Author Topic: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?  (Read 59161 times)

Offline DanClemmensen

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Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« on: 01/25/2022 04:18 pm »
I think we need a separate thread on this topic since it has popped up in several threads where it does not really belong.

If BC is going to continue to manufacture boosters and Starships, then there must be a cost-effective way for them to leave BC if there are to be any other launch sites.  SpaceX continues to expand the BC production facilites, building out the "wide bay" to add to the "high bay" and roughlty triple the final assembly capacity, so it does not seem likely that they intend to shut down production at BC.

My uneducated wild guess: production capacity will reach one unit (either booster or ship) per week.   Please comment if you can provide a better estimate as this is based on nothing whatsoever.

There are several possible ways for a ship or booster to leave BC. So far, we have only seen physical evidence for one of them: launch from the OLT or the suborbital pad. the problem here is that the FAA ha not granted permission for sufficient launches to meet the production rate.

Possible methods:
   *launch to orbit. Works for ship but not for the booster, and (apparently) to be licensed for only 5 per year
   *suborbital "hop". Works for both ship and booster, but no evidence for a landing site under construction anywhere except BC
       *Phobos and Deimos are candidates but no evidence that they are being built out for this yet.
   *barge. No evidence for any construction of a dock, and the nearest candidate is about 16 miles away.
   *use a hovercraft over the beach. That's a big hovercraft. No evidence that SpaceX is looking for such a craft.

Related issue: can a booster be shipped horizontally? can a ship be shipped horizontally?  My guess: certainly for the ship since it is designed for lateral g forces during re-entry and descent.  Booster is not designed for this, but it might be feasible if the tanks are pressurized.

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #1 on: 01/25/2022 04:22 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #2 on: 01/25/2022 04:30 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
Are you assuming a horizontal move or a vertical move?

That is a distance of 16 miles by road. the move would take about 8 hours at 2 mph, which is probably the average speed. 4 mph is a brisk walk and I don't think they usually go that fast.  They would need to do this at least once a week if my production rate guesstimate is correct.

For SpaceX, it's not easier than flight. They need to be very efficient at flight, and they will probably to static fire on each product anyway, so a hop is not a huge increment. The only question is where the hop should go.

Offline philw1776

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #3 on: 01/25/2022 08:30 pm »
Not that I think this will happen at least in next few years but SH has enough delta V to hop to KSC and avoid re-entry overheat by using a large delta V re-entry burn making it less of a re-entry stress than an F9 booster RTLS or barge landing

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« Last Edit: 01/25/2022 08:32 pm by philw1776 »
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Offline Conexion Espacial

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #4 on: 01/25/2022 08:48 pm »
SpaceX seems to have other plans for Roberts Road, almost all of us are sure that inside this big facility they will bring some production stuff for Starship, also, surely SpaceX could be planning full production of the vehicles at KSC and not rely on flights from Boca Chica.


I think the likelihood of SpaceX getting their vehicles from Boca Chica to KSC either by air, land or sea is diminishing as we see more and more construction plans at KSC.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2022 08:49 pm by Conexion Espacial »
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Offline jimvela

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #5 on: 01/25/2022 09:14 pm »
SpaceX seems to have other plans for Roberts Road, almost all of us are sure that inside this big facility they will bring some production stuff for Starship, also, surely SpaceX could be planning full production of the vehicles at KSC and not rely on flights from Boca Chica.


I think the likelihood of SpaceX getting their vehicles from Boca Chica to KSC either by air, land or sea is diminishing as we see more and more construction plans at KSC.

The whole discussion seems to fail on the lack of understanding the full scale of what SpaceX intends to do in terms of SS/SH production.  It's a big step away from single digit per month production. They likely will need multiple facilities going flat out to meet the full number of vehicles that they intend to produce.

Secondarily, the discussion fails on the handling of recovered vehicles as well.  There will be a bunch of them if SpaceX plans succeed.  There will be a need to house/process/maintain the fleet.  A big step towards the airline type model where a limited number of factories keep cranking out vehicles.  The vehicles are then maintained away from the factory and closer to points of use.

I do expect vehicles to be produced, flown and then recovered to a location other than build site.  SS in particular will have a lot of flexibility in this regard.  Getting produced vehicles-particularly boosters-  out to offshore platforms does seem to imply that an initial hop for a new booster might go from build site to offshore platform as a standard practice.

At the build cost they are shooting for it's hard to imagine that the other transit options don't introduce a major cost penalty to the operational system.  Perhaps build, checkout, static fire, hop, recovery, and only then an operational (stacked) launch for a new booster- one that is then flight proven via an initial hop.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2022 09:20 pm by jimvela »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #6 on: 01/25/2022 09:41 pm »
SpaceX seems to have other plans for Roberts Road, almost all of us are sure that inside this big facility they will bring some production stuff for Starship, also, surely SpaceX could be planning full production of the vehicles at KSC and not rely on flights from Boca Chica.


I think the likelihood of SpaceX getting their vehicles from Boca Chica to KSC either by air, land or sea is diminishing as we see more and more construction plans at KSC.
The whole discussion seems to fail on the lack of understanding the full scale of what SpaceX intends to do in terms of SS/SH production.  It's a big step away from single digit per month production. They likely will need multiple facilities going flat out to meet the full number of vehicles that they intend to produce.

Secondarily, the discussion fails on the handling of recovered vehicles as well.  There will be a bunch of them if SpaceX plans succeed.  There will be a need to house/process/maintain the fleet.  A big step towards the airline type model where a limited number of factories keep cranking out vehicles.  The vehicles are then maintained away from the factory and closer to points of use.

I do expect vehicles to be produced, flown and then recovered to a location other than build site.  SS in particular will have a lot of flexibility in this regard.  Getting produced vehicles-particularly boosters-  out to offshore platforms does seem to imply that an initial hop for a new booster might go from build site to offshore platform as a standard practice.

At the build cost they are shooting for it's hard to imagine that the other transit options don't introduce a major cost penalty to the operational system.  Perhaps build, checkout, static fire, hop, recovery, and only then an operational (stacked) launch for a new booster- one that is then flight proven via an initial hop.

Exactly.   Build at the factory, "ship" them by hopping, use them at multiple launch/landing sites, just like airliners.

Note that once in full production each SH and SS will hop out of the factory and will never come back except possibly for refurbishment. There will be relatively few SH compared to SS. An SH can be reused several times a day, so probably each Mechazilla in the world needs perhaps a total of three SH to keep that Mechazilla fully occupied. More precisely, Each Mechazilla needs two SH, and a site with one or more Mechazillas needs one spare for the site as a whole. By contrast, SSs have longer missions, so SS production is driven by the mission mix. Suborbital SSs need no SH support, tankers to LEO probably need at least two orbits (3 hours?), crew shuttles to LEO need several orbits, cargo SS need to be loaded, etc. And of course not all SS return to Earth at all.  This means that improving efficiency of SS delivery has higher ROI than improving efficiency of SH delivery.

Offline TomH

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #7 on: 01/26/2022 06:20 am »
The skin of the SLS core stage is so thin that the boosters cannot lift it from the bottom at launch. The booster thrust is transferred into an upper thrust beam at the top of the core stage. Nevertheless, the pressurized SLS core is transported horizontally via the Pegasus barge.

I do not understand why a pressurized SH or SS could not also be transported in like manner. Many here claim that they cannot, but I have not yet read an explanation that fully explains why.

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #8 on: 01/26/2022 10:14 am »
The skin of the SLS core stage is so thin that the boosters cannot lift it from the bottom at launch. The booster thrust is transferred into an upper thrust beam at the top of the core stage. Nevertheless, the pressurized SLS core is transported horizontally via the Pegasus barge.

I do not understand why a pressurized SH or SS could not also be transported in like manner. Many here claim that they cannot, but I have not yet read an explanation that fully explains why.
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #9 on: 01/26/2022 11:39 am »
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.
This might never become relevant but horizontal transportation would make it possible to send boosters through the Panama Canal.

Based on statement from SpaceX they agree with you that there is no reason to support anything other than upright transport.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #10 on: 01/26/2022 02:35 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
No road closures needed at all, just as there are no road closures for SPMT moves to/from the launch site. Heck of a potential traffic backup behind a slow moving wide load (port traffic would need to divert to the north access), but no road closures. SpaceX already contract Roll-Lift, whose bread and butter is moving over land and over ocean objects far larger and FAR heavier than super heavy or Starship. Even if you added the constraint of upright transportation they could get vehicles from Brownsville port to LC-39A via the Turning Basin without any major difficulty.

That makes transport of vehicles from BC to LC-39A a COTS service that can be purchased rather than some new capability to develop. That puts it far ahead of "just fly the vehicles suborbitally" as if that didn't require an entire new legislative regime to handle, which is just as likely to have the same requirements to meet as orbital launches. Or in other words: if you can get a license for X suborbital BC-to-cape transport flights per year, and X>5, you are equally placed to get a license for X orbital launches from BC per year and eliminate the whole vehicle transport step altogether. Turning that one suborbital flights into multiple ones (BC to platform, platform to destination, possibly with more than one platform in between) makes the process even more complex and expensive in terms of administrative overhead and adds the costs of building and operating one or more platforms - and requires said platforms to be ready to catch, re-load propellants, and launch vehicles, while they are instead currently in mothballs without even the demo work completed yet.

Remember that the '5 launches per year' figure is not some immutable hard limit chiselled into a stone tablet and cast into the base of launch mount. If you're thinking "But that would require a WR to the current EA!" when it comes to applying for a license for additional launches, so would ferry flights, as those are not mentioned in the EA either.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #11 on: 01/26/2022 02:51 pm »
The Saturn V was transported horizontally via barge to the Cape.  There is no reason why Superheavy and Starship can't be barged.  If it takes pressurization, and special holders to keep it in tack, then why not.  They could then take them to the west coast through the Panama Canal for west coast launches.  East coast launches, and the offshore launches.  Special clamps or rings could be bolted to the rockets to lift with one crane and lower onto a carrier, then laid on its side.  Horizontal is not impossible, and may be much cheaper in the long run.  Liquid Methane and Oxygen, I believe would be more expensive than hopping from Boca Chica to offshore. 

A new road to the beach via the canal might also be necessary, as well as putting all powerlines underground.  Some of this may be paid for by Brownsville or Texas to keep the production rates up and jobs for Brownsville and south Texas. 

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #12 on: 01/26/2022 03:43 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
No road closures needed at all, just as there are no road closures for SPMT moves to/from the launch site. Heck of a potential traffic backup behind a slow moving wide load (port traffic would need to divert to the north access), but no road closures. SpaceX already contract Roll-Lift, whose bread and butter is moving over land and over ocean objects far larger and FAR heavier than super heavy or Starship. Even if you added the constraint of upright transportation they could get vehicles from Brownsville port to LC-39A via the Turning Basin without any major difficulty.

That makes transport of vehicles from BC to LC-39A a COTS service that can be purchased rather than some new capability to develop. That puts it far ahead of "just fly the vehicles suborbitally" as if that didn't require an entire new legislative regime to handle, which is just as likely to have the same requirements to meet as orbital launches. Or in other words: if you can get a license for X suborbital BC-to-cape transport flights per year, and X>5, you are equally placed to get a license for X orbital launches from BC per year and eliminate the whole vehicle transport step altogether. Turning that one suborbital flights into multiple ones (BC to platform, platform to destination, possibly with more than one platform in between) makes the process even more complex and expensive in terms of administrative overhead and adds the costs of building and operating one or more platforms - and requires said platforms to be ready to catch, re-load propellants, and launch vehicles, while they are instead currently in mothballs without even the demo work completed yet.

Remember that the '5 launches per year' figure is not some immutable hard limit chiselled into a stone tablet and cast into the base of launch mount. If you're thinking "But that would require a WR to the current EA!" when it comes to applying for a license for additional launches, so would ferry flights, as those are not mentioned in the EA either.
My question was restricted to just getting out of BC. One way to do this is to hop to a close-by offshore platform, maybe 50 km offshore. This is a low-energy hop with nearly empty propellant tanks, so only a few Raptors lit and therefore less noise. Should be easy to get approvals. The unsolved problem here is the lack of any evidence for a deployment of the platform in 2022.

How you get from the offshore platform to other destinations is a follow-on problem, but if the platform is in place there are several feasible solutions. I favor a longer hop, series of hops,  or flight to LEO. These only require additional approvals that had better be straightforward, because if you cannot get approvals for this form an offshore platform you will have trouble launching from anywhere at all. However, If you prefer a barge from the platform, there are no obvious logistical issues (i.e., no roads or docks to build).

Barge economics: (most coats are made up. Please feel free to improve them. wild guess: barge trip is $1 million including rigging and drayage) The Saturn V and SLS were/are extremely expensive vehicles, and there were so few of them that each move was effectively a unique economic and logistical problem to solve. A total of 13 Saturn Vs were launched in a span of seven years: about 2 per year.  SLS will launch less than one per year. The cost of a barge trip was a minor increment on the huge cost of manufacture and launch. By contrast, SH and SS are inexpensive and will be in series production at (wild guess) rate of one per week. The cost of a barge trip will be an appreciable percentage of the cost of manufacture and delivery. An SLS costs $2 billion, so a $1 million barge trip is 0.05% of the cost of manufacturing and delivery. An SH or SS costs maybe $50 million so the barge trip is 2% of the cost.  On a yearly basis,  the SLS trips cost $1 million/yr, while SpaceX would be spending $50 million/yr.

Hop economics: If you assume SpaceX wants to static fire each new SS and SH, then the incremental cost of the first hop is near zero at BC and might be cheaper than de-mounting the SS or SH to put it on an SPMT to begin the move to a barge. The cost of each additional hop along a chain of platforms to a destination will be higher, and delivery of an SS via LEO will cost $2 million.

Offline CameronD

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #13 on: 01/26/2022 09:09 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
Are you assuming a horizontal move or a vertical move?

That is a distance of 16 miles by road. the move would take about 8 hours at 2 mph, which is probably the average speed. 4 mph is a brisk walk and I don't think they usually go that fast.  They would need to do this at least once a week if my production rate guesstimate is correct.

Don't discount using rail for something like this.

If they could get permission to build a narrow-gauge rail line from their manufacturing facility to the canal (along the road verge typically) they could easily achieve horizontal relocation to a barge without any interruption to major roads and population at their own pace (certainly more than 2mph).  Electric engines are a thing too, so it could be as green as they want it to be.
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #14 on: 01/26/2022 09:31 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
No road closures needed at all, just as there are no road closures for SPMT moves to/from the launch site. Heck of a potential traffic backup behind a slow moving wide load (port traffic would need to divert to the north access), but no road closures. SpaceX already contract Roll-Lift, whose bread and butter is moving over land and over ocean objects far larger and FAR heavier than super heavy or Starship. Even if you added the constraint of upright transportation they could get vehicles from Brownsville port to LC-39A via the Turning Basin without any major difficulty.

That makes transport of vehicles from BC to LC-39A a COTS service that can be purchased rather than some new capability to develop. That puts it far ahead of "just fly the vehicles suborbitally" as if that didn't require an entire new legislative regime to handle, which is just as likely to have the same requirements to meet as orbital launches. Or in other words: if you can get a license for X suborbital BC-to-cape transport flights per year, and X>5, you are equally placed to get a license for X orbital launches from BC per year and eliminate the whole vehicle transport step altogether. Turning that one suborbital flights into multiple ones (BC to platform, platform to destination, possibly with more than one platform in between) makes the process even more complex and expensive in terms of administrative overhead and adds the costs of building and operating one or more platforms - and requires said platforms to be ready to catch, re-load propellants, and launch vehicles, while they are instead currently in mothballs without even the demo work completed yet.

Remember that the '5 launches per year' figure is not some immutable hard limit chiselled into a stone tablet and cast into the base of launch mount. If you're thinking "But that would require a WR to the current EA!" when it comes to applying for a license for additional launches, so would ferry flights, as those are not mentioned in the EA either.

What is the point of shipping them from BC to KSC? It seems quite clear to me they'll manufacture locally in KSC.

Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
Are you assuming a horizontal move or a vertical move?

That is a distance of 16 miles by road. the move would take about 8 hours at 2 mph, which is probably the average speed. 4 mph is a brisk walk and I don't think they usually go that fast.  They would need to do this at least once a week if my production rate guesstimate is correct.

Don't discount using rail for something like this.

If they could get permission to build a narrow-gauge rail line from their manufacturing facility to the canal (along the road verge typically) they could easily achieve horizontal relocation to a barge without any interruption to major roads and population at their own pace (certainly more than 2mph).  Electric engines are a thing too, so it could be as green as they want it to be.

Not going to happen, it would have to go through the NWR and is costly.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #15 on: 01/26/2022 09:52 pm »

What is the point of shipping them from BC to KSC? It seems quite clear to me they'll manufacture locally in KSC.


My question is about shipping from BC. If there is no way to ship from BC, then why are they building a factory in BC? Do you think the BC factory will be abandoned? If the BC factory is merely a prototype to be abandoned, then why are they expanding it?

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #16 on: 01/26/2022 09:57 pm »
Roll on an SPMT to the industrial area south of the Brownsville canal and then load on a barge.

They need to close more roads but that should still be easier than anything involving flight.
Are you assuming a horizontal move or a vertical move?

That is a distance of 16 miles by road. the move would take about 8 hours at 2 mph, which is probably the average speed. 4 mph is a brisk walk and I don't think they usually go that fast.  They would need to do this at least once a week if my production rate guesstimate is correct.

Don't discount using rail for something like this.

If they could get permission to build a narrow-gauge rail line from their manufacturing facility to the canal (along the road verge typically) they could easily achieve horizontal relocation to a barge without any interruption to major roads and population at their own pace (certainly more than 2mph).  Electric engines are a thing too, so it could be as green as they want it to be.

They apparently intend to be in series production of SS and SH within about six months. I was hoping we would see evidence of their plans for shipping the factory output. Have you seen any evidence (permitting, rights-of-way,etc.) for a narrow-gauge railway? Any evidence for a system to  lay an SH or SS down on its side?

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #17 on: 01/26/2022 09:57 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #18 on: 01/26/2022 10:00 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/
Very interesting. Where would this vehicle come onshore and how would it get to a location where an SS or SH be loaded?

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #19 on: 01/26/2022 10:03 pm »

What is the point of shipping them from BC to KSC? It seems quite clear to me they'll manufacture locally in KSC.


My question is about shipping from BC. If there is no way to ship from BC, then why are they building a factory in BC? Do you think the BC factory will be abandoned? If the BC factory is merely a prototype to be abandoned, then why are they expanding it?

I get your point, I was replying to edzieba who was specifically referring to BC-KSC shipping.

Sub orbital hops to Phobos and Deimos would be my answer. I think you're not seeing work on them because the need to launch that often is still far out, short to mid term BC and KSC should be enough.

EDIT: I also like ninjaneer's idea. I did ventilate the opinion of dredging a channel in the south bay previously as that is not part of the NWR. However they are still wetlands so not sure how feasible that is.
« Last Edit: 01/26/2022 10:06 pm by EL_DIABLO »

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #20 on: 01/26/2022 10:10 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/
Very interesting. Where would this vehicle come onshore and how would it get to a location where an SS or SH be loaded?

They usually just go up a beach, but they tend to deliver things that are not tall. If they can deal with the tipping angle, just pulling up over the beach then hovering down the road would be easiest...

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #21 on: 01/26/2022 10:45 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/
Very interesting. Where would this vehicle come onshore and how would it get to a location where an SS or SH be loaded?

They usually just go up a beach, but they tend to deliver things that are not tall. If they can deal with the tipping angle, just pulling up over the beach then hovering down the road would be easiest...
I meant where, specifically, near the BC factory is this technically possible and also permitted for a hovercraft of this size?

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #22 on: 01/26/2022 10:56 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/
Very interesting. Where would this vehicle come onshore and how would it get to a location where an SS or SH be loaded?

They usually just go up a beach, but they tend to deliver things that are not tall. If they can deal with the tipping angle, just pulling up over the beach then hovering down the road would be easiest...
I meant where, specifically, near the BC factory is this technically possible and also permitted for a hovercraft of this size?

I was going to wait for some boots around the property to chime in with that since they have a better feel for the situation.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #23 on: 01/26/2022 11:09 pm »
Why not use a hoverbarge to get it out of the estuary?  It's not new technology and doesn't need a channel.  The oil industry is familiar with them.

http://www.hovertranssolutions.com/

Well, the Boca Chica road ends right at the beach.  A hovercraft could come ashore right there and come right up the road to pick up a rocket, go back to sea.  At sea, they could revert to propeller drive to be less expensive. 

A standard barge can handle 12m in diameter and use the intercoastal waterway to Florida like the Saturn V.  It could dock at the shipping canal.  It is not hard people.  Whichever way is cheaper. 

Offline TomH

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #24 on: 01/27/2022 04:54 am »
The skin of the SLS core stage is so thin that the boosters cannot lift it from the bottom at launch. The booster thrust is transferred into an upper thrust beam at the top of the core stage. Nevertheless, the pressurized SLS core is transported horizontally via the Pegasus barge.

I do not understand why a pressurized SH or SS could not also be transported in like manner. Many here claim that they cannot, but I have not yet read an explanation that fully explains why.
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.

This makes little sense. The SLS core is almost as big as SH, yet there is no problem. Look at how much infrastructure SX has already built. Why are a couple of cranes and a few jigs problematic?

Why are you talking about power lines, turning radii, and overpasses? There is no need to roll the thing to Brownsville. You just build a dock at BC and transport it to FL on open water.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #25 on: 01/27/2022 05:59 am »
The skin of the SLS core stage is so thin that the boosters cannot lift it from the bottom at launch. The booster thrust is transferred into an upper thrust beam at the top of the core stage. Nevertheless, the pressurized SLS core is transported horizontally via the Pegasus barge.

I do not understand why a pressurized SH or SS could not also be transported in like manner. Many here claim that they cannot, but I have not yet read an explanation that fully explains why.
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.

This makes little sense. The SLS core is almost as big as SH, yet there is no problem. Look at how much infrastructure SX has already built. Why are a couple of cranes and a few jigs problematic?

Why are you talking about power lines, turning radii, and overpasses? There is no need to roll the thing to Brownsville. You just build a dock at BC and transport it to FL on open water.
I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #26 on: 01/27/2022 06:11 am »
Why are you talking about power lines, turning radii, and overpasses? There is no need to roll the thing to Brownsville. You just build a dock at BC and transport it to FL on open water.

The water shimmer you see from aerial and satellite photography doesn't have very much behind it.  NOAA doesn't even consider it water.

Close-up chart (2014): https://charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/11302.pdf
Zoomed out, but newer (2020): https://charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/11301.pdf

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #27 on: 01/27/2022 09:04 am »
The skin of the SLS core stage is so thin that the boosters cannot lift it from the bottom at launch. The booster thrust is transferred into an upper thrust beam at the top of the core stage. Nevertheless, the pressurized SLS core is transported horizontally via the Pegasus barge.

I do not understand why a pressurized SH or SS could not also be transported in like manner. Many here claim that they cannot, but I have not yet read an explanation that fully explains why.
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.

This makes little sense. The SLS core is almost as big as SH, yet there is no problem. Look at how much infrastructure SX has already built. Why are a couple of cranes and a few jigs problematic?

Why are you talking about power lines, turning radii, and overpasses? There is no need to roll the thing to Brownsville. You just build a dock at BC and transport it to FL on open water.
My point is that there's nothing to gain from using horizontal transport. Vertical transport is easier and has more freedom on the accessible routes. The only potential gain is the ability to go through the Panama canal in order to get to the west coast, but if they're doing low volume polar flights then they could launch from Florida and accept the slight performance hit. If they're doing high cadence polar flights, then it would make sense for them to build a factory on the west coast. There doesn't seem to be any need to ship vehicles from the east coast to the west.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #28 on: 01/27/2022 09:14 am »

I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
« Last Edit: 01/27/2022 09:18 am by EL_DIABLO »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #29 on: 01/27/2022 09:18 am »
I think horizontal transport makes more sense over extreme distances than vertical. Either way, you'd want the stage to be at least partially pressurized during transport to maintain rigidity.

Horizontal enables putting a covering over the stage during transport, which is useful for protecting from sea spray (important even for stainless steel).
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #30 on: 01/27/2022 12:43 pm »
What is the point of shipping them from BC to KSC? It seems quite clear to me they'll manufacture locally in KSC.
Eventually, yes. But it's going to take time to both build up the infrastructure to build vehicles in, the supply chains to provide parts and material, and to hire and train the standing army to work there. On the other hand, BC has been doing that for years.

On the launch site site, LC-39A is cleared for build and has little prospect of not receiving a launch license once applied (FONSI already in hand), and no state-mandated public access concerns to limit flight rates. It also sits in the middle of an established orbital launch complex with existing range safety, tracking, telemetry, support personnel, etc, in place and a well-oiled machine for supporting Falcon 9 launches. LOX tankage is already present, so only LCH4 tankage needs to be built out (and at the BC launch site, it's possible that the LCH4 tankage built may need repair or replacement before it can be activated). Construction is actively under way, though of course the BC site has the advantage of construction mostly being complete.

The upshot is a few months down the road there is the prospect of having a production site in Texas pumping out vehicles but unable to fly them, and a launch site in Florida ready to fly vehicles but with the nearby factory not yet ready. In that situation, a no-up-front-cost option (literally, until you call up Roll-lift and stamp out a contract you are not putting any money down on assets like enormous floating launch complexes) to get ships at A to the launch site at B is a no-brainer.

When it comes to 'hop transport', there are to big barriers: first, the enormous cost of building both the floating launch complexes themselves (when looking at X, and then X-but-on-a-ship, the X-but-on-a-ship will probably have an extra zero stuck on the end of the price tag) and the supply chain to get propellants to them, they are hardly less vulnerable to permitting than any other launch site. A launch license will still need to be issues, so an environmental assessment will still need to be conducted, and you're back to square one in terms of timeline even if you ignore the time needed to build out the platforms themselves. "But they're only short hops"/"but the propellant load is small" etc do not matter one jot: the launch license for Astra's Rocket 3 and for Starship Super Heavy are the same launch license. And with the low flight rates (even the most optimistic annual rates for full-bore Starship are well below even private aviation let alone commercial) and a wholesale revamp of launch licensing just having been concluded, that situation is not likely to change any time soon.

Offline WiresMN

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #31 on: 01/27/2022 01:38 pm »
I would think that BC could pump out sub assemblies ready for stacking easier and faster than trying to come up with the infrastructure for moving a completed SH or SS. Assembling a High bay does not appear to take long if you have ordered it ahead of time. It is also not too hard to peel off some of the BC workforce to get things started. They could have this all completed long before there is a pad or integration tower.


Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #32 on: 01/27/2022 01:52 pm »
I would think that BC could pump out sub assemblies ready for stacking easier and faster than trying to come up with the infrastructure for moving a completed SH or SS. Assembling a High bay does not appear to take long if you have ordered it ahead of time. It is also not too hard to peel off some of the BC workforce to get things started. They could have this all completed long before there is a pad or integration tower.
That still requires:
- A string of oversize load transporters (rings and domes are still very large)
- An entire high bay to be constructed first
- A workforce who can assemble vehicles to be on site

It'd be easier to move a ring former and rolls of stainless stock from BC to the cape than to move completed rings or ring segments.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #33 on: 01/27/2022 02:56 pm »

I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #34 on: 01/27/2022 03:10 pm »
I would think that BC could pump out sub assemblies ready for stacking easier and faster than trying to come up with the infrastructure for moving a completed SH or SS. Assembling a High bay does not appear to take long if you have ordered it ahead of time. It is also not too hard to peel off some of the BC workforce to get things started. They could have this all completed long before there is a pad or integration tower.
This thread is about shipping SS and SH from BC, not about manufacturing anywhere else. If they continue to do manufacturing in BC they need to ship from BS, regardless of whether or not the are also manufacturing elsewhere.  At BC, they must either ship or cease manufacture of assembled SS and SH.
*If they intend to cease assembly, then why are they building a new bigger vertical assembly bay that will more than triple their assembly capacity?
*If they intend to continue manufacture, then how will they ship?

Offline Steve D

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #35 on: 01/27/2022 03:22 pm »
With the permits they have they cant launch the full stack. But what about hopping starship out to a barge waiting off the coast then taking it to florida on the barge? For super heavy they would need to hop it to one of the platforms, then transfer it to a barge for transport to florida.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #36 on: 01/27/2022 03:28 pm »
<snip>
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
No need to dredge. Just beached a barge at high tide at the beach at the end of highway 4. Load the Starship or the Super Heavy onto the barge with a crane during the following low tide. Float the barge out at the next high tide maybe with the help of tugs along with dumping ballast water. Of course a temporary roadway extension of Highway 4 is required for the crane and the Starship transporter.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #37 on: 01/27/2022 03:29 pm »

I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
- Dock at Brownsville port: check, already leased on south side near the new South Port Connector Road
- South Port Connector Road: mostly check, was due to be opened at the end of 2021
- Boca Chica Blvd.: also check, still exists, runs from junction with South Port Connector Road straight to the manufacturing site
- Contract with company specialising with moving large heavy objects over land and sea: Check. Roll-lift do that as their bread and butter, and their SPMTs have been moving Starships and Super Heavies for years now
- Water access to LC-39 from either the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway: check. route is via Port Canaveral all the way to the turning basin, where a dock already exists for offloading large rocket bodies.
- Road access from the turning basin to LC-39A: Check, Saturn Causeway was resurfaced recently, and stretches alongside the Crawler way all around to the far side of LC-39A, bypassing the HIF blocking the ramp the the main pad.

No need for new docks, hovercraft, wetland dredging, etc, the route already exists.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #38 on: 01/27/2022 03:38 pm »
With the permits they have they cant launch the full stack. But what about hopping starship out to a barge waiting off the coast then taking it to florida on the barge? For super heavy they would need to hop it to one of the platforms, then transfer it to a barge for transport to florida.
A hop to a platform is my personal favorite. If the platform is used for SH, it would also be used for SS. SS cannot land on a barge: it needs a Mechazilla. If you can get to the platform, the "ship from BC" problem is solved and you can then ship from the platform by barge, hop, or full-up launch to LEO.

BUT: you need a platform, and SpaceX apparently wants to be in series production by H2 2022. So, is there any indication that a platform is currently under construction for completion in that timeframe?

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #39 on: 01/27/2022 03:38 pm »
Do any of our intrepid on-site informants know the current status of the connector road? I haven't been able to find more recent information than a newspaper article from early December that said they were ahead of schedule.
Pro-tip: you don't have to be a jerk if someone doesn't agree with your theories

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #40 on: 01/27/2022 03:41 pm »
<snip>
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
No need to dredge. Just beached a barge at high tide at the beach at the end of highway 4. Load the Starship or the Super Heavy onto the barge with a crane during the following low tide. Float the barge out at the next high tide maybe with the help of tugs along with dumping ballast water. Of course a temporary roadway extension of Highway 4 is required for the crane and the Starship transporter.
Beaching a barge on a protected beach is likely to be a problem. I assume the beach is protected as a turtle nesting area. Am I wrong?

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #41 on: 01/27/2022 03:45 pm »

I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
- Dock at Brownsville port: check, already leased on south side near the new South Port Connector Road
- South Port Connector Road: mostly check, was due to be opened at the end of 2021
- Boca Chica Blvd.: also check, still exists, runs from junction with South Port Connector Road straight to the manufacturing site
- Contract with company specialising with moving large heavy objects over land and sea: Check. Roll-lift do that as their bread and butter, and their SPMTs have been moving Starships and Super Heavies for years now
- Water access to LC-39 from either the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway: check. route is via Port Canaveral all the way to the turning basin, where a dock already exists for offloading large rocket bodies.
- Road access from the turning basin to LC-39A: Check, Saturn Causeway was resurfaced recently, and stretches alongside the Crawler way all around to the far side of LC-39A, bypassing the HIF blocking the ramp the the main pad.

No need for new docks, hovercraft, wetland dredging, etc, the route already exists.

I was asking EL_DIABLO about the idea of putting a Dock in BC near the build site. That is a different proposal than the dock 16 miles away in Brownsville.

Offline raivo45

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #42 on: 01/27/2022 04:00 pm »

I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
- Dock at Brownsville port: check, already leased on south side near the new South Port Connector Road
- South Port Connector Road: mostly check, was due to be opened at the end of 2021
- Boca Chica Blvd.: also check, still exists, runs from junction with South Port Connector Road straight to the manufacturing site
- Contract with company specialising with moving large heavy objects over land and sea: Check. Roll-lift do that as their bread and butter, and their SPMTs have been moving Starships and Super Heavies for years now
- Water access to LC-39 from either the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway: check. route is via Port Canaveral all the way to the turning basin, where a dock already exists for offloading large rocket bodies.
- Road access from the turning basin to LC-39A: Check, Saturn Causeway was resurfaced recently, and stretches alongside the Crawler way all around to the far side of LC-39A, bypassing the HIF blocking the ramp the the main pad.

No need for new docks, hovercraft, wetland dredging, etc, the route already exists.

I see a lot of people say that it's too far and there's no way SpaceX would transport the vehicles between the Brownsville port and BC...

So I'd like to add that back when the booster still had legs, SpaceX said in the earlier EA draft documents that some missions could require drone ship landing and then the booster would be shipped back to Brownsville port and transported by road to BC.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #43 on: 01/27/2022 04:05 pm »
<snip>
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
No need to dredge. Just beached a barge at high tide at the beach at the end of highway 4. Load the Starship or the Super Heavy onto the barge with a crane during the following low tide. Float the barge out at the next high tide maybe with the help of tugs along with dumping ballast water. Of course a temporary roadway extension of Highway 4 is required for the crane and the Starship transporter.
Beaching a barge on a protected beach is likely to be a problem. I assume the beach is protected as a turtle nesting area. Am I wrong?

Surely not the entire beach. Just the turtle nesting area, otherwise no one will be allow on the beach during the turtle hatching season.

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #44 on: 01/27/2022 04:28 pm »
It seems a lot of the "just make a few modifications!" ideas are missing two underlying issues:

1) Environmental studies take a long time to finish.

2) The population will tolerate a fair amount of change, but half of the people on the gulf coast are environmentalists and the other half are conservationists.  It's like a Voltron of anger when they work together.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #45 on: 01/27/2022 05:03 pm »
It seems a lot of the "just make a few modifications!" ideas are missing two underlying issues:

1) Environmental studies take a long time to finish.

2) The population will tolerate a fair amount of change, but half of the people on the gulf coast are environmentalists and the other half are conservationists.  It's like a Voltron of anger when they work together.

Here are the possible shipping methods from the thread-starter post:
Possible methods:
   *launch to orbit. Works for ship but not for the booster, and (apparently) to be licensed for only 5 per year
   *suborbital "hop". Works for both ship and booster, but no evidence for a landing site under construction anywhere except BC
       *Phobos and Deimos are candidates but no evidence that they are being built out for this yet.
   *barge. No evidence for any construction of a dock, and the nearest candidate is about 16 miles away.
   *use a hovercraft over the beach. That's a big hovercraft. No evidence that SpaceX is looking for such a craft.
"Barge" has now split into "Dock at BC" and Dock in Brownsville".
My original question remains: if SpaceX keeps manufacturing SH and SS in BC, then how will they be delivered?

Other posts have commented on the difficulties (permitting or otherwise) for each method.
For each method, there may be objections based on environmental/conservation issues, or on other issues. In my opinion, the biggest environmental objection would be raised against a proposal to dredge a new channel to a dock in BC. The next-biggest objection would be against coming in over the beach with a  barge or to a lesser extent to a hovercraft. That leaves the hop and the dock in Brownsville.

For the hop, environmental objections are centered on the platform and should be minor, since the gulf is littered with thousands of platforms already. The problems will be FAA permission to fly out of BC, which for hops should be minor and from the platform, which is a whole new FAA regime.  For the dock in Brownsville, there should be no new environmental issues, and the issues will center on the road closures and inconvenience to the public of the weekly 16-mile haul of the product.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #46 on: 01/27/2022 05:11 pm »
<snip>
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?
No need to dredge. Just beached a barge at high tide at the beach at the end of highway 4. Load the Starship or the Super Heavy onto the barge with a crane during the following low tide. Float the barge out at the next high tide maybe with the help of tugs along with dumping ballast water. Of course a temporary roadway extension of Highway 4 is required for the crane and the Starship transporter.
Beaching a barge on a protected beach is likely to be a problem. I assume the beach is protected as a turtle nesting area. Am I wrong?

Surely not the entire beach. Just the turtle nesting area, otherwise no one will be allow on the beach during the turtle hatching season.
I don't know about the BC beach, but in South Carolina the female turtles come in over a 3-month period and hatchlings emerge 60 days after the nest is laid, so a 5-month period. The entire beach is a turtle nesting area. There are rules about disturbing the moms (no lights on the beach at night), the nests (no digging near a nest) and the hatchlings (no. just no.) With no actual experience with permitting for over-the-beach operations, I am just guessing, but I think it will be very difficult to get permission.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #47 on: 01/27/2022 05:36 pm »
What is the point of shipping them from BC to KSC? It seems quite clear to me they'll manufacture locally in KSC.
Eventually, yes. But it's going to take time to both build up the infrastructure to build vehicles in, the supply chains to provide parts and material, and to hire and train the standing army to work there. On the other hand, BC has been doing that for years.

On the launch site site, LC-39A is cleared for build and has little prospect of not receiving a launch license once applied (FONSI already in hand), and no state-mandated public access concerns to limit flight rates. It also sits in the middle of an established orbital launch complex with existing range safety, tracking, telemetry, support personnel, etc, in place and a well-oiled machine for supporting Falcon 9 launches. LOX tankage is already present, so only LCH4 tankage needs to be built out (and at the BC launch site, it's possible that the LCH4 tankage built may need repair or replacement before it can be activated). Construction is actively under way, though of course the BC site has the advantage of construction mostly being complete.

The upshot is a few months down the road there is the prospect of having a production site in Texas pumping out vehicles but unable to fly them, and a launch site in Florida ready to fly vehicles but with the nearby factory not yet ready. In that situation, a no-up-front-cost option (literally, until you call up Roll-lift and stamp out a contract you are not putting any money down on assets like enormous floating launch complexes) to get ships at A to the launch site at B is a no-brainer.

When it comes to 'hop transport', there are to big barriers: first, the enormous cost of building both the floating launch complexes themselves (when looking at X, and then X-but-on-a-ship, the X-but-on-a-ship will probably have an extra zero stuck on the end of the price tag) and the supply chain to get propellants to them, they are hardly less vulnerable to permitting than any other launch site. A launch license will still need to be issues, so an environmental assessment will still need to be conducted, and you're back to square one in terms of timeline even if you ignore the time needed to build out the platforms themselves. "But they're only short hops"/"but the propellant load is small" etc do not matter one jot: the launch license for Astra's Rocket 3 and for Starship Super Heavy are the same launch license. And with the low flight rates (even the most optimistic annual rates for full-bore Starship are well below even private aviation let alone commercial) and a wholesale revamp of launch licensing just having been concluded, that situation is not likely to change any time soon.

Not sure I agree with that timeline. The launch site takes longer to build than the manufacturing site, and it is being built on an active pad which means it will take even longer. Hence why construction on that is starting earlier.

The off-shore platforms are a whole different matter. As I stated, in my opinion, they'll only launch from BC and KSC in the short to mid term. However eventually they'll have to build them if they want to launch very frequently.



I have never been to BC, but when I look at a map, I cannot find a place to build a dock. All of the commentary about a dock has been about a location about 16 miles away on the ship channel near Brownsville. To the north of BC there is a big wetland between the ship channel and BC and that wetland is a wildlife sanctuary. To the  south, the Rio Grande is non navigable. To the east, the beach is directly on the gulf and I don't think anyone will will be able to get permission for a dock there for a whole lot of reasons.

They are wetlands but not a wildlife sanctuary.
OK, back to the original question: How will SpaceX ship SH and SS this year? building a dock at BC will require dredging a channel from the ship channel through the mud flat, and this will require all sorts of permits and approvals. Has anyone seen any evidence that such an approval process has been started?

As I mentioned in a previous reply I don't think there are any plans to ship anything anywhere anytime soon. What is made in BC will launch from BC and what is made in KSC will launch from KSC. Long term when the off shore platforms will be ready I think they will hop them. If that for whatever reason cannot be done they will be barged out, with edzieba's option being more likely, though I'd like the idea of a channel being dredged in the south bay (environmentalists probably less so). I mostly threw it out to discuss how feasible it would be to get permissions to do so.

Obviously they are just my 0.02 cents, I could be wrong.
« Last Edit: 01/27/2022 05:49 pm by EL_DIABLO »

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #48 on: 01/27/2022 05:52 pm »
I would think that BC could pump out sub assemblies ready for stacking easier and faster than trying to come up with the infrastructure for moving a completed SH or SS. Assembling a High bay does not appear to take long if you have ordered it ahead of time. It is also not too hard to peel off some of the BC workforce to get things started. They could have this all completed long before there is a pad or integration tower.

If you're just shipping giant pieces for integration, you open up new opportunities.  The Mil Mi-26 can carry about 1/4 of a starship by mass.  It's probably as loud as a launch, too.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #49 on: 01/27/2022 06:06 pm »

As I mentioned in a previous reply I don't think there are any plans to ship anything anywhere anytime soon. What is made in BC will launch from BC and what is made in KSC will launch from KSC. Long term when the off shore platforms will be ready I think they will hop them. If that for whatever reason cannot be done they will be barged out, with edzieba's option being more likely, though I'd like the idea of a channel being dredged in the south bay (environmentalists probably less so). I mostly threw it out to discuss how feasible it would be to get permissions to do so.

Obviously they are just my 0.02 cents, I could be wrong.

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Offline southshore26

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #50 on: 01/27/2022 08:19 pm »
Surely not the entire beach. Just the turtle nesting area, otherwise no one will be allow on the beach during the turtle hatching season.

The entirety of the beach from the US border up to the channel is a protected and would be considered "nesting area". Also, building a dock on unprotected beach in that area would most likely require some type of breakwater as the surf there is generally high.

Building a facility at the BC beach just isn't a realistic approach from an environmental and engineering/financial stand point.

Offline Okie_Steve

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #51 on: 01/27/2022 08:25 pm »
Rolling vertical to the shipping channel could be timed to occur at night, possibly over multiple days between a set of "way stations" to keep any given closure short. If we assume 7 hours total spread out over a week with a daily closure scheduled for that day's segment between 3AM and 4AM I doubt it would cause too much of a problem for people.

Edit - For that matter, with appropriate security and traffic control is there any reason that other occasional night traffic to the port that might exist could not be allowed to pass by in a timely fashion?
« Last Edit: 01/27/2022 08:30 pm by Okie_Steve »

Offline TomH

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #52 on: 01/27/2022 08:41 pm »
The Mil Mi-26 can carry about 1/4 of a starship by mass.  It's probably as loud as a launch, too.

Wildly inaccurate, multiple orders of magnitude difference. I was in the VIP stands when Apollo 13 launched. From 3 miles away my ears ached and the vibrations pounded through my torso like it was a sheet of paper. The amount of energy being released by that chopper is a minuscule fraction of that being burned in a SHLV.

Offline DistantTemple

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #53 on: 01/27/2022 09:38 pm »
The Mil Mi-26 can carry about 1/4 of a starship by mass.  It's probably as loud as a launch, too.

Wildly inaccurate, multiple orders of magnitude difference. I was in the VIP stands when Apollo 13 launched. From 3 miles away my ears ached and the vibrations pounded through my torso like it was a sheet of paper. The amount of energy being released by that chopper is a minuscule fraction of that being burned in a SHLV.
errr? Great to hear of such experiences.

However what has it got to do with the quoted post or even the specific quote?
Carrying (pieces of) starships by helicopter, is somewhat different from launching rockets!

Maybe X industries could make a giant quadcopter (like a drone) to lift 200 tonnes to ferry the SS and SH? the downdraft would be outside the radius of the ships.
We can always grow new new dendrites. Reach out and make connections and your world will burst with new insights. Then repose in consciousness.

Offline ninjaneer

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #54 on: 01/27/2022 11:18 pm »
The Mil Mi-26 can carry about 1/4 of a starship by mass.  It's probably as loud as a launch, too.

Wildly inaccurate, multiple orders of magnitude difference. I was in the VIP stands when Apollo 13 launched. From 3 miles away my ears ached and the vibrations pounded through my torso like it was a sheet of paper. The amount of energy being released by that chopper is a minuscule fraction of that being burned in a SHLV.
errr? Great to hear of such experiences.

However what has it got to do with the quoted post or even the specific quote?
Carrying (pieces of) starships by helicopter, is somewhat different from launching rockets!

Maybe X industries could make a giant quadcopter (like a drone) to lift 200 tonnes to ferry the SS and SH? the downdraft would be outside the radius of the ships.

It's a side attack troll.  Quote a roughly accurate metric with a clearly labeled ballpark guess and attempt to discredit an individual by harshly attacking the guess without clearly stating your purpose.  At any rate, the Mi-26 is currently being built for export in a 33 tonne model and they are working on a 40 tonne, so there's a little bit of a gap there.  It's almost the size of starship as is.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #55 on: 01/28/2022 07:46 am »
Rolling vertical to the shipping channel could be timed to occur at night, possibly over multiple days between a set of "way stations" to keep any given closure short. If we assume 7 hours total spread out over a week with a daily closure scheduled for that day's segment between 3AM and 4AM I doubt it would cause too much of a problem for people.

Edit - For that matter, with appropriate security and traffic control is there any reason that other occasional night traffic to the port that might exist could not be allowed to pass by in a timely fashion?
No closures, at all. Starship (or Super heavy) road transport does not require any road closures, and has not involved any road closures thus far either. It's an oversized load that travels slowly - and thus may generate tailbacks of slow moving traffic - but that's just unpopular rather than requiring the road to be closed.

New docks on the coast, heavy-lift helicopters, giant custom hovercraft, etc, are simply unnecessary when the road & shipping route are already there. There is no reason to solve non-existent problems.

Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #56 on: 01/28/2022 08:02 am »
Here's the route to the docks as soon as the new road is complete. It's desperately unexotic.
 
(gmaps)
« Last Edit: 01/28/2022 08:04 am by Cheapchips »

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #57 on: 01/28/2022 09:26 am »
Here's the route to the docks as soon as the new road is complete. It's desperately unexotic.
 
(gmaps)
To add, this route is about the same length as the path they will take between Roberts Rd and LC49, so the transporters have to be able to cover that much distance anyway.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #58 on: 01/28/2022 11:32 am »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2022 12:21 pm by EL_DIABLO »

Offline daavery

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #59 on: 01/28/2022 12:21 pm »
`because the booster is wider than the road, all east bound traffic would need to be blocked before the port road for the entire time the transport is on the  road ( maybe 8 hours) because there is no place for traffic or the booster to pull over to all allow passage

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #60 on: 01/28/2022 01:09 pm »
For all normal traffic, the current southern route out of the port (via Brownsville proper) that everyone has had to use prior to the new access road will remain available.

Offline daavery

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #61 on: 01/28/2022 01:21 pm »
true, but all traffic to the beach ,residences E of the port connector and spacex will be blocked for 8 hours or so for each move. right now starship/booster moves close rt 4 for 2 hours just between the build site and launch site ( about 1.5 mi)

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #62 on: 01/28/2022 01:40 pm »
true, but all traffic to the beach ,residences E of the port connector and spacex will be blocked for 8 hours or so for each move. right now starship/booster moves close rt 4 for 2 hours just between the build site and launch site ( about 1.5 mi)


This is why I recommended another road via the shipping canal to the beach.  Access to the beach would only be temporary when the Starship/Booster moves across it to the canal dock.  By that time the route to the beach via the existing road would be open.  Roads are not hard to build.  Shipping horizontal is not hard, by pressurizing the tankage with gas nitrogen for shipping.  Having special arms to hold down the horizontal units at the base, top, near the common tank dome to have cross stress pressure points to hold down the rocket.  Not hard.  It might be more critical for the Starship than the booster since the Starship has fins and heat tiles to deal with.  Heat tiles could be left off near hold down points for shipping, and installed at the Cape before launch.  Shipping via barge is not a big deal and all things can be worked out.  It is less of a problem than how many launches the FAA is going to let them do from Boca Chica as well as if they will let them do landings. 

Offline WiresMN

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #63 on: 01/28/2022 01:40 pm »
SpX has talked about pull offs along 4 to allow traffic to pass. They could pay for the same along the port connector road. Depending on the spacing you wouldn't have to wait too long.

Offline Dapholine

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #64 on: 01/28/2022 02:16 pm »
true, but all traffic to the beach ,residences E of the port connector and spacex will be blocked for 8 hours or so for each move. right now starship/booster moves close rt 4 for 2 hours just between the build site and launch site ( about 1.5 mi)
This is a non-issue. BC is extremely remote. Apart from SpaceX workers and spaceflight fans, there is hardly any traffic. If you do the move at night, and have a few places you can overtake, you have zero people you inconvenience. Not even the hypothetical beach-visitor-at-night.

Large transports are done all over the world through busy urbanized areas on a very regular basis. Transports of items larger than a Super Heavy are also done all over the world on a very regular basis. I don't see why transporting a vertical rocket over an empty road is such a big issue.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #65 on: 01/28/2022 03:03 pm »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #66 on: 01/28/2022 03:14 pm »
true, but all traffic to the beach ,residences E of the port connector and spacex will be blocked for 8 hours or so for each move. right now starship/booster moves close rt 4 for 2 hours just between the build site and launch site ( about 1.5 mi)
While I think the road trip is a bad idea, it would not entirely block the road for 8 hours, because there can be pull-outs every mile or so if needed. Driving on that road during during a move would be slightly more frustrating than driving on a road with a big drawbridge.

I'm not sure how big the move team needs to be. Maybe a crew of five for the SPMTs, plus payment to the county for four sheriffs and two sheriff's SUVs, maybe a third SUV for traffic control/road closure at intersections?

Offline Timber Micka

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #67 on: 01/28/2022 05:52 pm »
Here's an image (taken from a John Winkopp video) of the hardware SpaceX built in Cocoa, Florida to transport Starship horizontally to the KSC.
This plan was abandoned but it shows that the transport of Starship over long distances has been seriously studied by SpaceX.

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #68 on: 01/28/2022 09:03 pm »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.
The wide bay has an identical footprint to the two high bays they're planning on constructing in Florida. It's entirely plausible that they're using Boca Chica as a pathfinder for the ideal design for the production facilities while also future proofing for when they may want to ramp up production.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #69 on: 01/29/2022 12:03 am »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.
The wide bay has an identical footprint to the two high bays they're planning on constructing in Florida. It's entirely plausible that they're using Boca Chica as a pathfinder for the ideal design for the production facilities while also future proofing for when they may want to ramp up production.
Does this mean that you think BC will never become an actual manufacturing facility with SH and SS in series production? It's just a prototype to be abandoned?  If so , then of course they don't need a way to ship product.  That seems more like wishful thinking from the Florida amazing people to me.

Offline WiresMN

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #70 on: 01/29/2022 02:49 am »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.
The wide bay has an identical footprint to the two high bays they're planning on constructing in Florida. It's entirely plausible that they're using Boca Chica as a pathfinder for the ideal design for the production facilities while also future proofing for when they may want to ramp up production.
Does this mean that you think BC will never become an actual manufacturing facility with SH and SS in series production? It's just a prototype to be abandoned?  If so , then of course they don't need a way to ship product.  That seems more like wishful thinking from the Florida amazing people to me.

Why would they give up on BC? Even if it stays a development site. They are going to be developing for decades. But once Florida  is up and building they will not be shipping to Florida.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #71 on: 01/29/2022 02:55 am »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.
The wide bay has an identical footprint to the two high bays they're planning on constructing in Florida. It's entirely plausible that they're using Boca Chica as a pathfinder for the ideal design for the production facilities while also future proofing for when they may want to ramp up production.
Does this mean that you think BC will never become an actual manufacturing facility with SH and SS in series production? It's just a prototype to be abandoned?  If so , then of course they don't need a way to ship product.  That seems more like wishful thinking from the Florida amazing people to me.

Why would they give up on BC? Even if it stays a development site. They are going to be developing for decades. But once Florida  is up and building they will not be shipping to Florida.
This thread was not intended to be about shipping to Florida. The point of the thread is that if SH and SS are manufactured in BC, then they must somehow leave BC. If there is a second factory, then SH and SS must somehow leave that factory also, but that's a separate issue. I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.

Offline WiresMN

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #72 on: 01/29/2022 03:51 am »

This thread was not intended to be about shipping to Florida. The point of the thread is that if SH and SS are manufactured in BC, then they must somehow leave BC. If there is a second factory, then SH and SS must somehow leave that factory also, but that's a separate issue. I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.

But if the don't go to Florida then where do they go? The same is true for Florida.  There has been no other sites proposed.

If they move them from BC I think it will be on the port connector road. There is no need for environmental reviews for dredging,  there is no concerns about the beach. You tie up a road for a few hours. If it gets to be a  big deal they can add pull outs.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #73 on: 01/29/2022 10:43 am »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.

I would say it's simply a matter of we're going to need it in the future so we might as well build it now and make use of it.

I also think the fact that they are building it shows they have no intention of moving away from BC. I don't see the point of building a pathfinder in BC for KSC for something as straightforward as a highbay.

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #74 on: 01/29/2022 12:13 pm »

In my opinion we have a severe disconnect between the apparently-planned manufacturing rate at BC (my guess: 52 units/yr, a mix of SH and SS)  and the approved launch rate to LEO from BC (5 per year). My guesses are as likely to be wrong as your 0.02 cents.

Would you care to comment on my guesses? do you think the production rate will be less than 5/yr, or do you think SpaceX will get approval for more launches? At one point Elon was angsting because SpaceX needed 20 Starlink-on-Starship launches before the end of 2022.

Agreed, that's where the disconnect is. I think the key word is planned, it doesn't mean they will be producing that many in BC anytime soon, not until they have off shore platforms or are able to get licensed for more orbital launches.

I wouldn't read too much into that, Elon is always pushing super aggressive timelines. The way I see it it was more of a 'rally the troops' kind of message.
From this, I infer that you think BC will not manufacture many units in 2022. Your vision appears to be hop-to-offshore, which I also think is likely, so I guess we must just wait until we see a Mechazilla being build on Phobos or Deimos (platforms, not moons).

If they are only assembling 5 SH and 5 SS in 2022, then why are the building the new "wide bay" (i.e., triple-wide high bay)? they could likely assemble those 10 units in the existing high bay in 2022.
The wide bay has an identical footprint to the two high bays they're planning on constructing in Florida. It's entirely plausible that they're using Boca Chica as a pathfinder for the ideal design for the production facilities while also future proofing for when they may want to ramp up production.
Does this mean that you think BC will never become an actual manufacturing facility with SH and SS in series production? It's just a prototype to be abandoned?  If so , then of course they don't need a way to ship product.  That seems more like wishful thinking from the Florida amazing people to me.

Why would they give up on BC? Even if it stays a development site. They are going to be developing for decades. But once Florida  is up and building they will not be shipping to Florida.
This thread was not intended to be about shipping to Florida. The point of the thread is that if SH and SS are manufactured in BC, then they must somehow leave BC. If there is a second factory, then SH and SS must somehow leave that factory also, but that's a separate issue. I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.
If that's your actual question, then the answer is simple. They will fly the majority, and if they have a launch pad ready elsewhere that doesn't have an operational factory yet, they could ship a few vehicles there for initial testing. You keep arguing that this is not feasible because you are vastly overestimating how many vehicles they will build.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #75 on: 01/29/2022 01:35 pm »
They also have Deimos and Phobos that are planned to be offshore launch sites a few years down the road.  They will have to take at least one Superheavy and a few Starships to each of those sites.  Flying is a good way to do it. 

However, we are talking about the FAA limiting flights to 5 per year and also they haven't dealt with permission to land at Boca Chica.  Under current circumstances with no manufacturing in Florida, and Deimos and Phobos not yet ready, and with NASA wanting to launch the Lunar Starship from Cape Kennedy, they will certainly have to ship by barge from the Brownsville shipping canal. 

Even if they get approval to build a launch facility at the pad 49 location at Kennedy, that is going to take 2-3 years from approval, unless they finish a pad at their current approved location.  Deimos and Phobos will take at least 2 years. 


Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #76 on: 01/29/2022 02:43 pm »

This thread was not intended to be about shipping to Florida. The point of the thread is that if SH and SS are manufactured in BC, then they must somehow leave BC. If there is a second factory, then SH and SS must somehow leave that factory also, but that's a separate issue. I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.
If that's your actual question, then the answer is simple. They will fly the majority, and if they have a launch pad ready elsewhere that doesn't have an operational factory yet, they could ship a few vehicles there for initial testing. You keep arguing that this is not feasible because you are vastly overestimating how many vehicles they will build.
OK, your estimate of production and schedule at BC differ from mine. I think that the BC facility is designed to reach a one-per-week capacity by the end of 2022, and you do not. What production rate do you think the BC facility is designed for? When do you think it will reach that rate?
If the build rate is to remain low, why are they adding more capacity?

We know that SpaceX is contracted to deliver Starship HLS, with a demo mission next year. That requires a minimum of one HLS, one depot,   one tanker and one booster. It also requires on the order of ten launches.  We also know that Elon wants to launch 20 Starlink-on-Starship flights this year. This requires one booster and one Starship.  The number orbital flights exceeds the 5-flight limit. I concluded that they will need another launch site, and from that I concluded that they need a way to deliver the SH and SS to that launch site.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #77 on: 01/29/2022 02:59 pm »
They also have Deimos and Phobos that are planned to be offshore launch sites a few years down the road.  They will have to take at least one Superheavy and a few Starships to each of those sites.  Flying is a good way to do it. 

However, we are talking about the FAA limiting flights to 5 per year and also they haven't dealt with permission to land at Boca Chica.  Under current circumstances with no manufacturing in Florida, and Deimos and Phobos not yet ready, and with NASA wanting to launch the Lunar Starship from Cape Kennedy, they will certainly have to ship by barge from the Brownsville shipping canal. 

Even if they get approval to build a launch facility at the pad 49 location at Kennedy, that is going to take 2-3 years from approval, unless they finish a pad at their current approved location.  Deimos and Phobos will take at least 2 years.
If all of your predictions are correct (and they very well may be) then Starship will not be operational in 2024 unless they use the existing pad at KSC.  But they need to be operational to do the HSL demo.
   *BC cannot launch and land due to FAA restrictions
   *KSC pad 49 cannot launch and land because will will take two years
   *Deimos and Phobos will take at least 2 years
   *there are no other options for a site for a Mechazilla.
This means they must ship SH and SS from BC to KSC, and they must build a Mechazilla at their existing KSC site. Have we seen any evidence for a Mechazilla build-out at KSC?

Offline Hyperborealis

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #78 on: 01/29/2022 03:18 pm »
Does anyone with knowledge in these matters know how quickly the five launches per year at BC could be revised upwards, assuming the track record of the effects of the initial launches turns out to be below initial projections?

I would guess the regulatory situation in BC will be dynamic.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #79 on: 01/29/2022 03:23 pm »
Does anyone with knowledge in these matters know how quickly the five launches per year at BC could be revised upwards, assuming the track record of the effects of the initial launches turns out to be below initial projections?

I would guess the regulatory situation in BC will be dynamic.

You will need to know about landings from orbit also.

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #80 on: 01/29/2022 03:43 pm »

This thread was not intended to be about shipping to Florida. The point of the thread is that if SH and SS are manufactured in BC, then they must somehow leave BC. If there is a second factory, then SH and SS must somehow leave that factory also, but that's a separate issue. I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.
If that's your actual question, then the answer is simple. They will fly the majority, and if they have a launch pad ready elsewhere that doesn't have an operational factory yet, they could ship a few vehicles there for initial testing. You keep arguing that this is not feasible because you are vastly overestimating how many vehicles they will build.
OK, your estimate of production and schedule at BC differ from mine. I think that the BC facility is designed to reach a one-per-week capacity by the end of 2022, and you do not. What production rate do you think the BC facility is designed for? When do you think it will reach that rate?
If the build rate is to remain low, why are they adding more capacity?

We know that SpaceX is contracted to deliver Starship HLS, with a demo mission next year. That requires a minimum of one HLS, one depot,   one tanker and one booster. It also requires on the order of ten launches.  We also know that Elon wants to launch 20 Starlink-on-Starship flights this year. This requires one booster and one Starship.  The number orbital flights exceeds the 5-flight limit. I concluded that they will need another launch site, and from that I concluded that they need a way to deliver the SH and SS to that launch site.
What the site can build and what it will build are two completely separate things. Eventually they will need the manufacturing capacity, so they need to expand the facility at some point. They could begin the expansion now when they have manpower sitting idle, or they could wait to start building it until they're swamped. Starting the expansion now also has the added bonus of informing the design for the additional manufacturing facility/facilities that they plan to build in the near future. Until offshore launch platforms become a reality, transportation is almost completely pointless, as every launch site currently planned has a manufacturing site to go with it.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #81 on: 01/29/2022 09:40 pm »
Every launch site may not have manufacturing to go with it.  This whole Superheavy/Starship combo is to be fully reusable.  One facility turning out a rocket a month could build up a lot of rockets.  Look at Falcon 9, most boosters are being reused.  Twelve rockets in one year could yeild 144 launches the second year doing one a month.  Why have so many manufacturing facilities?  Maybe one at Boca Chica, and one in Florida would be enough to build up a flotilla of Starships in a few years.  Engines are going to be made to keep up with Starship/Superheavy production now. 

SpaceX hasn't even gone orbital yet, but if successful, they are going to have to make a lot of Starships and Superheavies.  They are going to have to expand engine manufacturing first. 

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #82 on: 01/29/2022 10:06 pm »
Every launch site may not have manufacturing to go with it.  This whole Superheavy/Starship combo is to be fully reusable.  One facility turning out a rocket a month could build up a lot of rockets.  Look at Falcon 9, most boosters are being reused.  Twelve rockets in one year could yeild 144 launches the second year doing one a month.  Why have so many manufacturing facilities?  Maybe one at Boca Chica, and one in Florida would be enough to build up a flotilla of Starships in a few years.  Engines are going to be made to keep up with Starship/Superheavy production now. 

SpaceX hasn't even gone orbital yet, but if successful, they are going to have to make a lot of Starships and Superheavies.  They are going to have to expand engine manufacturing first.
When reusability has become reliable enough to operate launch sites using a small number of vehicles used over and over again, self transportation of vehicles via flight becomes a no brainer. The window in time where transportation from one launch site to another via any method other than flight makes sense is extremely small (if it exists at all).
« Last Edit: 01/30/2022 01:05 am by robot_enthusiast »

Offline Nevyn72

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #83 on: 01/29/2022 10:07 pm »
[SNIP].....I was hoping we could speculate here on how the BC product in manufactured over the next 12 months will leave BC.

I suspect the stuff specifically built over the next 12 months will largely leave in scrap metal trucks...

Offline MichaelBlackbourn

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #84 on: 01/29/2022 11:04 pm »
They have requested 5 orbital launches… and how many suborbital flights? The sub orbital flight count might be these ‘hops’ to get to new sites.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #85 on: 01/30/2022 01:10 am »
Every launch site may not have manufacturing to go with it.  This whole Superheavy/Starship combo is to be fully reusable.  One facility turning out a rocket a month could build up a lot of rockets.  Look at Falcon 9, most boosters are being reused.  Twelve rockets in one year could yeild 144 launches the second year doing one a month.  Why have so many manufacturing facilities?  Maybe one at Boca Chica, and one in Florida would be enough to build up a flotilla of Starships in a few years.  Engines are going to be made to keep up with Starship/Superheavy production now. 

SpaceX hasn't even gone orbital yet, but if successful, they are going to have to make a lot of Starships and Superheavies.  They are going to have to expand engine manufacturing first.

Speculation: SpaceX has stated an intention of making about 1000 Raptors per year. Each SH needs 33 Raptors. They need one active SH for each Mechazilla and one backup SH for each Mechazilla orbital launch site. As of now we are speculating that there will be a total of two operational sites with perhaps a total of four Mechazillas, so they need a total of six operational SH, plus the non-recovered test launches (2?). That's 8, so 264 Raptors. The remaining 736 Raptors are enough for about 80 SS at 9 Raptors per SS. So a manufacturing and delivery rate of 88 units per year.  After the first full production year, There will be fewer SH and more SS as only replacement SH are needed.

If SpaceX fails to achieve their goal of super-quick turnaround, they will need more than one SH per Mechazilla. We won't know how that will work out.  I did not understand until recently that a Mechazilla can really only use one SH, but the same Mechazilla that launches an SH with an SS will catch that same SH about 8 minutes later after RTLS, and that 8 minutes is a small portion of the full launch and retrieval cycle.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #86 on: 01/30/2022 08:56 am »
Every launch site may not have manufacturing to go with it.  This whole Superheavy/Starship combo is to be fully reusable.  One facility turning out a rocket a month could build up a lot of rockets.  Look at Falcon 9, most boosters are being reused.  Twelve rockets in one year could yeild 144 launches the second year doing one a month.  Why have so many manufacturing facilities?  Maybe one at Boca Chica, and one in Florida would be enough to build up a flotilla of Starships in a few years.  Engines are going to be made to keep up with Starship/Superheavy production now. 

SpaceX hasn't even gone orbital yet, but if successful, they are going to have to make a lot of Starships and Superheavies.  They are going to have to expand engine manufacturing first.

Obviously, nobody claimed anything more than one manufacturing facility in BC and one in KSC so I don't see where you got that impression from.


When reusability has become reliable enough to operate launch sites using a small number of vehicles used over and over again, self transportation of vehicles via flight becomes a no brainer. The window in time where transportation from one launch site to another via any method other than flight makes sense is extremely small (if it exists at all).

Agreed
« Last Edit: 01/30/2022 09:05 am by EL_DIABLO »

Online MickQ

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #87 on: 01/31/2022 10:41 am »
Time to call The Boring Company  ;)

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #88 on: 01/31/2022 02:25 pm »
Every launch site may not have manufacturing to go with it.  This whole Superheavy/Starship combo is to be fully reusable.  One facility turning out a rocket a month could build up a lot of rockets.  Look at Falcon 9, most boosters are being reused.  Twelve rockets in one year could yeild 144 launches the second year doing one a month.  Why have so many manufacturing facilities?  Maybe one at Boca Chica, and one in Florida would be enough to build up a flotilla of Starships in a few years.  Engines are going to be made to keep up with Starship/Superheavy production now. 

SpaceX hasn't even gone orbital yet, but if successful, they are going to have to make a lot of Starships and Superheavies.  They are going to have to expand engine manufacturing first.
When reusability has become reliable enough to operate launch sites using a small number of vehicles used over and over again, self transportation of vehicles via flight becomes a no brainer. The window in time where transportation from one launch site to another via any method other than flight makes sense is extremely small (if it exists at all).

It is a no brainer to us.  However, what about the FAA.  They can limit launches, thus the rockets would have to be shipped to other launch sites.  I think Musk never figured launching from Boca Chica would be a problem.  Not many people to deal with as they bought most of the homes nearby.  It is isolated.  Environmentalists are the biggest problem to satisfy now.  Kennedy is already launching and is operational, so Kennedy is going to probably launch more Starships and Superheavies until Demios and Phobos are ready.  It looks like now Boca Chica will be just for testing.  Maybe after successful testings and landings, the FAA might allow for more launches. 

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #89 on: 01/31/2022 02:49 pm »
OK, time to look at this form the demand side. From the supply side, BC can manufacture lots of SH and SS per year: I guessed (with nothing whatsoever to back up my guess) one unit per week, and I then freaked out trying to figure out how to ship them.

But how large is the demand in the next two years or so?  I now think it is quite small.  They will need perhaps three expendable SH and three expendable SS for the LEO test flights, and then start producing for operational flights. There were 131 orbital launches for all launchers in 2021, so let's take 131/yr as the upper bound on the Starship launch rate.  This is ridiculously large as it includes all Chinese launches in addition to other launches using locked-in launch vehicles.

A production SH is intended to be able to be rapidly reused, with multiple launches per day. Let's be conservative and assume only one launch per day. Therefore we need a total of one operational SH. Let's be more conservative and provide two backups: a total of three.

Our launch site will be launching one SS per day and recovering on average one SH and one SS per day. Because of orbital mechanics, an SS may need to remain in orbit for several days until a landing at the launch site is possible. Let's assume we may have five SS in orbit at peak demand: we will build seven SS to support this.  These are general cargo SS.   For HLS, we also need the HLS, a depot, and a tanker: let's make that three tankers.  This brings the near-term demand for the product to six SH and twelve SS or a total of 18 units.

Note that the one SH and five SS allow for an average of one launch per day, or 365 per year, or 2.8 times the world's current launch rate when replacing one current launch with one Starship launch.  For total payload capacity, it is roughly 280 times the LEO payload capacity of all launches in 2021 (taking Starship capacity of 150 t and assuming  average 2021 launcher capacity is < 15 t).

If we do not use this ridiculous upper bound but instead assume Starship flies 70 times a year, we still need the same number of SH and maybe one less general-cargo SS: no real difference.

Of these 18 units, six are launched at BC and expended. The remaining 12 must be shipped to KSC and will remain there. This is the total demand for the next two years.

An SH is supposed to be able to do 500 flights (based on number of Raptor starts). Assume an SH can only do 70 flights: that's one replacement SH per year. The 70 flights are spread among 7 SS. Assume an SS can do 20 flights (assumption based on nothing whatsoever). That's about 2.5 replacements/yr.  An additional HLS is needed in 2025.

Conclusions:
    1) BC has far more production capacity than SpaceX needs for for the next few years
    2) Shipping from BC (12 units initially and 3 units/year thereafter) is not a big deal
    3) No factory is needed in Florida, but a TPS reburbishment facility may be needed.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #90 on: 01/31/2022 04:24 pm »
Due to low reuse rates in the first few years it would likely be prudent for SpaceX to have some level of manufacturing in KSC area. Primarily to manufacture SH's. But a few SS also like the depot specialty SS and the HLS specialty SS. But the primary manufacture of SS is likely to stay at BC for a while. In which case SS may very rarely land back at BC but always elsewhere where they will have been "shipped" to live out their reuse life. Meaning a build rate of SS at 12 per year for SS that would continue steadily at BC for years. There may also be some that are partialy built at BC (two pieces) and shipped by regular shipping methods ( a pair of ~20 meter tall sections). In actuality is that likely it not be just one but several shipped at once to another location that would do that last stacking and weld of the tank to the faring sections. Then finish them to then launch locally. A facility would at that location would need few expensive specialty tooling as well as facilities. Such could be that a build rate for SS at BC could eventually ramp to a total of 1 per week or 52 a year. At a reuse of 5 that is 250 launches a year. 10 is 500/year. But likely some of these will be one way vehicles to the Moon or Mars. Such that 10 or even 20 of the ~50 SS could be headed one way for those destinations. Just 10 such would need 70 to 80 tanker flights. So most of the remaining 30 built would be tankers.

Alternate methods of shipping for fully functional SH and SS is hopping from offshore platform to platform until it gets to it's destination. That is because that likely cost of a hop may be cheaper than loading and unloading onto a specialty shipping outfitted ship for 50 and 80 meter tall SS and SH vehicles. But such hopping vehicles situation would be possibly commonplace to balance SH inventory and to spread SS out to get them to somewhere they can then launch to orbit. An artifact of launch rate limitations from a land launch site vs an ocean launch site away from ocean transport and air transport corridors.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2022 04:25 pm by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #91 on: 01/31/2022 04:29 pm »
Many people seem to have given up on SpaceX being able to launch from BC in the last couple of weeks. Is there something I've missed? Is it confirmed that the FAA will not permit full stack launches?

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #92 on: 01/31/2022 04:43 pm »
Many people seem to have given up on SpaceX being able to launch from BC in the last couple of weeks. Is there something I've missed? Is it confirmed that the FAA will not permit full stack launches?
At least with respect to this thread, I was assuming five orbital launches/yr and a negotiable number of low-energy "hops". I have no information on any new rumors or rulings one way or the other.  Thus the thread title should be "If SpaceX cannot do routine orbital launches from BC, then how will they deliver the units to a launch site?"

I was guessing that it should be reasonably easy to negotiate low-energy outward-bound hops, they are fairly safe (not much propellant) and not very noisy.   By contrast, an orbital launch is noisy with lots of propellant, and one routine operational launch implies one SH RTLS plus one SS re-entry. All three operations are have higher risk than a hop.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #93 on: 01/31/2022 05:29 pm »
Many people seem to have given up on SpaceX being able to launch from BC in the last couple of weeks. Is there something I've missed? Is it confirmed that the FAA will not permit full stack launches?
Nothing to do with the FAA. SpaceX are the ones writing the PEA, and they are the ones projecting a 5 orbital flights per year launch rate.

Offline Craigles

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #94 on: 01/31/2022 06:00 pm »
Permits and heavy construction are not subtle. The surface transport option for which we see concrete facts on the ground is the South Port Connector Road. We are eager for an update on it. Does anybody know the maximum design weight that the Connector Road's wetlands bridges can bear?

I think that a dry Super Heavy is about 250 mt and that each dry raptor is about 1.5 mt, for a net of about 207 mt. Does anybody have a fact-based weight for SPMTs for it? Anybody with a fair guess about the horizontal-SS-cradle-jigs like we saw being made in Florida?
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Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #95 on: 01/31/2022 06:08 pm »
Why do you guys think they won't be manufactured at KSC? Given the size of the facility that they are about to build at Roberts rd. it seems pretty obvious to me.

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #96 on: 01/31/2022 06:45 pm »
Permits and heavy construction are not subtle. The surface transport option for which we see concrete facts on the ground is the South Port Connector Road. We are eager for an update on it.

Quick update on the connector road:

There was a captivating Board meeting of the port authority last week. It began with a prayer session beseeching the help of the Almighty. After some less interesting items staff requested the board to approve two motions (#7 and #8, starting at around the 24 minute mark) related to the purchase of a mobile security guardhouse for the connector road. The first motion asked for the board to rescind an earlier purchase order worth a little over $100k since they had found a new supplier asking for only a little more than $30k excluding shipping. They would have to paint it blue themselves, but on the plus side it comes with integrated toilet facilities. Overall this was felt to provide good value for money. The next motion approved the new purchase order.


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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #97 on: 01/31/2022 11:00 pm »
Why do you guys think they won't be manufactured at KSC? Given the size of the facility that they are about to build at Roberts rd. it seems pretty obvious to me.
Speaking for myself and not others, I think the BC production capacity will be quite a bit higher than the demand for SH and SS over the next several years. Therefore, there is no need for another production facility. My reasoning is in an earlier post. summary:  With fast turnaround a single SH and five SS can support 365 launches/year, but the launch demand will not exceed 130 launches/year (which was teh world total in 2021). Other stuff increases the total of SHs + SSs to about 18 units, and I think BC can support this after the expansion now underway.

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #98 on: 02/01/2022 07:48 am »
Given how fast SpaceX are iterating many units become obsolete before finished.
 Production rate estimates over the next few years should include these superseded vehicles.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #99 on: 02/01/2022 11:13 am »
Why do you guys think they won't be manufactured at KSC? Given the size of the facility that they are about to build at Roberts rd. it seems pretty obvious to me.
Speaking for myself and not others, I think the BC production capacity will be quite a bit higher than the demand for SH and SS over the next several years. Therefore, there is no need for another production facility. My reasoning is in an earlier post. summary:  With fast turnaround a single SH and five SS can support 365 launches/year, but the launch demand will not exceed 130 launches/year (which was teh world total in 2021). Other stuff increases the total of SHs + SSs to about 18 units, and I think BC can support this after the expansion now underway.

That then begs the question, what do you think the huge facility being planned at Roberts rd. is for?


« Last Edit: 02/01/2022 01:04 pm by EL_DIABLO »

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #100 on: 02/01/2022 12:22 pm »
While we may not fully understand SpaceX's reasons, it sure looks as if they want to both build and launch SSs and/or SHs in both Florida and BC in the long run.

Maybe they think they will need a largish number of expendable flights before achieving full reusability. That number may be larger than is practical with the connector road, so then they would need an additional production site. (Why though? It looks practical enough, especially with the pull-outs as suggested above.)

Maybe they also want to hedge against political obstacles in one of the locations? Elon wants to go to Mars himself and found a city. Realistically he would need to do that before he turns ~70, which would give him only 20 years, which is extremely ambitious. He himself has confirmed that remaining years of healthy lifespan may now be his most pressing constraint. He has lots of money, and can afford to build redundant sites to deal with schedule risk. And eventually, if he really wants to found a city he might actually need the additional capacity.

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Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #101 on: 02/01/2022 02:37 pm »
The beauty of the overland route to Brownsville port is that until (and unless) SpaceX need to use it, it costs them nothing. No platforms to build, no docks to build, no hovercraft to build, no launch licenses to apply for. And if they never need it (e.g. Roberts Road builds out and completes its first Starship and Super heavy before the launch mount at LC-39A is read) they lose nothing.

Offline dgmckenzie

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #102 on: 02/01/2022 03:14 pm »
It would rely on constant pressurization, but more importantly it would require a massive crane at both ends of the trip and enormous specialty jigs for safely rotating it. It would also make otherwise accessible routes impossible due to the massive turning radius it would have. What problem is transporting it horizontal even trying to solve? It won't fit under powerlines or overpasses vertical or horizontal, so it doesn't make any otherwise inaccessible routes possible.

Fit bladders for transport and fill with air.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #103 on: 02/01/2022 03:30 pm »
Why do you guys think they won't be manufactured at KSC? Given the size of the facility that they are about to build at Roberts rd. it seems pretty obvious to me.
Speaking for myself and not others, I think the BC production capacity will be quite a bit higher than the demand for SH and SS over the next several years. Therefore, there is no need for another production facility. My reasoning is in an earlier post. summary:  With fast turnaround a single SH and five SS can support 365 launches/year, but the launch demand will not exceed 130 launches/year (which was teh world total in 2021). Other stuff increases the total of SHs + SSs to about 18 units, and I think BC can support this after the expansion now underway.

That then begs the question, what do you think the huge facility being planned at Roberts rd. is for?
Eventually, Elon wants to go to Mars. While one SH and fewer than 10 SS can handle more than double the entire world's 2021 launch rate and more than 250 times the world's current yearly payload mass to orbit, they cannot send 1000 starships to Mars.

I'm not sure what the CONOPS for the Mars expedition is. Perhaps store and fuel the fleet in LEO or HEEO and then take the crews up in batches? The launch rate prior to the scheduled departure will be high and steady, but during crew embarkation it will be very high.

Offline philw1776

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #104 on: 02/01/2022 07:55 pm »
The 1,000 Starships to Mars is many oppositions after the early opposition landings, which will likely be 10 years in the future.  Exotic production and flight rates are not needed soonest although "only" refueling a few cargo and crewed Mars ships per opposition involves many tens of launches each opposition.
Elon has said they're not even thinking about the ocean platforms right now so we should look at both Boca and the Cape as the next 5+ years flights' solutions with ocean platformS needed for volume.
My bet is on the road to the harbor as short term Boca to the Cape. Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
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Offline Alvian@IDN

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #105 on: 02/28/2022 01:31 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here
« Last Edit: 02/28/2022 01:32 am by Alvian@IDN »
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #106 on: 02/28/2022 01:35 am »
The 1,000 Starships to Mars is many oppositions after the early opposition landings, which will likely be 10 years in the future.  Exotic production and flight rates are not needed soonest although "only" refueling a few cargo and crewed Mars ships per opposition involves many tens of launches each opposition.
Elon has said they're not even thinking about the ocean platforms right now so we should look at both Boca and the Cape as the next 5+ years flights' solutions with ocean platformS needed for volume.
My bet is on the road to the harbor as short term Boca to the Cape. Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
Tens of launches is not tens of Starships. I made my guesstimates above. How many Starships do you think will need to be produced? By analogy, SpaceX supports a launch cadence of >50/yr with a fleet of about ten F9s boosters, even though F9 booster turnaround time is about 50 days.

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #107 on: 02/28/2022 08:26 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Correct. Cape factory online is THIS year, according to my sources. They also intend to have the LC-39A OLM and Stage 0 done by the end of this year. Same for the tank farm.

Note: those are realistic estimates by SpaceX personnel, not the overly optimistic twitter shots from Elon.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #108 on: 02/28/2022 03:55 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Correct. Cape factory online is THIS year, according to my sources. They also intend to have the LC-39A OLM and Stage 0 done by the end of this year. Same for the tank farm.

Note: those are realistic estimates by SpaceX personnel, not the overly optimistic twitter shots from Elon.
NOTE that to build the tank rings and the preliminary stacking of the 3 and 4 ring stacks does not need sophisticated infrastructure to get started. Just a tent where the robotic ring maker can be located. Such that by the time the high bay is completed there would be all the ring stacks ready for stacking together. At Boca Chica from start of rings showing up to a stacked vehicle is ~3 months for an SS and ~4 months for the SH. They can actually do that faster and have in the past. Also to note that the 3 and 4 month build duration is also supportive of the build rate of a new set every <6 weeks. Or about 8 complete SH and SS pairs in a year.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #109 on: 02/28/2022 04:11 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Correct. Cape factory online is THIS year, according to my sources. They also intend to have the LC-39A OLM and Stage 0 done by the end of this year. Same for the tank farm.

Note: those are realistic estimates by SpaceX personnel, not the overly optimistic twitter shots from Elon.
NOTE that to build the tank rings and the preliminary stacking of the 3 and 4 ring stacks does not need sophisticated infrastructure to get started. Just a tent where the robotic ring maker can be located. Such that by the time the high bay is completed there would be all the ring stacks ready for stacking together. At Boca Chica from start of rings showing up to a stacked vehicle is ~3 months for an SS and ~4 months for the SH. They can actually do that faster and have in the past. Also to note that the 3 and 4 month build duration is also supportive of the build rate of a new set every <6 weeks. Or about 8 complete SH and SS pairs in a year.

Agreed that rings are not the hardest thing to make and easy to start up else where.

If SpaceX is looking for ways to combine and move some activities to another location (Hawthorne) I'd look at the more complex and labor intensive subsystems, that more easily fit on a flatbed.  The control surfaces are the easiest one to think off, but any of the extra wiring harnesses, piping, etc can all be done else where in a common site for both BC and CC.

Regarding when a Roberts Road location starts manufacturing, everything we have learned from Elon is that he'll start in an empty field to get things started and make a point.  Heck he doesn't even care about having permits before starting.

If they expect the OLM at 39A to be ready at the end of the year then starting SH and SS production this summer would seem likely.

No need to ship completed vehicle's or ring sections from BC.
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #110 on: 02/28/2022 04:36 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Correct. Cape factory online is THIS year, according to my sources. They also intend to have the LC-39A OLM and Stage 0 done by the end of this year. Same for the tank farm.

Note: those are realistic estimates by SpaceX personnel, not the overly optimistic twitter shots from Elon.
NOTE that to build the tank rings and the preliminary stacking of the 3 and 4 ring stacks does not need sophisticated infrastructure to get started. Just a tent where the robotic ring maker can be located. Such that by the time the high bay is completed there would be all the ring stacks ready for stacking together. At Boca Chica from start of rings showing up to a stacked vehicle is ~3 months for an SS and ~4 months for the SH. They can actually do that faster and have in the past. Also to note that the 3 and 4 month build duration is also supportive of the build rate of a new set every <6 weeks. Or about 8 complete SH and SS pairs in a year.
For expendable test launches (3 launches?), the SS:SH ratio is 1:1. After that, the ratio will rise rapidly, possibly as high as 10:1 or more. If SpaceX reaches their goals, an SH turnaround time will be so low that a single Mechazilla will use a single SH. Conceptually, that SH will always be sitting on the OLP except for the 20 minutes it takes to launch and RTLS. To accommodate occasional refurbishing, you might need two SH per mechazilla. You need more SS because even the shortest RTLS SS mission takes 12 hours, the shortest realistic SS RTLS mission takes 24 hours, and some SS types do not return at all.  Furthermore, I do not think SpaceX will know how long it takes to  refurbish an SS until they get some actual experience, especially with the TPS.

Everyone is convinced that the Florida build site will build SH and SS, and this is likely to be true at some point. Initially at least, it must support the build-out of the Mechazilla and other GSE, not necessarily SS and SH. Until we get some good inside info or we see SH or SS parts in Florida, we will not know for sure. If SpaceX intends to build their own tank farm again, they will need to start building rings and tank domes as soon as possible.  We do not know if they will try to build methane tanks instead of buying them this time. I'm guessing they will build the LOX tanks and any LN2 tanks. To a first approximation, if you want to store enough propellant for one day's operation, you need as many rings for the tanks as the rings of the SH+SS you launch. Until they have a LOX plant and and a methane liquifaction plant (or a port for LNG ships) on site they will need more than one day's worth, I think.

All of this is slightly off-topic for the "Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?" topic. The tie-in is computing the demand for BC SS and SH product.

Online Alexphysics

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #111 on: 02/28/2022 11:17 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :) 

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #112 on: 02/28/2022 11:44 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Online Alexphysics

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #113 on: 03/01/2022 02:01 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #114 on: 03/01/2022 02:19 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
It's left over inertia since some insiders were adamant that Roberts road is F9-only.

With Florida becoming the operational center, of course they'll manufacture there asap.

BC will continue to trailblaze though IMO. And there's plenty of trailblazing to be done yet.
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #115 on: 03/01/2022 02:28 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?

Offline chopsticks

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #116 on: 03/01/2022 04:55 am »


....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?


I would be surprised if SpaceX themselves even know the answer to #1 and #2. There are two main bottlenecks: Raptor availability and the FAA. If the FAA comes through soon with a FONSI, then I would expect Starbase to take priority for the first (few) orbital flight(s). But that (a FONSI) is not guaranteed. KSC got kicked into high gear recently probably partially due to this uncertainty and also because they need Starship at KSC for Artemis. They will almost certainly be manufacturing Starships there, no shipping.

Back to Boca Chica, Nomadd here said recently that the top people at BC weren't even sure which direction things were going to go there, more of it being an experiment. There are a number of different scenarios of how it could play out between KSC, Raptor, FAA, and a dozen other things, so I think answering your questions is not really possible at this time.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #117 on: 03/01/2022 10:14 am »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?

To add to the above, I'd like to know why you are so fixated on the number of SH's and SS's.

Offline JamesH65

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #118 on: 03/01/2022 12:19 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?

Why do you want guesses? They are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

There are clearly no accurate figures for this, since Musk hasn't yet invented the crystal ball.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #119 on: 03/01/2022 01:01 pm »
My crystal ball thinks he will get permission to launch 5 launches from Boca Chica.  This will take care of all testing.  He will then launch from the Cape initially.  I would think after all Florida land facilities are in place, he will build the first offshore platform off Boca Chica.  This will either allow him to hop Starships/Superheavies to the platform, or ship them out via Brownsville.  The other platform will probably be off the Florida coast near the Cape somewhere.  Manufacturing is nearby and can hop Starships out to the platform there, or ship them out via Port Cavaeral or even from Kennedy. 

Shipping the rockets would seem to me to put less stress on them before launches than hops, especially for Starships with the TPS added.   

Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #120 on: 03/01/2022 02:01 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?
The answer to #1 may be "as many as they have use for locally".

Notice that they often build them just for the sake of building, for the learning experience.  This also counts.

Building the vehicles is so effortless, why not ship the steel rolls instead? They're already working 3 shifts so have crews to transfer.

They can build a factory faster than they can build a launch pad, and so why not start already?
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 02:08 pm by meekGee »
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #121 on: 03/01/2022 02:43 pm »

To add to the above, I'd like to know why you are so fixated on the number of SH's and SS's.

Fixation on numbers: If the number of SH's and SS's that can be manufactured in BC in 2022 and 2023 substantially exceeds the number that SpaceX can use world wide, then adding new production in Florida makes little sense unless they intend to shut down BC. Shutting down BC seems unlikely: they are working hard to complete the new "wide bay", effectively tripling their production capacity in BC. But why manufacture at BC at all unless there is a plan for delivering them, hence this thread.  I have questions, not answers.






Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #122 on: 03/01/2022 03:00 pm »

I would be surprised if SpaceX themselves even know the answer to #1 and #2. There are two main bottlenecks: Raptor availability and the FAA. If the FAA comes through soon with a FONSI, then I would expect Starbase to take priority for the first (few) orbital flight(s). But that (a FONSI) is not guaranteed. KSC got kicked into high gear recently probably partially due to this uncertainty and also because they need Starship at KSC for Artemis. They will almost certainly be manufacturing Starships there, no shipping.

Back to Boca Chica, Nomadd here said recently that the top people at BC weren't even sure which direction things were going to go there, more of it being an experiment. There are a number of different scenarios of how it could play out between KSC, Raptor, FAA, and a dozen other things, so I think answering your questions is not really possible at this time.

Good answer, thanks. 
If KSC production capability is insurance against the need to shut BC down completely due to the FONSI, it all makes sense.

If total SS/SH production is constrained by raptor availability, then adding a new facility at KSC does not help this specific problem.

Why does the use of Starships for Artemis call for production of Starships in Florida? It's not true for SLS or F9 or FH or almost all other Artemis components.

It's also the case that if we assume (I do) that SpaceX must have both a tank-farm manufacturing capability and a SS/SH refurbishment facility in Florida, then the incremental capital cost of a full production facility is not all that high, so go ahead and build it even if there is a chance it is not really needed.

Offline chopsticks

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #123 on: 03/01/2022 03:41 pm »
If total SS/SH production is constrained by raptor availability, then adding a new facility at KSC does not help this specific problem.

No, but they are also ramping up Raptor production simultaneously. SpaceX likes to do lots of things at the same time. I think they would like to have two factories operational, and if the focus on production needs to be shifted from one factory to the other, the Raptors can go where necessary (if it is in fact a bottleneck).


Why does the use of Starships for Artemis call for production of Starships in Florida? It's not true for SLS or F9 or FH or almost all other Artemis components.

I don't know that Artemis necessarily calls for production at the Cape, but it only seems logical that they would do that given what they are starting to build there. We have heard from reliable sources here that Artemis HLS will be launching from the Cape - I can't think of any reason why they would choose to build HLS anywhere else when they will be building other Starships right there.

Have you seen the recent NSF flyover video of KSC? They already have some of the tankage there so I'm not at all convinced that they will build their own tank farm like in Boca. Certainly not the methane tanks, but who knows about water, LN2, and LOX. I guess that would be possible, although if they want the GSE up and running by the end of this year they might just procure some tanks already made.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 03:42 pm by chopsticks »

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #124 on: 03/01/2022 04:18 pm »

To add to the above, I'd like to know why you are so fixated on the number of SH's and SS's.

Fixation on numbers: If the number of SH's and SS's that can be manufactured in BC in 2022 and 2023 substantially exceeds the number that SpaceX can use world wide, then adding new production in Florida makes little sense unless they intend to shut down BC. Shutting down BC seems unlikely: they are working hard to complete the new "wide bay", effectively tripling their production capacity in BC. But why manufacture at BC at all unless there is a plan for delivering them, hence this thread.  I have questions, not answers.

You seem to be under the impression that if BC can produce X amount it has to produce that amount. Thing is you can always produce less, so they'll produce as needed in what is a very fluid situation.

Why manufacture in BC? Because they plan on doing orbital launches from BC as per the EA and they are working on converting oil rigs that will presumably be stationed in the Gulf.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 04:20 pm by EL_DIABLO »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #125 on: 03/01/2022 05:29 pm »
At about the same time-frame as KSC the Deimos and Phobos may be ready for launches as well. These would likely at first to operate off the coast from BC. Such that a stockpile of at least 2 sets one set for each platform, would be placed onboard at the Brownsville port and then towed out to their launch location. Which brings in the possibility that only suborbital hops from BC itself would be done to keep the two populated due to losses after the initial ship out.

Phobos deck has already been cleared. So it could start now being built up with the launch infrastructure. Main problem here is that though many item would be the same as those being currently displayed at BC. There are others that are going to have to be different due to the difference because of being out on the ocean. It will be interesting to follow them through their transformations.

The end item here is that if anything BC build rates by 2024 may be twice as much as most think that BC could reasonably produce in a year in 2023 just to keep up with supplying all the local BC and the offshore launchers with fresh SH's and SS as there will be losses of vehicles during landing phase and it will take a lot of landings to weed out all the EDL issues to get to a point where an SH is doing 20+ launches and a SS up to 10 launches.

BC will be very busy building SH and definitely many SS vehicles.

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #126 on: 03/01/2022 06:56 pm »
My (purely speculative) guess is that we won't see the a realistic estimate for the number of launches from BC until we know just what the overall reaction of owners of the high-rises and residences on South Padre Island is. If there's a bunch of broken windows, SpaceX will be lucky to get the five launches they are currently asking for. If there's a big jump in cash coming in when there's a launch, SpaceX might be able to increase the number. I doubt middle of the night launches will ever be popular.

I'd like to see both BC and KSC launching, but we won't know until we "hear" one.   
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Offline MTom

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #127 on: 03/01/2022 08:27 pm »

I would be surprised if SpaceX themselves even know the answer to #1 and #2. There are two main bottlenecks: Raptor availability and the FAA. If the FAA comes through soon with a FONSI, then I would expect Starbase to take priority for the first (few) orbital flight(s). But that (a FONSI) is not guaranteed. KSC got kicked into high gear recently probably partially due to this uncertainty and also because they need Starship at KSC for Artemis. They will almost certainly be manufacturing Starships there, no shipping.

Back to Boca Chica, Nomadd here said recently that the top people at BC weren't even sure which direction things were going to go there, more of it being an experiment. There are a number of different scenarios of how it could play out between KSC, Raptor, FAA, and a dozen other things, so I think answering your questions is not really possible at this time.

Good answer, thanks. 
If KSC production capability is insurance against the need to shut BC down completely due to the FONSI, it all makes sense.

If total SS/SH production is constrained by raptor availability, then adding a new facility at KSC does not help this specific problem.

Why does the use of Starships for Artemis call for production of Starships in Florida? It's not true for SLS or F9 or FH or almost all other Artemis components.

It's also the case that if we assume (I do) that SpaceX must have both a tank-farm manufacturing capability and a SS/SH refurbishment facility in Florida, then the incremental capital cost of a full production facility is not all that high, so go ahead and build it even if there is a chance it is not really needed.

There are a lot of missing informations and uncertainity in this picture, this is only wild guessing, what couod be the actual plan from SpaceX.
Simple question as an example: why are there 2 suborbital pads at boca chica? They didn't use this capacity, parallel processing for 2 suborbital launches. The plans are changing always there.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 08:30 pm by MTom »

Offline daavery

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #128 on: 03/01/2022 08:44 pm »

There are a lot of missing informations and uncertainity in this picture, this is only wild guessing, what couod be the actual plan from SpaceX.
Simple question as an example: why are there 2 suborbital pads at boca chica? They didn't use this capacity, parallel processing for 2 suborbital launches. The plans are changing always there.

the suborbital pads are needed to static fire starships, there is no other place you can do that

Online Alexphysics

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #129 on: 03/01/2022 11:19 pm »
....Cape factory online is late 2024 earliest.
I can bet you'll be surprised in the next several months

And the same for many people here

Yep. It seems like some are just missing the big patch of land being cleared right now at Roberts Road that is surprisingly too big in area for anything Falcon related.... If you folks have missed it, I recommend watching the recent KSC update videos on our NSF youtube channel :)
We think we know for sure that SpaceX will be producing components for at least one "stage zero" in Florida, and possibly two or more, at Roberts Rd. I'm fairly sure they will need a Starship refurbishment facility, probably also at Roberts Rd. Each "stage zero" probably includes tanks for the tank farms, and each tank farm will be larger than the one at BC to support a high launch cadence. These requirements account for everything we have yet seen at Roberts Rd. Until we see Starship components at the site or SpaceX makes an announcement, we will not know for sure if they will be building Starships there in the short term. Simply from a scheduling perspective, It would make sense for Roberts Rd. to concentrate on stage zero before producing Starships. After the tanks get built, then can shift over to Starship if needed.

Why do you so easily assume that the current facilities being built are for refurbishment rather than construction when they first have to reuse a ship at all?

Like... all of the assumptions on building more "stage 0's" and things like that seem to be more grounded on pre-concieved assumptions that you probably had before all of this appeared there rather than being based on what actually would make more sense. And we have already in plain sight a glaring example of how this would go which is: a production site, a launch site and within the production site there is a staging site where parts for Stage 0 are put together (namely, the launch tower) before being transported to the launch pad. This is literally how it was at Starbase, why think it'll be hugely different at KSC? They're not going to reinvent the wheel here.
No, because I do not have enough knowledge to have preconceived notions. I have three questions and no answers:
    --How many SH and SS will SpaceX produce at BC in 2022 and 2023?
    --What will they do with them?
    --How many total SH and SS will SpaceX need in 2022 and 2023?
Do you have guesses for the answers for these three questions?

Why would you need answers to those questions when SpaceX doesn't even know the answers either?

Online Alexphysics

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #130 on: 03/01/2022 11:32 pm »
But why manufacture at BC at all unless there is a plan for delivering them, hence this thread.

Why would it be for delivery? Like, really, why the fixation on this being the case when they've literally built vehicles just for the sake of building them? They have the wide bay, yes, to build more vehicles. They may launch them, they may not launch them. Does it really have to be for deliveries?

Also, what's the reason then for the large patch of land being cleared at Roberts Road where we know they plan to put up a facility hundreds of thousands of square feet in area? Is it also for deliveries like the wide bay? Haven't you thought about that might being the case too?

Like... I think the preconcieved thought with which you started the thread is precisely what seems to not be letting you look beyond and see what's being built and done at the Cape as a real deal factory with its huge hangar for fabricating rings, domes, barrels, nosecones, etc and two adjacent buildings with areas similar to the wide bay. Doesn't it sound to you more likely than just a simple place where they do refurbishment as you mentioned upthread?

Offline LucR

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #131 on: 03/04/2022 09:17 pm »
I don't know that Artemis necessarily calls for production at the Cape, but it only seems logical that they would do that given what they are starting to build there. We have heard from reliable sources here that Artemis HLS will be launching from the Cape - I can't think of any reason why they would choose to build HLS anywhere else when they will be building other Starships right there.

Can you provide a reference to the bolded part? I seem to remember the exact opposite being reported...

Offline MTom

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #132 on: 03/05/2022 04:09 am »

There are a lot of missing informations and uncertainity in this picture, this is only wild guessing, what couod be the actual plan from SpaceX.
Simple question as an example: why are there 2 suborbital pads at boca chica? They didn't use this capacity, parallel processing for 2 suborbital launches. The plans are changing always there.

the suborbital pads are needed to static fire starships, there is no other place you can do that
Yes, I know.
My comment is about the possibility of wrong conclusions from outsiders while making capacity caltulations.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #133 on: 03/05/2022 03:15 pm »

There are a lot of missing informations and uncertainity in this picture, this is only wild guessing, what couod be the actual plan from SpaceX.
Simple question as an example: why are there 2 suborbital pads at boca chica? They didn't use this capacity, parallel processing for 2 suborbital launches. The plans are changing always there.

the suborbital pads are needed to static fire starships, there is no other place you can do that
Yes, I know.
My comment is about the possibility of wrong conclusions from outsiders while making capacity calculations.
This is hypothetical and applicable only if They choose to deliver SS by suborbital hopping.
In the context of production and delivery of SS, the suborbital pads will be used. BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024. Thus  they only need on the order of one launch per week at most. My guess is that the turnaround time for the suborbital pad less than a day. Thus, they require a single pad and a second pad for backup. This is separate from any other uses such as testing.  They can hop the SH using the OLT, but the ratio of SS to SH will be 10:1 or higher after test flights are complete.

Offline Jim

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #134 on: 03/05/2022 06:27 pm »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #135 on: 03/05/2022 06:40 pm »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Jim, "unlikely to exceed" means it is an upper bound. I don't think they can possibly hit 50 a year. I used that number to demonstrate that a single suborbital launch pad is more than adequate to support hopping as a delivery method even assuming a ludicrously high production rate.

Offline Craigles

Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #136 on: 03/05/2022 07:40 pm »
The South Port Connector Road is key to shipping large things from Boca Chica. The video of Mr. Chavis's Presentation on South Port Connector begins around 13:12 in the Brownsville Navigation District Board of Commissioners Meeting on Feb 16, 2022, which is now available on YouTube's Port of Brownsville, TX channel. Key points included:

 - The construction contractor already provided notice of substantial completion
 - Soft opening planned for late February
 - The road is planned to have Monday to Friday hours
 - Minor items remained like a guard shack and some rip-rap around abutments
 - In response to questions from the board, Mr Chavis said that a turning radius, the width,
    and overweight traffic were part of the criteria. An alternative including expensive
    wetlands bridges was chosen to avoid having to own expensive wetlands mitigations forever.

I inferred that SpaceX might use the road outside regular hours. Engineering specifics defining overweight load limits were not explained, which I think was fair since those limits might be arcane beyond the scope of that meeting. I wonder if this road or adjoining port roads like Ostos are available for tourists planning trips from the north.

(I edited the spelling of Mr Chavis's name; I hope it's correct now.)
« Last Edit: 03/05/2022 07:54 pm by Craigles »
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #137 on: 03/05/2022 11:35 pm »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Oddly enough you used to say that about F9s.
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #138 on: 03/06/2022 12:27 am »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Oddly enough you used to say that about F9s.
But he was correct. After you get to reusability, you do not need to produce many units anymore. SpaceX was originally going to have the capacity to produce 30 boosters per year, but now they only produce a few new ones a year to sustain an F9 launch rate of one a week.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #139 on: 03/06/2022 12:39 am »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Oddly enough you used to say that about F9s.
But he was correct. After you get to reusability, you do not need to produce many units anymore. SpaceX was originally going to have the capacity to produce 30 boosters per year, but now they only produce a few new ones a year to sustain an F9 launch rate of one a week.
We were talking then about 50 launches per year. 

Starship is aiming at a much much higher launch rate. Take Musk at his word about 1000 ships per synode to Mars, or daily P2P service between multiple starports and you start getting an idea about production volumes.

1000 ships at only 50/yr is 20 years, which is already too long...

So you'll see that production rate manifest itself somewhere, no fantasy.
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #140 on: 03/06/2022 01:04 am »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Oddly enough you used to say that about F9s.
But he was correct. After you get to reusability, you do not need to produce many units anymore. SpaceX was originally going to have the capacity to produce 30 boosters per year, but now they only produce a few new ones a year to sustain an F9 launch rate of one a week.
We were talking then about 50 launches per year. 

Starship is aiming at a much much higher launch rate. Take Musk at his word about 1000 ships per synode to Mars, or daily P2P service between multiple starports and you start getting an idea about production volumes.

1000 ships at only 50/yr is 20 years, which is already too long...

So you'll see that production rate manifest itself somewhere, no fantasy.
But my number was "not more than 50/yr by 2024 in BC". Sure, they must eventually get to "a ship a day", but that's total production from all factories, and it won't happen by 2024 or even 2028.

"A ship a day" was the goal for the US producing liberty ships in WWII. Built in 18 shipyards from 1941  to 1945 at an average of three ships every two days, 2710 of them were built. Big steel ships to a simple standard design. Sound familiar?

Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #141 on: 03/06/2022 01:09 am »
BC production is unlikely to exceed one unit per week before 2024.

Read that in some fairy tale book?
Oddly enough you used to say that about F9s.
But he was correct. After you get to reusability, you do not need to produce many units anymore. SpaceX was originally going to have the capacity to produce 30 boosters per year, but now they only produce a few new ones a year to sustain an F9 launch rate of one a week.
We were talking then about 50 launches per year. 

Starship is aiming at a much much higher launch rate. Take Musk at his word about 1000 ships per synode to Mars, or daily P2P service between multiple starports and you start getting an idea about production volumes.

1000 ships at only 50/yr is 20 years, which is already too long...

So you'll see that production rate manifest itself somewhere, no fantasy.
But my number was "not more than 50/yr by 2024 in BC". Sure, they must eventually get to "a ship a day", but that's total production from all factories, and it won't happen by 2024 or even 2028.

"A ship a day" was the goal for the US producing liberty ships in WWII. Built in 18 shipyards from 1941  to 1945 at an average of three ships every two days, 2710 of them were built. Big steel ships to a simple standard design. Sound familiar?
We don't know, but fantasy is a long way from that.  So suppose it's only 20 from BC and 50 from Florida...

SpaceX is building large factories in both locations, and their plans call for more than 50 ships a year.

What we've seen so far is that development takes time, but at some point a threshold is crossed and then it's like a rock slide...

2024 is two years away. I'll also bet against it, but not by much..  2028 is easily in play.

Again, no fantasy.  Just some uncertainty about precise dates and locations.



2028 is probably
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #142 on: 03/06/2022 04:20 pm »
SpaceX is building large factories in both locations, and their plans call for more than 50 ships a year.

Right, this is what they need for a full up Mars settlement drive.

I am still surprised they build the second factory at full size now. I would expect that best case they need it 2030+.

Right now a workshop that could do outfitting of Starship for HLS, for Dear Moon or Mars landing should do. Makes sense, to put the final touches for anything crew in Florida IMO.

Offline Tommyboy

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #143 on: 03/06/2022 06:36 pm »
SpaceX is building large factories in both locations, and their plans call for more than 50 ships a year.

Right, this is what they need for a full up Mars settlement drive.

I am still surprised they build the second factory at full size now. I would expect that best case they need it 2030+.

Right now a workshop that could do outfitting of Starship for HLS, for Dear Moon or Mars landing should do. Makes sense, to put the final touches for anything crew in Florida IMO.
For now they are just building a big empty building. Big empty buildings are cheap. Only when they start outfitting it for maximum production rates things start to get expensive.
For all we know they are planning for an output of 1 ship per 3 months, which means outfitting stays affordable(ish).

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #144 on: 03/06/2022 08:53 pm »
SpaceX is building large factories in both locations, and their plans call for more than 50 ships a year.

Right, this is what they need for a full up Mars settlement drive.

I am still surprised they build the second factory at full size now. I would expect that best case they need it 2030+.

Right now a workshop that could do outfitting of Starship for HLS, for Dear Moon or Mars landing should do. Makes sense, to put the final touches for anything crew in Florida IMO.
For now they are just building a big empty building. Big empty buildings are cheap. Only when they start outfitting it for maximum production rates things start to get expensive.
For all we know they are planning for an output of 1 ship per 3 months, which means outfitting stays affordable(ish).

In my three years of tank-watching, I have never seen any outfitting that could be described as expensive, or any indication that running at max production rate would be expensive.
« Last Edit: 03/06/2022 08:57 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline meekGee

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #145 on: 03/06/2022 09:29 pm »
SpaceX is building large factories in both locations, and their plans call for more than 50 ships a year.

Right, this is what they need for a full up Mars settlement drive.

I am still surprised they build the second factory at full size now. I would expect that best case they need it 2030+.

Right now a workshop that could do outfitting of Starship for HLS, for Dear Moon or Mars landing should do. Makes sense, to put the final touches for anything crew in Florida IMO.
For now they are just building a big empty building. Big empty buildings are cheap. Only when they start outfitting it for maximum production rates things start to get expensive.
For all we know they are planning for an output of 1 ship per 3 months, which means outfitting stays affordable(ish).
SpaceX is not exactly known for making empty factory buildings..   when they want to experiment at 1/month they put up a tent.

What they're doing now smells entirely like "scale up".
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #146 on: 04/22/2022 02:17 pm »
There was a plan to move Starships to the Florida pad before that operation shut down. I didn't have enough beer to get the details.

They had cradles on site for horizontal transport. Never used because the Cocoa site was closed.

Horizontal transport makes Boca Chica to Florida on any large barge trivial.
There is no evidence that SpaceX is developing the infrastructure for this. It's not impossible to do it, but if they intend to launch from Florida before the end of 2022, we would expect to see some preparations already, such as cradles for a horizontal transport and testing of the process for lowering an SH and an SS into the horizontal position. We would also expect to see evidence of the plan for moving SH and SS the 16 miles from BC to the nearest dock. There is an entire thread for discussing movement of SH and SS out of BC:
     https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=55672.0
Horizontal transport is not a prerequisite for transport. The proposed move from the Cidco Road site only needed a tipover because it had to fit under existing bridges with a maximum available height, which is not an issue when exiting the Port of Brownsville or traversing from Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin. Vertical transportation has been the case for the last 3 years, with multiple dedicated jigs available. There is an uninterrupted land route from the build site to the port now the South Port Connector Road is completed, and an existing straight-shot route from the Turning Basin to LC-39A at the Cape (Saturn Causeway).
Whilst Starship and Super Heavy are tall, they are very light compared to most loads carried by Roll-Lift/Mammoet/etc. Transporting them is not a technical challenge, but a matter of hiring one of the companies who provide this service on a daily basis.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #147 on: 04/22/2022 04:15 pm »
Horizontal transport is not a prerequisite for transport. The proposed move from the Cidco Road site only needed a tipover because it had to fit under existing bridges with a maximum available height, which is not an issue when exiting the Port of Brownsville or traversing from Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin. Vertical transportation has been the case for the last 3 years, with multiple dedicated jigs available. There is an uninterrupted land route from the build site to the port now the South Port Connector Road is completed, and an existing straight-shot route from the Turning Basin to LC-39A at the Cape (Saturn Causeway).
Whilst Starship and Super Heavy are tall, they are very light compared to most loads carried by Roll-Lift/Mammoet/etc. Transporting them is not a technical challenge, but a matter of hiring one of the companies who provide this service on a daily basis.

I just can't see how vertical transport over long distances by ship would make sense, if infrastructure to take them horizontal is available at the ports.

Local transport at Boca Chica and transport by ASDS without infrastructure for going horizontal on the ship are both exceptional border cases. They don't keep Falcon boosters vertical even for local transport at the Cape.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #148 on: 04/22/2022 04:22 pm »
Horizontal transport is not a prerequisite for transport. The proposed move from the Cidco Road site only needed a tipover because it had to fit under existing bridges with a maximum available height, which is not an issue when exiting the Port of Brownsville or traversing from Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin. Vertical transportation has been the case for the last 3 years, with multiple dedicated jigs available. There is an uninterrupted land route from the build site to the port now the South Port Connector Road is completed, and an existing straight-shot route from the Turning Basin to LC-39A at the Cape (Saturn Causeway).
Whilst Starship and Super Heavy are tall, they are very light compared to most loads carried by Roll-Lift/Mammoet/etc. Transporting them is not a technical challenge, but a matter of hiring one of the companies who provide this service on a daily basis.

I just can't see how vertical transport over long distances by ship would make sense, if infrastructure to take them horizontal is available at the ports.

Local transport at Boca Chica and transport by ASDS without infrastructure for going horizontal on the ship are both exceptional border cases. They don't keep Falcon boosters vertical even for local transport at the Cape.
The short version is: if there is no need to tip them horizontal, then just don't. If there is a pressing need to do so (e.g. blockage on land route) then you can look into dedicated tipover frames and outboard stiffeners, but otherwise you can just skip them.

Falcon needs to be horizontal for integration, so you have to tip it over somewhere regardless and you may as well do that when it's already hooked up to a crane anyway. Starship and Super Heavy are integrated vertically so adding tipover is a whole new development path.

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #149 on: 04/22/2022 06:05 pm »
A big crane in the port and a suitable ship for vertical transport will do it.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #150 on: 05/04/2022 04:34 pm »
p.10
Quote
If a Super Heavy landing occurred downrange in the Gulf of Mexico or on a floating
platform, Super Heavy will be delivered by barge to the Port of Brownsville and transported
the remaining distance to the Boca Chica Launch Site over the roadways
.
[...]
SpaceX will not exceed the maximum of 23
Starship Land Landings in the Development Phase and ten in the Operational Phase and for
the Super Heavy Land Landing there will be no landings in the Development Phase
and five
Super Heavy landings each year (Table 2).
p.17
Quote
However, on a November 1, 2021,
conference call, the FAA and SpaceX reported to the Service that the proposed power plant
generation had been substantially reduced from 250 MW to 15 MW.
p.74
Quote
Orbital launches would create the largest and hottest plume from the ignition
of all Super Heavy’s 37 Raptor engines.
p.129:
Quote
SpaceX response: As the efficiency of the Raptor engine increases, the total number of
engines needed to achieve the maximum thrust (74 MN) decreases. So, we can use fewer Raptor
2.0 engines to achieve the same maximum thrust of 74 MN. Even with the use of the Raptor 2.0
engine, the maximum thrust will not exceed 74 MN
, which is the maximum thrust identified in
the BA and PEA. Accordingly, the information noted below does not prompt any changes in the
project description or effects.
Here is some strong support for the view of @edzieba that SpaceX will use barges from the Brownsville plus road transport. This is from edzieba's analysis of SpaceX's PEA that is input to the FAA approval paperwork. The specific use is to bring back a Super Heavy after it has landed on an offshore platform, but if they can use barge+road for this, then they can use it for everything else, as long as the number of trips stays low enough.

Offline Okie_Steve

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #151 on: 05/04/2022 04:51 pm »
Folks keep talking about horizontal transport, but how much less of a PITA is it really to move a 9m cylinder that long on a trailer when it comes to road width, turn radius, bridges/overpasses and overhead lines etc?
« Last Edit: 05/04/2022 04:53 pm by Okie_Steve »

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #152 on: 05/05/2022 12:35 am »
Folks keep talking about horizontal transport, but how much less of a PITA is it really to move a 9m cylinder that long on a trailer when it comes to road width, turn radius, bridges/overpasses and overhead lines etc?
It seems that horizontal transport would be more difficult in every way. There are no overpasses to go under.

Offline alugobi

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #153 on: 05/05/2022 12:58 am »
That language was provided by SX in October, 2021.  It's possible that they have since changed their minds about recovering boosters landed at sea near Boca Chica.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #154 on: 05/05/2022 07:27 am »
That language was provided by SX in October, 2021.  It's possible that they have since changed their minds about recovering boosters landed at sea near Boca Chica.
Possible, but it has also not been updated by SpaceX during extended communications with the FWS, and the document as a whole is up to date as of the end of February 2022.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #155 on: 05/05/2022 02:31 pm »
That language was provided by SX in October, 2021.  It's possible that they have since changed their minds about recovering boosters landed at sea near Boca Chica.
Possible, but it has also not been updated by SpaceX during extended communications with the FWS, and the document as a whole is up to date as of the end of February 2022.
It is now May, 3 months later, and the EA still hasn’t been finalized. 3 months is a very long time.

Everyone needs to remember that this is NOT an official, final document of any kind. It is information garnered through a FOIA request, so there’s zero guarantee it’s even a fully accurate representation of what was understood at the time.
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Offline Barry Brisco

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #156 on: 06/04/2022 02:51 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:55 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline tyrred

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #157 on: 06/04/2022 06:32 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?

The transporter may move horizontally.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:54 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #158 on: 06/04/2022 08:22 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:53 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #159 on: 06/04/2022 10:28 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.
From Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin, there are at least two places where powerlines cross the water. I haven't been able to guess the height. If anyone has navigation charts for the area, the information might be on them. That would be the air-draft limit, I think.

Edit to add: It's 65 feet of clearance for the powerlines crossing the channel north of the Port Canaveral Lock. So much for vertical transport!
 
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:52 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline freddo411

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #160 on: 06/04/2022 01:40 pm »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.
From Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin, there are at least two places where powerlines cross the water. I haven't been able to guess the height. If anyone has navigation charts for the area, the information might be on them. That would be the air-draft limit, I think.

Edit to add: It's 65 feet of clearance for the powerlines crossing the channel north of the Port Canaveral Lock. So much for vertical transport!
One can unload at port canaveral, and travel on land from there.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:51 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Barry Brisco

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #161 on: 06/04/2022 02:31 pm »
The transporter may move horizontally.
I should have been clearer in my question. Can the vehicles tolerate being moved in the horizontal position? Are they structurally capable of being in that orientation and not sustaining damage? I’m not convinced they are.

So far they have only been transported in a vertical orientation. Obviously at this time there is no “transporter erector” structure like the one for the F9 which was designed from the start to operate that.

If Super Heavy and Starship cannot tolerate a horizontal orientation, then I’m wondering if they could be shipped to Florida while remaining vertical, assuming fair weather and relatively calm seas.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #162 on: 06/04/2022 02:52 pm »
The transporter may move horizontally.
I should have been clearer in my question. Can the vehicles tolerate being moved in the horizontal position? Are they structurally capable of being in that orientation and not sustaining damage? I’m not convinced they are.

So far they have only been transported in a vertical orientation. Obviously at this time there is no “transporter erector” structure like the one for the F9 which was designed from the start to operate that.

If Super Heavy and Starship cannot tolerate a horizontal orientation, then I’m wondering if they could be shipped to Florida while remaining vertical, assuming fair weather and relatively calm seas.
We have a long thread over on L1 about moving Starships out of Boca Chica, which included some commentary on moving them into KSC. The discussion included horizontal transport. Any EDL-capable SS is designed to handle horizontal forces when pressurized. Not sure about SH. Those power lines across the channel at KSC were never mentioned.
     https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=55672.0
It is unclear that this is an L2 issue.

[zubenelgenubi: It isn't.]
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:20 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Bananas_on_Mars

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #163 on: 06/04/2022 03:57 pm »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
They‘re currently completing a lot of stuff prior to stacking. How about they just move segments? The hard to duplicate machinery is more related to bulkheads, and maybe setting the TPS mounting pins.
It’s all just speculation on my part, but I would look out for a „high mega wide“ bay appearing at the cape.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:46 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #164 on: 06/05/2022 12:25 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.

From Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin, there are at least two places where powerlines cross the water. I haven't been able to guess the height. If anyone has navigation charts for the area, the information might be on them. That would be the air-draft limit, I think.

Edit to add: It's 65 feet of clearance for the powerlines crossing the channel north of the Port Canaveral Lock. So much for vertical transport!
Argh, I'd looked along the dredged route, didn't even think to check inside the port itself! Raising those lines would be a huge pain (though not impossible).
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:39 pm by zubenelgenubi »

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #165 on: 06/05/2022 12:33 am »
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.
From Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin, there are at least two places where powerlines cross the water. I haven't been able to guess the height. If anyone has navigation charts for the area, the information might be on them. That would be the air-draft limit, I think.

Edit to add: It's 65 feet of clearance for the powerlines crossing the channel north of the Port Canaveral Lock. So much for vertical transport!
Argh, I'd looked along the dredged route, didn't even think to check inside the port itself! Raising those lines would be a huge pain (though not impossible).
Two more exotic ideas, the first one being vastly more likely:
- Deliver the ships knocked down and do final assembly at the new cape factory, which only needs to be partially finished
- Approach 39A directly over the beach somehow, on the map there is the Saturn causeway that connects the two directly.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 07:32 pm by zubenelgenubi »
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Offline daveglo

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #166 on: 06/05/2022 03:25 am »
Argh, I'd looked along the dredged route, didn't even think to check inside the port itself! Raising those lines would be a huge pain (though not impossible).

The lines could be easily set up such that they can be taken down along one section for the occasional period when a stack would be passing.  Or, with a little additional cash, they could be dropped down and go along the river floor. 

Offline AndyX

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #167 on: 06/05/2022 05:22 pm »
IF they barge the first booster to KSC, what transport ship will they use?
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 05:23 pm by AndyX »

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #168 on: 06/05/2022 10:18 pm »
IF they barge the first booster to KSC, what transport ship will they use?
The original Marmac barge decks were 300 ft x 100 ft, so any of the ASDS could (theoretically) carry a booster/Starship pair with some rearrangement of both the deck installations and the Falcon 9 launch schedule (e.g., reducing payload to allow land recovery, slipping Starlink flights, or even expending some "elderly" boosters).

This assumes that they can figure out how to lay them down, of course.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2022 10:19 pm by rsnellenberger »

Offline robot_enthusiast

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #169 on: 06/06/2022 02:31 am »
IF they barge the first booster to KSC, what transport ship will they use?
Pretty much any barge plus an ocean tug like they previously contracted to tow the droneships would do it. They would just need a way to securely attach one of their transport stands to the deck, so they might be limited to a barge with a steel deck to be able to weld it down.

Online harrystranger

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #170 on: 06/06/2022 03:21 am »
Not to forget that they're now also transporting Falcon 9 boosters via barge from Long Beach to Vandenberg after droneship landings out there.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #171 on: 06/06/2022 10:41 am »
IF they barge the first booster to KSC, what transport ship will they use?
Probably one of Roll-lift's vessels. They already contract Roll-Lift for overland transport, and moving large awkward objects across land and sea is what Roll-Lift do. No need to dispatch one of SpaceX's heavily utilised droneships or rent a brand new barge when they can contract transport to someone who already does that.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #172 on: 09/21/2022 01:02 pm »
So, they're going to need a bigger boat ...

Elon timeline:

twitter.com/nasaspaceflight/status/1572565037633667074

Quote
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but do you have an estimate for the first booster at 39A?

Pending Roberts Road, or can you ship vehicles from Starbase (which some people say isn't possible).

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1572568337263243264

Quote
Probably Q2 next year, with vehicles initially transferred by boat from Port of Brownsville to the Cape

Offline chrisking0997

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #173 on: 09/21/2022 01:11 pm »
seems weird that at the pace they are going they would not have the KSC starfactory up and running by then
Tried to tell you, we did.  Listen, you did not.  Now, screwed we all are.

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #174 on: 09/21/2022 01:17 pm »
seems weird that at the pace they are going they would not have the KSC starfactory up and running by then

My guess is not wanting to dilute the workforce and being more confident in both the vehicle design and manufacturing processes before starting production at a second site.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #175 on: 09/21/2022 01:17 pm »
Saturn V (10m diameter) was transported by barge from Louisiana to Florida.  Same type barge used for Saturn V can also be used to transport a Superheavy or a Starship.  They can pressurize the tanks with nitrogen for stability and tie them down horizontally for transport.  Not impossible.  The only thing is they may not install the TPS on the Starships until they get to the Cape to avoid losing any. during transport.  Oh, and the SLS core is transported via barge to Florida from Louisiana also.  Transporting is not a problem.  Powerlines can be ran underground if necessary.  That too is not a problem. 

Offline Jim

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #176 on: 09/21/2022 01:22 pm »
Saturn V (10m diameter) was transported by barge from Louisiana to Florida.  Same type barge used for Saturn V can also be used to transport a Superheavy or a Starship.  They can pressurize the tanks with nitrogen for stability and tie them down horizontally for transport.  Not impossible.  The only thing is they may not install the TPS on the Starships until they get to the Cape to avoid losing any. during transport.  Oh, and the SLS core is transported via barge to Florida from Louisiana also.  Transporting is not a problem.  Powerlines can be ran underground if necessary.  That too is not a problem. 

They would not be transported horizontally.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #177 on: 09/21/2022 02:51 pm »
Saturn V (10m diameter) was transported by barge from Louisiana to Florida.  Same type barge used for Saturn V can also be used to transport a Superheavy or a Starship.  They can pressurize the tanks with nitrogen for stability and tie them down horizontally for transport.  Not impossible.  The only thing is they may not install the TPS on the Starships until they get to the Cape to avoid losing any. during transport.  Oh, and the SLS core is transported via barge to Florida from Louisiana also.  Transporting is not a problem.  Powerlines can be ran underground if necessary.  That too is not a problem. 

They would not be transported horizontally.
Are you sure?

Starship already needs to handle more than one gee sideways.

SuperHeavy doesn’t… but it’d be the most challenging part to transport vertically!

It would be quite the site to see a 70 meter tall, 9 meter wide booster transported vertically all the way from the Mexican border to the far side of Florida!

They might want to spray it down with WD-40 and cover it in plastic or something.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #178 on: 09/21/2022 02:54 pm »
seems weird that at the pace they are going they would not have the KSC starfactory up and running by then

My guess is not wanting to dilute the workforce and being more confident in both the vehicle design and manufacturing processes before starting production at a second site.
Right. They can build, cryo-test, and acceptance fire the stages in Boca Chica before sending them to Florida. Frees up Florida to do the launching instead of recreating all those aspects right away. But they’d likely want a high bay there early on anyway if only for refurbishing and repairing.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #179 on: 09/21/2022 03:32 pm »
Saturn V (10m diameter) was transported by barge from Louisiana to Florida.  Same type barge used for Saturn V can also be used to transport a Superheavy or a Starship.  They can pressurize the tanks with nitrogen for stability and tie them down horizontally for transport.  Not impossible.  The only thing is they may not install the TPS on the Starships until they get to the Cape to avoid losing any. during transport.  Oh, and the SLS core is transported via barge to Florida from Louisiana also.  Transporting is not a problem.  Powerlines can be ran underground if necessary.  That too is not a problem. 

They would not be transported horizontally.
It's now fairly clear that they have an unobstructed road path from BC to the Dock in Brownville for vertical transport, and an unobstructed path from the dock to Port Canaveral. However, It's not clear how to get a vertical SS or SH from Port Canaveral to Roberts Road or to pad 39A. Please see:
How will those vehicles be moved from BC to Florida? Can they be transported horizontally?
There is little to no overhead obstruction on the road between the build site and the port of Brownsville (a single wire crossing near the junction of Highway 4  & Palmetto Hill, IIRC). There isn't any between the Turning Basin and LC-39A at the cape. And there are no height restrictions for the Brownsville inlet or through Port Canaveral. Far easier to just remain vertical the entire way if there is no reason to go horizontal.
From Port Canaveral to the Turning Basin, there are at least two places where powerlines cross the water. I haven't been able to guess the height. If anyone has navigation charts for the area, the information might be on them. That would be the air-draft limit, I think.

Edit to add: It's 65 feet of clearance for the powerlines crossing the channel north of the Port Canaveral Lock. So much for vertical transport!
Maybe some of our Floridians can take a look?

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #180 on: 09/21/2022 04:09 pm »
They don't have to go to the turning basin.  They can offload in the port

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #181 on: 09/21/2022 04:13 pm »
They don't have to go to the turning basin.  They can offload in the port
OK. After it's offloaded at the port, how does it get to Roberts Road or to Pad 39A?

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #182 on: 09/21/2022 04:49 pm »
They don't have to go to the turning basin.  They can offload in the port
OK. After it's offloaded at the port, how does it get to Roberts Road or to Pad 39A?

Through CCAFS but holy hell that would be a royal PITA

Offline Jim

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #183 on: 09/21/2022 05:45 pm »
They don't have to go to the turning basin.  They can offload in the port
OK. After it's offloaded at the port, how does it get to Roberts Road or to Pad 39A?

Straight up Phillips Parkway.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #184 on: 09/30/2022 04:28 pm »
I thought all the large rockets transported by barge horizontal had their fuel and lox tanks pressurized so they wouldn't buckle under tie downs.  Vertical would be weird, harder to cover, and across the Gulf would have to be under very good weather. 

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #185 on: 09/30/2022 04:35 pm »
I thought all the large rockets transported by barge horizontal had their fuel and lox tanks pressurized so they wouldn't buckle under tie downs.  Vertical would be weird, harder to cover, and across the Gulf would have to be under very good weather.
SpaceX routinely transports F9 boosters vertically after they land downrange, after clamping them down in the open Atlantic, not under controlled conditions in port. They are not covered. They have done this more than 125 times.

Offline chopsticks

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Re: Shipping Starships from Boca Chica?
« Reply #186 on: 10/07/2022 04:16 am »
SpaceX might not send fully assembled boosters and ships at first. They might ship completed sub-assemblies and finish them out in Florida.

 

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