On Tuesday, the SpaceX spacecraft destined to transport space colonists to Mars became a victim of strong winds at Boca Chica, Texas. According to Elon Musk, the mooring holding the vessel down broke once the wind gained speeds of 50 mph. The SpaceX Starship has incurred severe damage and will require weeks for its repair.
Lucky for SpaceX, the propellant tanks didn’t take any damage. The Starship has been designed to be launched as a payload from Super Heavy – a large rocket booster. The damaged vessel had been named ‘test hopper’ by Musk. It is smaller than what the finished product will be. The final version of the Starship is also expected to make its debut with a more durable skin crafted from stainless steel allow that can take the harsh conditions of deep space.
Many will argue if making use of stainless steel is the right choice. However, as we have learned via Musk, not only the allow won’t, but buckle will also ‘withstand extreme temperatures, and use water or fuel as the first-ever regenerative heat shield.’ In one of his tweets, Musk has also said that the Raptor engines for the prototypes have been redesigned using materials from SpaceX’s ‘superalloy foundry.’
The prototype Starship was slated to begin testing soon, but the timeline will most probably be stretched now owing to the repair work that is required. Starship is a crucial part of the Musk’s plan of becoming an ‘interplanetary species.’ In an interview with Axios, Musk said, ‘Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than on Earth. It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space.’
Another recent announcement made by the company is that it will be cutting 10% of its 6,000-workforce. The company has explained this decision by saying, ‘To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company. Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations. This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team. We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX’s mission. This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary.’