Starship Launchpad problem in Mars

The Starship is SpaceX’s fully-reusable, super heavy-lift launch vehicle. It is one of the biggest rocket in history. It is under development since 2012 and recently has conducted its first test to prepare it for launch. Starship is being built in Boca Chica, Texas.

A flight of SN8, a prototype, took place on 9 December 2020 to an altitude of 12.5 km. The prototype successfully completed various test manoeuvres, but due to lower pressure in the methane header tank, the deceleration was not enough resulting in an explosion.

The sound produced by a rocket launch can be extremely damaging to the rocket and launchpad. The shock wave is created by hot gases which exceeds the speed of sound and collides with air creating a massive shock wave. Sound suppression systems like spraying water beneath the launchpad can be used, but the goal of Starship is inter-planetary travel, and you won’t find any launch pad in the surface of other planets.

So, Starship will use other techniques for landing. The goal of Starship is to reduce to amount of damage in the rocket itself. The Lunar version of Starship will have engines at least 40 meters higher, which will ignite during landing. This configuration will reduce the amount of debris in the lunar surface. While this is okay in the lunar surface, the gravity of mars is higher than the moon so the method used in the moon would be difficult. Therefore Starship needs a similar technique like that of falcon rockets. The engine bay will be shielded to avoid the debris while landing on the Martian surface.

Starship has already demonstrated a controlled aerodynamic descent and landing flip manoeuvre. This will enable landing of the vehicle, where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist, including the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

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