Space travel has been going through big changes over the last decade. New innovations are bringing us the world's first-ever reusable space rockets, for example. This tech could save billions of dollars over time — before this, every single booster rocket could only be used once!
Meanwhile, American companies are building the country's first new human-carrying spacecraft in decades — the last really big one used by the United States was the Space Shuttle, which debuted in 1981. You could say it's about time! There are several companies working on these projects, but the one at the forefront is Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Whether it's self-driving electric trucks or Mars missions, Musk always has big plans. But SpaceX's technology has already made huge breakthroughs and helped real-life missions. Which is why his announcements get a lot of attention. That, and they're usually just really cool.
And the SpaceX Starship announced last Saturday? Yep. It's really cool...
Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond pic.twitter.com/LloN8AQdei
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019
What makes this different?
Everything in the above video is a computer simulation. But much of it is based on real-life SpaceX tech, such as the reusable, self-landing booster rocket that carries the Starship into orbit.
In the video, you may have notcied that there are two Starships that get launched. The first one arrives in Earth's orbit and waits. Then a second Starship is launched, bringing extra fuel and supplies to the first craft. Once it has everything that it needs, Starship One heads off into space...
To where exactly?
The Moon, Mars, and beyond!
The purpose of this craft to send humans to places like the Moon, Mars, and maybe beyond — and all easier than ever before. Now, before you get too excited, a journey that long in microgravity has a whole pile of complications (many of these are being studied by astronauts on the ISS all the time). And also, the recently-assembled Starship prototype is still just a prototype.
But while its first flight may not be to Mars, Musk does think that humans will be able to fly in a real Starship by next year. And if that works out, well... like we said, Musk has big plans!
He sees a future with fleets of Starships, were each one is flying three times a day, or around 1,000 times a year. In other words, kind of like how airplanes work today. In this future, humans will be flying to colonies on the Moon and Mars. Is this science fiction? Or science future?
While you all think about that, here's a computer simulation of how the Starship will fly.