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Every SpaceX Starship Variant Explained



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The Starship launch system involves a variety of different specialized variants, each suited to to its own task. Here is an overview of those variants, plus a possible new one.

Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal) and Nic (@NicAnsuini). Written and Narrated by Ian (@IanPineapple). Edited by Thomas (@_thomashayden).

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42 Comments

  1. I think the ones with the razor stubble are due to be scrapped. The pins are welded in and they will create a lot of aerodynamic drag if flown.

  2. SpaceX don't need to return anything from orbit?? How about Starship itself?
    I still think it's likely that newer Starship is just waiting for a new or different kind of tile to arrive. It does seem to have the mounting points, and why would they bother with those if they're not planning to attach any tiles?

  3. Dance of the Sky Tankers.

    From page 27 of the GAO decision to deny the Blue Origin complaint. [DELETED] is apparently at least a propellant depot from the context and SpaceX had the GAO redact that info. Added in Musk's ~150 ton payload update and he says that it is up to 8 Tankers depending on Lunar Starship's mass. My comments are in ().

    "SpaceX’s concept of operations contemplated ten total launches (down from 16), consisting of: 1 launch of its [DELETED]; 8 launches of its Tanker Starships to supply fuel to [DELETED] (down from 14); and 1 launch of its HLS Lander Starship, which would be [DELETED] and then travel to the Moon."

    The GAO allowed the three companies in the report to have the GAO redact any propriatary info before publishing the report. So among the things that SpaceX had the GAO redact was info on [DELETED]. From the context above, you can see that it is at least a propellant depot. I wonder if it may be more, as if [DELETED] is only a propellant depot, why redact it at all, since it is confirmed to be a propellant depot in the context. Most of the propellant depot mass is in the tanks holding the propellant and they are mostly, if not all, the tanks used to get to orbit in the first place. There is likely to be some recondenser equipment to minimize boil off, but I wonder if a stretched hull would also allow a small transfer station to be included. That seems more like something to have redacted as propriatary due to its usefulness, while SpaceX works it out. It would also explain why SpaceX didn't submit a proposal for the Commercial LEO Destination (CLD) station and a way to have crew flights before Starship is proven reliable enough to launch and land crew from Earth.

  4. Broadly speaking, I count up to five prototype Starship versions (Starhopper, Early testing, low-altitude test, high altitude atmospheric test, orbital tests).

    As for operational Starships, I can see maybe four or five crewed versions (point-to-point, LEO, Lunar Lander, Mars Lander). There might even be two variants of the 'Lunar Lander' – one for trips between either a crewed Orion or the Lunar Gateway and the surface of the moon and back and the other one from Earth to the Lunar surface and back. The LEO version would serve as either a short-term space station or an expansion to a commercial station.

    As for the uncrewed versions, I can see at least four variants in addition to cargo versions of the crewed Starships. The additional variants would include but not be limited to Starlink dispensers, tanker, depot, Starships designed for to deploy generic satellites or probes.

  5. Yup, I honestly think we're just beginning to scratch the surface on potential use ideas for starship once the base version is operational and vetted.

  6. It's evident that SpaceX is constrained not by the production rate but by the testing. I believe it's very unlikely they would build expendable ships just because they require to deliver starlinks sooner

  7. Maybe 26 will be a tanker variant so that Isaacman's Polaris Missions will have something to dock to 🙂

  8. Any Starship that is either expendable or is not meant for re entry does not need flaps either. They would very likely be built without flaps if it were not intended to be needed. They are quit heavy. Elon wants Starship to achieve orbit as quickly as possible. If the heat shield is slowing them down andthey can achieve orbit without it, Elon would put it on the back burner for now.

  9. THank you for sharing this. It is amazing the versatility that this ship promises . Childre have an amazing future to look up to.

  10. I think it is a moonlander prototype that must show to nasa that spacex can land (it) on moon before real one for artemis program will do

  11. Fuel Depot would not need to reenter, so does not need tiles or fins, Missions to outer planets would not need re-entry, neither does the HLS lander

  12. If they're not going to land them, they should leave them in orbit.
    Once refueling is a thing they can be used again.

  13. 8:39 but how it get protected over the sun and shadow? -200ºC to 400ºC? the methane is liquid at -200 but sun will heat it. any protection on that?
    And if the plan is to go to mars why dont put booster in orbit to give extra enegy to travel? imagine a boster with vacum engine pushing the SN25 to Mars. that dont cut the time to Mars?

  14. Space X for future! 🚀
    And Thank you very much NasaSpaceflight for providing us so good with information, livestreams etc.!!

  15. You missed one huge variant of starship that has not been talked about in awhile but was well talked about during its initial stages. And that’s the point to point on Earth variant

  16. No matter what happens, Hopper needs to stay exactly where it is for the rest of time. It can be Texas' Stone Henge and in a thousand years people can flock to it to see where our planetary and eventually stellar exploration started. Then they'll probably laugh at how primitive we were and zip away in their warp drive machine.