A happy discovery on the “Terran Space Academy” YouTube channel I just stumbled upon and subscribed to: “Starship the Next Generation” offers some concrete predictions and calculations regarding a possible lunar-launched, next-generation SpaceX Starship. Titanium construction (locally sourced) + larger volume + weak lunar gravity would mean much better payload to propellant ratio to Mars, and elimination of the need to add fuel in-orbit before departure as will be necessary when launching from Earth. This isn’t official info from SpaceX, and there’s some estimating by proportions and specs of existing hydrolox engines, but the calculations and possible uses of materials suggested offer some interesting food for thought.
Of particular interest: the prospect of moving payload from 10.5% of weight (in the currently prototyped “Generation One” Starships designed to launch from Earth) to closer to 23% (in the imagined, much larger but titanium-based “Generation Two” Starships designed to launch from the Moon), with payload capacity growing substantially from 150t to approximately 1,385t (a 9x increase!). Propellant would meanwhile drop from 84% of launch mass to around 75%.
Among the tech info, I enjoyed this cultural insight: “Here in space, you will be judged not by what you have but by what you can do — the knowledge you have, the skills you contribute, will determine your status here.”
I hope and expect that will prove largely true. Among the many potential benefits of pursuing life on new frontiers, the opportunity to build a culture of practical competence is one of the more exciting to me.