SpaceChampion

SpaceX--Spacecraft, rockets, and Mars

351 posts in this topic

8 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

SpaceX stuck another droneship landing.

Sounds like Musk expected this to fail, since they had much less fuel to land with, having to use all their margins to get a satellite to Geo.  The returning first stage used three engines to land this time, three times the deceleration since it was coming in for a much faster "hover-slam".  Unreal!

This type of flight of comsats sent to GTO will be their money maker for the immediate future, and since it's the most difficult type of landing it was really important to get working even it is on fumes!

Got even closer to the center of the bulls-eye than last time too.

Great news. 

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Here's the video of the landing.  Includes three different views of it.

 

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For comparison, here's Blue Origin's landing from last month.

It is only suborbital flight, so nowhere near as difficult as landing SpaceX's first stage, but the view is great and sound is awesome!

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Nice. I think they've proven that they can recover the first stage a reasonable fraction of the time. The next big test for them would be to actually reuse one of the recovered rockets.

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This is the complete landing from the POV of the rocket, sped up:

This was an even harder landing than the previous time, and it came down hard enough to completely use up the internal aluminum crumple zone in one of the legs.  They're a little worried the rocket will tip over in bad weather, so they're taking their time returning to port.

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1 hour ago, SpaceChampion said:

So!  At the Recode conference Musk was interviewed on stage and said SpaceX is aiming for multiple launches to Mars every 26 months when the launch window opens, with a first human to Mars launch in 2024, landing in 2025!

Will governments allow this or shut it down as private industry intruding upon their baliwick?

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Nobody is going to want to risk embarrassment when it happens anyway.

In reality, SpaceX has enough allies to prevent that kind of thing.  Short of an existential threat to the species, there's no credible reason to stop it.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Musk promised to reveal details of his Mars plan in September, but he can't stop himself from talking about it a little.  He sounds quite excited.

Quote

'It's going to be mind-blowing'

Interview with WaPo reveals that:

* Besides launching every 26 months to Mars, he expects multiple launches each launch window, starting with probably double FHs in 2020.  I don't know if that means twin payloads (like Spirit & Opportunity are twins) or two uniques, but I'd guess the latter.  There is much to do, and at least one of those will be coordinated with NASA's InSight mission (possibly sample return?).

* 2022 would be earliest opportunity for unmanned test flight of the Mars Colonial Transporter.  That likely means first test flight of the BFR in 2020, which is contingent on completing development of the Raptor engine that will also be used on F9 and FH upper stages, making those fully reusuable.

* He acknowledges it'll be difficult to get everything aligned and working for a first human mission in 2024, so it's the best case scenario. But still even if they're late a few launch windows -- humans on Mars! much sooner than possible with NASA.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see CG simulations and hardware mockups of the BFR and MCT this September, or that they've already been testing 3D printed scale models in wind tunnels.

It's good they announce these plans long before they have the FH ready, because if other space agencies want a ride, they need to start funding payloads now.  It's a FedEx cargo route to Mars, intended to be consistent and growing service every 26 months, and they need potential customers aware of when the truck is leaving the loading dock.

 

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Me too. That's quite an aggressive schedule, but I'd love to see him meet it. If I was a billionaire I'd help him out with the costs.

If he pulls it off, that's going to be a big embarrassment for NASA - assuming NASA is still focused on Mars. I think NASA is going to shift to a Moon-"first" focus, though, simply because that's where the ESA and Russians want to go, and because it's something we could rope China and other countries with new space programs into.

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Just for the science  alone the moon is a better destination.  No atmosphere and the ability to block radio signals makes astronomy  stations there an unparalleled site for SETI,  let alone radio and visual astronomy. 

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6 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Just for the science  alone the moon is a better destination.  No atmosphere and the ability to block radio signals makes astronomy  stations there an unparalleled site for SETI,  let alone radio and visual astronomy. 

A gigantic Antartica?  I like that.

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Scot, did you ever join the Planetary Society? As a Canadian,  I can't write my Congress person when budget cuts are proposed. I do support what I can such as the light sail project . 

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It's been >40 years since a man has set foot on the moon. Since then it simply was not worth the trouble to do it again.

Does anyone seriously believe we will sent men alive to Mars in less than 10 years from now? and that they will go back? Or live there in giant greenhouses? Because Musk's company has recently managed to land some spacecraft after a low earth orbit flight without crashing? Seems quite an extrapolation to me.

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40 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Scot, did you ever join the Planetary Society? As a Canadian,  I can't write my Congress person when budget cuts are proposed. I do support what I can such as the light sail project . 

The family banker declined my request. :(

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8 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

It's been >40 years since a man has set foot on the moon. Since then it simply was not worth the trouble to do it again.

Does anyone seriously believe we will sent men alive to Mars in less than 10 years from now? and that they will go back? Or live there in giant greenhouses? Because Musk's company has recently managed to land some spacecraft after a low earth orbit flight without crashing? Seems quite an extrapolation to me.

Look where rhe US was space wise in 1959 compared to were we were in 1969.  It's doable with the proper reasources.

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3 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The family banker declined my request. :(

Guess I have to do double  duty now.

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