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Nasa’s moon mission progress will be judged by Elon Musk’s Starship flight.

Since 1972, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has been an important part of Nasa’s plan to land people on the moon. The project is set to begin in late 2024.

A tech billionaire said, “SpaceX plans to launch its huge Starship mega-rocket system in April. It will be the world’s most powerful rocket, able to carry cargo and people to the moon, Mars, and other places.”

The rocket is made up of a spaceship and a booster called “Super Heavy,” which SpaceX has already tried and found to work well.

Nasa gave the private space company a $2.9 billion contract in 2021 to help it land the Starship and its crew on the moon. Its launch will be a big part of whether or not NASA’s plan to land on the moon succeeds.

The launch of the much-anticipated Starship will show whether or not NASA will bet on the company. SpaceX’s starship was also part of the $1.2bn deal for the Artemis IV mission, which was signed in November of last year.

In an interview with Business Insider, Brendan Rosseau, a teaching fellow of space economy at Harvard Business School, said, “It will be a test flight for the company’s space vehicle, and it will also be a test of NASA’s gamble to include commercial actors in the heart of their development process.”

He also said, “The plans for the Starship and all these other parts are woven into Artemis.”

NASA is counting on Starship to get them to the moon.
Like other Nasa trips, its ships won’t take astronauts to the moon.

The astronauts will be sent into the moon’s orbit on Nasa’s Orion spacecraft, which will be connected to the top of Nasa’s new Space Launch System (SLS). The Starship will be sent into space separately and help the people land on the moon.

After the mission is over, the scientists will be taken to the Orion by the Starship before they head back to Earth.

He said, in reference to NASA’s reliance on a California company, “I think it shows that NASA has faith in SpaceX’s ability to get Starship up and running by then. Even though we haven’t even put the system through a full orbital flight test yet, it’s pretty amazing.”

Nasa hopes that SpaceX will do well.
During the conversation, he said that SpaceX’s success was part of NASA’s plan to involve private companies in its future missions.

Rosseau said that NASA changed how it did things after the shuttle program stopped in 2011. Instead of putting all of its effort into making a rocket from start to finish, the agency started putting more money into private companies that could handle development while competing for lower prices and better efficiency, he said.

NASA took risks that led to the creation of businesses like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others. He pointed out that Nasa is the only reason they are still in business today.

In addition to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Nasa has contracts with 14 other private companies to carry different payloads for its moon journey.

Starship is trying to save money by
Elon Musk had said that each launch would cost less than $10 million in a few years. Even though no one knows how much Starship is expected to cost. Musk’s company is also trying to make spaceships useful.

The teaching fellow said, “It could make a huge difference in how much we can put up in space and why, and how much it costs.”

On the other hand, Nasa’s SLS program has cost taxpayers $50 billion since it started in 2006, six years after its original start date in 2016.

NASA builds the SLS for each launch, so each one costs more than $4 billion. Because of the prices, SpaceX is a good company to do business with.

Rosseau said that NASA’s mega-rocket, SLS, was a bit of an outlier in its big move toward commercial partnerships. This was in reaction to NASA’s insistence on SLS.

Even though it has been criticized, he said that SLS is likely to stay NASA’s main spacecraft, at least for the Artemis trips. He said that it was made to do this job.

Starships rely on

But Greg Autry, a visiting professor at Imperial College London’s Institute for Security, Science, and Technology, says, “We must have more than one way to get on and off the moon.”

He thought that there were a lot of problems to solve before it could make its first orbital flight. These problems include refueling the lander in orbit, putting life-support equipment on the ship, and getting the dust-reduction plan for landing on the moon just right.

He said that in addition to Starship, NASA needs to make sure it has a backup for “mission assurance, system redundancy, and eventually to guarantee economic competition.”