Elon Musk, Chief Executive of SpaceX has given more details on his Mars transportation system he had unvieled last month. He told about his plans to test one of the key technologies of the system. In an "Ask Me Anything" discussion on an international website, Musk replied to users' questions about the Mars Transportation system.
He had made announcement of the system in a speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico on September 2.
The system has a large reusable booster that will use 42 of the company's Raptor engines that are presently under development, alongwith a reusable spacecraft designed to carry 100 people on a journey to Mars and return them back to Earth. One of the key technologies that he announced was development of Raptor engine. The engine had completed its first test firing before his speech.
Another development of SpaceX mars mission was a huge propellent tank. The tank was built of carbon composite materials and that too larger than any tank made of those materials till now. "This is really the hardest part of the spaceship. The other pieces we have a pretty good handle on, but this is the trickiest one, so we wanted to tackle it first," he said in the speech, showing the tank.
This will be under /r/spacex, not the general AMA. Meant to be supplemental to the IAC talk.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2016
"Yeah, for those that know their stuff, that was really the big news," Musk said in response to a question about the tank on Reddit. "In theory, it should hold cryogenic propellant without leaking and without a sealing linker. Early tests are promising."
Musk told that the Spacex mars mission will continue its tests of the tank in the future. "Will take it up to 2/3 of burst pressure on an ocean barge in the coming weeks," he wrote.
Most of the other questions were related to the technical aspects of the system. He also told about how the whole system would be implemented, focusing that SpaceX was "still far from figuring this out in detail."
The approach starts with previously announced plans to send Dragon spacecraft to Mars. It starts as soon as 2018. These "Red Dragon" missions would first explain landing technologies to "make sure we know how to land without adding a crater," he said.