26 thoughts on “The Static Fire”

    1. They have an honest-to-goodness pile of deluge pipes that was transported to the site, but it sat on the sidelines and has yet to be installed. The mist system was to reduce ambient methane that ignored during the first spin prime tests.

      This was mentioned a number of times on the NasaSpaceFlight live stream as well.

      1. I was wondering if they were going to install the salvage deluge system before anything else, but I guess not. It’s been sitting around at KSC for quite a while. Btw, I seldom watch the NSF livestream. Those guys are a bit much. Not to mention the fact that most amateur space journalists get on camera, then grin and wag their heads until you’re seasick.

  1. The concrete particle rain after the test seemed less than usual, which suggests the new stronger stuff directly under the mount did it’s job, and the surrounding stuff may have been somewhat removed by default in readiness for replacement.

    1. I think refractories might be the wrong way to go for the pad. They age, they soak up moisture, they crack. In industrial furnaces and kilns they have to be replaced every few years, and that’s without any extreme violence. If Elon wants to sustain a high flight rate, he can’t have pads shutting down for a week or two to properly cure refractories.

      Logic might say “Make the pad out of the same materials as the rocket nozzles.”

      1. Then watch as the pad ignites in a ball of green fire called pad-rich exhaust! The reason rocket engines survive is because they’re regeneratively cooled. (Although there are ablatively and radiatively cooled engines, they’re single use.) I did wonder if you could create a liquid cooled pad, with water flowing through pipes, but… right. Water deluge. Pipes not needed.

        1. It looked like that was exactly their original intention at the first 39A Starship pad, which was only partially built before being scrapped.

          1. Was it hundreds of smallish copper pipe flowing
            water thru them at say 40 psi.
            Rows spaced [gap say 4 times pipe diameter for pipe] and another row pipe below it [in middle of gap]. And under that a row at 90 angle to top two rows.
            If copper pipe has water going thru it, it can’t heat up too much but if creates steam, it can freely push water out faster, or open end, can’t be become over pressurized, if getting a lot steam, flow water thru it at say 60 psi and/or use bigger pipes.
            One could ask how much does cool or slow the exhaust gases, but it cheap, and would block anything kick up back at the engines. And wears out, get copper scrap value, make another one [not a very reuse thing, but make it fast enough thing to replace it].

  2. Why not just put some massive steel playing over all exposed surfaces? Surely a thick enough piece of steel will take the thermal load till the rocket clears the tower. Shit, you could even embed soiling channels in it and pipe water through it.

    1. Steel would erode, though cooling channels would work. But the open air water deluge will do the job. Catchment and recycling might be required by EPA. I’m not sure how much would flash to steam and join the clouds.

    1. Well I don’t know about you, but I much prefer a rocket that doesn’t soil itself.

      Spill correction always gets me in the end.

  3. A point for inland launch sites is no water table. Look at the blast pit under the relatively puny R-7 in Kazakhstan. Imagine what you could do on the parts of the Colorado Plateau that are covered with thick layers of old lava. It’d be hard to dig the pit, but once dug it’d be there for the next few hundred million years.

    1. Gloater’s on NasaSpaceFlight.com are such renown geniuses why would anyone doubt them over the SpaceX chief designer?

  4. Some of the engines in SuperHeavy gimbal while most do not. I wonder what the critical number of gimbal engines failing is before an abort? If it happens post lift off there must be an abort to sea option I would think. Could there be an abort to RTLS for Starship in these scenarios? I’m obviously thinking long term not short term. For the upcoming launches I’m assuming the abort option is to dump it in the drink.

  5. Another thought, should an engine fail would it be better to actually intentionally shut of another to balance thrust?

    I suspect the answer in this case with 33 engines is probably no for a single engine failure.

    When this thing launches the sound will be glorious.

    After the 100th launching a nuisance.

    1. That’s not necessary because the inner 13 engines are gimbal mounted and can compensate. Differential thrust steering was yet another N-1 failing. Sound? Glorious, yes, but no louder than Falcon Heavy. Supposedly. I guess we’ll find out. Wish I could be there in person!

  6. Meanwhile, now that Blue Origin has a contract to launch to Mars next year, how many launches to orbit have they managed? In fact, how long has a BE-4 engine run?

    1. What’s the Vulcan first stage burn time? Take that and double it, and that’s likely a good approximation to the max time a BE-4 has run in a single run. And they’ve undoubtedly done that several times at least.

      Seriously, Vulcan is set to launch in the next few months with its full complement of BE-4s already installed; ULA wouldn’t be in that position if Blue Origin had scrimped on the testing. I’m not defending Blue’s apparent extreme lack of urgency in getting New Glenn into orbit, but comments that portray them as at-best just wannabes are silly. Blue is secretive to a fault, but they clearly have enough reality behind the public curtain to back up their proposals.

      (All that said, they clearly have made substantial missteps over the last decade or so, to my eyes mostly managerial, to be so late to the game; I’m very glad I turned them down when they offered me a job in 2007…)

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