SpaceX Will Double Launch Pad Usage for Starship and Super Heavy Test Launches

Elon Musk indicated that Spacex is a few months away from test hops for the Super Heavy booster.

Above – Brendan Lewis @brendan2908 on twitter shows the status of the SpaceX prototypes.

SpaceX will use of both of its two launch pads at its development facility in Boca Chica, Texas with prototype rockets set up on each.

SOURCES- Brendan Lewis, Elon Musk, SpaceX
Written By Brian Wang,

24 thoughts on “SpaceX Will Double Launch Pad Usage for Starship and Super Heavy Test Launches”

  1. My problem with solar power is that I'm an engineer who understands some economics.

    That makes me bullish on solar power in the long term, but irate about the over-promotion in the short term.

  2. What is your problem with Solar power? Do you work for a fossil fuel company?
    This site is called next big future.

  3. Just saw that hours ago. Hoping for it to be a topic! For some reason they point out the efficiency of cells, but that is largely separate issue from Space v Earth collection location.

  4. My impression is that the "tanker" isn't much of a variant – maybe some additional plumbing, though that might be made part of standard Starship. Launch with no payload, use less fuel, transfer the excess fuel.

    It is looking like a lot of Starship's design decisions are due to the difficulties of launching from and reentering Earth's atmosphere and gravity well. It may eventually make sense to have a "Space only" variant.

  5. I concur they should focus on a single architecture and do the variants later.

    What they need are the cargo versions of the launcher, one that can take stuff and release it into orbit, return to Earth and do the same several times, preferably hundreds of times.

    The tanker version will be the one most launched, but not immediately. So it can come later.

    I am not against a lunar version of Starship per se, but those special versions have to come after the basic capabilities are proven. And those are launch, re-entry and relaunch.

  6. I would rather SpaceX never make a "lunar" Starship.

    Starship was supposed to be able to land pretty much anywhere humans have a chance of surviving (i.e. not Venus, Jupiter, etc – but Earth, the moon, Mars, Ceres, Titan, etc). If it can't do that, SpaceX should be fundamentally re-thinking their design.

    If that means that something they design for the moon becomes the standard Starship, fine. Or split Starship into reusable booster and modular payload sections, so 3rd parties can design things like lunar landers, fuel depots, space stations, reentry vehicles, etc. to sit on top of the Starship booster section.

    The main reason I've heard for the "standard" Starship to not land on the moon was to avoid throwing out orbital-velocity debris from an unimproved landing zone. So either redesign Starship, or use the standard Starship to land a bunch of equipment and supplies on the moon to robotically build a 'safe' landing pad.

  7. The launch pads look a little bit too close to each other. There might be the risk that one ship can take out the other.

  8. You only need your solar to be electrical for the electrolysis part. The Sabatier reaction requires heat so you can get away with solar concentrators rather than PV. That will likely reduce costs dramatically.

    It needs testing at this scale, because if there are ~10k people on Mars in a couple of decades, there's going to be return trips all the time. Not to mention if something goes horribly wrong there, the initial colonists are gonna want to bug out.

  9. They can build the real item faster than most can build mockups. Unlike other NASA pork barrel, Musk is laser focused on Mars. By the way, as soon as Musk lands his starship on the moon, I have a funny feeling he will get a much bigger NASA contract. Oh, on rocket matters I think Brett has a firmer grasp than someone with a marketing background.

  10. They are in the business of selling rocket flights. If a mockup can get them a $billion contract then yes they will do a mockup.

  11. Sure, they need to do testing and development, and I guess if they're doing that, they can produce SOME methane for use in their rockets. But have you given any thought to how much equipment you'd need to fuel a Starship launch that way?

    We're talking 4.6 MILLION kg of methane/lox. Per launch.

    Looking it up, you might get 1 kg per day of propellant with 700W input. It's actually worse than this, because it assumes H2 is directly supplied, no electrolysis step. So let's say roughly 1kw day per kg. (I'm too lazy to work out the exact numbers right now.)

    So, 1.1 billion KWH per launch.

    The levelized cost of utility scale solar is, optimistically, $29/Mwh.

    $3.2 million for fuel per launch, neglecting the cost of the chemical plant.

    OK, that's better than I expected, honestly, but it's still a lot more than just buying natural gas and LOX. That's some expensive PR. And a HUGE solar farm if they want to maintain any decent launch frequency.

  12. Actually quite sane. They expect to be on Mars in 6 years and need to have at scale production of Methane ready when they do. It also gives them impecable green credentials, as the Methane produced on Earh using solar is carbon neutral.

  13. I'm talking about a non-functional prototype.
    "SpaceX isn't into theatrical props, they build real rockets. There's no good reason for them to waste resources building mockups."
    Really? Then why did they unveil Dragon V2 back in 2014?
    Maybe you should know what your talking about, before you talk about it.

  14. I never said anything about dumb PowerPoints. I'm pretty sure SpaceX can walk & chew bubble gum at the same time.

  15. He's not really going ahead with solar powered methane synthesis on Earth, is he? That would be financial madness.

  16. Yeah, and they should have made a nifty PowerPoint presentation before of having a dummy mockup.

    How they dare building a flying rocket before a million dollar slideshow?

    That's just bad manners.

  17. Apparently they are looking for some FAA and local government environmental approval, due to the many changes they have in mind for the Boca Chica site.

    It will no longer be a test or factory site, but a production launch pad as well, with solar panels and methane production.

    Had this been CA, they would be in real trouble. But in TX they will have a much better chance of getting approved soon.

  18. They need to finish it by the time it's due. The problems they solve in the process of getting the Starship and Super Heavy working will be input into the design of the lunar landing Starship, so there's no sense in building the lunar landing prototype today, only to make changes.

    SpaceX isn't into theatrical props, they build real rockets. There's no good reason for them to waste resources building mockups.

  19. I would like to see their lunar starship prototype. We've already been shown the other 2 teams prototypes, and SpaceX does have the top half of their prototype sitting in their yard. But I think they should finish it, even finishing the inside (with fake mock up stuff) shouldn't take them more then a couple weeks. If they seriously want additional NASA funds, they need to at least finish the prototype.

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