SpaceX Starship Will Have Wheels and Get Towed to Launch Pad

The SpaceX Starship and likely the Super Heavy Booster will have wheels so that they can be towed to the launch pad. Having wheels built into the vehicles will make them easier to move to launch pads and from where they land.

Colored sections above are completed parts of the SpaceX Starship prototype. Created by Felix Schland and fael097

The vehicles will be reusable and Space Shuttle crawlers would require massive lifting equipment to move rockets. Wheels that deploy would enable easier logistics for moving the heavy rockets.

This was highlighted by in Felix Schlang’s at What About It? video.

Elon Musk also tweeted that the SpaceX Falcon 9 iterative improvement was slowed down to enable payload safety and crew safety work.

The SpaceX Starship improvement will not be constrained to slower development. Elon Musk is targeting a fully reusable orbital flight in 2020.

Elon tweeted that the progress in any given technology is simply # of iterations * progress between iterations

SOURCES- Twitter, What About It, Fael097
Written By Brian Wang.

20 thoughts on “SpaceX Starship Will Have Wheels and Get Towed to Launch Pad”

  1. A few years ago when the barge landings were failing & the ‘land’ landings were succeeding I thought maybe Musk should go with sea launches from locations where the 1st stage can land on an island or continent. The launch barge would be moved to where the upper stages can go into the desired orbit while the 1st stage goes to the landing pad with no retro burn.

  2. I don’t think Starship/Superheavy is ever moved assembled. They both get moved dry and separately and stacked only after Superheavy is in position on the launch mount.

  3. This was one of my first thoughts as well. Buy a few pump up oil rigs and move them around as needed. Then I took a quick glance at the location and depths of the water. This last recovery attempt was in excess of 2500 fathoms which = about 15,000 feet. Well above any pump up rig by a wide margin. This means you would need a semi submersible which would most likely be more expensive thant it would be worth both in physical costs as well as moving and maintaining.

  4. Orbits have various inclinations, which prevent a single place to land. Also various amounts of *extra* fuel, depending, as the rockets are the same limited types for varying payloads and orbits. Some return to near the launch site.
    Bezos plans swiftly moving landing ship, so the water *going by* will allow stabilization with fins rather than engines.
    I feel like down voting Goat!

  5. OK, yes it was suppressed in WW2.
    Mention of radar was suppressed in WW2. Shipping timetables were suppressed. Everything was.

  6. During World War II, an American engineer, Charles Fletcher, invented a walled air cushion vehicle, the Glidemobile. Because the project was classified by the U.S. government, Fletcher could not file a patent.[11] -Wiki

  7. I’m not sure you ever want really large rockets to be on their sides. They’re optimized to take axial forces, and weight limitations mean they can’t really have a lot of excess strength.

    And you know the barge landings are because there’s too little delta V to return to the launch site. It’s either land on something in the ocean, or land IN the ocean. But I think as the traffic increases, we could see Musk stationing a surplus oil drilling rig out there to land on. Then a quick refuel and back to the launch site.

    A much more stable platform would be good.

  8. I dunno. I’m sufficiently “steampunk” enough to want the SuperBFR’s to be delivered on a humungous truck with hydraulic lift-gantry. Roll up, tilt the bird up, wait till the gas trucks fill’er up, unclamp the balance rings, and chug away.  Then she launches.  

    Likewise, the opposite upon return.  The bird lands; truck chugs up, clamps onto it, lifts-and-tilts it over carefully, and chugs away to wherever it’ll be refurbished and certified for the next flight. 

    And so on.  

    Just have to get rid of the stupid barge landings.  
    They’re patently over-kill.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  9. Perhaps reactive skirt to go over bumps, but maintain pressure? Also, hard to imagine wheels support fueled weight, no?

  10. It doesn’t require polished, just reasonably smooth and sealed. Your average garage floor is smooth enough, it starts to get into trouble when you have cracks or unfilled expansion joints.

    You can go over rougher surfaces if you unroll a smooth bridging surface such as sheet metal.

    The chief advantage over wheels is that they’re omni-directional.

    I will be interested to see what they come up with. But I’m betting the wheels or whatever are being left behind when it takes off. Wheels that can support that kind of weight tend to be very heavy.

  11. That really looks more suited to very smooth (possibly polished concrete) shop floors for short distances.

    We’ll see what Musk ends up with. The guy does seem to be going in directions not normally taken…

  12. If they’re on “boots” that the legs insert into, they’ll remove themselves on launch, as the legs lift out of them.

    Considering the dry weigh of the Starship/booster combination will be 350 metric tons, wheels capable of supporting it would be pretty heavy. I’d go with air casters myself. A 1.5m diameter air caster under each leg would handle the load nicely. Permits linear and rotary motion in any desired combination. The only catch is that the launch pad needs to be fairly smooth.

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