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Space Launches, Landings, and Destinations - SpaceX Thread #3

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16 hours ago, Starkess said:

I was surprised to see that paper claim the second interstellar object, as I think CNEOS 2014-01-08 was already identified as an interstellar asteroid by Siraj & Loeb. I never saw that get any press though so there may have been a weakness in their claim (I haven't closely read the paper). In any case, this is the first interstellar comet and that's pretty cool, especially as it's been detected prior to perihelion.

No, they came from different directions ('Oumuamua came from Vega, C/2019 Q4 Borisov came from Cassiopeia) and have pretty different trajectories. 'Oumuamua only had an eccentricity of 1.2, while Borisov has >3 (which wow!).   

 

Thank you.  :)

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Bottom half of Starship has wings.  Just needs the top half with nose cone section attached, which should be soon.  This is in Boca Chica.  Musk will be doing his presentation on the current design in one week at that location.
 

 

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Starship update day!  Should be streamed beginning at 9pm EST  /  01:00 GMT at https://www.spacex.com/webcast  or directly on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOpMrVnjYeY

The manufacturing team in Florida working on the Mk 2 and the Superheavy construction were pulled off those to help speed up construction of the Mk 1 in Boca Chica, Texas, in time for today's presentation.  Mk 1 is assembled, with both halves welded together.  Construction so far was for fit checks, and exploring manufacturing techniques, and ultimately for the first flight.  Some time in October or maybe early November they'll fly it to 20km for atmospheric reentry and landing tests.

Mk 1 and 2 are built using ordinary stainless steel.  The final prototype version before mass production of Starships, Mk 5, will likely be constructed using the special alloy of steel that SpaceX invented for better thermal characteristics.  The original mass goal for Starship was 85 tons.  Mk. 1 is about 200 tons.  They can shave off a lot of weight will fewer welds using larger sheets of metal, and I speculate the alloy they'll use will be lighter too.  Mk. 1 will havea payload capacity of only 30 tons or so -- which for space vehicles is still huge -- but the Mk 5 is aiming for 150 tons.

I wouldn't called the Mk 1 Starship slapped together... but it is a quick and dirty prototype, made for rapid development.  If they can build the cylindrical portions as a one piece, in some giant machine they'd have to custom build, I think it's possible.  Interestingly, Musk will have experience doing that with Tesla, as their new Model Y crossover SUV vehicle will have its body be produced as one single piece of steel, instead of 70.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Everyday Astronaut interviews Elon Musk -- a great interview asking technical details, and getting down to the design philosophy of SpaceX.

 

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On 9/28/2019 at 7:03 PM, SpaceChampion said:

Mk 1 and 2 are built using ordinary stainless steel.  The final prototype version before mass production of Starships, Mk 5, will likely be constructed using the special alloy of steel that SpaceX invented for better thermal characteristics.  The original mass goal for Starship was 85 tons.  Mk. 1 is about 200 tons.  They can shave off a lot of weight will fewer welds using larger sheets of metal, and I speculate the alloy they'll use will be lighter too.  Mk. 1 will havea payload capacity of only 30 tons or so -- which for space vehicles is still huge -- but the Mk 5 is aiming for 150 tons.

 

Do you know of any interest by the military about SpaceX adventures? Developments like that should catch the attention of them. Hell, even the BFR looks like something that the military should look with interest. 

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They're probably looking at it, but it's likely something they're keeping on the down-low until any contracts are announced -- which I wouldn't expect for a few years.  The point-to-point Earth travel option should be of interest, but the large payload capacity and refueling options too.  I'd guess they're waiting to see how these first flights of the prototype ships go.

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On 10/11/2019 at 5:35 AM, rotting sea cow said:

Do you know of any interest by the military about SpaceX adventures? Developments like that should catch the attention of them. Hell, even the BFR looks like something that the military should look with interest. 

This article mentions SpaceX is in discussion about both Starship and Starlink with the military.

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8 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

This article mentions SpaceX is in discussion about both Starship and Starlink with the military.

BTW. I am not at all trilled by the Starlink venture. See this

SpaceX submits paperwork for 30,000 more Starlink satellites

https://spacenews.com/spacex-submits-paperwork-for-30000-more-starlink-satellites/

 

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apparently, both Starliner and Crew Dragon are still suffering of some technical problems. It seems unlikely they will fly astronauts to the ISS before the end of the year.

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I think there was a problem with the parachutes but it just aced a dozen tests of that, and SpaceX is looking to do the final in-flight abort test soon.  NASA is currently asking SpaceX to plan for the crew launched with the first ISS flight to stay several months instead of coming down in the week.

In Starship news, Musk reportedly has told the Air Force each flight will be available for purchase at about $2 million.  That includes about $900,000 in fuel costs.

That means with 100 tonnes of cargo to LEO, price would be $20/kg.   Passengers would be something different, with a basement of $20,000 per person.  I'd guess $25-35k range.  Less than than for point-to-point travel.

Regarding Starlink, I believe the 30,000 number includes a 5% annual attrition rate over 10 years as satellites fail and are replaced.  10 years is like the half-life of the constellation by which half the number of sats up there will have been replaced.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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7 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

In Starship news, Musk reportedly has told the Air Force each flight will be available for purchase at about $2 million.  That includes about $900,000 in fuel costs.

To be clear, this has to be the aspirational price that the actual price will eventually approach once they've recouped their development costs and are very sure that the Super Heavy and Starship can be both be reused without expensive maintenance between launches. Given that their proposed competition at this class of rocket will have costs in excess of $2 billion without including development costs (which are already more than $15 billion dollars as of 2018) or the various freebies NASA provides, SpaceX can easily charge $200-300M and still be the cheaper option by an order of magnitude.

They will have to do this for at least the first few Starship launches because those rockets are unlikely to be reused (that is, they'll land, but they'll be disassembled to check that everything is as expected). They might also do it for a while longer to recoup their development costs.

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4 hours ago, Altherion said:

To be clear, this has to be the aspirational price that the actual price will eventually approach once they've recouped their development costs and are very sure that the Super Heavy and Starship can be both be reused without expensive maintenance between launches. Given that their proposed competition at this class of rocket will have costs in excess of $2 billion without including development costs (which are already more than $15 billion dollars as of 2018) or the various freebies NASA provides, SpaceX can easily charge $200-300M and still be the cheaper option by an order of magnitude.

They will have to do this for at least the first few Starship launches because those rockets are unlikely to be reused (that is, they'll land, but they'll be disassembled to check that everything is as expected). They might also do it for a while longer to recoup their development costs.

Correct. Like with Falcon 9, SpaceX will charge customers the maximum price possible as long as their offering beats that of their competitors. With a huge amount of room to slash it further as soon as a competitor tries to muscle in on their market.

Awesome position to be in.

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If you haven't seen Hidden Figures your missing a very inspirational movie about our early space exploration history at NASA. Thats why I was thrilled to read those pioneering ladies are slated to be honored by Congress.

The NASA women who inspired 'Hidden Figures' will get Congressional gold medals

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/09/us/hidden-figures-congressional-medals-trnd/index.html

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Has the recent data from Voyager 2 just hitting interstellar space put the kibosh on the Dyson sphere concept?

To regard a Dyson sphere as a sensible energy solution, one must have always assume that capturing all, or almost all, of the sun's energy output for human use would have no unintended consequences. But the recent data coming from voyager which indicates that the solar wind blocks a lot of cosmic rays from entering the inner solar system means effectively blotting out the sun could actually have disastrous consequences and that solar energy radiating out into empty space is not just wasted energy waiting to be harvested. The solar ecosystem depends on the outward pressure of the solar wind to maintain an electromagnetic bubble that would disappear with a Dyson sphere. Even if a Dyson sphere only captured 50% of solar radiation that would probably still be bad for the EM equilibrium.

I think perhaps the hopes for energy sources in our distant future might need to rest on something other than an idea developed by a 20th century futurist.

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Interesting point.  However, people will try to get around that by suggesting it would be possible to create a stronger substitute to block out cosmic radiation more completely (as some does pass through to us).

 

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