Raptor production problems for SpaceX

A surprising turn of events for SpaceX:
Elon Musk warns SpaceX faces ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ (nypost.com)

Musk fired off an urgent companywide e-mail on Friday in which he described the “Raptor production crisis” as a “disaster” which was “much worse than it seemed a few weeks ago.”

The firm has so far conducted several short test flights of its prototype from its Texas facility. But in order to send Starship into orbit, it will need as many as 39 Raptor engines on each spacecraft – requiring employees to significantly ramp up production.

It had seemed that series production of the Raptor engine was one of the success stories at SpaceX. One wonders what has gone wrong?


If it truly is just a production problem I think they can get it fixed. Also in a follow-up tweet he clarified that he thinks bankruptcy is unlikely.

1 Like

It’s not unreasonable to assume that SpaceX will need to do a second flight without recovery attempt followed by the first recovery attempt failing. That’s a bunch of engines to be expended over a short period of time.

1 Like

Indeed. However, that need is something which presumably was identified a long time ago, and built into the production plans.

An interesting question is why production of the engines has not been adequate for planned demand? The design works – we know because of all the successful flights. Is it a manufacturing problem? The engines are apparently built in California, with all the Lock Down issues in that part of the world. Is it a supply chain issue? Those engines are very complicated pieces of equipment, presumably with [imported?] exotic materials and specialized parts.

Whatever the root of the problem, let’s wish SpaceX success in overcoming it.

1 Like

A system cannot survive quality control that allows a single under spec. material.

Also, below Texas based review of SpaceX is worth a look