“Well, I just had a lot of talks with the team about that today,” he said of the SN1 failure. “It’s what you might call the thrust puck — there’s an inverted cone where we mount the three sea-level engines. In fact, it’s drawn on that whiteboard over there. ”
He walked up to the whiteboard and pointed to a frowning face. “This is my drawing,” he said with a smirk. Then, with a dry-erase marker in hand, Musk proceeded to lecture about rockets.
“There’s a sad face because we have an inverted cone,” he said. “It’s such a dumb design. It’s one of the dumbest things on the whole rocket because it’s heavy, expensive, and unreliable. ”
Basically, the SN1 failure boiled down to bad welds in a weak section of Starship near the engine. When exposed to pressure, the welds burst.
Musk was not happy because he had not heard about this specific issue, in this section of Starship, before the test failure. Do you think Musk addressed that with his team? Yeah, he addressed that.
“We sent out a note to the team that this was badly designed, badly built, and badly checked,” he said . “That’s just a statement of fact. I met with the whole quality team, and I said, ‘Did you think that that thing was good?’ They said, ‘No.’ I told them that, in the future, you treat that rocket like it’s your baby, and you do not send it to the test site unless you think your baby’s going to be OK. They said that they did raise the concern to one of the engineers. But that engineer didn’t do anything. ‘OK,’ I said, ‘then you need to email me directly.’ Now they understand. If you email me directly, and if I buy off on the risk, then it’s OK. What’s not OK is they think that the weld is not good, they don’t tell me, they take it to the pad and blow it up. Now I have been clear. There’s plenty of forgiveness if you pass me the buck. There is no forgiveness if you don’t. ”
Elon Musk, SpaceX chief engineer. NurPhoto / Getty Images What you need to understand about Musk is that he is the chief engineer of SpaceX — and that’s not a courtesy title. Musk previously told me that at the very beginning of SpaceX, no great engineers would take the job, and what’s the point of hiring someone to be chief engineer who isn’t great? So he became the chief engineer of SpaceX. Almost every technical rocket decision made at SpaceX comes to him eventually. Especially the hard ones. He has spent many, if not the majority, of his days since December in South Texas. During Christmas, employees there say, he worked all-nighters alongside them to get the dome structure and the welds right for SN1.
Yet Musk has not been spending so much of his time in South Texas just to build a Starship. Rather, he’s trying to build a
production line for Starships . He wants to build a lot of them. And fast, always fast. “Production is at least 1, 06 0 percent harder than making one of something, ”he said. “At least 1, (0 percent harder. ”) Musk should know. He lived through “production hell” at Tesla in 2019 and building up factories, changing Processes, spending many sleepless nights and going through all manner of mental agony. Now, Tesla is making as many as , 0 cars a week. He wants to implement a similar system in South Texas. Musk, in fact, aims to reach a point where the company builds a Starship a week by the end of this year. And after that? Maybe they’ll go faster. SpaceX is designing its factory here to build a Starship every (hours.) (Page: Listing image by Eric Berger 1) (2) (3) (Next) → Read More
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