How SpaceX’s Starship Could Handle City to City Travel
The crowning jewel of SpaceX’s launch lineup, Starship, is a huge concept. Both literally and figuratively. We’ve already covered the mammoth over-a-hundred-meter-tall stainless steel reusable system multiple times before, exploring its potential as a telescope, reusable rocket, debris collector, and more.
Still, one major thing hasn’t been talked about enough — Starship’s use as a really big plane. Well, obviously not a big plane, but sort of that same idea. SpaceX’s Starship has the chance to make a big splash in the 6-trillion-dollar transportation market, and for a good reason. After all, Starship is potentially outlined for cargo and human transport, colonies, and even things like telescopes or manufacturing plants.
And so, what’s stopping it from making the jump to a city? Right now, the fact that it’s not quite ready — obviously. SpaceX is still deep in R&D, testing, and construction of a final Starship system. After all, the company hasn’t even had official approval for a orbital flight yet, so there’s not even any proof that the company or its launch system can make it to orbit.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though — thanks to where we already are.
And ironically, partially thanks to Mechazilla.
The roughly 150-meter-tall tower is a growing staple of SpaceX’s rocket recovery system, having been slowly constructed to give the company the potential to capture and reuse a Falcon 9 or Starship as many times as possible.
Mechazilla’s entire purpose is to capture falling SpaceX rockets, which would decelerate tground.
hen be collected by the tower’s arms before being placed on the
It’s a straightforward concept with an incredibly complex solution.
If SpaceX could cut the costs enough, the company has the potential to put Mechazillas at major hubs before splitting off passengers to their own destinations.
Oh, and Musk mentioned a floating spaceport for travel too. There’s that.
In a June 2020 Tweet, the SpaceX CEO floated the idea of « floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth. » That’d be incredibly useful for Starship city-to-city travel, especially when considering a central hub.
Airports are designed around terminals and hubs for a reason, providing a way for dozens of locations to be flyable from a single area. Throw in a Mechazilla to quickly catch and set up Starships for launch, then travel to other regional hubs or final destinations to split from.
With this method, the passengers aboard a Starship can get where they need to, without having to treat destinations like bus stops. And cities won’t have to hold the horizontal space for aircraft — instead, they can set up a Mechazilla and take off vertically with a hundred passengers strapped inside.