On September 27, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk spoke at the IAC conference with a report on the company’s plans to colonize Mars. One of its main moments was the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) – an interplanetary transport system that will be used to deliver the first colonists to the Red Planet.
According to the ITS promoter, the rocket with the spacecraft is first put into orbit, and then it is separated from the spacecraft and returns to Earth. A spacecraft refueling takes place in orbit, and then it opens up solar panels that generate 200 kilowatts of power and begins to move toward Mars.
According to previous statements, the plans of Elon Musk are to send humans to Mars until 2024. According to the updated schedule, the first expeditions will begin in late 2022.
The first missions to the Red Planet will begin to be realized from 2018, for example, the dumping of supplies and other supplies for the survival of the first colonists. Each Dragon ship will be able to “take” 2-3 tons of payload.At the conference, Musk explained the reason for flying to Mars in two things: the development of the human race as interplanetary travelers, and the remote possibility of the disappearance of all life on Earth. Another planet closest to Earth – Venus – has a too unfriendly atmosphere, like an “acid bath”: “Venus is not at all like a [eponymous] goddess,” the SpaceX head explained.
Since Mars is farther from the Sun than the Earth, it is somewhat colder — however, the planet can be “warmed up” with the help of geothermal changes and form on it a fairly friendly atmosphere for growing plants. In the past, Musk has already said that Mars can be heated, for example, with the help of thermonuclear bombs.
According to Musk, now the cost of traveling to Mars per person is 10 billion dollars. In the event that it can be reduced to the price of a house in the US, many will be able to start resettlement on the Red Planet. This will require the use of fully renewable means, the right (efficient) fuel that can be produced directly on Mars, as well as refueling ships in orbit (and not spending money on delivering fuel to orbit every time you send a new ship).
For example, kerosene on Mars cannot be produced due to the absence of oil on the planet. However, liquid methane is possible, and in almost all respects it is suitable for effective cost reduction, the SpaceX head believes.
According to Musk, the ITS video simulation is the result of the work not of artists, but of engineers: it reflects exactly what SpaceX is trying to achieve, and practically future ships will be identical to what is shown in the video.
SpaceX lays the greatest number of re-uses in a launch vehicle for launching a ship into orbit – 1000 times. The tanker for refueling is planned to be used about 100 times, and the ship itself – 12-15 times. On it, the colonists will send cargo from Mars to Earth or fly away themselves.
According to calculations, about 100 people are placed in one ship. The launch vehicle that will be used to put the spacecraft into orbit will have a mass of 3.5 times the weight of the Saturn-5 , the most powerful rocket in the world , with which the first man landing on the moon was made.
On planets with weak gravitational attraction – for example, the Moon or Mars – the launch vehicle is not needed to enter orbit: the ship itself can cope with this task. There are 42 engines built into the rocket (it may lose some of them and continue to move anyway), and nine in the ship.
One trip to Mars, depending on the year in which the flights will take place, will take from 90 to 150 days. According to Musk, in the course of the flight, the crew of the ship should have fun – in the compartment you can enjoy zero gravity, watch movies, hold lectures or relax in a restaurant.
If a person takes with him less than a ton of payload, his flight will cost less than 200 thousand dollars, according to Musk.
Musk did not mention the exact income structure that will be used to finance the program. In his opinion, this can be used as SpaceX profits from the launch of satellites and cargo delivery to the ISS, as well as voluntary donations to the project through Kickstarter.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]According to Musk, it will take at least 40 years to create a fully autonomous civilization on Mars.[/perfectpullquote]
Musk noted that technologies do not develop on their own, but only when the mind of engineers is applied to a specific task to solve it. In the history of mankind, there were already examples when technologies developed to a certain level, and then rolled back, and the last such example is the situation with the lunar program.
In addition to the Martian program, new ships can be used to move around the Earth – according to Musk, with them you can move to any point of the planet for 45 minutes. In addition, Musk plans to install “refueling” for spacecraft on other planets – this will allow you to travel to any point in the solar system.
According to Musk, he himself will fly to Mars too – when he can decide what happens to the company if he dies for any reason and SpaceX investors are left alone with the problem of profit maximization will have a very high probability of death, but I also want to see how my children grow up. ”
The first ship to go to Mars, Musk plans to call Heart of Gold – by analogy with the spacecraft from the novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: “I think our first flight will also be infinite incredibility.
Even before performing on stage, Musk revealed some details of ITS in his microblog. The diameter of the launch vehicle will be 12 meters, the ship – 17 meters, and the total height of the rocket together with the ship on the launch pad – 122 meters.
In the spacecraft, which Musk calls the BFS (Big Fucking Spaceship), and the rocket for delivering cargo (BFR, Big Fucking Rocket) will be used Raptor engines. Raptor consumes liquid methane, not kerosene, as a fuel. It is comparable in power to that used in Space Shuttle ships (they were used from the 70s to move large loads from Earth to orbit and back) and with another methane engine , BE-4 from Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.
September 26, SpaceX successfully completed the first Raptor test. How many of these engines will be used in a rocket and spacecraft is unknown.