SpaceX Principal Mars Development Engineer Paul Wooster talked about SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy (BFR) at Mars Society Convention 2019. Paul described the impact of full reusability for the Super Heavy Starship to lower costs. He also described the in-orbit refueling to get large payloads to Mars, the Moon and other destinations.
Paul confirmed that early Starships will remain on Mars.
A prime focus on the iterations of Starship is to reduce the weight of construction and to enable payloads for real missions. Each new version of the Starship will reduce the construction time, lower costs and reduce the weight.
The target is to have an unmanned Super Heavy Starship mission to Mars in 2022 and for a manned mission in 2024.
Mass cures a lot of sins. Existing technology can be used for Mars missions when you are able to bring 100 to 150 tons to Mars.
SpaceX is ramping up mass production of the new ceramic heat shield.
SpaceX believes the ceramic heat shield and metal body will enable rapid reuse of the vehicles.
SpaceX Raptor engine development is also advancing. They have built twelve Raptor engines so far. They have throttled up to 105% power in tests.
Raptor engines have less soot, which reduces maintenance costs and time.
They are using autogenous pressurization. They recycle some of the oxygen and methane to keep pressure instead of using helium. This helps to eliminate the helium tank and parts.
Helium is expensive and there is no helium on Mars.
They will limit the Mars re-entry to 5Gs while still having a fast transit time. 5Gs is the NASA limit for a de-conditioned crew. Nextbigfuture notes that if the travel to Mars had rotating Starships tethered together for simulated gravity, then the crew would not be de-conditioned. This would enable faster transit and higher G re-entry.
Starship Mark 4 Cylinder Segments Have Been Built
There will be static fire tests in weeks for the Mark 4. They will build a lot and test a lot.
Highlights of the Wooster Talk by What About It?
NASA Moxie Mission
Human explorers need about 33 to 50 tons (30 to 45 metric tons) of fuel, about the weight of a Space Shuttle.
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment is better known as MOXIE. NASA is preparing for human exploration of Mars, and MOXIE will demonstrate a way that future explorers might produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere for propellant and for breathing. MOXIE is a 1% scale model aboard the planned Mars 2020 rover. MOXIE will launch June 2020.
Mars 2020 rover will launch August 2020.
SOURCES- Mars Society, SpaceX, Paul Wooster, What About It?, Space News Pods
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com