SpaceX Starhopper damaged in high winds

SpaceX Starhopper damaged in high winds

Elon Musk indicates that the SpaceX Starhopper has been damaged after being toppled in 50 mile-per-hour winds. This will take a few weeks to repair.


Elon Musk had mentioned in a tweet on January 5, 2019, that unexpected issues could delay the Starhopper by 4 weeks. This turned out to be an accurate prediction of bad weather causing damage and delays.


The wind damage came after several weeks of rapid progress on the SpaceX Starhopper and the conversion of the Super Heavy Starship to use stainless steel instead of carbon fiber.

Elon Musk explained in a Popular Mechanics interview that 300 series of alloy can handle than or aluminum. Carbon fiber can theoretically take higher temperatures but in practice, the resin has problems after exposure to prolonged temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.


The new metal rocket design will use some water and fuel to help cool parts of the rocket. Overall the new metal design will be lighter, stronger and lower cost. A huge benefit is the new design should massively reduce the development time for the new rocket.

It will be very interesting to see if SpaceX and Elon Musk are proven to be right again about their design choices. Will SpaceX complete a fully reusable rocket with 100 ton or more cargo capacity in less than four years?



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Citation: SpaceX Starhopper damaged in high winds (2019, January 24) retrieved 23 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-spacex-starhopper-high.html
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