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SN11 - One hop wonder

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Old March 30th 21, 03:06 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Default SN11 - One hop wonder

It goeth, it cometh, it go bloeyth.

Well put it this way, we saw a lot of mist, some fire behind this mist,
some short video feeds from SpaceX showing three, then two, then one
Raptor firing. Then none. Some belly flop video, Then perhaps a relight
but then video froze. Shortly thereafter NasaSpaceFlight ground
equipment picked up a tremendous boom and some evidence of debris
flying. Because of the foggy conditions this will likely be the hardest
test flight to piece together what happened from video alone. Will have
to wait for SpaceX analysis of the telemetry.

Next up BN1? The next Starship is SN-15. So far the trials have shown
some progress but I can't help but feel SN-11 was a set back, since it
didn't appear to get even as far as SN-10. What I'm more concerned about
is what SpaceX plans are post SN-15? They are going to have to build
more Starship prototypes obviously until they can routinely stick the
landing post belly flop maneuver. That is the goal here. I haven't seen
any evidence that SpaceX plans to deviate from the plan of a fully
reusable Starship. If this was their *first* rocket prototypes, ala
Falcon 1, it might be a different story. In order to generate revenue it
might have been a two-track plan. One for expendable and one for
recoverable as we saw with Falcon 9. But with F9 generating revenue, an
expendable Starship isn't necessary.

But seems to me they need to keep cranking out the Starship hardware
until they stick at least two or three landings, preferably in sequence.

Also I remain somewhat concerned about the plumbing of a methalox
rocket. The SpaceX video upon ascent shows what appear to be some
evidence of small methane leaks around the firing Raptors. New fuel, new
headaches. I'm not convinced they have all the kinks dealing with
methane propellant worked out yet. Which is to be expected given the
novel fuel.

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