19 thoughts on “Starship Update”

  1. So wither the concept of mission creep vis-a-vis the FAA?

    Say, for sake of argument, that every goal is met successfully for IFT-4. Wither the ruling of the FAA for the next flight license? After suitable review meaning what? As the envelope expands for IFT-5, IFT-6… etc. where does the FAA take the goal post? Out to the parking lot or up to the 30 yard line? Seems to me this regulatory regime can at best be defined as “arbitrary” and at worst “political”.

    I’d have a lot more confidence in the entire Starship/SH regulatory process if there were goals established ahead of time that determines what triggers a regulator review and why. It’d make a lot more sense to establish this now, ahead of time for what is essentially an experimental rocket program. It doesn’t make sense to me that an FAA review ought to be triggered for a mishap in orbit that has absolutely no effect during launch and retrieval. Should either a Startship or SH lose control on ascent, or during retrieval that might effect third parties on the ground, then that’s a different story. But why not establish that criteria now?

    In the ultimate of production irony, we will soon have a mass production capability of assembly line produced reusable rockets with interchangeable, standardized tooled parts, rolling off the assembly line that rely on certification methods the require certification methods using hand-crafted licensing procedures.

    In other words, should we feel good had that every Model-T that rolled off the assembly line in the early 20th Century, by law, came equipped with a hand-made buggy whip?

  2. I don’t really “get” the Artemis timeline.

    As I understand it, bending metal has already gotten underway for the Gateway, yet questions remain as to whether it will be used?

    Gateway to be launched in its initial two module configuration (propulsion and habitation, I’ll spare you the acronyms) on a Falcon 9 Heavy. I’m assuming there will be some checkout, etc. before it’s injected into cis-lunar space and then I’m assuming it will assume its Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit under control of the propulsion module.

    On a parallel track NASA seems to be wanting to pursue the option of having Orion dock with the Starship lunar lander first in LEO, ala Apollo 9 style, to do checkouts and potential orbital maneuvers via Starship before returning to Earth via Orion. Then potentially docking in a future mission with Starship/Lunar in LEO for TLI and landing on the moon solely in Starship/Lunar? Return to Earth via same route to dock with Orion in LEO for Earth return.

    So where does that leave the Gateway? Does it get launched as a derelict in Space? Or cancelled prior to launch in order to occupy an exhibit at the Smithsonian as an outstanding example of international co-operation in Space?

    Our tax dollars hard at work.

    1. There was never any prospect of a serious human lunar program from NASA until it is allowed to end its dependence on SLS/Orion.

      Of this there seems like less and less doubt…

      Maybe we’ll just pitch the Gateway out there into NRHO as a goal for ESA, JAXA and our other “partners” to occupy? PlaySkool in Space?

      1. I’ve long pointed out the easy path to a viable SLS/Orion architecture. Just scale down the Orion for Peter Dinklage size astronauts and the weight savings will bring the total delta V back up to lunar mission requirements.

    2. From Berger’s link; Nelson’s quotable moment during his testimony before the House:

      The Plan Is To Land

      Just how far into the moon we’ll be landing, we don’t yet know…

  3. I can agree that the IG’s report is redundant, but when NASA is trying to invent flight rational for the heat shield on Artemis II, I think it is perhaps a good idea to be redundant. I realize astronauts are a dime a dozen when it comes to available missions, but the uncertainty around Orion’s heat shield is something only NASA could attempt to ignore. Anyone else, SpaceX or Boeing, would have to resolve such concerns with a flight test.

  4. OK, send Ballast Bill (he’s ass-tronaut trained!) and Catherine Koerner. No issues, right?

    1. I’d include the sole copies of the computer model source and executable code for the heat shield on that flight as well. Might need the additional ballast.

  5. I sometimes expect that Elon will get bored with waiting and decide to send someone to the moon on his own. I also wonder if he have to build a launch site some where else to do it. Destination Moon seems more prescient every day. Despite the movies attempt to blame someone else, the commies were in government then too.

    1. American companies need FAA launch licenses etc. regardless of where in the world they launch from (see: Rocketlab launches from NZ).

Comments are closed.