68 votes
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Why do SpaceX Starships look so "homemade"?

It seems to me that the SpaceX Starship rockets have sort of a homemade quality to them, like they were made in someone's garage with basic tools That is because they are! The "zeroth" ...
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61 votes

Isn't Starship way too big?

The purpose of Starship is not merely to put satellites into orbit for cheap. If that were its purpose then you'd be correct; it's way overbuilt for that. Starship wasn't created to put satellites ...
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  • 874
57 votes
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Why isn't SpaceX's Starship "trial and error" development strategy an open source project?

There are many reasons. They include money, intellectual property, regulations, and Elon Musk. Money. Building open source software is relatively inexpensive, sometimes ridiculously inexpensive. No ...
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50 votes
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Why is Elon Musk building the Starship first?

Starship alone is not capable of orbital flight, but it is capable of high suborbital flights sufficient for testing reentries. The booster's only use is as a first stage for Starship. It could only ...
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49 votes
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Why isn't SpaceX constructing the Super Heavy launch mount on top of the water?

Salt does all sorts of unpleasant things to just about every building material humans use. Hot salt spray, such as you'd get from a rocket launch, is even worse: spraying something with hot saltwater ...
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  • 11.5k
48 votes

Why not land SpaceX's Starship like a plane?

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 ...
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47 votes

Why is SpaceX not also working on a smaller version of Starship?

There are several compelling engineering and design reasons why a bigger spaceship makes sense and several reasons why making a mini-starship does not make sense for SpaceX specifically (and their ...
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  • 14.6k
47 votes

Why do SpaceX Starships look so "homemade"?

So there are probably several things about which you are referring. They mostly stem from the same issue, which is using Stainless Steel for the hull of the vehicle. This has benefits that other ...
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  • 76.4k
46 votes

Why has a rocket system like Starship never been proposed before? It does not seem to use any new science, materials or fuels

I wonder why nobody ever proposed a space launch system like Starship. What exactly do you mean by "like Starship"? Systems like Starship have been proposed before, although differing in ...
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44 votes
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Why create a production line for the SpaceX Starship?

Musk is creating a Starship "production line", because obviously, he wants a lot of Starships. This aligns with the company's goal of "making humanity a multi-planetary species". As for "where is ...
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  • 14.6k
44 votes
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Why not land SpaceX's Starship like a plane?

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 ...
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  • 1,728
42 votes
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Why is SpaceX building the Big Falcon Ship before the Big Falcon Rocket?

Neither has much financial purpose without the other. A BFR cannot perform any useful function without an upper stage, and that is the BFS. Since the whole platform is a major investment in a new ...
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  • 6,377
42 votes

Why has a rocket system like Starship never been proposed before? It does not seem to use any new science, materials or fuels

Fundamentally, it's because of economics. There simply wasn't any demand for a large rocket between today and the space race. Let's analyze what (I think) makes the Starship concept special: Size: ...
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  • 14.6k
41 votes
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Can a spaceship land on an icy body using retropropulsion? wouldn't the ice melt?

Sorry for the length of this, but it brings up some interesting facts and possibilities. The moons you mention, Titan, Europa, and Enceladus, are three very different places. Titan has a relatively ...
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  • 17.9k
40 votes
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SpaceX Starship landing on Moon or Mars: why doesn't it fall over?

In my experience, I've noticed that SpaceX uses a lot of temporary components until such temporary components need to actually be tested. Since the legs of MK1, MK2, and most probably MK3 will never ...
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  • 376
40 votes

Why did the SpaceX Starship SN10 explode?

EDIT: Elon has revealed in multiple tweets (one, two, three, four) what went wrong, and although this doesn't tell us exactly what led to the explosion directly, it gives some insight to what went ...
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  • 14.6k
37 votes
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Can someone explain the SN10 landing failure in layperson's terms?

SpaceX plans to use autogenous pressurization for Starship. Autogenous pressurization means using the same consumable that is in the tank in its gaseous state to pressurize the tank. So, for the ...
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37 votes
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Exactly why does Starship need to be this big for interplanetary travel?

A lot of launch costs are independent of rocket size. It's no cheaper to clear the flight path for a smaller rocket, for example. It also takes a lot longer to do 10 launches instead of one large ...
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36 votes
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What is a thrust puck on Starship?

Starship is a 9 meter wide vehicle. The first stage (Super Heavy) will be mounting 35 or 38 or some other number in that range of sea level engines. As you can imagine that will take at least ...
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  • 76.4k
35 votes

Why have SpaceX skipped the SpaceX Starship SN12, SN13, and SN14?

This is some unsourced conjecture, since much of this simply comes from public observations of operations in Texas by the countless fans. They are running Boca Chica like a prototype Starship assembly ...
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  • 6,377
34 votes
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Why doesn't Starship have four landing legs?

In the question you mention about why Falcon 9 uses four legs to land instead of three, there are multiple great answers. One of them by @David Hammen states that: "Another factor is that the ...
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  • 3,579
32 votes

Why is SpaceX building the Big Falcon Ship before the Big Falcon Rocket?

Elon Musk stated in a news conference after the Falcon Heavy launch that the BFS will be the focus because they think they understand designing booster rockets pretty well, and thus they decided to ...
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  • 118k
31 votes
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Why have SpaceX skipped the SpaceX Starship SN12, SN13, and SN14?

SpaceX is doing two things in Boca Chica: Prototyping Starship and Superheavy Prototyping the factory for building Starship and Superheavy The second one is probably even more important than the ...
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31 votes
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Why are Starship landings so difficult when SpaceX has landed so many boosters?

There are a few reasons: The most obvious but easier to overcome is that the Starship is new. They haven't had the time to perfect everything. For example, the Raptor engines use two separate ...
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30 votes

Why will the BFS reenter broadside rather than engine first?

F9 can enter engine first because it isn't returning from orbital speeds. While fast, it's a fraction of the speeds something returning from orbit (or further) comes in at. So the engines are out as ...
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  • 6,377
30 votes

Why 31 engines for the BFR?

Anyone know what the story is? The main driver for the large number of engines on the BFR first stage is the desire to use a common engine design (albeit with different optimized nozzles) for both ...
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29 votes

For the Starship SN8 flight, did they lose engines in flight?

Elon Musk posted a tweet on this topic: The Raptors were well below max thrust or the ship would have blown through the altitude limit. As we hit min throttle point, an engine would shut off. The ...
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  • 76.4k
28 votes

Has SpaceX chosen to drop the Transpiration cooling of Starship? If so, why?

Despite SpaceX's high-tech reputation, SpaceX aren't where they are today because they made massive technological leaps or pushed the envelope of science--after all, just doing science doesn't earn ...
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  • 14.6k
27 votes
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What are SpaceX's Starship's header tanks?

This has been answered before, but I chose not to just mark it a duplicate because there is one new reason for the header tank unique to Starship. In a Reddit AMA in 2017 where Elon Musk answered ...
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  • 1,408
27 votes

Why do SpaceX Starships look so "homemade"?

It’s important to keep in mind what SpaceX is trying to achieve here and follow its logic. Their goal is to make humanity a multi-planet species and build a self sustaining city on Mars. And this is ...
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  • 5,616

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