SpaceX has tested a prototype of an unscrewed Mars ship known as SN5, which is part of Starship spacecraft.
Following the commercial model, a rapidly reusable space launch vehicle could reduce the cost of travelling to space by a hundredfold.
Designed by SpaceX, Starship is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket meant to act as a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
SpaceX has described Starship as “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle” with an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.
Starship has been under development since 2012 and is a part of Space X’s central mission to make interplanetary travel accessible and affordable and to become the first private company to do so.
Therefore, the company is working on building a fleet of reusable launch vehicles, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.
Once functional, the Starship spacecraft will enter Mars’ atmosphere at a speed of 7.5 km per second and will be designed to withstand multiple entries.
SpaceX is planning its first cargo mission to the red planet by 2022 and by 2024, the company wants to fly four ships including two cargo and two crewed ones to Mars.
Starship can deliver satellites further and at lower marginal costs than SpaceX’s Falcon vehicles and it can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
Once developed, Starship is also expected to help carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon, for human spaceflight development and research.
Beyond the Moon, the spacecraft is being designed for carrying crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.