SpaceX Discussion Thread in Science & Spaceflight Posted August 16, 2021 So I'm seeing a disconnect between "Near term there's no WAY starship is reliable enough for crew" and "SpaceX will fly a million times before crew, so it'll be safe." Lets focus on the middle term. How much iteration can SpaceX do before december 2026? (in preparation for the 2027 mars launch window) Note that reuse doesnt actually figure into the iteration rate, only the expirimentation rate. They can fly, say, SN37 a total of 50 times, but they cant make any improvements based on those flights until they build SN38. So Starbase seems to have a starship production rate of about 1/month. They're actually a bit faster, but building boosters before they qualify landing will slow them down at the beginning, so we'll call 1/month an average. SN20 will be finished and stacked before the end of august 2021. That gives 4 months (and thus 4 starship iterations) in 2021, 12 in 2022, 12 in 2023, 12 in 2024, 12 in 2025, and 12 in 2026. That's (approximately, see assumptions earlier) 64 starship iterations before the first crewed mars flight. Not exactly edison's "I have found a thousand ways NOT to make a lightbulb", but it's also not counting computer simulations for the obvous pitfalls, and software changes that do not require a new-build starship. It also doesnt figure in Raptor upgrades- Raptor v2 is in the pipeline, and Elon doesnt expect to be satisfied until at LEAST Raptor v5, and raptors have their own iteration rate, independent from starships.