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 37715 times)

Offline Nomadd

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 They're already ahead. It only took six seconds to excavate under the mount for the new flame diverter.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2023 05:57 am by Nomadd »
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline DreamyPickle

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September 6th

Online Tommyboy

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September 6th
I see what you did there ;)

Offline laszlo

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I predict that the paperwork (and the associated lawsuits) for the new/modified environmental impact statement will be the pacing factor, not the actual engineering and construction.

It was one thing to get approval when this take-off was an imaginary event, but now that the raw power has been witnessed it'll be taken a lot more seriously. Images of driveway-sized pieces of concrete racing past the rocket will be as compelling to some as pictures of the Hindenburg coming down in Lakehurst was to air travelers. The images of massive splashes almost beyond the surf line will also be a motivator to those more concerned about preserving a public natural area than going to Mars. Post-flight it doesn't take much imagination to visualize what could happen if some of that big debris had punctured the booster and caused it to explode. The videos show concrete flying close past the ship. Never mind camera angles and distances, the impression is out there. It will mobilize the anti-starbase activists. Possibly even anti-starship in general when they realize the implications of thousands of these planned launches per synod.

There's also the less emotional issues of how to engineer an effective re-usable launchpad in an environmentally sensitive area. The current disposable OLM is relatively lightweight, an actual rapidly re-usable one would be much more environmentally intrusive and would require a lot more paperwork, permitting, etc.

So I am not sanguine at all about SpaceX getting another into the air this year. They keep saying that this test was a successful failure, but I keep remembering the US SST project which never ran into any real technical issues and was killed off anyway. The videos may have shifted the momentum.

Offline jongoff

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I predict that the paperwork (and the associated lawsuits) for the new/modified environmental impact statement will be the pacing factor, not the actual engineering and construction.

I totally agree that regulatory issues and lawsuits will likely take more time than the physical repairs. Which was why I specified that we were only looking at how soon they'd be technically ready. I'm also skeptical they'll be able to turn things around and get approvals and litigation sorted out in time for another launch attempt this year. I hope I'm wrong -- a lot of the stuff we're working on for my day job could really use a commercially available Starship.

~Jon

Offline laszlo

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I predict that the paperwork (and the associated lawsuits) for the new/modified environmental impact statement will be the pacing factor, not the actual engineering and construction.

I totally agree that regulatory issues and lawsuits will likely take more time than the physical repairs. Which was why I specified that we were only looking at how soon they'd be technically ready. I'm also skeptical they'll be able to turn things around and get approvals and litigation sorted out in time for another launch attempt this year. I hope I'm wrong -- a lot of the stuff we're working on for my day job could really use a commercially available Starship.

~Jon

I wasn't ignoring your parameters, I just didn't want to say next year and leave it at that.

I think that the regulatory and legal stuff will impact the speed at which they can address the technical issues, especially since SpaceX is so tied to the iterative approach. If they can't iterate because of paperwork and/or lawsuits, they won't be able to proceed from their first post-launch incremental work product which affects when they'll be technically ready for the next launch, especially if it takes many iterations.

Offline Lee Jay

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I voted 7-9 months.  This includes vehicle prep (cryo tests, static fires, wet dress rehearsals, etc.) for both vehicles, stacking, and getting ready for launch (FAA  license, stocking up the tank farm, and all the rest).  They have a lot to fix, not just the OLM itself.  We don't even know what damage might have been done to the tower, the tank farm looks like a mess, we don't know about tank farm equipment, and they still have to figure out how to keep this from happening again, both with stage 0 and with stage 1.

Lots to do.  1-2 months seems optimistic even for Elon so I'm multiplying by more than my usual pi.

Starship is no longer just a project of a visionary, today there are many strategic interests in launching this ship, which is why I think that everything that is necessary will move quickly.

Online Comga

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Ooh!
I’m a (relative) pessimist!
laszlo makes a good point.  It’s one thing to calculate 16 Mlbf and another thing to see it demolish and spray out tons of concrete.
The adults in the room, NASA HSF and Shotwell, will want lots of care taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
But jose’s point is also good:  there is external pressure to make this happen, from the same HSF team.  Going around the Moon is so 1968.
“Before this (year) is out …”
So ~5X what Musk said:  ;D
« Last Edit: 04/23/2023 01:35 am by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline MoodyBlues

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obviously June 9 at 4:20 PM, EST...

Offline Lars-J

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7-9 months for me.

While SpaceX has iterated fast on flight hardware, they now need to focus on ground infrastructure, which has not received the focus and testing it requires.

The main task for the next months needs to be to refine “stage 0” to be able to support a high flight rate to remove the rest of the bugs from the systems. But this will require some pad design decisions re-thinking, which will lead to delays. And then have many tests of such system before the next full launch.

All IMO of course.  :)
« Last Edit: 04/23/2023 01:54 am by Lars-J »

Offline shm6666

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Oh, in software development we talk about definition of ready. I did put in a conservative guess of 13 to 18 month. Of course they can put in a steel plate and a deluge system and call it ready to fly. But I don’t think they will do that. That will then take less then my guess. To have it ready to fly, a static fire with the full power is needed. Much of the debris flying is coming later in the assent. When the engines have blasted the concrete for some good 18 seconds. (Judging be that video of the takeoff) So ready to fly for me is that stage 0 can take that beating.

If we look at the test flight all the engines that failed in the outer ring is on the same side. We have ten good engines on the other side. That tells me that something happened during takeoff to two of the engines and that then had a cascading effect on the rest of the 6 engines that failed in the outer ring. For the middle ring every one was firing. For the inner we hade one that did fail, but on a screenshot from just when the stack emerges from the smoke I do think I can see it lit. But there is a lot of debris kicking up so it might have gotten hit. The second engine that failed later in the inner ring could be a collateral damage from the first.

If the above is correct, starship worked and no major redesign of superheavy / starship is needed. No major redesign of raptor is needed. But a BIG caveat here. If Elon decides that no flame diverter is needed and the Raptor engine must be able to take the beating of a lot of debris flying. (I’m thinking here of takeoff from Moon and Mars especially). Then that can take time. So either they try to do that, make it more robust, which will take time. Or they decide to have “takeoff and landing engines” higher up on starship to get of the ground and then lit the bigger raptor engines, when taking off from Moon and Mars. That redesign will not impact flight two.

But sage 0 need to be redesigned in my humble opinion. That will take time. And I think that they will do it right, they will build a flame diverter. They will have the deluges system. They will control it much better. This will also impact how they design the landing for the Artemis lander. I think the will go back to the design of having the engines much higher up for that.

This of course will also impact the pad they are building at Kennedy. I think the next flight will come from Boca, I think they will have done the necessary fixes to stage 0 and make it a success. But I think it will take just over a year to get there.

Offline svlu

Not sure what major flaws you are referring to? Obviously there was several engines failing, but we do not why, so we can not say if it is major design flaw, it might be. But it can also be that the engines works just fine if not sprayed by concrete…

Offline DAA640

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Not so fast.  This launch showed a vehicle that was in bad shape from the moment it cleared the pad.  But at least we know more now than a few days ago.

I'm not optimistic, but the effort to get this far is notable.  High regards for Elon, but I chose never.

There were minute details of the launch video that allowed me to realize there are significant design/performance flaws with the vehicle.   

But there will be significant changes ahead.  But my feeling is that Starship 1.0 is going to take a major rest.  Current vehicles at BC will likely become museum queens.  I believe the competition very heavy launch vehicles will likely launch before Starship 2.whoa design. 

This is the way.

Did we watch the same launch?

I saw the largest rocket ever built launch 40km into the sky all while suffering from multiple engine failures (likely due to damage caused from the launchpad excavation), potential hydraulic failure with the loss of an HPU, and who knows how much more damage. During its ascent, it passed M-Q before turning over and spinning multiple times at twice the speed of sound without breaking up. During all of this, all but 8 of its engines were still firing, and yet the rocket still suffered no structural failure. In fact, the rocket was not destroyed until the inflight abort was called. It did all this on its first-ever launch.

What this suggests to me is that the Starship stack is an incredibly resilient vehicle, a vehicle that with further iteration and development (in addition to a launch pad that doesn't chuck concrete chunks at it) will be able to reach the incredibly lofty goals of airliner like space travel.

The idea that SpaceX would trash billions of dollars in development, years of effort, and their only plausible way of making humanity a multi-planet species all based on the single failure of a prototype rocket is honestly insane. It is almost more insane than suggesting that after nearly a decade of class-leading performance by SpaceX, they would hit the brakes so badly as to be passed by other space companies that have failed to keep up with even SpaceX's initial break neck pace in the 2010's.

Offline laszlo

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Not so fast....
Did we watch the same launch?...
With anyone else I'd say it was the 6 blind men and the elephant, but he's a well-known troll pulling your chain. Ignore him.

Offline Steve G

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I voted 7 - 9 months as I think that regulatory reviews, and other protests (such as the Sierra Club's) will be define the date for the next launch.

Offline DAA640

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First day on the forum, figures I'd fall for bait. Lol

Offline Eka

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I voted 7-9 months, but my real feelings are 6-8 months. This is due to the damage to other stuff around the pad and the launch platform. That hole can be properly filled and capped over with cement and steel in under a month once things are cleaned up. On the other hand, they have a large amount of stage 0 systems to check out and repair. They will be finding and removing chunks of concrete from the launch platform for months. They will be in every nook and cranny. What did they shred on the way to where they stopped?
We talk about creating a Star Trek future, but will end up with The Expanse if radical change doesn't happen.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Depends on which pad.
Up to one year for Texas or more if enough foundation undermining happened that they have to demolish something. More likely the long side of that if it was worst case and they had to demolish everything.

KSC less but only if NASA and other regulators give them permission to use it. It would also depend on the conditions of use, if they have to build a flame trench instead of just a diverter probably closer to 9 months if not maybe 5 months.
But there aren't any starship or super heavys built at KSC yet so they'd probably have to build one of each. It's possible a starship could be shipped by barge but not the SH too ungainly.


It's possible you could get the Texas site going again more rapidly maybe 6 months or less but to do so would require a massive fever pitch construction effort. And there's weather concerns it will be the rainy season there soon.
So unlikely this would work.

Voted 10-12 months as I'm cynical about repair times and modification times for the pad design.

Booster and ship shouldn't need many changes IMHO as booster 9 and others already incorporated many changes that make it more resilient to damage and less complex. That might be sufficient as is.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2023 01:40 pm by FinalFrontier »
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Offline Johnny057

If the damage to the pad, mount, tower and GSE is really bad and it takes a longer amount of time to redesign and repair, then what happens to the workforce at Starbase?  Do all those workers keep building ships and boosters or would they get retasked to work on repairs?  If not, do they get laid off?  How big a setback would it be to take a hiatus in the design and testing of the vehicles?

 

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