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Thread: SpaceX: Super Heavy, Starship, and Hopper (Cocoa, FL: Starship Mk-2 pic - shiny!)

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  1. #1
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default SpaceX: Super Heavy, Starship, and Hopper (Cocoa, FL: Starship Mk-2 pic - shiny!)

    Much news, first things first

    Because of wanting to lean out the company, new launch system design reviews noted below (materials changes), and a culling of personnel with low annual review scores, SpaceX is laying off about 10% of their 7,000 employees. 577 are from Hawthorne and the rest are scattered. OTOH, there about 400 positions on their Careers page, many at KSC and in Seattle (the StarLink internet/data satellite centers.)

    Names (old:new) & schedules

    Big F'ing Rocket/BFR: Super Heavy (SH)
    Big F'ing Spaceship/BFS: Starship (SS)
    Landing test vehicle: Hopper, which is almost complete
    Orbital test vehicle: Starship Mk-1 under construction, due in June
    Super Heavy test vehicle: construction bgins spring 2019

    Major changes due to PDR have actually accelerated the schedule by several months, with the first Hopper test flights coming in a few weeks. Maiden flight of the full stack 2020-ish.

    OUT:
    composite structures,
    passive ablative main heat shield,
    vacuum version of Raptor CH4/LOX engine.

    IN:
    cryogenically formed 300 series stainless steel and superalloy structures,
    active main heat shield cooled by liquid methane,
    uprated Raptor engine using a dual-bell altitude compensating nozzle,
    Hopper will use 3 of the uprated Raptor engines.

    These material changes mean most people hired to build large composite structures are no longer needed.

    Caveats:
    the vacuum Raptor engine may return later,
    heat shields for hot spots; canard and fin leading edges, tips etc., look to be NASA's Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC.)

    SpaceX says the stainless steel & superalloy structures, and active liquid methane main heat shield, will make both SH and SS look like "liquid silver"

    The Hopper, a very retro KISS testbed for the Raptor engines and new landing software, has been built in the open air at SpaceX's under construction Boca Chica launch center - 20+ miles east of Brownsville Texas. To build the tank-like engine bay they called in Caldwell, a company which builds high strength water towers. Watching it be built has been quite a show.

    When construction started before Christmas everyone thought Hopper was a water tower,



    Then it became clear this wasn't a water tower,



    Now, things are getting very real...

    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.







    These renderings show numeric and relative vehicle sizes,

    Space Shuttle, Hopper and Starship




    Saturn V, Super Heavy/Starship, Falcon 9
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 15th January 2019 at 00:31.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    The nose cone and development engines have been removed, so it's likely the propellant tank's common bulkhead, upper dome and plumbing work is next.

    As an NSF article states, the horizontal Raptor engine test stand at SpaceX's McGregor Texas test site has been completely reworked. It's been greatly beefed up, re-plumbed, and it's received a larger engine mounting plate.

    This together with Musk stating the "radically redesigned Raptor" has 100,000 hp (74.6MW) of turbopump power vs. the 36,208 hp (27MW) of the development engines, indicates it's a friggin' beast.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    WHOA!!!!!

    Assurances aside, this doesn't bode well for Hawthorne and California once Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are retired.

    https://www.latimes.com/business/la-...16-story.html.

    In blow to Los Angeles, SpaceX is moving its Mars spaceship and booster work to Texas

    In a reversal of a deal local officials touted as a win for Los Angeles tech, SpaceX will no longer be developing and building its Mars spaceship and rocket booster system at the Port of Los Angeles. Instead, the work will be done in South Texas.

    SpaceX said in a statement Wednesday that the decision was made to "streamline operations."

    "This decision does not impact our current manufacture, design, and launch operations in Hawthorne and Vandenberg Air Force Base," a company spokesperson said in the statement. "Additionally, SpaceX will continue recovery operations of our reusable Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft at the Port of Los Angeles."
    >
    Dr. Mordrid
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    So Fake News™, and Starship Mk-1 gets assembled at Boca Chica too. And we thought there were rubber-neckers on Highway 4 with the Hopper build....

    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    The source info is incorrect. Starship & Raptor development is being done out of our HQ in Hawthorne, CA. We are building the Starship prototypes locally at our launch site in Texas, as their size makes them very difficult to transport.
    6:25 PM - Jan 16, 2019

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1085679367374524417
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Musk interviewed by Popular Mechanics.

    Subject: Starship & stainless steel.

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/spa...ainless-steel/

    Summary

    Alloy: initially (Starship Mk 1?) 301 stainless steel, later something "special";

    Why stainless?: stronger at cryogenic temps, high heat bearing capacity.

    Structure: double-walled on windward side during re-entry with transpirational active cooling;

    Transpirational active cooling: the outer wall has micro-perforations, through which liquid CH4 or water is sprayed to create a boundary layer. That's your heat shield. No heat shield needed on the leeward side because stainless can take those loads.

    Counterintuitive: transpirational + stainless ends up lighter than composites with a passive heat shield, and it's far cheaper; the composites were $135/kg with 35% going to scrap while stainless steel is $3/kg.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Starship transpirational heat shield test,

    Video at link

    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Testing metallic heat shield at 1100C (2000F) @SpaceX
    1:09 AM - Jan 25, 2019

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1088680182540464128
    |
    Jason Houge @JasonHou
    Replying to @elonmusk @SpaceX
    Are you useing @boringcompany flamethrowers for this test?
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    These are industrial strength. Not recommended for use at home!
    1:12 AM - Jan 25, 2019

    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 24th January 2019 at 22:31.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Matthew Keegan @keego73
    Hi Elon. My 12yo son Finlay is doing an assignment on the colonisation of our solar system and wants to know how many crew members would be in the BFR on such a mission.
    Thanks @elonmusk
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Its designed for 100 people on a Mars journey
    |
    Everyday Astronaut @Erdayastronaut
    Replying to @elonmusk @keego73
    I just realized another major advantage to stainless steel on Starship. It could literally be repaired with a welder!!!! Something thats not nearly as easy when dealing with composites. Imagine a super banged up Starship with patches and dings after decades of use
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Absolutely. Youve touched on a very important point. The ship must be easy to repair on the moon and Mars.
    5:13 PM - Jan 31, 2019
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Vlogger Tim Dodd, AKA Everyday Astronaut, has a new episode during which he explains the choice of stainless steel over composites, and the idea behind Starship's transpirational heat shield.

    Dr. Mordrid
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    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

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  9. #9
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Another Raptor TweetStorm...

    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Raptor reached 268.9 bar today, exceeding prior record held by the awesome Russian RD-180. Great work by @SpaceX engine/test team! pic.twitter.com/yPrvO0JhyY
    |
    John Kraus @johnkrausphotos
    Replying to @elonmusk @SpaceX
    What was the duration of the test fire?
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    About 11 secs
    |
    Eric Ralph @13ericralph31
    Replying to @elonmusk @SpaceX
    Wow Can you say how many tests have been performed thus far? I doubt it can speak much to the long-term longevity of Raptor, but I feel like 3-5+ static fires in the first 7 freaking days of integrated hot-fires is a damn good sign.
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    I think 6 where we lit main chamber & several with only preburners
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Yes, aiming for 380 sec Isp with vac nozzle. Maybe 382 if we get lucky.
    |
    Anthony Iemole @SpaceXFan97
    Replying to @elonmusk and 2 others
    I know you said Raptor would eventually reach 300 bar, but will you stop there or go furthur? 300 is already impressive but is it capable of more?
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Much above 300 bar main chamber pressure means extreme oxygen preburner pressure of 700 to 800+ bar. Definitely pushing the limit of known physics.
    |
    Elon Musk ✓ @elonmusk
    Propellant was not deep cryo. CH4 & O2 were just barely below liquid temp at 1 bar. In theory, Raptor should do ~300 bar at deep cryo, provided everything holds together, which is far from certain. However, only 250 bar is needed for nominal operation of Starship/Super Heavy.
    |
    Elon Musk ✓ @elonmusk
    This will sound implausible, but I think theres a path to build Starship / Super Heavy for less than Falcon 9
    |
    @SpaceXFan97
    Wow! I assume the switch to Stainless Steel is a big factor in this?
    |
    Elon Musk ✓ @elonmusk
    Yes
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 10th February 2019 at 19:33.
    Dr. Mordrid
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  10. #10
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    Randomness as a human @epoxy101
    Replying to @elonmusk and 3 others
    will it be cheaper than F9 for kg to LEO for instance?
    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    At least 10X cheaper
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Everyday Astronaut @Erdayastronaut
    Replying to @elonmusk and 4 others
    Will there still be these header tanks inside starship?


    |
    Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
    Yeah, but simpler. Needed for landing burn or engines will suck in a bubble.
    2:10 AM - Feb 13, 2019

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1095580873624190977
    Dr. Mordrid
    ----------------------------
    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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