The Shuttle was designed with a huge payload of 20 tons. This was supposed to not be a problem since:
- the reusability would drive down costs until satellite operators dropped expensive space hardware and built large low-cost machines.
- And if that didn't cut it, the cost would still be so low that wasted capacity would not matter.
That worked out very well.
Now, Elon Musk wants to make money off a vehicle that, at a payload of 100 tons, is several times more capacity. And that too, with a launch price on par with today's smallest rockets — \$2 to \$7 million.
Even if we allow Musk to be off by an order of magnitude, such that his launch price is \$20 to \$70 million — in the same range as Falcon 9 — where is he going to get the payload?
- Starship is not forcibly crewed
- Its design makes for much less maintenance
- and thus faster turnaround
Where are the 100-ton satellites?
Especially with that fast turnaround time. Does he really think he can get a 50-ton launch once a week?
We haven't even started talking about how he wants to mass-produce them!
I am looking for justifications for the above based on
- factual information on design aspects of Starship,
- past experience with these aspects
- scientifically plausible predictions on how these would b have on Starship to achieve the above-mentioned results.