Why does Starship belly flop?

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Why is SpaceX doing the belly flop with Starship? Why are they going from belly flopping and then flipping to tail down and why are they doing that so close to the ground? Why don’t they just start the flip maneuver earlier and ensure there’s enough time to make corrections if something goes wrong?

We’ll also dive into the different options SpaceX has with lighting engines, how many engines can they run and at what altitude? Is running on more engines better? And can parachutes be a back up if the engines don’t work?

And of course, we’ll answer the ultimate question. Will this ever be safe enough for humans? Can you even survive the G forces?! Should SpaceX just give up on the belly flop and do a landing more like a Falcon 9, which has proven to be highly successful?

So today we’ll look at the wonders of terminal velocity, gravity drag, thrust to weight ratios, and engine throttling to see why SpaceX is trying this belly flop maneuver and see if we think it’s worth it or if SpaceX should go back to the drawing board.

Check out the article version of this video here! – https://everydayastronaut.com/starships-belly-flop-maneuver

03:15 – How The Flip Maneuver Works
06:00 – Why Belly Flop / Terminal Velocity
13:15 – Thrust to Weight Ratios / Engine Throttling
21:00 – Gravity Loss / Gravity Drag
26:25 – Why Flip So Late
33:45 – Can This Be Safe?
39:30 – Conclusion

Be sure and follow Cosmic Perspective on YouTube too! http://youtube.com/cosmicperspective

Special thanks to our “Mission Directors” – Benjamin Holland, Dr Roy Jenevein & Dr Nahid Khazenie, Sylwester Ratowt, Scott Maley, Robin Haerens, Krystifer M.I. Colli-Biondi, Brock Barron, Casey Cheshire, Rob Nunn, James and Becky Carter, Tim Engle, Ian Marr, Taron Lexton, Chris Meleg, Corey Coddington, Chris LaClair, Peter F Maher, Steve Kemp, Vincent Argiro, Lars Nielsen (Denmark), IMAJIN, Derek Rowe, Nick , Jeff Hutchinson, Austin Murnane, Frans de Wet, Chad Souter, Sam Fisher, Jason Kelnhofer, Arthur Carty, Lawrence Mansour, DLB, Chris Dibbs, David Glover, Scott G Raderstorf, Max Haot, John Malkin, TTTA , Seth Pascale, Jared smith, Simon Pilkington, Héctor Ramos, Alejandro , Tomdmay , Mac Malkawi, Manalope , Tristan Edwards

Tags: Starship Belly Flop, Starship Belly Flop Maneuver, Starship flip maneuver, Why does starship flip, Why does Starship belly flop, Why does Starship fall, Starship close to the ground, is Starship safe, Terminal Velocity, What is terminal velocity, Gravity Drag, Gravity Loss, Rocket engine throttle, Thrust to weight ratio, TWR, Suicide burns, Hover slam, SpaceX, Rocket science, Elon Musk, Starship explosion, Starship explained, Tim Dodd, Everyday Astronaut, Starship G forces

  1. Alejandro RT

    Just amazing.You’re the Jacques Cousteau of Team Space.

  2. Train Gaming

    I can imagine Tim making rocket sounds when hes stopping at a stop sign xD
    Edit: Id do the same

  3. HelmutBemboka

    AAA+ Tim, I can hardly imagine this complicated subject being explained in a clearer or more understandable fashion! Well done!

  4. Chaus

    “nobody is riding a falcon 9 booster when it lands”
    me with a saddle, 3 ratchet straps, o2 tank, and a whole lot of ambition: “YET”

  5. Gabriel Malek

    I’m so glad we have Tim Dodd, who else would make videos like this man.

  6. Douglas Mark

    Briiliant as always. Thanks very much for your wonderful music tracks as well Tim.

  7. WTX Railfan

    Starship belly flop always gives me flashbacks to the whale in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.”

  8. Cody Coker

    These longer videos are a real gift. Thank you for all your hard work, Tim!

  9. Mikhail Panzo

    KSP taught me all of these more than any rocket science youtube videos

  10. Citizen Blue

    Your effort, along with your team’s, really shows in this video. Thanks for all you do. You’re a legend!

  11. Michael Hammond

    When I saw how long this was I almost didn’t click. So glad I did. 45 minutes went by fast and answered all my layman’s questions. Thanks!

  12. Saleh Mahmood

    Wow! You weren’t kidding when you said “This is going to be the best video on this channel”. THANK YOU.

  13. fourspiralarms

    Thank you for this video Tim! The indie and post rock soundtrack made it even more enjoyable!

  14. Tray Terra

    I thoroughly enjoy the way you structure your videos like this one. Excellent work all around as always 🙌

  15. pendragnx

    man, if only we had videos as cool as this during physics class in school

  16. Jonathan Moothart

    Heck yeah! A good day is a day Tim Dodd uploads! And especially when he times the beat drop to a starship exploding

  17. Arno De Pauw

    Amazing video Tim! Definitely one of your best so far and 100% worth the wait! Have a norminal weekend🙂

  18. Chris Botos

    An american using SI units understanding that this is science we are talking about ,you have my respect sir.

  19. Everyday space nerd

    His videos just keep getting better. Imagine what his videos will be like in 10 years. crazy!

  20. nathan collins

    never seen that moon clip around 6 mins before lol. “How bout that” got me good..


    Hey Tim! I heard some 27 merlins in the vid and I was wondering if you’re ever going to get that onto spotify? Great video btw, really intersting!

  22. Ken Otwell

    The best documentarians know how to ask the best questions. So do the best fanbois. Thankfully, Tim is both. Nice job dude!

  23. Abi Nubli

    Imagine being inside while belly-flopping. And if the seat really does rotate and has its own stabilizer it’s gonna be the coolest cockpit experience ever

  24. Mario Larouche

    This channel is gold compared to the click bate bot voice ones.

    A huge like from this Canadian👌🇨🇦👍

  25. Michael Reinert

    It is great to follow a person who is serious about following his passion and making it his profession. Actual, informative, well prepared content with in-depth research and analysis. Worth my time and downright inspiring. Just…thank you Tim and the whole communitiy! Greetings from Germany

  26. Petteri

    Me: *has fun for 13 minutes*

    Tim: “Here’s where the fun begins”

    It’s an Everyday Astronaut video all right.

  27. Brandon Kent

    I love how you were hoverslamming towards to same spot Starship does lmao

  28. Leo Martinez

    Thank you very much Tim for educating us on how starship works, I bet im not the only one who is in love with this program but dont know the science behind it. Thanks for your time and effort, I wish you the best

  29. Lars Games

    Best video i’ve watched in my whole life.

  30. S W

    I honestly can’t love this more. Your long-form videos are where you really shine! Thank you for what you do.

  31. Isaiah Macadam

    How is this 45 minutes? It went by too fast. Thank you for all the incredible videos and work you put into them, always excited when I see a new one has been uploaded!

  32. Chalklate Rain

    Get this man to 1 million subs! After this video specifically he is the undisputed best person documenting SpaceX and space related things, not even the actual professionals get this detailed.

  33. Jan Ilgner

    The Production value of this Video is absolutely insane!
    Great Work!

  34. nimvalar

    Congratulations on finally releasing this video:) Been hearing about it so much in podcast and finally it’s here, thank you!

  35. Lauren Mehta

    Starship in baking terms is like a cake that is made of gold with some crazy macarons going to space and coming back down to earth than being driven across the country to a party at the beach…

  36. nick foster

    40:00 “We need to fail down here, so we don’t fail up there.” Armstrong, N.

  37. Rubens Gonçalves

    Imagine the ship with all its furniture making this jump 500 meters from the ground. The astronaut will stop inside the bathroom.

  38. Rinshun

    When people do what they like, they give us masterpieces like this.

  39. Mr. Nugz

    His videos are the closest to perfect I think I’ve ever seen, Amazing!

  40. Jeremy Klein

    That would be crazy to be in one of those Starship swivel seats, and watch the whole ship rotate around you as it lands.

  41. Sean Tiz

    Outstanding. You have really taken your skills to the next level.

  42. Carter Etherington

    Love the spacesuit holding the flamethrower!

  43. Carlos Rivas

    New t-shirt coming from Everyday Astronaut: “Nothing that is physically possible, is imposible”

  44. smallstars

    Woah just realized I wasn’t subscribed with this account. Now you’re one subscriber closer to 1 Million!

  45. Ivan Timofeev

    I have seen no one explaining SpaceX where abouts sooo technically accurate as you do Tim

    I think this might be the reason Elon feels so comfortable speaking to you (he usually stutters a lot and pauses very frequently) and is so passionate about it

    THANK YOU TIM, your videos are not just for every day people, but also very enjoyable by people from the industry like me, thanks for your excitement and hard work

  46. chessie2003

    I really appreciate that you include the timestamps on your videos.

  47. Tim Goretsky

    Was about to do my homework, and then I saw that a new Everyday Astronaut video got posted…

  48. Ben is Jammin'

    Am I really going to sit down and watch this for 45 minutes?

    Yes, yes I am

  49. Cormac Quaid

    Trevor didn’t even get to say hello! Awesome video Tim, great work.

  50. DreaDDoctorG

    Oh boy, better get my popcorn 🍿 – cause this vid is about to be a banger!

  51. 4Leka

    Love that you are back to making in-depth explainers!

  52. Simon Seis

    You put so much effort into these videos it’s amazing, thank you for teaching us

  53. Safir Jamil

    This was awesome!! When is that deep dive video on the Russian stuff coming? Really eager to see that

  54. kumisz

    This is truly in a format understandable to everyday people! Amazing effort going into these videos. Good job!

  55. Gabriel Elias Gabrie

    I am so grateful for the opportunity to watch your content for free. Times are tough right now but once I get on solid footing, it is my full intention to do my part and support your work. Thank you Tim, and everyone on your team.

  56. Ian Muriuki

    Am just a high school leaver and I understand. Incredible explanation skills 👍

  57. The Robster

    Tim. Another outstanding video. As an engineer I totally appreciate the work you put into these videos, and i love the enthusiasm you have for the subject. Just keep going and do what you believe in. Thank you from the UK.

  58. Jackson Avery

    beautiful title screen synced with the music and the starship exploding(RUD)

  59. FrozenSkeptic

    Wow its been like almost 6 months or something since a proper video like this. I thought these videos were just a theoretical discussion topic on OLF now.

  60. Jude Sellner

    You don’t know how appreciative I am that you chapter your videos. YouTube take note, Tim is the future, all other savages should be buried with the algorithm.

  61. Sanku Banku

    waiting for Tim to upload a video is like waiting for a new GTA game, lol

  62. Gary Wiseman

    I wonder: Tim makes the longest YouTube videos I watch, and they are way too short. How does he do that?
    Ultimately, he combines human passion, scientific rigor and curiosity. How cool is that?

  63. Amol Tandon

    Starship gives a whole new meaning to “pointy end up and flamey end down”

  64. Michal Martinásek

    Great video, thank you! I really love these long deep-dive videos full of easy-to-understand explanations of a complex stuff that suddenly makes sense. Well done, please, keep doing these!

  65. Latortuga 007

    Whaaat already 70k views? That’s awesome

  66. Gay Rihard

    Should I even say that documentary is awesome. OMG

    P.S. Very hyped for the next video about Russian/ Soviet rockets. It’s my home country and hype is unbelievable.
    Tim alredy proved with his other documentaries that it will the same exeptional quality.

  67. Sebastian Stauber

    No space news from you as you said on Twitter. There are enough space news channels. You are our educator. And we love you for this. Awesome video!

  68. Chris Larsson

    Thank you Tim for making high quality, deep dive and long videos! All for content instead of algorithm. I would rather wait for this than get lower quality products. I know you get a lot of crap about livestreaming starship but I think you are making the right decision. You are a trooper and you and your team of patreons are doing a great job! Keep it up 👍🏻

  69. Jonathan Schreifels

    A new vid from Tim is the only way to instantly make my day

  70. Sam

    Thank you Tim for blessing us with yet another top quality video! I can see so much work went into this and why you’re so proud of it!
    Who the heck could dislike this video? Seriously?

  71. John Heaton

    A like is just not enough. Thanks Tim

  72. Family Dog

    I completely understood trust to weigh ratio, deepened my understanding of terminal velocity and I think I am close to understanding what Delta v really means.
    Tim, monumental work.
    I though I just refresh some knowledge that I already know, but wow I learned a lot!

  73. TheUltimateKek

    personally as a cultured kerbal space program player i find the solution “moar boosters” quite excellent.

  74. Big Car

    This is the best video you’ve yet made.

  75. jdjeep98

    Boy, you’ve surely come a long way, Tim. I was just going back and looking at some of the old (space suit) videos and I’m very impressed with what your channel has become. Kudos!

  76. shaperka


  77. Gururag Kalanidhi

    This is one of the best videos yet. I have a brain boner after watching Tim explain how starting the landing burn early actually reduces the drag🔥🥺

  78. Matt Hudson

    I usually don’t comment on videos, but you and everyone involved in the making of this video did an amazing job. I always look forward to your new content and live streams.

  79. AquaFish

    Sooo much quality in this video! Have a nice evening everyone

  80. chris6770

    Tim finished a video! A rare treat ;) And the animations are fly, wow, kudos to whoever made them.

  81. Steak Saignant

    For now on I’m gonna roleplay being a façon 9 during all my commutes!

  82. Elephant Stoned

    Omg an upload! <3

  83. Milton Miller

    Imagine the day some engineer at SpaceX, attending a meeting, took a water bottle and explained the entire insane idea to everyone, including Elon Musk, and then when done they look around and nobody was laughing….

  84. max mustermann

    Me thinking: “Well Joe tried to land a rocket without throttlling” Tim: “Right Joe Barnard?”

  85. Frank Wegner

    This is the best stuff for us, how this spacecraft works. Thankyou. Greetings from Germany.

  86. Diamond Driver

    A very deep dive into the flip maneuver! Those renderings were incredible Tim

  87. Mátyás Török

    When an ad popped up during the video, I felt like, I was interrupted while watching a high quality movie. The amount of effort put into this video is just unbelievable. Thanks Tim for this, huge respect!


    Nobody else has such quality content on TY as Tim. This video sets a new standard. WOW! I’m blown away how good this one was. As a long time fan, of you and the space community on TY, Bravo Tim. Standing Ovation.

  89. Milton Miller

    Nobody came up yet with “documentaries” about SpaceX so complete, well produced, and technically respectable like Tim Dodd does. Not Discovery channel, not BBC, not CNN, not Hollywood, not nobody.The technical quality of this channel, plus the cool sense of humor and lots of well expressed emotion, make this channel the very best. The very best. Yes I said it!

  90. SRFriso94

    “Today, we’re going to be covering the wonders of terminal velocity, thrust to weight ratio, and engine throttling…”
    Hold on there, tiger, YouTube might consider this too sexy for their platform.

  91. Thom Van Os

    Watching starship explode whilst on tune with music is one of the most satisfying things i’ve ever seen

  92. Jim Myers

    Gotta thank you, Tim. I’m a 66 year old retired engineer and I still learn something when you do one of these deep dives. Thank you much.

  93. AleXitto

    Title: Why does starship belly flop?
    Me: that’s obvious…
    Also me: sees 45 min

  94. Mohammed Shaik

    It’s been so long since Tim made an actual video like this. He’s been so busy with livestreams and interviews. Huge respects!

  95. Leiro Derek

    As I was just about to sleep, Tim drops a 45 min video. Welp, postponing the sleep

  96. kworkshop

    Tim, the amount of effort you pour into your videos is insurmountable, and I think I speak for the whole space community when I say we appreciate you more than imaginable! Thank you!

  97. The Flying Eagle

    *Why does Starship bellyflop? Very simple, because Elon is a madlad.* 🤣

  98. Remington Jarvie

    Everyday Astronaut videos are rare Thanksgivings dinners amongst all the youtube snacks we consume.

  99. Diashi

    “Hi, it’s me Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut”
    *SLAMS the Like Button*

  100. Ethan Grey


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