Elon Musk Stretches SpaceX Starship

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Is Elon Musk going to stretch SpaceX Starship fuel tanks? Or maybe even Starship itself.
Warren breaks down how that might enable round-trip travel to the Moon and Mars, and exploratory probes penetrating deep into virgin space.

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45 comments
  1. Why would you replace the center engines with Vac versions there's no need for more thrust in space, just burn longer ? Save the weight. F=ma, less mass more accel, and accel is based on time of burn. Do a spreadsheet to find the solution.

  2. Ok. When they have sent a second stage with fuel into orbit to refuel starships don’t bring it back. Use the empty hulls to build a space station from the hull of the tankers. The empty tanks are a huge empty shell and it would be perfect for starting to build a circular rotating space station to provide gravity. Maybe if it was going to be used for a space station the shell could be pre built with the idea of connecting them together after they have delivered the fuel. When Must gets the booster and space ship developed the ideas and uses are endless!

  3. I think taller Starship is already explicitly referenced in SpaceX documentation. Look at the official SpaceX “Starship User Guide” on the SpaceX web site (https://www.spacex.com/media/starship_users_guide_v1.pdf). This is the document for launch customers and defines the various parameters that any payload needs to adhere to or tolerate (max g forces, decibel levels, power requirements etc) to be compatible with Starship. Look in particular at the section on payload volume and you’ll see a reference to an extended payload volume option being available for “payloads requiring up to 22m of height” (just under 5m higher than the standard maximum height of 17.24m). I assume that’s accomplished by having a stretched cargo section. It’s just possible it might be done by removing the LOX header tank in the nosecone but that would make it a sacrificial launch (SS couldn’t land back on earth without it) and I doubt Elon would like that compromise. I also doubt it is done by extending the payload bay down and making the tanks smaller because that would reduce maximum payload mass quite substantially and I think if that was the case they would have put that caveat in the user guide so all in all I think this is pretty solid evidence that not only is a 4.76m SS stretch being considered, they’ve pretty much designed it into the project already.

  4. I've been thinking, if Starship's cargo capacity is between 100 and 150 tons, couldn't some of that weight be used to improve the ship itself? Making it longer seems like a logical first step.

  5. how well would the gimballed sea level engines work in space (for the gimballing)? will they use rcs instead for directing the ship instead?

  6. 15:09 I think what he was referring to here was that for every pound of tank they add, they are able to carry 2000 more pounds of propellant. (Guessing me meant 2000 lbs per lb, not 2000 tons per lb).

  7. 5:28 Starships destined for Mars will definitely need fins to maintain orientation during aero-capture and aero-braking.

    For those shipsstaying on Marsnever returning to earth, they will not need sea-level engines, but a single center vacuum engine will not be enough to climb out to LEO. For now, that requires 6 engines, minimum.

  8. A Starship to land on Mars will need fins. An in-space only version needs fewer engines, no fins, and a max of exhaust velocity from the vacuum-optimized engines. Perhaps the raptors could be made to function accepting both LCH4/LOx and LH2/LOx as propellants. LH2/LOx is used for LEO insertion and interplanetary injection, LCH4/LOx for all other maneuvers. If the Starship is refueled, it should then be refueled with LH2/LOx for interplanetary injection, and the tanker needs to carry as much propellant as possible to orbit. It seems that an excess of hydrogen in the propellant mix makes up for a cooler exhaust avoiding energy waste due to exhaust gas ionization and results in a mixture of H2 (MW=2) and steam (MW=about 18) in the exhaust. Please note: If the Moon is going to be a fuel source for refueling there is ice to produce LOx and LH2, but little or no carbon for LCH4. Go, Starship.

  9. The next level is to make the crew/cargo module self-contained and air-tight itself, and then hand it over from an “orbital” Starship to a “Distance” Starship. That way the “Distance” Starship can be nothing but fuel tank, weight-wise. It would use only some of that tank to get to LEO, but then all of it to get to Saturn or what have you.

  10. One engine? No. Remember that all Starships are built on earth, and need enough fuel and thrust to reach earth orbit in the first place.

  11. I think u need to account for the mass of the fuel, you can't simply assume u can reduce engines / thrust and increase mass (fuel in stretched tanks) and assume it will have a usable/flexible thrust/mass ratio for all seanarios you mention… Good job anyway. The stretch version looks sweet to me.

  12. No, you launch a streached wingless, landing gear less PARTIALLY FUELED Starship on a standard booster then dock it with a Starship TANKER launched first and top it off for a long mission. Such a Starship could also have a larger crew compartment for better habilitation OR have a multi hull all joined together for orbit to orbit transfer ship.
    It doesn't take a fraction of delta V to get most places around the Solar System after you get out of most of the gravity well if a planet like earth.

  13. Seems like for a purely space-based version, modular tanks and engines that could just be assembled in whatever configuration was needed to get a given payload to a particular destination in the desired timeframe would be a better option. Bringing back the carbon fiber tanks to save weight maybe?

  14. That is why they need a aerospike engine doesn't matter where you are in the thrust of the atmosphere is optimized no matter what

  15. As you add length, there's more crushing force just above the engines. This means more structure to keep everything straight. An alternative is less power or the engines for a slower acceleration.

  16. Problem with fewer engines is that they must be on longer &/or work harder. You don't want one to fail so that they are now asymmetric and trying to change your course. In some cases you can decrease some engine power to get the center of force back to below the center of gravity.

  17. As for a stretched Starship from the current version, I could see them adding one to maybe three more rings above the tank section. Two for sure, but three may be pushing it, no pun intended.

    And I'm not quite getting the purpose if making the entire ship fuel tanks with little or no cargo space. Isn't the whole idea of Starship to ferry humans to other celestial bodies inside something other than a tiny capsule?

  18. Sea level and vacuum engines. How many engines you need from booth typ engines for each Starship. For low orbit missions- see level and for deepspace -vacuum engines. How many feul you need and lenght of the Starship. There is alot of thinking for me! Interesting video! Thx! I learn alot!

  19. Why not just get rid of the cone, and have one starship, push the other one, then disconnect when it is spent. Who knows how many you could attach end to end.

  20. I haven’t read the comments on here but what if they make it bigger in diameter to hold more fuel and or cargo? More girth instead of length. Or do both.

  21. Upward bound and down loaded up and trucken, a'we gonna do what they say can't be done. We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there, watch this ole starship run.

  22. I think refueling 6 times from earth will get old really quickly even if using a larger tanker but it is the only way for now. Things will get good when they're making fuel on the moon, better still pulling comets into make fuel stations close to earth would be the point where space travel is easy.

  23. PHRASING!! Penetrating phrasing.

    Elon already stated 18 meter diameter Starships will someday be built.

    One extra design: a Starship filled with krypton gas, powered by solar or nuclear, using Starlink ion thrusters. Good for long duration unmanned exploration. Ion thrusters accelerate slowly, but are capable of immense speed given they don't need to shut down.

  24. Seeing the SN8 animation videos, I would think an airline could use stretched non-orbital starships to do fast intercontinental flights without the booster.

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