19 thoughts on “Starship”

  1. Bankruptcy is a re-organization, not an end. If a commodity is over-priced, bankruptcy can even out the value to the cost. Bankers take risks too. Sometimes they fail.

    1. In the article, though, it does lay out some of the risks of contagion to the whole private space industry if the bet on Starlink doesn’t work out, and that bet depends on Starship being viable. I THINK we have good reason to think Starship will work out, but we don’t know what we don’t know.

      I personally think the biggest risks aren’t technical but regulatory; they figure out the fueling, landing, cadence, all that, but can’t get responses to the environmental impact statements in time. That sort of thing.

      Or rent-seeking regulation from the dinosaurs and their creatures in Washington.

  2. SpaceX has launched ~3,100 Starlink satellites, ~2,400 of which are currently in operation (See a live view here.) Starlink represents over half of all active satellites in orbit.
    Reportedly Starlink has close to 500,000 customers across 32 countries paying $110 per month, giving total notional revenues to Starlink of $55M a month or almost $700M a year.
    SpaceX hasn’t disclosed how much it has invested in Starlink to date but Elon has disclosed that they intend to invest between $20B-$30B into Starlink over time.—

    20 to 30 [or twice as much] at he launches 30,000 starlink. But with falcon-9 launches, seem around 5 billion. And with 500,000 user [2 month old] and maintain that he roughly out the red in 3 to 4 years
    which is “normal” and might at 700,000 users at moment, so 2 to 3 years. Can’t he get 1 million by end of year? And keep 1 million and counts anything over million on Starship launched Starlink, and over couple years has 2 million added to 1 million, it seems similar out of red within a few years, situation.
    If starlink version II doesn’t work and/or Starship doesn’t work within couple years. Then you looking at some issues- related to that new part of investment.
    There no doubt Musk needs his global internet to work, for him to push with the Mars thing.
    No idea what starlink verison II “does”. Let’s look at Starship. First it seems he has no shortage customers for it, and just do NASA lunar mission and gets around 3 billion, that almost covers Starship development and operation costs up to that point. Or doesn’t go in red as he did with starlink {and said he was in red [and he still in red for that- but that normal and nothing vaguely like buying twitter for example. Or whatever he done regarding twitter could be a significant risk- but going not talk twitter. Other risks could related Testa, particularly in China- but know nothing about that either- so take that off table.
    So can Starship launch in couple months.
    Say 20% of the risk of that not happening is related
    to FAA. And 50% is related just making it work.
    It seems he doing the KSC thing due FAA risk- and spent maybe a billion dollars ahead of time to do that?
    And it could be 2023 before it launches. And say it a test, and doesn’t go as hope and another 3 months to try again. But once the test can be counted successful, you could do one per month and do once of month and at same time get ready to do NASA lunar thing.
    Which due to SLS failure, could be delayed.

    1. So got two falcon-9 starlinks within within year- and got starlinks getting to operational position, which should allow more customer capacity for starlink,
      In terms launch money, two falcon Heavy for military and falcon-9 and has dragon crew and cargo for NASA
      and bunch commercial launches- couple billion or more
      before end of year. Can’t see how spaceX/starlink goes
      It seems like old news, as in, if FAA wanted to spend 2 year doing environment impact AND Musk didn’t start at KSC and KSC wouldn’t permit a Starship launch- it still doesn’t look as potentially bad as Twitter.
      But it would be quite bad for NASA.
      And Musk apparently rounded up a bunch lawyers for that twitter thing, and unleashing them on Federal Govt could bad for that unholy rat nest.
      The whatever the threat of Trump would be, it would have to be far, far less of a threat.

  3. SpaceX’s Starlink internet service reaches Antarctica

    By Mike Wall published about 9 hours ago

    Starlink’s polar service is getting a test at McMurdo Station.
    SpaceX has long touted Starlink’s potential as a world connector, allowing people in rural areas and other underserved communities to access high-speed internet. And Starlink broadband is now beaming into one of the most remote communities on Earth — McMurdo Station, a research outpost run by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).\

  4. Being at perpetual risk of bankruptcy is Musk’s SOP, I would say. He is driven by his larger goals for humanity and his sense that the window of opportunity to achieve them may not be open long.

    1. Yeah, but sometimes it is the better decision to be more cautious and avoid those risks that kills you until you grow enough strength to successfully overcome those risks. But in this case, I’m guessing that they will get to orbit shortly, prove the Starlink 2, strengthen the confidence of investors and buy time until they have enduring strength. But, that really does depend upon the Raptors. If they keep blowing up launch after launch then reduced confidence = reduced valuation = less money to work with, etc.

  5. You just have to look at the amazing transformation from Hopper up to the latest test article to see the level of creative risk-taking and the payoff so far to date. Based on that track record, I have a lot of confidence that Starship will be successful.

  6. SpaceX will always have a market for Falcon 9 but they have been their own customer for over half of their launches this year. They could see traditional and newer customers drop off depending on how bad the economy gets. NASA contracts might be fairly steady but not a lot of room for growth and things could change there because if Russia really did pull out of the ISS there could be a station gap and with debt payments approaching the same levels as military and SS/Medicare, all government agencies might see a reduction in spending whether congress likes it or not.

    Elon has said the greatest risk is from the economy but judging by our monetary policy and its defenders, I don’t think most people understand the risk we face with the Great Transition. Musk is leaning into it hard but living in a tiny box so that you can afford giant batteries and solar panels is a hard sell, which is why force is used, and practically hard to implement. In the betweentime, the economy gets wrecked from government and DNC corporate interference creating the conditions that put expansion into space at risk along with such mundane things like growing food.

    Our debt and the Great Reset year zeroing out civilization need to be dealt with. Returning to reality would allow Musk to achieve his fantasy.

    1. –wodun
      September 15, 2022 at 11:49 AM

      SpaceX will always have a market for Falcon 9 but they have been their own customer for over half of their launches this year. —

      I heard there was 250 missions planned for the moon in the next decade:
      “At least six countries and a flurry of private companies have publicly announced more than 250 missions to the Moon to occur within the next decade.”

      How about if put it into amount rocket launches, do you 100 launches from Earth would happen by 2032
      which going to the Moon or average of 10 per year?
      And rather than decrease, will increase per year?
      There seems a good reason not to go to the Moon, and that is there is no mineable water on the moon. But one could have missions going to the moon even if there is no mineable water on the Moon- just might be a lot less.
      But what if there is mineable water on the Moon and companies start mining the lunar water?
      It seems there could be a very explosive increases in launches on the Moon.
      Let’s say, there is no mineable water on Moon and NASA explores Mars. That by itself will require more launches to Mars, but it seems it also add launches which NASA is not doing, to Mars.
      It also seems it would encourage more launches to places, other than Mars and Moon.
      The private Venus exploration could continue and as mentioned Venus orbit is important in regards to Mars exploration and Mars settlement. Maybe some country or company will also realize this is the case,
      We could de more exploration of various space rocks, and people are eager to explore outer planets. Of course China say it wants to go to Mars, also. A country like say, Japan might not think it has to be in the launch business, and simply buys rocket launches
      for whatever it might want to do. This be the case with other nations, also.
      And we private space station and use of zero inclination orbit.
      It doesn’t seem there is evident of global economic end of growth, fast growth might slow down.
      And if US has down turn, which nation is doing better than US??
      It seems is always be case of who runs faster from the bear, and don’t China even wants to run faster than the bear, who replacing China, in terms of all US has to do, is do better than other nations.

      1. Assuming there is just a slowdown in the global economy and that the USA gets their debt under control, then all those missions to the Moon could happen. The competition is healthy for all involved and whether through SpaceX or some other method of getting there, I hope all the destinations you mention are on the table.

    2. It is my understanding that Musk’s Starlink and Tesla profits are, in part, used to fund SpaceX’s activities (as one of its investors). His money, his choice how to use it.

      Starship/Superheavy may not yet be making profit. But once they make orbit, and beyond, they will begin to make profit the world has never before seen.

      The stock market won’t be able to compete in the same league.

  7. It’s worth remembering the bankruptcy talk came out of a leaked pep talk Musk was giving his troops. It’s also worth remembering even if Starship itself fails to achieve reusability, it will still be the most economical rocket ever built. Fully expendable SuperHeavy/Starkicker could deliver a lander, crew and the entire Gateway to lunar orbit in a single launch, for less than the cost of a single Falcon Heavy launch. Starkicker with a reusable SH stage could lift 200+ tons of Starlinks to LEO at a time. For less than the cost of a single Falcon 9.

  8. What’s involved in the spin prime test? Everybody’s using the term but I can’t find a description of what it is.

    1. In spin-prime tests, propellants are pumped through the engines without igniting them, in preparation for static fire tests (static fire tests involve engine burns without an actual launch of the rocket). So basically they’re making sure the hardware works without pulling the trigger. Raptor uses electrical igniters (like spark plugs). I was thinking they could use sparklers to burn off the methane, like STS and SLS for hydrogen, but I’m wrong. SpaceX is apparently capturing the methane and sending it off to a remote burner. I think the plume under the orbital launch mount is LOX and water vapor.

  9. Given what has been done so far, am I wrong in thinking that the main probably cause for failure of Starship is that the US Government keeps it from flying? I haven’t really heard of other potential show-stoppers.

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