As far as I know, the BFR's main body tool was supposed to serve as a positive mold for the carbon fiber structure. Now that the design is deprecated and that SpaceX is building Starhopper without this tool, but out of steel out in the field, is the tool of any meaningful use?

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    $\begingroup$ I believe they already scrapped it, So I guess SpaceX's opinion on that is no? teslarati.com/spacex-all-in-steel-starship-super-heavy $\endgroup$ – Vincent B Jun 13 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @VincentB That says it all. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Everyday Astronaut Jun 13 '19 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ In the aerospace industry, tooling (large structures built to tight tolerances) is commonly used to support the manufacture of an aircraft/spacecraft. When manufacturing ends, this tooling becomes useless and is scrapped. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jun 13 '19 at 19:25

Around the 20th of March 2019 various news sources reported that SpaceX had scrapped the majority of its custom-built tooling for BFR. Now switching their focus completely to a stainless steel design.


In a wholly unforeseen turn of events, SpaceX has taken the extraordinary step of permanently scrapping both its Port of Los Angeles-based BFR development tent and what seem to be the majority of what it contained, irreparably destroying custom-built tooling meant to support the fabrication of carbon composite BFR spaceships and boosters.

So it seems SpaceX themselves couldn't come up with a better use for these tools than scrap metal.

  • $\begingroup$ Definitive answer! $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jun 13 '19 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect that their last definitive use was as a tax deduction. Tooling is usually subject to multi-year depreciation. If you declare end-of-utility and destroy it, you can recoup the remaining value immediately. $\endgroup$ – Bob Jacobsen Jun 14 '19 at 3:32

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