Talk:SpaceX Starship

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Former good articleSpaceX Starship was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Did You Know Article milestones
DateProcessResult
September 14, 2021Good article nomineeListed
September 24, 2021Featured article candidateNot promoted
October 11, 2021Peer reviewReviewed
October 12, 2021Guild of Copy EditorsCopyedited
October 21, 2021Featured article candidateNot promoted
November 21, 2021Good article reassessmentKept
December 2, 2021WikiProject A-class reviewNot approved
January 24, 2022Peer reviewReviewed
March 12, 2022Featured article candidateNot promoted
March 17, 2022Good article reassessmentDelisted
June 6, 2022Peer reviewReviewed
June 16, 2022Good article nomineeNot listed
January 13, 2023Good article nomineeNot listed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on November 9, 2021.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that SpaceX's reusable Starship launch vehicle has twice as much thrust as the Apollo program's Saturn V?
Current status: Delisted good article

Misspelled name[edit]

I have no idea how to successfully edit, so I'll throw this out there - the name "Michael" is misspelled "Micheal" throughout the references parts of the page 131.137.5.113 (talk) 13:38, 24 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

 Done Stoplookin9 :) Send me a message! 15:33, 29 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Starship IFT-3[edit]

I think this time we can agree that its a succes, since it did reach intended trajectory (as far as I know) Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 13:38, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. B10 loss doesn't matter, as that isn't part of ascent. Redacted II (talk) 13:47, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed too, but let's wait until we know if all objectives have been accomplished or not (re-entry etc.) just in case Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 13:55, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The orbital test objectives don't matter. Success v.s failure is decided between 0:00 and 8:35 for the ship, and between 0:00 and 2:42 for the booster. Redacted II (talk) 14:45, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I belive re entry happened, but it lost control some way into it Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 16:42, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
yes it did but reentery was always gonna be the hardest part fans such as I knew this since before ift1 in fact I would've been surprised if it did survive reenetry Onemarsyboi (talk) 00:14, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
While I'm glad you keep up with Starship dev, try to stay on topic. Redacted II (talk) 00:31, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Launch itself should be considered a success as it reached orbital velocity unlike the past two flights. Landing for Super Heavy should be loss on landing and apparently re-entry was not successful. User3749 (talk) 14:46, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed for outcome: success ---> booster: loss on landing ---> ship: loss on re-entry Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 14:54, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I feel one should not claim that orbital velocity was achieved. From the detaile article on this test flight, you see that periapsis (lowest point of orbit) was 50 km below ground. From the article in SpacDaily, I calculated that achieved speed was about 1000 km/h below orbital speed. QthTue (talk) 07:52, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The flight was sub-orbital CtrlDPredator (talk) 09:03, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Let the dust settle. When more information is available from reliable sources, the outcome of the launch can be added based on the consensus. Redraiderengineer (talk) 15:00, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/14/world/starship-launch-spacex-scn/index.html
https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/14/spacex-starship-rocket-third-test-flight-launch.html
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/spacex-launch-super-heavy-starship-rocket-third-test-flight/ Redacted II (talk) 15:08, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
My suggestion is to wait on adding the outcome to the infobox per WP:RSBREAKING.
Not all of the sources listed directly support "success." According to the CNN article, "The company routinely frames failures during these early test flights as normal."
Additionally, the FAA will also oversee a mishap investigation. "A mishap occurred during the SpaceX Starship OFT-3 mission that launched from Boca Chica, Texas, on March 14." [1] Redraiderengineer (talk) 15:49, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
According to wikipedia precedent, reaching the desired orbit=success.
S28 reached the desired (not) orbit.
Therefore, success Redacted II (talk) 15:53, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
FAA announcing a mishap investigation is not relevant in this context. Plus, saying "[SpaceX] routinely frames failures ... as normal" isn't directly calling it a failure, but that source does not state in its own tone that it was a success. User3749 (talk) 15:58, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree that a mishap investigation likely involving what happened after MECO means the launch was a failure (or even a partial failure). If the FAA/other RS announces that there was a mishap during launch that opinion will change but I don't see evidence for that RN. Rainclaw7 (talk) 15:59, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
NASA has called it:
https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1768288689694642398
"Congrats to @SpaceX on a successful test flight! Starship has soared into the heavens. Together, we are making great strides through Artemis to return humanity to the Moon—then look onward to Mars." — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
Mysterius (talk) 04:32, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Launch success, Booster landing failure (very much like early F9), Ship lost prior to landing (precluded). Suborbital rather than TAO (since in-space maneuver which would have raised perigee did not occur).Jrcraft Yt (talk) 15:12, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The maneuver, IIRC, would have lowered perigee.
If they said otherwise during the official livestream, then it's suborbital. Redacted II (talk) 15:28, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
At about 1:14:00 in the stream, they said the test relight would raise the perigee ("the opposite of a de-orbit burn"). At ~1:15:05 they explained that it would be at a steep trajectory and would be "coming home no matter what."
It's unclear if the resulting perigee would have been positive from the information in the stream. Foonix0 (talk) 15:45, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
According to calculations by Jonathan Mcdowell, without the engine burn, perigee is -100 (or was it -50?) km.
My objection is withdrawn. IFT-3 was (technically) suborbital Redacted II (talk) 15:46, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'd say partial success, as the booster completed almost all objectives. Ship failing during reentry certainly triggered a mishap investigation, so that will prevent the mission from being fully successful Stoplookin9 :) Send me a message! 15:14, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Launch success, not full mission success :) Jrcraft Yt (talk) 15:15, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I understand what you mean here but we are talking about the launch itself. On the page SpaceX Starship flight tests we have separate outcomes for the launch itself (the ascent phase), booster landing (everything Super Heavy does after hot staging), and spacecraft landing (everything from deorbit, reentry and landing). Landing phases are viewed separately from the launch itself. Same thing applies here. User3749 (talk) 15:49, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah exactly this Jrcraft Yt (talk) 15:52, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, and we already have the booster splashdown failure and Starship splashdown preclusion on the proper page. The infobox asks about the launch and that was a success. Rainclaw7 (talk) 15:55, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It was a failure because did not reach the surface of the Indian Ocean intact as planned. May also take Columbia disaster as a reference: it was classified as a failure in the Space Shuttle article. 42.98.182.158 (talk) 16:05, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Columbia lost crew. Very different.
Success for launch only means it launched successfully. Everything after SECO is irrelevant. Redacted II (talk) 16:08, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The overall mission was not successful, but there is a distinction between mission success and launch success (which is what we are discussing here). A better comparison would be to the launch of Starliner OFT-1, which is recorded as a success even though the overall mission was a partial failure. Rainclaw7 (talk) 16:10, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we're keeping this consistent with other launch vehicles, I think Partial Failure would be the fairest judgment. IFT-3 was almost identically-successful as Apollo 6 (Reached [intended] orbit, failed to perform engine relight. Starship additionally did not survive reentry, which was a mission milestone). However, 2 things:
1: As other editors have mentioned, it is unclear whether Starship statistics should measure mission success (e.g. Space Shuttle) or launch success (e.g. Falcon 9). I believe it's important that we come to a consensus on this matter.
2: We should also make our judgement based on how most third-party sources are describing the flight. Wikipedia is meant to follow what sources say, not advocate for its own positions (WP:PODIUM) Gojet-64 (talk) 17:33, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed now that I think of it, we have to follow what reliable sources say, let's wait a day or two to see Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 17:38, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Not trying to to Bludgeon the discussion, but the RS have declared it a success:
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/spacex-test-launch-rocket-booster-elon-musk-moon-18986410.php (Separates IFT-3 from 2 and 1, calling the earlier flights partial successes)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/03/14/spacex-starship-test-flight/ (most successful yet)
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/spacex-starship-third-test-launch-thursday-rcna143286 (Starship launches successfully) Redacted II (talk) 17:41, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Well, aguess so be it! Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 17:43, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, as launch was flawless (0 engine failures, 0 known issues during flight).
The booster Mishap was after Stage Separation. According to established precedent (Falcon 9), this is irrelevant for success v failure.
The ship burned up on reentry, but the same precedent applies.
Furthermore, upper stages (not just reusable stages) being destroyed after SECO has never meant launch failure or partial failure. There have been multiple Delta II upper stages and Centaurs that explode in orbit after SECO.
Launch success does not require mission success. Redacted II (talk) 17:38, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, but still, that's us making those thoughts, remember that Wikipedia is a tertiary source trying to summarize what reliable sources say Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 17:39, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Not to nitpick, but whats different between partial failure and partial succes? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 21:39, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
One is an official category. The other is identical, just not officially recognized Redacted II (talk) 22:35, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Can we all agree the disputed part of this is false. The success criteria (as many of you stated before) was the targeted orbit. It did that. So by the boundaries set for 1&2 it was a success. Anything other is moving the goalposts
Entry and landing are secondary and if there was payload on the flight going to an orbit it would've been a success.
Numerous industry leaders including the NASA Administrator called this a success.
Funny how quickly the failure disputes get shut down but the moment there is a success it's disputed. If this is seriously going from clickbait headlines yall need to grow up and learn journalists don't have more knowledge or expertise than engineers
This should not be disputed because of personal gripes or ignorance JudaPoor (talk) 18:32, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Please know that Wikipedia relies on statements from reliable sources in articles, and that gathering consensus through discussion is at the basis of decision-making in Wikipedia. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 18:42, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Consensus here looks firmly as a success. That's also not what I was told before and plenty of high quality sources (NASA, SpaceX, Thomas Zurbuchen, Chris Hadfield) testify to it being a success.
Articles also don't abjectly call it a failure but simply call it's a Loss of vehicle which happened after a norminal flight. For any other vehicle this would be indisputably a success. JudaPoor (talk) 19:04, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If success/failure is determined by the mission, as it should be, this was a failure in the technical sense. The mission was to land Starship in the Indian Ocean and Super Heavy in the Gulf, neither of which happened. On the wiki page for the Space Shuttle, under Launch History, Columbia (which burned up on reentry) was listed as a failure, and the same metrics should apply for Starship. 184.181.39.72 (talk) 21:22, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
STS-107 carried crew, which is why it was a failure.
Recovery doesn't matter for success v.s failure, according to very well established precedent with Falcon 9. Therefore, anything after 8:35 doesn't matter. And since the ship and booster had flawless ascents, there is no reason for it to be anything but success. Redacted II (talk) 21:30, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
On the Space Shuttle page, they are listing success and failure of missions, not launches. They even have a note saying they are doing things differently.
That also means they obscure an abort-to-orbit which for a launch should be a partial failure even if the mission was still successful. CtrlDPredator (talk) 23:44, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
But SHOULD it be? Thats the question. Most people are fine with counting launches, not missions. And I dount we want to start another month long dispute about that too. Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 21:46, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If so, then first Vulcan launch was also a failure, as Peregrine mission failed. Elk Salmon (talk) 11:18, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I’m unfamiliar with the subject so I can’t provide much comment, but what precedent was established for the success criteria of Falcon 9 (Heavy)? I think this would be a good starting point to resolving the dispute. I participated in the previous RfCs involving IFT-1 and IFT-2 which resulted in excessive drama, so it’s ideal that we get this over with ASAP as to not waste contributor time. Yasslaywikia (talk) 22:35, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Falcon 9 had several stages fail to be recovered. These failed recoveries didn't impact the wikipedia designation, establishing a precedent for what is part of launch and what isn't (in terms of success v failure).
I couldn't agree more on the goal of getting this over quickly. But at the same time, this should last about a week before being closed, to give everyone a chance to voice their opinion. Redacted II (talk) 22:42, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I see, thank you. After reviewing the article on Falcon 9 test flights, e.g. Grasshopper, it would be ideal if the success criteria for IFT-3 et al to be assessed on the basis of each system tested from what reliable sources say. The sources I’ve searched through so far haven’t come to a conclusion on what they thought of the test flight, so I think we need to wait a little while as you say to see more reliable sources publish their opinions on the flight. However, they seem to allude to the flight being a partial success/failure, for example this article from the Guardian [link], which to me seems to be a reasonable reading of the article. However, I haven’t done an in-depth look into the subject yet, so we’ll need to compare more reliable sources to come to a proper conclusion. This is a step in the right direction though. Yasslaywikia (talk) 22:58, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Journalists are not reliable sources. Industry leaders are. All industry leaders including the NASA administrator called this a success
Past precedent for calling successful missions successful would make this a success.
The consensus is clear JudaPoor (talk) 12:30, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've read, it seems there's an inconsistency between prior success/failure metrics, where Falcon 9 is determined by a successful launch and the Space Shuttle it determined by a successful mission. If so, why is this the case? And shouldn't this be changed for consistency, regardless of which way it goes? 184.181.39.72 (talk) 22:58, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If crew is lost due to a part of the vehicle (and the shuttle was a part of the vehicle), Auto-failure. After all, calling a mission a success when seven astronauts died is just wrong.
Otherwise, if the launch is successful, anything afterwards doesn't matter. Redacted II (talk) 23:18, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Otherwise, if the launch is successful, anything afterwards doesn't matter." Not exactly. See: Apollo 13, which is listed as a failure, and rightly so. I get your point about the crew, and that makes sense, but it just doesn't seem right to call something a success if not all mission objectives are met. 184.181.39.72 (talk) 23:33, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Apollo 13 was a successful launch of Saturn V. The issues with the service module were unrelated to launch.
The Saturn V has one partial failure, which is actually the Apollo 6 launch. CtrlDPredator (talk) 23:41, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Nonetheless, I think partial failure is a reasonable assessment. 184.181.39.72 (talk) 23:36, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Loss of crew after launch doesn't automatically mean the launch was a failure. Soyuz 11 was a successful launch of the R-7, but the capsule depressurised on re-entry and the crew died.
For Columbia, the launch caused the damage preventing a safe return. CtrlDPredator (talk) 23:39, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I would like to re-emphasis this:
"If crew is lost due to a part of the vehicle"
Soyuz 11's loss was not the fault of the rocket.
And Apollo 13 isn't listed on the Saturn V page as a failure. Redacted II (talk) 23:42, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Ah ok, I see. 184.181.39.72 (talk) 00:01, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Wikipedia must not lose its independence and must call things as they are. Namely - failure. Otherwise, the attitude and rhetoric of SpaceX that they have towards themselves would be adopted. To brag about themselves. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 04:24, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We are only talking about the launch, not the full mission. The launch part is all that happens during ascent which was essentially flawless. User3749 (talk) 06:22, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Infobox, launch lists and statistics all have an entry for the launch, not the full mission. I don't see how it could be anything than a launch success. It reached the target trajectory. Booster and ship landing failed, obviously. We use the same groups for Falcon 9: List of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches#2020. --mfb (talk) 07:29, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This is a personal opinion and assumes bad faith. The NASA administrator, past precedent, past requirements for success and consensus is for a success
Your own bias against SpaceX or weird idea they're obsessed with themselves isn't a valid criticism or argument JudaPoor (talk) 12:28, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Disagree. The idea that it reached its intended trajectory is from an unreliable source and should be seen only as business marketing material. I don’t think judging events as a “success” or “failure” is an encyclopaedic thing to do. 95.98.134.109 (talk) 13:01, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Disagree. The idea that it reached its intended trajectory is from an unreliable source and should be seen only as business marketing material"
SpaceX is a RS.
"I don’t think judging events as a “success” or “failure” is an encyclopaedic thing to do."
For test flights, I agree, but there is a VERY strong consensus that disagrees with us. Redacted II (talk) 13:23, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
SpaceX is not a reliable source because it is a dependent primary source as they own the rights to (i.e. launched and designed) the rocket. Independent secondary sources should be used to evaluate the launch success of IFT-3, not the personal opinions of editors nor information gathered from primary sources. The current preponderance of reliable sources seems to suggest that the launch was at least a partial success/failure - I’ll link some later.
A lot of people seem to be conflating mission success with launch success, which are distinct from one another. In this instance, mission success refers to the overall success of the mission, whereas launch success focuses on how successful the launch was, i.e. before orbit. The scope of the discussions should stick to the latter as that is what is supposed to be discussed at the moment. Yasslaywikia (talk) 17:34, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with you; so far it looks like the launch was a complete success, but the mission (which includes in-orbit demos, re-entry and booster comeback) was not totally Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 17:36, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
In that case, shouldn't we declare this a "partial success"? We should declare a flight test successful based on one of two things (mission and launch success as stated above). And thus, if the launch was successful, yet the general mission wasn't, it'd be a "partial success", and we'd call a "full success" if both launch and mission went according to plan. I'd like to point to the fairly recent Peregrine Mission One, where the launch itself was flawless, and yet the mission wasn't. Thus, it was declared a "failure". That can be applied here, where relanding and keeping Starship intact were technically "objectives". See here, here, and here. Media outlets described the test as "the most successful to date", and not a wholly "success", and I think that's important to take into account. For my part, I believe we should declare it a partial success. --WellThisIsTheReaper Grim 19:50, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Your confusing Launch and Mission success.
For every launch vehicle (other than shuttle, due to the vast differences from anything else) launch success means reaching the desired trajectory, and not destroying the payload. That's it. The mission failing doesn't even matter.
Nor does the booster rud, as that didn't impact S28. There is also dozens of prior failed landings that prove this.
Therefore, calling IFT-3 anything but a Success is an NPOV violation. Redacted II (talk) 23:19, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Both Space Shuttle and Space X Starship comprise of the launch vehicle and orbiter. This is an article about Space X Starship, not about Super Heavy launch vehicle alone, and the title of the infobox is "Starship". Therefore, we should not just look at the launch vehicle regarding Success/Failure but also the orbiter, and overall mission objectives. That being said, I would say this launch is Partial Success. IlkkaP (talk) 07:06, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
How is it an NPOV violation? Also mentioning @IlkkaP, do you have independent secondary sources to verify your claims? I’m concerned that reliable sources aren’t being used to determine the successfulness of the recent launch. Yasslaywikia (talk) 08:06, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There are no independent secondary sources at least at the moment regarding successfulness of the launch. The best primary source at the moment is https://www.spacex.com/launches/mission/?missionId=starship-flight-3 and states that "Starship successfully lifted off at 8:25 a.m. CT from Starbase in Texas and went on to accomplish several major milestones and firsts". I think that is the best available summary of the flight, and based on this would call the flight "Success (Partial)". IlkkaP (talk) 09:02, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This is still incorrect.
Success in the Infobox only means it reached the desired trajectory, and didn't destroy the payload.
IFT-3 reached the desired trajectory, and it didn't destroy any payload.
It is therefore a 100% launch success. Redacted II (talk) 11:13, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not arguing on the basis of a "100% launch success". I'm arguing from the standpoint of both launch and mission success. In a mission, the launch is only one part of the larger goal. In this case, the "larger goal" was (and is, for that matter) to have Starship be fully reusable, and that amounts to having landed both Super Heavy and Starship successful, as that was one of their primary goals (however I do note that it has been said that "mission success" doesn't matter). Yet, most press coverage refer to the launch as the most successful to date or even "(the flight) achieved many successes", not a complete "success". Nodding my head to what @Yasslaywikia said before, we need have to reliable, independent sources to verify if this test was "truly" a success. And it seems that the general consensus in the view of the sources are: yes, the test did have many successes and was a drastic improvement over the last, but it can't "technically" be called a success. See New Scientist, CNET, Reuters, The Washington Post, CNN, The Indian Express, and I'm sure there's many, many, many more who'll same the same thing! Calling it a success is a clear WP:NPOV violation, and thus should be declared as a partial success. --WellThisIsTheReaper Grim 01:57, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
See the IFT-1 RfC. The crux of that decision was that the infobox information should be based on criteria consistent across (most of*) all wikipedia articles that use that infobox. What sources say is thus irrelevant to what goes in the infobox, except for the extent to which they support or refute editors' consensus chosen infobox criteria.
The wider consensus for launch vehicles on wikipedia seems to be that anything that does not impact delivery of the payload to its intended trajectory is not a failure of the launch.*
Given that reuse operations (re-entry, booster landings, etc) is primarily an economic concern, does not affect the ability to accomplish a mission, and is not even possible for the vast majority of launch vehicles, the consensus for those vehicles is to track them separately from launch success. (I suppose this may chance in the future if reuse becomes the norm, or some other situation arises such as carrying payload down from orbit.)
So as I see it, the choices per policy are:
  • Classify as success, because information from sources indicate it meets the infobox criteria for success. There is just not much room inside wikipedia policy to argue otherwise. If had had a payload, that payload would have gone where it was supposed to go.
  • Lobby to change the infobox criteria across wikipedia, which may cause other unrelated launches to be marked as failure. Not likely to happen.
  • Lobby to overturn the prior RfCs for this article and define new infobox criteria or just delete the darn thing. People have repeatedly been threatened to be (and sometimes have been) reported for disruption when attempting to do this.
(* There is an exception for the Space Shuttle explained elsewhere in this discussion.) Foonix0 (talk) 06:10, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
In all fairness, I think that everyone’s coming to a consensus on this to call it a success of varying degrees, but I’m indifferent to what’s selected in the end, as long as the article declares the launch at least a partial success.
As for the launch success criteria, I think that this should be augmented with the opinions of reliable sources if possible. IFT-1 was a standout case as it received huge media attention and was declared to be successful. Personally, I interpreted this to be stating that IFT-1 was successful as a test of Starship’s systems, not as a launch, but others seemed to disagree with this notion. I don’t think I expressed this view at the time of the RfCs though. I also have a feeling that many editors chose to ignore all rules while voting due to the confusion.
, we shoutly to rd reflect what reliable sources should sto the best of our ability.ay Yasslaywikia (talk) 08:11, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
From where is the criteria that infobox should reflect launch successes? If it is a launch vehicle infobox, like Saturn V or Ariane 5, then it is clear that we are reporting launch successes. If it is an integrated system like Space Shuttle then we should report integrated system successes, i.e. including the payload/orbiter. In my mind it is clear that this article is about an integrated system, and partial success is best supported by the sources, including primary sources. IlkkaP (talk) 08:28, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Prior precedent in this article makes it an infobox for the launch vehicle.
AFAIK, the ONLY reason the shuttle is different is because STS-107 shouldn't be labeled a success in the infobox. Redacted II (talk) 11:06, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The issue is that as stated previously by many members of this forum, had the spacecraft carried a payload, it would've been lost, as the second stage didn't achieve orbital velocities due to failure to relight its engines and the fact it started tumbling uncontrollably shortly after SECO. Even if its intended trajectory could be achieved without re-lighting the engines, it failed to demonstrate the use of the system as a whole, including re-usability. Which is critical for every and all missions involving Starship, given that both Super Heavy and Starship have to fly at least 16 times successfully with full re-usability in order to complete the Artemis 3 mission. The major difference between IFT-2 and IFT-3 is that Starship wasn't lost shortly after booster separation. Despite this, the second stage Starship still failed to demonstrate its reliability.
It is true that IFT-3 was more successful than the previous two flights, but it cannot be called a full success by any stretch. As the example I gave involving the Delta IV heavy, if the same criteria was to be used, a partial failure should be assigned to the flight test as a whole, or have separate criteria for integrated systems and phases of flight. Silviyssa (talk) 00:10, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"as the second stage didn't achieve orbital velocities due to failure to relight its engines"
Not true. The relight test was to simulate performance required for a deorbit burn. The test was set up specifically to be unable to put the vehicle into orbit.
"Even if its intended trajectory could be achieved without re-lighting the engines,"
It actually was. The second stage burn achieved the intended trajectory for the coast phase.
"it failed to demonstrate the use of the system as a whole, including re-usability."
Re-usability doesn't matter for the sake of a payload launch.
"It is true that IFT-3 was more successful than the previous two flights, but it cannot be called a full success by any stretch"
That's not what is being discussed. The concern is the success of the launch. Foonix0 (talk) 02:44, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Moving for visibility.
"The issue is that as stated previously by many members of this forum, had the spacecraft carried a payload, it would've been lost,"
There was no payload, so that's irrelevant. Nothing after SECO matters.
"as the second stage didn't achieve orbital velocities due to failure to relight its engines and the fact it started tumbling uncontrollably shortly after SECO"
Again, nothing after SECO matters. Upper stages have literally exploded (and not from reentry) and still had the launch be a success. Furthermore, even IF the Raptor relight had happened, it still would have reentered?
Why?
Because the plan for IFT-3 post-launch testing included reentry. Saying IFT-3 failed because it didn't enter a stable orbit is as ludicrous as saying a New Shepard flight failed because it didn't enter a stable orbit.
"Even if its intended trajectory could be achieved without re-lighting the engines, it failed to demonstrate the use of the system as a whole, including re-usability."
Which doesn't matter. Reusability wasn't going to be demonstrated this flight no matter what (given the planned hard splashdown). And the booster would have been sank if it was still floating, so your point above is completely invalid.
"Which is critical for every and all missions involving Starship, given that both Super Heavy and Starship have to fly at least 16 times successfully with full re-usability in order to complete the Artemis 3 mission."
Irrelevant.
"The major difference between IFT-2 and IFT-3 is that Starship wasn't lost shortly after booster separation"
Shortly? IFT-2 almost reached the desired trajectory (off by ~2000 kph)
"Despite this, the second stage Starship still failed to demonstrate its reliability."
This is both incorrect and irrelevant.
"It is true that IFT-3 was more successful than the previous two flights, but it cannot be called a full success by any stretch."
Then why has almost every single RS called it just that?
"As the example I gave involving the Delta IV heavy, if the same criteria was to be used, a partial failure should be assigned to the flight test as a whole, or have separate criteria for integrated systems and phases of flight"
The criteria being discussed is for Launch ONLY. And that was a 100% success. Redacted II (talk) 00:22, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Because it would be treating Starship differently than every other vehicle. Redacted II (talk) 11:12, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
From my reading of policy and trying to apply it to this context, it seems that SpaceX's statements are largely acceptable: WP:PRIMARY notes that "A primary source may be used on Wikipedia only to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge."
WP:ABOUTSELF criteria are also met here. Simple statements like "the door closed" or "the booster was destroyed" etc are "neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim(s)" and "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity." There is risk that excessive use could break rule #5, but at this point in time there are just not a lot of better options for getting the at level of detail editors seem to want to include.
A given statement merely being a reliable news source does not shield it from being considered primary. From WP:PRIMARY: "For Wikipedia's purposes, breaking news stories are also considered to be primary sources." From WP:RSBREAKING: "All breaking news stories, without exception, are primary sources, and must be treated with caution."
Most of the news sources are just stating what SpaceX stated either on the live stream or on their web page at this point, so even though that publication lends SpaceX's statements significance, it's still just primary sourcing all the way down. An exception would be something like a news source that bothered to consult an actual subject matter expert that provided "thought and reflection" as per WP:SECONDARY. That did happen in the IFT1 RfC, but the consensus there was to disregard those statements and impose the editors' own standards based on their own evaluation of WP:RSBREAKING article content.
It makes sense to strive to include published quotes references and seek expert statements wherever possible. But in this context, literally nobody knows more about the launch than SpaceX its self. So, it makes sense to source their claims where appropriate, not extravagant, and not contradicted.
(Agreed about the 2nd paragraph, btw.) Foonix0 (talk) 00:19, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If breaking news from secondary sources is a concern, then we should wait a while to see if any more information is published from reliable sources. I stand by my assertion that using SpaceX as a source of information is bad and introduces an inherent bias into the article. This is why sourcing information from independent sources is so important. While stating if the launch was successful or not is a simple statement, it is highly contentious as evidenced by the existence of this discussion, so ideally we should use secondary independent sources as our source of information for the article. Yasslaywikia (talk) 07:51, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We have already discussed this many times. The precedent is clear: if it reaches orbit it is considered a success. This is the only way of achieving consistency with all other rockets. Most rockets are not intended to be reusable/recovered. So the recovery phase is irrelevant.
However, the best solution would be to just remove the success/failure numbers from the infobox as it lacks the required context to allow readers to understand what is happening here. We should use the body to provide complete descriptions of what happened. {{u|Gtoffoletto}}talk 12:45, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The second paragraph has been discussed many times. Unfortunately, it's not gonna happen. Redacted II (talk) 12:55, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Speaking as someone who has been tallying such statistics in various places for more than a decade, including Wikipedia, I think one major caveat in this is that this launch has definitely proved fully the capability of Starship as a launch vehicle to orbit, in expendable mode. Everything up to SECO for all actions relevant to deploying payload in orbit has worked out as planned. And if payload deployment is counted, the payload bay door opening and closing have also been tested in full too. One may even claim the "theoretical" capability of propellant transfer for the tanker version is proven this time too.
Re-entry capability for Starship is not need for expendable payload carrying, tanker and Artemis HLS versions of Starship. Booster recovery has nothing to do with the main mission. Which leaves the cancellation of the Raptor re-start as the only asterisk, however this is not the case of "engine commanded to re-start but failed" but "software made the decision not to perform test due to vehicle roll rate". While this do have some implications on the operational/licensing ability of Starship now, it most probably would not cause a theoretical payload deployment to fail if the attitude control isn't lost right after reaching "orbit". Thus I do think this is enough to call this flight a "success" in that SpaceX probably have proven enough things to consider carrying real payloads in the next flight, or at worst 2 flights later if the next one fully flies out as planned up till re-entry. Galactic Penguin SST (talk) 13:04, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
well said. Redacted II (talk) 13:46, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Exellent. Last flight more people were objecting the majority, but it was called failure either way. So this should be called succes for the same reason. Hope the debate is going to be over soon, since most counterarguments confuse launch succes with mission succes. Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 14:22, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Terms like "if" and "probably" have no place here. Their use does not lead to confirmation of facts. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 15:21, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
All the three flights reached some but not all mission objectives. At the moment, IFT-1 and IFT-2 are called Failures and IFT-3 Success. Undoubtedly there are sources for each flight with opposite outcomes. I would propose removing Success/Failure statistics from the IFT flights altogether (and add them to Operational flights once they begin), or at the very least call all three IFT flights the same way, either Partial Success or Partial Failure to be consistent. IlkkaP (talk) 15:31, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That has been rejected already Redacted II (talk) 17:20, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This idea Has been rejected too many times Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 07:33, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have discussed this issue at length with engineers at NASA familiar with the matter, and despite official NASA media outlets classifying the launch as a "success", it was clearly a failure from any and all engineering points of view. With NASA possibly spinning it positively because of recent bad press regarding their spending and management of the Artemis program.
First of all we need to consider the fact the spacecraft itself didn't reach orbital velocities nor did it achieve a stable orbit because shortly after MECO (main engine cutoff) a persistent fuel leak was present, changing the trajectory of the Starship second stage and making it tumble at a rate that was unrecoverable. As Starship lacks any kind of reaction control system, it was unable to right the tumbling which is visible during the entire second stage of the live-stream. Because the spacecraft didn't achieve orbital velocities and because of the violent tumbling and loss of control, it ended up burning in the atmosphere, which has been wrongly classified as a "controlled reentry". Despite Starship automatically attempting to use its "wings" to stabilize itself, it failed to do so.
Had this been the second stage on any other rocket, the launch and mission would automatically be classified as a failure, due to the fact that no payload could've been deployed, or had it been deployed, it wouldn't have had a stable orbit and said payload would've burned up in the atmosphere. Just this fact alone would be enough to classify the launch and the mission as a failure, as the system/vehicle failed to demonstrate it can achieve its intended objective. In the same vain, many people seem to state we should ignore the fact the Super Heavy booster having a major failure and being unable to land in a controlled manner. I disagree with this point as well because, unlike with Falcon 9, the controlled landing of the booster is a critical part of the system as a whole. Landing the boosters successfully demonstrates the capability of the system for reuse which is completely necessary to be able to achieve its plan for the Artemis program. We must not forget that the intended purpose of Starship right now is to fulfill its NASA contract for the Artemis 3 and 4 missions. I also think the argument that the engines all lit up and worked correctly during liftoff shouldn't be taken seriously because it's an extremely low bar for such a rocket system. Rocket engines working as designed for the first phase of flight after 2 other test flights shouldn't be the parameter we use for success. Especially keeping in mind that either the engines or the piping on the second stage (Starship) failed shortly after MECO leading to a fuel leak and the engines in the booster also failed to relight correctly leading to the loss of said booster.
As stated previously, had this been any other rocket system, the criteria for "failure" would've been quite evident, but it seems because it's a SpaceX rocket, we should morph definitions and make lots of exclusions to allow ourselves to say it was a "success". To exemplify this further, let me point to the first test flight of the Delta IV heavy (ULA) on the 21st December 2004. Due to the Common Booster Core under-performing, the payloads were deployed at a lower than intended orbit. As the system demonstrated its capabilities and reached orbit successfully but the payloads were not deployed correctly, it was classified as a "Partial Failure". Starship failed to reach orbit altogether and any payloads would've been completely lost, including human occupants, due to the fact Starships lacks any abort system. If we're not able to give this leeway to other rocket companies, why should we give it to SpaceX? IFT-3 failed to demonstrate the rocket system is capable of completing its mission, and that should be all that matters. Silviyssa (talk) 22:59, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"I have discussed this issue at length with engineers at NASA familiar with the matter, and despite official NASA media outlets classifying the launch as a "success", it was clearly a failure from any and all engineering points of view. With NASA possibly spinning it positively because of recent bad press regarding their spending and management of the Artemis program."
You have no source for any of the (already proven to be incorrect) claims have made.
"First of all we need to consider the fact the spacecraft itself didn't reach orbital velocities nor did it achieve a stable orbit because shortly after MECO (main engine cutoff) a persistent fuel leak was present, changing the trajectory of the Starship second stage and making it tumble at a rate that was unrecoverable. As Starship lacks any kind of reaction control system, it was unable to right the tumbling which is visible during the entire second stage of the live-stream. Because the spacecraft didn't achieve orbital velocities and because of the violent tumbling and loss of control, it ended up burning in the atmosphere, which has been wrongly classified as a "controlled reentry". Despite Starship automatically attempting to use its "wings" to stabilize itself, it failed to do so."
One, it's SECO.
Two, that doesn't matter. The trajectory was the desired one, and therefore it is a success. Period.
"Had this been the second stage on any other rocket, the launch and mission would automatically be classified as a failure, due to the fact that no payload could've been deployed, or had it been deployed, it wouldn't have had a stable orbit and said payload would've burned up in the atmosphere."
The unstable orbit was the desired orbit. If it HAD entered a stable orbit, then it actually would have been a failure, because it would have made the mission impossible.
"In the same vain, many people seem to state we should ignore the fact the Super Heavy booster having a major failure and being unable to land in a controlled manner. I disagree with this point as well because, unlike with Falcon 9, the controlled landing of the booster is a critical part of the system as a whole."
Everything you said is wrong. It hasn't been ignored, it is irrelevant due to the precedent from Falcon 9, and for Falcon 9, landing of the booster is also a critical part of the system.
"We must not forget that the intended purpose of Starship right now is to fulfill its NASA contract for the Artemis 3 and 4 missions."
Incorrect, it's still in development.
"I also think the argument that the engines all lit up and worked correctly during liftoff shouldn't be taken seriously because it's an extremely low bar for such a rocket system."
That isn't the bar for success, and no one here is claiming that it is. If it was, then IFT-2 would have been labeled "success", and not "failure".
"To exemplify this further, let me point to the first test flight of the Delta IV heavy (ULA) on the 21st December 2004. Due to the Common Booster Core under-performing, the payloads were deployed at a lower than intended orbit. As the system demonstrated its capabilities and reached orbit successfully but the payloads were not deployed correctly, it was classified as a "Partial Failure". Starship failed to reach orbit altogether and any payloads would've been completely lost, including human occupants, due to the fact Starships lacks any abort system."
None of what you just said is in any way relevant. It entered the desired trajectory, and it is therefore a success.
"IFT-3 failed to demonstrate the rocket system is capable of completing its mission, and that should be all that matters"
That isn't the case for almost every single other rocket (the ONLY exception being the Space Shuttle, and that is probably because no one should even consider calling STS-107 a success. Redacted II (talk) 23:09, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"that doesn't matter. The trajectory was the desired one, and therefore it is a success. Period."
You consider the uncontrolled tumbling of the second stage due to an internal failure a desired trajectory?
Even if we ignore the uncontrolled tumbling and keep only SpaceX's mission objectives in mind, we cannot call the test flight a full success because they failed to achieve various other objectives, including the re-light of a Raptor engine and the controlled reentry. There is also no evidence of the propellant transfer being successful with the exception of SpaceX itself being a source. That being said, propellant transfer between internal spacecraft tanks is something that has been previously done before. The mission should at the very least be considered a partial failure. Silviyssa (talk) 23:25, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You consider the uncontrolled tumbling of the second stage due to an internal failure a desired trajectory?
One, we don't know why it was tumbling. Two: Yes, as does almost every single other editor.
"Even if we ignore the uncontrolled tumbling and keep only SpaceX's mission objectives in mind, we cannot call the test flight a full success because they failed to achieve various other objectives, including the re-light of a Raptor engine and the controlled reentry"
Which is enough. Only the trajectory matters.
"There is also no evidence of the propellant transfer being successful with the exception of SpaceX itself being a source"
Which gives that more backing than some of your claims. (Oh, and NASA considers it successful enough to give them 53 million for it, so your statement is also incorrect)
"That being said, propellant transfer between internal spacecraft tanks is something that has been previously done before."
That is irrelevant, and also partially incorrect. Cryogenic prop transfer has never occurred, and neither has the transfer of 10 tons of propellant.
"The mission should at the very least be considered a partial failure"
Anything other than success would violate NPOV. Redacted II (talk) 23:42, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Hmm, was something more transferred fuel between external tank and internal tanks of space shuttle in more worst conditions. Transfer in Starship, if we have trust to Spacex for successful action, was between internal reservoirs which are inside ship corpus. This is far away from refueling another ship. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 19:45, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, but that was the test: transfer 10 tons of lox between tanks on a vehicle.
Anyways, this entire debate is just ridiculous.
Pretty much every single RS I've seen has said success (including a representative of the FAA)
The rocket reached all the requirements to be declared a success by Wikipedia: it reached the desired trajectory (and there are non-SpaceX sources for this, like NASA). Redacted II (talk) 19:54, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Since the ship was destroyed, we'll have to take it on trust that there was some kind of transfer in the Starship. There is no way to take the tanks and look at their quantitative content. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 20:51, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, we have to trust the various Reliable Sources.
Just as with every single other space mission.
So, I don't understand why we trust every single other space company/source except SpaceX.
It just seems absurd. Redacted II (talk) 21:56, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That is because SpaceX and Elon Musk have demonstrated to be an unreliable source for objective information, especially when money is on the line. At the moment they are the only source available for weather or not several tests during IFT-3 were successful, and NASA is using them and their data as a primary source for it as well. Silviyssa (talk) 00:18, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So, your entire point is "SpaceX is unreliable"?
They are an extremely reliable source for everything except launch dates (I'm familiar with "Elon Time").
So, unless you have a reliable source saying SpaceX faked the data, then please stop repeating that garbage. Redacted II (talk) 00:26, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Which is enough. Only the trajectory matters."
If a Vulcan-Centaur carrying a payload to GEO ends up in a desired trajectory but fails to release its payload due to a late second stage electrical failure. Would you consider it a successful flight? You surely would have to right? By your own metrics. Silviyssa (talk) 00:22, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, however, that is irrelevant.
IFT-3 didn't carry a payload.
It's like saying a Starlink launch is a failure because any astronaut onboard would die from decompression. Redacted II (talk) 00:23, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This is an admission of using different metrics for Starship than for other integrated systems then. Which goes against NPOV. Silviyssa (talk) 00:33, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
How?
Saying "Payload doesn't matter because there wasn't one" isn't NPOV. It's basic facts.
Saying "IFT-3 failure because payload wouldn't have made it" is like saying "That starlink launch failed because any astronaut onboard would have died" Redacted II (talk) 00:35, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Anything other than success would violate NPOV."
I'm not sure an editor that claims to be obsessed with Starship is a reliable arbiter of what would or would not violate NPOV 131.181.139.124 (talk) 00:35, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
1: I do pay attention to Starship, yes, but obsessed is a major exaggeration made on my user page only for comedic effect.
Also, I'm not the one whose entire editing history is trying to declare IFT-3 a failure. Redacted II (talk) 00:41, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
> First of all we need to consider the fact the spacecraft itself didn't reach orbital velocities
It did achieve its intended orbit, as described by the flight plan ahead of time.
> nor did it achieve a stable orbit because shortly after MECO (main engine cutoff) a persistent fuel leak was present, changing the trajectory of the Starship second stage
There is no source suggesting that there was a fuel leak nor is there any source suggesting that said fuel leak (if it was even present) changed the trajectory of the vehicle.
> As Starship lacks any kind of reaction control system
Starship has a reaction control system. Why it did not function is unknown and not something Wikipedians should be speculating on.
> which has been wrongly classified as a "controlled reentry".
Controlled re-entry is contrasted with uncontrolled reentry. Uncontrolled reentry is where a spacecraft is on a gradually decaying orbit and reenters without any target. Starship was on a ballistic trajectory with a narrow area of possible re-entry trajectories, by definition, it was a controlled reentry.
> Had this been the second stage on any other rocket, the launch and mission would automatically be classified as a failure, due to the fact that no payload could've been deployed, or had it been deployed, it wouldn't have had a stable orbit and said payload would've burned up in the atmosphere.
All of that is irrelevant given it was intended to be on a suborbital or a transatmospheric orbital trajectory rather than head to a stable orbit.
> I disagree with this point as well because, unlike with Falcon 9, the controlled landing of the booster is a critical part of the system as a whole.
Given that there is objective talk about using Starship as a regular disposable rocket, it is definitionally not a critical part of the system as a whole. Ergzay (talk) 07:14, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
One more data point on "successful launch" https://spacenews.com/spacex-planning-rapid-turnaround-for-next-starship-flight/
> Speaking at the Space Capitol III event by Payload March 18, Kelvin Coleman, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation, said he did not anticipate that investigation to turn up any major issues that could significantly delay the next launch.
> “It ended in what we call a mishap, but at the end of the day we deem it a successful launch attempt,” he said, because it resulted in no injuries or property damage. “SpaceX was able to collect a great deal of data from that launch.” Ergzay (talk) 00:40, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Already noted above, but thanks!
I think in a few days we can end this discussion (finally) for the side of success, given that the vast majority of editors (including those whose entire edit history is declaring IFT-3 a failure) seem to be in favor of designating it a success. Redacted II (talk) 00:43, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The FAA is not talking from an engineering standpoint, they are concerned about injuries and/or property damage. At the same time, the FAA investigations are carried out internally at SpaceX, much like in the case of Boeing. This has been the subject of controversy and suspicion of corruption due to the fact SpaceX has cleared themselves of wrongdoing several times despite being in clear violation of early FAA permits, being non-compliant and in direct violation of the Clean Water Act, and not seeking the correct building permits while creating conditions that are actively endangering the Boca Chica natural reserve which should rescind their FAA license until they are fixed. The FAA has been sued for their failure to prevent these mishaps and for continuing to grant licenses to SpaceX, due in no small part to governmental pressure and lobbying from SpaceX.
This has sparked many suspicions of corruption as well, as many FAA high ranking employees have ended up subsequently working at SpaceX. A situation not dissimilar to how Kathy Leaders, temporary NASA administrator, granted SpaceX a sole HLS contract despite their system as describe not complying with NASA requirements and after negotiating with them in secret and without the approval of her board and without any notice to other participants (Blue Origin and Dynetics). A move which is illegal and prompted Blue Origin to sue NASA. Shortly after, Kathy Leaders went on to work for SpaceX with a hefty salary. Silviyssa (talk) 03:34, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
ESGHound is an abysmally biased and WP:QUESTIONABLE source.
None of the reliable sources here suggest that SpaceX is lying about its IFT-3 claims, or even that SpaceX has a pattern of lying at all.
If there isn't an RS that at least contradicts the claims, then it's WP:OR to suggest otherwise. Foonix0 (talk) 03:59, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Not only that but ESGHound would also count as a "blog" so would also fail WP:RSSELF Ergzay (talk) 06:40, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Silviyssa Kathy Lueders (not Leaders) was not a "temporary NASA administrator", nor did she by herself grant SpaceX a HLS contract, nor was it the case that Starship failed to meet NASA requirements (it simply greatly exceeded the requirements). And lest you forget, Blue Origin lost that lawsuit you mentioned exactly because it was frivolous. Wikipedia talk pages are not soapboxes for your own personal (misguided) opinions. Ergzay (talk) 06:44, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Failure due to lack of successful mission completion for both the booster and the Starship. Even so, note that this is a high bar (but one that is consistent with IFT-1 and IFT-2). I acknowledge that there was wonderful progress and numerous significant milestones that were met in IFT-3. But blowing up 462 m above that water is not a successful booster landing, and entering the atmosphere in the wrong attitude (leading to the loss of the spacecraft) is not a successful re-entry. Had the Starship exploded on impact on the Indian Ocean as intended, that would have been a partial success (given the premature loss of the booster). I strongly call for the high bar of fully executing the flight plan for both the booster and the ship before full success can be declared. ems57fcva (talk)) (Not logged in.) 57.140.16.12 (talk) 16:28, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Failure due to lack of successful mission completion for both the booster and the Starship."
That is inconsistent with every single other launch vehicle. Nothing after payload separation (or SECO if there is no payload) matters.
Starship is not like every single other launch vehicle. It's mission is not over at payload separation or SECO. it is intended to land and be reusable. Even for Falcon 9, a failure to land the first stage as intended makes the mission a partial failure IMO (assuming that the rest of the rocket performed nominally). Just as the breakup of Columbia made its last mission a failure, so too is IFT-3. Or to put it another way, "Welcome to the 21st century".
I don't want to poo-poo what you claim to be the consensus opinion too much however. Consensus is a strength of Wikipedia. But I am comfortable is saying that it needs to be reconsidered in this case. 57.140.16.21 (talk) 17:48, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Starship is not like every single other launch vehicle."
Agreed, but there is precedent for reusable vehicles. A failed recovery doesn't impact success v.s failure. Go look at Falcon 9.
"It's mission is not over at payload separation or SECO."
And?
"it is intended to land and be reusable."
See the Falcon 9 example.
"Even for Falcon 9, a failure to land the first stage as intended makes the mission a partial failure IMO (assuming that the rest of the rocket performed nominally)."
Go look at the article again.
"Just as the breakup of Columbia made its last mission a failure, so too is IFT-3."
STS-107 was a failure due to the loss of crew. No sane person could declare seven astronauts burning up a success.
All established precedent makes IFT-3 a success. There is no reason for it to not be a success.
Anything other than success, therefore, would be an NPOV violation. Redacted II (talk) 17:55, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The heading reads "Launch success", while I mistook its context for "Mission success". So I retract my comments on that basis. Agreed that the Ship being placed in an intended trajectory makes the launch a success. (It did not get into its intended final trajectory, but that was not a major milestone for the mission.) 57.140.32.12 (talk) 19:14, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Even so, note that this is a high bar (but one that is consistent with IFT-1 and IFT-2)." Incorrect, those launches required launch success, which did occur.
"But blowing up 462 m above that water is not a successful booster landing, and entering the atmosphere in the wrong attitude (leading to the loss of the spacecraft) is not a successful re-entry"
Both examples are irrelevant, and if they are deemed relevant via consensus, then every single expendable launch vehicle would have 0 successful launches.
"Had the Starship exploded on impact on the Indian Ocean as intended, that would have been a partial success (given the premature loss of the booster)"
A failed landing doesn't matter for launches. See Falcon 9 for dozens of examples.
"I strongly call for the high bar of fully executing the flight plan for both the booster and the ship before full success can be declared"
The Infobox measures launch success, not mission success. Redacted II (talk) 16:34, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I found an issue with keeping the disputed tag:
It claims that some reliable sources counter the claim that IFT-3 was a success.
So far, that hasn't been the case. Redacted II (talk) 23:27, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So it shouldn’t even be there or what are you trying to say? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 07:24, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm concerned that it's misleading editors into thinking that there are countering reliable sources.
However, given that a consensus has basically formed, and waiting a week expires earlier today, it won't be there for very long. Redacted II (talk) 11:15, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Alright Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 13:20, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Uh, what about the RfC below? Seems premature to remove the tag right now. Yasslaywikia (talk) 17:39, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
RfC didn't exist when I made that comment Redacted II (talk) 17:41, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Starship orbital launch statistics[edit]

I've been working on a template that will contain Starship launch statistics, sort of similar to Template:Falcon rocket statistics. In the future (like 1 year from now), when Starship might be flying often for Artemis, it might be useful to be able to update launch counts across all the pages that need them.

The template is located here: User:Stoplookin9/SpaceX Starship Statistics

Please let me know on the template talk page if anything needs improvement or changes, or if you think the template is ready for implementation! Stoplookin9 :) Send me a message! 15:20, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Sounds nice! Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 16:46, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Awesome! As Starship develops, it could also be helpful to categorize which flights were orbital, lunar, Martian, etc, as well as how many flights of each version (crew, cargo, Starship HLS, tanker starships, etc.) 184.181.39.72 (talk) 23:11, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, things like mission counts for various missions like tanker, hls, crew, ect. will be added when they actually start flying. I don't want to be a bit too WP:CRYSTAL, so I'm keeping the template as trim down as possible. Stoplookin9 :) Send me a message! 15:18, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

SpaceX Starship test flights and SpaceX Starship operational flights will need separate sections[edit]

SpaceX Starship test flights and SpaceX Starship operational flights will need separate sections for their failure/success statistics. They aren't the same vehicle as they're not capable of carrying payload. I've mentioned this before but I'll mention it here again as this will need accounting for. People previously shot down the idea given that there haven't been any operational flights, but it will be a undeniable fact that these vehicles were different. Ergzay (talk) 23:44, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

This isn't necessary at the moment and I don't quite agree with the premises. ITF-2 did simulate carrying a payload in LO2 and many other test flights with payload simulators don't have their launches separated. If in the future there is a major revisional change that warrants a different categorisation, like with Falcon 9, then we can deal with it. CtrlDPredator (talk) 01:18, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@CtrlDPredator IFT2 did not simulate carrying a payload anymore than any rocket with too much fuel is "simulating" carrying a payload. And there is no "if" given that this rocket as currently built is incapable of carrying a payload. It didn't have any location to mount them, in any of the vehicle launches. Ergzay (talk) 23:19, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This has been brought up before, and I don't see the consensus changing. No other vehicle has been classified separately for its test launches. Other vehicles also go through changes throughout their operational life, even going as far as using totally different engines (e.g. Antares). That said (like with Antares), these prototype launches could be considered a different configuration of the same vehicle, with a breakdown of each configuration given (granted, this is difficult given that SpaceX hasn't laid out defined configurations of the vehicle) Gojet-64 (talk) 11:36, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
> No other vehicle has been classified separately for its test launches.
Because no other vehicle has done this style of development in the history of rocket development. This has even been extensively reported on by the likes of Eric Berger. Ergzay (talk) 23:20, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Other vehicles have done destructive/iterative testing. One comparable example being the N1. That vehicle also underwent substantial changes between each launch. Blowing up unfinished products is not exactly a new thing in rocket science. In fact, it's how the earliest vehicles were all developed, dating back to the 50s. Gojet-64 (talk) 01:47, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I've never heard N1 development being described as iterative testing. All 4 launches had satellites on board, something you only do if you're quite sure of success and they weren't dummy payloads either. So no I would not count N1 as being comparable in any way. Ergzay (talk) 07:05, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That’s not true. Launching very cheap satellites on a test bed makes a lot of sense: low downside (the loss of cheap satellites) with high upside (an effectively free launch, given it was launching anyway).
I’d want to see a citation for the claim that they were “quite sure of success”. Timtjtim (talk) 23:35, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't have such a citation, but they did launch some very important payloads (LK lander and Soyuz-LOK) on the IIRC last two launches Redacted II (talk) 23:45, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
PLEASE WAIT UNTIL V2 FLIES.
I cannot emphasis this enough.
Once v2 is flying, there is no reason to not separate the v1 and v2 launches in the infobox. But until then, the majority of editors will be against this. Redacted II (talk) 12:15, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. WP:TOOSOON Time will fix this on its own. Let's avoid more useless discussions. {{u|Gtoffoletto}}talk 12:39, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I can settle for that. I still maintain that the page is incorrect as it is now because it misrepresents the early development vehicle as the actual launch vehicle and it's been incorrect ever since the first launch. Correcting this and correctly labeling them development launches would solve a lot of the haggling that goes on every launch and will continue to go on every launch. This is not the same type of thing that has gone on with any previous rocket in history. Ergzay (talk) 03:03, 17 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
> the actual launch vehicle
what actual launch vehicle? Timtjtim (talk) 23:36, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The finalized Starship design. Redacted II (talk) 23:38, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I wasn’t aware they’d finalised the design, I thought they were still in the testing phase? Have I missed something? Timtjtim (talk) 23:41, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
They haven't finalized the design.
Which is kinda the point of the argument for separating operational and developmental launches: the current vehicle won't have all that much in common with the final design.
But it is TOO SOON to separate prototypes from operational launches, given that none have happened and most likely won't happen for a while. Redacted II (talk) 23:43, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • I doubt that there will be a clear distinction between test and operational launches. SpaceX does not need to master landing Starship to be able to use Starship to deploy Starlink satellites. They just need to know that they have full control over Starship while in orbit to be able to safely deorbit it to deploy Starlink satellites.
It could be useful to have between "Launch outcome", "Booster landing" and "Spacecraft landing" another column for "Mission objectives". For IFT-3 it had payload door testing, propellant transfer and relighting the engine as Mission objectives and succeeded with two of them. That information would be useful to include. ChristianKl❫ 16:35, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"It could be useful to have between "Launch outcome", "Booster landing" and "Spacecraft landing" another column for "Mission objectives". For IFT-3 it had payload door testing, propellant transfer and relighting the engine as Mission objectives and succeeded with two of them. That information would be useful to include"
That info is for the Starship Flight Tests article. Redacted II (talk) 16:37, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

RfC on IFT-3[edit]

Should the SpaceX Starship IFT-3 launch be categorized as (in alphabetical order) a failure, partial failure, or success in the infobox?
Redraiderengineer (talk) 14:30, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Failure[edit]

  • Failure It failed as it blew up and it is designed to carry humans and be reusable.
Delta 3, Soyuz 11 or the two space shuttle disasters, all support this being another failure. Delta 3 is a partial failure and it really only failed 1 objective, which was how much it could carry. The other's are easy to see why.
Also the fact the other two articles for this one spacecraft have the same problem in their launch history after former consensus is more or less vandalism.
I still can't see how this could be such an issue. If true neutrality was apart of more reasoning it would be a failure. 120.22.204.137 (talk) 02:50, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This vehicle was not designed to carry humans, and the launch precluded any kind of reuse. It does not make sense to apply potential plans for future versions are that are not applicable to this launch.
The reasons stated on the Delta III third launch being marked as "partial failure" is that it didn't reach its intended trajectory, which would have had an impact on the (dummy) payload. That reason is not applicable here. Nor are the reasons applied to the first two launches.
The pages for Soyuz 7K-OKS, Soyuz (rocket family), and Soyuz (spacecraft) do not have counts of failures in the sidebar.
The reason for Soyuz 11 being considered a failure was a depressurization which killed the crew. As there was no crew, applying this reason doesn't make sense here.
Interestingly, Soyuz (rocket) shows 2 failures in the sidebar, despite the article saying "The first four test launches were all failures." This indicates that test launches are not counted as failures in that article. This potentially supports removal of the Integrated Flight Test launches.
Space Shuttle is the exception, not the rule. There is a note near "success" that notes "In this case, the number of successes is determined by the number of successful Space Shuttle missions." Only 2 failures are counted despite the shuttle having multiple significant individual failures of various types, some of which had some impact on the mission. For example, RS-25#Incidents lists 7 failures in the engines alone that affected the shuttle in various ways, 2 of which even affected the shuttle's ability to reach the intended initial orbit. Despite being notable equipment failures, neither are counted as failures on the main shuttle page. If not for the fact that STS missions are the exception to the launch standard, that would support the idea that there is some level of equipment failure does not lead to a "failure" designation for the vehicle. Foonix0 (talk) 08:23, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Failure - For obvious reasons. Both vehicles were destroyed, and a ton of failed experiments as well. DASL51984 (Speak to me!) 17:38, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    "Both vehicles were destroyed"
    Failed recovery (and failed recovery testing) has never been a factor in determining launch success.
    "ton of failed experiments as well"
    Only one confirmed failure (raptor relight), and that impacts mission success, not launch success. Redacted II (talk) 18:09, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Partial failure[edit]

  • Partial failure: Both independent, reliable sources and previous criteria support "partial failure."
Foundation
  • IFT-3 intended to reach transatmospheric orbit, but the planned prograde burn did not occur.[1]
  • The launch was suborbital and did not reach a sustained orbit.[2]
  • Not all objectives were completed.[3] Additionally, there are questions regarding the outcome of the payload door test.[4] (This is excluding the outcome of the propellant transfer demonstration, which is pending review.)
Reliable sources
There are reliable and (importantly) independent sources that don't conclude the launch was a clear success or failure. These sources support both the success and failure of the launch (in other words, a partial failure).
  • Florida Today and The Independent both describe views of success and failure of the launch.[5][6]
  • Reuters explains most but not all of the flight objectives were achieved. Specifically, one of the "core objectives" of the relight.[7]
  • Science (journal): "This launch, the rocket’s third full test flight, wasn’t perfect..."[8]
Success/failure criteria
This table is a brief review of criteria from previous RfCs and the outcome of IFT-3 based on those criteria. I've included my response to the RfC on IFT-2 and responses from Redacted II – given that that they are often the most vocal participant in these discussions.
RfC Criteria IFT-3 Outcome
IFT-1 "Primary goal was achieved (clearing the tower). Most secondary goals were not (everything after separation). But the primary goal was completed. So labeling it at a plain "failure" is misleading."

"And the company set the goals of the flight. It passed some. It failed others. Therefore, partial failure. Labeling the flight as a "failure" would be misleading"
     — Redacted II
Partial failure
Not all objectives were successfully completed.
IFT-2 "The infobox documentation has defined "partial failure" to allow for a consistent meaning across Wikipedia as per MoS guidelines. Unless the definition changes, the policy-based action is to determine if IFT-2 meets the current partial failure criteria predicated on reaching orbit.

IFT-2 failed to reach orbit, so it doesn't meet the "partial failure" definition or standard used across other launch vehicle articles."
     — Redraiderengineer

Failure
IFT-2 "There is a general criteria:

Is the crew killed/payload destroyed: if yes, failure, if no...
Is the final trajectory usable, if no, failure, if yes...
Is the final trajectory the intended one, if yes, success, if no, partial failure."
     — Redacted II

Partial failure
The final trajectory was not the intended transatmospheric orbit.
Redraiderengineer (talk) 14:31, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"IFT-3 intended to reach transatmospheric orbit, but the planned prograde burn did not occur.[1]"
Is there a source for this that isn't WP:SELFPUB? It would nice to see an RS that states this. I think McDowell qualifies as an SME, but I don't think his blog qualifies as an RS. Regardless, the blog post linked does not state that the launch was a failure.
"The launch was suborbital and did not reach a sustained orbit.[2]"
It was never meant to reach a sustained orbit. The relight test would have still resulted in an unsustainable orbit. Even if we take this source at face value, 50km perigee is definitely not a sustainable orbit. We saw heat and plasma buildup star below 100km, and large amounts of plasma at 85km before the vehicle was lost. This claim is implausible.
The argument presented from IFT-1 was rejected by consensus. "editors predominantly believe that describing a rocket launch as having succeeded or failed (or failed partially) should be done consistently across Wikipedia, and that when doing it consistently with respect to this article, the infobox should say 'failure'." That consensus also established that what sources say about "success" or "failure" is irrelevant, because "consistently across Wikipedia" is the standard.
Your argument presented from IFT-2 supports this launch was a success, as sources indicate the insertion burn reached the intended trajectory. According to SpaceX's engineer, it was "coming down no matter what." When it started re-entry, it was still on the trajectory intended if the relight test could not be performed.
Redacted's argument from IFT-2 is supported by reliable sources if applied to IFT-3. The intended trajectory was reached by the insertion burn. The relight test was intended to be an engine test and would not have significantly changed the trajectory or reentry location.
"Not all objectives were completed"
This is not material to launch success. See again the IFT-1 consensus. Foonix0 (talk) 09:54, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
General response
In summary, both independent, reliable sources and previous criteria support "partial failure." The calls for "remove" are beyond the scope of this RfC (discussed in a reply below) and ignore consensus from the previous RfC.
  1. Prograde burn: This is referred to as an "optional burn" a couple of times in this discussion. However, SpaceX calls it a "planned" burn.[9] The burn was only optional in the sense that both successful and unsuccessful burn scenarios are covered in NOTAMs — an area that stretched across the Indian Ocean from nearly Madagascar to Australia.[10] The range of NOTAMs shouldn't be conflated with the intended trajectory. The final trajectory of IFT-3 was not the intended transatmospheric orbit because the planned prograde burn didn't occur.
  2. Jonathan McDowell: As stated by Foonix0, McDowell is an established SME, and Jonathan's Space Report qualifies as a "self-published expert source that may be considered reliable" per WP:SELFPUBLISH. McDowell categorized the launch as "marginal." He describes this category "as a way to pull out `interesting' launch failures that were really close to succeeding, as opposed to ones that blew up just above the pad."[2]
  3. Scott Manley, a degreed astrophysicist, called the launch "a partial success" (partial failure).[11] Manley covered the launch in a recent YouTube video, and the reliability of this source is consistent with the use of NASASpaceFlight.com and their YouTube videos and livestreams as reliable sources in SpaceX-related articles.
  4. Citation overkill: The goal of my previous reply wasn't that there are too many sources. It was in response to "stack[ing] citations that do not add additional facts or really improve article reliability, in an attempt to 'outweigh' an opposing view." Many of the sources didn't stand up to scrutiny, and the point of the nearly 50 sources wasn't to add to the conversation (it was a list of links) but to attempt to "outweigh an opposing view." This (along with many of the replies in this discussion) is the informal fallacy of proof by assertion and should be discarded in the manner stated below.
  5. Mission vs. launch: As other editors have suggested, there are similarities between Starship and the Space Shuttle. Both launch systems feature a stage that is also a reusable spacecraft. This is in contrast to a more traditional launch vehicle, such as the Falcon 9 or Vulcan Centaur. Both of these launch vehicles have two stages that launch a payload/spacecraft on top. The Space Shuttle precedent offers guidance to the use of editorial discretion.
  6. Iterative design/testing: Editors have argued that Starship (and/or SpaceX) should be evaluated by a different standard because of its iterative design. The engineering design process is highly iterative by nature. SpaceX is one of several launch service providers that use iterative and incremental development, and the accepted tradeoff is “failure in the development phase.”[12]
  7. There have been several accusations of tendentious editing (rehashing arguments, resisting the initiation of an RfC, righting great wrongs, etc.) in this and previous discussions on this article. The best way to achieve consensus is by making quality arguments with a basis in policies and guidelines.
  8. Determining consensus: "Consensus is not determined by counting heads or counting votes, nor is it determined by the closer's own views about what action or outcome is most appropriate. The closer is there to judge the consensus of the community, after discarding irrelevant arguments: those that flatly contradict established policy, those based on personal opinion only, those that are logically fallacious, and those that show no understanding of the matter of issue."
Redraiderengineer (talk) 00:29, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Redraiderengineer, the topics you addressed match the ongoing discussion in a section below:
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:SpaceX_Starship&oldid=1217060507#c-187.46.134.26-20240403161500-Discussion
If you reply down there, the other participants may be more likely to see and engage with your response.
Regarding the citation of Jonathan McDowell, that is not what McDowell said. McDowell gave IFT-3 the 'U' designation not because he considered it a "marginal" failure but because the flight was "suborbital" and hence did receive an orbital designation. In his newsletter, he stated:
https://planet4589.org/space/jsr/back/news.831.txt

The Ship flight was not fully in orbit and so did not receive a US Space Force catalog number or an international launch designation. I have assigned it a 'U' launch designation 2024-U01 in my system, denoting a launch that was 'not quite orbital in an interesting way'. A full list of the 'U' designations is at https://planet4589.org/space/gcat/web/intro/u.html

On the linked page, which you cited, he says "I assign U designations for several categories of launch that I consider interesting". The 'Marginal orbit' category is only one of those, and would not be applicable to IFT-3 since it was not meant to complete a full orbit.
The one that best matches the reason he cited in his newsletter ('not quite orbital in an interesting way') would be the category 'Suborbital with orbital energy', which includes "'interesting' suborbital launches that are in some sense close to being orbital", with the next closest being 'Reentry with orbital energy':
https://planet4589.org/space/gcat/web/intro/u.html

'Suborbital with orbital energy': Suborbital launches that have a high apogee (more than a few thousand kilometres) have a total energy (kinetic plus potential) that is greater than a low orbit satellite, in contrast to the vast majority of suborbital sounding rocket and missile flights which are well short of orbital energy. Thus, these are `interesting' suborbital launches than are in some sense close to being orbital.
'Reentry with orbital energy': suborbital launches with stages that fire their payload down fast into the atmosphere to test reentry behaviour. In some cases these even have escape velocity, but going in the `wrong' direction. They may only traverse a small segment of the indicated orbit; for example the orbital parameters of Meteor 4/5 have a large apogee but the vehicle didn't ever get to that apogee, flying on a small segment of the downward arc of the orbit with a maximum actual altitude of 110 km.

Regarding the citation of Scott Manley, that is not an accurate account of what Manley said either. He did use the words "partial success" after discussing the reentry attempt, but later on in that video he explicitly stated that he would consider the launch a success overall during an explanation of how FAA rules would still require a mishap report to be submitted:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiXyKnXIwJ0&t=801s

So yeah, let's see. So Starship, as we know, success-slash-failure, whatever you want to call it, I'm definitely saying successful. More successful, but at this point it still is officially an FAA mishap because things didn't go exactly as they laid out in their plans and therefore you're required to investigate, submit your report, and the FAA will say "Fine, that's great", you know, then we can launch again.

As you may have seen by now, a senior FAA official also stated on the record that despite the requirement for a mishap report they consider IFT-3 a success:
https://spacenews.com/spacex-planning-rapid-turnaround-for-next-starship-flight/

It ended in what we call a mishap, but at the end of the day we deem it a successful launch attempt.

— Kelvin Coleman, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation (via SpaceNews article by Jeff Foust)
NASA also evaluated the launch as a success, as was widely reported in news articles:
https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1768288689694642398

Congrats to @SpaceX on a successful test flight! Starship has soared into the heavens. Together, we are making great strides through Artemis to return humanity to the Moon—then look onward to Mars.

— Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
Regarding the comparison to the Space Shuttle, as I mentioned in the discussion section below, Starship is in fact a two-stage rocket, which is stated in the first sentence of the article, whereas the Shuttle is a single stage plus boosters or "1.5 stages".
There are plans to launch Starship without recovering the second stage. For example, Starship HLS, the lunar lander version that NASA chose for the Artemis program, will be launched to the moon without returning to Earth. Similarly, there have been proposals for other payloads that would not involve recovery of the second stage, such as a telescope that SpaceX and Professor Saul Perlmutter at UC Berkeley have discussed (as reported by CNBC journalist Michael Sheetz and other news articles).
Compare Falcon 9, whose launches are deemed successful even if the payload fairings on the second stage or the first stage booster are not recovered.
Since Starship does not require a crew, it can also be launched as a fully expendable rocket without being reused. This would be similar to most rockets and unlike the Space Shuttle, which needs a crew to fly.
The decision not to label Space Shuttle flights which killed astronauts as "successes" is an exception, as the article notes, and the reasons for that do not apply to these uncrewed Starship launches. --Mysterius (talk) 02:52, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
EDIT: Looking into this more closely, the table on the linked page does list the 'U' category as 'Marginal', which supports Redraiderengineer's citation. However, the actual text in the newsletter's explanation fits the 'suborbital' category, and another suborbital test flight in the table is also listed as 'marginal', so this may be an error or technical limitation.
EDIT2: Here is a direct statement from McDowell where he says IFT-3 was a success:
https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1769072676188938614

That is not my argument. I agree that Flight 3 was successful. SpaceX are (for the most part) not claiming it was an orbital flight and I agree with them.

--Mysterius (talk) 03:38, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"McDowell categorized the launch as "marginal." He describes this category "as a way to pull out `interesting' launch failures that were really close to succeeding, as opposed to ones that blew up just above the pad.""
This seems to be a misunderstanding McDowell. The "U" designation in his system describes the orbit, not the launch, except to the extent that a launch problem might qualitatively change the orbit. The "marginal" subcategory of the "U" designation says "typically perigee between -500 km and +100 km." McDowell states that "A Raptor restart [...] would have been prograde and raised perigee to around +50 km." McDowell estimated the perigee without the test at -50km. Both +50km and -50km numbers are firmly in the "-500 km and +100" range stated for "marginal," and McDowell does not seem to state in the sources provided that it would have changed the categorization, so it is speculation to use the choice of "marginal" categorization as a basis for failure, because it would have likely been as such either way.
As an example from McDowell that supports that, he lists the AS-202 (Apollo 2) flight as "marginal" despite the fact that the test went entirely as planned. AS-202 had a perigee of +59km, comparable to his estimate of Starship's perigee (+50km) if the test had occurred. The Saturn IB article lists lists all 9 flights, including AS-202, as "success." Using McDowell's "marginal" designation as a basis for preventing a flight from being listed as "success" (by Wikipedia standards) thus does not follow.
Over all, McDowell's site does not say much about if the launch (or mission as a whole) was a success or a failure. He mainly states "what happened." (But see his tweet above, which describes it as a success.)
As @Mysterius points out, if the overall mission is the standard (as you seem to prefer), and Manley is an acceptable source, then Manley's statement on IFT-3 support "Success." But additionally, Manley described IFT-2 as a success. "You might have seen a bunch of news stories reporting this as a failure, I disagree. It was a vastly more successful mission than the previous flight, therefore it is a success." The argument that Manley's opinion should be considered here indirectly supports overturning the IFT-2 RFC, because we can't have it both ways. We can't have one set of criteria cherry-picked to declare one launch as a failure, and then cherry-pick another set of criteria to declare another as a failure, especially when both launches are basically the same rocket in exactly the same test campaign.
While I personally agree that preferring SME statements over news articles would be better, this is contrary to the prior RfCs, and regardless, the SMEs sited here support that the flight was a success regardless of which criteria are applied.
"The Space Shuttle precedent offers guidance to the use of editorial discretion." That's true, but that guidance does not apply here. This version of this vehicle had no plan for reuse, had no plan to carry humans, and had no plan to carry payloads. The similarities you mention are merely a subset of intended eventualities and do not yet exist. If this standard were applied, it would have been completely impossible for any of the IFT launches to have been a success even if they had completed their entire test plan with no problems whatsoever, because all of them would have killed this hypothetical future crew. The hypothetical future crew would have been killed by asphyxiation if they weren't wearing pressure suits, killed by terminal velocity impact into the ocean if they were, or possibly even killed on launch by a simple lack of seats in the vehicle.
"the calls for "remove" are beyond the scope of this RfC (discussed in a reply below) and ignore consensus from the previous RfC."
These calls are are not ignoring prior consensus. They are in fact directly addressing it as a mistake. WP:CCC "Editors may propose a change to current consensus, especially to raise previously unconsidered arguments or circumstances." The unconsidered circumstance is the fact that this talk page has become a warzone. Nor are they beyond the scope of this RfC. To strictly limit the consensus to the options chosen by the RfC's creator would invite the creator to ask a Loaded question to bias the answers. The statement in the RfC's opening presumes that success or failure must be tallied, which is objectively false. Challenging the assumption is a valid response to the question. Foonix0 (talk) 21:50, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Partial failure, per your arguments above. Though the launch was definitely a full success, not all mission objectives were achieved.
Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 15:13, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The infobox measures launch success, not mission success.
Therefore, the success of the mission is irrelevant to this discussion. Redacted II (talk) 15:46, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Is there a documentation that says that? Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 16:06, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Let's see, the list of Falcon 9 launches matches the infobox, and that article makes it very clear that launch success does not mean mission success. Redacted II (talk) 16:09, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Furthermore, there is a note on the Space Shuttle article that states using mission success is the exception:
"In this case, the number of successes is determined by the number of successful Space Shuttle missions." Redacted II (talk) 16:34, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Cocobb8 Mission success is on mission pages (for example for spacecraft). Rocket pages all measure launches. Ergzay (talk) 21:00, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
this has already been settled. See their post in success Redacted II (talk) 21:00, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Partial failure is most consistent with other vehicles on Wikipedia. I agree that Wikipedia always measures vehicle performance, not mission performance. Starship, unlike most rockets, is intended to successfully perform both orbital insertion and reentry. The only precedent in this case is the Space Shuttle, which accordingly, requires both successful ascent and reentry. It would therefore follow that Starship, being the only other vehicle intended to both perform orbital insertion and reentry, would be judged by the same standard.
Moreover, I am not convinced of the argument of "if it had a payload, it would've deployed it successfully." There are two problems here.
First: launch statistics have always judged on rocket based on whether or not it accomplished intended objectives on a given flight. Launch outcomes don't care about "ifs," what matters is what objectives it had for a particular flight, and whether it accomplished those objectives. Crucially, it reached the final intended phase of flight, distinguishing partial failure from a full failure. In my view, this provides the strongest case for partial failure, as the rocket accomplished most, but not all, objectives.
Second: The payload door did not open properly, and the vehicle lost attitude control. So even ignoring the above point, Starship would not have successfully deployed a payload due to the door failure. In reality, if this rocket had a payload, it would've been a full failure, not a partial one.
One last note: the overwhelming majority of media outlets also deemed IFT-1 to be a "success" but the consensus on Wikipedia disagreed. Gojet-64 (talk) 01:27, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Gojet-64 Orbital insertion was not an intention of this launch. It was not attempted and there was no plan to do so. Your criteria seems to imply that even if it had successfully reentered the vehicle would still be considered a partial failure given it was designed to hit the ocean at terminal velocity. As to your mention of "intended objectives" then we should mark the Falcon 9 launch of Zuma as a "partial failure", but it is not marked as such. Your final line is pretty damning of Wikipedia "consensus" though. This will eventually be re-visted however and history will be righted. IFT-1 and IFT-2 were also both successes. Ergzay (talk) 09:51, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
IFT-1, IFT-2, and IFT-3 were all flights that SpaceX was required to file mishap reports with the FAA. I don't know a single flight on Wikipedia where the regulator has stepped in to say there was a mishap that we have subsequently classified as an unmitigated success. Furthermore, stating your intention to overturn the prior consensus on IFT-1 and IFT-2 makes your objection to my characterizing of your motives as WP:RGW elsewhere on this page ring extremely hollow. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:27, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"I don't know a single flight on Wikipedia where the regulator has stepped in to say there was a mishap that we have subsequently classified as an unmitigated success."
IIRC, all of the Falcon 9 failed landings had mishap investigations. And, AFAIK, the IFT-3 mishap was solely the failed landing and the failed entry (both of which are irrelevant due to Falcon 9 precedent)
"Furthermore, stating your intention to overturn the prior consensus on IFT-1 and IFT-2 makes your objection to my characterizing of your motives as WP:RGW elsewhere on this page ring extremely hollow"
Again, stop with the personal attacks, and assume good faith. Redacted II (talk) 13:33, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That isn't a personal attack, Redacted. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:36, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"history will be righted" is definitely NOT the kind of thing I would expect an unbiased mind to say. Please be sure to maintain a neutral point of view. As Jadebenn mentioned, attempting to "right great wrongs" goes directly against Wikipedia policy (WP:RGW). Gojet-64 (talk) 04:45, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • I side with Partial Failure, and maybe with full failure. While those on the side of success say WP should show IFT-3 succeeded in order to show consistency with WP launch lists for other rockets, it is important to note that Starship/Superheavy isn't exactly a traditional rocket, like (for example) Vulcan or Falcon 9, where there are multiple stages delivering a payload (be it cargo or a crewerd orbiter). Rather, Starship is more like the Space Shuttle, where the upper stage is the orbiter, and any payload launched is carried by that orbiter. The Space Shuttle pages show that vehicle loss means at least partial failure (though without the color boxes we have here), giving us sufficient precedent to follow the same approach with Starship flights. 187.46.134.26 (talk) 08:20, 2 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • I concur with Partial Failure. During the webcast, SpaceX literally stated they were not able to complete a planned burn. You cannot list a mission as a complete success when consequential testing goals had to be skipped. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 04:05, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The RFC is explicitly about the launch, not the full mission. --mfb (talk) 06:55, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Since when? I distinctly recall that there are many spaceflight pages marked failure or partial failure due to an inability to place a payload in a desired orbit or to deploy a payload at all who nonetheless had a successful "launch." How do we even classify a "launch" versus a mission success? It seems like there is a consistent effort to lower the bar of success such that no caveats arw required to be displayed on the summary to this page. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 14:50, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"I distinctly recall that there are many spaceflight pages marked failure or partial failure due to an inability to place a payload in a desired orbit or to deploy a payload at all who nonetheless had a successful "launch"
Yes, but the vehicle reached the intended trajectory (as they proceeded to attempt a stable reentry). IFT-3 didn't have a payload at all, so your examples of payload deploy don't even apply at all.
"How do we even classify a "launch" versus a mission success?"
Simple:
Step 1: Did the vehicle explode: If yes, Failure, if no, proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Did the vehicle reach a trajectory that was usable for the mission: if yes, proceed to step 3, if no, Failure.
Step 3: Was the payload was unable to deploy due to a failure of the launch vehicle: if yes, Failure, if no, proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Did the vehicle enter the desired trajectory: If yes, Success, if no, Partial Failure.
IFT-1 and IFT-2 don't make it past step 1.
IFT-3 didn't explode, reached a usable trajectory, and at SECO was in the desired trajectory. So, Success.
"It seems like there is a consistent effort to lower the bar of success such that no caveats arw required to be displayed on the summary to this page"
No, this is consistent with every single launch vehicle but one: the Space Shuttle. Redacted II (talk) 15:27, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The fact that you personally feel obligated to respond to every single comment that states an opinion opposing your own is a prime example of why you cannot be objective on this issue. And your claim that "only the Shuttle" was categorized differently is incorrect. Just off the top of my head, Delta III flights are categorized the way I stated as well. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 16:00, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"The fact that you personally feel obligated to respond to every single comment that states an opinion opposing your own is a prime example of why you cannot be objective on this issue"
If you have an accusation to make, make it.
"And your claim that "only the Shuttle" was categorized differently is incorrect. Just off the top of my head, Delta III flights are categorized the way I stated as well"
I didn't have the Delta III article memorized, so I checked.
Failure 1: "Maiden flight of Delta 3 8930, Destroyed by range safety after control problems and depletion of hydraulic fluid, Communications satellite." Sounds like a launch failure to me.
Failure 2: "Second stage engine failure. Payload placed in too low a LEO, Loral declared satellite lost." Look at step 2 in my above comment
Partial failure: "Reached lower than planned orbit, final flight of Delta 3 8930, Demosat." Step 4: usable trajectory, but lower than expected. Redacted II (talk) 16:05, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You are making my point for me. Look at the Delta III final mission categorization. Successful launch, successful orbit, partial failure as mission objectives were not fully carried out. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:38, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Successful launch" yes
"successful orbit" no, so partial failure. Redacted II (talk) 13:39, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Jadebenn, @Redacted II Folks, let's keep to the point here. This is a RfC, so please keep your comments targeted at other people to yourself or to their respective talk pages. We're trying to reach consensus here. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 16:11, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I apologize if it came off like a personal attack. I very much can see that reading, but it wasn't really my intention. It's just hard to overstate my exasperation at certain editors' behaviors given that I have seen these same patterns every time this discussion comes up. The fact that Redacted II replies to nearly every single user with a contrary opinion comes off to me as domineering and contrary to good discussion, particularly when they were not part of the specific conversation prior to that point. It gives me the impression they are very much WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS and I `do` think that is relevant to the topic being discussed. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 16:21, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for clarifying. Let's just let everyone come up with their opinions and not pester each other about our own thoughts here (unless some did a mistake, like I did thinking we were doing mission success, not launch success). Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 16:34, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I accept your apology, and I understand your concerns. No hard feelings.
@Cocobb8 The only reason I responded at all to JadeBenn is to correct that same mistake. Redacted II (talk) 16:44, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You are misusing WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. That section is a warning against users trying to correct pages on wikipedia against what sources represent. The people here are arguing about accurately actually correctly representing what reliable expert sources on the topic are saying about the situation. Ergzay (talk) 09:54, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I recommend checking the (IIRC 36) sources I've linked below. Redacted II (talk) 11:45, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"IFT-3 didn't explode, reached a usable trajectory, and at SECO was in the desired trajectory. So, Success."
Key word here is "at SECO". The desired trajectory was trans-atmospheric which required the in orbit burn to happen. Instead it was in a suborbital trajectory. By all normal accounts of orbital launches, this would be considered a partial failure. Tokemich (talk) 14:48, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Key word here is "at SECO". The desired trajectory was trans-atmospheric which required the in orbit burn to happen. Instead it was in a suborbital trajectory."
That was an optional burn. It not occurring doesn't make it a partial failure.
"By all normal accounts of orbital launches, this would be considered a partial failure"
Incorrect: if a deorbit burn fails, the launch is still a success. Redacted II (talk) 15:03, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It wasn't a deorbit burn. The burn was in prograde and was necessary to achieve the desired orbit.
The burn was a part of the mission profile and it wasn't achieved, thus the mission wasn't a full success - meaning it was a partial failure. Tokemich (talk) 15:08, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"It wasn't a deorbit burn. The burn was in prograde and was necessary to achieve the desired orbit."
Except, SpaceX had multiple (IIRC at least 3) potential orbits that allowed them to proceed to reentry. So, the relight wasn't needed for them to reach the desired trajectory, since it was already on one of the desired trajectories.
(Sorry for forgetting to explain why the raptor-relight was closer to a deorbit burn than a needed burn: The burn isn't needed to continue the mission, just like a deorbit burn. And since a failed deorbit burn doesn't change the status of a launch, then the relight shouldn't either.).
"mission profile and it wasn't achieved, thus the mission wasn't a full success"
Yes, the mission was not a complete success. But the infobox only tracks success (with the Space Shuttle being the only exception). Redacted II (talk) 17:53, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree a lot with this, and I think it moves the goalpost of what you can consider a success. If a rocket doesn't reach its pre-planned flight trajectory it has (to my knowledge) never before been considered successful in these info-boxes. Tokemich (talk) 18:06, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Except, it DID reach the pre-planned flight trajectory.
Again, IIRC, they had three potential trajectories. One of them didn't involve the raptor-relight, and that is the one that they ended up using.
To the best of my knowledge, a flight with an optional engine burn failing has never been called anything but a success. Redacted II (talk) 18:30, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It didn't. The burn (and by that also the trans-atmospheric trajectory) was clearly an objective in the flight. Having prepared a trajectory for what would happen if the burn did not occur as planned doesn't make it part of that objective.
But this is clearly going nowhere so I'll leave it at that. Tokemich (talk) 20:42, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Please provide source for your claim that trans-atmospheric trajectory was the plan. 2A00:79E1:ABD:A001:9010:D7F6:6BAA:8957 (talk) 13:18, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That editor has clearly indicated that they don't want to discuss their position.
But thanks for the effort. Redacted II (talk) 14:57, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"First: launch statistics have always judged on rocket based on whether or not it accomplished intended objectives on a given flight."
Incorrect. Launch statistic judge whether it inserted the payload into the correct orbit.
"Crucially, it reached the final intended phase of flight, distinguishing partial failure from a full failure."
Success v.s partial failure, not partial failures v.s success.
"In my view, this provides the strongest case for partial failure, as the rocket accomplished most, but not all, objectives."
No, it provides an argument for success. Redacted II (talk) 11:10, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Jadebenn Here's even the FAA calling it a success. https://spacenews.com/spacex-planning-rapid-turnaround-for-next-starship-flight/ Ergzay (talk) 09:46, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The same FAA that SpaceX has to file a mishap report with after this flight? – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:14, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yup. Even they have said it was "a successful launch".
Filing a mishap doesn't always mean the launch was a failure. Redacted II (talk) 13:27, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Find me a single piece of documentation that the infobox measures merely launch successes. You will not be able to, and your assertion that it does so is counteracted by several pages, such as the Space Shuttle and Delta III. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:32, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The Space Shuttle specifically lists that it is the exception: "In this case, the number of successes is determined by the number of successful Space Shuttle missions."
And Delta III measures launch success. As does every single other launch vehicle. Redacted II (talk) 13:35, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think the supposed problem with the door is confirmed. It did appear open. SpaceX stated: "While coasting, Starship accomplished several of the flight test’s additional objectives, including the opening and closing of its payload door ..." I did not see closing on the stream, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Is there any indication that the slow rotation would have prevented deployment? Foonix0 (talk) 10:07, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Jadebenn
The fact that they couldn't complete the raptor relight doesn't matter. If a Falcon 9 second stage fails to complete a deorbit burn, the launch is still a success.
Additionally, the entire mission doesn't matter at all for launch success. It's like calling the Mars Observer launch a failure because the probe failed on its way to Mars.
The infobox only measures launch success. Redacted II (talk) 11:12, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"The infobox only measures launch success."
It does not. There is long-standing precedence otherwise, or we would not have missions by LVs where payloads failed to deploy or second stages failed to ignite marked otherwise. You are attempting to redefine the term to something it isn't. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 14:48, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"It does not. There is long-standing precedence otherwise, or we would not have missions by LVs where payloads failed to deploy or second stages failed to ignite marked otherwise"
This is partially correct. But the infobox does only measure launch success. In fact, the only launch vehicle in which it doesn't is the Space Shuttle, which even has a note dedicated to mentioning this difference.
The only failure this flight (other than the Super Heavy landing explosion and starship disintegration during entry, but Falcon 9 precedent makes this irrelevant to Launch Success) was the failed in-space relight. And saying that makes a launch a partial failure is saying every single second stage whose deorbit burn failed was a partial failure.
I think we can agree that calling all of those launches partial failure's would make very little sense. Redacted II (talk) 15:37, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Success[edit]

  • Success or RemoveThe desired trajectory was reached: a slightly suborbital trajectory. We don't declare a launch failed if the deorbit burn failed. The only reason an engine burn post-seco can cause a flight to fail is if it prevents the mission from being achieved. That was not the case for IFT-3
Failed recovery is also irrelevant for success v.s failure. Falcon 9 is an excellent example of this: none of the failed landings changed the classification of the launch in the infobox. It would violate that precedent if it changed IFT-3s classification.
The Infobox measures LAUNCH SUCCESS. And since the launch was 100% successful, it would violate NPOV to classify it as anything but a success.
While reliability of a few sources backing success are dubious, but the vast majority of reliable sources back this opinion. If anyone else wants to add some to (or if needed, remove entries to) this list, feel free. Just make sure to create a new collapsible list once the number of parts exceed 10.
However, in previous discussions, I have repeatedly pushed for IFT-1 and IFT-2 to not be counted in the Infobox. While that isn't my primary position for IFT-3 (given that they can be labeled v1 launches in the future), if success is not the designation for IFT-3, then it shouldn't be included at all.
Finally, why are we doing an RFC? The vast majority of editors believe it was a success, mainly for the reasons listed above. This feels like a last attempt to get IFT-3 incorrectly classified.Redacted II (talk) 15:38, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We distinguish between launch and overall mission in all our tables and infoboxes. The first Falcon 9 launch was a success even though the booster recovery failed. Apollo 13 was a successful Saturn V launch. IFT-3 was a successful Starship launch, even though the overall mission was not fully successful. --mfb (talk) 15:39, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agree, the launch was a success, and all extra activities on a test flight are important, but shouldn't change the launch outcome. Artem.G (talk) 16:52, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This seems like an attempt at citation overkill and proof by assertion. However, the list of articles does a good job demonstrating the range of conclusions found in reliable sources.
Some of these articles rely on headlines to support "success" or are editorials/analysis. These are not reliable for statements of fact, as stated in the guideline.
Overall, there are sources pointing to both success (AmericaSpace, Ars Technica, Business Insider, CBS News, EarthSky, NASASpaceflight.com, Ynetnews) and some degree of failure (Ars Technica, The Indian Express, ITC, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, TechCrunch, USA Today, The Washington Post).
  1. NASASpaceFlight.com - Overview of the flight and called the flight an overall success
  2. Business Insider - Article covers Starship in general but called the flight "Thursday's success"
  3. SpaceNews - Quotes by Gwynne Shotwell and Kelvin Coleman support success
  4. Ars Technica - Article states "successful launch"
  5. Ars Technica - Editorial by Eric Berger (who does acknowledge some degree of failure - "The flight 'failed' only because SpaceX is pushing Starship for full reusability.")
  6. Houston Chronicle - Editorial
  7. The Washington Post - "its most successful yet" but not a successful launch
  8. NBC News - Overview of the mission but doesn't reach a conclusion of success
  9. CNBC - Quote by Bill Nelson on "a successful test flight" but article doesn't reach a conclusion
  10. CBS News - The rocket "successfully boost[ed]" the upper stage
  11. Bloomberg News - Article is about Starlink and doesn't address IFT-3
  12. Quartz - Article is about Flight 4 but includes the Gwynne Shotwell quote
  13. The Hill - Editorial
  14. USA Today - General coverage that says IFT-3 was "more successful" compared to the previous launches
  15. NASA - Doesn't reach a conclusion of success or failure. It's general information and details on HLS
  16. Reuters - This is the same article from my "partial failure" response that doesn't call the launch a success
  17. Al Jazeera - "According to experts, despite hiccups, SpaceX is making remarkable progress towards its goals." Article includes Bill Nelson quote but doesn't reach a conclusion on success
  18. CNN - This was a live blog that calls the FAA mishap a "setback"
  19. Waco Tribune-Herald - Editorial
  20. Scientific American - Not a success but the "most successful flight to date" and mentions "Super Heavy's engines did not relight as planned"
  21. CBS News - This is the same article as #10
  22. Payload - Editorial
  23. USA Today - The "company still lauded the roughly one-hour flight as a massive success."
  24. Twitter/X - The Bill Nelson quote used in multiple articles
  25. SciTechDaily - This is the NASA article from #15
  26. The Motley Fool - Editorial
  27. Los Angeles Times - Article called it the "third and most successful test flight" and "'It was not a 100% success' said Laura Forczyk, executive director of space industry consultancy Astralytical"
  28. The Space Review - Editorial that didn't call the launch a success. "Flight 3 did not achieve all its stated objectives, but clearly went further than the previous two flights."
  29. WMFE-FM - "While the third test flight was a win for SpaceX, there were some technical issues."
  30. Austin American-Statesman - "Despite the eventual outcome, the SpaceX team still deemed the test flight a success as it surpassed the achievements of previous tests."
  31. KVEO-TV - Article about Flight 4 and does not mention success
  32. TechCrunch - Doesn't mention outright success but "more than the previous two tests"
  33. The Indian Express - Not success "but it would be wrong to think of the third test flight as a complete failure."
  34. The Brownsville Herald - Covers the mission but doesn't reach a conclusion of success
  35. Smithsonian (magazine) - No conclusion of success but "progressed further than it did on any previous test"
  36. Mauldin Economics - Editorial
  37. The Times of India - Picture gallery in the entertainment section (ETimes)
  38. Ynetnews - "successful launch of its massive spacecraft on its third attempt, following partial successes in the preceding trials"
  39. NASASpaceFlight.com - YouTube video
  40. KVEO-TV - General coverage of the launch but doesn't reach a conclusion of success
  41. Aviation Week & Space Technology - Article covers the mission including the Gwynne Shotwell quote but also acknowledges failures of the flight
  42. AmericaSpace - "successfully launched"
  43. Earth & Sky - "rocketed successfully into space"
  44. NASASpaceFlight.com - "successful launch"
  45. NASASpaceFlight.com - Overview of the mission including failures but doesn't reach a conclusion of success
  46. Interesting Engineering - "successful launch for SpaceX"
  47. ITC - "partial success (more than the previous ones)"
  48. YouTube - Link broken
  49. San Antonio Express-News - Article on space tourism and economic development
Redraiderengineer (talk) 20:21, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Reread a few of the sources, because some of the ones you claim don't support success explicitly called it a success. But even with your judgement, the majority support success.
If you think the number of sources is overkill, feel free to remove ten or twenty. Redacted II (talk) 20:39, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
When someone has twisted his mind in a certain direction, he makes an effort to look only for what has escaped him and usually sees it even where it is not there. Flat Earther! 87.252.175.140 (talk) 23:39, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Instead of making personal attacks (and calling me a Flat Earther qualifies), try "I disagree with what you think the sources you mentioned were trying to say". Redacted II (talk) 00:58, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This has already been written enough times here by other commenters. You had already been tipped off by a higher-up on the Wikipedia team, and even that didn't help ease the strain of your obsession. That's why I decided that something is needed that can affect you. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 04:33, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
A personal attack is a personal attack. I don't care what your intent was, and I don't think the admins will either.
So, please, stop. Redacted II (talk) 11:11, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@87.252.175.140, there is no place for personal attacks here (or anywhere on Wikipedia for that matter).
Please show some civility towards other users. If you believe a user may have made a mistake in their judgement, please bring it to their attention on their talk page. Again, this is an RfC, not a personal attack forum. If this continues, I will be bringing administrator attention.
Thank you, Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 14:10, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success. I was just about to post a list of sources that call IFT-3 a success, but Redacted II already posted it above. Unlike the first two IFTs, most reliable sources call this a success. Given the definitions of success vs. failure based on past consensus, although the IFT-3 mission was not fully successful, it was a successful launch of Starship. Our Infoboxes count the latter. User3749 (talk) 17:33, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Please, if you have sources to add, add them!
Just make sure to create a new collapsible list: 21-30 is now full. Redacted II (talk) 18:52, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't have sources that aren't on that list already, but I will add them if find some in the future. User3749 (talk) 09:05, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success, per above arguments. I did not fully understand that we were going with mission success vs launch success, launch was definitely successful. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 20:49, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success (invited randomly by a bot) Launch success is clearly the case. Citing RSs that confuse launch and mission are unhelpful. (OP: Please read up on posting an RFC. This one is a poster-boy for how not to.) Jojalozzo (talk) 15:56, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success or Remove The prior consensus on IFT-1 and IFT-2 was largely that the infobox information should be based on criteria consistent across all wikipedia articles that use that infobox. What sources say is thus irrelevant to what goes in the infobox, except for the extent to which they support or refute editors' consensus chosen infobox criteria. As discussed above, the consensus is that the infobox indicates launch success, and launch success correlates to the ability to deliver the (ostensible) payload to its required trajectory. The information presented in reliable sources strongly indicate that the criteria for are met. (Consider User:Redacted II's source list incorporated by reference here.) Attempts here to redefine the success criteria from "launch success" to "mission success" are moving the goalposts.
Even if the goalpost is moved to "mission success", there is still an argument that the mission was successful. The mission is an iterative design test indented to safely execute a shakedown of the vehicle, collect data, and find faults. The RSs absolutely say that they did that. SME statements support this point of view. I am against moving this goalpost. My point here is that if we do then that opens the door to re-evaluate the prior consensus.
But the problem with the prior RfCs and this one is that they put editors in the positions of rule maker, judge, jury, and executioner. We are doomed to endlessly bicker about and re-litigate success criteria any time there is any kind of problem with Starship if we keep this up. This will keep happening as long as people insist on using wikipedia as a "scoreboard." It is a terrible idea, and removal would at least cut down on the WP:OR and borderline WP:LAWYERING that goes on in these discussions.
Given that the discussion above and prior consensus ware already strongly in favor of "success," this RfC comes across as "asking the other parent" to me. The prior RfCs were essentially treated as votes. ("... that was not sufficient to sway the large majority of those responding." "... it became apparent that a preponderance of editors do not really think that said assumption holds.", etc) The discussion here was already overwhelmingly settled, and given that history shows that these RfCs are de facto votes, this RfC amounts to recruiting new electors to get a different result. This problem again suggests to "remove," because we need to stop doing this to ourselves. If bystanders once again come by to cast their votes, then I beg the closer to option for "remove." At the very least, please base the closing on some kind of rational argument rather than "preponderance of editors."
In short: if we're not overturning prior consensus, then success. Otherwise, remove. Foonix0 (talkcontribs) 19:51, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success Can't believe we're doing this yet again. Really sick and tired of this. People need to put away their biases. As to the actual situation, even the FAA has stated that it was a success (see article I linked perviously). Remember this is about launch success not every single minor goal of the mission. If that's the qualifying factor then every flight of Starship that's pushing the envelope will become marked as "partial failure" which is a rather ridiculous criteria different than how we treat other space launches.Ergzay (talk) 09:44, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    "Remember this is about launch success not every single minor goal of the mission."
    Incorrect. If we take this as the criterion here, that would be treating Starship differently from every other rocket on Wikipedia. See the Space Shuttle page, or the Delta III page. The stats in the infobox are about mission success and always have been. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:34, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Read the comment I posted a few seconds ago. Redacted II (talk) 13:36, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I did. My point still stands. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 13:39, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success or Remove per Foonix0. The consensus is clear as established in previous discussions of launches. As always I would suggest to just remove the flight result from the infobox until Starship reaches design maturity end exists the prototype phase to avoid this useless discussion for every launch. It is clear that the infobox does not provide sufficient context for the flight result to be correctly interpreted by all. {{u|Gtoffoletto}}talk 18:43, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That's a great option. Once they move out of prototype testing, we'll be able to determine success, partial failure or failure as we do for Falcon 9 and other launch vehicles. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 14:12, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success or Remove as Foonix0 laid out above. As far as Wikipedia precedent goes, this is a 'success' based on information from reliable sources. Both NASA and FAA officials have spoken on the record calling IFT-3 a success:
https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1768288689694642398

Congrats to @SpaceX on a successful test flight! Starship has soared into the heavens. Together, we are making great strides through Artemis to return humanity to the Moon—then look onward to Mars.

— Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
https://spacenews.com/spacex-planning-rapid-turnaround-for-next-starship-flight/

It ended in what we call a mishap, but at the end of the day we deem it a successful launch attempt.

— Kelvin Coleman, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation (via SpaceNews article by Jeff Foust)
Alternatively, removing this sort of scorekeeping for test flights would also make sense, since people can't seem to come to a consensus on whether a successful test is supposed to be a learning experience or when nothing unexpected happens.
I also agree that the pattern with this and previous launches of calling for new RfC votes until one side receives the desired result is getting tiresome. --Mysterius (talk) 00:50, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success or Inapplicable. Given that the whole purpose of the launch/flight/mission was to find potential points of failure in the vehicle/system any outcome that doesn't cause collateral damage is either a successful search for failures or not quantifiable as a success or failure. Largely Legible Layman (talk) 14:35, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Remove. If it needs to be characterized separately in terms of launch, booster, payload, orbit or some other mission criteria, then it is too complicated for the infobox. Vacosea (talk) 13:02, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Success and enhance. The launch phase was successful. But the overall mission was a failure (due to both vehicles being lost early). I suggest adding a column called "Mission status" to clarify this. (The "SpaceX declared this a success" notes can also go in that column. Their minimal goals for success were achieved, but the full mission profile was not executed.) (by ems57fcva, not logged in) 57.140.16.18 (talk) 16:38, 11 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion[edit]

It's been one week since the launch, and the dust has settled. Given the need for RfCs on both previous launches, this RfC will initiate a more formal process to achieving consensus. Please try to keep the comments and discussion in this section to keep the discussion organized for the closer, if needed.

I'm ping editors that participated in earlier discussions. Please add anyone I may have missed. Arch dude, Bugsiesegal, C9po, Cocobb8, CtrlDPredator, DASL51984, Elk Salmon, Ems57fcva, Ergzay, Fehér Zsigmond-03, Finlaymorrison0, Fnlayson, Foonix0, Frosty126, Full Shunyata, Fyunck(click), Galactic Penguin SST, Gojet-64, Gtoffoletto, Idontno2, IlkkaP, Jadebenn, Jrcraft Yt, JudaPoor, LordDainIronfoot, mfb, Mysterius, North8000, Redacted II, Sadko, Silviyssa, Stoplookin9, Sub31k, Tarl N., User3749, WellThisIsTheReaper, Yasslaywikia
Redraiderengineer (talk) 15:06, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Personally, I think that this is a bad RfC as we just had a discussion on this and came to the rough consensus that this launch was a success. This topic is stale and further discussion should ideally take place in the discussion that existed before this RfC was opened. There is no need for further discussion to take place outside of that thread while it's still open. Yasslaywikia (talk) 19:56, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Retracted comment and neutral on how successful the flight was per the concerns raised by Jadebenn. Yasslaywikia (talk) 16:02, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. This RfC serves no purpose other than "asking the other parent". Redacted II (talk) 20:11, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There's no need to do an RfC... the discussion has already happened and there is already consensus. Ergzay (talk) 20:51, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Should I contact an admin to close the RfC? Redacted II (talk) 20:52, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, I'm going to go ahead and remove the dubious tag. Ergzay (talk) 20:53, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Meant to say "disputed" tag. Ergzay (talk) 20:56, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have reverted your removal of that tag. You may disagree with me doing this. That is the very definition of a dispute. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 14:53, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The reason the tag was removed is because their was already a consensus.
This RfC was started to drag out the process. That isn't the role of an RfC, so the tag should be removed.
I implore you: please self-revert. Redacted II (talk) 15:28, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Still shows the tag on SpaceX Starship Flight Tests.
I'd remove it myself, but I can't. Redacted II (talk) 21:04, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We don't need an admin to close it, if we agree to close it (which I do for success) Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 20:57, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I literally JUST sent the request. Redacted II (talk) 21:00, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm fine with closure. I'll admit even my own comment doesn't add much that hasn't already been discussed besides criticizing the RfC process. Even that wasn't necessary until another RfC was opened... Foonix0 (talk) 21:38, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
According to WP:RfCL, since consensus is clear, we should close it ourselves. Redacted II (talk) 21:49, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, lets close it. This has no point other then to relight the endless argumentation. Consensus was clear, and another RfC wont fix anything, since people have very strong opinions (not meant negatively). Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 07:33, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agree this is a big waste of time. No need to have another endless discussion. The consensus is clear. {{u|Gtoffoletto}}talk 18:39, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It hasn't even been a day and you all are trying to close the RfC? I just saw the ping now!
By God, this page has been subject to some of the most tendentious POV pushing I've ever seen... – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 03:59, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion was opened on the day of the launch. We agreed to leave a disputed tag to encourage discussion. That happened, and consensus was already forming. The proposal is to close the RfC about 7 days after the start of the discussion. The RfC kicks the can down the road and forces us to restate the same discussion we just had.
"By God, this page has been subject to some of the most tendentious POV pushing I've ever seen..."
If that's the case, then please consider supporting my suggestion to remove the scoreboard. That would help with this issue. Foonix0 (talk) 05:36, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"If that's the case, then please consider supporting my suggestion to remove the scoreboard."
Yes, surrendering to the POV pushing of removing any and all negativity around Starship would indeed stop further POV pushing. That does not make it the correct course of action. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 14:54, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
While I also believe that it’d be beneficial to close the RfC, It definitely doesn’t help when editors significantly escalate the dispute when it’s completely counter-intuitive to dispute resolution. If you believe that POV pushing is a serious concern, then take it to ANI or contact an admin - similar concerns have been raised in the past and were inconclusive. Yasslaywikia (talk) 08:45, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I wasn't trying to ban Redraiderengineer, I was trying to get an uninvolved editor to close the dispute. Redacted II (talk) 11:14, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Pinging @Chuckstablers Redacted II (talk) 12:39, 22 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Redacted II, could you please stop bludgeoning the discussion by replying to every single editor who holds a contrary viewpoint to you? You do not own this article. Yasslaywikia (talk) 18:40, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think it has been that severe, but point taken. I'll back off.
(Just, in the future, place the message here instead) Redacted II (talk) 19:51, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm unsure about the way the whole discussion around this point is being handled, or whether an RfC was appropriate. However, I also believe that claims of having reached consensus are premature, given the substantial points being made in favour of different classification outcomes.
A reading of the mission as a mixed outcome could be appropriate as argued for by Jadebenn. It seems like there needs to be a decision on whether or not to treat these test flights as tests of a launch capability, or of a space vehicle capability. Given that test items last week included various functions of Starship as a space vehicle, the latter might be relevant. Sub31k (talk) 01:29, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We could perhaps note launch succes and mission partial succes then? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 10:29, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, but the infobox measures launch success. Not mission success.
Mission success can be listed on the IFT-3 article. Redacted II (talk) 12:49, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So you say, with no evidence, again and again. – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 15:25, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have given you evidence: the Shuttle article states that using Mission Success is the exception. Redacted II (talk) 15:34, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I still am not of the mind that "success" is an accurate judgment of IFT-3's launch, and it remains inconsistent with that of other launch vehicles ("intended trajectory" has not been the only criteria for success for other vehicles. Payload fairing/door failures or loss of attitude control have been grounds for partial failure, both of which occurred on IFT-3).
Setting that aside however, it does seem both sides are of the mind to remove success/failure counts from the infobox. I do think this is an acceptable compromise/consensus that can be reached on the matter. When Starship starts flying payloads, then success/failure will be much more clear cut. Gojet-64 (talk) 04:59, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we go with that option, we should clarify what we are calling them in the infobox, if not partial failure/failure/success. Maybe Prototype Launches? Or Test Flights?
Additionally, we'll have to make a note explaining the difference from the infoboxs of other launch vehicles. Redacted II (talk) 11:55, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
In various forms, this has been the subject of previous discussions (including an RfC). If editors wish to revisit this consensus, the best practice is to resolve this point of contention (failure/partial failure/success) in the current RFC then consider an RfC to address any unresolved issues. This approach is consistent with the IFT-1 RfCs.
With that said, removing the infobox count for test/demonstration flights is inconsistent with other launch vehicles including Falcon 1 and Falcon 9. Redraiderengineer (talk) 13:29, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Partial agree: this RfC should be Success v.s Failure v.s Partial failure.
But, given that there is a clear consensus for Success, a new RfC should be started for Keep v.s Remove Redacted II (talk) 13:33, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There's not an obvious consensus, and it's best to let an uninvolved closer determine the outcome.
Previous RfCs on this article had (at minimum) a roughly two-week duration, and it appears that may work for this RfC. There's still some discussion occuring, and I plan to add a response this weekend.
Multiple simultaneous RfCs are fine but "should not overlap significantly in their subject matter." Redraiderengineer (talk) 14:04, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I do not agree. Redacted II has been trying to scrub any mention of Starship failure from the page for months, or to get them reclassified as "prototype failures" since the very first RfC. They have maintained this position the entire time, after multiple editors burnt out, replying to any person who disagrees with their opinion. Giving into their demands is not a "compromise." – Jadebenn (talk · contribs · subpages) 15:24, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The lost neutrality is obvious. I agree with you. If the criteria continue to decrease, the next success criterion could be liftoff from the launch pad to an altitude higher than the top of the launch tower.
To be honest, problems started even before he joined Wikipedia as member and got any privileges. Even with the erasing of the "Criticism" section from the article in 2022. Criticism is not just from the residents of Boca Chica, towards Starbase, but towards the project as a whole, including, if I remember correctly, against the enormous intensity of the impact on the upper atmosphere(ozone layer) and even the climate of the planet as a whole, if hundreds and thousands of flights per year are ever allowed with this massive rocket system, as much as would be needed to maintain services under Starlink+point to point business flights+military contract flights+Mars colonization plan. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 19:51, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"but towards the project as a whole, including, if I remember correctly, against the enormous intensity of the impact on the upper atmosphere(ozone layer) and even the climate of the planet as a whole, if hundreds and thousands of flights per year are ever allowed with this massive rocket system, as much as would be needed to maintain services under Starlink+point to point business flights+military contract flights+Mars colonization plan"
IIRC, that wasn't included in the criticism section, which was entirely against the launch site. Redacted II (talk) 20:54, 29 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have recollections that this section was of decent length and variety of criticism. As a result of various edits, it was reduced to just a few sentences with the written critique of Starbase. So, if its long variants in question were not completely removed from the edit history, they could be seen in retrospect. I don't care to conduct such a review. After all, whatever I do, it will clearly not lead to changes in the imposed status quo to glorify and propagate SpaceX, because for many years the USA has nothing else to brag about in space affairs. 87.252.181.251 (talk) 05:12, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
While you are bordering on NPOV, I'll take a look, and see if the criticism section had anything targeting Starship, and not Starbase.
And if not, adding in a section dedicated to criticism of Starship should still be done.
(It would help if you can provide a date for when the criticism of starship section was present, though) Redacted II (talk) 11:52, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I couldn't find any dif with a criticism section, so I'll create a new topic here for discussing its creation. Redacted II (talk) 12:13, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't remember a specific date, but it was back when there were no separate articles for the ship, for the base, for the booster, etc., and everything was part of this article. 87.252.175.140 (talk) 15:44, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I remember it existing too, but again, I can't find it.
Further discussion should go here. Redacted II (talk) 18:14, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Potential Veredict/Result and Request to Close RfC: With this RfC mostly quieted down, i believe sufficient comments have been made, and i move to close it. As for the veredict/result, while there are more votes in favor of showing IFT-3 Success, there are valid points made by those who voted in favor of Failure and Partial Failure. Therefore, i move for the result to count IFT-3 as a Partial Failure. While the mission's primary (scaled back) objectives were accomplished, the secondary objectives (e.g. Raptor re-light) were partially or not accomplished, and both Starship and Superheavy were lost during flight, precluding booster splashdown and all post-reentry mission events for Starship. Not to mention Starship failed to reach the planned transatmospheric orbit (or TAO), and instead made a suborbital flight until atmospheric entry and loss of vehicle. These reasons mean IFT-3 did not fully succeed, and thus should not be listed as a success.

While those arguing in favor of success say this is to show consistency with other WP launch lists and launch vehicle infoboxes, please note that Starship/Superheavy is not like a traditional launch vehicle, which has two or more stages carrying a payload (be it a crewed orbiter or cargo) to space. Rather, Starship (the upper stage) is an orbiter, and any launched payload is carried within it. The only comparable vehicle is the STS/Space Shuttle, and Wikipedia lists Space Shuttle losses (Columbia and Challenger) as mission failures, regardless of what stage they were on in their flights. This should give sufficient precedent for Partial Failure.

If this turns out to be the final result, and you wish to dispute it, please raise your concerns over at the appropriate WP:DRN and WP:PUMP noticeboards. You may also bring this discussion up at WP:DfD and WP:AN, and if all discussions go wrong or end up with no real result, you can contact the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. But bear in mind, contacting the Arbitration Committee is a last resort option that should not be done for minor reasons, so only contact them if the discussions go very wrong.

Cheers, 187.46.134.26 (talk) 16:15, 3 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with closing it, but I disagree with your opinion that it should be Partial Failure.
Before I continue, I do think there are valid points for Partial Failure.
First, as has been proven multiple times, the infobox keeps track of launch success/failure, not mission success v.s failure. Thus, anything after SECO should be ignored. But, for the sake of argument, I'll continue.
You made the claim that while the primary objectives were completed, the secondary were not. However, of all the "secondary" objectives, the only one that wasn't completed, according to the RS we currently have, was the Raptor Relight. And that wasn't a mission critical burn: as was demonstrated, it was capable of attempting reentry without it.
I agree with your point that Starship is not a traditional launch vehicle, but it is closer to Falcon 9 that the Space Shuttle. There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is the lack of crew. A loss of a shuttle orbiter is the loss of seven astronauts. The loss of a starship spacecraft is maybe $30 million dollars of steel and ceramic.
Additionally, Starships primary role is that of an upper stage: at launch, the vehicle is ~80% propellant (the remaining 20% includes payload). The shuttle was merely 9% propellant during launch, excluding the External tank, as that was a separate component.
Falcon 9 serves as established precedent for the loss of a stage (and SLS, Delta II, ect, ect, serve as established precedent for the loss of stages not meant to be recovered. Neither S28 nor B10 were planned to be recovered). I believe this is more than enough to say precedent points to success.
Finally, I would be remiss to ignore the remove option, as proposed by Foonix0. As every single flight has been of a test vehicle, with immense changes between versions, it isn't accurate to judge them as we would an operational vehicle. While I think this is a good secondary option, should success not be viable, I believe success to be the better descriptor, as the flights can be noted as "v1" in the future.
To the closure, I hope that this post, and the one by 187.46.134.26, are sufficient summaries of the arguments presented by the two "major sides" of this dispute. Redacted II (talk) 21:17, 3 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@anonymous, as the first line of the article itself states, Starship is indeed a two-staged rocket.
Unlike the Space Shuttle orbiter and launch system, Starship can and will launch payloads without attempting to recover the second stage. Starship HLS is one example, where the lunar lander launched by the Super Heavy booster will not return to Earth. Similarly, there have been proposals for other payloads that would not involve recovering the second stage, such as a space telescope that SpaceX and Professor Saul Perlmutter at UC Berkeley have discussed (see CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz and article on Yahoo News).
As an unmanned vehicle, unlike the Space Shuttle, Starship can also be launched as a fully expendable rocket for very large payloads. In such a scenario neither the first stage nor the second would be recovered, but the launch would still be a success.
The Space Shuttle is an exception because it required a crew for every launch. Presumably the editors felt it would be crass to label a flight that resulted in the crew's death as a success, even though Colombia launched successfully.
Compare Falcon 9, whose launches are deemed successful even if the fairings on the second stage or the booster are not recovered.
Regarding the trajectory, according to the flight plan filed before launch Starship IFT-3 was always meant to reenter the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. There was an in-space engine relight test that was cancelled, but it had already reached its intended trajectory and later reentered within the target zone.
Finally, it bears reiterating that senior government officials at both NASA and the FAA have stated on the record that IFT-3 was a success:
https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1768288689694642398

Congrats to @SpaceX on a successful test flight! Starship has soared into the heavens. Together, we are making great strides through Artemis to return humanity to the Moon—then look onward to Mars.

— Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
https://spacenews.com/spacex-planning-rapid-turnaround-for-next-starship-flight/

It ended in what we call a mishap, but at the end of the day we deem it a successful launch attempt.

— Kelvin Coleman, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation (via SpaceNews article by Jeff Foust)
These statements have been reported in the press. Information from authoritative and reliable sources should be given greater credence than arguments and original research by unknown Wikipedia editors.
As for editor opinions, for what they're worth, on this talk page a large majority of editors agree with NASA's evaluation. Not because they are ignorant of the skeptical arguments, but rather even after accounting for criticism the consensus is that IFT-3 meets the criteria for "success" under existing precedent. Being able to articulate some objections is not reason to overturn the weight of evidence. --Mysterius (talk) 22:50, 3 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Hmm, sorry for fun but wwcftech article with author mister Ramish Zafar wrote: "In the wake of a partially successful third Starship test flight..." ГеоргиУики (talk) 19:45, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The vast majority of sources support success. Redacted II (talk) 21:22, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I am not sure what you mean by that, but if you are saying the use of the term "partial success" by that author means IFT-3 should not be labeled a success, then I would say that the statements from NASA and the FAA should carry more weight.
Even news articles which use qualifiers in describing the outcome tend to lean much more toward success than failure. No one denies that not every objective was completed, but the mission overall was a solid success. Moreover, for the purposes of the wiki article the launch was certainly a success.
Also, WCCFTech is considered an unreliable source: https://wiki.alquds.edu/?query=Wikipedia:WikiProject_Video_games/Sources#Unreliable_sources
--Mysterius (talk) 21:47, 4 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Soooo, consensus clear? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 06:37, 9 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]


Sources

  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (March 14, 2024). "Jonathan's Space Report No. 831". Jonathan's Space Report. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  2. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan (March 14, 2024). "Uncataloged ('U') Launches". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved March 21, 2024. 'Marginal orbit': Attempted orbital launches which failed to reach a sustained orbit, but fell just short; typically perigee between -500 km and +100 km. Since the exact orbit attained is often uncertain, I have tended to be inclusive when deciding whether to assign such launches a 'U' rather than an 'F' designation. You can think of this category as a way to pull out `interesting' launch failures that were really close to succeeding, as opposed to ones that blew up just above the pad.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (March 14, 2024). "Starship lifts off on third test flight". SpaceNews. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  4. ^ Jax (March 15, 2024). "The First Test: Starship's Payload Door on the Third Flight". Ringwatchers. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  5. ^ Edwards, Brooke (March 14, 2024). "SpaceX's third test flight of Starship achieves many, but not all, flight goals". Florida Today. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  6. ^ Griffin, Andrew (March 16, 2024). "Blazing success and dramatic destruction: How SpaceX's Starship succeeded and failed in pioneering test launch". The Independent. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  7. ^ Skipper, Joe; Gorman, Steve; Roulette, Joey (March 15, 2024). "SpaceX Starship disintegrates after completing most of third test flight". Reuters. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  8. ^ Greshko, Michael (March 14, 2024). "On its third try, Starship rocket flies through space but fails during re-entry". Science. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  9. ^ "Starship's Third Flight Test". SpaceX. Archived from the original on March 6, 2024. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  10. ^ SpaceX Launches Third Starship Flight Test (video). NASASpaceflight. March 13, 2024. Event occurs at 7 hours, 19 minutes, and 40 seconds. Retrieved April 3, 2024 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Two Spacecraft Failed on The 13th! What Are The Odds? Deep Space Updates (video). Scott Manley. March 26, 2024. Retrieved April 3, 2024 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Davenport, Christian (May 16, 2020). "SpaceX faces its toughest test". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2024.

orbital propellant transfer[edit]

I know a big "milestone" for starship IFT3 was the actual propellant transfer demo, which is why I'm surprised there isn't any mention of it being demonstrated as feasible on the HLS portion of the article, especially considering it'll be crucial for HLS itself to function. is there a reason behind it? Norovern, bro! (talk) 17:41, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

There is a bit in the HLS article itself. Redacted II (talk) 17:49, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Starship is planned to be able to be refueled by docking with separately launched Starship propellant tanker spacecraft in orbit..."
I understand the plan to actually transfer it for HLS missions is in the article, but IMHO I think the way its structured makes it seem like it's still a feasibility rather than something that was demonstrated. It might just be how I'm looking at it. Norovern, bro! (talk) 17:54, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Well, prop transfer hasn't yet happened between two starships, so the docking is untested.
The wording does feel wrong to me as well, but I get why it is the way it is. Redacted II (talk) 17:58, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
ok, when you put it that way (transfer between two vehicles, not seperate tanks), it actually makes a bit more sense. thanks for clarification. Norovern, bro! (talk) 17:59, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
happy to help! Redacted II (talk) 18:41, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Criticism Section[edit]

Should this article have a section dedicated to criticism of Starship (not Starbase)?

Personally, I think yes (so long as there is enough to warrant its own section), as not including those views is failing to lend due weight to them. Redacted II (talk) 12:15, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I think it's enough, or almost enough, to warrant Criticism of SpaceX Starship being its own article instead of just redirecting to the main article. DASL51984 (Speak to me!) 19:18, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think there is enough to warrant its own article, unlike the Shuttle. But if you want to start hammering out a draft, please post a link here so others can work on it. Redacted II (talk) 19:48, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, it should be a section in the main article, not a separate article. There are enough reasons for a critique section to exist. Example: Here. 149.62.206.5 (talk) 05:52, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
But that means we greatly expand the Page again, and we have been working on making it smaller, no? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 16:00, 3 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe we can reduce the History section? Redacted II (talk) 14:33, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Took a look, exellent idea, I belive its the longest by a mile anyway. Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 18:34, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"But that means we greatly expand the Page again"
Expand: Yes
Greatly: No
Yes problem.
"Maybe we can reduce the History section?"
Yes solution.
Also in section "Responses to Starship development" has few sentences which are criticism and will be moved in new section "Criticism". ГеоргиУики (talk) 22:13, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There is a discussion for shrinking/removing the history section below. Redacted II (talk) 22:16, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I know, this is answer to Fehér Zsigmond-03 to assuage concerns of bloat. By the way, the reduction of the "History" section, which is a solution to the colleague's concerns, may have been accompanied by the opening of a project history article. Unlike the restored "Criticism" section, the history section deserves a separate article, and the "History" section here in this article, is rather summarized (with a link to the project history article, where, as in a specialized article with a certain focus, all the facts will be described in detail.). ГеоргиУики (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Do not classify IFT-1, 2 and 3 as success or failure[edit]

Discussion around IFT-1, 2 and 3 have demonstrated that classifying these launches as either "success" or "failure" is a bit simplistic. Rather, it would be better to classify them as "development test flights", and leave success/failure classification for actual payload missions. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 14:15, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Support The launch vehicle design hasn't been finalized yet. I think it'd also help avoid all the debates every time there's a launch. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 14:20, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Temporary Oppose. The IFT launches can be labeled as v1, like Falcon 9.
However, should the IFT-3 RfC be declared for partial failure or failure, despite the overwhelming consensus, then I will change this to Strong Support. Redacted II (talk) 14:32, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Support. iT would help alleviate the conflicts between editors and reduce vandalism IMO. Norovern, bro! (talk) 17:30, 10 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Rewrited lead[edit]

I just rewrited the lead of the article, focusing more on the general tenets of why Starship exists. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 15:24, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Looks good to me Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 18:31, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Great! Redacted II (talk) 19:28, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Do we need the History section?[edit]

The history section is a summary of the flight tests, as well as the development of the various prototypes.

But this is covered by no less than seven other articles: IFT-1, IFT-2, IFT-3, Super Heavy, Starship (spacecraft), Starship Design History, and Starship Flight Tests. In total, it amounts to 57 kilobytes.

So, it seems like a waste of text to include it here as well. Redacted II (talk) 19:34, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Keep and rewrite - That way, readers still get an overview of the history of the launch vehicle, but it needs to be shortened. Let's not delete full sections merely because the information there exists somewhere else in more detail (for example, in the SLS article, the core stage section also has its own article, though a summary of it is present in the SLS article). Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 20:20, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Bold suggestion to shorten it:
November 2005,[1]
CEO Elon Musk first mentioned a high-capacity rocket concept dubbed the BFR.[1]
2012
SpaceX called it the Mars Colonial Transporter.[2]
2016
the name was changed to Interplanetary Transport System.[3]
2017
the concept was temporarily re-dubbed the BFR.[4]
December 2018,
the structural material was changed from carbon composites[5][6] to stainless steel[7][8].[7][9][10]
2019
SpaceX began to refer to the entire vehicle as Starship, with the second stage being called Starship and the booster Super Heavy.[11][12][13]
March 2020
SpaceX stated the payload of Starship to LEO would be in excess of 100 t (220,000 lb), with a payload to GTO of 21 t (46,000 lb).[14]
References

  1. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (14 November 2005). "Big plans for SpaceX". The Space Review. Archived from the original on 24 November 2005. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  2. ^ Belluscio, Alejandro G. (7 March 2014). "SpaceX advances drive for Mars rocket via Raptor power". NASASpaceFlight.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
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Uwappa (talk) 21:06, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

It seems good to me.
Just expand it to include 2021-now Redacted II (talk) 21:14, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Uwappa I would make each section you have here 4-6 sentences, and as Redacted II said, expand to include 2021-now. Cocobb8 (💬 talk • ✏️ contribs) 22:23, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The example above is a bold alternative for current text in SpaceX_Starship#Early_design_concepts_(2012–2019). The history chapters for 2021 and beyond can be similar. Uwappa (talk) 22:37, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps this could serve as a balance? (Citations would be included in the final version)
In November 2005, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first mentioned a high-capacity rocket concept dubbed the BFR. It was then renamed in 2012 to the Mars Colonial Transporter. In 2016, the vehicle was revealed to be a 550 t launch vehicle, now called the Interplanetary Transport System. However, in 2017, the concept was scaled back to a 100-150 t vehicle, once again called the BFR. In December 2018, after a test tank had been tested, the structural material was changed from carbon fiber to stainless steel, due to ease of manufacturability. In 2019, the vehicle was named Starship, with the second stage also being called Starship. The booster was named Super Heavy. Redacted II (talk) 22:49, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I know this will be a shock to many, but people do not read online, they scan, see Nielsen, 1997, How users read on the Web. Proze is hard to scan. Eye and brain have to work hard to find the start of each sentence. In fact, it is undoable. What scanning people will do: read the first few words of a paragraph and move on to the next paragraph if those first few words do not spark their interest. They'll probably not find what they were scanning for and give up. Too bad...
Scanning is just too easy in a scannable list. Eye and brain can quickly find the part of interest and move on to the right main page for more details. See Nielsen's test results: 47% improvement for same text, scannable layout.
My recommendation: Convert your text to a scannable list. It will be a weird experience to move away from proze, yet I hope you will see how much easier it will be for eye and brain. Uwappa (talk) 23:51, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agree, we should write a bit longer and more connected text, altough not by much Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 08:59, 7 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Infobox launch failure/succes[edit]

I cant see the number of failures/ successes, is that intentional? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 08:25, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

User:CactiStaccingCrane removed them here, probably on accident. --mfb (talk) 09:06, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I see. Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 09:14, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Super Heavy animation[edit]

We now have better animation directly from spacex, shouldnt we use that rather then the old one? Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 10:24, 9 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

We cannot, because it is not Creative Commons licensed. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 11:05, 9 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Super Heavy landing[edit]

The booster didnt actually reach the surface in one piece, it exploded A few hundred meters above, but neither the text nor the source state this I do have a source state this though https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/spacexs-starship-rocket-reached-record-heights-before-it-was-lost/ “ Neither the Starship vehicle nor its Super Heavy booster survived all the way through to their intended splashdown…” Fehér Zsigmond-03 (talk) 07:35, 10 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]