mapping accurate estimations aggregating predictive insights assembling definitive understanding calculating probable futures formulating precise estimations mapping the future crowdsourcing intelligent estimations forecasting contingent contingencies formulating probable futures assembling critical wisdom generating accurate futures mapping calibrated estimations aggregating critical wisdom calculating predictive wisdom

Question

Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Will SpaceX Starship (with or without a booster) reach space before 2021?

SpaceX is going full steam ahead with Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

Musk thinks that the booster part (currently called "Super Heavy") will be the easier part. Therefore, SpaceX is currently focusing on the upper stage (currently called "Starship" and before that "Big Falcon Spaceship" or "BFS").

For those losing track of Musk's repeated renaming of the project Wikipedia provides up-to date section on BFR nomenclature.

About renaming BFR to Starship, Musk's has said:

Technically, two parts: Starship is the spaceship/upper stage & Super Heavy is the rocket booster needed to escape Earth’s deep gravity well (not needed for other planets or moons)

All rockets capable of reaching Earth's orbit with useful payload are built with at least two stages. Sometimes more. This is due to the rocket equation. Dumping the dead weight of an empty first stage allows for more efficient use of energy. Super Heavy Starship (or BFR) is also built with two stages: the first stage is called "Super Heavy" and the second stage is called "Starship" (or BFS).

An interesting aspect of the Starship is that it will be able to fly without the Super Heavy. That will allow it to return from other planets and moons to the Earth. It will also be capable of single stage to orbit launch from the Earth without any useful payload. The capability is intended to be used for testing of entering planets atmospheres from super orbital velocities like Mars/Moon transfer velocities. According to Musk there are certain heating parameters that scale to the eighth power with regard to speed.

See Musk's explanation of how Starship will be tested.

In January 2019 an early test version of the Starship was assembled.

Regarding first orbital prototype Musk was predicting:

Should be done with first orbital prototype around June

The question asks:

Will SpaceX Starship (with or without a booster) reach space before 2021?

The question will resolve positively if we get information from SpaceX that any test version of Starship with or without a booster reached space before 1 January 2021. For purpose of this question reaching space will mean being at attitude of at least 80km. After reaching space, it could even explode without affecting how this question resolves. In case of failures before reaching space, several attempts are allowed.

The question will resolve negatively if no test is attempted or Starship will not reach space as defined above.

Musk himself predicts:

How about the chances that Starship reaches orbit in 2020?

Probability at 60% & rising rapidly due to new architecture

Similar questions:

{{qctrl.predictionString()}}

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.