NASA and SpaceX Plan Starship Low Earth Orbit Space Station Design Review in 2028

NASA Commercial Space Capabilities office and SpaceX have a 24 page agreed plan to develop the SpaceX starship into a low earth orbit space station design by 2028. This is unfunded and aspirational. The parties will cooperate to try and make it happen. SpaceX with successful Starlink commercial services will have the funds to make this happen.

There are many other milestones that NASA and SpaceX are trying to achieve with Starship.

It will take another 2-4 years to actually launch the Starship space station.

A really useful and interesting Starship space station with multiple Starships would need to have Starship proven far safer for moving a lot of people.

Need proven safe starship. After using it for package delivery with ten thousand international cargo flights per year hopefully in the 2025-2028 timeframe. High volume human orbital and high volume rocket passenger flight have very similar requirements for proven safety.

6 thoughts on “NASA and SpaceX Plan Starship Low Earth Orbit Space Station Design Review in 2028”

  1. Unrelated to the post:
    Has anyone else been having this problem?
    When I try to go to NBFs homepage it gives some apparently random search term & only shows posts about that. I *usually* want to see the latest posts.
    When I had this problem a few years ago there was a place to look for posts in the current month or the previous month. As it is now I have to keep clicking on the home page & hope it will *show* the latest posts rather than the results of the unwanted search

  2. I swear, when NASA sends an intern to the grocery store on a snack run, they first plan to establish a base camp in the store parking lot, and prove that it’s viable, before the intern can enter the store, bringing a bespoke NASA shopping cart.

    A lot of these milestones seem to either be irrelevant to the supposed goal, or getting the cart ahead of the horse.

    For instance, you don’t need to demonstrate that you can safely return Starship to the ground, in order to start building your space station. You send stuff UP to build a space station, not DOWN.

    It sounds like NASA contemplates, yet again, an extra expensive and inefficient station using bespoke hardware lofted by Starship, which then returns to bring up another bespoke module. Like the ISS, only with reusable launchers.

    That is, of course, not remotely how a sane person would build a space station using Starship.

    You’d build Starships that were intended to BECOME space station sections, with the fuel tankage intended for conversion to living space. Grid flooring and walls wouldn’t interfere with use as a fuel tank. Airlocks, ports, utility penetrations, all could be installed in advance, and simply protected from the fuel by welded internal covers to be removed by cutting torch.

    Because the tankage would BE most of the cargo, the tanks could be extra large, with an abreviated cargo space to carry the fittings to be installed after reaching orbit.

    Flight specific hardware could be dismounted and brought back to Earth for reuse on occasional return flights, but those wouldn’t have to start immediately.

    Everybody who’s studied the question has arrived at this conclusion. It’s just the only sensible way to do it! So, of course, NASA rejects it out of hand…

    • Personally I am profoundly disappointed that there is no official artist’s rendition of a space station based off of a starship. How is NASA supposed to get Congressional money to fund this? Does NASA expect geriatric Senators to imagine what it looks like? Do they not know that the first rule of PPT projects is that you need an artist’s rendition? Maybe ask DALL-e to render some grant money pics.

    • exactly! inside the fuel tanks a open skeleton of floor and walls equipped with pop on modules (like china uses) which could be filled in from a cargo shipment once access to the fuel tanks is cutout.

  3. A lot of cool space things are freebies with a successful Starship launching regularly.

    Starship size and it being ready for habitability and deployment, make it also a flexible orbital and surface habitat option. Just place a few wherever you need living space, connected by an airlock or separated; in all kinds of orbits, on deep space locations or in a planetary surface and you’ll get a space station or a base there.

    When they have HLS, that is, a privately developed and operated Apollo mission-equivalent architecture, they got themselves a lunar program for all the foreseeable future.

    Same for any Mars version, which will be a derivation of HLS but also an independent project, coming on its own.

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