SpaceX Will Go To Orbit With Starship ASAP After 20 km Works

Elon Musk indicates that SpaceX will for orbit with Starship as soon as possible after the 20-kilometer test. The timing is based upon building the increased number of Raptor engines.

Three Raptor engines for the 20-kilometer flight
Six Raptor engines for an orbital flight with an expendable Starship without cargo
30 Raptor engines for an orbital flight with a minimal Super-heavy booster and Starship

Elon also tweeted that SpaceX was selected by NASA to launch the DART mission. This will be precursor mission to develop the capabilites to deflect asteroids.

SpaceX has a section on Starship and Super Heavy at their website.

Satellites Deliveries With Starship

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy rocket are designed to deliver satellites to Earth orbit and beyond, at a lower marginal cost per launch than our current Falcon vehicles. With a 9m diameter forward payload compartment, larger than any other current or planned fairing, Starship creates possibilities for new missions, including space telescopes even larger than the James Webb.

Starship can deliver both cargo and people to and from the International Space Station. Starship’s forward payload volume is about 1,100 m3, providing significant capacity for in-space activities. The aft cargo containers can also host a variety of payloads.

Starship Moon Missions

Returning to the Moon and developing bases to support future space exploration requires the transport of large amounts of cargo to the Moon for research and human spaceflight development. The fully reusable Starship system is capable of supporting this effort by carrying the building blocks needed to enable a Moon base and by informing the development of propulsive landing systems to help realize this future.

SpaceX Starship Missions to Mars and Beyond

Building Moon bases and Mars cities will require affordable delivery of significant quantities of cargo and people. The fully reusable Starship system uses in-space propellant transfer to enable the delivery of over 100t of useful mass to the surface of the Moon or Mars. This system is designed to ultimately carry as many as 100 people on long-duration, interplanetary flights.

SOURCES- Elon Musk Twitter, SpaceX

64 thoughts on “SpaceX Will Go To Orbit With Starship ASAP After 20 km Works”

  1. I think if something is a threat to Earth and Mars both, then O’Neil type habitats would also be right in the firing line.

    The one exception is a sort of plague (either biological or a nanotech type) where every different location is another chance to implement effective quarantine.

  2. Because at least some of them bought the property so that they COULD be that close. One of the addons in the offer is passes to watch all SPACEX launches. But really…a front row seat is pretty cool-but dangerous. Id build something that could survive the starship detonating on the pad.

    Hes also building a shelter for residents that are refusing.

  3. Or that everyone else understood the ability of having 12,000 400 lb sattelites with manuever capability, along with large numbers of reusable rockets to put 4,000 lb metal rods with maneuver capability could do

    Plus millions of self driving cars with over the air update capability.

  4. Have confirmed with an ISS engineer — mass of the docking s/c matters, torques on the docking hatches matter quite a bit, and mass of the docking s/c modifies the moments of inertia and CM of the ISS. There are limits on what the ISS can accommodate.

  5. They’ll have to launch that one from either sea or a really isolated land site, the noise would be horrific. And they’re already having to buy out neighbors for the Starship.

  6. Unmentioned is that the delays in the crew Dragon are largely of NASA’s own creation, forcing them to go back and redesign the Dragon to use parachutes and land in water, when it was originally designed for propulsive landing on land or a barge, just like the Falcon.

    I’m betting what really has NASA annoyed about the Starship is that it’s probably going to fly before the SLS, and then it’s going to be really, really hard to justify continuing with the SLS.

  7. On Mars, the likely goal will be manufacture of polyethylene, not ceramics. You’re going to be manufacturing methane and oxygen anyway, and methane is a good feedstock for making polyethylene.

    Regular short chain polyethylene could be used as a binder in properly baked and graded dirt to make bricks. Longer chain oriented polyethylene, (“Spectra”) is a very high strength polymer, can be used to make balloons you can bury to live in, can make sand bags to fill with sand and stack.

    Polyethylene actually maintains good properties at cryogenic temperatures, and so could be used to store liquid methane. You might want a liner in it if you’re storing liquid oxygen, though; It wouldn’t spontaneously catch fire in LOX, but it wouldn’t take much to light it off.

  8. While a (advanced) Von Neumann machine can use unconcentrated primordial materials, it doesn’t HAVE to be a Von Neumann machine.

    We don’t need the resource gathering to be self replicating, not at first. We just need it to be autonomous. It will almost certainly spend too long, too far away, to have humans along or even remotely making all but the most strategic decisions.

    I suspect that the program that will make space colonies viable would be a set of machines, not self replicating (not at first), and not completely, but largely, autonomous (at first), that can:

    • Turn lunar and/or asteroidal regolith to solid ceramics. That gives you bricks. It can give you large scale 3D printing of buildings. It gives you prefabbed radiation shields.
    • When positioned on a region with decent water content in the permafrost, can gather a reasonable % of that water and store it ready for transport. Ideally it can scan the ground (for surface operation) or scan the surrounding objects (for freefall operation) looking for good locations but it is acceptable (at first) to have separate scanning.
    • As for water, but gathering and storing iron and nickel iron particles.
    • As for water but carbon compounds.
    • As for water but nitrogen compounds.
    • Something that can take the results of the water/iron/carbon/nitrogen machines when they return and then process them to useful things

    These would (at first) be separate machines with different processing machinery.

    You need these at a minimum

  9. More seriously, it is our individual genes that *live*. The individual human is like a temporary Space Habitat that either gets hit by the asteroid or delivers the inhabitants to the *new* worlds, in a new mixture with other populations.

  10. Yes, of the (known) existential threats, rogue AI is one that isn’t likely to be stopped by mere interplanetary distances.

    I’d classify them as:
    Planetary

    • Supervolcanoe
    • Asteroid/comet strikes
    • Stupid oops eg. we just made a black hole
    • Massive solar flare

    Interplanetary

    • Nearby supernova
    • Supermassive solar flare
    • Rogue AI
    • Unfriendly aliens

    Limited to One Planet but only if we are smart, lucky and react properly

    • Deadly plague
    • Some sort of grey goo type oops
    • Nuclear War
  11. I’m not the expert, but I had the strong idea that U decay was what keeps us moving on the insides, long after cooling would have solidified.???
    Isn’t the crust the same thickness over *most* the history?

  12. speak for your self im a bacteria cruise ship on vacation in a rare backwater part of the galactic empire

  13. Give up that fantasy. No commercial entity can afford to spend a billion dollars on a single rocket launch. No CEO is insane enough to do that, nor will any corporate board of directors allow it.

  14. Only the crust has cooled … after billions of years. It may still be molten when the expanded sun comes for it in more billions of years.

  15. I think he’s more concerned about super-volcano eruptions, asteroid impacts, epidemic disease, war… Mars will actually be far more reliant on automation, and thus to be taken out by cute robot doggies, than Earth. But distance will protect against those other threats.

  16. Absolutely. Automation is the key technology for our expansion into space as a species, because living in space has enormous per capita infrastructure requirements relative to life within an existing planetary biosphere. We’ll never be able to properly become a space dwelling species until we break the last link between human physical labor and production.

    If I had a billion dollars burning a hole in my pocket, a push to develop the first working Von Neumann machine would be where I’d put it. The first society to crack that nut is going to own the solar system, they’ll have such an edge on everybody else.

    As a tooling engineer, it is my professional opinion that we’re within a decade of concentrated effort of achieving self-replicators, IF we devoted that effort to the goal. Currently such advances as are made towards that goal are an almost incidental result of pursuing other goals. We need to make self-replication an explicit goal of our technological research.

  17. This brings up a key point. We need to plan for as FEW as possible people to get things started. The mines etc should be fully automated until tourists can be supported, or settlers can buy in. Just putting people somewhere to say we did has little use, except for the ever present science exception.

  18. Well, that is to state the accepted *bias* that O’Neill claims is, very counter intuitively, just not true, at least for creatures similar to us.
    O’Neill’s logic is more of a set of principles such as how easy it is to handle mass in freefall, for manufacturing. How easy heat is in full sunlight, not to mention electricity. Then scale that sort of thing up to where it has meaning on the global scale, population even. The same sort of analysis is true at all scales, which means near and long term. If we place the Earth out of the question, then Globus ELEO is easier than Mars, for example. Seems so clear!
    Not from you, but I’ve seen such horrified reactions from some “small worlders”, those who rely upon Earth limits to have their ideas enforced, that it is clear SOME do not want the problems solved!
    Or perhaps the idea of people living outside of one’s control is disturbing to power addicts. Don’t want any of those in Space!

  19. Oh, I agree about that. While having the disadvantage of lack of access to hydrothermal mineral bodies.

    That’s Mars’ chief advantage over the Moon, though it may be shared by Ceres, which has a still shallower gravity well.

    These destinations all have their own merits and demerits as colonization sites. I think getting away from the planets will ultimately be the right decision, but only after we have Von Neumann machines capable of utilizing straight, unconcentrated primordial materials. As long as we’re relying on human mediated labor and ore bodies, planets and maybe especially large asteroids have some key advantages to offer.

  20. All for a billion a throw, after spending 20 billion to develop. Meanwhile Musk will let you launch 100t for 50 million or less, and develop the entire system for a billion of less.

  21. Being up in Earth (or Mars etc.) orbit or in interplanetary space has the big advantage of not needing to thrust halfway out of a gravity well at one go just to get around. Ion engines become viable and have much better specific impulse than chemical rockets. The moon does have a lot to recommend it as a location as well though due to its low escape velocity and lack of an atmosphere.

  22. A Starship payload fairing of 9 meters in diameter and 19 meters high would not give it the largest future payload volume.

    The SLS should be able to accommodate payload fairings that are 8.4 meters to 12 meters in diameter while accommodating payloads as high as 31 meters. And payloads launched on top of the SLS– without fairings (pressurized habitats for instance)– could be as tall as 46 meters.

    So potential payloads placed into orbit by the SLS would dwarf those potentially deployed into orbit by the Space X Starship.

  23. Elon Musk’s thoughts are aligned with your post.

    He apparently sees the settlement of other planets as urgent for human survival. Against what dangers?

    Well, the future iterations of these doggies are an example of them.

    The best (or worst) part is that they don’t have to be conscious at all to be a threat, just self replicating and rampant.

  24. Indeed. A legit spaceship meant to cross the chasms of space, land at its destination and return to space. Several times.

    These will be the first incarnation of the sci/fi dream, where not a single bit of the spaceship is discarded after use (except the fuel).

  25. In this sense, “space” means something like “abroad”; It’s everywhere but the Earth’s surface.

  26. In the very long run I tend to agree. But you need to get through the short and medium run to reach the long run, and I think planets have significant advantages in the near term.

  27. Same for Earth. That’s why we distinguish *O’Neill Space* from *planetary surface*. The way you grow an expanding technological civilization is totally different. Much easier in Space, planets too tiny.

  28. Bezos may surprise you there (Falcon 9 style), or, he may start over copying Musk metal. The first real rocket (Musk Orbital Flying Object) is far more important than the second. But “within this decade” seems to have been in the cards long ago just from Bezos. As for THIS CENTURY, unless Musk drops his non-science Mars fantasy, he will be left wondering how he could have missed O’Neill’s point.

  29. And the flight will only take place if the weather is acceptable at the point of departure and at the point of arrival. Delays will be common.

  30. It’s absolutely impossible. At the very least you’ll have to be at the airport two hours before the scheduled time to jump through TSA hoops, then more hoops at Immigration on the other end.

  31. Some asteroids? I think you are under estimating just how much metal and other resources are in them. Just one, 16 Psyche has more iron in it than has ever been mined in the history of mankind. Its one one spot not spread out over a whole planet. Granted its tough to get there now, but if it ever happens its a game changer.

  32. You got a point and add another point and you can make a line. Even the Space between your ears isn’t entirely empty!

  33. When (and if) this approach is proven to work, everyone will be copying it.

    It will take them several years, probably more than a decade to do so, but it will most likely happen. Good ideas are always copied, bad ones are the ones imposed.

    It will be a sight to behold, though, to finally have a world’s future space future driven by many kinds of reusable rockets, with different degrees of reusability and specs.

  34. I am more interested in the point to point travel in under an hour. I hope this becomes a reality in my lifetime.

  35. How long before China or Europe, or even ULA, have a Falcon 9
    style rocket with landing capability? Three to five years?
    By the time they get there SpaceX will have gone to the next
    generation. And without Musk I put it to you we wouldn’t see a
    Starship style of rocket THIS CENTURY.
    Well done Mr. Musk. You are helping make up lost time for the
    forty years lost since Apollo.

  36. You only have a 6 month window between the Boston Dynamics machines being smart enough to let them out with the general public, and them being too smart to submit to control by a mere meatbag human.

  37. ISS crew docking adapters probably can’t handle the weight of a starship though, and I don’t think the current arms/arm sockets can take the weight either though. CBM itself might be OK, but somehow need to pass off a beefier interconnect that mounts on a CBM to the ISS before a starship arrives, unless it can keep itself at a standoff distance and somehow pass it over.

  38. You mean industrial revolution on the moon and Mars… there’s nothing in space…it’s just a place to float around and perform silly experiments watching bees make honey in zero g.

  39. This represents the first real Spaceship. Rockets and capsules of the past could hardly be classified as spaceships.

  40. Amazing that space flight can be so massively changed. This spaceship will allow an industrial revolution in space.

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