Poll

How soon do you think SpaceX will be ready to launch Starship/SuperHeavy again after their 4/20 first flight?

1-2 months (May/June 2023)
3 (1.2%)
3-4 months (July/Aug 2023)
49 (19.8%)
5-6 months (Sep/Oct 2023)
88 (35.6%)
7-9 months (Nov 2023 - Jan 2024)
68 (27.5%)
10-12 months (Feb - Apr 2024)
31 (12.6%)
13-18 months (May - Oct 2024)
3 (1.2%)
More than 18 months
2 (0.8%)
Never
3 (1.2%)

Total Members Voted: 247

Voting closed: 05/01/2023 11:17 pm


Author Topic: How Soon Will SpaceX Be Ready to Fly Starship/SuperHeavy Again?  (Read 38014 times)

Offline jongoff

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SpaceX's 4/20 test flight of the Starship/SuperHeavy launch vehicle resulted in a significant amount of damage to the launchpad, and there were also several in-flight anomalies. How long do you think it will take for SpaceX to have Starship/Superheavy ready for another attempt?

I define ready as:
1- Pad and GSE hardware fully repaired.
2- Any modifications to the launch vehicle made to address other anomalies.
3- The next Starship/Superheavy stacked and put through testing including a static fire sufficient to give confidence that the pad is going to work for the next flight

I'm not including in this securing the next FAA launch license, or dealing with any environmental regulatory actions or litigation related to the first launch. Just how soon will they have things fixed to the point that they'd be ready to try again in absence of regulators or legal complaints.

For reference, Elon is claiming they'll have the pad repaired and a water-cooled flame diverter installed and ready to go in 1-2 months (ie by end of June 2023).

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1649523985837686784

Please feel free to give your rationale for voting the way you did. I'm only leaving this poll open for 10 days, to get people's opinions based on the info we have available at this point.

Thanks,

~Jon

Offline jongoff

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I voted 7-9 months. I think that repairing the pad and infrastructure, installing and debugging the flame duct, and getting everything else ready to fly again is going to take a lot more time than Elon is suggesting. He's always been overoptimistic about things like this. But I'd like to see what everyone else thinks, and why. And it will be fun to look back after the next flight and see how well the crowd did relative to reality.

~Jon

Online DanClemmensen

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I voted for 7-9 months. I think it's all repairable without truly major rework like removing the OLM, but they will still need to fix its foundations (similar to strengthening a skyscraper after an earthquake). Also, lots of inspections of everything at the launch site and hundreds to thousands of medium to minor repairs.

All of this assumes that any damage to the interior of the OLM was not catastrophic.

Offline jabe

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I chose sept simply it is birthday month.  :) money can speed up process but effective engineering solution can take time to figure out.  I'm deferring other guess when more known.

Offline Redclaws

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I like that no one has yet taken Elon up on his 1-2 months.  Gotta love the man, but we know better by now.

Offline Metalskin

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Still hard (as a non-engineer) to understand the damage to the pad. To me it looks catastrophic, but what do I know?

Į\_(ツ)_/Į

But we do know that they already have plans for a water cooled plate (uncertain if it's flat or in the form of a divertor) and uncertain if there is Elon-Time in Elon's post or not. He has been better of recent times and surely they must have better data than what we have. But that damage looks so bad to a person sitting half a world away in a chair with no engineering experience at all.

So I would rather have chosen 3 to 9 months. I find the 2 month ranges to close as I really don't have enough info to even have an accurate guess at how long it will be. Hopefully the table isn't out of kilter, hopefully the structural elements of the legs are ok, and hopefully the models in general are not invalid. But that is a lot of hope!

To be honest, I do not believe that all their models are invalid by what has happened. Just their models of what would happen to that special concrete during the launch (forget the name of it). So what has happened shouldn't invalidate their plans.

Though I am a glass half full kind of person.
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Offline Kaputnik

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I went 10-12 but admittedly did not read the question in full, so was assuming new FAA license etc.
"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do"- Gene Kranz

Online Robotbeat

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I voted 7-9 months. Surprised that Iím on the high side compared to most people. I think theyíll try really hard to be ready before the end of the year, around November sometime. Was thinking of voting 5-6 months, but especially if youíre talking getting static fires done and stuff, 7-9 months seems more likely.

This is still a huge positive step. It took years for Falcon to get to an appreciable launch rate. Really a full decade to reach its potential, and itís still growing.

Starship did pretty well for a first flight with an intentionally aggressive testing stance.

We are on the cusp of an fundamental change in humanityís relationship with the cosmos. Theyíll get there. They had a tremendous success.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2023 01:59 am by Robotbeat »
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Online jimvela

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I guessed 5-6 months.
I nearly guessed much longer, as I worry that the damage is much worse than is obvious right now.

Offline Coastal Ron

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I'm going to be super optimistic, and voted 3-4 months. I think it is possible if Musk thinks that 1-2 months is possible...  :D
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online Robotbeat

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I guessed 5-6 months.
I nearly guessed much longer, as I worry that the damage is much worse than is obvious right now.
I think they could rebuild it from scratch in 6 months.
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 Metalskin

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I voted 7-9 months. Surprised that Iím on the high side compared to most people. I think theyíll try really hard to be ready before the end of the year, around November sometime. Was thinking of voting 5-6 months, but especially if youíre talking getting static fires done and stuff, 7-9 months seems more likely.

Ahh, comes down to how you interp. the question. I took it to mean when will the launch table be ready for them to start launch related activities (which I inferred to include static fires).

If the question was "When will SpaceX next launch..." then I would have chosen 7-9 months as well.
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke

Offline Kansan52

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I voted 3 - 4 months. Another flight vehicle can be readied but the launch table will determine when the process will begin.

Maybe most of the engine failures were caused by debris.

Offline Kansan52

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I voted 3 - 4 months. Another flight vehicle can be readied but the launch table will determine when the process will begin.

Maybe most of the engine failures were caused by debris.

Offline catdlr

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Remember that in the worst-case scenario, there were plans to build a second pad at Boca Chica and the tower segments, and OLM are almost finished being built at the Cape.  They could start building a new launch pad with a better record blast solution while fixing and retro repair the damaged Launchpad.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2023 02:31 am by catdlr »
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Offline kkattula

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I'm going to be super optimistic, and voted 3-4 months. I think it is possible if Musk thinks that 1-2 months is possible...  :D

This.

Elonís estimates are usually Ďbest case if everything goes rightí, which it probably wonít.

I wonder if the rocket just did some of the excavation they wouldíve needed to anyway, to install the water-cooled steel plate and deluge system?

Offline joek

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Maybe a bit optimistic; voted 5-6mo: 3-4mo for repairs-construction; another 2-3mo for test-validation (several static fires etc.).  Typical project management contingency of 30% would bring that to 8-9mo. Might also be longer if they succumb to "version 2" affliction, but historically that has not been their MO; or if the data they got suggests substantive changes to the booster which are not in plan for B9. Give it 3-4 weeks and expect significant increase in accuracy of projections.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2023 03:09 am by joek »

Offline Stan-1967

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I don't see any way the early estimates happen.  I'll guess 4 months.   I am also recalling that the structural cement used for the foundation of the OLM as well as the cement poured down the columns took over a month to cure.  I'd baseline the earliest launch has to wait for that.

Also, anyone have any idea how the columns could be inspected to determine if the vibrations of the launch & the impact of debris have compromised the strength anywhere within the steel pipe?  Anything non destructive possible?  If those are compromised would it be a total loss for the viability of the mount?
« Last Edit: 04/22/2023 03:24 am by Stan-1967 »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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I was thinking 6-7 months, in the end voted 5-6.

This (optimistically) assumes that their post flight analysis confirms that the planned OLM upgrades are good enough and they donít need another redesign. Still think itíll take 3-4 months to get the OLM ready for any SS tests again. I think thatís also a reasonable period for tank farm / other GSE repairs.

S26 & B9 already have significant upgrades so Iím assuming not many changes needed to them. For example, stage separation appeared to be an issue but IIRC thatís already been redesigned?

Raptor is a wildcard. I think some failures on first flight were debris related but probably not all. Improvements here could be a long pole. However, given the incremental nature of the test program, Raptor may have performed well enough to only need tweaks for second flight, with bigger improvements subsequently.

So after about 4 months Iím assuming everything is ready for ground testing to start. 5-6 months to launch readiness.

Offline tyrred

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I voted 5-6 months. That way it's guaranteed to be sooner than that or later  :o

 

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