SpaceX At Two Starship Per Month Construction Rate

SpaceX has started building its seventh Starship prototype. This is the second Starship construction start in May. They now have four Starship prototypes under active testing or construction. SN4 is being prepared for a test flight. SN4 has passed tank pressurization tests that show it could withstand the pressures needed to fly to orbit.

SpaceX is started two Starship prototype construction in May, 2020. SN6 and SN7 had construction starts in May. SN5 was started in April.

Elon Musk indicated that SpaceX would build two Starships every week in 2021.

SOURCES- SpaceX, Lab Padre, Wikipedia
Written By Brian Wang,

21 thoughts on “SpaceX At Two Starship Per Month Construction Rate”

  1. There ARE no truly private human space launches at present. All are highly government regulated or owned. SpaceX can’t launch, let along launch people, without US govt permission.

    And by explicitly granted permission, the controlling agencies make themselves responsible for your safety, putting careers on the line if you should die. That makes them very cautious.

    Our best hope is to get the rate of human launches high enough that permission becomes a default grant, similar to air travel. That lets the granting agency off the hook if you happen to die, so long as not too many die too often. They can hold hearings into the cause of your death, and assign blame to others and set new policies for others to follow – without their own careers being at risk.

  2. Even if space isn’t developed at all, just the regular Earth-bound advances in robotics, computing, construction teniques, economics, etc, will eventually bring space access down to the garage level. Such advances over the past 50 years are what brought it to the rich entrepreneur level that we’re at today.

    (Granted, if we’re still talking chemical rockets at that point, one would need a pretty large garage. The exact details are difficult to envision, but consider what happens when robotics and economics are at a point where anyone can build any mechanical device they envision (within physical limits), and computing is advanced enough to work out all the technical details.)

  3. if they fail, it would set commercial crewed launch back by years, if not end it

    Only for government-sponsored programs (NASA). As long as private individuals are willing to take the risk, and there are always those who are, and as long as it doesn’t harm the general public, which it doesn’t, private manned efforts will continue. Politicians have little reason to stop them.

    > Elon’s Mars colonization plans would be called into question.

    And so what if they are? Entrepreneurs and visionaries are always called into question. That’s part of the business. If they believe in their own vision, they still continue.

    > But to get there we have to go through a period of few people going to space, under the control of politicians who fear being blamed for problems.

    Again, that only applies to government programs.

    > let the robots do it

    Even if it gets there, that’s fine too, because it’s only temporary. As long as space is still developed, the cost and difficulty will keep dropping. Eventually it will drop to the point where the average Joe can do it at moderate risk. The “garage” level. At that point, even if humans kept out until then, they’ll be back at it.

    That may take decades, or maybe more than a century. But if space is still being developed during that time (with robots), at the end of that period we still end up with all the infrastructure that we need up there.

    Humans or not, the infrastructure needs to happen first anyway.

  4. Sure, it’ll get easier to do human space as robotics gets better. But will people ever be allowed to go to space in large numbers?

    Think about the aftermath of the shuttle disasters, or how Fukushima derailed the ‘nuclear power renaissance’. In that context, the up-coming crewed SpaceX launch is scary – not just for the sake of the crew – but because if they fail, it would set commercial crewed launch back by years, if not end it. The fast-tracked return-to-moon program would be delayed. Elon’s Mars colonization plans would be called into question. But of course, it has to be done – the near future of human spaceflight rides on the shoulders of the SpaceX team.

    We can imagine a time when so many people are going to space that a few disasters won’t stop it, any more than an airliner crashing today would end commercial passenger flight. But to get there we have to go through a period of few people going to space, under the control of politicians who fear being blamed for problems. Inevitably there will be some disasters along that path. If it gets pushed back too many times, human space will eventually become “an unnecessary risk – let the robots do it”.

  5. OTOH, better robotics make it easier to build and maintain habitats and other hardware, mine and process resources, and perform other necessary tasks. Life support will also get better.

    Sooner or later, advances in robotics and miniaturization (possibly helped by AI) should bring about nanorobotics, which would open major new possibilities in life support and other tasks. 50 years sounds like a reasonable time frame to at least get some early prototypes. But that’s not even required.

    The further we get delayed with human exploration, the easier human exploration will become, as long as at least robotic exploration continues to advance. Eventually the bar will be low enough that the average Joe can get access with moderate risk. If there’s still little human presence in space by that point, it will rise from there. There are enough daredevils and dreamers to drive it.

  6. If we don’t make humanity a space-going species soon, we may never. Our robots will get so good in the next 50 years that humans won’t be needed ‘on site’. Well before that, the hassles of keeping humans alive and healthy, and the political/legal downsides if a human is killed or gets sick in space, could put an end to humans going to space.

    Already robotics is to the point where it will rarely make sense to send humans to work ‘outside’ in a clumsy pressure suit. Remote supervision of ‘dumb’ robots doing repetitive tasks and direct teleoperation of dextrous robots for more complex tasks should be better for most work by the time we really get going on large scale human exploration, mining and colonization.

  7. The O’Niell work is badly out of date (nearly half a century!) and as it depends on both scientific knowledge (what resources exist, and where) and engineering cost estimates then there really needs to be an up to date standard reference on this subject.

  8. As someone who has had dinner with Gerry, and presented papers at the Princeton conferences he sponsored, we know a lot more today about the available resources in space, and various technologies are much improved over the mid-1970’s to ’80s.

    For example, when the High Frontier book was published (1977) we knew of less than 50 Near Earth Asteroids (NEA). Today that number is 22,900 and growing fast. So they simply didn’t consider using them in the original work.

    Since the year 2000, electric propulsion has become fairly standard, to the point NASA plans on using it for stationkeeping their Lunar Gateway. Computers and automation have vastly improved, so you don’t need work crews of thousands to build SPSs and space colonies. A lot of the work can be remote-controlled from Earth, because we have VR and much better communications.

    So the original work by O’Neill and others needs updating to account for all those changes.

  9. Mercury was launched on a modified Atlas. Gemini was a modified Titan 1, I think. Both ICBMs of the time, so they were repurposed hardware, not developed for NASA specifically.

    The Saturn series was where things got innovative.

  10. And, sadly, every incentive to drag things out as long as absolutely possible since it’s a cost-plus contract.

    Retirement before Launch would seem to be the motto over there…

  11. The upcoming launch capability will be just crazy. It doesn’t look as if they plan to limit the production of launchers to any level, accomodating whatever demand they can find or create.

    Time to reconsider SPS and Gerard K. O’Neill’s plans for the High Frontier!

  12. At these prices we should by 20+ of them with services to keep them running. Ten for the Space Force, to use as they see fit. Ten for an economic public/private council to identify needed space infrastructure for commercialization and use that capacity as launches to further those goals. This would lower the risk for private industry to get us over the hump to profitability. Maybe another ten to advance the necessary lunar infrastructure to build a truly large ship(s), room for a couple thousand scientists, to explore our solar system first hand and identify/catalog economically valuable resources.
    These launch prices are a game changer that we need to take full advantage of IMO.

  13. So after a year’s worth of production they should have about enough to land one Starship on the Moon every day.

  14. 2.5, if you consider the SLS is essentially made of Shuttle parts and they only have one mostly built. Apollo, Shuttle, SLS.

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