SpaceX Starship Rate of Progress Four Times Faster than the Reusable Falcon 9

If Elon Musk and SpaceX hit the targets for the Starhopper and the SpaceX Starship then SpaceX will have accelerated rocket development by about four times. This would be accelerating the rate of technological progress to ten to twenty times faster than most of their competition. This is the scary thing for competitors to SpaceX. SpaceX continues to get more ambitious with its rockets and is accelerating its rate of progress. Technology and Space enthusiasts can celebrate that this faster rate of development will mean that the world will get the space program that we have always wanted.

From Grasshoppers tests and then Orbit and Back

SpaceX reusable first stage rocket program was publicly announced in 2011. SpaceX first achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015. SpaceX started Grasshopper tests on September 2012 and completed the Grasshopper tests on October, 2013. The SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable Development Vehicle, or F9R Dev, was announced in October 2012. Tests were performed from April to August 2014. The first landing test of a first stage Falcon 9 was September 2013 on the sixth flight of a Falcon 9 and maiden launch of the v1.1 rocket version. From 2013 to 2016, sixteen test flights were conducted, six of which achieved a soft landing and recovery of the booster: * Flight 20 (Orbcomm OG2 M2) safely touching down on the LZ-1 ground pad upon first attempt in December 2015; * Flight 23 (CRS-8) finally achieving a stable landing at sea in the Atlantic on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You in April 2016 after four previous attempts ended in destruction of the booster upon impact; * Flights 24 (JCSAT-14) and 25 (Thaicom 8) returning at higher speed from GTO missions at sea on a drone ship in May 2016; * Flight 27 (CRS-9) returning to LZ-1 in July 2016; * Flight 28 (JCSAT-16) landing on a drone ship in August 2016; Since the January 2017 return to flight, SpaceX has stopped referring to landing attempts as experimental. Elon Musk and SpaceX mentioned the Falcon Heavy in 2005. The Falcon Heavy had a successful first flight in February 2017. There was significant work, redesign and ground testing from 2008 through 2016.

4 Months of Starhopper tests and Parallel Prep of Orbital Rockets

The SpaceX Starhopper prototype should begin tests this week. The orbital Starship prototype already has begun major pieces of the body. The choice of stainless steel construction has increased the speed of construction and testing. The orbital Starship prototype should have its first test in the second half of 2019. Getting a new rocket to orbit and back within 9 months of the beginning of testing would be four times faster than starting with the Grasshopper and reaching an unsuccessful orbital launch and landing attempt. If SpaceX could get from the start of development to a fully successful orbital rocket and reusable landing in two years would be about six times faster than the Falcon Heavy and twice as fast as that start of the reuse of the Falcon 9 first stage. If SpaceX could reach this rate of progress, they could go through two or even three major iterations of the Super Heavy Starship by 2030. There will likely be minor design upgrades every year.
Kimi Talvitie renderings of the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship and a Falcon 9 and a Starhopper with a nosecone.
SOURCES- Elon Musk, Kimi Talvitie, SpaceX, Wikipedia, Pictures from, Concepts and Analysis by Brian Wang Written By Brian Wang,

20 thoughts on “SpaceX Starship Rate of Progress Four Times Faster than the Reusable Falcon 9”

  1. This looks like Elon wants to leave our planet as soon as possible. He may know something we don’t, he he… Given his comments about AI.

  2. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons we live better than 93% of the rest of the world. 🙂 Seems ironic but it is a possibility.
    It’s kind of like Americans owning guns. Makes us sound bad but perhaps that is one of the traits that causes our country and people to be great. Take it away from us and we would not feel like protecting the rest of the free world or ourselfs for that matter.
    Many things make up a culture some bad some good but when you change any of them you change the culture.

  3. I get the feeling that there is politics involved or possibly a NASA-lunar-access contract in the mix.

    Because Mr Musk is really pushing this.

  4. What exactly were the spin-off techs? Core Rope memory? Velcro? Hydrogen fuel-cells? The tiny pieces of Kapton you can find in some modern electronics? I read BMW had started looking into Apollo thermal management technologies maybe 6 or 7 years ago, no further mention. I think the lion’s share of Apollo developments have no practical usage for earthbound purposes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully approve of the need to have some pioneering effort towards whichever new frontier is unexplored, infinitely better than run-amok military spending, but I struggle to find trickle-down benefits.

  5. BIG OIL & CIE.

    In the United States politicians receive briberies… humm… donations from wealthy companies or businessmen and organizations. The wealthiest companies can therefore dictate… humm… influence future laws and regulations.

  6. $206 billion over 14 years is only about $14.7b/year, well worth it, IMO, for the spinoff technology alone. And we flubbed the follow-through, or we’d have established Moonbases by now.

  7. Fail fast. I guess this is the opposite of analysis paralysis. Just do it, don’t worry about it.

    Given the size of the starship and its booster it will take a super large factory to mass produce the rockets. I guess Lusk will wait for a successful launch of the prototype to start taking orders so he can borrow the money for the rocket factory. We are several years from production.

  8. If spacex is so great for the United States and the world, why are we doing our best to destroy Tesla and demoralize Elon Musk the man responsible for it all? Does our government have a need for shooting itself in the foot?

  9. SpaceX starts launching humans to orbit this year.

    NASA 50 years ago was epic and without peer. But NASA today is nothing like that. SpaceX today is the closest thing we have, and in fairness to them, they’ve probably had more funding constraints than Apollo did.

  10. Kudos to Musk and his team. However…
    The world does not compare SpaceX to itself, or even to its competitors. It compares it to the best space program to date, which was 50 years ago with Apollo and the Saturn V. NASA landed a dozen men on the Moon and brought them back safely. SpaceX has yet to launch anyone even into suborbital space, nor have any of its competitors. Yes, it will be in a lot more comfortable, computerized quarters when they do, and being able to reuse the lower stages is great and cheaper, but the mass public gets excited about HUMAN space travel, and has seen automated space flight for generations.
    The fact that we are currently inundated by a slew of nostalgic Apollo movies – documentary and fiction – proves the appeal of what was accomplished by the manned Space Race. Today, we still have to (over)pay Russia just to get to the LEO ISS, and that is a generation old already.

  11. It’s a “why not try cheapest and fastest first?”. It’s not like there is a market for this yet. If it works this way then it will be another cost breakthrough. If it does not they will collect data and maybe build a proper large building with machines. Eventually I expect they will create some 300 ft tall building/machine to automate creation, inspection and maintenance to the max possible. But for now it is a hoot watching them putting it together like a big water tank. If it works I expect it will finally make Mr. Bezos slower-than-NASA approach look pointless.

  12. Building a big spaceship to go to Mars, one of the most exiting engineering challenges. These engineers will have a reasonable chance to go there in their lifetime

  13. Well i’m sure they took notes when they did re-usability the first time so it makes sense for things to go faster.

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