Poll

When will the first fully-operational Starship launch take place?

2H 2023
3 (3.3%)
1H 2024
18 (19.8%)
2H 2024
28 (30.8%)
1H 2025
14 (15.4%)
2H 2025
17 (18.7%)
1H 2026
9 (9.9%)
2H 2026
0 (0%)
1H 2027
1 (1.1%)
2H 2027
0 (0%)
Later
0 (0%)
Never
1 (1.1%)

Total Members Voted: 91

Voting closed: 05/28/2023 11:32 pm


Author Topic: Starship first fully-operational launch  (Read 7180 times)

Offline Lee Jay

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Starship first fully-operational launch
« on: 04/28/2023 11:32 pm »
When do you think Starship will:
1)  Launch.
2)  Successfully complete the defined mission.
3)  Both booster and ship return safely to land at some point after the launch.

Note that the returned vehicles don't have to re-launch, just return safely.
The date you pick is the date of the launch, not of the return.


Offline RobW

Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #1 on: 04/28/2023 11:59 pm »
I've put my stake down on 2H 2025. Could it be earlier? Absolutely and I really hope it is. But I'm an optimist by inclination and this is me trying to recognise that there's a lot that has to go right, and practise makes perfect, and sometimes you just need a little longer to practise some more.

Once it *does* get to the point of full-up flight, recovery, (and then refurbishment, and re-flight): Watch those Starlinks soar! There's going to be more of those satellites in the air than confetti at a wedding :)


Then Starship really gets to prove out the re-use and reliability things.
Science fiction writer, spaceflight blogger, and unrepentant technological optimist.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #2 on: 04/29/2023 12:22 am »
I've put my stake down on 2H 2025.

I also said 2H 2025, but I'm often over-optimistic on SpaceX time lines.  For example, I voted for 4 in the poll on number of SS launches in 2023.  I don't see that happening!

Offline mike robel

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #3 on: 04/29/2023 01:49 am »
2H 2025.  Don't know why.  My history of prediction is not good.

1973-4.  Roommate said I should take computer classes.  I said B.S.  I'm gonna be a tanker and you use the computer by pushing/pulling a handle.

1978:  Not a prediction.  Got the book Numbers, Prediction and War (also am a wargamer).  Started working through it with my slide rule (I started out as an Engineer in college, but switched to history) and a four function credit card calculator, graphpaper, and index cards.

1979:  Regimental Commander told us all we needed to learn about computers.  We thought he was just an old dude.  We were armored cavalrymen and didn't need no stinking computers.

1980:  Got back home from Germany.  Saw a TV with a keyboard in front of it.  Asked salesman what it was.  A computer called the TRS-80.  Riiggght.

1980:  Got to my parents house.  He had a TRS-80 on the dining room table.  What's that Dad?  A computer, Mike.  Riggghttt.  Make it do something computery.  Hmmmm.  Started teaching myself to make it work.  See 1978.  Later got a TRS-80.

1989:  Was teach ROTC in California and discussing US vs USSR military power.  One of my students asked me if I thought Germany would every be united.  Not a chance, kid, says I.  Walk back to my office.  Phone ringing.  Me:  Major Robel, CSU-SB ROTC.  May I help you?  Wife:  Mike!  Mike!  They are coming across the wall!  Me:  Shit, I have to get into the fight.  Wife:  NO!  You don't understand?  The WALL IS DOWN!  (See 1977-1980.  We patrolled the East-West Germany Border which had fences, mines, machine gun bunkers, etc.).

Next Week:  Major Robel (Same Kid).  Now do you think they will reunite?  Thought for about 3 minutes.  (Actually had been thinking about it all week.)  Nope.  I don't think the British, French, or Russians would ever allow it.

1992.  After playing some war games, participating in Command Post Exercises, etc. I thought Desert Storm would take 6 weeks to defeat the Iraqis.  (About the same as the German's defeating France.  It did take about 6 weeks, but five of them were the air campaign and the ground part took 100 hours or so.  We also thought our assault battalions (We had two punch a hole through the Iraqi Line.  The 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) had nine battalions:  6 tank, 3 infantry, and the cavalry squadron.  We thought we needed more infantry and tried to get a battalion from the 1st ID (Forward) serving as stevedores to flesh us out, but no dice.  During our attack, we lost 4 or 5 guys and some wounded.  Miraculous (unless you were one of them).  The 2nd Brigade had no killed.

So, most things take longer and are more expensive than you think they will be.

SpaceX has pretty much surprised me everytime.  I think he'll accomplish what he wants, but his predictions seem to be mostly too optimistic.

Offline deltaV

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #4 on: 04/30/2023 11:00 pm »
I voted 2H 2024.

Edit: I accidentally hit "post" prematurely. I'm surprised that my vote was on the more optimistic end compared to many voters.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2023 11:01 pm by deltaV »

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/2023 03:51 am »
The Superbird-9 satellite is scheduled to launch NET 2024 aboard Starship, so it will constitute the first fully operational payload earmarked for launch from the Starship.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/2023 05:08 am »
The Superbird-9 satellite is scheduled to launch NET 2024 aboard Starship, so it will constitute the first fully operational payload earmarked for launch from the Starship.

Maybe.  But the criteria doesn't specify the payload, just that the mission is successful and both vehicles return safely to land.  Maybe the first payload will be Starlinks or something else, we don't know for sure but it may be a while after the first successful mission that they meet all the criteria, including both vehicles safely returning.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/2023 03:13 pm »
Falcon 9 didn’t become fully operational until 2015-2016 by this measure, and most rockets never became operational.
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Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/2023 03:17 pm »
Do we even know where and how they plan to recover the second stage? It definitely won't be Hawaii.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #9 on: 05/01/2023 03:18 pm »
Falcon 9 didn’t become fully operational until 2015-2016 by this measure, and most rockets never became operational.

Right, but this system was designed literally from the ground up for this so it seems reasonable to ask when you think it will first achieve what it has been designed to do.

Offline Steve G

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #10 on: 05/01/2023 03:21 pm »
It will be a lot easier to submit an answer after the next launch.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #11 on: 05/01/2023 03:26 pm »
Falcon 9 didn’t become fully operational until 2015-2016 by this measure, and most rockets never became operational.

Right, but this system was designed literally from the ground up for this so it seems reasonable to ask when you think it will first achieve what it has been designed to do.
Falcon 9 was also designed from the very beginning for recovery, first by parachute (which never worked, in spite of trying several times including with—but not limited to—Falcon 1) and then by vertical landing with v1.1.
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 Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #12 on: 05/01/2023 03:34 pm »
Falcon 9 didn’t become fully operational until 2015-2016 by this measure, and most rockets never became operational.

Right, but this system was designed literally from the ground up for this so it seems reasonable to ask when you think it will first achieve what it has been designed to do.
Falcon 9 was also designed from the very beginning for recovery, first by parachute (which never worked, in spite of trying several times including with—but not limited to—Falcon 1) and then by vertical landing with v1.1.

Sort of.  It was more of an aspirational thing rather than a design.  They were planning to try things and ultimately figured it out many years later after quite a few iterations and fundamental changes (including abandoning recovering the second stage).  But this isn't the case with Starship.  This was designed from the very beginning to be fully reusable and with the experience of Falcon 9.  And note that I didn't ask when it would be first reused, just safely recovered.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #13 on: 05/01/2023 03:35 pm »
It will be a lot easier to submit an answer after the next launch.

I'm confident that the next launch will take place after this poll closes.

Offline ulm_atms

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #14 on: 05/01/2023 03:47 pm »
I would of added whenever the Florida pad is ready.  I don't see any operational missions out of BC for some time as BC is for all the development stuff currently and the launch corridor is limited too.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #15 on: 05/01/2023 04:25 pm »
I voted for H2 2024, but this is very aggressive. The poll's criteria require a sucessful re-entry, which means the TPS must work. The catch system must also work, twice. Among other things, this means some sort of safe re-entry path for the SS, approved by the FAA, that ends at a working chopsticks.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #16 on: 05/01/2023 04:32 pm »
It will be a lot easier to submit an answer after the next launch.

I'm confident that the next launch will take place after this poll closes.
Nevertheless, it behoves us to wait until right before it closes to vote. :)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline jongoff

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #17 on: 05/01/2023 08:30 pm »
Dang, I didn't read the post before voting. I voted 2H2024, but if I had seen the part about booster and ship returning safely, I would've slid it out to some time in 2025.

~Jon

Online lightleviathan

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #18 on: 05/01/2023 11:17 pm »
I voted 2H 2024, but VERY late in that. SpaceX will have flown Starship at least 5 times, and this flight will be successful from LC-39A.

Offline RobW

Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #19 on: 05/02/2023 12:24 am »
I voted 2H 2024, but VERY late in that. SpaceX will have flown Starship at least 5 times, and this flight will be successful from LC-39A.

I'd be really surprised if this first operational flight launches from and lands at LC-39A. Remember, the by definition the 'first fully operational launch' will be the first successful tower catch of the booster, the ship, or both together. I don't think NASA would be happy allowing tower catch attempts at LC-39A before they are successfully demonstrated elsewhere, most likely at Starbase.

I could see them allowing launches, either with expendable boosters or with booster tower catch after that's been demonstrated elsewhere a few times, But I don't see them allowing a ship tower catch at LC-39A if that hasn't already been demonstrated, at which point that demonstration would fit our definition of a fully operational launch.

Unless the booster and ship catches were demonstrated on different flights, and the LC-39A flight was the first to feature both at the same time.

Another possibility is that, between now and that first operational launch, the ship might get landing legs again. In which case I think NASA would be more comfortable with a landing attempt at LZ-1.
Science fiction writer, spaceflight blogger, and unrepentant technological optimist.

Offline Hog

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #20 on: 05/03/2023 07:02 pm »
Is not requiring a relaunch really an "fully operational launch"? 

No difference between the "operational" tag and the flight test we just witnessed.
Paul

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #21 on: 05/03/2023 07:19 pm »
Is not requiring a relaunch really an "fully operational launch"? 

No difference between the "operational" tag and the flight test we just witnessed.

It just means they may, or may not choose to refurbish and re-launch, or not, depending on condition, version upgrades and so on.

And, yes, "operational" is quite different than what we just witnessed, in every single way (successful mission delivery to orbit, safe return of both vehicles).

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #22 on: 05/04/2023 05:11 pm »
I think you’re using a higher bar for “operational” than other vehicles. Which is fine, as SpaceX kind of set that bar pretty high.

In fact, you could arguably insist it’s not truly operational until it both has fully recovery (and reuse) AND a mission to deliver a payload that requires refueling (not Artemis but arguably like a direct to GSO type mission like with Viasat-3).
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 Lee Jay

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #23 on: 05/04/2023 10:14 pm »
I think you’re using a higher bar for “operational” than other vehicles. Which is fine, as SpaceX kind of set that bar pretty high.

In fact, you could arguably insist it’s not truly operational until it both has fully recovery (and reuse) AND a mission to deliver a payload that requires refueling (not Artemis but arguably like a direct to GSO type mission like with Viasat-3).

I just thought it would be unfair to set it that high.  So I just made what to me is a reasonable choice for this design.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #24 on: 05/04/2023 10:18 pm »
I think you’re using a higher bar for “operational” than other vehicles. Which is fine, as SpaceX kind of set that bar pretty high.

In fact, you could arguably insist it’s not truly operational until it both has fully recovery (and reuse) AND a mission to deliver a payload that requires refueling (not Artemis but arguably like a direct to GSO type mission like with Viasat-3).

I just thought it would be unfair to set it that high.  So I just made what to me is a reasonable choice for this design.
I’m not sure it’ll make much time difference as they might actually demonstrate refueling for Artemis before they have recovered both stages successfully.
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Offline mikelepage

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Re: Starship first fully-operational launch
« Reply #25 on: 05/05/2023 05:30 am »
It seems I was thinking much more minimally "operational" than most people on this thread. That's the only reason I went 1H 2024 (which could still be over a year away).

1) by successfully conducting an operational mission I took to mean the already-proposed mission where there is transfer of propellant between tanks on the same Starship.
2) Returning Starship to land I took to mean that an earlier mission would have successfully landed Starship on an ASDS in the Gulf of Mexico with SN12-style legs, and returning to port as with the F9 boosters. Doing this would validate the landing accuracy needed to attempt a tower catch with superheavy, and another ASDS landing of Starship would meet the requirement here.
3) Can't really tell if there's room for an ASDS to dock on the south side of the Brownsville shipping channel, but returning Starship from an ASDS to Starbase via Boca Chica Boulevard seems within the realms of possibility.

Really does depend on how the next launch goes.

 

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