SpaceX’s New Starship Re-Design Will be Game Changer!

SpaceX's New Starship Re-Design Will be Game Changer

Did someone say SpaceX Starship is getting over a thousand changes? Well, that’s what Elon Musk announced, the founder of the prominent spacecraft manufacturing company! Per CNBC, Elon Musk expects SpaceX to spend about $2 billion on its Starship rocket development in 2023, along with planning on launching 100 spacecraft within this year! 

For such plans to work out successfully, SpaceX looks forward to bringing about changes in Starship design that will prove to be a game changer. Will it be the catalyst to rectify the destructive launch in April 2023? That’s what space enthusiasts look forward to figuring outs!

Viable Changes

SpaceX has launched 48 rockets as of July 2023. Among those, there were forty-five Falcon 9s, two Falcon Heavies, and one Starship. On April 20, 2023, the dramatic launch of Starship encountered hurdles and ended in controlled self-destruction due to engine failures and the failure of stage separation. Since then  SpaceX is leaving no stone unturned as it prepares for its second attempt to reach orbit with the Super Heavy-Starship rocket. On June 24, SpaceX Founder Elon Musk revealed to Journalist Ashlee Vance that the company has implemented “well over a thousand” changes to the rocket’s design to improve its chances of success. With these upgrades, Musk believes that the probability of a successful launch and orbit is much higher than before, estimating it to be around 60%, depending on the success of the stage separation.

there were forty-five Falcon 9s, two Falcon Heavies, and one Starship

Stage Separation

One of the most significant and talked-about modifications to the Starship design involves a major change in the stage separation process. SpaceX has introduced a technique called “hot staging,” where the upper-stage engines ignite before the booster stage engines have shut down completely. This method is commonly used in Russian rockets, which increases the payload capacity of the Starship by approximately 10% and improves overall performance. Also, it seems like the hot staging will reduce the flight path of the first stage in addition to increasing the energy transferred to the second stage. 

To facilitate this particular change, SpaceX has added an extension to the booster stage, which acts as a vent to allow the superhot plasma from the upper-stage engines to flow safely without causing damage. In order to protect the Super Heavy booster from the upper stage’s exhaust plumes during ignition, SpaceX has included shielding and an extension with vents that direct the plumes away from the lower stage. Through this design change, the company aims to prevent damage and ensure a successful separation procedure.

SpaceX has introduced a technique called hot staging, where the upper-stage engines ignite before the booster stage engines have shut down completely


During the first test flight, several Raptor engines experienced failures or did not ignite. To mitigate the chances of further failures or engine disruptions, significant changes have been made to the Raptor engine’s hot gas manifold. It directs super-heated methane-rich gas to the combustion chamber. The manifold has been redesigned, and higher torque settings are now used to secure the bolts, which helps eliminate potential leak paths and improve engine performance.

Launch Pad

In addition to the modifications of stage separation and engine, SpaceX has also focused on fortifying the launch pad in the Boca Chica Facility in Texas. The powerful blast from the Raptor engines during the first launch caused significant damage to the launch mount and surrounding areas. To prevent similar damage in the future, SpaceX has poured reinforced high-strength concrete at the mount and installed a water-spouting steel plate. 

Previously, the exhaust from the Super Heavy’s Raptor engines eroded the pad’s concrete footings. To reinforce it, SpaceX is adding approximately 1,000 cubic meters of steel-reinforced high-strength concrete. To top that off, a steel sandwich structure with water-spouting channels has also been implemented. This unusual “upside-down shower head” design will counteract the intense heat generated by the booster during launch. And this system will act like a gigantic upside-down shower head, blasting water upwards to counteract the intense heat generated by the booster.

SpaceX is adding approximately 1,000 cubic meters of steel-reinforced high-strength concrete

Federal Aviation Administration 

Well, it’s obvious such major changes will require federal approval. While SpaceX is confident in the upgrades, regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still required before the next launch can proceed. The FAA will review the changes made to the rocket, including the flight termination system, which experienced a delay in activating during the first flight. SpaceX is actively working with the FAA and has joined an ongoing environmental lawsuit related to the impact of Starship launches on the South Texas environment and community.

As SpaceX finalizes the implementation of hundreds of changes and awaits FAA clearance, the world watches with anticipation, recognizing the determination and innovation that have become synonymous with Elon Musk’s company. The next launch represents another step towards a future where human presence extends beyond Earth’s boundaries, opening doors to new possibilities and discoveries in the vast expanse of space.

While SpaceX’s investment in the Super Heavy Starship program has surpassed $2 billion and is projected to approach $3 billion by the end of the year, Elon Musk’s focus remains on reaching orbit and creating a commercially viable rocket.

While SpaceX's investment in the Super Heavy Starship program has surpassed $2 billion and is projected to approach $3 billion by the end of the year

The journey to achieving this goal involves continuous improvement, problem-solving, and overcoming obstacles as SpaceX pushes the boundaries of space exploration.

To wrap up, SpaceX’s upcoming second launch of the Starship rocket will showcase numerous upgrades and design changes aimed at improving its performance and reliability. The introduction of hot staging, improvements to the engine design, and fortification of the launch pad demonstrate SpaceX’s commitment to continuous innovation and progress in space exploration. As the company works towards its long-term goal of creating a commercially viable and fully reusable rocket, each test flight brings valuable insights and learnings that propel humanity further into the realm of space exploration.

Sharika Farzana

Sharika Farzana

Meet Sharika Farzana, a tech enthusiast and former tech journalist with a passion for exploring the latest gadgets and technology trends. After years of experience covering the tech industry, Sharika Farzana decided to become a dedicated vlogger who provides tech tips and reviews on everything from smartphones, smartwatches, headphones, printers, and smart home appliances.