Elon Musk frank revealed "Starship's hardest problem" as well as the entire rocket industry

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Elon Musk frank revealed “Starship’s hardest problem” as well as the entire rocket industry
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“Manufacturing is underrated, design is overrated!”
That’s Musk’s catch-phrase!
According to Musk, “Designing a rocket is trivial. There are tons of books. You read them. You understand equations. You design a rocket… The design is not hard. The making of it is hard. The making of a production line that builds and launches many is extremely hard. And the next level beyond that would be creating a fully reusable system, and having that in volume production and launch. That’s super, super hard.”
He emphasized that developing a production system is 10-100 times harder than designing the product, which proved especially true with Raptor.
For initial test flights, SpaceX will use 33 Raptor engines to power the Super Heavy first stage and six on the Starship upper stages. So for each test flight that either ends in the ocean, with a fiery landing, or with a vehicle that can’t be reused, the company will lose 39 Raptor engines. That is a staggering amount of engines, both in terms of cost and lost production time.
By comparison, NASA provided Aerojet Rocketdyne with $1 billion a few years ago to restart the production of space shuttle main engines. Four of these will power each Space Launch System rocket. Each individual engine, on top of the “start-up” fee NASA paid, will cost an additional $100 million. For all of this money, NASA will get a maximum production of four engines a year—engines that are not reusable and largely based on technology decades old.
Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines also fell into a similar situation. This engine has been in development for more than a decade but has never made a test flight with any prototypes. The production of this engine is still extremely sluggish. Up to now, Blue Origin has delayed delivery for ULA for up to 5 years.
It’s reasonable to expect that SpaceX will need about 10 test flights of Starship to get the vehicle into working order and start reusing the rockets. Therefore, if SpaceX is to conduct 10 test flights of Starship in the next year, it will need something like 300 Raptor engines, which are not much smaller than the space shuttle main engines. That is why, when Musk found production issues were more “severe” than he realized, he sent the now-infamous Black Friday email to employees last November.
Musk has always been so busy with the hard engineering challenges of everything that’s involved that when Lex Fridman mentioned issues related to rockets in a conversation last year, he was very excited to share.
He said that engine production is the biggest thing absorbing his time.
Elon Musk frank revealed “Starship’s hardest problem” as well as the entire rocket industry
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39 comments
  1. Musk is a brave man comparing us. He have 150 million in PayPal. If I have that amount of money I will relax and enjoy. But he put that 150 million in Tesla ,space x and creating empire. Already he takes 150 million investment money. now he going for 💯 percentage reusable rockets for world like wright brothers did in aeronautical. In investment point of view now he taking lots of profits only. He is a successful business man

  2. In short: The key to Starlink satellites was that they designed the production line before finishing the satellite itself. Then, they could revise the satellite to fit the “machine” that would make it.

  3. Whilst it's decades away…imagine all those sci fi films where man has inhabited the near planets…and we live in a dystopian future on a new world….then imagine that space-x is the company that made that first step…..pinch yourself,we may very well be witnessing the beginning of that event.mind blowing.

  4. Having a automation manufacturing back ground. Elon is correct. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Building the assembly line to manufacturer a, product cost a lot of money.

  5. "… reaching a production of seven Raptor engines a week."
    Tory Bruno: Say what?

  6. The RS25 (SSME) was a beast to develop and build. It has many, many points of failure. So the RS25 goes into the ocean and not recoverable like on the Space Shuttle?

  7. The irony that the ‘green’ initiative is screwing up almost all of Elon’s companies. TSLA had the biggest gains under Trump and it’s exactly as the theory goes; let private industry create solutions more efficiently. And government over reach will hurt progress and make it more expensive. That is all very apparent now and meanwhile we get Biden still trying to sell the idea that his way is better. Clean air and oceans needs to be talked about in a reasonable way and guilting America about it to swing political favor is just stupid.

  8. Hats off to those that can come up with such incredible ideas and then bring these ideas to life. Also to those that are on the tip of all this energy and taking it to space.

  9. the main issue is that there is no market for Starship as of today.
    How many flights per year would do a Falcon-9 without starlink satellites?
    How many flights does a FH?
    Launching starship even once per day require an immense amount of payload to be delivered and for sure can't be starlink satellites only

  10. Well it is like containing the energy of a continuous explosion without melting the engines or blowing them up, all the while pumping in liquid oxygen and combustible liquid hydrocarbon fuel in the correct ratios, and under pressures HIGHER than the explosive pressures in the rocket engines "explosive combustion" chamber's!!! The fuel is VERY cold, the explosive combustion is VERY HOT. Pressures in the rockets fuel tanks will vary due to volume variations and forces like acceleration, and the effects of any temperature changes during the rockets explosive burn period. The direction of the outlet bells, or trumpet shaped NOZZLES of some rocket engine need to be controlled by push or pull rods that may be powered by powerfull hydraulic or electric activators that need protection from excess heat and in some cases perhaps cold As well. There are high pressure pumps to pump the rockets fuel into its engines, those pumps need to be powered by perhaps electricity, perhaps compressed nitrogen. That is just the basics that actually have to work perfectly under extreeme conditions, so no wonder Elon Musk and his technical team etc feel this is a big challenge, especially with a rocket fitted with over three dozen engines in total.!!!

  11. You can’t really separate design from manufacture. The output of the design process is a product which is optimised for cheap, quick manufacture, adequate lifetime, minimised use of consumables (ie fuel), serviceable and addresses end of life issues (eg recycling, reuse or disposal, pollution). What Musk is talking about is the ease of prototyping where you don’t necessarily worry about all the downstream issues but great for proving the concept and developing the associated software etc.

  12. I am a fan of Tesla, SpaceX and Starlink but Elon's Tweets and politics are alarming. I was going to buy a Tesla, but I can't now. I am still following SpaceX, but I may stop if he continues his plummet into the Far Right. DeSantis is a non-starter.

  13. When the military and the big boys do concurrent engineering, the part they leave out is accepting failures as a part of it. A failure is a disaster for them where for Spacex it’s a step forward.

  14. Well as an engineer. . Just off the top of my head…
    1) shift the first moments worth of fuel provision to the ground structure from the projectile..
    2) use droppable fuel pods that leave the projectile within the first 30 seconds of flight and are easily recoverable…
    The 2 above in combination would yield a significant increase in performance for a minimal financial and technical outlay…
    I could list more.. but really.. I'm sure they have their own engineers and scientists…

  15. 90% of people have no clue about what is required for manufacturing even a dishwasher.

  16. Is the current Starship booster already designed (to the best of SpaceX knowledge) to handle three launches per day?

    Likewise, what is stopping the Falcon 9 booster from being reused within the same day?

  17. The FAA is the biggest barrier to production when you can’t have test flights. The government hates SpaceX due to politics.

  18. Mr. Musk has caught a bad case of the trumps, he needs to get back to his rocket tinkering hobbies, and stay out of politics, enough with the amateurs.. and clowns..

  19. Hardest problem? Making it get off the ground one would think… lol

  20. So he keeps on sending rocket after rocket after rocket all containing multitudes of satellites: for what functions and where does it end?

  21. que vor.monster encantan tus videos. Bendiciones hermosa Celina que Dios te cuide donde quiera los mortalesp abian apreciado tan hermosa mujer

  22. LP reacted d ryt way, she is Sogrobartigg.Monster need of over drama, or over consider ations. She don't deserve *considerationss. Lp പറഞ്ഞ പോലെ,, ജീവിതം തുടങ്ങിയല്ലേ ഉള്ളു, പഠിക്കട്ടെ.

  23. Very informative about the challenges with the engine production. With future, where Starship will be going. I am curious how the engine eco system will be sustain. How long can a engine go before it needs to be replaced? Will a engine replacing/rebuilding cause the actual engine factory be effected? A lot questions. Thank you for the video.

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