SpaceX Starship Reached Orbit. Why Does It Matter?

SpaceX Starship Reached Orbit. Why Does It Matter?

SpaceX had the huge success on March 14, 2024 with the successful launch of Starship to orbit. The Super Heavy booster returned most of the way but lost control before a soft landing attempt. The Starship was lost after about 49 minutes when it tried to re-enter but burned up with some lost heat shield.

It is clear that over 5-9 more launches in 2024, that SpaceX will be mastering the launch and landing of Super Heavy and Starship. I think SpaceX will be able to return the booster for a soft water landing on the next attempt and 80% chance of returning the Starship for soft water landing.

If SpaceX is able to match the flightplan then there will be no delays for investigations. If they plan to land in the water and they land in the water then there will be no investigations. No investigations will means the next launch attempt would be in a month instead of 2-3 month where investigations are needed.

The safe return to the launch tower will likely happen on the 3rd or 4th attempt this year.

SpaceX currently only has authorization for 5 more launch attempts this year. Brett Bellmore asked the FAA:

SpaceX applied to modify its existing vehicle operator license for the Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle from its Cameron County, TX site. After completing an evaluation of all applicable Vehicle Operator License requirements, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a modification to the Vehicle Operator License for SpaceX launches of the Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program in Cameron County, TX on March 13, 2024. The modification authorizes the third flight of Starship/Super Heavy.

So, when we say their current permissions only allow 6 flights a year, that’s not quite right. They actually have to go crawling to the FAA to beg for permission for each individual test flight.

SpaceX will likely get the Starship launching full sized Gen 2 and Gen 3 Starlink satellites in 2025. A full Starship with Gen 2 Starlink will be about one hundred – two ton satellites or fifty four ton satellites. Those satellites will be 7 meters by 7 meters when folded and dispensed from the pez dispenser doors. They will unfold to be 7 meters by 60 meters. The area of the satellites put side by side would be six times the area of the 75X110 meter international space station.

The space station weighs 420 tons, so two launches of the SpaceX Starship will be the same mass into space.

Space activity will increase by 10-100 times in 2025 and then 100-1000 times in 2026.

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