December 9, 2023


Tech as it is.

SpaceX Breaks Another Booster Reuse Record, But Did Anyone See It?



SpaceX has maintained its preference for an easy broadcast strategy.

SpaceX launch

On Tuesday night, SpaceX launched its 67th rocket of the year. An incredible amount for the business and its workhorse booster, the Falcon 9. The business is poised to launch 90 or more rockets this calendar year. If it keeps up its current rate of one launch every four days.

Other factors made this Starlink satellite launch noteworthy as well. It was the first time a Falcon 9 first stage had been recycled by SpaceX 17 times. This launcher, serial number 1058, had previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, and Transporter-2. Intelsat G-33/G-34, and Transporter-6 in addition to 11 prior Starlink missions.

After its first Falcon, 9 stages completed 15 missions. SpaceX conducted a sizable review of booster wear and tear. The company’s engineers now think the rockets can complete at least 20 flights. Amazingly, after a pad explosion in September 2016, SpaceX has been able to launch. The Falcon 9 rocket 228 times with a 100% success rate, testing the boundaries of booster reuse.

SpaceX still performs some fundamental checks as part of its maintenance routine. And occasionally repairs engines and other vital parts. Also, the corporation reserves less-experienced boosters for its customers. And only risks its own internally developed Starlink satellites on those.

Minimal webcasts

The “Starlink Group 6-17 mission,” launched by SpaceX on Tuesday night, was webcast. SpaceX also continued its trend toward an easy-going display style. For clients of external satellites, the firm continues to offer a hosted webcast. It works with NASA for crew and cargo launches. But as of last month, Starlink’s provider only offers a video feed with scant audio from the launch control facility. The start of this video is five minutes before to takeoff.

Given that Starlink launches occur regularly these days and generally follow the same flight profile from mission to mission. It might be argued that this is the appropriate strategy. Hans Koenigsmann, a founder of SpaceX, once told me that one of the company’s objectives was to drop the “magic” of launch. And the business has really succeeded in removing it. The must-see element from liftoff thanks to these regular Starlink launches.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has never been a big supporter of launch webcasts. Generally speaking, he holds the opinion that no one presents a webcast. While an airplane takes off from an airport. So why broadcast every launch if SpaceX aims for airline-like operations?

Musk is aware of the importance of showcasing the company’s achievements, though. Also, exterior clients adore a webcast’s visibility and public relations. This likely explains why hosted, and more elaborate webcasts are still used on non-Starlink missions.

Et tu, YouTube?

Musk’s decision to withdraw SpaceX webcasts from YouTube is one. That does not appear defendable from the standpoint of increasing SpaceX’s reach and appeal.

Instead, SpaceX now only broadcasts its webcasts on X. The social media platform that Musk bought for $44 billion. It was once known as Twitter. Musk probably took this decision because he sees YouTube. As a rival to like to how SpaceX ceased uploading new photos to Flickr.

This has led to lower-quality video resolution as well as many other problems. That makes watching content online less enjoyable. The fact that and Spaceflight Now’s alternate launch streams looked to have more audiences for Tuesday night’s Starlink launch may not come as a surprise.

SpaceX Starship Launch Hailed as a Success Despite Exploding Mid-Flight

Elon Musk’s aspirations for humans living on several planets are dependent on SpaceX’s enormous new Starship rocket. The billionaire’s plans to travel further into the solar system took a faltering first step yesterday. It launched for its first trip and then blew up shortly after.

At 8:28 a.m. local time, the 394-foot rocket launched from SpaceX’s Starbase spaceport in South Texas. But little over four minutes later it underwent what the firm described as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”

The issue appears to have been that the Super Heavy Booster. And the Starship upper stage was unable to separate. Which caused the vehicle to crash and detonate.

The corporation had intended for the craft to ascend to a height of 146 miles. Before making one orbit of the planet and crashing down close to Hawaii, it only made it as high as 20 miles.

SpaceX starship launch

Despite the setback, the firm and the larger space sector were in a generally upbeat attitude. Early launches of new rockets sometimes end in failure. Thus simply getting the craft off the ground will probably be regarded as a success.

“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn. And today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary,” said SpaceX in a tweet following the launch.

It probably shouldn’t have surprised anyone that the Starship’s first genuine launch ended in a fireball. This was a considerably more difficult task. Because 33 raptor engines were attempting to lift a combined 5,000 tons of fuel and spacecraft. Whereas smaller prototypes had already blown during testing. Also, a frozen valve forced the corporation to abandon a launch attempt on Monday.

According to space analyst Laura Forczyk, “I don’t think anybody. Elon Musk included, expected this launch to go perfectly.” “I would have been surprised if it had worked the first time around perfectly.”

When is the next SpaceX launch?

Others have an interest in seeing the Starship operational besides NASA. The reusable rocket has a maximum lift capacity of 150 tons. Which can be increased to 250 tons if it is only doing a one-way mission. That might significantly alter the economics of entering orbit.

NASA’s Ames Research Center planetary scientist Jennifer Heldmann told Nature that “mass, volume, and cost have always been constraints in space flight.” And Starship essentially removes all of those restrictions.

Some of SpaceX’s more ambitious objectives, like constructing a permanent moon base. Or assisting in the building of human settlements on Mars. May be made workable by an inexpensive method of sending massive amounts of stuff into space.

However, a lot of work needs to be done by SpaceX’s engineers to incorporate. The knowledge gained from this limited achievement before any of that can happen. Given the company’s history of developing innovative spaceflight technologies. It might not take long until the Starship is launched once more.