Now that NASA has announced the selection of SpaceX to manufacture the Moon landing vehicle(s) for the Artemis program, I can't but notice how tall Starship is when compared to other concepts. Chances are that even with Falcon-9-like landing legs it may flip during or after landing, since there's no prepared landing surface on the Moon. So, how big are the risks of Starship flipping during or after landing, or during payload deployment? Are there any public explanations how SpaceX is going to deal with the problem? Also, as a sub-question, how will cargo crane work if Starship is not strictly vertical?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your sentence that starts "Chances are..." seems incorrect. Why do you think it may flip after landing, and why do you think it is more likely to do that than to stand upright? $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Apr 19 at 7:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What makes you think it won't be horizontal or solid? The moon's surface is well mapped, we know where the flat spots are. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Apr 19 at 7:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Even if you find a horizontal spot, how can you be sure its solid? Regolith is mostly dust and fines, and who can distinguish from orbit if there are hollows below? $\endgroup$
    – ZuOverture
    Apr 19 at 7:25
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ NASA will provide specifications to SpaceX for landing site maximum slope. SpaceX will design the legs to accept that slope. NASA will ask pointed questions about contingencies. SpaceX will redesign the legs until NASA is satisfied. I won't be a bit surprised if a SpaceX lander crashes in a fireball on the moon, but I will be astonished if it lands and then tips over because the landing leg base wasn't wide enough. $\endgroup$ Apr 19 at 7:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Trying to find the actual spec to write an answer - so far only have nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/… which talks about a number of concerns, but landed stability is not one of them. $\endgroup$ Apr 19 at 11:45

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.