Starship (formerly called BFR or Big Falcon Rocket) will be the first modern time missile made of stainless steel. When Muskas announced this message on Twitter, did not any SpaceX manager go wrong? Why is metal chosen to make pots and sinks?
The updated Starship glow is a cocktail
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Rockets are made of composite materials. For example, carbon fiber reinforced with graphite matrix. Nave should not have been an exception. It was supposed to be the largest and most advanced missile produced basically using carbon fiber and other composite materials. But recently, Muskas announced that Starship will be made of stainless steel – a material that has not been seen in this field since the mid-20th century.
There are many reasons not to use stainless steel. First of all, it is very difficult. The design of the rocket requires very high accuracy and, with stainless steel, it is difficult to work with. But more importantly, Starship was created as a carbon fiber rocket from the start, when the computer screen was born. Needless to say, carbon fiber and stainless steel are two completely different materials that have little in common and otherwise react to, for example, extreme heat or temperature difference. Stainless steel missiles are theoretically feasible, but a material does not usually change.
But Muskas' interview with Popularmechanics.com revealed that it was his idea. The problem with carbon fiber is price and slow progress in rocket production. The cost of space-based carbon fiber is $ 135 per pound. However, at least 35% of the fabric is thrown away (this is a variety of cuts). Thus, the price is approaching $ 200 per pound, while stainless steel costs about $ 3 per pound and has almost no recyclables. The components consist of 60-120 layers with a special resin, which is also not cheap, and these layers must be arranged by human hands. The carbon fiber is heat resistant, and here the resin has its limits.
Musk came up with a completely unique idea that surpasses the disadvantages of stainless steel. First of all, the stainless steel industry is very strong nowadays, so making accurate components should not be difficult. Muskas chose a very simple grade 301 stainless steel (for comparison, the kitchen utensil is made of 304 steel), so the tools and professionals work on it. Stainless steel is also very heavy, but it is much easier to heat the heat, so you do not need too much insulation.
In fact, Musk also invented an exclusive rocket casing cooling system. The casing on at least one side (which allows it to be directed downwardly) would comprise two layers of interconnected stainless steel, which would include a space for circulating the liquid. The outer shell of the shell would have very small, virtually invisible holes through which the liquid would flow easily outwardly. When Starship returns to the atmosphere, this liquid would help cool the surface of the rocket somewhat. However, the melting temperature of this stainless steel is much higher than the heat that would damage the carbon fiber bonding resin.
Stainless steel is also a bit more reliable as it tends to stay above the fracture. Carbon fiber is almost inflexible, especially when the component is a bit thicker. Even at the time of decomposition, stainless steel prevents it from spreading easily. In addition, in extreme cold, unlike other metals or carbon fibers, the strength of stainless steel is increasing.
Elonas Muskas also recalled the start of the Atlas program. The SM-65 Atlas rocket is made of ultra-thin stainless steel. The can was so thin that only the internal pressure (usually nitrogen and ready-to-fly fuel) supported the construction of the rocket. Muskas assured him that Starship's two-tier body would allow him to remain proud without any internal help, although he still wore a thin stainless steel plate. Just building two connected housings will provide rigidity – after all, Starship will not only have to go into space, but also to come back.
The idea is really interesting and worthy of attention. Muskas even confirmed that there would be no paint or thermal insulation on the outside of the ship – a rocket as bright as a stainless steel thermos. There are only questions about the coolant that will have to go through the orifices of the box and cool the return rocket. Muskas says it could be water or even fuel. Apparently, you will have to wait and see how the Starship rocket completely updated will look and work.