SpaceX launches giant Starship rocket into space on epic 3rd test flight (video)

Nov 19, 2019
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It was very exciting and the onboard cameras provided incredible views .. but at the same time begs tons of questions. Both the Booster and Starship seemed to suffer from control issues. The Booster flight looked fantastic until it entered the thicker atmosphere. Then, despite rapid and pronounced gyrations of the grid fins lost flight control.

The Starship was also performing well, but as it approached reentry appeared to tumble end over end unable to attain a consistent attitude. Starship then likely broke up on re-entry - which I think is very unfortunate. Both NASA and even the Russians were able to demonstrate a successful Space Shuttle reentry on their first try. I get it .. SpaceX is testing differently .. but this failure will demand an explanation.

Optimists think every problem has a solution, but when it comes reusable space vehicles (as we have seen with the Space Shuttle) the solution can also be the problem. Was this an unexpected failure of critical components? Or is the design itself simply incapable of surviving the harsh conditions reentering the atmosphere? The answer to this question might save (or kill) the entire Starship program.
 
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The distressing aspect of the Starship final moments is that I don't think it provided the data about exactly what happened because of the communications blackout period.

And with no wreckage recovery, there may be some important questions left unanswered. Perhaps future test flights need some sort of "black box" data recorder and a means to retrieve it.

But, retrieving it may be the hardest part. Without being pretty comfortable about the final trajectory, it might not be safe to have the terminal location occur on land or even in shallow areas of the ocean, which are still near habitation.

Hopefully, there were some observation satellites that can give us at least a rough idea of this Starship's fate during the reentry.
 
Apr 6, 2023
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Much better than previous launches but at this pace they will never be ready for Artemis. I mean just the FAA process alone after each failure will make that goal impossible. I think what will happen is he will use NASA funding to continue to develop this kind of (really moon landing a Starship?) vehicle so he can use it to deploy Starlink which is his primary goal. Look at SpaceX history. That's exactly how Falcon 9 was developed and while it has launched a good amount of cargo/people to the ISS and satellites for other providers, mostly it has deployed Starlink for SpaceX. By a huge margin. NASA and tax payers get nothing in return for that.



I would be more than shocked if Starship ever got close to a moon landing. What lands on the moon will look nothing like Starship.
 
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Dec 15, 2022
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Much better than previous launches but at this pace they will never be ready for Artemis. I mean just the FAA process alone after each failure will make that goal impossible. I think what will happen is he will use NASA funding to Scontinue to develop this kind of (really moon landing a Starship?) vehicle so he can use it to deploy Starlink which is his primary goal. Look at SpaceX history. That's exactly how Falcon 9 was developed and while it has launched a good amount of cargo/people to the ISS and satellites for other providers, mostly it has deployed Starlink for SpaceX. By a huge margin. NASA and tax payers get nothing in return for that.



I would be more than shocked if Starship ever got close to a moon landing. What lands on the moon will look nothing like Starship.
This thinking is similar to most non-business, sociological but illogical models. Executive J makes too much, and therefore his company is bad for their customers or corporation B has big profits, and therefore they are unfair to consumers. Give no mind to the fact that B is providing the best product at the best price.

SpaceX is saving NASA and taxpayers money with every ounce they carry into orbit for scientific and government payloads. I expect the ISS inhabitants may also find fault with your analysis that “NASA and taxpayers get nothing”. NASA has paid contractors $ Billions without a single successful launch to date. SpaceX is again saving taxpayers and NASA. NASA and taxpayers experience financial benefits through providing results on their investments.

Further gain is made by producing usable technology for a fraction of what has been historically spent. Value for dollars spent is “something” in return. If Boeing were building a rocket instead of SpaceX, it would not be out of the engineers' hands yet. Forget about having 3 test flights. The necessary heavy booster would be in the Boeing, ULA and Blue Origin bait and switch pattern: Launch in 2020, make that 2022, oops, need another couple of billion to launch in 2023, umm, would you believe May 2024? How close do you suppose American aerospace would be to a super heavy booster without SpaceX? Decades away.

In the end, what difference does it make if SpaceX launches some satellites alongside purchased transport? They are ,pound per pound, the best value, actually putting space payloads into orbit.
 
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A successful 3rd test of starship, achieving most if not quite all of its intended goals. (Super Heavy landing burn engines failed to ignite and Starship appears to have broken up on re-entry). As regards the re-entry the on board video from around 45 minutes after lift off appears to show a number of small black objects coming away from Starship, I presume they are thermal tiles? If so that may or may not have been influential in the ultimate loss of the Starship?
 
Apr 17, 2023
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Much better than previous launches but at this pace they will never be ready for Artemis. I mean just the FAA process alone after each failure will make that goal impossible. I think what will happen is he will use NASA funding to continue to develop this kind of (really moon landing a Starship?) vehicle so he can use it to deploy Starlink which is his primary goal. Look at SpaceX history. That's exactly how Falcon 9 was developed and while it has launched a good amount of cargo/people to the ISS and satellites for other providers, mostly it has deployed Starlink for SpaceX. By a huge margin. NASA and tax payers get nothing in return for that.



I would be more than shocked if Starship ever got close to a moon landing. What lands on the moon will look nothing like Starship.
Sorry but I don't think you fully understand, how NASA painted themselves into a corner with the Artemis program. They funded SLS and Orion. They didn't fund or properly plan for a Lunar lander. NOT SX's problem.

Thus at some point they looked around and said hey we need a lander for Artemis. Keeping the SLS and Orion funding going while it takes another decade to build a lander would of been a real challenge. Expecting BO to build a lander when they still are trying to put anything into orbit is a pipe dream. There was only 1 company building a lander.

1st point. SX is developing a Mars transportation and landing system with Starship. They have their own schedule and plans for this. They didn't seem interested in delaying their Mars lander system. If NASA wants to use the Mars lander for the Moon that is fine, but they it is being built for Mars Specs. NASA's Moon schedule and deadline is their own political driven agenda, but it really isn't something I believe SX is that worried about.

If they wanted to build a Lunar lander they would of made a 3rd stage for Starship and a small grasshopper style lander. Of course that would delay their Mars plans for at least a decade.

2nd point. Everyone needs to let go of Apollo, thinking. A small LEM Apollo style lander puts us right back to the problem of "Now What?" we faced in 1972. If you can only place 2 astronauts on the surface in what basically is a small weekend camper. The cold shower reality is, there is only so much you can actually do besides plant a flag, take some selfie's and grab some rocks. Apollo was a dead end as far a tech. It was designed to get to the Moon and back before the end the 1960's. There was no path forward to develop any infrastructure on the moon without upgraded rockets and new landing systems.

The SX/Mars system can put 100+ tons on the surface of the Moon. That is a lot of food, water and infrastructure. Land 3 ships and you're looking at over 300 tons. Physics demands orbital refueling to put that much weight on the Moon but if solved, all of a sudden a real Moon base is possible. If we're going to go back let's go to stay this time. NOW, we're looking at taking not a small step but another giant leap.
 
Apr 6, 2023
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This thinking is similar to most non-business, sociological but illogical models. Executive J makes too much, and therefore his company is bad for their customers or corporation B has big profits, and therefore they are unfair to consumers. Give no mind to the fact that B is providing the best product at the best price.

SpaceX is saving NASA and taxpayers money with every ounce they carry into orbit for scientific and government payloads. I expect the ISS inhabitants may also find fault with your analysis that “NASA and taxpayers get nothing”. NASA has paid contractors $ Billions without a single successful launch to date. SpaceX is again saving taxpayers and NASA. NASA and taxpayers experience financial benefits through providing results on their investments.

Further gain is made by producing usable technology for a fraction of what has been historically spent. Value for dollars spent is “something” in return. If Boeing were building a rocket instead of SpaceX, it would not be out of the engineers' hands yet. Forget about having 3 test flights. The necessary heavy booster would be in the Boeing, ULA and Blue Origin bait and switch pattern: Launch in 2020, make that 2022, oops, need another couple of billion to launch in 2023, umm, would you believe May 2024? How close do you suppose American aerospace would be to a super heavy booster without SpaceX? Decades away.

In the end, what difference does it make if SpaceX launches some satellites alongside purchased transport? They are ,pound per pound, the best value, actually putting space payloads into orbit.
Thanks for the response SpaceX. lol the same narcissists crap Elon pumps out daily.
 
Thanks for the response SpaceX. lol the same narcissists crap Elon pumps out daily.
I think that comment is really off-base. The points that Bigref made are true and not refuted by that caustic comment.

And they did not even mention that we would still be paying Russia to launch our astronauts if SpaceX had not provided new U.S. launch capability. When NASA awarded the contracts to Boeing and SpaceX, it was SpaceX that was considered a long-shot. But, SpaceX has placed 50 humans into orbit, now, while Boeing has yet to launch a single human and has just delayed its first crewed flight, again.

NASA simply does not get the funding to do what SpaceX is doing. Even the engines for SLS are leftovers from the Space Shuttle. And they did not even attempt to build a lander - nor issue a contract to do so in anything like the lead time it would have taken NASA itself to design and certify one or human use.

Frankly, I don't think NASA would even be thinking about "going back to the Moon" if China had no plans to go there. NASA seems to realize that it needs commercial contractors to do the actual heavy lifting, and also the new space station development. That is fine with me, especially if it reduces my tax burden to fund space exploration. SpaceX has been continuing work on NASA contracts even when Congress has held-up funding, something the government cannot do. So, at least some of the delays typical of government programs have been avoided.

But, the FAA seems to be culturally opposed to SpaceX's development practices. This last flight did not do anything that other space launches have not always done - everybody else's boosters and second stages burn up in the atmosphere or rain debris in predetermined remote locations, So what if Starship was intended to survive reentry and belly flop into the ocean? It's breakup is not really FAA's business, because it was not an unanticipated development during the test flight and did not endanger the public. The FAA needs to get out of the way when launches are scheduled, unless there is a real public safety issue that is not already resolved.

As for Bezos and Blue Origin, I hope they succeed, too. And Dream Chaser. And ULA's Vulcan. Boeing - I just hope they get their act back together on more mundane airplane safety issues - but I think they are effectively out of the space flight picture, at least for the near future.
 
Nov 19, 2019
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Sorry but I don't think you fully understand, how NASA painted themselves into a corner with the Artemis program. They funded SLS and Orion. They didn't fund or properly plan for a Lunar lander. NOT SX's problem.

Thus at some point they looked around and said hey we need a lander for Artemis. Keeping the SLS and Orion funding going while it takes another decade to build a lander would of been a real challenge. Expecting BO to build a lander when they still are trying to put anything into orbit is a pipe dream. There was only 1 company building a lander.

1st point. SX is developing a Mars transportation and landing system with Starship. They have their own schedule and plans for this. They didn't seem interested in delaying their Mars lander system. If NASA wants to use the Mars lander for the Moon that is fine, but they it is being built for Mars Specs. NASA's Moon schedule and deadline is their own political driven agenda, but it really isn't something I believe SX is that worried about.

If they wanted to build a Lunar lander they would of made a 3rd stage for Starship and a small grasshopper style lander. Of course that would delay their Mars plans for at least a decade.

2nd point. Everyone needs to let go of Apollo, thinking. A small LEM Apollo style lander puts us right back to the problem of "Now What?" we faced in 1972. If you can only place 2 astronauts on the surface in what basically is a small weekend camper. The cold shower reality is, there is only so much you can actually do besides plant a flag, take some selfie's and grab some rocks. Apollo was a dead end as far a tech. It was designed to get to the Moon and back before the end the 1960's. There was no path forward to develop any infrastructure on the moon without upgraded rockets and new landing systems.

The SX/Mars system can put 100+ tons on the surface of the Moon. That is a lot of food, water and infrastructure. Land 3 ships and you're looking at over 300 tons. Physics demands orbital refueling to put that much weight on the Moon but if solved, all of a sudden a real Moon base is possible. If we're going to go back let's go to stay this time. NOW, we're looking at taking not a small step but another giant leap.
This is a load of crap. I don't think there is a single accurate fact in your entire post.

1st Point
SLS and Orion were designed to go to Mars, not the moon, and that is why there was no lander. Donald Trump (the stable genius) wanted to undo everything that Obama started and nixed the Deep Space transport and told NASA to go back to the Moon by 2024. SpaceX secured a contract from NASA to develop the Human Landing System (HLS) based on the Starship Architecture. SpaceX is now bound by a contract to deliver HLS.=, and NASA will hold them to that contract.

2nd Point
The 'Go to stay" argument is key.. because the next question is "Stay and do what?" NASA doesn't have the answer to that yet. Is there enough water at the lunar South Pole to make a rocket propellent factory worth while .. we have no idea. Using a small lunar lander for some geological survey missions makes sense here. But more problematic for SpaceX .. water isn't enough. Starship uses Methane and the moon is carbon poor. Only Blue Origin's lander would benefit from mining ice reserves to create liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellent. I still chuckle that NASA approved SpaceX HLS funding with this one GLARING AND COMPLETELY UNMITIGATED PROBLEM. Kathy Leuders (the interim NASA administrator now working at SpaceX) was corrupt and should never have awarded SpaceX a contract.
 
Well, that is some BS history, too. From Wikipedia:

The Constellation program was a crewed spaceflight program developed by NASA,, from 2005 to 2009. The major goals of the program were "completion of the International Space Station" and a "return to the Moon no later than 2020" with a crewed flight to the planet Mars as the ultimate goal.

Constellation began in response to the goals laid out in the Vision for Space Exploration under NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and President George W. Bush. O'Keefe's successor, Michael D. Griffin, ordered a complete review, termed the Exploration Systems Architecture Study, which reshaped how NASA would pursue the goals laid out in the Vision for Space Exploration, and its findings were formalized by the NASA Authorization Act of 2005. The Act directed NASA to "develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, including a robust precursor program to promote exploration, science, commerce and US preeminence in space, and as a stepping stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations." Work began on this revised Constellation Program, to send astronauts first to the International Space Station, then to the Moon, and then to Mars and beyond.

Subsequent to the findings of the Augustine Committee in 2009 that the Constellation Program could not be executed without substantial increases in funding, on February 1, 2010, President Barack Obama proposed to cancel the program.

In 2011, NASA adopted the design of its new Space Launch System.

The Artemis program is a Moon exploration program that is led by the United States' NASA and was formally established in 2017 via Space Policy Directive 1. The Artemis program is intended to reestablish a human presence on the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. The program's stated long-term goal is to establish a permanent base on the Moon to facilitate human missions to Mars.

Two principal elements of the Artemis program are derived from the now-cancelled Constellation program: the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (as a reincarnation of Ares V). Other elements of the program, such as the Lunar Gateway space station and the Human Landing System, are in development by government space agencies and private spaceflight companies. This collaboration is bound together by the Artemis Accords and governmental contracts.

In the third phase of its HLS procurement process NASA awarded SpaceX a contract in April 2021 to develop, produce, and demonstrate Starship HLS

So, as I have already posted, the original NASA plan was to go to the Moon and then to Mars. That was not getting government funding at the necessary level from Congress. Obama cancelled most of the program, and Trump reinitiated some of it. But, even the original Constellation program was planning to land on the Moon, and establish a presence there. So, NASA should have been planning a lander along with the various rocket launch vehicle with the changing name that became SLS. The problem is just that NASA is not getting the funding to do all of that. But, it has been in the plans since about 2005, with the original moon landing date set at 2020. NASA let the contract to SpaceX for the lander a year after the lander was originally scheduled to land.

It looks like SpaceX plans to go to the Moon no matter what NASA does. So, for SpaceX, it is just a matter of delivering on a fixed-price contract with NASA. If NASA cancels the contract, it probably won't have much effect on SpaceX.
 
Mar 28, 2024
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I see the SpaceX fanboys are out in force for this one. It always make me chuckle to see the lengths to which some people will go to defend anything and everything this guy does. Musk's "Fail Fast" design methodology is interesting in theory. Only problem is that, if you want to put living people on the Moon (much less Mars), you're going to have to stop failing at some point. Will that point be before or after SpaceX's shoddy workmanship gets somebody killed? Remains to be seen. Reaching orbital velocity is not the same thing as reaching orbit. If SpaceX wants to put humans safely on the moon, they're going to have to rack up a success at some point. The Saturn V never failed. Not once. And, so far, it is the only launch system that has ever managed to put actual humans on the actual moon. Maybe designing failures isn't such a great idea after all? "But, but, reusability!". I know fanboys. But "reusability" doesn't mean much without the "usability" part. Twice nothing is still nothing.
 
Really odd comment, considering that SpaceX has used the same strategy to design and build the human-rated Falcon launch vehicle and Dragon capsule, with reusability demonstrated 19 times so far by more than one launch vehicle, as well as reusing capsules. So, there is obviously no correlation between "fail early during development" with "fail once operational".

And calling me a "fanboy" is offensive, as well as inaccurate. I am just willing to recognize accomplishment when it is demonstrated, instead of ignoring it like that comment did.

And, that comment seems oblivious to the Apollo 13 malfunction and near tragedy. And the Apollo 1 fire that killed 3 astronauts in a prelaunch rehearsal, which turned out to be a "development" process event. Not to mention the 2 shuttle disasters in 2 completely different flight segments by 2 completely different failure mechanisms. And it does not seem to recognize the inferiority of the "fail slowly" strategy that Boeing continues to demonstrate with its competitor to the Dragon capsule.

So, the real question to my mind is why is poster "mertz" being so negative, given the actual facts?
 
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