November 30, 2021

I DIDN’T REALIZE THE RAPTOR ISSUES WERE SERIOUS. APPARENTLY NEITHER DID ELON MUSK UNTIL RECENTLY: Elon Musk tells SpaceX employees that Starship engine crisis is creating a ‘risk of bankruptcy.’ “Musk’s email to SpaceX employees provides more context to the significance of the departure of former Vice President of Propulsion Will Heltsley earlier this month. Heltsley had been taken off Raptor development before he left, CNBC reported, with Musk noting in his email that the company’s leadership has been digging into the program’s problems since then – and discovering the circumstances ‘to be far more severe’ than Musk previously thought.”

This isn’t good. The Raptor is a very advanced engine and teething problems are inevitable, but it’s an engine that must be mass-produced, and reliable, to serve its purposes.

UPDATE: Much more here.

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