Why Elon Musk's Starship launch really matters NASA

The launch of Starship is of great interest to the United States and above all to NASA

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Why Elon Musk's Starship launch really matters NASA

The launch of Starship is of great interest to the United States and above all to NASA, which has bet on the rocket as an elevator to go down to the moon and back up again. The plan, in fact, is that astronauts can return to Earth's satellite by 2026, with a woman and "the first person of color" who will land on the lunar surface 53 years after Apollo.

By 2025, therefore SpaceX will have to demonstrate the reliability of its spacecraft, the ability to refuel in orbit from a twin tank loaded with fuel, to descend and ascend from the lunar surface and to be able to dock with the Orion for the transshipment of astronauts.

Starship is certainly the most powerful space rocket active at the moment and has an exaggerated usable volume. With over 1000 cubic meters, in fact, it can carry dozens of astronauts and the goal would be precisely to send 100 people to Mars.

The launch that should have taken place on April 17 had to follow a precise flight schedule. After detaching from the super booster 170 seconds after take-off, with the rocket expected to travel approximately 30 kilometers before landing off the coast of Texas, Starship will continue its journey by flying over the Atlantic, Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific before landing 100 kilometers northwest of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

This week, however, a warning was indicated in the Gulf of Mexico for Hazardous operations in view of a Rocket launch and Space debris. That is, launching and landing a rocket. Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket which aims to bring man back to the Moon and, in the future, to colonize Mars, had initially scheduled the launch for Monday 17 April 2023.

But the launch was first postponed by a few minute and then definitively cancelled, but with a warning window open until April 21st. The launch of the Starship rocket should have taken place on the morning of the 17th, only to be postponed until about an hour later.

At the stroke of the established hour, however, the countdown at the Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, stopped. Elon Musk, who updated his followers on the status of the launch on Twitter, explained what happened. First it was explained that the launch was postponed due to a frozen pressurized valve, then the stop and postponement announced by SpaceX: "Flight test postponed, the team is working on the next available opportunity." Musk then commented: "We learned a lot from today, launching within a few days."