main differences between NASA and SpaceX heavy launch vehicles

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[EN VIDÉO] SLS, the most powerful launcher in the world
Video presentation of the future most powerful launch vehicle in the world, developed by NASA for the Artemis lunar program.

Today NASA and SpaceX each of them is developing a heavy launcher capable of sending people to moon and on Mars. FROM Space launch system (SLS) built by Boeing, NASA is acquiring a launcher for its future manned exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroid. It will also be used to send probes to the planet’s most distant worlds. solar system. Finally, it can be used to send tens of tons of infrastructure into low orbit. As part of the Artemis Returns to the Moon program, it will be used to launch Orion capsule. This future launcher will use two thrusters rocket booster solid directly derived from Solid rocket booster (SRB) Space Shuttle. The only difference is if boosters are for spaceship there were four booster segments, the SLS will have five. With a height of 54 meters, they will be the tallest launch vehicles ever built.

As for SpaceX, it is developing a giant launch vehicle starship whose main goal is to send hundreds of people to Mars to colonize Red Planet. Recall that “starship” refers to the space vehicle and upper stage of the launch vehicle. Main floor, t. booster needed to launch a starship is called a “Super Heavy”. This future “universal” and reusable transport system should, as soon as it is put into service, replace the entire existing spectrum in a very short time. jugs and cargo and manned transportation systems from SpaceX. I.e Falcon Heavy And Falcon 9used to launch satellites, refuel international space station and crew rotation. This launch vehicle will also be used for commercial missions to the Moon, and NASA plans to use it to land its satellites. astronauts on the moon.

And yes, unlike the SLS, Starship is a fully reusable transportation system capable of landing on the Moon or Mars. Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy only partially, because only the first floor has been restored. The upper stage of each launcher is lost on every launch.

Installed on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.The SLS is preparing for a series of tests due to the fact that its first flight may take place in June or July, although NASA does not rule out a launch as early as May. This Artemis I mission will consist of an unmanned test flight around the Moon on a trajectory similar to that of the mission. Apollo 8 using the force of gravity moon to earn speed and move nearly 70,000 kilometers beyond the Moon, nearly half a million kilometers from Earth—farther than any human has ever travelled. On your way back Orion will fulfill overview from the Moon before returning to Earth. The mission will last approximately 20 days and end with a dive into the Pacific Ocean.

Roller coaster around the moon and flying from point to point

Relatively SpaceX spacecraft, the date of the first flight is also very uncertain. In the latest news Elon Musk predicted this in the month of May. Unlike the SLS Moon Roller Coaster, Starship’s first flight will be less ambitious. This is the so-called point-to-point flight, a flight in space, the purpose of which is to connect Texas witharchipelago Hawaii without reaching a full orbit around the Earth.

In terms of performance, SLS will be available in three versions with varying bandwidth depending on the version. Block 1 version, the only one in development, will be used to launch the first three Artemis missions. This version will have a payload capacity of 95 tons in low orbit and 27 tons for lunar missions. With the Block 1B version, the payload capacity is increased to 105 tons in low orbit and 42 tons on the Moon. The block 2 version is expected to launch 130 tons into low orbit and 46 tons for lunar missions. As for Starship, it will be able to send more than 100 tons to low orbit and 21 tons to geostationary transfer orbit. But, and this is the peculiarity of the Starship, if it is refueled in orbit, its characteristics increase significantly and go from 100 to 150 tons, heading, for example, to the Moon or Mars.

No wonder the SLS won’t be cheap, but not at all. In 2019 Ars-Technique it is estimated that the launch cost could be over $2 billion. rocket once a year. In March 2022, a study concluded that it could cost twice as much, up to $4.1 billion. On the other hand, Starship will obviously be cheaper, but certainly not as cheap as Elon Musk says, who estimates its cost at just $2 million at “cruising speed” due to the efficiency savings that come from reusing.

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