(ORDO NEWS) — The American space company Impulse Space plans to launch the first ever private mission to Mars. Impulse Space is a very young company founded in September 2021 by Thomas Müller, famed “father” of SpaceX ‘s Merlin rocket engines.
Ambitious plans for Impulse Space
The company wants to focus on the development of transportation services between different objects in the solar system, giving preference to non-toxic fuels, that is, alternatives to traditional hypergolic rocket fuels (while Impulse Space is betting on ethane and carbon monoxide).
The space company, in need of a big debut, has announced its intention to build a lander for the Red Planet, which is no doubt a good start.
The craft will be launched on a two-stage Terran R rocket being built by Relativity Space , which has not yet launched anything.
However, Relativity Space is promising to launch the Terran 1 in the near future , an ultralight 3D printed two-stage methane rocket that will feature a reusable first stage.
But Relativity Space’s long-term goal is the Terran R, a fully reusable two-stage rocket capable of launching 20 tons into low orbit. In other words, the Terran R will be something like a mini SpaceX Starship.
According to an agreement signed between Relativity Space and Impulse Space, the latter will use the Terran R to launch a probe to Mars between 2024 and 2025.
The probe will include an orbiter and a heat-shielding capsule, inside of which there will be a lander, which will make a direct entry into the Martian atmosphere.
The capsule would then deploy a parachute to decelerate, and when the speed was low enough, the lander would separate and fire its jet engines into a controlled descent until it touched the ground.
Of course, the Impulse Space probe will carry a payload aimed at developing technologies related to future manned flights, so it would not be surprising if the company reaches some kind of agreement with NASA or even SpaceX to send their instruments as part of this mission.
As we all know, landing on Mars is a very difficult technological challenge. Therefore, the plans of a young private company that wants to organize all this in just two or three years sound not only ambitious, but even crazy (in the good sense of the word).
There is no doubt that this is an incredibly risky venture for two companies that have yet to put anything into orbit.
Impulse Space and Relativity Space will bear the costs of the first Mars mission, hoping that the next ones will be paid for by clients such as NASA, research centers and private universities that would like to conduct their own experiments on the Red Planet.
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