While I do understand that high wind speed is a risk for space launches (and all air flights), still, is it a physical constraint or a computational problem given we are not dealing with a hurricane/tornado?

I mean, the thrust of Starship engines should be enough to be able to (auto-)correct the course also under heavy wind?

(question inspired by the recent Starhip SN9 delay)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Note that the Flight Termination System on Starship is not yet integrated into the vehicle. It is a strap-on part that gets attached to the outside of the vehicle and needs to be manually armed and safed. Also, I believe the body flaps are currently still tied down and need to be released. Both of these require a person to go up on a cherry picker (well over 50m in the case of the nose body flaps!) which have their own wind limits, which are probably lower than what Starship can handle. Also, it's a test campaign, so they don't even know the wind limits yet. $\endgroup$ Jan 27 at 9:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about actual orbital launches or these test hops? There are several questions and answers on the site already about the effects of wind on orbital launches. $\endgroup$ Jan 27 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't know that possible course correction is not yet part of the test. $\endgroup$
    – J. Doe
    Jan 27 at 13:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wind shear, cross-wind stability, turbulence,... $\endgroup$ Jan 27 at 15:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ some rockets are flying noodles and though they can withstand incredible axial forces are pretty sensitive to sideways forces that can result from a difference in wind pressure along their length inducing sudden small changes in attitude perhaps. Why does the CRS-8 Falcon 9 rocket appear to be swaying before launch? and If not constrained by underpasses, etc., would Falcon 9 have been less of a flying noodle? See also this answer $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 27 at 20:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.