SpaceX Starship Will Have Hundreds of Improvements Over 50+ Prototypes

Elon Musk says SpaceX has to improve 1000% to 10000% over Falcon 9 to get to what Starship needs to be.

$10 million is the cost of the Falcon 9 upper stage.
Using helium and jet fuel makes Falcon 9 more expensive.
Recovering the Falcon 9 booster and recovering the fairings also adds costs.
It costs $2 million to refurbish the Falcon 9 booster.

The Methane uses more oxygen. Methane is cheaper than RP1. 3.5 times the Methane is the Oxygen. RP1 uses 2.5 times fuel with the oxygen.
Oxygen is super cheap.

Gwynn Shotwell thinks SpaceX has learned from Crew Dragon. SpaceX should be able to fly humans on Starship within 3 years instead of the six years for crew dragon.

SOURCES- Elon Musk, Gwynn Shotwell, Warren Redlich Youtube
Written By Brian Wang,

17 thoughts on “SpaceX Starship Will Have Hundreds of Improvements Over 50+ Prototypes”

  1. That actually is the SpaceX plan, for both parts. They need methane synthesis from CO2 anyway, for making fuel on Mars.

  2. TIL basic physics is a religion.

    It’s also one that Musk subscribes to. SpaceX actually is planning to make their fuel carbon-neutral at scale. You may have noticed he’s really into electric cars and solar power, too.

  3. “Elon Musk says SpaceX has to improve 1000% to 10000% over Falcon 9 to get to what Starship needs to be.”

    If this is based on the tweet about the Raptors further down, you’ve misunderstood. “Hundreds of improvements” is kind of like the bug list on a software project. They’re individual work items, not some magical quality or cost metric.

  4. I think the reason they’re holding off is Raptor manufacturing. Once they’ve got that semi-ironed-out, reusable SuperHeavy will actually be more important to get up and running than reusable Starship. With reusable SH and expendable SS, SpaceX can actually launch Starlinks for less cost/bird than F9. That’s real money in their pockets.

    It also means that they don’t have to fool with suborbital hops to prove out high-speed EDL. Just do it the same way they did reusability on the F9: Launch a payload (mostly Starlinks but maybe some commercial and NSSL), then do experiments to get reusability to work. If they fail, they’ve still launched a real payload.

  5. I would say it is the ‘solar & wind’ not the global warming that is the religion. We could use nuclear to run the methane from captured CO2 synthesis, but but there is a lot of lower hanging fruit for substituting nuclear for fossil to be done first.

  6. Must we introduce religion on to this page? Please keep the global warming jabber on political sites.

  7. you are just literally making stuff up. ‘It costs $2 million to refurbish the Falcon 9’ source? ‘$10 million is the cost of the Falcon 9 upper stage’ source? I know both figures to be false, so I am curious what ass did you pull that from

  8. Elon is already using solar for his Gigafactories, IIRC. For LOX it’s only a matter of hooking up a conventional (even existing) LOX plant to renewable power. They don’t have to split water to get oxygen (which would be much more inefficient and expensive with current tech). So the price hit is only solar vs other electricity. Given that he’s making the solar panels in his own factories, that may actually come out cheaper.

    For the methane part, biomethane may be more affordable than capturing CO2 by non-biological means. But it’s probably difficult to scale big enough.

  9. Nope. It’s currently being worked on[ the place to build it].
    The pieces are in place because everything to build SH is already being developed for SS.

  10. Last September Musk was aspiring to have a prototype going SSTO in six months. So yours is probably a realistic guess yes.

  11. While I’m usually not in favor of renewables just because, only where they actually make sense, I think turning Sun’s power into methane and LOX is a very good idea, and it earns SpaceX some points with the Green crowd.

    And they will certainly need all the good will they can muster when they move with their future, sky-changing plans.

    Methane and LOX are pretty transportable and it doesn’t matter if the Methalox factories only work when the Sun shines, they just have to build a good stock of it near the launcher pads.

  12. No. SpaceX is planning on starting construction of Super Heavy soon and launching Starship to orbit with it within a year.

  13. The fact that Starship uses a higher proportion of LOX and LOX is super cheap makes it low hanging fruit for moving toward zero carbon sustainable rockets. SpaceX ought to consider moving to making it’s LOX with all zero carbon electricity from Solar or Wind. Methane can be synthesized from captured CO2 but that’s probably too expensive for now. The majority of Starships propellant could be zero net carbon liquid oxygen though.

  14. I haven’t heard that the starship 1st stage and its boosters are being built. That will probably be another year and a half at least.

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