With Orbital SpaceX Starship – Cancel SLS and Fund Moon Colonization

Doug Plata wrote an article on the Space Review that indicates that Starship to Orbit should be a policy tipping point. Orbital Starship is a historic transformation.

It is the vehicle which will let us spread beyond Earth.

Super Heavy Starship is not only developing the largest and most powerful rocket in history, but SpaceX factories that will crank them out by the hundreds.

A fully and rapidly reusable super heavy lift vehicle will crush almost all other rockets. Placing 400 Starlink satellites into orbit per launch in which most of the cost is only propellant. Who could compete with that?

SpaceX has experience with human rating vehicles (Falcon 9 and Dragon) and they are fully committed to developing Starship to the point where they can launch crew starting with the Dear Moon mission slated for 2023.

Awkward Moments

1. When Starship deploys up to 400 Starlink satellites at a time. It will be clear that the heavy cargo capability of SLS can be provided by another system for pennies on the dollar.

2. if the Lunar Starship ever docks with Gateway, the size comparison with Gateway will appear silly. Two Starships simply dock with each other and transfer propellant from one to another.

Doug Plata argues that space policy makers really ought to accept the reality of where things are headed. When Starship achieves orbit, then SLS should have its overdue cancellation.

They should commit to fully utilizing Starship’s capabilities. NASA should do an evaluation of what vehicles are actually necessary.

We need to set aside the endless 3D printing challenges for later and proceed with inflatables, a technology with three examples in space now. Lunar habitats and supporting infrastructure are a much better way to spend the $2 billion a year.

SOURCES- Space Review, Doug Plata
Summary by Brian Wang of Doug Plata writing