SpaceX sent a spacecraft called the Starship on a trip to Mars in 2020. This spacecraft was able to carry up to 100 people and is expected to change the way we explore space. With this new technology, we’ll be able to travel farther and faster than ever before!
Casey Handmer and his experience as an employee at NASA
Handmer has had a lifelong interest in space, which led him to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. He has worked on many different projects at NASA, including the development of the Orion spacecraft.
It is made of stainless steel and carbon fiber, and it is powered by six Raptor engines. Casey Handmer is very impressed with the design and engineering of the Starship, and he believes that it has the potential to change the course of human history.
“This is by far the most ambitious project we’ve ever undertaken at SpaceX,” says Casey Handmer, director of engineering for the Starship project. “It’s an all-new design, and we’re really pushing the envelope in terms of what’s possible with space transportation.”
The Starship project is SpaceX’s latest endeavor to develop a fully reusable launch system that can take people and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The project has been underway for several years, and Handmer says they are making good progress.
“We’re making great progress on the development of Starship,” he says. “It’s a very complex vehicle, and there’s a lot of work still to do, but we’re making good progress and learning a lot.”
One of the biggest challenges with the project is designing a launch system that is both safe and reliable.
“Safety is our top priority, and we’re taking a very cautious and methodical approach to developing this new launch system,” Handmer says. “We want to make sure that it meets all of our safety requirements before we start flying it.”
The spacecraft’s first orbital test could occur as soon as next month, if regulatory approval doesn’t end up dragging on. While his blog post’s tone ranges from reserved enthusiasm to full-on SpaceX fanboyism, the NASA engineer makes an important point: NASA isn’t ready for Starship.
“Starship matters,” Handmer writes. “It’s not just a really big rocket, like any other rocket on steroids. It’s a continuing and dedicated attempt to achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of rocketry, a fully and rapidly reusable orbital class rocket that can be mass manufactured.”
He was also somewhat excoriating toward his employer, predicting that Starship is going to render many of the agency’s grand ambitions moot.
“Artemis will continue to limp awkwardly on with occasional half-hearted press releases, Eric Berger scoops, and middling budgets,” he wrote. “At some point Starship will demonstrate an automated Lunar landing and return with a few tonnes of Moon rocks and either NASA will have branding rights, or they won’t.”
The NASA employee argues that Starship operates on a completely different level than any rocket coming before it.
“It is time to raise the scope of our ambition and think much bigger,” Handmer argues.
For instance, he says, thanks to its tremendous capacity, a 1000-person base could be constructed on the surface of the Moon.
“We probably won’t, but we could,” Handmer writes.
He even goes on to argue that NASA’s Artemis program, with the goal of returning astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo missions, isn’t designed to fully take advantage of what Starship has to offer.
That’s because “Starship is still not understood at the organizational level,” Handmer argues.
NASA selected SpaceX as the sole winner of its Human Landing Systems program, awarding the Elon Musk-led company a $2.9 billion contract earlier this year that tasked the company with building a lunar variant of Starship.
The space agency is requiring Starship to deliver astronauts to the lunar surface and as soon as 2024 — but that’s only scratching the surface of what the launch system can do.
“NASA is in the midst of the biggest opportunity since its founding in 1958,” he concludes. “We could have every NASA center churning out world-building machines by the truckload, building critical infrastructure that forms the backbone of humanity’s leap to a multiplanetary civilization.”
In all, Starship could represent a tectonic shift in space exploration to Handmer.
“It may take a year or three,” he wrote, “but Starship will happen and it will change everything.”
Learn more at futurism.com.