SpaceX Super Heavy Starship Launch Mostly Successful Starts Age of Fully, Rapidly Reusable Rockets

The SpaceX Super Heavy had a mostly successful launch. This will increase mass to orbit by ten times over falcon 9 and enable a completely reorbital rocket. The booster and stage were lost later in the flight and it lost telemetry. The loss of telemetry triggered self-destruct.

Starship successfully lifted off under the power of all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster and made it through stage separation.

The booster experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly shortly after stage separation while Starship’s engines fired for several minutes on its way to space

8 thoughts on “SpaceX Super Heavy Starship Launch Mostly Successful Starts Age of Fully, Rapidly Reusable Rockets”

  1. The lost of heat shield tiles indicates that they are very far from “rapidly reuse”.
    They probably need to do massive post landing tests and repairs for several years, before they can do “rapidly reuse”.
    For Starlink Gen2 (full size not current mini) they will probably need around 150 launches per year.
    If they need a month before relaunch then they will probably need a fleet of around 15 boosters and satellite launching Starship.
    For moon HLS they need 8 refueling cycles and if it takes a month to reuse, they will probably need multiple tanker Starships, as not to leave the HLS to long in space waiting to be loaded with enough fuel.
    For Mars trip of unmanned Starship, they will need 12 fueling tankers trips. Assuming they will want to send more then one at the same window (one window every 26 month) to test several different approaches and land them one by one and optimize the SW if the first fails, they will need many tanker ships.

    • I wonder for things like the Mars transfer windows if it would ultimately make more sense to have a fueling station in low earth orbit that could hold propellent accumulated over weeks and months that the Mars-bound Starships could use to top off. Reduces the risk of a dozen intercept maneuvers. I wonder, too, if it would make sense to launch those Starships unmanned until they are fueled and transfer humans onboard (using crew Dragon or successor) when the riskier parts are completed. Human rating Starship will take a while and a lot of launches, especially without some sort of escape mechanism.

  2. It was a good mission for a second attempt, but to be “mostly successful” I think it would have needed to at least gotten to the attempt the simulated soft landing of Super Heavy Booster and Starship. I suspect Elon was a bit frustrated by ‘only’ getting separation and 2nd stage close to orbit, given that even if everything goes great on the 3rd launch, they’ll be lucky to simulated-land the booster and probably have Starship damaged enough on reentry that it still doesn’t get that far.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if SpaceX decides to do some Starship-only and booster-only launches now that they’re close to final flight configurations, to get more experience on landing the real thing before going to the next full attempt.

    Does anyone know if they did any live-fire ‘separation’ ground test? Seems an obvious step. I tried googling it, found nothing.

    • Nothing official yet, and that is likely a good sign. From the independent livestreams that have some kind of view, it looks fine. They might repaint the stand, and resurface the concrete under the the pad, but we’re talking less than a week of work and a short time curing before the next launch.

  3. “…rapid unscheduled disassembly…” giggle. chortle. guffaw.
    Anyway – congrats and look forward to the upcoming schedule of approvals, tests, milestones, and hopefully Kármán line (orbital arrival successes)…

  4. And then towards the end of the burn Starship auto triggered it’s own flight safety charge, for reasons unknown or at least as yet unannounced.

    Still, a lot further than last time. Let’s hope the FAA doesn’t freak out again.

    • Agree. The lift-off was a huge success and the focus should be to have another launch within a couple of months. That is, if FAA does throw up any roadblocks…

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