second stage, also called "Starship". Unusual for a traditional launch vehicle second stage, the Starship second stage is being designed to be a long‑duration cargo and passenger‑carrying spacecraft.
Starship vehicle development began in 2016 as a self‑funded private spaceflight project, four years after work began on the Raptor engine that powers it. Testing of the Starship second stage began in 2019 as part of an extensive development program to prove out launch‑and‑landing and iterate on a variety of design details, particularly for the vehicle's atmospheric re-entry. Three early prototypes did low‑altitude, low‑velocity flight tests of vertical launches and landings in 2019 and 2020. Following these tests, Starship prototypes SN8 through SN11 successfully demonstrated most of the atmospheric re‑entry profile in a series of high-altitude test flights, but none managed to land and be recovered. On 5 May 2021, Starship SN15 became the first prototype to successfully complete a high-altitude test flight and be recovered. As of June 2021, SpaceX is planning an orbital test flight of Starship no earlier than August 2021.
The Starship system is designed to carry passengers and cargo to destinations including low Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars. It is an integral part of SpaceX's mission to establish a permanent human presence on Mars. Both the Starship upper stage and the Super Heavy booster stage are constructed with a stainless steel hull 9 m (30 ft) in diameter.
In April 2020, NASA selected a modified Starship system as one of three potential lunar landing system design concepts to receive funding for a 10‑month‑long initial design phase for the NASA Artemis program. On 16 April 2021, NASA contracted SpaceX to develop a modified crew-rated Starship vehicle to serve as the lunar lander in the Artemis program, although the contract is on hold.