SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Says Gigantic Starship To Get Even Taller With 3x More Thrust Than Saturn V

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Monday said the next version of its Starship launch vehicle will have about three times the thrust of the retired Saturn V.

What Happened: Starship is touted as the world’s most powerful launch vehicle, standing 121 meters tall and weighing approximately 5,000 tonnes. It also stands taller than NASA’s retired Saturn V which was 111 metres tall.

The next version of the Starship, Musk said, will be about 15 meters longer and have about three times the thrust of Saturn V.

Musk had previously pegged the thrust of the Starship at more than double the Saturn V.

Why It Matters: The Saturn V was used in the Apollo programs in the 1960s and 1970s, weighed 6.2 million pounds, and generated 34.5 million newtons (7.6 million pounds) of thrust at launch. As of today, the Saturn V remains the only launch vehicle to have carried humans beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).

NASA is currently relying on the success of Starship to land humans back on the moon as part of its Artemis program. The last crewed lunar mission occurred in 1972 with Apollo 17. Since then, no crew has traveled beyond low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX is presently perfecting the Starship. The vehicle’s next and fourth test launch is expected on June 5.

During Starship's previous flight test on March 14, the spacecraft lost contact and broke apart while re-entering the atmosphere instead of splashing down in the Indian Ocean as planned.

For the upcoming test, the company aims to achieve a soft splashdown of the Super Heavy booster in the Gulf of Mexico and a controlled re-entry and splashdown of the Starship in the Indian Ocean. 

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Image: Created with artificial intelligence on MidJourney and Official SpaceX Photos on Flickr

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