SpaceX Super Heavy Booster Could Be Flown Every Hour

Elon Musk had a Starship and Heavy Booster update.

The SpaceX Super Heavy Booster will be eventually flown every hour. It will boost for two minutes and return in four minutes and refuel in 30 minutes.

The SpaceX Starships that go to orbit will be flown every 6 to 8 hours. They will have to go at least one orbit and each orbit takes 90 minutes.

The point-to-point Starships going from California to Singapore could be flown ten to twenty times per day.

Long Range travel on Earth for cargo and then for people will be cheaper via rocket.

SpaceX has to develop orbital refilling for Moon and Mars missions. Liquid oxygen is 3.5 tons per ton of fuel.

If there were significant delays with getting FAA launch approval, then SpaceX could build the Cape Kennedy launch site in 6-8 months. They already have flight approval for Cape Kennedy.

They should have three launch facilities by the end of 2022. (Boca Chica, Cape Kennedy, and one of the Ocean platforms).

They are scaling up Raptor 2 to one a day production and then eventually to three a day.

They should be at seven Raptor 2 per week or better by next month.

By the end of 2022, they should be able to make a full stack (Starship and booster) once per month.

43 thoughts on “SpaceX Super Heavy Booster Could Be Flown Every Hour”

  1. Our local museum has an exhibit on the history of technology. One of the displays shows various predictions of the future, both accurate and off the mark. One of the off the mark predictions was from a postal service director from the Apollo era. He predicted that about the time that men landed on the Moon, we would be shipping letters and parcels by missile. He was late, but it sounds like Leon's proposal.

  2. I believe you avoided my point. People who think O'Neil's vision is right will buy launch services from Musk and his eventual competitors and follow the O'Neil approach. No need to try to block what Musk wants to do. I don't know the details, but the projects you pointed to in your edit, on the surface, seem to be doing what I'm saying will happen.

  3. I'm sure they're looking at all options. It's quite impressive that the O2 turbopump can survive at those temperatures with an oxidizing working fluid; The interior of that pump is a good approximation of a cutting torch!

    According to Musk, the current issue is the pintle; The heat load in it is about a gigawatt, it's actively cooled by circulating cryogenic fuel, the geometry is as critical as the composition.

  4. Because O'Neill has shown conclusively that micr0g, an important and vital part of our future mfg ability and much more, can only be done in, ha!, micr0g. Not on Earth. Similarly, much can so much better be done in micr0g as to make that clearly the place. Add in the free energy, vacuum, and cold (see Webb for example) plus easy high g in simple centrifuges, and other stuff, like more space and clear lines of vision, and it is clear, Space is better than Earth, thus all other planets too. I am bad mouthing all Mars plans that exclude at least matching Moon plans (see rovers on Mars v those on Moon for a count). Musk is trying to coerce NASA Moon into Mars First/Direct/Only, as he is a planet chauvinist and knows no better. Have you read "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill? Are you not enraged by the stupid planet people? I have been for nearly 50 years. Think about that!

    edit: military seeing the light. Cislunar is not a planet, in case you are not aware. "These new projects come as the Defense Department made a notable shift
    in its posture toward cislunar space in the last few years — from
    viewing potential deep-space threats as part of a far-off future to
    recognizing that those threats may present much sooner. "

  5. I'm very dubious about the possibility of Starship being used for passenger flights. Using it for long distance cargo flights might work out. I haven't looked into the details enough to have a strong opinion either way for cargo use.

  6. If you think sitting on our hands and letting only China get well-established in space because "Space isn't going anywhere" is a good idea for the U.S., I think you aren't on the side I want to be on.

  7. If "space settlement" really is easier than settling on Mars, somebody who believes that will buy launch services from SpaceX and do it. If they are successful at that, I imagine Elon would evaluate that against his plans for settling Mars and adjust his plans as appropriate.

    So why are you SO intent on bad-mouthing Elon's Mars plans?

  8. Elinvar alloys can retain stiffness up to 726 C and Structured Thermal Armor inhibits the Leidenfrost effect to 1,150 C as per the City University of Hong Kong and

    This is good for Raptor 2 maybe?

  9. Mars seems to be about the only Space destination that provides no source of revenue, other than reality show. Anyplace in orbit, you can do unique micr0g ISMRU and make big $$$$$, as is already happening in ISS. Most importantly, O'Neill Space is far faster and better than Mars for "getting a population living off the Earth independently ASAP". See Al Globus for details.

  10. I may be wrong, but some of the sub orbital descriptions seem to have a very heavy payload, needing a booster? The non booster passenger version probably much lighter than some cargo would be. Or, would a boosted sub orbital be too heavy to land?

  11. Musk’s emphasis on Mars is getting a population living off the Earth independently ASAP to create a driver for becoming Spacefaring. NEO satellite constellations for internet are a more practical initial

    source of revenue.

    If NASA or some customer doesn't step up to pay the bills, SpaceX isn't sending anyone to Mars nor anywhere else. SpaceX has never demonstrated it's anything other than a launch commercial provider. Not all the fan fiction you hear on twitter happens to be a viable business model.

  12. What bureaucracy is getting on the way of this, not the same bureaucracy getting in the way of FH flying every hour?

    Never forget, different members of society have different interest and priorities. Space isn't going anywhere, dont see this sense of urgency.

    My default demeanor is to reject anything justified as "…because China…".
    It used to be "…because Russia…".

  13. That is the heart of the problem, thinking of O'Neill as Island 3, not *the question*. Is the surface of a planet "Right for what purpose?" NOW. For what we are doing NOW. I have questioned each step of Musk's goal. It is presumptive logic for him to define that the answer is planetary in nature. Any multiplanetary solution is the wrong first answer to the question of species survival, his actual concern, after all. Ask *the question* here. O'Neill wins over Mars for Musk's goals. Starting NOW. Where should Mars' power supply be, dispatchable Space Solar power beams, the sats towed from Earth, or something on Mars surface. For example. How about where to put the lunar base, in orbit or on lunar surface? Planet chauvinism is unaware it is even making the wrong assumption, let alone that it is wrong, as to the answer to *the question*.

  14. Jeez, seeing the aggressiveness of China's space program, it's an insult to intelligence that the bureaucracy is getting on the way of this.

    I guess it's a result of democracy, where even the silliest opinions have a place. But really, allowing this to happen should be a national priority, not hearing about the hurt feelings of people in Twitter nor worrying about the mottled Boca Chica screamapillar (Simpson's reference).

  15. Right for what purpose? O'Neill was right about the long term, but Musk is concerned with what can be done soonest, not what would be best in a thousand years.

  16. I think if you look where some major airports have been built in the last 40+ years, you will see many are 30+ miles from an urban core. Artificial islands with high-speed rail connecting to an urban core are not the majority of new airports, but several have been built.

    For large cities next to an ocean or sea (London, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, etc.) there would certainly be a market for $5000 to $20,000 tickets if the ergonomics could be worked out.

    I flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney on an 18-hour nonstop. Brutal. I would pay a few thousand extra to not waste so much time on a 2-week trip. 2 days burned just getting there and back vs. 2 hours.

  17. Luckily, that's possible. The Eagle Ford shale is just a couple of hundred miles away, with big pipelines coming through Brownsville and not too far north of Boca Chica.

  18. The ISS proves that Space Settlement is easier than Mars Settlement. O'Neill observes something much more powerful. Space Settlement is easier than Earth Settlement! Given the part of the economy that is ONLY possible in micr0g, or much better there, "Is the surface of a planet the right place?".

  19. He is moving very fast with Starship.
    The main obstacle lately has been the FAA, otherwise the rocket would
    have been to orbit last December

  20. I think you're missing a point, which is that point to point on Earth doesn't require the booster; Suborbital flight requires hugely less delta V than achieving orbit. So the fuel difference isn't remotely as large as you suggest. Even if it took a full fuel load, 6 times, not 17 times, and it likely wouldn't take that much.

    I do tend to agree that it would only be a niche application, on account of such things as the launches having to be 20 miles or so from inhabited areas, due to the high noise level, and the accelerations being such as to medically disqualify a large fraction of the population.

    Getting to and from the airport, and getting through screening, boarding, and so forth, already consume a large fraction of the total trip time unless you're flying to the other side of the planet. So the time savings aren't as impressive as the change in flight time suggests.

  21. Ironically, maintaining that launch cadence would probably require a natural gas pipe the same diameter as the booster.

  22. Yep, he's slow only compared with himself (the infamous Elon's time). But compared to the rest, he's blazingly fast.

    What do we prefer: tall promises that never deliver, or over-optimistic promises that arrive late and sometimes a bit different, but they do arrive?

    I prefer the later.

  23. The idea that "Long Range travel on Earth for cargo and then for people will be cheaper via rocket." is delusional. The vast majority of the cost of air travel is fuel. During its whole life and Airbus A380 consumes 3-4 times its value in fuel. Even if every starship booster cost nothing each booster consumes 3400 tons of fuel per launch (vs 200 tons for a fully fueled A380). So every launch consumes 17 times more fuel and has a payload capacity comparable to a plane (100 tons, while an airbus a 380 has 150 tons of payload)
    Rockets will be never cheaper than flights.
    Sure there might be niche markets for super urgent deliveries of goods and people, but that service will charge a premium for speed.

  24. The problem with O’Neill’s vision was it required a government investment of trillions of dollars in the Space Infrastructure before a SpaceColony even got started. Solar Power Satellites that were supposed to motivate this investment never made economic sense vs comparable Solar investments on Earth.

    Musk’s emphasis on Mars is getting a population living off the Earth independently ASAP to create a driver for becoming Spacefaring. NEO satellite constellations for internet are a more practical initial source of revenue.

    Space Colonies were never a way of getting humanity to become genuinely SpaceFaring just an important alternative once already there. They’re just too far off to be worth thinking about seriously.

  25. He does deliver something, eventually.

    He tells the market what it wants to hear, then fires everyone who disagrees with his promises, and forces production increases at the cost of quality and safety.

    This approach succeeded in EVs when there were no alternatives. And it has been doing well competing against bloated government agencies and their buddy networks of bloated contractors.

  26. Yes, he's that way: If he thinks it will work better on a planetary surface, he'll go with the planetary surface, he has no overriding commitment to doing things in space.

    I'm fine with that.

  27. Similarly, if you offered him a self sufficient Mars settlement, he would buy that. HE has no vision or plans for anything not planet surface. And I count comm sats for planet surface a planet project, btw. If they worked better underground, they would be there. This is particularly clear considering the distinct ease of towing working solar sats to Mars orbit, even if you accept most of his planet chauvinism. Space Solar really works good if you are already in Space!!

  28. Love the pretty pictures! But I'm also SO impatient waiting for all this to finally launch! The years do go by though and when I'm looking down onto the Earth one day all this waiting will seem like it went by in a flash. Truly living the dream.

  29. He clearly plans for launching all of this from Earth surface, initially. It would be more accurate to say that he currently has no plans to do otherwise, than that he plans to NOT do otherwise.

    He's a practical guy, offer him O2 in orbit cheaper than he can put it there, and he'll buy it.

  30. "Slow to deliver" is a relative thing. He's moving so fast he's leaving a vapor trail, compared to the established space companies and agencies.

  31. Interesting to hear that he expects the Cape and one of the offshore platforms to be ready for launches by the end of the year. And he seems somewhat optimistic about the regulators getting out of the way fairly soon. (But has contingency plans in case they don't.)

    Not a lot of technical news for anybody who's been following this.

  32. "SpaceX has to develop orbital refilling for Moon and Mars missions. Liquid oxygen is 3.5 tons per ton of fuel." Musk clearly plans on launching ALL of this from Earth surface, indefinitely. His Mars Planet Chauvinism is totally hilarious in his presentations. "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill will fix that!

  33. Space, the Final Frontier. Heinlein defines the "World" as where people can go. O'Neill points out that the World was discovered by Galileo, and we are immersed in it. Space is the World. Earth and Mars are tiny planets in it. Space is our World.

  34. Didn't 40 starlink satellites just start crashing to Earth from an unpredicted solar storm? I expect more such unpredictabilities & satellites crashing into each other too. Space mocks even the best of us.

  35. Elon Musk is rich in promises, slow to deliver but he does deliver, eventually.

    So I'd take the times he says with a grain of salt, but the end result might be very much like he describes.

    And that's literally, another world.

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