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69 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" ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
62 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 ...
Ajedi32's user avatar
  • 914
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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 74.9k
51 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 ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
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 ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
50 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 ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
50 votes
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What is SpaceX doing differently with Starship to avoid it exploding like the N1?

One of the problems the N-1 faced was a lack of testing. They never did full up static fires, since the engines (NK-15) could only fire once after which valves needed to be replaced (multiplied by 30+...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
49 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 ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
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 ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
45 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 ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
45 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 ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 1,922
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 ...
Saiboogu's user avatar
  • 6,417
42 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 ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
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: ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
41 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 ...
Tony L's user avatar
  • 386
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 ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
38 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 ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
37 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 ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
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 ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
37 votes

Was Starship’s “launch window” administrative, rather than due to orbital mechanics?

Besides the "physical" constraints of launch windows (orbital parameters, technical limits like fueling), keeping a launch window "open" is also associated with a large fiscal and ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
36 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 ...
Saiboogu's user avatar
  • 6,417
33 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 ...
Ben Simmons's user avatar
33 votes

Why was Space X's Starship blown up?

Why not let it fall in one piece, so it will be more intact and thus easier to investigate as to what went wrong? There were designated areas where it was okay for Super Heavy and Starship to ...
Erin Anne's user avatar
  • 11.5k
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 ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
32 votes

Why does the heatshield have to be on the outside?

To answer the title: Why does the heatshield have to be on the outside? Because most materials commonly used in spacecraft construction melt at the temperatures encountered during reentry. And most ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
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 ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
31 votes
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Is the failure to separate Starship from the Super Heavy booster a "dumb failure" and does it tell something about the project reliability?

It is far too early to say for sure exactly what happened during the Starship launch. And, to my knowledge, SpaceX have not provided any explanation so far. That said it is highly likely that SpaceX ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,540
31 votes
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On April 20 2023, how did Super Heavy burn for 40% longer than planned?

How did it burn so long? Because it was loaded with way more fuel than required for the planned burn. Why did it burn so long? Because it was trying to make orbit with less thrust. If some of the ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar

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