This is an extraordinarily candid tour of Starbase with Elon Musk and Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd. We get to see the inside of what is now being called the “MegaBay” which will provide ten to twelve workstations for simultaneously constructing ships. Discussions get deep into the weeds of orbital test plans, grid fins and Starship flaps, using ullage pressure for attitude control thrusters, optimising for cost per kilogram to orbit, reducing the cost per tonne to the Martian surface by a factor of ten thousand, why reusable rockets need a high thrust to weight ratio, and more.
This is aerospace engineering as you’ve never seen it done—they are building these systems, among the largest rockets ever built, in a style more like Silicon Valley hardware hacking than legacy contractor rooms and rooms of engineers or NASA buildings and buildings of engineers calculating every detail in advance to make it perfect on the first try. The mutability of the design and manufacturing process is stunning—“We don’t need four grid fins. Three will do it…maybe two. But four will work to get to orbit.”
This video is the first of four parts from a tour conducted in April 2022. The videos take some time to produce from the raw video, then must be reviewed by SpaceX to ensure no proprietary or ITAR-controlled information is disclosed.
Musk needs a signature cap/hat. We should start a rumor that he is buying the rights to red MAGA caps from Trump.
When I was a 12 year-old kid growing up in Elizabeth NJ, I regularly traveled with a friend to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (public transport was safe, then) to see the Yanks. We went early, as the gates opened more than 2 hours before game start so fans could watch batting practice. There were few people in the stands, so it was pretty easy to run some distance to retrieve balls which went into the stands.
What I am getting at was that these were days when kids had heroes rather than causes. The very notion of heroes has been beaten out of me over many years by “investigative reporting” of the MSM. Prior to his demotion, Mickey Mantle was my hero. I learned I could switch hit, hit the ball longer than any of my friends (and strike out more). It was a wonderful feeling to so idolize someone. Minor hero status was also afforded to Yogi Berra, Bill Skowron, Whitey (gasp!) Ford, and Phil Rizzuto.
Elon Musk is beginning to occupy ‘hero’ status in my mind. He surely gets things done and the things he undertakes are, indeed, heroic. Good for him and, I believe, good for us.
Elon Musk is an amazing guy, but he is not the smoothest of talkers – which is why the confidence of his delivery is so noticeable when he talks about the do-ability of reducing the costs of delivering a useful ton to Mars by a factor of 10,000. That would be like building an automobile for $3 instead of $30,000. That is a stretch target!
The Spacex staffers introduced in the video are reminiscent of NASA back in its heyday – relatively young guys given a lot of responsibility. Good luck to all of them!