Will SpaceX attempt a 'catch' with the 'chopsticks' on Starship's fourth 'orbital' test flight?
Jun 30

SpaceX currently plans to catch both Booster and Starship with the 'chopstick' arms on the side of the launch tower. This is a highly complex procedure that has not been tested before, and initial attempts could be physically and finacially destructive.

This market will resolve after the completion of the fourth OFT.

Resolution criteria:

The catch attempt can be made either for the Booster or Starship itself (or both).

'Attempt' will be defined as either vehicle making a clear approach run on the catch site. If the approach is aborted before the chopsticks have moved, the attempt will still be considered valid.

It seems to me that in practice, these approach runs can be considered to have started after Booster's boostback burn, and after Starship survives atmospheric reetry and places itself on the correct trajectory. I am open to discussion on this point, but I think other criteria would be more subjective.

If SpaceX announce they will attempt a catch but the flight test fails before the above criteria are met this will resolve NO.

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predicts YES

these approach runs can be considered to have started after Booster's boostback burn, and after Starship survives atmospheric reetry and places itself on the correct trajectory.

Most likely they will aim for the water in front of the tower, and only shift to the tower during the landing burn, similar to what is done for Falcon 9 drone ship landings. But as I understand these criteria, the question will still be resolved YES if the vehicle just plunges into the water near the tower, or even if it is destroyed via FTS before that, as long as a possible catch attempt has been announced before the launch?

Without such an announcement, an aborted catch attempt (e.g. because engines don't ignite correctly for the landing burn) might be indistinguishable from a planned splashdown without any catch attempt.

@dp9000 do you have any suggestion for how to solve this conundrum?

predicts YES

@JoshuaWilkes SpaceX (or Elon) will probably announce publicly before the launch whether or not they will try to catch the booster or ship, so it likely won't be an issue. If they have announced it for the flight, and then the booster (or ship) survives the boostback/reentry and is on a trajectory back to the general area of the launch site, then we can count it as a catch attempt.

Only if there are no clear announcements, the question will have to be resolved based on whether the vehicle appears to deliberately move away from the water towards the tower.

@dp9000 when I made the first variant of this question I had a block of text that made it clear that the market would resolve NO if SpaceX said they would attempt it but then there was a failure mode earlier in the flight. However, the paragraph was so poorly written that I just deleted it for subsequent markets.

I'll put a new version back in.


bought Ṁ167 of NO

@JoshuaWilkes if it crashes in the water, with no damage to the tower, the attempt either didn't happen or was aborted relatively early. If it crashes on land or damages the tower, an attempt was made. (Also obviously if it works.)

I think this might be a different enough definition to be better suited to a new question rather than changing this one, but that's a definition one could use.

But that said... I don't think they'll be shy about announcing an attempt in advance. I think your definition basically amounts to announcement + start of landing burn reached, and that should be clear enough in general. I'm not sure what happens under your definition if the boostback burn looks good but no landing burn is initiated, but I'd be pretty surprised by that edge case.

predicts NO

????? Why hide facts

@DeeMan To be frank, I don't like the attitude you bring to this site, and since I have the option to hide your contributions on my own markets I will do so.

I appreciate that this isn't particularly graceful of me.

predicts NO

@JoshuaWilkes Okay so honesty is reason for sensor-ship? My attitude …. I find your remarks highly offensive as you do not know me and as for my comments do what you will… cheaters never prosper !!!

bought Ṁ10 of NO
predicts NO

@Mqrius Just trying something

bought Ṁ50 of NO
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