Colonization of Mars – SpaceX’s Program


Elon Musk -The founder of SpaceX- gave a speech about the SpaceX’s Mars program which is planned to start next years. You might ask one these questions:

  • But what’s that exactly?
  • How could we take people to Mars so easily?
  • Are we going to die during the journey?
  • And what is the engineering behind?

How we will go and colonize Mars ?


Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) is a SpaceX program to colonize and send people to Mars. As SpaceX declared, the program is planned to start in 2018.

 They aim to enable people living on the other planets and making life multi planetary.

Re-usable rockets to carry people

Did somebody said re-usable rockets? Yes we did and SpaceX too… Re-usable rockets enable us to land them back on the Earth and use them again for next missions. So that you do not loose the rocket after stage separation when it is on the orbit. Well that’s good in two ways:

  1. We can re-use and we do not need a production again which reduces the cost of the journey
  2. We don’t pollute anywhere with our separated rockets..

spacex re-usable rocket

SpaceX has already developed a system for NASA missions to carry cargo to ISS (International Space Station). The system has the advantage of re-usable rockets. Re-usable rockets are able to launch and land back to pre-defined field.

They need this re-usable rockets to carry people to Mars without loosing the rocket everytime which reduces the cost a lot! Here is a video of their future re-usable rocket landing from Falcon 9:

Do you see how happy are they? This is called success.

What kind of spaceship would carry 100 people to Mars?


Of course a big one, says AerospaceEngineering.Aero’s expert aerospace engineers.

Let’s talk about this huge rocket. It consists of a;

  • Crew cabin
  • Cargo cabin where you take your things
  • Liquid oxygene tanks
  • Methane fuel tank
  • 9 Rapotor engines
  • Liquid oxygene tank for booster
  • Methane fuel tank for booster
  • 42 Raptor engines

How can we produce the needed thrust for that?


A Boeing 747 which has 4 turbofan Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 engines can produce 206 kN thrust per engine. Which means 84 tons for thrust. Here comes the question:


This is a cross section of the huge re-usable SpaceX rocket which will go to Mars and it has 42 Raptor Engines. A raptor can produce 310 tons of thrust and this rocket is going to have 42 Raptors. This means that it is going to produce the same thrust as 155 Boeing 747 aircraft. That’s just adorable. Think about piloting it..

How it feels like going to Mars in that rocket?

As Elon Musk said, there is going to be restaurants, movies, zero-g games and lecture halls. Think about watching a movie while floating around, wouldn’t it be funny? And you have this amazing view :


You have all the space from the “window to space”. You can actually watch the sun, earth and other planets among the stars.

This is how Elon Musk described it during his presentation:

The crew compartment is set up so that you can do zero-g games, you can float around, there will be movies, lecture halls, cabins, a restaurant—it’ll be really fun to go.

The system architecture

Well, it will take time of course.

  1. Firstly SpaceX will launch the rocket from Earth at step 1.
  2. The stage separation will be done and the booster rocket will land back to Earth for second launch.
  3. Tankers will refuel the spaceship at the orbit before leaving to Mars
  4. Spaceship will leave for Mars
  5. Spaceship arrives to Mars
  6. First people will set up the production plant for a power plant
  7. The ship will take of back to Earth for next mission.

Here is the system architecture diagram for the spaceship.



Would you join the challenge?

Well, it is supposed to be around 200,000 USD for the journey.  So we are asking the question which pop ups in everyone’s mind:


Want to Study Aerospace Engineering?

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I am an aerospace engineer with experience specialized on aircraft structures. Here to serve for aviation industry.
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