After the US space agency NASA decided not to attempt the launch of the Artemis I Moon mission, Elon Musk has finally figured out a solution to land astronauts on the Moon.
NASA once again cleared Artemis 1’s unmanned mission to the Moon, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk suggested on Sunday for the fateful mission that would eventually land astronauts on the lunar surface after decades. NASA engineers could not fix a hydrogen leak in the ‘Quick Disconnect’ stage of the Space Launch System SLS rocket launch on Saturday.
According to Ars Technica’s Eric Berger, NASA has a tolerance for small amounts of hydrogen leakage and anything above a 4 percent concentration of hydrogen near a ‘quick disconnect’ is considered a flammability hazard.
Musk responded to Berger’s ‘accurate assessment’ by stating that “the design of the Raptor began using H2 hydrogen but switched to CH4 hydrogen. In my view the latter is the best combination of high efficiency and ease of operation.”
Musk explained that the delta-v difference between H2 and CH4 is small for most missions, as the CH4 tank is very small and requires no insulation.
Delta-V is the difference in velocity that a rocket engine can exert on a spacecraft as a function of variation in specific impulse and vehicle mass.
According to him the production of CH4 methane on Mars is easy and very important for the launch mission. SpaceX is quite possibly the earliest organization to involve fluid methane and hydrogen as fuel.
Musk also hopes to have a self-sustaining city on the Red Planet in 20 years’ time as his space company designs the Starship Mega rocket to carry people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
According to the report, NASA’s showstopper rocket had an 8-inch diameter line carrying liquid hydrogen. This gives rise to a persistent leak at the inlet known as a vehicle-mounted quick-disconnect.
NASA will have a launch window from September 19 to October 4. Creating that window would require fixing the rocket on the pad and then getting an exemption from the US Space Force which operates launch ranges along the Florida coast.