SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, is just six days away from an updated Starship presentation, and the company works tirelessly to get the spacecraft as close to a finished product as possible.
Over the past 48 hours, this effort has been eroded by (in particular) the installation of two of Starship Mk1's action fins, revealing a significant departure from the design that Musk and SpaceX unveiled almost exactly a year ago , Musk went to Twitter this morning to partially describe some of these design changes and the reasons for them.
Musk confirmed that the current design will include several legs attached to the back of Starship, separating the fin-leg combination shown on the previous tripod -fin. Fascinatingly, Musk said he had not "fully adopted" this updated design, which was motivated by analyzes that showed that separating the legs and fins was actually a lighter solution than combining them. This is certainly not intuitive, but it is heartening to hear that Musk is earnestly trusting and bowing to the educated minds of some of the most experienced engineers SpaceX is known for.
Like the design of circa 2018, Starship 2019 will feature two actuation wings / fins near its stern and two other canard-type control surfaces near the nose. A third non-functional fin may or may not serve as a leg in the 2019 draft. These control surfaces work in conjunction with "very fast movements [s]" to ensure the stability of the spacecraft during reentry and atmospheric operation and to ensure that the spacecraft can land safely and stably on a variety of surfaces.
The new legs look a bit different due to the design change. Since the two actuating fins no longer have to reach the ground and at the same time serve as landing legs, they can be a little smaller and be located further over the engine section and the stern of Starship. It's possible that the blunt fins have tips at their ends to get a triangular shape, but we're now heading into unknown territory until Musk or SpaceX provide updated renderings that are expected to be released this week.
Remarkably enough, the company seems to prioritize Starship Mk1 to complete the prototype of the spaceship as much as possible in the next few days. The work on Starship Mk2 pictured below seems to have been more or less interrupted, which almost certainly indicates that SpaceX has flown a large portion of its Florida-based workforce to Texas to accelerate the assembly of Starship Mk1 ,
This is probably the result of CEO Elon Musk's demand for the spacecraft to close To be complete By then, he should present an updated design overview in Boca Chica, Texas. Knowing musk, it is likely that the event will be centered on Starship Mk1, either in several parts or as a single, almost complete stack. This presentation will be broadcast live by SpaceX and will take place on Saturday, September 28th.
Teslarati will be in Texas to follow the event live and in person. Be curious about updates in the coming days!
Teslarati Newsletters provide up-to-date information, current perspectives, and unique insights into SpaceX's rocket launch and recovery processes .