6 thoughts on “Space Update”

  1. Ok let me ask a (possibly dumb) question here:

    What is the purpose of the 150 foot hops of the SN’s?
    What are they testing?

    There’s only one engine. The engine is offset from the center line.

    We already know that Space-X knows how to control a rocket in the vertical and land safely.

    I can see testing tank pressures, for example: new materials and new fabrications.

    But what are these hops testing?

    What are they learning that they didn’t already know?

    1. SpaceX is verifying that its control software can handle landing on a single offset engine. Starship has no center engine and, for all we know, this will be the standard landing mode – at least on Earth – for all returning Starships.

      On the Moon, and maybe on Mars as well, symmetric thrust from a ring of “high pockets” landing-only thrusters above the “waist” may prove to be SOP in order to minimize dust kick-up. We may see some test prototypes with these symmetrical landing-only thrusters installed also do hops at Boca Chica in coming months.

      As we are already seeing, development to operational capability of SH-Starship is a process involving many discrete events, not a single definitive event. That’s because there are many types of operational capability to be achieved. The first will simply be getting to orbit and back unscathed – or barely-scathed – in a vehicle that can’t deliver payloads. Next will probably come doing the same with a vehicle that can deliver and transfer a payload of propellants. Then will come doing the same with a vehicle that can deliver satellite payloads to LEO. There will be a number of additional operational status milestones to be achieved before routine service to the Moon, Mars and elsewhere is achieved.

      The first three of these capability milestones will most likely all be achieved before the end of next year. The most difficult operational capability achievement will be for the Mars passenger liner version of Starship. That achievement will be the critical path item that, once in-hand, will enable the first human-crewed Mars missions to depart. Prepositioned cargo missions will precede these by some as yet unknown number of Mars departure launch window cycles.

  2. “SpaceX is verifying that its control software can handle landing on a single offset engine. Starship has no center engine and, for all we know, this will be the standard landing mode – at least on Earth – for all returning Starships.”

    Ah ok that makes sense. I didn’t know it would not have a centerline engine.

    Thanks for the explanation.

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