Every SpaceX Super Heavy Starship Decision is for Faster and Cheaper Development

Brian Wang |
February 1, 2019 |

Elon Musk and SpaceX have simplified the Raptor engine and the Starship engine design. Every decision that is being made from the use of stainless steel metal, reduced payload and lower powered engine is being made to speed up the development and lower the cost to achieve a working Super Heavy Starship.

Elon Musk had previously estimated that it would cost $2 to 10 billion to develop the Super Heavy Starship.

I think if the tests and launches go smoothly the first SpaceX Stainless Super Heavy Starship could be flying to orbit late in 2019 or early in 2020. This might only cost $1 billion.

Even if the payload capacity drops from 100 tons to 70 tons it will not matter, because it will be fully reusable and more powerful than a Falcon Heavy. If the Super Heavy Falcon Starhip only could manage six reuses it would still be a lower price per kilogram to space.

SpaceX has a working, durable and reusable heat shield with the PICA-X material. If they had to apply PICA-X to 20% of the Starship that needed more protection, the launch system would still be better.

Still up to 31. Will probably fly with fewer initially in case it blows up.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 1, 2019

Cold gas thrusters only. Will use body flaps & main engines for landing orientation, so won’t need high thrust reaction control. Simplifies things considerably.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 1, 2019

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