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SpaceX to demonstrate Starship to Starship propellant transfer next year



SpaceX Starship to Starship Propellant transfer

SpaceX is preparing to demonstrate Starship to Starship propellant transfer technology by next year confirms the company chief, Elon Musk on Saturday.

“This is a very important step in going to Mars because you need to get the ship to orbit, kinda like aerial refueling,” said Musk while providing an update on SpaceX’s plans to send humans to the red planet.


Last month, SpaceX launched Starship’s third test flight and it demonstrated propellant transfer technology while in orbit.

Aerial refueling is a process of transferring aviation fuel from one aircraft to another while both remain in the air. There are two key systems developed to perform this in action – Probe and drogue and flying boom.

SpaceX Starship to Starship Propellant transfer

SpaceX Starship to Starship Propellant transfer (Image Credit: SpaceX)

Aerial refueling is used to extend the airborne range and in some cases, it might bring cost savings.

The renders shared by the company show that the propellant transfer will begin after two ships align vertically and are connected through a propellant transfer terminal.

Musk said that one Starship mission to Mars will need at least 5 or 6 refiling missions. Aside from these, SpaceX is a key partner to NASA’s Artemis mission which will send humans back on the Moon. He said that the propellant transfer technology will be used during this mission.


Starship spacecraft is a second stage of the integrated launch vehicle. The vehicle is 50 meters tall, 9 meters wide, and has a propellant capacity of 1,200 tons. It carries a payload capacity of 100-150 tons based on the payload adjustments.


Mel Trivalo is a senior author at, he began his early career in electronics in 2021 and turned his attention towards Space and Rocket Science. Mel likes to explore new technologies and swings baseball to run through creative thoughts.

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