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Francoflier
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:42 am

Good news for the little booster that could:

B1049, the first booster to fly 6 times, is slated to launch the next Starlink mission in a few days, which would make it break its own record for flight cycles.

https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/details/2670

Upwards and onwards...
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Tugger
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:41 pm

Francoflier wrote:
Good news for the little booster that could:

B1049, the first booster to fly 6 times, is slated to launch the next Starlink mission in a few days, which would make it break its own record for flight cycles.

https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/details/2670

Upwards and onwards...

It is seriously crazy to now see launch prices of *just* $50M. Remember when $200 - $400 were normal with $1B+ for crewed launches?
And relanding boosters in now a normal thing, though only SpaceX is doing it we expect it.

Tugg
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FGITD
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:12 pm

Tugger wrote:
Francoflier wrote:
Good news for the little booster that could:

B1049, the first booster to fly 6 times, is slated to launch the next Starlink mission in a few days, which would make it break its own record for flight cycles.

https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/details/2670

Upwards and onwards...

It is seriously crazy to now see launch prices of *just* $50M. Remember when $200 - $400 were normal with $1B+ for crewed launches?
And relanding boosters in now a normal thing, though only SpaceX is doing it we expect it.

Tugg


It’s a fascinating development, how quickly we’ve gotten used to boosters landing. Watching any of the other companies launch almost seems very old and outdated now.

I wonder how many more launches b1049 has left. Would be fascinating to keep sending it until it fails. Though that might be a hard sell to any company looking to launch. "We'll give you a great price....but the booster will probably explode"
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:39 pm

FGITD wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Francoflier wrote:
Good news for the little booster that could:

B1049, the first booster to fly 6 times, is slated to launch the next Starlink mission in a few days, which would make it break its own record for flight cycles.

https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/details/2670

Upwards and onwards...

It is seriously crazy to now see launch prices of *just* $50M. Remember when $200 - $400 were normal with $1B+ for crewed launches?
And relanding boosters in now a normal thing, though only SpaceX is doing it we expect it.

Tugg


It’s a fascinating development, how quickly we’ve gotten used to boosters landing. Watching any of the other companies launch almost seems very old and outdated now.

I wonder how many more launches b1049 has left. Would be fascinating to keep sending it until it fails. Though that might be a hard sell to any company looking to launch. "We'll give you a great price....but the booster will probably explode"


Theoretically, I think SpaceX has said they want to use boosters over 30 times each (but they plan to go up to 100, and want to reduce the turn time to 24 hours). The interesting discussion on pricing becomes if the insurer sees increased liability with a booster over x number of cycles, etc. Then, multiply that complexity if it becomes feasible in 5 years or whatever to re-use the starship upper stage too (I guess SpaceX could counter that increased risk/cost by lowering pricing on 'old/high cycle' falcons). The starship supposedly will require much less refurbishment/checks than the Falcon lower.

https://medium.com/illumination/how-man ... d4374de5c6

I do believe Blue Origin, and as well the Kiwi's Rocketlab folks plan to reuse lower stages extensively. I've asked elsewhere but haven't seen if any of the other primes like Arianespace/Boeing etc. have plans to also shift to doing so, which, unless SpaceX runs into a lot of problems, I'd expect they would need to do.
 
mxaxai
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:42 pm

texl1649 wrote:
haven't seen if any of the other primes like Arianespace/Boeing etc. have plans to also shift to doing so, which, unless SpaceX runs into a lot of problems, I'd expect they would need to do.

Arianespace/ESA/related organisations has had an eye on reusable for many decades, it's a bit of a love-hate relationship. Up until SpaceX showed that it can be done in a cheap manner, it had always been dismissed as unaffordable/unnecessary. Let there be no doubt that they've watched SpaceX' career with great interest.

Some recent news:
Plans for reusable rocket, 2018: https://www.space.com/arianeworks-reusa ... video.html
Progress on the engine, Prometheus, 2020: https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Sp ... ket_engine
A look at the initial concept test vehicle, Themis, 2020: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2020/09/14/ ... r-project/

I don't expect EIS before 2025, probably not before 2028-30.
 
FGITD
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:49 pm

Worth remembering too that when SpaceX first started running with the idea, they were viewed sort of like the ambitious newcomer with the big dreams, who would either die off or conform to the norms

I think not having any functional rockets and focusing exclusively on reusability was their key to success. Others already had successful boosters and customers, so why bother spending all this money on Something customers might not even want? It was a bit of Russian roulette from SpaceX given how close to failure they came, but it clearly worked.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:58 pm

FGITD wrote:
Worth remembering too that when SpaceX first started running with the idea, they were viewed sort of like the ambitious newcomer with the big dreams, who would either die off or conform to the norms

I think not having any functional rockets and focusing exclusively on reusability was their key to success. Others already had successful boosters and customers, so why bother spending all this money on Something customers might not even want? It was a bit of Russian roulette from SpaceX given how close to failure they came, but it clearly worked.


At first it was more that the boosters were going to be crashing anyways. So experimenting with softer landings was minimal extra cost. Especially if there was fuel left after getting the customer to orbit.

Then they just incremented.

Remember that Falcon Heavy was first designed when Falcon 9 had a much smaller payload. The main reason you don't see many Falcon Heavy launches now is in part because it was harder and more expensive than first expected (the old hands you deride a bit were very right on that :P ) But more importantly the upgrades to Falcon 9 ate most of the benefit of Falcon Heavy.

Anyways, huge props to the SpaceX team for getting so far. To the point of convincing NASA that for the second commercial launch it is safe enough to reuse a booster AND a capsule. Note the original contracts for all these things required new hardware for each launch.
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:06 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Worth remembering too that when SpaceX first started running with the idea, they were viewed sort of like the ambitious newcomer with the big dreams, who would either die off or conform to the norms

I think not having any functional rockets and focusing exclusively on reusability was their key to success. Others already had successful boosters and customers, so why bother spending all this money on Something customers might not even want? It was a bit of Russian roulette from SpaceX given how close to failure they came, but it clearly worked.


At first it was more that the boosters were going to be crashing anyways. So experimenting with softer landings was minimal extra cost. Especially if there was fuel left after getting the customer to orbit.

Then they just incremented.

Remember that Falcon Heavy was first designed when Falcon 9 had a much smaller payload. The main reason you don't see many Falcon Heavy launches now is in part because it was harder and more expensive than first expected (the old hands you deride a bit were very right on that :P ) But more importantly the upgrades to Falcon 9 ate most of the benefit of Falcon Heavy.

Anyways, huge props to the SpaceX team for getting so far. To the point of convincing NASA that for the second commercial launch it is safe enough to reuse a booster AND a capsule. Note the original contracts for all these things required new hardware for each launch.


That’s all true but it’s also true that once something has been used once, it is mechanically in some ways safer to use it again. There’s a reason they call it a maiden/test flight. Now, that’s not to say capsule/re-entry survival means it is safer than a new build, but for a first stage it is somewhat logical (as it is with airliners etc.)
 
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Tugger
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:26 am

texl1649 wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Worth remembering too that when SpaceX first started running with the idea, they were viewed sort of like the ambitious newcomer with the big dreams, who would either die off or conform to the norms

I think not having any functional rockets and focusing exclusively on reusability was their key to success. Others already had successful boosters and customers, so why bother spending all this money on Something customers might not even want? It was a bit of Russian roulette from SpaceX given how close to failure they came, but it clearly worked.


At first it was more that the boosters were going to be crashing anyways. So experimenting with softer landings was minimal extra cost. Especially if there was fuel left after getting the customer to orbit.

Then they just incremented.

Remember that Falcon Heavy was first designed when Falcon 9 had a much smaller payload. The main reason you don't see many Falcon Heavy launches now is in part because it was harder and more expensive than first expected (the old hands you deride a bit were very right on that :P ) But more importantly the upgrades to Falcon 9 ate most of the benefit of Falcon Heavy.

Anyways, huge props to the SpaceX team for getting so far. To the point of convincing NASA that for the second commercial launch it is safe enough to reuse a booster AND a capsule. Note the original contracts for all these things required new hardware for each launch.


That’s all true but it’s also true that once something has been used once, it is mechanically in some ways safer to use it again. There’s a reason they call it a maiden/test flight. Now, that’s not to say capsule/re-entry survival means it is safer than a new build, but for a first stage it is somewhat logical (as it is with airliners etc.)

Does anyone know if any of the other established space launch companies have experimented in any way with trying to bring their booster back "under control"? I know it is not part of their regimen and things like grid fins and cold thrusters on top of the booster don't exist for them, but it just seems like they should do something to begin the learning process of what is required.

Tugg
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:35 am

Tugger wrote:
Does anyone know if any of the other established space launch companies have experimented in any way with trying to bring their booster back "under control"? I know it is not part of their regimen and things like grid fins and cold thrusters on top of the booster don't exist for them, but it just seems like they should do something to begin the learning process of what is required.
Tugg

There's one elephant of a reason the F9 method of landing isn't practical for other boosters. Other boosters can't shut down 89% of their engines, except for RocketLab. Trying to land a stage with a 7 to 1 thrust to weight ratio would be interesting.
 
FGITD
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:46 am

Nomadd wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Does anyone know if any of the other established space launch companies have experimented in any way with trying to bring their booster back "under control"? I know it is not part of their regimen and things like grid fins and cold thrusters on top of the booster don't exist for them, but it just seems like they should do something to begin the learning process of what is required.
Tugg

There's one elephant of a reason the F9 method of landing isn't practical for other boosters. Other boosters can't shut down 89% of their engines, except for RocketLab. Trying to land a stage with a 7 to 1 thrust to weight ratio would be interesting.


looking up the line of "competitors" to X really does illustrate the differences. When we talk reusability no one comes remotely close. There's of course a million other factors that go into customers decisions, but all the same...on that front, it's just SpaceX.......for now.

The crew missions give a funny sort of anticlimactic feeling due to their length. By the time they're ready to come back, I've half forgotten that they were even still up there.
 
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:51 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
At first it was more that the boosters were going to be crashing anyways. So experimenting with softer landings was minimal extra cost. Especially if there was fuel left after getting the customer to orbit.

Then they just incremented.


Very true. Somehow SpaceX integrates a viable, reliable commercial element into their highly experimental work, and not the other way round.

Even if Starship fails they could repurpose the Starship booster for other heavy lifting work. They could also sell engines at half the price of a RS-25. :bouncy:
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:00 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Does anyone know if any of the other established space launch companies have experimented in any way with trying to bring their booster back "under control"? I know it is not part of their regimen and things like grid fins and cold thrusters on top of the booster don't exist for them, but it just seems like they should do something to begin the learning process of what is required.
Tugg

There's one elephant of a reason the F9 method of landing isn't practical for other boosters. Other boosters can't shut down 89% of their engines, except for RocketLab. Trying to land a stage with a 7 to 1 thrust to weight ratio would be interesting.


The Falcon T:W ratio is still above 1 at landing, even then. Fully throttled back, it still has to time the burn to within inches or it will start going back up just as it is about to land. Now, watching the Starship heavy booster pull that off will really be something. I’m still dubious they’ll get the starship flip out of the belly flop right at least the first few times.

They also had a bunch of failures trying to get the F9 back right...which are still funny to chuckle at.

https://youtu.be/p9FzWPObsWA
 
LightningZ71
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:11 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Remember that Falcon Heavy was first designed when Falcon 9 had a much smaller payload. The main reason you don't see many Falcon Heavy launches now is in part because it was harder and more expensive than first expected (the old hands you deride a bit were very right on that :P ) But more importantly the upgrades to Falcon 9 ate most of the benefit of Falcon Heavy.


It's notable that the improvements to the Falcon 9 package have made it capable of placing heavier objects in higher orbits than originally anticipated. The cost factor changed a lot from those improvements. A Falcon heavy launch is not cheap, and, it's often more financially sound to just sacrifice a Falcon 9 booster than to do a Falcon Heavy launch and attempt recovery of all three booster sections.
 
KDAL
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:33 pm

Anyone have any word on when B1049 is going to make its 7th flight? Or when we can anticipate to see B1061 returning to port on JRTI?
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ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:24 pm

Tugger wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:

At first it was more that the boosters were going to be crashing anyways. So experimenting with softer landings was minimal extra cost. Especially if there was fuel left after getting the customer to orbit.

Then they just incremented.

Remember that Falcon Heavy was first designed when Falcon 9 had a much smaller payload. The main reason you don't see many Falcon Heavy launches now is in part because it was harder and more expensive than first expected (the old hands you deride a bit were very right on that :P ) But more importantly the upgrades to Falcon 9 ate most of the benefit of Falcon Heavy.

Anyways, huge props to the SpaceX team for getting so far. To the point of convincing NASA that for the second commercial launch it is safe enough to reuse a booster AND a capsule. Note the original contracts for all these things required new hardware for each launch.


That’s all true but it’s also true that once something has been used once, it is mechanically in some ways safer to use it again. There’s a reason they call it a maiden/test flight. Now, that’s not to say capsule/re-entry survival means it is safer than a new build, but for a first stage it is somewhat logical (as it is with airliners etc.)

Does anyone know if any of the other established space launch companies have experimented in any way with trying to bring their booster back "under control"? I know it is not part of their regimen and things like grid fins and cold thrusters on top of the booster don't exist for them, but it just seems like they should do something to begin the learning process of what is required.

Tugg


Only one that's close right now is RocketLab who's attempting their first booster recovery today. They've been doing incremental tests and such on recent launches to better understand what they would need to do.

ULA is planning to do recovery of the engine section with Vulcan but they're starting with fully expendable. Though at the same time they've been testing individual upgrades for Vulcan on Atlas V launches. The most recent Atlas V used new SRBs that have been designed for use with Vulcan.
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:05 pm

I vaguely recall the French working with the Russians to do something with the Arianne 5 to make it re-usable. The Adeline (again arianespace) might be flying by 2025.
 
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:06 am

I understand the improvements in the F9 rokkit nibbled away the FH business case.

But why don't the same improvements translate into a much more capable FH? Would it run into an issue with Max Q? Or would it need a bigger payload fairing to lift bigger (but not necessarily heavier) payloads? Or are there simply no customers who want to lift their complete holiday mansions into a geostationary orbit?? :fluffy:
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:58 am

The FH is plenty capable, but there aren’t that many customers for it, who need that much capability, correct. They lost both center cores B1055 and B1057, though.

“Critically, Falcon Heavy Block 5 center cores require strengthened octawebs, custom interstages, and propellant tanks that are significantly thicker than those used on Falcon 9. For all intents and purposes, a center core is a totally different rocket relative to a Falcon 9 booster, the latter being SpaceX’s primary focus at the company’s assembly line-style Hawthorne factory. It’s theoretically possible for a dedicated Falcon Heavy center core build to be expedited or leapfrogged forward in the production queue, but most long-lead Falcon 9 booster hardware physically cannot be redirected to speed up center core production.”

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-next-f ... late-2020/

Their goal was to do 9 or 10 FH launches a year but they’ve been focusing more on the F9 production; I think the center core differences are the main reason for the gap. Keep in mind the FH is really in a class of it’s own, capacity-wise, as well. They also just completed a critical design review for FH in July, and are using only all-new F9’s on the FH; each has to be manufactured/validated/inspected separately 1 at a time, so it slipped into Q1 2021.

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-next-f ... ayed-2021/

This will be an interesting launch to be sure, only around 4 metric tons, but into a 20,000 mile high orbit. Probably a fascinating payload, which we unfortunately won’t hear much details about for decades.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:47 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
I understand the improvements in the F9 rokkit nibbled away the FH business case.

But why don't the same improvements translate into a much more capable FH? Would it run into an issue with Max Q? Or would it need a bigger payload fairing to lift bigger (but not necessarily heavier) payloads? Or are there simply no customers who want to lift their complete holiday mansions into a geostationary orbit?? :fluffy:

The FH has grown much more capable. The original plan was for 53 tonnes to leo with crossfeed. Not they can do 64 tonnes with no crossfeed because of F9 improvements.
The longer fairing is in the works because of the latest NRO contract.
https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-w ... le-launch/
 
WIederling
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:23 am

texl1649 wrote:
I vaguely recall the French working with the Russians to do something with the Arianne 5 to make it re-usable. The Adeline (again arianespace) might be flying by 2025.


Fly back booster projects.
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:29 am

Nomadd wrote:


texl1649 wrote:
The FH is plenty capable


Thanks to you both!
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:06 pm

Highlights of the launch and booster recovery of yesterdays Sentinel-6 mission from Vandenberg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qVzmza7X6w
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:00 am

Just a few hours ago - the first successful static fire of Snate SN8.

The first time around, the rokkit blew off a piece of martyte - the ceramic-filled epoxy resin that protects the launchpad (as well as the landing pads). That piece tore through a Raptor engine.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
zanl188
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:49 am

flyingturtle wrote:
Just a few hours ago - the first successful static fire of Snate SN8.

The first time around, the rokkit blew off a piece of martyte - the ceramic-filled epoxy resin that protects the launchpad (as well as the landing pads). That piece tore through a Raptor engine.


I saw Martyte, or something similar, fly off with last nights SN8 static fire as well.

Also last night we had another Starlink launch. Falcon 9 used for the launch made a record 7th landing!
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Francoflier
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:18 pm

zanl188 wrote:
Also last night we had another Starlink launch. Falcon 9 used for the launch made a record 7th landing!


I'd be super curious to know how many cycles they are getting out of the engines.
Re-flying the boosters is one thing, but if they frequently change the engines on those between flights, it vastly diminishes the case for reusability.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:31 pm

Francoflier wrote:
zanl188 wrote:
Also last night we had another Starlink launch. Falcon 9 used for the launch made a record 7th landing!


I'd be super curious to know how many cycles they are getting out of the engines.
Re-flying the boosters is one thing, but if they frequently change the engines on those between flights, it vastly diminishes the case for reusability.


They generally don’t change the merlin engines, which are actually rated/supposed to be capable of many more flights than the boosters themselves. An older, but fairly decent comparison of how they re-use the F9’s vs. the old shuttle SRB’s. The thing to watch for is how many times they are able to eventually re-use the Raptor engines in the future; the cleaner burning (methelox) should let them hit a higher cycle/minimize inspections further.

https://everydayastronaut.com/will-the- ... e-shuttle/

They’ve now done 56 block 5 Falcon 9 launches, and though they did have to preventatively swap some engines in October when the lacquer issue was identified in some, I haven’t read a number as to how many were impacted. I believe they are producing Merlin engines at a rate of 4 per week now.
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:29 pm

Though it may be thought to be comparing apples with oranges, however both are liquid fuelled rockets designed for re-use, how does inspection of a Falcon 9 booster after each flight compare with the SSME's?
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:17 pm

GDB wrote:
Though it may be thought to be comparing apples with oranges, however both are liquid fuelled rockets designed for re-use, how does inspection of a Falcon 9 booster after each flight compare with the SSME's?


SSME’s cost a fortune to refurbish. It’s an order of magnitude/logarithmic comparison. The RS 25’s are great/marvels of science, but are they worth $145 million a piece (new)? Is there any chance they can be re-used enough times economically to offset this...ludicrous price?

https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyn ... act-costs/
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:19 pm

GDB wrote:
Though it may be thought to be comparing apples with oranges, however both are liquid fuelled rockets designed for re-use, how does inspection of a Falcon 9 booster after each flight compare with the SSME's?


I just read that the SSME had its turbopump disassembled and checked after every flight. Each RS-25 engine has 50'000 parts, 7000 of which had to be periodically replaced.

Sounds like a nightmare.

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Nomadd
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:40 am

texl1649 wrote:
GDB wrote:
Though it may be thought to be comparing apples with oranges, however both are liquid fuelled rockets designed for re-use, how does inspection of a Falcon 9 booster after each flight compare with the SSME's?

SSME’s cost a fortune to refurbish. It’s an order of magnitude/logarithmic comparison. The RS 25’s are great/marvels of science, but are they worth $145 million a piece (new)? Is there any chance they can be re-used enough times economically to offset this...ludicrous price?
https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyn ... act-costs/

They can't be reused at all. SLS is completely expendable. But they do have the price down to $100 million each.
Raptors are about the same thrust, half the weight and cost under a million each. And the price is going down.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:15 am

The FAA has issued a new Temporary Flight Restriction for the highly experimental grain silo facility of Southern Texas:

Altitude: From the surface up to Unlimited
Effective Date(s):
From December 04, 2020 at 1400 UTC
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Muskovites of the world, rejoice!
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:32 am

Nomadd wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
GDB wrote:
Though it may be thought to be comparing apples with oranges, however both are liquid fuelled rockets designed for re-use, how does inspection of a Falcon 9 booster after each flight compare with the SSME's?

SSME’s cost a fortune to refurbish. It’s an order of magnitude/logarithmic comparison. The RS 25’s are great/marvels of science, but are they worth $145 million a piece (new)? Is there any chance they can be re-used enough times economically to offset this...ludicrous price?
https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyn ... act-costs/

They can't be reused at all. SLS is completely expendable. But they do have the price down to $100 million each.
Raptors are about the same thrust, half the weight and cost under a million each. And the price is going down.


Correct on SLS, but in the shuttle program they were re-used.

“After each flight the engines would be removed from the orbiter and transferred to the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility (SSMEPF), where they would be inspected and refurbished in preparation for reuse on a subsequent flight. A total of 46 reusable RS-25 engines, each costing around US$40 million, were flown during the Space Shuttle program...” (from Wikipedia as it came up first)

Please note: SLS is a ridiculous waste, and I’d hope that though the moon program is critical, a different launch vehicle could be used.
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:13 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
SSME’s cost a fortune to refurbish. It’s an order of magnitude/logarithmic comparison. The RS 25’s are great/marvels of science, but are they worth $145 million a piece (new)? Is there any chance they can be re-used enough times economically to offset this...ludicrous price?
https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyn ... act-costs/

They can't be reused at all. SLS is completely expendable. But they do have the price down to $100 million each.
Raptors are about the same thrust, half the weight and cost under a million each. And the price is going down.


Correct on SLS, but in the shuttle program they were re-used.

“After each flight the engines would be removed from the orbiter and transferred to the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility (SSMEPF), where they would be inspected and refurbished in preparation for reuse on a subsequent flight. A total of 46 reusable RS-25 engines, each costing around US$40 million, were flown during the Space Shuttle program...” (from Wikipedia as it came up first)

Please note: SLS is a ridiculous waste, and I’d hope that though the moon program is critical, a different launch vehicle could be used.


I know it's not the 'done' thing to say anything positive about SLS, political machinations around it don't help either.
However, if not used if for the last time on an SLS launch, what use would these engines being aside from a lot of museum exhibits?
But! However totally game changing the Starship in it's various forms could be, surely even the most ardent of Musk/Space X fans should understand that it is a long way off? That's not a dig at 'Musk Time' either, Space X, even freed from the amount of political interference NASA suffers, still has a lot to do and prove with this machine/launch system they plan to build.
How it is designed to re-enter, not just Mars but Earth's Atmosphere too, just one of many major hurdles.

Fact is, for all the delays and Boeing being, well the Boeing of recent years, SLS is much more likely to get Astronauts to and be a vital element, with other launchers, mostly commercial too, the Moon before Starship, that includes the non return Lunar version, which could be essentially a self delivering base/supply hub to the surface.

I wish it all the best, Space X have a good grounding, their returning US Astronauts to the ISS should shame Boeing, if the whole system of Starship is built and works, it will be totally transformative.
Not that I think we should expect it to reach Mars, unmanned or not, to coin a phrase, 'before this decade is out'.

But I would like to proved wrong.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:28 pm

GDB wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
They can't be reused at all. SLS is completely expendable. But they do have the price down to $100 million each.
Raptors are about the same thrust, half the weight and cost under a million each. And the price is going down.


Correct on SLS, but in the shuttle program they were re-used.

“After each flight the engines would be removed from the orbiter and transferred to the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility (SSMEPF), where they would be inspected and refurbished in preparation for reuse on a subsequent flight. A total of 46 reusable RS-25 engines, each costing around US$40 million, were flown during the Space Shuttle program...” (from Wikipedia as it came up first)

Please note: SLS is a ridiculous waste, and I’d hope that though the moon program is critical, a different launch vehicle could be used.


I know it's not the 'done' thing to say anything positive about SLS, political machinations around it don't help either.
However, if not used if for the last time on an SLS launch, what use would these engines being aside from a lot of museum exhibits?
But! However totally game changing the Starship in it's various forms could be, surely even the most ardent of Musk/Space X fans should understand that it is a long way off? That's not a dig at 'Musk Time' either, Space X, even freed from the amount of political interference NASA suffers, still has a lot to do and prove with this machine/launch system they plan to build.
How it is designed to re-enter, not just Mars but Earth's Atmosphere too, just one of many major hurdles.

Fact is, for all the delays and Boeing being, well the Boeing of recent years, SLS is much more likely to get Astronauts to and be a vital element, with other launchers, mostly commercial too, the Moon before Starship, that includes the non return Lunar version, which could be essentially a self delivering base/supply hub to the surface.

I wish it all the best, Space X have a good grounding, their returning US Astronauts to the ISS should shame Boeing, if the whole system of Starship is built and works, it will be totally transformative.
Not that I think we should expect it to reach Mars, unmanned or not, to coin a phrase, 'before this decade is out'.

But I would like to proved wrong.

I'm with you here.
However, having said that, I really wonder about the "split man-rated" concept. If Starship-type vehicle is not certified to launch manned for some time, and SLS is expensive, and will run out of engines (unless new disposable RS-25s are built in quantity -- at a great expensive) soon -- possibly being man-rated only for a short part of its career...
What about using proven hardware for the hard part (getting humans between Earth and LEO, both ways). And using these "heavies and superheavies" in unmanned role (at least in early phases), throwing large weight up, without risking lives.
I know, sounds very much like "Program Constellation", sans man-rating a "solid stick"...
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texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:07 pm

Both are fair points Phosphorous and GDB. But, paying $100 million ea. For new-build RS-25’s is...well not words I can type on this forum. Still, Delta IV or Falcon heavy are viable alternatives, if the teams/engineers really wanted to do it, and the funding was re-allocated etc.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/04 ... -the-moon/

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-falcon ... on-launch/

I don’t know how many Falcon Heavy cores the SpaceX team intends to build moving forward, and it is a bit of an internal competitor for regular Falcon 9’s for them for resources, but the system could work as an alternative, again in theory. No Delta has ever been human-rated though to my knowledge, which is unfortunate, as it would be expensive to do.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:33 am

Delta and Atlas are on the way out. Being replaced by Vulcan in time which will be human rated. So there's no chance of Delta getting human rated.

And just a reminder to people it's crewed, not manned. NASA and others have been using the terms crew and crewed for many decades now.


As for SLS vs Starship, EverydayAstronaut did a good video comparing the two. They don't perfectly overlap and have their strengths. Though if SpaceX show that Starship works as well as they think, and moon launch requirements are changed, then SLS might disappear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA69Oh3_obY
 
FGITD
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:27 am

It seems like NASA has been trying to get an SLS type rocket going for decades. It's a good idea in theory but the programs get so bloated and forced to become the jack of all trades that they fail.

SLS looks different in that it seems like it'll actually fly but will end up being undercut by commercial projects. In what might be the most NASA move ever, they seem to be finally getting their dream rocket...and no reason to use it.

And let us not forget that by the mid 2050s Blue Origin might finally decide to try an orbital launch.
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:56 am

I saw Tim Dodds piece on Starship vs SLS, however for crew rated beyond LEO flight, you need an Orion - designed for the task, rather than a modified Dragon.
Can a Falcon Heavy be modded to launch one instead? It seems unlikely. FGITD's point about Blue Origin chimes with my view, so far Bezo's contribution, a significant one, is those engines he has been developing, rather than the seemingly slow progress (not for want of money surely?) of that Phallus shaped sub orbital touring vehicle. C'mon Jeff, you don't want that Peacock Branson beating you to that market?

Maybe NASA should put, to coin another phrase, a rocket up the RS-25 makers arse, by linking their request for 10 more SLS with potentially swapping out the RS-25's for a cluster of engines from Bezo's.
Might not be practical and that is not to suggest making the 1st SLS stage re-useable, just the engines a lot cheaper, in recent times we have seen a NASA more determined to whip not only Boeing but at times Space X into shape, as well as clearing out some internal deadwood and setting a firm course.

NASA are still the key, without the COTS program Space X simply would not be where they are today, or likely even around still. There were also a few billion $ Space X got, something that some who see Space X as the ultimate blow of enterprise vs government seem to forget, it they know of it at all.
But those few billion from NASA has been money well spent, as this year in particular has shown.
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:17 pm

So, today is the 15Km hop day. Let’s see if this belly flop leads to a dramatic explosion or not. Clearance is in the window now I think.

It’s completely fair to say SpaceX (like Tesla) has benefited from government funding etc. It’s also fair to point out SLS is not...particularly an affordable launch system, imho. Summary of that Tim piece;

https://everydayastronaut.com/sls-vs-starship/
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:25 pm

texl1649 wrote:
So, today is the 15Km hop day. Let’s see if this belly flop leads to a dramatic explosion or not. Clearance is in the window now I think.

It’s completely fair to say SpaceX (like Tesla) has benefited from government funding etc. It’s also fair to point out SLS is not...particularly an affordable launch system, imho. Summary of that Tim piece;

https://everydayastronaut.com/sls-vs-starship/


He's right but neither was Apollo, then we find into the Shuttle era that each STS launch is coming out at a similar price per Apollo launch.
So much for THAT 'reuseability'.

China seems to have been successful in collecting Lunar samples and has lifted off. First from anyone since 1976.
Back in the 60's the Surveyor landers tested the descent method to be used on Apollo, the same seems to be happening today.
Whatever the great disparity between China and the US in experience and still in many areas technology, if one side has the will to do something while the other sits on it's laurels, well the start of spaceflight in the late 50's/early 60's should serve as a warning.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:27 pm

texl1649 wrote:
So, today is the 15Km hop day. Let’s see if this belly flop leads to a dramatic explosion or not.


Well, it has been postponed again, and the TFR has been cancelled.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:45 pm

GDB wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
So, today is the 15Km hop day. Let’s see if this belly flop leads to a dramatic explosion or not. Clearance is in the window now I think.

It’s completely fair to say SpaceX (like Tesla) has benefited from government funding etc. It’s also fair to point out SLS is not...particularly an affordable launch system, imho. Summary of that Tim piece;

https://everydayastronaut.com/sls-vs-starship/


He's right but neither was Apollo, then we find into the Shuttle era that each STS launch is coming out at a similar price per Apollo launch.
So much for THAT 'reuseability'.

China seems to have been successful in collecting Lunar samples and has lifted off. First from anyone since 1976.
Back in the 60's the Surveyor landers tested the descent method to be used on Apollo, the same seems to be happening today.
Whatever the great disparity between China and the US in experience and still in many areas technology, if one side has the will to do something while the other sits on it's laurels, well the start of spaceflight in the late 50's/early 60's should serve as a warning.


It's ironic, and something I just learned this year, that much of the shuttle design decisions were dictated by one specific military mission (which of course it never flew). Another fact I learned from Scott Manley:

https://youtu.be/_q2i0eu35aY

I do think the Chinese are doing well with their program. Hopefully, someone competent takes the reigns at Nasa from Bridenstine (who has been pretty great), and perhaps some good old fashioned sense of rivalry/pride will also assist keeping the current moon program on track (and funded...) I think the leadership team does matter in this case.
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:39 pm

texl1649 wrote:
GDB wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
So, today is the 15Km hop day. Let’s see if this belly flop leads to a dramatic explosion or not. Clearance is in the window now I think.

It’s completely fair to say SpaceX (like Tesla) has benefited from government funding etc. It’s also fair to point out SLS is not...particularly an affordable launch system, imho. Summary of that Tim piece;

https://everydayastronaut.com/sls-vs-starship/


He's right but neither was Apollo, then we find into the Shuttle era that each STS launch is coming out at a similar price per Apollo launch.
So much for THAT 'reuseability'.

China seems to have been successful in collecting Lunar samples and has lifted off. First from anyone since 1976.
Back in the 60's the Surveyor landers tested the descent method to be used on Apollo, the same seems to be happening today.
Whatever the great disparity between China and the US in experience and still in many areas technology, if one side has the will to do something while the other sits on it's laurels, well the start of spaceflight in the late 50's/early 60's should serve as a warning.


It's ironic, and something I just learned this year, that much of the shuttle design decisions were dictated by one specific military mission (which of course it never flew). Another fact I learned from Scott Manley:

https://youtu.be/_q2i0eu35aY

I do think the Chinese are doing well with their program. Hopefully, someone competent takes the reigns at Nasa from Bridenstine (who has been pretty great), and perhaps some good old fashioned sense of rivalry/pride will also assist keeping the current moon program on track (and funded...) I think the leadership team does matter in this case.


This for me at least, will be a posting for the ages, in that I am going to say something positive about at least one member of the Trump Administration.
Seeing numerous streamed events (with Mr Dodd asking questions in some of them), I have been struck by how often Bridenstine has not only stressed the need for bi-partisan support but also gone out of his way to praise his predecessor, Bolden, in starting the COTS program. Which was not everyone on Capitol Hill's favourite idea.
Where else in the departing admin did you ever hear anything like that?

It reminded me of the final part of the HBO docudrama Chernobyl, where the Scientist and the party man (Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgard) contemplate their mortality, the party man of his ultimate failure to amount to anything real, the scientist assures him that without his support and influence they would have failed, or as he put it 'they accidently sent a good man'.

It does seem to be a fundamental weakness to change the Administrator with every administration change, not that Bridenstine could not be changed anyway even if the result had gone the other way, even if unlikely.
They do not have that problem in China.

As for the STS, well in 1972 NASA had a choice, accept the DoD's 'help' with that program or nothing.
One Cold War positive, the Soviets, despite their Marxist-Leninist doctrines, knew that the numbers on STS did not add up, it's justification now seemed dubious, hence their already paranoid nature made the leap in thinking STS was basically a cover for not only for military satellite support, maybe to grab their ones, or be a fast reacting way from Vandenberg to drop a nasty over Moscow within minutes.
Hence them pissing away billions on their own version, which they really could not afford.

But that is all history, both Space X and Bridenstine have done a lot to popularize space, more popular support means influence and that famous line from The Right Stuff 'No bucks, no Buck Rogers'.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:45 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
Well, it has been postponed again, and the TFR has been cancelled.

I'm not that familiar with how TFRs are issued, or why it didn't include 12-7, but Monday was always the most likely date for launch. The list of things to do was just too long to get it flying this week.

$10 million a launch compared to over $1 billion. Getting annoyed at one week delays compared to not being surprised at another year. And the assumption that SLS will fly before an orbital Starship looking not that likely.
I guess you can call it a competition. But, I understand not killing SLS until Starship is proven.

We'll always wonder what NASA could have done if not hamstrung by the Alabama/Utah mafia.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:01 pm

Nomadd wrote:
I'm not that familiar with how TFRs are issued


Well, if you want to annoy an airplane geek you can request a TFR for his/her area if you happen to be an "aviation event organizer" or a "sporting event official". Appendix 5 applies to "Space Operations", but also rocket amateurs like you, me and Jeff Bezos can request a TFR. :praise:

And here's the form: https://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/logistics/ai ... t_form.pdf

Nomadd wrote:
We'll always wonder what NASA could have done if not hamstrung by the Alabama/Utah mafia.


It's my adage that you cannot make the right decisions if you're afraid of being unpopular. Richard Feynman, the physicist who helped investigate the Challenger disaster said he'd rather wanted to study business management after seeing the problems at NASA. How do you direct the efforts of 40'000 employees? How do you focus on the right projects? How do you minimize risks?
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
texl1649
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:30 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
It's my adage that you cannot make the right decisions if you're afraid of being unpopular. Richard Feynman, the physicist who helped investigate the Challenger disaster said he'd rather wanted to study business management after seeing the problems at NASA. How do you direct the efforts of 40'000 employees? How do you focus on the right projects? How do you minimize risks?


Well, there are companies that do a decent job of that for 10 or even 50 years, but not too many. Certainly, a government agency with that sort of budget and all of the lobbying/interests attendant to it will...succumb 99 times out of 100 given enough time.

There are opposite downsides to the Chinese (and old Soviet) ways too, obviously, as the Soviet moon program demonstrated in their results. But we're all human and have to work with the hand we are dealt. The Apollo success (no loss of life outside of Apollo 1) was, after all, statistically improbable while also exorbitantly expensive.
 
GDB
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:42 pm

To my earlier point about not resting on laurels;
https://www.theguardian.com/science/202 ... ns-surface

I get being mad about SLS, I once had a March 1975 edition of the BIS in house magazine, Spaceflight, full of contributors from inside and outside the field, the cover was artists impressions of the new Space Shuttle being processed at the Cape, VAB etc.
Inside included a NASA scientist on how to use STS hardware aside from the Shuttle, including a stack made up of the Boosters, Tank, with a cargo module with a couple of engines at the base, fed from the ET of course, not even the more bloated designs seen later.
(And to think Bob Zubrin is mad about similar ideas being around since the late 80's!)

Unlike the Chinese of course, NASA is, by law, what we would now call 'open source', excepting the small part of it's work in military sat launches the taxpayers can see what they are or are not getting, including floating turds in Apollo 10's cabin.
The other side of the coin is it being a political football.
Nothing wrong with political purpose, it formed NASA, got it to the Moon, it's just that the 'purpose' part has been lacking for decades.
 
FGITD
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:11 pm

GDB wrote:
One Cold War positive, the Soviets, despite their Marxist-Leninist doctrines, knew that the numbers on STS did not add up, it's justification now seemed dubious, hence their already paranoid nature made the leap in thinking STS was basically a cover for not only for military satellite support, maybe to grab their ones, or be a fast reacting way from Vandenberg to drop a nasty over Moscow within minutes.
Hence them pissing away billions on their own version, which they really could not afford.

But that is all history, both Space X and Bridenstine have done a lot to popularize space, more popular support means influence and that famous line from The Right Stuff 'No bucks, no Buck Rogers'.


One of the funnier stories of the late space race era. The Soviets desperately building Buran not because they need it but because they're concerned with what those pesky Americans are up to with it. And by many accounts they actually managed to build a better shuttle.

I frequently think of the famous no Bucks line from the right stuff due to how relevant it remains. SpaceX may have its "fanboys" but that popularity helps. Not that selling some spaceX merch is going to keep rockets going up, but it helps in various other ways. Rewatch the Falcon Heavy launch. There's a literal crowd of people cheering at every milestone. It makes me wonder how NASA could popularize a future moon landing. After 2 landings they couldn't even get the networks to air their broadcasts. These days they could run a YouTube stream for almost the duration of the mission.

I'm hesitantly excited for where space travel is headed. There's a lot of promise and hope but I can't help but think we've been down this path before
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SpaceX - Tests, Launches, Developments - 2020

Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:43 am

The CRS-21 launch went smoothly yesterday, and the booster is back on Earth for the 4th time.

It's the first new generation Cargo Dragon launch and the first CRS program launch to be lobbed by a booster with this many cycles, showing the increased confidence NASA has in SpaceX's pre-flown hardware.
Interestingly, it will be a full house over at the ISS with 2 Dragon capsules, 1 Cygnus, 1 Soyuz and 2 Progress vehicles, along with 7 astronauts on board... :crowded:

Commercial customers also seem pretty confident as Sirius XM sill be launching their latest sat with Falcon 9 in a few days, using a booster that has already flown 6 times.

We're getting closer to the 10 launches mark.
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