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NASA Is Formally Interested In The SpaceX Starship

By Keith Cowing
August 6, 2019
Filed under
NASA Is Formally Interested In The SpaceX Starship

NASA Announces US Industry Partnerships to Advance Moon, Mars Technology
“SpaceX will work with Glenn and Marshall to advance technology needed to transfer propellant in orbit, an important step in the development of the company’s Starship space vehicle.”
Draft NASA Environmental Assessment for the SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Launch Vehicle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
“Purpose and Need: NASA’s purpose and need for the Proposed Action is to develop and implement formal agreements with SpaceX for use of NASA assets and to provide services and commodities to enable Starship/Super Heavy launches. Commercial use of KSC real property supports NASA’s mandate to encourage the fullest commercial use of space, supports the goals of the National Aeronautics and Space Act, and advances the National Space Policy that federal agencies shall ensure that U.S. Government space technology and infrastructure is made available for commercial use on a reimbursable, noninterference, and equitable basis. The need for the Proposed Action also aligns with NASA’s Space Act Agreement and the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s mission, which is to support the U.S. goal of encouraging activities by the private sector to strengthen and expand U.S. space transportation infrastructure. Additionally, the Proposed Action will support NASA in its continued mission to expand commercial uses of space and the space industry by facilitating SpaceX efforts to strengthen United States (U.S.) space transportation and launch infrastructure. It would also provide greater mission capability to NASA and SpaceX by continuing the development of ever evolving next generation launch vehicles and spacecraft. Additionally, the Proposed Action may support NASA in meeting the U.S. goal of near-term lunar exploration.”
“Operation – The SpaceX goal is to eventually launch Starship/Super Heavy approximately 24 times per year. As Starship/Super Heavy launches gradually increase to 24 launches per year, the number of launches of the Falcon would decrease. The Starship and Super Heavy would exceed the lift capabilities of the Falcon Heavy. Due to the higher lift capability, Starship/Super Heavy could launch more payloads and reduce the overall launch cadence when compared to Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. This would increase the cost effectiveness of the space industry. Starship/Super Heavy missions would include Lunar and Mars destinations, currently not supported by any other space vehicle, increased satellite payload missions, and human spaceflight. Missions could range from tests of the launch vehicle and ship, to cargo delivery. The manifest is incomplete at this time but would evolve as the rocket develops. There could be multiple launches in close succession required to support a single mission (i.e., Lunar Program sending multiple payloads to resupply).”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.