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bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,679
3,575
Bay Area
this one somehow feels like a wasted opportunity, more due to hubris, lack of attention and a simple rush to get things moving

I think its important to contextualize SpaceX's hubris, focused/defocused attention, and sense of urgency in the bigger picture: That is the whole point, that is their MO. Whether anyone likes it or not that is what SpaceX does day, day out, usually to the delight of The Devoted and to the chagrin of the Never SpaceXers.

Nothing about SpaceX's MO changed for SN11. The failure just happened to be--at least the the top level--a step backward in the program. Had one of the earlier Starships failed in this manner there would have been a collective "we'll get farther next time" from the SpaceX team and their fans.

Time will tell whether we find out the root of this failure and whether it was a stupid JV mistake (like dropping SN9 off its stand) or a more acceptable 'we just weren't smart enough' error along the timeline of fail fast and iterate.

For me the most critical element of this failure is spectator proximity to debris. Almost getting beaned by rocket parts is much closer to the 'irresponsible' end of the spectrum (like, if the radius around a mining operation or building demo wasn't wide enough) rather than the 'accident' end of the spectrum, (like getting t-boned in your car or taking a foul ball in the temple).
 
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adiggs

Active Member
Sep 25, 2012
4,208
11,533
Portland, OR
For me the most critical element of this failure is spectator proximity to debris. Almost getting beaned by rocket parts is much closer to the 'irresponsible' end of the spectrum (like, if the radius around a mining operation or building demo wasn't wide enough) rather than the 'accident' end of the spectrum, (like getting t-boned in your car or taking a foul ball in the temple).
You're good with the graphic images @bxr140 :)
 
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hmcgregoraz

Member
Jul 16, 2014
109
187
Tucson AZ USA
I think its important to contextualize SpaceX's hubris, focused/defocused attention, and sense of urgency in the bigger picture: That is the whole point, that is their MO. Whether anyone likes it or not that is what SpaceX does day, day out, usually to the delight of The Devoted and to the chagrin of the Never SpaceXers.

Nothing about SpaceX's MO changed for SN11. The failure just happened to be--at least the the top level--a step backward in the program. Had one of the earlier Starships failed in this manner there would have been a collective "we'll get farther next time" from the SpaceX team and their fans.

Time will tell whether we find out the root of this failure and whether it was a stupid JV mistake (like dropping SN9 off its stand) or a more acceptable 'we just weren't smart enough' error along the timeline of fail fast and iterate.

For me the most critical element of this failure is spectator proximity to debris. Almost getting beaned by rocket parts is much closer to the 'irresponsible' end of the spectrum (like, if the radius around a mining operation or building demo wasn't wide enough) rather than the 'accident' end of the spectrum, (like getting t-boned in your car or taking a foul ball in the temple).

Maybe I have been following this wrong, but I thought it was "remote cameras" that almost got hit, not locations where people were at.

Anyone have additional information on this?

-Harry
 
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pilotSteve

Active Member
Jul 14, 2012
1,468
1,334
Prescott Az
From the old sci-fi movie “When Worlds Collide” their project mantra was “Waste Anything But Time”. Maybe Elon knows something we don’t about our planet‘s near future....
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,679
3,575
Bay Area
Maybe I have been following this wrong, but I thought it was "remote cameras" that almost got hit, not locations where people were at.

While my description was purposely hyperbolic (overtly so, so I thought...), debris has been found outside the exclusion zone. So far it sounds like it’s lightweight stuff like thermal insulation.
 

petit_bateau

Member
Jun 18, 2020
153
1,489
UK
While my description was purposely hyperbolic (overtly so, so I thought...), debris has been found outside the exclusion zone. So far it sounds like it’s lightweight stuff like thermal insulation.
If nothing else they will have done another experimental validation of debris ejection modelling that will have formed part of the quantitative risk analysis that the FAA was upset regarding, though we still don't know the details.
 
Jan 30, 2020
177
165
GA
With SN11 being functionally obsolete, 15 on deck and thru-20 coming soon, might it simply easier to launch it already - under adverse conditions a bonus otherwise not entertained - and get it over with ASAP? Blown or landed, they learn something, clear the pad, disassemble 11, and get on to the next iteration.
 
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HVM

Savolainen
Oct 30, 2012
1,005
1,724
Finland
Elon:
"Ascent phase, transition to horizontal & control during free fall were good. A (relatively) small CH4 leak led to fire on engine 2 & fried part of avionics, causing hard start attempting landing burn in CH4 turbopump. This is getting fixed 6 ways to Sunday."

So uncontained engine failure, -not very nice. All other failed startups had been nice, even the melty-one.
 

favo

P3D+ owner
Apr 5, 2012
1,039
1,132
Durham, NC
Elon:
"Ascent phase, transition to horizontal & control during free fall were good. A (relatively) small CH4 leak led to fire on engine 2 & fried part of avionics, causing hard start attempting landing burn in CH4 turbopump. This is getting fixed 6 ways to Sunday."

So uncontained engine failure, -not very nice. All other failed startups had been nice, even the melty-one.
I take this as better news than some kind of design flaw where, for example, the engine doesn't have enough pressure (or some other issue) due to the landing flip maneuver. I would think a leak has relatively straightforward fixes that can be implemented quickly.

Also, it seemed from watching earlier test flights, that they might have had some Raptor leak issues as well. At least sometimes there was fire around in the engine bay where you wouldn't necessarily expect it. Some of this may have been due to engine shutdowns and restarts, but perhaps not all.

I wonder if it's possible to build some kind of giant, gimballing test stand where they could fire up a Raptor engine and swing it around while it's lit to simulate landing maneuvers, etc. That would be a sight! :eek:
 
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bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,679
3,575
Bay Area
With SN11 being functionally obsolete, 15 on deck and thru-20 coming soon, might it simply easier to launch it already - under adverse conditions a bonus otherwise not entertained - and get it over with ASAP?

While certainly the starship test plan matures/iterates faster than anything we've seen in the space industry, there was still surely some material data to be gathered from SN11...so it wasn't just like a "I guess we should do something with this thing" kind of approach.

Its also important to note that the assignment of "adverse conditions" is highly speculative and over-represented. There's plenty of instrumentation and near field cameras on the vehicle to generate far more useful data than what laypeople and Starship engineers alike can visually see in a far field angle.
 

CapitalTM3

Member
Apr 6, 2021
13
6
USA
While my description was purposely hyperbolic (overtly so, so I thought...), debris has been found outside the exclusion zone. So far it sounds like it’s lightweight stuff like thermal insulation.
Nothing is lightweight during an unscheduled rapid disassembly.
 

Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,143
6,225
TX
I wonder if it's possible to build some kind of giant, gimballing test stand where they could fire up a Raptor engine and swing it around while it's lit to simulate landing maneuvers, etc.

Agreed. It seems the flip maneuvers are the ones that make the fuel flow and engine relight challenging. So you might as well simulate that on a stand if possible using the same Raptor engines but overall a smaller prototype of 2nd stage.
 

scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
8,241
13,175
NoVA
Agreed. It seems the flip maneuvers are the ones that make the fuel flow and engine relight challenging. So you might as well simulate that on a stand if possible using the same Raptor engines but overall a smaller prototype of 2nd stage.
This would seem hard to replicate on a stand however, because as you rightly imply, the engines and tanks are not rotating around the center-lines of their individual axes, but rather around the centerline of the rocket's axis. So you'd need a test stand that can whip the tanks or engines around on an arc with a radius 1/2 the rocket length to really simulate what's going on...

Not to say there isn't some value in some tests rotating the tanks and engines on a shorter arc as well, but I'm not sure that's going to replicate the forces going on...
 
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JohnnyEnglish

Member
May 7, 2018
230
1,058
UK
This would seem hard to replicate on a stand however, because as you rightly imply, the engines and tanks are not rotating around the center-lines of their individual axes, but rather around the centerline of the rocket's axis. So you'd need a test stand that can whip the tanks or engines around on an arc with a radius 1/2 the rocket length to really simulate what's going on...

Not to say there isn't some value in some tests rotating the tanks and engines on a shorter arc as well, but I'm not sure that's going to replicate the forces going on...
...and even then the aerodynamics would not be the same nor the vertical and lateral decelerations which affect the 'sloshing' in the tanks. In short such testing would not be representative of an actual landing.

The current process is already being very successful in identifying failure modes which they then address. I am hugely impressed by the fact that the earlier parts of the test flights have been successful each time (particularly the transition to 'horizontal' after engine off).
 
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Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,143
6,225
TX
Agreed. Setting up a test-rig is pretty complex, but I doubt if any of the previous issues seen so far, would have been identified by such a setup.
 
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