SpaceX's Starship

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by SmallTownOhioRockets, Feb 26, 2020.

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What do you think will happen with Starship from SpaceX?

  1. SpaceX Starship will be sucessful.

    15 vote(s)
    68.2%
  2. Starshship is dead.

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  3. I have no idea.

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  4. Something else.

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  1. Feb 27, 2020 #31

    afadeev

    afadeev

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    Or why in the world, I ended up putting a deposit for one?
    Or wait, I remember, the value prop!
     
  2. Feb 27, 2020 #32

    Nytrunner

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    Simple, beauty/ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and aesthetic taste changes as decades fly by. Remember someone thought putting fins on cars was slick at one time too
     
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  3. Feb 28, 2020 #33

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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  4. Feb 28, 2020 #34

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    Back on the subject of Starship, SpaceX doesn't have a market yet. I think until we start flying to Mars, they should stop building Starship for now.
     
  5. Feb 28, 2020 #35

    neil_w

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    No they shouldn't, for a whole host of reasons.
    1. How are we going to start flying to Mars without a rocket capable of taking us there?
    2. These things take a long time to develop. A company that is trying to push the envelope, create markets, and expand human horizons doesn't sit back and wait for others to lead the way.
    3. SpaceX has shown that they have a pretty good understanding of their market. Certainly better than ours.
    4. They are developing it with private funding, so it's nobody's business but their own.
    I don't know what will happen with Starship, whether it will eventually go to Mars, or be used to haul very large orbital payloads, or what, but I'm sure glad they're building it. You weren't alive during the recent wasted decades with so little forward progress in space exploration. This is a new golden age and we should relish it.
     
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  6. Feb 28, 2020 #36

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    This is true. Which is why I changed my vote.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2020 #37

    jqavins

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    Well said indeed.

    Just an example of the great leaps that could be made with "merely" very large payloads would be a truly habitable space station. the ISS is technically permanently habitable, but it's not a place to live. Building one of those, with lots of radiation shielding, generous exercise facilities, and room for lots of people, would have to be done in place using lots of lifts to orbit (as the ISS was) and preferably to MEO. And it would take a facility like that to serve as a base station for Mars, Lunar, and other trips in large numbers. To build a village in orbit will need a heck of a lot of lifting capacity and I don't trust the politicians, money people, or frankly most people to have that sort of vision unless the capacity is shown to exist first.

    That may not be the example that ever comes to be, but I hope it will be something.
     
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  8. Feb 28, 2020 #38

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    True, but that's why I think that Elon may be throwing away money. There's not yet a market for this kind of lifting.
     
  9. Feb 28, 2020 #39

    CalebJ

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    If he's right that it's cheaper to operate, it won't matter if there's a market for larger launches.
     
  10. Feb 28, 2020 #40

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    That's the thing- I don't think it's possible. The rocketry equations we have relied on for generations say that a bigger, heavier rocket needs more fuel, and that costs money. Apollo was fairly small compared to Starship's payload, and the Saturn V cost us millions for one launch. I get that a reusable rocket makes things cheaper, but still, it's just not gonna be cheaper than a smaller reusable rocket, say, a Falcon Heavy.
     
  11. Feb 28, 2020 #41

    CalebJ

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    Apollo cost 'millions' per launch? That would have made a lot of people very happy and we would have gone to the moon many more times.

    Fuel is only one piece to the puzzle. There is a massive amount of cost associated with building new components for every single flight. The Falcon program has already reduced the cost of getting mass to space dramatically and we're still not reusing upper stage components, fairings, etc.

    If we could get launch cost into the 7 figure range that would be a -massive- improvement. Even with Falcon 9 it's still well into the 8 figure area.
     
  12. Feb 28, 2020 #42

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    So how much would it cost to fly Starship?[​IMG]
    Look at it. Just LOOK AT IT! This thing is colossal! Just pack a robotic base-builder in there that makes bricks out of Mars, let it build a protective building for an inflatable base, send that to Mars with another flight, then send humans in a Falcon Heavy! That's how big this thing is! Do you think this is cheaper than some other rocket? Heck no!
     
  13. Feb 28, 2020 #43

    boatgeek

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    The problem with your statement is that fuel is a small part of the cost of a launch. When it was first released (before reusable first stages), F9 cost something like $70M per launch, and was presumably profitable. Something like $1M of that cost was fuel. They tacked on another couple of million for NASA paperwork, so say for the sake of argument that the cost of people and ground costs to run the launch was around $2M. Throw in $2M for profit and you get that the F9 cost around $65M to build. Based on numbers from discussion of the fairing recovery and some stuff pulled completely out of thin air, you could guess that the first stage was on the order of $50M, the second stage was $10M and the fairing/satellite holder was $5M. Those aren't exactly right, but they're in the ballpark.

    Until SpaceX can start recovering F9 upper stages, they are throwing away around $10M in equipment on every launch, plus some added costs of refurbishing the first stages. If (and this is a giant if that has not yet been proven) Starship can be re-used with little or no refurbishment, then it could use 10 times the fuel of F9 and still be cost-competitive on a per launch basis. One other factor that I don't know the answer to is that F9 uses RP-1, which is a specialty aviation grade oil-based fuel. Raptor/Starship will use LNG, which is a commodity fuel that will be more cost-effective as time goes by and more vehicles transition from oil-based fuels to natural gas. That process has started in ships and will accelerate in the future. I don't know if there is a cost difference between RP-1 and LNG in a per-unit-of-energy basis now, but there will likely be a difference to LNG's advantage in the future.
     
  14. Feb 28, 2020 #44

    CalebJ

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    Do you think no one else realizes the difference in scale and that we'd be shocked by a graphic?
     
  15. Feb 28, 2020 #45

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    No. No, I did not. Listen, I'm just a kid, OK? A fairly average kid, too. So you know what? I get more shocked by things than most people.
     
  16. Feb 28, 2020 #46

    jqavins

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    I would not start a post with "You're just a kid; you don't know anything." Really, I'm not.

    "Just a kid" is your words, and you've been quick to acknowledge that you're learning a lot, which is to your credit. Given that you know you've got a lot to learn, statements like "Do you think this is cheaper than some other rocket? Heck no!" would be better replaced by something more like "Do you really think that could be cheaper than some other rocket? How?"
     
  17. Feb 28, 2020 #47

    neil_w

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    Something that is challenging to learn is how to recognize the limits of your own skill and knowledge, and act accordingly. The world is filled with people who never figure this out at all.

    [unnecessary comment deleted]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  18. Feb 28, 2020 #48

    kuririn

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    Uh oh.....
     
  19. Feb 28, 2020 #49

    neil_w

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    You're right, post edited.
     
  20. Feb 29, 2020 #50

    John Taylor

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    Gotta admit, it's a really cool show
     
  21. Feb 29, 2020 #51

    mpitfield

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    Another pressure test rapid disassembly, this one on the new SN1

     
  22. Mar 1, 2020 #52

    Peartree

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    Ooops.
     
  23. Mar 1, 2020 #53

    kuririn

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    This just earned the #3 spot on my Do Not Ride list.
    #1. Boeing 737 Max
    #2. Space X Dragon capsule

    EDIT: Forgot about this:
    #4. Boeing CST-100 space capsule
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  24. Mar 2, 2020 #54

    ThirstyBarbarian

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    They have an iterative development process where they blow it up, learn something, fix what they found, blow it up again. They do not seem to be afraid of blowing their stuff up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  25. Mar 2, 2020 #55

    kuririn

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    Sounds like the Soviet N1 moon rocket program.
    That approach can be very expensive.
     
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  26. Mar 2, 2020 #56

    ThirstyBarbarian

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    I’m sure it is pretty expensive, but they seem to get things done faster than any of the other aerospace companies. They crashed a lot of falcons trying to land one, and it seemed like maybe they were crazy to keep trying, but they mastered it, and now it’s a big surprise when it doesn’t work. Meanwhile, no one else is close to being able to do it.
     
  27. Mar 2, 2020 #57

    dhbarr

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    As opposed to modern pork-powered US rockets, which burn billions but never go anywhere?

    I'm glad Musk & Bezos are taking the fight to oldspace -- and more than a little sad it's PayPal and Amazon taking us back out instead of NASA.
     
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  28. Mar 2, 2020 #58

    kuririn

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    Either way, when they start selling passenger tickets, I'm not buying.:D
     
  29. Mar 2, 2020 #59

    SmallTownOhioRockets

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    YIKES! I'm never going to space, anyway. I'm just a guy with a career path in aerospace engineering. I'm a bit scared of the emptiness of space, you see, how so much can go wrong and kill you.
    As for Starship, I wouldn't get on that thing in its current stage for infinite cash.
     
  30. Mar 2, 2020 #60

    jqavins

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    Space sounds like Australia.
    And no one is. No one with any sense would have sat on top of an early Atlas missile either.
     
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