Will a Starship orbital flight attempt occur in December 2023?
resolved Jan 1

Resolution criteria for what counts as an attempt adapted from this market.

For the purposes of this market the test doesn't have to be successful or even conclusive - a scrub is fine as long as it's clear that SpaceX was trying to do an orbital flight test.

I'll resolve YES if an official SpaceX social media channel puts up a livestream entitled "Starship Flight Test" or similar, which shows a live feed of a Starship–Super Heavy full stack vehicle and a countdown, for a flight trajectory that is intended to be orbital or near-orbital, NO if there is clearly no such livestream by market close, and N/A if it is ambiguous whether this has happened at market close.

The relevant timezone is the local time at the launch site.








/chrisjbillington/will-a-starship-orbital-flight-atte-890e74e896aa (you are here)

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I don't think it's going to happen. Buying 100 No.

bought Ṁ100 NO at 2%

@Eliza (Hopefully someone will tell me how wrong this was)

predicted NO

@Eliza It's wrong by about a factor of 4– 5, in the sense that 2% is a poor rate of return given the amount of free mana one can get on end-of-year markets currently. In the other sense though, 2% is way too high.

predicted NO

@chrisjbillington I will have to do work to find somewhere to earn 5%, but this market I already researched is offering me 2% so I took some of that!

If I was trying to maximize profit, I would not have spent well over 5000 mana on creating markets in December alone. Expected rate of return before the end of the year? Very negative.

predicted YES

New thought: SpaceX is limited by Cameron County to 5 launches per year, so maybe they push to launch in December to get in another launch (with data collection) that won’t count against their 5 quota in 2024. Just speculation, but it would make sense.

Tricky DuckboughtṀ180YES

@TrickyDuck haven't seen any news... What makes you move this up to 14%?

bought Ṁ100 NO from 13% to 12%

@AaronBreckenridge Thanks, fixed :)

predicted YES

@Mqrius Yeah, it was Elon’s tweet. Also, I was willing to risk 181 mana for a possible return of 2100. I am “betting with the house’s money” after a few recent wins, so why not swing for the fences? 😁

predicted NO

@TrickyDuck Fair enough :)

predicted NO

Can someone fill me in on the reasoning behind this market moving from 15% to 1% after today's launch? Was the 15% only "no November launch" or was it also moving due to the events of the launch?

predicted NO

@Eliza the most likely reason for a December launch was indeed the "no November launch" scenario, if there had been no launch in November, and the launch was simply delayed until December instead. Now that it has launched, SpaceX doesn't have another rocket immediately ready to go and so is not as prepared for another launch.

Also and possibly more importantly, their license only authorised a single launch, so they need a new license again for the next launch. If this most recent launch had gone off without a hitch, perhaps they would get that updated license pretty quickly, but since it blew up (although this was pretty likely ahead of time), there will be a formal investigation that will mean something of a delay as well.

@chrisjbillington I was a proud No holder but I sold when it hit 3%. Eagerly awaiting the next hype cycle.

@Eliza Elon says something like 3-4 weeks, but that is Elon time, so...

@EvanDaniel it's Elon time, and it was answering the more specific question of "when hardware ready for launch?", not "when launch?", the latter being a question about getting another launch license.

Elon time last I checked was a factor of 3.8, so that's Feb 8th to March 6th that hardware might be ready to fly.

I've seen other estimates for a launch around March, so maybe that's reasonable. I imagine the license should be easier this time around, so maybe we might get a launch around then.


In the words of a profoundly a wise person earlier in the comment section:

> It sounds like this market will be really fun if there is an early November launch that is wildly successful and "someone in charge" decides that they absolutely must launch another one of these before the end of the year "because reasons", and some drama unfolds over the next 6 weeks.

Was the previous launch "wildly successful"?

Has "someone in charge" decided we absolutely must launch this year?

I think it's a no so far, but eagerly awaiting the next development!

Thanks for all the updates.

@EvanDaniel I found someone linking to the Elon Tweet and I have to say, even for Optimistic Man, that does not sound like a 2023 launch is likely. Thanks for sharing!

predicted NO

@Eliza Unsure how successful in the relevant sense, which is about how long the FAA will take to investigate the "mishap" and issue another license. Had there been no "mishap" at all, yeah, their next license would probably be coming sooner rather than later. So maybe not successful enough on that front. On the other hand it could have been worse - there was no real risk to person or property, so maybe not too long of a delay.

And yeah, I don't think someone in charge has decided a launch needs to happen this year, I think it's just one of these aspirational timelines they set for themselves even though everyone knows it's not realistic.

It's true though that they have a lot of hardware nearing a state of readiness. Definitely looking forward to the launch cadence increasing somewhat over the next year.

@chrisjbillington Mishap, as opposed to incident or accident, can be very fast. The no reported damage to public (aka non-SpaceX) property, no injuries, and no major pad damage is extremely optimistic for a fast mishap report.

VERY INTERESTING. @chrisjbillington just bought 1000 mana of Yes on November, yet did not make ANY moves here. MAYBE THEY ARE DOING THE DOUBLE

predicted NO

@Eliza You have more faith in me that I was paying attention than I deserve! But indeed, the later the attempt in November gets (and in the past week or so the target date has moved from the 13th, to the 15th, and just now to the 17th), the more likely it becomes that we'll see a scrubbed attempt in November, with actual launch not happening until December. I'm more confident betting up the "will there be an attempt in November" market than the "Will it launch in November" market, since scrubs are decently likely.

predicted NO
bought Ṁ2 YES at 28%

@chrisjbillington So you're saying there's a chance!

predicted NO

@Eliza I'd be quite surprised! But I'm looking forward to seeing how fast SpaceX move when they are allowed to launch on their own schedule without further FAA approval. It's expected that the upcoming license will allow multiple launches, so unless something goes sufficiently wrong in the next launch for the license to be revoked/suspended/whatever-the-correct-jargon-is, the timing of the third flight ought to be basically up to SpaceX.

@chrisjbillington In the past SpaceX usually moved on after a successful test, instead of testing the same thing again. If IFT-2 is a complete success, then IFT-3 will probably have different flight profile (e.g. full orbit) and require a different license. If there is some mishap, then the FAA will want an investigation and "corrective actions". So either way, I think IFT-3 in 2023 is unlikely.

@dp9000 Last I knew the launch licence before recent amendment required granted a rate of 5 test launches per year.

The third flight FCC communication request mentions "soft landing" in the Indian ocean so certainly some differences in the orbit but launches do go to different orbits and I don't think that needs a new licence. (The current FCC licence also says "soft landing" when it is clear the plan seems more of a hard bellyflop so this means very little re attempting soft ocean touchdown)

The rock tornado (not expected) and delay in FTS working (safety issue) certainly required mishap investigation, but if there is just some problem with the under development rocket - say the heat shield fails to survive re-entry then that is likely just further development work needed and the FAA will likely let SpaceX get on with it on their own.

I agree 3rd flight in Dec 2023 is very unlikely. If the 5 is strictly applied to each calendar years they might want to get another away before year end but I doubt it is that strict e.g. can they now do 9 or even more by end of 2024? For 3rd to happen in December basically everything has to go as expected and/or the issues have already been addressed by upgrades already built into next booster and ship. Guess we may as well wait for this launch before doing wenhop for IFT3.