Topic: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)  (Read 20987 times)

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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2020, 10:01:11 am »
I'm watching the Marcus House video about the flight and other things.  So far 3 observations from him.

1/ It looks like during the landing when the one Raptor ceased to fire it didn't move to the neutral position and when the firing Raptor moved to compensate for the thrust being off center in a different way they impacted.  That may have caused the green flames by copper in the bells being released into the flames.  Alternate theory the green was caused by the low pressure in the fuel system changing the proportions of methane and LOX.

2/ The SN9 appears to have been knocked over in the assembly bay.

3/ SpaceX has asked for a road closure Monday to move SN9 to the launch pad  Hopefully this means no damage that would affect test flights.  Maybe another hop by Christmas?  We can hope.  :)

Non related.  The Hyabusa 2 having delivered its samples has changed course to rendezvous (eventually) with 2 other asteroids.  Don't hold your breath the first one is 2031.  Maybe by then we will have Mars sample returns via starship.  :)
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2020, 06:14:23 pm »
The SN9 had a partial collapse of the platform it is standing on to cause the fall of the rocket.  It does look like the fuselage may be damaged.  Whether the damage is real or just an impression caused by reflection I couldn't say.  Also is it significant for the next flight(s) or not?  Is it repairable?  Couldn't say. 

Hopefully SN9 will survive to fly successful test flight(s). 

It does occur to me that the road closures might not be to move SN9 to the test platform but to remove SN8 debris from the landing site.
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2020, 01:12:08 pm »
Looks like the damage to SN9 in its fall may be limited to the 2 flaps on that side and the associated hinges.  Likely repairable.  Good news if that is all.  They likely have the components on site to replace those even if they have to take units designated for SN10 or SN11.  Sometimes it is helpful to have a production line with multiple units in different stages of construction.
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2020, 10:32:28 am »
Looks like the Falcon 9 just launched was a 7th flight and unlike the earlier 7th this wasn't a Starlink launch but an external satellite so they are now selling launches on boosters on their 7th use.  Costs thus fall again.  They did plan on the Falcon 9 being able to be used 10 times without major refurbishment so they are getting closer and closer. 

Well done SpaceX. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2020, 11:38:12 am »
Looks like the damage to SN9 in its fall may be limited to the 2 flaps on that side and the associated hinges.  Likely repairable.  Good news if that is all.  They likely have the components on site to replace those even if they have to take units designated for SN10 or SN11.  Sometimes it is helpful to have a production line with multiple units in different stages of construction.

Apparently while they were standing SN9 back up properly they also brought over a new front fin. 

They were still simultaneously cleaning up SN8. 

Also during this more components have shown up for other Starships that are in process (Up to SN16).

Even if SN9 were to be scrapped they could have SN 10 ready in weeks.  In the past losing a prototype rocket could put you back months to years.  SpaceX has been doing amazing things. 

Amazon is apparently planning their own Starlink competitor.  So will Blue Origin be able to launch their satellites or will they have to pay SpaceX to do so and effectively subsidize Starlink?  Blue Origin has yet to put anything in orbit with their own rockets.   
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #45 on: December 25, 2020, 06:48:41 pm »
Apparently SN9 has been moved to the 2nd launch stand.  Interestingly apparently there are plans to have TWO starships on launch stands simultaneously sometime soon. 

They are still working on the first booster.  Taking their time.  It appears they need permissions for launching a Super Heavy Booster from this site that they don't yet have (but thought they did).  Hopefully it won't take long to get it. 

So Merry Christmas. :)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 07:03:14 pm by Nemesis »
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #46 on: December 26, 2020, 09:01:01 am »
Falcon 9 has now landed a total of 70 times.  Since there have only been around 100 launches how many actual Falcons have there been? 

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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2020, 12:53:11 pm »
Another company that has been a disappointment is Virgin Galactic.  They have had 16 years to get Spaceship Two with its 8 person capacity and haven't made it.  The early people who signed up are likely to be too old to go by the time these clowns actually deliver if they ever do.

I used to hope that their planned orbital spaceship two would actually happen and give competition for manned orbital flight but that hope is pretty much done.  If it ever happens it will already be obsolete.
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2020, 02:18:47 pm »
Another Starship possibility I haven't mentioned (not my idea).  I first heard of it on the Angry Astronaut channel of YouTube.  Though he doesn't make all the points I do below.

Scaling Starship DOWN.  Use fewer segments to make a shorter orbital unit.  Lets say 1/3 length with (assuming capacity scales with length) a 50 ton capacity. 

Why?

Reducing the length that much reduces the fuel capacity from 1200 tons to 400.  Refueling in orbit takes fewer trips by a full size refueling Starship yet leaves the mini Ship the same deltaV capacity (Fewer Raptors too).  Should be able to act as a mini Lunar Ship as well as a Mars capable lander. 

Reduce the Super Heavy Booster the same way results in a Heavy Booster.  Mini Ship with Heavy Booster = Fully reusable Falcon 9 replacement.  Another option would be to use a Super Heavy but take it higher before separating leaving more delta V based on the onboard fuel of mini Ship.  It would be more than double the capacity of Falcon 9 and 75% of Falcon Heavy so it replaces both for smaller flights and likely reduces costs.  The only real issue is shipping them by road due to increased diameter is much more difficult. 

Maintenance costs should be cheaper than Falcon 9 as again they use the same components as the full sized Starship AND the same technicians.  1 facility services and 1 builds BOTH Starship and Mini Ship.  The Falcon facilities could either be shut down or used to service the hopefully higher volume Starship and Mini Ship launches. 

This results in a smaller cheaper lunar lander and Mars lander for early missions with a minimized development cost as it uses all units that are first developed for and proven with Starship.  Cheaper for support than Falcon 9 as (almost) all components are in use first for Starship. 

Fewer engines for Heavy Booster means it is quieter so might be launched from locations Super Heavy would be too noisy. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2020, 02:52:45 pm »
Lunar Starship comments.

I've seen complaints on line of how will the Lunar Starship be refueled economically given the cost of shipping fuel from Earth when with water on the moon LOX and liquid hydrogen could be provided to competitors for landers but not methane for the Starship.  This made me curious so I went looking online to find the composition of lunar regolith and of course found what I was looking for - carbon.  Carbon and water from the soil gives you your LOX and methane. 

That makes the Lunar Starship viable for major cargo deliveries such as would be required to set up that fuel manufacturing base.  The Dynetics lander could operate over a relatively long distance from such a fuel base using sub orbital hops.  The mini Lunar Ship mentioned in the last post could be used for crew to and from the surface and to make orbital transfers between lunar and Earth orbits for crew, transfer from a Lunar Ship to an Earth capable lander for return to Earth or the opposite for the Lunar flight.

Now if substantial fuel can be made on the moon then a high lunar fueling station could be a great place to fully fuel up a Starship or a mini Ship for longer voyages whether to Mars or Venus or further out.  They might well be able to do much more decelerating before the Mars "Death Dive" landing currently planned.

Now if you do have that fuel manufacturing capacity it might well be an excellent use of the Enterprise class I speculated on earlier which was a double diameter Starship design with no length increase resulting in a 600 ton capacity.  It could like the Lunar Starship carry LARGE cargos to the Lunar surface.  It could carry lunar made fuel to Earth orbit in much larger capacities. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2020, 10:18:46 am »
For 2020 there were 26 Falcon launches.  There were only 11 Falcons used for the launches.  It takes about 50 days between a Falcon launching once before it can launch again.  Hypothetically a Falcon could fly 7 times a year at that launch rate so 26 launches a year could use 4 falcons each flying 6 or 7 times.  Some launches do expend the booster by using all its fuel for the launch leaving nothing for a landing.  I don't know how many launches this year were expending the booster or how many expended boosters were reused before being expended.

Not too bad considering that any other organization doing 26 launches would have expended 26 boosters. 

Now if Starship works out even nearly as well as Musk wants 26 launches could hypothetically be done by 1 or 2 Starships with no expended boosters or upper stages (Falcon 9 always expends the upper stage). It would also be able to put up several times as much cargo with the same number of launches. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #51 on: December 31, 2020, 11:08:56 am »
I've seen some speculation of this in the past but now Musk has confirmed it.  They are going to try landing the booster without landing legs, some form of catcher on the launch pad using the launch tower and the grid fins on the booster.

Interesting if they can leave the booster landing mechanism behind in favour of more cargo capacity. 

Step 1/ demonstrate that they can.  Like the barge landings that could involve multiple failures

Step 2/ demonstrate that they can do it reliably. 

Step 3/ put it in production.

Of course if they can't do step 1 or step 2 then they need to move to something else.  Which they probably have contingencies for already in planning.

Now I wouldn't be surprised at some type of minimal landing legs like the current starship ones are part of the plan.  Possibly longer with some degree of shock absorbing ability.  Maybe with the idea of replacing one or more each landing.  This might be needed just to give the booster something to stand on. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2021, 09:12:05 pm »
Apparently they are at least for now going back to using helium to pressurize the tanks as a result of the crash of SN8.  This has apparently already been implemented for SN9 (maybe SN10-12 which are in fairly advanced stages of assembly).  Makes me think the system was built in as a contingency in case the new system was buggy. 

I find this one interesting.  Apparently some observers think that certain components visible outside match ones set up previously when testing modified tank designs.  These tanks were tested to failure.

I wonder if this possible new tank is to test improvements to the helium free pressurization system.  Alternately they could be trying to up the pressure or lower the weight (or both).  More pressure, more propellant, more delta V from a given size tank.  Either way should be good.  Of course it could be for both or something I haven't thought of. 

There has been a concrete pad added on the site with no explanation for its purpose.  Maybe with all the prototypes they are building the pad is to store them on.  They have 3 assembly bays that hold two.  They have SN9-12 either assembled or largely so, add the SNB1 booster under assembly and of the 6 places for units in advanced assembly stages (or complete) only 1 is empty (not including the launch pads).  If they start having units making multiple flights they will need to store some elsewhere. 

Does any other company even potentially need a warehouse for rockets? 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #53 on: January 05, 2021, 02:43:30 pm »
I just watched the SpaceX edited version of the SN8 flight and it occurred to me that the starship might be able to sweep the landing site clear of loose debris with its own exhaust by tilting back and forth and swinging the exhaust plume over the landing site.  Especially so on the moon and Mars where the gravity is lower. 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #54 on: January 09, 2021, 10:15:28 am »
SN9 has done a brief test fire of the 3 Raptors.  There is a 3 day (Sunday to Tuesday) flight restriction around the facility that may be for another 12.5 km hop and hopefully landing. 

Looks like they have some new pieces for making a nose cone on site.  They would reduce the number of pieces required and therefore the number of welds and the time to make a nose cone. 

They also seem to be holding off on assembly of components they have on hand which may be to allow for design modifications based on test hops (speculation). 
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #55 on: January 09, 2021, 09:03:34 pm »
I think SpaceX should persuade Tom Cruise and his backers to delay his flight till sometime in 2022. 

Why?  Launch him aboard a Crew Dragon on a Falcon 9 then dock with a Starship.  One that though it may not be certified for manned flight to and from Earth can be used as a Space STATION with lots more room for sets and filming.  Also the docked Dragon(s) can be used as filming sites with the film crew in the Starship and the actors in the Dragon.   Potentially they could have 2 Dragons and 14 people for a lot more filming.  Currently the ISS is only rated for 6 people and the 7th has to stay on the Dragon capsule.  The filming equipment and anything not needed for the time on the Dragon could be launched on the Starship saving capacity on the Dragon. 

Much more bang for the buck for the filming and a great publicity stunt for SpaceX and Starship. 

Potential to use the Starship even in development as a profit center functioning as a station which has a volume of about a 3rd that of the ISS.  Each time it is launched it can be customized for a particular customer and should be possible to stay up for around 6 months at a time.  Multiple Starships could be docked together for larger missions 3 of them together would rival the size of the ISS.  They could even dock to the ISS. 

Now if Bigelow were to become active again and make modules that take the full capacity of a Starship to orbit you could have one or more of them docked to a Starship/Station as habitats with the Starship being used for the pure science or production experiments for things that might be done in a future custom station.  A Starship with 2 docked Bigelow modules might exceed the usable volume of the ISS.

These options allow full tests of the life support systems for longer periods of time.  Such as the time for a trip to Mars.  All while the Starship is still not rated for manned landings/launches. 

Another option.  Assume something like the Columbia disaster were to almost happen and a Starship had damage that precluded landing.  Convert it to a permanent space station that could be refueled and moved to where needed.  It could also act as an orbital fuel store for other vessels whether starships or not.  With the sheer size and cargo/habitat volume a starship "stranded" in orbit could be made an asset rather than a loss. 

Starship just has so much potential.  It could be the Giant in whose shadows all the competition has to stand.
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2021, 01:30:06 pm »
Last year there were 26 Falcon 9 launches more than 40 expected this year.  Nice growth rate. 

The most recent launch (this week) resulted in their 71st booster recovery.  A 4th for that booster.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 01:55:21 pm by Nemesis »
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #57 on: January 10, 2021, 01:35:56 pm »
The FAA permission for the next Starship launch test has the specified altitude listed as - unlimited.  Interesting.
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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2021, 03:43:54 pm »
Nice comparison image:

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Re: Interesting stuff about SpaceX Starship (hate the name)
« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2021, 11:41:03 am »
The FAA permission for the next Starship launch test has the specified altitude listed as - unlimited.  Interesting.

I'm wondering if they are going higher so that once they resume the vertical position they can leave a bit of time before beginning the engine burn to allow the fuel to reduce its "sloshing" around (I'm sure they have baffles) as going vertical to horizontal to vertical as quickly as they did might be their whole problem. 

The one thing that concerns me with the landing is will these interim legs handle it if the legs don't simultaneously touch down or will the most stressed one crumple and turn an otherwise perfect landing into a topple and RUD.

The unlimited altitude may well be that they are going higher than the FAA regulates.  I doubt they will be hitting above 50 KM (guessing 20-25) as I haven't seen any mention of a full set of tiles for the heat shield.
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