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SpaceX SN15 Experimental Test Vehicle


Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
Bay Area
Falcon destroys space competition slowly but Starship is a complete game changer.

While I'd contest its important to accept that Starship is in its development cycle and isn't actually that close (where close = years) to a game changer...yet...I think digging into your point, the most important thing about Starship is that there's a number of fairly parallelized elements of the development cycle, which is a strategy that's never been employed anywhere near this scale in the space industry.

On F9 (to say nothing of non-SpaceX rockets) the primary focus was on physically manufacturing the rocket and reliably launching the rocket. While performance and reusability dev were of course going on at the same time, they were very much deprioritized in favor of getting a commercially salable product. Once they established F9's internal viability/cost (through the mfg dev) and established themselves as a viable commercial company for customers did SpaceX really transition the serialized dev focus on improving performance (FT-->B5) and reusability (the first real landing attempt was years into flight, for instance).

Starship is flipping that on its head. The iterative manufacturing dev units are being purposely mutli-dutied as reusability (and effectively, reliability and to a lesser degree performance) dev units and explicitly not as revenue generating units. While this may have the effect of slowing down any one particular dev swim lane (and delaying revenue dollar #1), each unit iteration is much more efficiently moving the full technology stack toward proper flight.

I appreciate that folks in non-space industries might read the above logic as an obvious, self evident approach, but its a whole new world for the space industry.
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Reactions: adiggs and Grendal


SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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