SpaceX and Elon Musk Presenting Orbital Starship at 6pm PST/7pm CDT

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle is a fully, rapidly reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and anywhere else in the solar system. On Saturday, September 28 at the SpaceX launch facility in Cameron County, Texas, SpaceX Chief Engineer and CEO Elon Musk will provide an update on the design and development of Starship.

This will be Elon Musk presenting the ship that will make rockets fully reusable to nearly the level of commercial jetliner aviation. It will eventually radically reduce costs. It still needs to get flying beyond sub-orbital test flights. However, progress has been super-rapid for the rocket industry and even rapid for SpaceX.

The SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy could be flying to orbit in 2020. This would be 30 years faster than the Ares, Constellation and SLS attempts to convert Space Shuttle technology into a large, expendable booster. This would be a decade faster than Blue Origin.

Even SpaceX took about 12 years to go from conception to flight for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It took about 6-7 years from the point of making some specific Falcon Heavy hardware before a successful flight.

SOURCES- Elon Musk, SpaceX
Written By Brian Wang,

12 thoughts on “SpaceX and Elon Musk Presenting Orbital Starship at 6pm PST/7pm CDT”

  1. Switching engines adds mass, which is very costly – esp since you still need the chemical engines to land on the Moon. It also adds extra engineering, which SpaceX is trying to avoid for now.

    Specifically with ion engines, they are far too slow for at least some applications (manned flight in particular). You don’t want to stick around in the Van Allen belts for too long.

    Eventually, you’d want to use hydrolox in cislunar space. But again, that adds extra engineering, and has some challenges with handling the fuel. And it’s less appropriate for a ship that’s designed to go to Mars.

    > how you can use a rocket that can’t get beyond orbit to lift enough fuel into orbit

    The BFR can lift ~150 tons to LEO. With optimizations, a tanker version could possibly lift more than 150 tons of fuel. They intend to use several flights to bring up enough fuel. That’s one of the places where reusability comes in handy.

    > why not just use C?

    Because the rocket equation isn’t linear. It’s exponential.

  2. Of course, that assumes we are still using pure chemical rockets. If we’re going to stop for refueling, maybe we should stop in orbit to switch engines too/instead. Ion, nuclear, or other propulsion engines could work better/faster once we’re out of the dang gravity well. Course, then you’d have to switch back again to chemical propulsion to land on the Moon or Mars.
    I still don’t see how you can use a rocket that can’t get beyond orbit to lift enough fuel into orbit to get to the Moon or Mars. If A + B = C (the full trip to the Moon or Mars), why not just use C?

  3. If you understand the economic arguments, then you should also realize that the Apollo Saturn V is unsustainable. In today’s dollars it costs $1 Billion per flight. The Space Shuttle, while costing about half a billion dollars per flight because it’s “refurbishable,” is still saddled with designed problems that killed 14 astronauts. Your chances of getting killed on a Shuttle flight is 1 in 70. Those are not particularly good odds.

    NASA is imposing the safety requirements for the Commercial Crew Program with an iron hand to achieve a calculated 1-in-270 odds of a fatal occurrance, that is the reason why Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon programs are moving at their current pace. Meanwhile the Soyuz is proving to be dangerous lately– With the hole drilled in the pressure hull in the MS-09 spacecraft and with the aborted MS-10 flight that almost killed Ovchinin and Hague. I don’t begrudge NASA taking the extra time to ensure Starliner and Crew Dragon won’t likely have such dangers.

    If you want to understand how Starship works, all you need to do is understand the Tsiolkovsky equation.

    Apollo Saturn V can put 48.6 metric tons into translunar injection, but the billion-dollar price you pay is you gotta throw away every single part of the rocket. If you want to put 150 tons on the lunar surface, the Tsiolkovsky Equation demands that you refuel the rocket in Low Earth Orbit. Starship/Superheavy is designed to do that. That’s the infrastructure.

  4. Uh, I hope “it’s BETTER and MORE than anything USA effectively did since even before Apollo times.” We should expect at least that much after nearly three generations.

  5. I only point to the Soyuz because the U.S. Space Shuttle has been discontinued. The Soyuz is a generation backward from that, but it’s the only way to get people to the ISS now, or even orbital flight. Musk was supposed to fly people this past August. Now it’s sometime in 2020, maybe. I’ll believe it when I see it, but aside from reusability – and I’ll also believe that when I see it – the Falcon series is less capable then the Shuttle, so far. The Shuttle was able to get as far as the Hubble Space Telescope to make repairs. Right now, I don’t think the Falcons currently flying can even do that, but even if they could, then you’ve got Apollo…
    Apollo remains the largest and most capable spaceship ever flown, and it is >50 years old now. It will still be the most capable and powerful spaceship, even with near future versions of the BFR, which can’t get to the Moon without in-space refueling. I understand the economic arguments for that, but the fact remains, considerable infrastructure has to be put in place to make that happen, and I don’t hear much about how that will be done. How can SpaceX put such reserves of fuel into orbit for refueling when it can barely get a rocket into orbit with existing fuel? Something doesn’t add up there. And how will such orbital fuel stations be maintained in orbit? More fuel? And does SpaceX need them around the Moon too, for the return journey? Around Mars (no, I guess the idea is to mine Mars for fuel….maybe).

  6. Musk’s vision is a pale shadow of what the US was capable of?

    So, envisioning a fully reusable spaceship capable of colonizing the Moon, Mars and even crewed missions to Saturn, is a pale shadow of what the USA used to be capable of?

    Well, I agree that it’s a pale shadow of what americans dreamed with Orion Nuclear Pulse Propulsion. But it’s BETTER and MORE than anything USA effectively did since even before Apollo times.

  7. You haven’t been paying attention.

    Crew Dragon is an ORBITAL spacecraft and it has already flown to the International Space Station, earlier in March this year (mission DM-1). Early 2020, which is a few months from now, is when the first U.S. astronauts will fly to the ISS aboard the Crew Dragon (mission DM-2). The human-rated reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 booster to be used for the crewed DM-2 mission, serial number B1058, is already finishing up its checkouts at McGregor TX.

    Crew Dragon can carry up to 8 astronauts per flight, versus 3 on the Russian Soyuz.

    And SpaceX isn’t the only company about to fly a human-rated capsule to the ISS– Boeing’s Starliner is scheduled to launch its first uncrewed test mission to the ISS in November (the OFT mission).

    That’s TWO American crewed capsules for transport to the ISS, versus Russia’s 50-year-old Soyuz with very limited 3-crew capacity.

    SLS is actually worse than the Space Shuttle since SLS is not reusable (it’s tossing 4 reusable Space Shuttle main engines into the ocean on each launch). The only reason the SLS program exists is because of Congressional pork politics as a way for senators to direct huge amounts of unnecessary spending into their districts. This is why the SLS is derided as the “Senate Launch System.”

    Increasing NASA’s budget isn’t going to do much because NASA is beholden to the Senate’s pork politics and forced to waste the money on useless projects. Commercial human spaceflight is the future.

  8. Nasa is the most wasteful institute the human race has ever seen! They make disposable rockets only and hire geniuses just to keep them employed. These are facts and what have they done for the last 30 years? Waste more money. SpaceX and Blue Origin is the way to go for speed and sustainability. Wasted trillion, trillion dollars of taxes for what end in the end?

  9. As someone who grew up watching the Apollo program from beginning to end – I was 11 when Armstrong first stepped on the Moon – I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to hear the best American spaceship will only, maybe, reach suborbital flight in spring of 2020, and even then without even a human crew. The Russians do it better currently and will still be ahead a year from now until who knows when. If they decide to stop selling the U.S. seats on their Soyuz rockets, dating from the 1960s, like Apollo, America would have no way to reach the ISS and there would be nothing we could do about it. Sanctions? Russia is already under sanctions; I’m surprised they put up with those as much as they do already.
    The SLS is barely better than updated space shuttle technology, and everyone else is behind even SpaceX’s largely unmanned suborbital spaceships.
    If I were president, I would quadrupple NASA’s budget by taking it out of the Defense budget and getting out of the World Police/War business, enlisting Russian and European help to build a Humanity future that is outward looking and not inward and war-looking to support the MIC.
    Even Musk’s vision is a pale shadow of what this country used to be capable of. Sad!


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