Rocket test vs Airline travel
SpaceX is moving ahead with building the first booster rocket test prototype of Starship’s next-gen launch transport system. The company’s chief executive officer, Mr Elon Musk, hinted that his company might conduct another highly-anticipated test of the platform. Starship’s goal is to conduct missions to Mars. But SpaceX also plans to use it in other areas such as flights on Earth. These flights are planned to take place at eye-popping speeds of up to 18,000 miles per hour, as SpaceX plans for its rocket to escape the Earth’s atmosphere and then use associated benefits to travel faster than traditional aeroplanes.
Now, courtesy of an interesting comment made by the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Mr Elon Musk on Thursday, we might be nearing the world’s first test flight of a hypersonic rocket designed for travelling on Earth.
Rocket test plans
Moreover, these rockets have a payload capacity of 100 tons. They are capable of reaching any point on the planet within an hour. Starship user guide shows that the vehicle can deliver 100 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). SpaceX’s plans also revealed that its vehicle, BFR (Big Fat Rocket), can conduct long-distance flights in less than 30 minutes. The longest of these flights shared by SpaceX is a trip from Hong Kong to London. The company’s rocket can travel the distance of nearly 10,000 km in just 35 minutes.
Firstly, a hypersonic flight test, involves travelling at speeds exceeding 3,000 miles per hour. Secondly, SpaceX estimates that Starship can travel 10,000 kilometres (~6,213 miles) in half an hour. Thirdly, this implies that the rocket can theoretically reach a speed of 12,000 miles per hour.
This speed is well within the range of what SpaceX believes Starship can travel at. Lastly, video shared by the company in 2017 said that Starship can reach 27,000 kmph.
However it’s unlikely that SpaceX will risk full set of engines to check Starship’s top speed of 27,000 kmph in first test. The cost and time requirements of manufacturing highly complex engines is high.