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2024-06-04 17:36:03 (Originally published at: 2023-11-27)

Starship thoughts

I'm following SpaceX's Starship program since the SN8 flight. They almost managed to reach orbit in their most recent flight test (IFT-2).

My opinion is that it's exciting to see new things tried, but I think it makes more sense to simply build upon stuff that work and improve on that.

Though I still wonder if this design is the optimal one or not. First of all the pointy end up is relevant only while the spacecraft is in the atmosphere. It may make sense to use a recoverable fairing instead like Falcon 9 does. So you don't need to bring that mass into orbit. So instead of Starship variants, the different ships would differ only in the kind of payloads. The one that launches satellites would have recoverable fairings that the work like falcon 9, just bigger. The one that carries people, would be a big space shuttle like human rated 3rd stage capsule. etc. That way they can use one standarized platform to launch all these, and they only need to add tiles on the barrel section.

I also wonder if they completely abandoned the hot gas thruster idea. Perhaps they can can use that so they can do conventional staging instead of hot staging.


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