Space is again working on a new prototype of its Starship rocket. The prototype is at an early stage and formerly called BFR. It can easily carry people to the planet Mars and Earth’s Moon.
Nevertheless, SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk recently makes an announcement and reveals about the new changes made to the rocket. It seems that the revision design is counterintuitive in the beginning. SpaceX has given up on the carbon and aluminum fiber, and the company is building the Starship from pure stainless steel.
SpaceX will Utilize Stainless Steel
The prototype model of the Starship rocket looks like the glorious golden age’s sci-fi rocket. SpaceX has brought the rocket to life. Elon Musk is a visionary, and this is the reason why building a Starship rocket prototype is not the ultimate goal. Elon Musk shares glimpses at the original prototype along with a render of the final product.
It is extremely easy to build a rocket out of stainless steel. SpaceX opts for a shiny steel design for its durability. In the long run, the rocket is going to be a good addition for space travel. Developing a resin strengthened carbon fiber comes with a useful attribute. It can save a lot of mass, but there is a slight problem with it. It will take SpaceX a lot of time to develop a Starship with a carbon fiber body. Around 35 percent of the used material cannot be reused in future as scraps.
Stainless steel is cost-effective which makes it cheaper than carbon fiber. The material is sort of heavy. Elon Musk comes with a brand new idea. Musk can be built lighter rockets even with stainless steel. According to Musk, the procedure is quite doable, and it will be cost effective.
To obtain perfect and durable alloys, the metals have to undergo brittle at subzero temperatures. This is not the same case with stainless steel. The material has high fracture toughness, stainless steel at the same time maintains ductility.
Why SpaceX choose Stainless Steel over other Alloys?
In simple word, stainless steel has higher fracture toughness, and this is very efficient to travel to space. Stainless steel can prevent the smallest of the structural imperfections. And the best thing about stainless steel is that it doesn’t develop cracks.
Elon Musk has long dreamt of developing a regenerative heat shield. With stainless steel, SpaceX will be able to come closer to Elon Musk’s original goal in space endeavors. A feat like this doesn’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, the Tesla CEO will replace the tiles of the current spacecraft with stainless steel sandwich.
Stainless steel is highly durable even at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The spacecraft will stay safe and sound even at 1,500 degrees in the space. This makes stainless steel five times better as far as durability is concerned.
SpaceX can inject water right into the space to absorb heat between two layers. The regenerative shield can easily bleed the water via micro-perforations for cooling the rocket’s windward side called the transpiration cooling. SpaceX is going to use the 301 stainless steel which is generally used in frying pans and pots.