SpaceX Is Building The All Seeing Starship Eye!

SpaceX Is Building The All Seeing Starship Eye!

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Is this possible? SpaceX’s Starship as a space telescope! Is this   a good idea? What’s the future of Starship? The third orbital Starship is   almost ready! Why was it moved? The Martian helicopter encounters a massive issue.   Can it be saved? And the mystery of the Japanese  lander is solved! Did it really land upside down? My name is Felix. Welcome to What About It!? Let’s dive right in!  Starship Updates SpaceX is hard at work building a future that is   hard to wrap your head around. Back at Starbase,  the teams are tirelessly working around the clock   to make Starship - a rocket set to redefine  humanity's capabilities in space - operational.  In this episode, we'll dive into some fascinating  future concepts for Starship. But first,  

let’s catch up with the current developments. Both the Booster and Ship, designated for   the third launch, are being prepped at the  Production Site, inching closer to their rollout.  Booster 10, the next one to fly, has been  waiting in the Mega Bay since January 2nd.  Similar to the previous Super Heavy  prototype, the hot staging ring of this   Booster was removed in order to allow  for work around the forward dome area. 

This is where components like the  grid fin motors are installed.  Given that these had to be replaced just  before the last launch, the Starbase team   might’ve implemented improvements to avoid such  issues in the upcoming third-flight campaign.  Their work concluded by January 26th,  as evidenced by the reinstallation of   the ring on top of the Booster, captured in  stunning detail by our photographer, John. 

However, our view of the Super  Heavy was partially obstructed.  SpaceX has finally installed  a part of the mega bay door.  This door mechanism appears to be similar to  the ones used at the Vehicle Assembly Building   at Kennedy Space Center, where they open in  sections rather than as a single, long panel.  Interestingly, the material used for the Mega  Bay door appears to be some kind of fabric. 

While this could be a temporary  solution, I wouldn't be surprised   if this is the intended permanent design. The use of fabric could offer practical   benefits, such as a simpler opening  mechanism and reduced maintenance   compared to a more traditional, rigid door. The primary purpose of the Mega Bay door is to   protect the prototypes from dust contamination  and shield the building's interior from wind. 

Since the doors aren't required  to block anything from entering,   a more durable material might be an overkill. The installation of this door marks the   beginning of a new era at Starbase. Build quality and construction speed   will very likely benefit from this move. What are your thoughts on this? Do you   believe that this is the final version  of the door, or will they opt for more   conventional panels in the future? Share your opinions in the comments. 

In addition to the next orbital Booster  receiving its final touches, Ship 28 is   also progressing steadily toward flight readiness. After a three-week stay in the High Bay, Ship 28   was moved out on the night of January 26th. Sometime later, Ship 26 was removed from the   engine installation stand, making way for Ship  28 to occupy that spot, as captured in our aerial   images thanks to Redline Helicopter Tours. The reasoning behind moving Ship 28 back  

to the Raptor stand remains a bit of a mystery. It could be that we’ll see a Raptor engine swap,   or it might simply be a convenient location  to park the Ship ahead of its rollout.  While we’re at it, how about you go see all of  this for yourself? Book your own ride at Starbase   and see these things in person, or just enjoy  one of the most incredible views in the world. 

Go to redlineheli.comfelix ! You'll  find the link in the description as   well! I promise you won’t ever forget this. As we’re already in the air, let’s discuss another   massive upgrade to the city of Starbase! Yep. Musk promised this a while   ago. Starbase is turning into a City. Previously, we discussed investments like a  

restaurant and a shopping mall situated between  the production site and Massey’s test site.  Now, the focus shifts to a new project - a massive  parking facility creatively named the "SpaceX   Production Site Parking Garage. Fancy, I know…  This project envisions a 6-tier parking garage  sprawling over an area of 270,000 square feet,   or about 25000 square meters. By rough calculations, assuming   an average parking space occupies 162 square  feet or about 15 square meters and about 75%   of the garage area is dedicated to parking, we  could see approximately 1,250 parking spaces. 

The garage is intended for Starbase workers.  Private land and not for public use.  Its proposed location near Remedios Avenue,  a recent acquisition by SpaceX, suggests it   might be built close to the existing facilities. One potential site could be behind Mega Bay, where   the current land isn’t used that efficiently. The need for such a parking facility is   evident from photos showing cars  parked haphazardly around the site.  This chaotic parking situation  complicates transportation and   poses risks to pedestrian safety. With SpaceX’s workforce continuously  

growing to match the increasing launch cadence,  dedicated parking is a logical next step.  As Starship production accelerates, we're  likely to witness more innovative projects   designed to enable space exploration. Looking at the future of Starship,   one of the most straightforward applications is,  of course, deploying cargo using its payload bay.  Starship is unquestionably designed to carry  massive payloads, including large satellites   and cargo destined for the Moon and Mars. However, the reality is that most satellites   launched today are relatively small. While lower launch costs might encourage   the development of larger satellites, we're  likely to see a considerable number of smaller   satellites needing deployment in the near future. This demand could lead to Starship missions  

similar to Falcon 9's Transporter missions. We might see SpaceX or other companies develop   hubs or tugs capable of handling hundreds or even  thousands of small satellites in a single mission.  Furthermore, there are possibilities  for specialized Transporter missions,   in which Starship launches three or four big  satellites, each with its own propulsion module.  Like the recently announced Helios  space tug designed by Impulse Space!  As the market begins to recognize  Starship's capabilities, we might   witness the boom of truly massive satellites. Take the James Webb Space Telescope as an example.  It was folded like an origami to fit  within its launch fairing, only to unfold   into a larger structure in space. Imagine scaling this concept to   fit within a Starship's payload bay!  This is not just speculation either. 

One such ambitious project is the Large  Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor or   LUVOIR, poised to be James Webb’s successor. Designed to fit into an 8-meter-wide fairing,   LUVOIR would deploy a mirror over twice the  size of JWST and a sun shield stretching   up to 70 meters or 230 feet. These dimensions are staggering!  But why stop at just deploying telescopes?  Why not transform Starship itself into one?  Believe it or not, this concept is  more than just a hypothetical idea. 

Elon Musk has mentioned that they are working  on converting Starship into a telescope a   few times now, though specific details  about this concept remain a rare sight.  Imagine a scenario where, instead of allocating  space for payload adapters and related equipment,   a large 8.5-meter or 28-foot diameter mirror is  directly mounted inside the body of a Starship.  This approach could significantly reduce  the cost of manufacturing such a telescope!   Possibly allowing for a whole fleet of them! While it may not rival the scale of the ambitious   LUVOIR project, we're still talking about  a telescope with the potential to achieve a   resolution ten times greater than that of Hubble! A resolution of this kind in the visible   light spectrum would be groundbreaking.  Beyond its applications in space science,   Starship could also play a pivotal role in the  emerging market of commercial space stations. There are already at least two companies  planning to utilize Starship for this purpose.  The first is Gravitics, which is developing  8-meter or 26-foot modules that can snugly   fit inside Starship's payload bay. These modules are designed to function  

as standalone space stations or can be  combined to create large orbital complexes.  And this isn't just a concept on paper  - they've already constructed a test   article for pressure tests. They’ve also started work   on maneuvering thrusters to be able to hold  the station in a stable orbit once launched. 

Their work on the so-called Space Armor,  designed to keep the station safe in space,   is far along as well, including tests. Another company, VAST, is currently   focused on Haven-1, a space station  designed with Crew Dragon in mind.  Their plans also include developing a larger,  Starship-class module targeted for launch by 2028.  Further down their roadmap, they envision  a 100-meter spinning space station set for   deployment in the 2030s. Starship itself could   even be transformed into a space station! NASA announced last year that they, in partnership   with SpaceX, are conducting an unfunded study  to explore the feasibility of converting the   upper stage into a self-sustained station. Finally, there's a category of projects that,  

while technically feasible,  may never see the light of day.  One such idea involves repurposing  Ships as lunar habitats, a concept   proposed in 2021 for the "Solutions for  Construction of a Lunar Base" project.  The goal here is to speed up lunar base  construction from decades to just a few years.  The concept is pretty straightforward: once a  lunar Starship lands on the Moon, it's connected   to a specialized hinge and cable system. This allows the Ship to be placed on the   ground horizontally. Following this,  

the fuel tanks are cut and repurposed into  habitable spaces, accommodating crew cabins,   storage areas, and research facilities. After outfitting the interior and attaching two   airlocks, the entire structure is pressurized. The final step involves covering the ship   with about five meters or 16 feet of  lunar regolith, offering protection   against radiation and micro-meteorites. While this idea is intriguing, it seems   more likely that we will initially see Starships  being used as bases in their vertical orientation. 

Another imaginative yet currently  impractical concept is experimenting   with Starship to create artificial gravity. This would involve connecting two Ships   with a strong tether and spinning them to  simulate the gravity of Mars, Moon, or Earth.  Physically possible, yes, but the risks and  potential dangers make this a daunting challenge.  

If balance is lost between the two ships, this  turns into an unpredictable death trap in space.  Finally, there's the ambitious vision of a Von  Braun-type space station, a concept originally   proposed by Wernher von Braun himself. This design features a massive rotating   wheel in space, capable of generating  artificial gravity akin to Earth's.  Such a station could serve various purposes: a  luxurious space hotel shuttling guests to and   from Earth via Starships or a refueling  depot for Starships en route to Mars.  Though bordering on science fiction, it just  goes to show the endless potential of Starship.  Which of these Starship concepts do you think will  happen first? Do you have any other innovative   ideas on how Starship could be utilized? Leave them in the comments. Go wild! I'm always  

eager to read your thoughts and ideas! Now, here’s a little task for you   before we continue with the news. YouTube may have unsubscribed you without   your knowledge. This has happened to thousands of  WAI viewers, and it can happen frequently. Please   double-check that you’ve hit that subscribe  button so that you don’t miss our updates!  While checking, hit the like  button and consider becoming a   WAI supporter for exclusive SpaceX updates. With it, you get access to daily Starbase  

photo galleries, now including orbital,  aerial, and ground photos of SpaceX’s   progress and countless other extras on top. And no matter how much you decide to give,   Everyone gets the same supporter content and  access! You decide what you want to give!  Check our new website as well. Launch previews,  road closures, the latest weather report,   and our Multistream Viewer!! The link to our Patreon page and the new website   is in the description! Thanks to all the  supporters who help fulfill dreams for   our team! We can’t thank you enough! You rock! As we go back to the news, we have to revisit   the topic of Ingenuity - the Martian helicopter. Since the last episode, we’ve had a plot twist…  It appears that the 72nd flight  of this helicopter unfortunately   marked the end of its groundbreaking mission. To recap from our previous episode - a mishap  

occurred during a test flight on January 18th. The Mars rover, Perseverance unexpectedly lost   communication with Ingenuity, prompting  an emergency landing for the vehicle.  Initially, it seemed that  Ingenuity had landed safely.  However, when it later transmitted its  data back to Earth through Perseverance,   scientists at JPL made a disheartening discovery. The first images indicated that approximately 25%  

of one of the helicopter's blades was missing. Further analysis confirmed damage to both rotors.  Oh no… This new information implies that the   loss of contact wasn't just a matter of Ingenuity  moving out of Perseverance's line of sight.  It's likely that the communication dropout either  resulted from or directly led to the rotor damage.  Unfortunately, no communication  means no telemetry, so the exact   sequence of events remains a mystery. While JPL scientists have formulated theories,  

without the specific data from the  incident, they can only hypothesize.  One theory is that Ingenuity's current location,  characterized by its featureless terrain,   might have confused its navigation algorithms. They rely on distinct terrain features for   reference. The lack of these points  could have caused an aggressive tilt,   leading to a rotor striking the ground. Despite this unfortunate conclusion, Ingenuity's  

accomplishments are nothing short of amazing. Originally designed for just five flights,   this small but mighty Martian helicopter  accumulated over two hours of flight   time across 72 missions, covering nearly 17  kilometers or about 10.5 miles and reaching   a peak altitude of 24 meters or 79 feet. All of this was achieved, despite the Red  

Planet being a terrible place for powered flight. Mars boasts an atmosphere only about 1% as dense   as the one we have on Earth. With such thin air,   generating lift is quite challenging. JPL engineers had to innovate and adapt  

to these Martian conditions. To generate sufficient lift   in this sparse atmosphere, they designed  Ingenuity's rotors to be unusually long   and capable of rotating at extraordinary speeds. While a typical helicopter rotor on Earth spins   around 500 times per minute, Ingenuity's rotors  could reach speeds of up to 2800 revolutions per   minute, nearly 70% of the speed of sound. This required the rotors to   be strong but also lightweight. To achieve this feat, they were constructed   from a foam core wrapped in a carbon fiber layer,  weighing a mere 35 grams or 1.2 ounces each.  However, the greatest challenge  was managing the vehicle's mass. 

Despite Mars' gravity being only 38%  of Earth's, the reduced weight wasn’t   nearly enough to counterbalance the insane  amount of air that had to be moved to fly.  The engineering team at JPL had to design  Ingenuity to be as lightweight as possible,   with its total mass being just  under 1.8 kilograms or 4 pounds.  And yet, this was enough to fit landing  legs, dual rotors, two cameras, solar panels,   an onboard computer, batteries, and a heating  system to withstand the frosty Martian nights. 

Moreover, Ingenuity required lots of complicated  software to navigate the Martian terrain.  During flights, it constantly scanned the  landscape, adjusting its flight path in real-time.  While its flight missions may have concluded,  its power and camera systems remain operational. 

This opens up possibilities for the JPL team to  reuse it for different scientific objectives,   such as studying the effects of Martian  dust being disturbed by the rotors.  Ingenuity, your contributions to space exploration  have been monumental. Thank you for your service!  Now, let's shift our focus from Mars  to the Moon, where another space hero,   the Japanese SLIM lander, experienced difficulties  during its mission. What’s the real story here?  The last time we discussed it, the details of  its lunar landing were shrouded in mystery.  However, the Japanese space agency has  recently provided some insights into   what actually happened, and the situation  is more complex than initially thought.  The landing process went flawlessly  until the spacecraft was about 50   meters or 165 feet above the lunar surface. At an altitude of 6.2 kilometers or 3.8 miles,  

SLIM moved to its vertical descent  phase, using two engines to decelerate.  Yet, just 50 meters or 165 feet above the Moon's  surface, the propulsion system encountered a   catastrophic failure, losing 55% of its thrust. Shockingly, images captured by SLIM show an   engine nozzle lying on the lunar surface,  indicating severe damage to one of the engines.  There was quite a bit of force involved  to lose an engine nozzle. And this had two   negative effects on the mission. Firstly, with one engine gone,   the remaining engine could only counteract  lunar gravity, meaning SLIM couldn't decelerate   but merely maintain its velocity at  2–3 meters or 6–10 feet per second. 

Secondly, due to the engines being mounted at  an angle, the loss of one engine caused the   spacecraft to experience lateral thrust, something  you rarely want to see during a Moon landing.  Despite the propulsion system failure, SLIM  managed to land only about 55 meters or 180   feet away from its intended target. If the engine hadn’t failed, it’s   estimated that the spacecraft would’ve landed  within 10 meters or 33 feet of the target.  The mission’s main goal was to  land within 100 meters or 330 feet   of the target, so the mission was successful! Just 5 meters or 16 feet above the lunar surface,   two payloads onboard SLIM successfully deployed. The first, LEV-1, is a 2-kilogram or 4.5-pound  

robotic explorer that utilizes  a unique method of locomotion.  Unlike traditional rovers that use wheels,  LEV-1 moves by hopping, similar to a frog.  It also played a pivotal role in the mission as  the communication relay for the second rover,   LEV-2, also known as SORA-Q. It’s essentially a small,   spherical robot with a camera. It moves across the lunar surface   using the two halves of its body as wheels. Despite being developed by a Japanese   toy manufacturer, not a joke!, SORA-Q has  provided us with actual images of the lander,   confirming engine loss. It also looks like the  

main menu screen from Kerbal Space Program! Currently, due to its landing orientation,   the lander isn't receiving enough  sunlight to power up safely.  However, this is expected to change as  the sun's angle shifts in the coming days.  Once the solar conditions  improve, the lander should   be able to continue its scientific operations. This achievement by JAXA's engineers is nothing   short of extraordinary. It literally landed on  its nose, and it still works for the most part!

That’s it for today! Remember to smash  that like button. Subscribe for more   awesome content! This is what fuels the  Algorithm and helps us immensely! Check   out our epic shirts in your favorite space  nerd store! Link is in the description.   And if you want to train your space IQ even  further, watch this video next to continue   your journey! Thank you very much for watching,  and we’ll see you again in the next episode!

2024-02-01 21:48

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