Starship Is Still Not Understood

I missed this the first time around, about a year and a half ago, but it parallels many of the points that I made in my piece at The New Atlantis about the same time.

[Update late morning]

Airbus seems to be getting serious about space. I don’t see how the centrifuge helps all that much, though. The radius is too small for significant gravity, though it would help a lot to put the plumbing in it.

9 thoughts on “Starship Is Still Not Understood”

  1. I had not taken a look at the New Atlantis in a while. The last couple of editions appear to be mostly clickbait for neurotic housewives. Sad!

  2. Casey Handmer’s tale of Starship and the way NASA continues to envision lunar exploration reminds me of the outstanding work done by this man in the 1980s during the era when digital computers started coming of age as personal computers. Alas he passed in 2002. Who knows what he could have built with steam during the transition to smartphones? He’d have made a fine program manager for NASA.

  3. What isn’t understood about is that it has cost to the tune of $10 billion to get to this point, and none of this money is free.

    1. $10 billion? I heard Super Heavy is significantly cheaper than that:

      Musk had previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion and $10 billion. On Sept. 28, 2019, he said the price tag for SpaceX would be toward the lower end of that range — “probably closer to two or three [billion] than it is to 10 [billion],” Musk told CNN Business (opens in new tab) during an interview shortly after the design update.

      So likely to be under $6.5 billion when one strips away the verbiage. But even if it comes in at $10 billion, it’s still a deal. That’s one year of funding for SLS/Artemis and a better deal for NASA, even if NASA were to pay the entire cost of Super Heavy development by themselves rather than SpaceX.

  4. “What isn’t understood about is that it has cost to the tune of $10 billion to get to this point, and none of this money is free.”

    WTF? Worth every cent and dirt cheap at that.

  5. Starship is boilerplate, but going to build a lot boilerplates, which could launch 10,000+ satellites and take crew to the Moon. But at some point we get a Starship or Starships which aren’t a boilerplate.
    But if SLS launches twice, and somewhere near schedule, NASA should continue, until it become more obvious, then not continue funding it.

    1. SLS serves no purpose even as an alternative to Super Heavy. It’s too expensive and launches too infrequently.

  6. NASA should just accept that they won’t build anything that can compete with Starship in the near future, and should change their focus towards doing sophisticated things in space and quit fretting over making big boosters.

    Being a government organization, they should focus on the tasks that don’t have a huge market and don’t generate revenue streams, like planetary probes, astronomy, and complex orbital infrastructure that will better support ongoing activities.

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