Welding Weakness on SpaceX SN1 Was Cause of Failure

Elon Musk indicated that there is a puck at the base of the SpaceX Starship which takes the engine thrust load. The welds on the SN1 around the thrust puck had flaws. This is the flaw that ended up causing the SN1 to destroy itself during pressure loading of the fuel.

SOURCES- SpaceXcentric video, Elon Musk Tweets, @fael097
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

10 thoughts on “Welding Weakness on SpaceX SN1 Was Cause of Failure”

  1. Elon just keep in mind 3d printed rocket steel isn’t as strong as casted steel
    printed metal lacks atomic structure strength (atom crystal grids), the micro droplets becomme a porous weakened metal sponge alike structure.

  2. Every weld is a point of failure… yikes… I though it was interest that The steel tore exactly on the weld lines… obviously the wrong welder setting because it’s not adhering to the steal… Maybe he needs some flex tape over each weld line… ;-). I know nothing about welding… but seems to me it works best on the cheap rusty steel…The stuff that’s pig iron…

  3. I wasn’t referencing the thrust support puck, but the actual deformations along weld lines that some people were calling puckering. The vertical weld puckering on some of the main barrel rings looked to the untrained eye to be pretty egregious at first, but the Centaur comparison (particularly in the “uninflated” state”) seems to imply this is acceptable as pressurization seems to cure all ills? At least until it doesn’t…

  4. Not “puckering”, “a puck”. Which is to say a pancake shaped thicker section that’s welded into the tank at the bottom as a hard point for transferring engine thrust to the tank.

    Welding between pieces that are radically different thicknesses can be a bit of a problem sometimes, because they sink heat at very different rates.

  5. Ostensibly the puckering along the welds would be a culprit, but a recent NSF post showing similar puckering on Centaur tank domes implies there is an acceptable level puckering…

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