New answers tagged

3

A better question to ask might be: why do planes not land vertically, and instead require a long runway? The answer is that the engine (or more precisely the propellor or fan stage it drives) lacks sufficient thrust to overcome gravity, and therefore the plane relies on air passing at speed under its (large) wings to maintain lift. Rockets have enormous ...


40

You're basically describing the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle wasn't even a good solution when it was designed. It had precisely one goal - to look like a plane for the image of the Air Force. As far as engineering goes, the Big Dumb Booster was already well proven, and is what every other solution to space has used. But in order to get Air Force ...


12

In addition to the other very valid answers, at the moment we see Starship flying alone and can easily visualize adding wings, but in orbital mode it will be stacked atop the superheavy booster. Adding large wings to the top of a rocket makes it very unstable, akin to making a dart fly backwards source, and would need to be stacked at an odd angle to zeroise ...


8

On Earth, you need only build a suitable runway. Have a look at the Fly Back Booster concept from the 1990s. Gliding can lower rate of descent even better than parachuting, and at high landing speeds not a lot of wing is needed. One can only imagine a time traveler going back to the 1970s and meeting von Braun. We might have some idea what the NASA SLS ...


12

Wings are heavy. Surprisingly so. As Jorg pointed out there is no air on the Moon, and Mars's atmosphere is pretty thin. In fact, Starships payload to the Moon is surprisingly low, because it has to carry all the fuel to land entirely propulsively. Cheating by using air resistance is important.


43

There is not enough air on Mars. You would need absolutely humongous wings. There is no air at all on the Moon. Surely SpaceX can find a quick and easy way to get Starship vertical and in position for the next launch. Starship is not structurally capable of being in a horizontal position. It will simply crumple and/or break in half. Could you remove an ...


2

I think their preferred term is "Hover slam" not suicide burn. This is somewhat answered in a different question:Boostback, reentry, and landing burn times and it is about 32 seconds. We saw on the NRO mission, where they asked SpaceX not to show fairing deploy or any video from the second stage (Spooks, whatcha gonna do?) that they played the ...


8

In addition to the answers to this near-duplicate question, you should note that a solid rocket casing is much sturdier than a liquid fueled stage. The shuttle SRBs were deformed by the force of the water impact and had to be re-rounded as part of their refurbishment; a Falcon 9 first stage would be completely crushed in a similar parachute landing, not to ...


Top 50 recent answers are included