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mto
2009-Mar-18, 04:38 AM
Preparations for Flight 5 of Falcon 1 are well underway at SpaceX. Flight 5 will loft an Earth observation satellite called RazakSAT into orbit for the Government of Malaysia, plus two secondary payloads that will deploy separately.http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

Larry Jacks
2009-Mar-18, 01:00 PM
Flight 5 is scheduled for an April 21st launch which corresponds with April 20th in the US.

Cool. Thanks for the update.

ravens_cry
2009-Mar-20, 12:48 AM
Woo hoo!
Good Luck Falcon!

KaiYeves
2009-Mar-20, 07:24 PM
Yes, good luck Falcon!

Larry Jacks
2009-Mar-25, 07:09 PM
Here are notes from a speech (http://www.personalspaceflight.info/2009/03/25/musk-on-falcon-9-cots-d-and-protests/) Elon Musk gave to a satellite group. Some highlights:

The first Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for this summer. Musk said after his speech that the biggest obstacle to an on-time launch this summer is the fairing and fairing separation system for the rocket, which SpaceX is doing in-house. He also said that SpaceX hopes to do 2-3 Falcon 9 launches this year and 4-5 next year.

The next Falcon 1 launch is scheduled for April 21, when it will launch Malaysia’s Razaksat from Omelek Island; the satellite arrived in Kwajalein just within the last few days. Musk did note that the launch might slip towards the end of the month.

samkent
2009-Mar-25, 07:46 PM
Is anyone going to warn the whales and fish down range?

KaiYeves
2009-Mar-25, 09:07 PM
Did you know the name "Falcon" comes from the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame?

Somewhat ironically, in my Conspiracy Wars story, which I wrote before I knew that tidbit, the Han Solo character was working in the NewSpace industry. (Although not for SpaceX)

djellison
2009-Mar-26, 11:42 AM
Is anyone going to warn the whales and fish down range?

Does anyone warn the whales and fish in the Atlantic when vehicles launch from KSC. Or the East Pacific, when launching from Vandenberg?

Why, exactly, did you make that specific comment?

Doug

samkent
2009-Mar-26, 01:01 PM
Doesn't most of their stuff end up at the bottom of the ocean?

I do wish them well but most of their short history is under water.

Launch window
2009-Mar-26, 01:05 PM
Yep, the Falcon guys mostly got a history of failure and even though they lose their payloads the press keeps giving them a break saying how the private sector will conquer space. If only the press would be so generous to NASA etc


Does anyone warn the whales and fish in the Atlantic when vehicles launch from KSC.


Yes the police and coast guard are always alerted about US launches from professional space companies
besides the USAF's Atlas-2AS had a record 21/21 - that's 100% reliability.
Far more than Musk could ever dream of in his most hyped up of Wallst style sales pitches

Larry Jacks
2009-Mar-26, 01:52 PM
Go look at the Altas's track record when it was at a similar state of development. Your attitude wouldn't be so smug, then.

Launch window
2009-Mar-26, 02:12 PM
He's not exactly inventing the wheel, all the groundbreaking stuff has come while Musk was still a baby. All the info is free out there, its out in the open. All Musk has to do is copy it and do it competently, that's why I hope Falcon isn't some big ponzi scheme and NASA will be forced to bail them COTS people out, buying up a bunch of meaningless stuff

There is a myth out there that your first flight is going to be a show stopper, maybe that was true back in the 1950s or 60s but not anymore

successful first flights:

Sputnik
Jupiter C (child of Redstone)
Saturn 1
Atlas B
Juno 3
Titan 2
Kosmos11k65 (child of the R-14)
Proton
Diamant 1
Saturn-V
Long March 1 (Derived from a Chinese IRBM)
Scout D
Ariane 1
Shuttle
Shaviyt
Rockot
M-5
Shtil
Minotaur
Pegasus
Start-1
H-II
Taurus
Atlas 5
Delta 4
Vega? JAXA J-2? Iran's Omid....I might be wrong on that, I think Shahab had a failure before Iranians got their satellite up...but you get the picture.

Even Iran can do it more competently than Musk, at a fraction of the cost.
I'm not saying we should pay the Iranains or Russians for a taxi, but I am saying Musk could be running a far more professional operation and Falcon's costs ain't so glamorous anymore.
He once claimed the ability to reach Mars while keeping under 10 million dollars. Now his launch costs skyrocketed 40% and his approaching the cost of a Soyuz while offering a fraction of the reliability.

If only the media would give NASA a break like the media keeps giving the alt.spacers so many breaks and hyping up their ability

Nicolas
2009-Mar-26, 03:36 PM
The first flight of Ariane5 was a failure. Does that mean Musk is as good as ESA/Arianespace? (just turning your Iran-Musk comparison around)

I think it's not that relevant whether the first tests fail or succeed for unmanned craft. What is important is whether you can make it reliable by the end of the development process. If by the end of development, musk makes a reliable and cheaper launcher, it's a success. If he can't make it reliable or can't make it cheaper than current launchers, it is a failure.

samkent
2009-Mar-26, 03:38 PM
In Spacex’s defense, what is the true cost of Soyuz? I suspect it’s higher than reported. It’s not exactly an open system over there.

djellison
2009-Mar-27, 03:32 PM
Yes the police and coast guard are always alerted about US launches from professional space companies

Please stop the thinly veild ad-homs at SpaceX. They ARE a professional space company. They conduct the same levels of range safety as any other launch service would.

Your and Samkents continued sarcasm toward and attacks on SpaceX are unjustified and frankly, getting old.

Doug

Launch window
2009-Mar-28, 09:36 AM
Doug this web forum allows free speech on space topics and frankly you are not a moderator or admin here so please pretending like you are one.

Range safety was not a big issue for them since they launched in some islands in the middle of nowhere place not far from the Marshals...if the rocket went boom theyd idn't have to worry about it coming down on a big city like Miami. Space-X has made a number of sensational claims in the past, getting us to Mars for under 10 million was one of them.

I know there may be vested interests going on since some people might have bought stock in the company, but faith isn't going to change the hard facts. Musk is losing payloads at high cost and his launches are not very frequent, other launchers like Atlas-2AS had a record 21/21 - that's 100% reliability. I am not quite so anti-United-Launch, since frankly both Boeing and LockMart have been proving good service.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-28, 11:29 PM
Doug this web forum allows free speech on space topics and frankly you are not a moderator or admin here so please pretending like you are one.
Actually no, this forum does not allow free speech.
It allows free speech within strict limits of politeness and decorum and for another member to point out that you might want to change your tone is perfectly kosher.
Trying to predict moderator action, threatening with reporting or threatening with moderator action is not, but that wasn't what Doug was doing.

byronm
2009-Mar-30, 03:40 AM
Is there really any merit to doing it "Faster & cheaper" in regards to chemical combustion based rockets? I mean, isn't most of the design/testing expense up front but the actual costs of launches - the costs of liability, risk, fuel, payload, management and infrastructure to support pre/post launches what drive the real cost of space flight?

I mean, to me, the Virgin Galactic type sub orbital flights will break the "faster / cheaper" barrier long before SpaceX will because the innovations will be in the entire process that make it more expensive and not just the hardware itself.

I know that the VG guys aren't for lifting sats into orbit but sooner or later the commercial systems they put into place would have incremental advances to make that possible

djellison
2009-Mar-30, 09:49 AM
There is a huge, massive engineering chasm between the Scaled are achieving, and what SpaceX is achieving.

Scaled's new carrier may well be used for something that might end up being like a Pegasus-'lite' sort of launch vehicle - and that will be usefull for putting micro-sats into orbit for low cost. But that's about two orders of magnitude lower than what's required for manned spaceflight.

Doug

byronm
2009-Mar-30, 01:18 PM
There is a huge, massive engineering chasm between the Scaled are achieving, and what SpaceX is achieving.

Scaled's new carrier may well be used for something that might end up being like a Pegasus-'lite' sort of launch vehicle - and that will be usefull for putting micro-sats into orbit for low cost. But that's about two orders of magnitude lower than what's required for manned spaceflight.

Doug

Yes, they are vastly different but i believe what scaled composites/VG is doing is a more sensible way for the commercialization of space.

SpaceX is only ever going to put the lucky or the elite into space. There is no rocket big enough for economy of scale to work and thats where i'm coming from :)

SC may be sub orbital or LEO during our lifetime but the technology 100 years from now may well put space flight into real practice.

either way, more power to space race 2.0!

djellison
2009-Mar-30, 01:51 PM
Yes, they are vastly different but i believe what scaled composites/VG is doing is a more sensible way for the commercialization of space.

Can you expand on that - what is it that Scaled are doing, w.r.t. orbital access, that is more sensible than Orbital? At the moment - as far as I see it - they're aiming to do totally different things. One is putting stuff in orbit - one is sub-orbital joy rides.


Doug

byronm
2009-Mar-30, 02:36 PM
Can you expand on that - what is it that Scaled are doing, w.r.t. orbital access, that is more sensible than Orbital? At the moment - as far as I see it - they're aiming to do totally different things. One is putting stuff in orbit - one is sub-orbital joy rides.


Doug

Simple.

Its easier for me to save up 200,000 to go on a sub orbital flight and enjoy space in my lifetime than it would be to save up 20,000,000 to get a liftoff on a SpaceX flight. (if/when they ever do manned flight)

I honestly believe Scaled Composites will have the technology and know how to turn their sub orbitals into leo and full orbits quicker and more affordably than SpaceX can scale their rockets. WHether that means re-supplying the ISS or taking heavy lift objects up is moot. I'm just talking about economical space in our lifetime :)

Sure, that 20,000,000 may put a limited few into orbit or at the ISS but once again it isn't making space anymore available to people or technology.

I mean, after all one of the core components of SpaceX's existence is "Faster and Cheaper" and so far that isn't being realized:

SpaceX is based on the philosophy that through simplicity, reliability and low-cost can go hand-in-hand. By eliminating the traditional layers of management internally, and sub-contractors externally, we reduce our costs while streamlining decisions and delivery. Likewise, by keeping the vast majority of manufacturing in-house we reduce our costs, keep tighter control of quality, and ensure a closed feedback loop between the engineering and manufacturing teams.


I'm sort of amazed that they think they can do more with less.

On the other hand virgin galatic has short term plans to get sub orbital, long term plans to go full orbital and the costs while they're insanely expensive for a joy ride they are more reflective of an economies of scale approach that eventually will bring it more down to earth.

In our life time cross country / global flying was once reserved for the rich and elite and look where it is today. I think what SC/VG is doing is extended that concept onwards and upwards.

NEOWatcher
2009-Mar-30, 05:03 PM
Its easier for me to save up 200,000 to go on a sub orbital flight and enjoy space in my lifetime than it would be to save up 20,000,000 to get a liftoff on a SpaceX flight. (if/when they ever do manned flight)
That's fine, but only serves a purpose of short tourist flights. It's great that you can get the experience cheaper, but the utility ends there.


I honestly believe Scaled Composites will have the technology and know how to turn their sub orbitals into leo and full orbits quicker and more affordably than SpaceX can scale their rockets.
What makes you believe that?


On the other hand virgin galatic has short term plans to get sub orbital, long term plans to go full orbital...
I've never heard them announce plans for orbital. Do you have any more information on how they plan this?

How do you scale up a 2200mph craft to 17000mph with additional heat protection?


In our life time cross country / global flying was once reserved for the rich and elite and look where it is today. I think what SC/VG is doing is extended that concept onwards and upwards.
Because there were cheaper and safer alternative forms of transportation available, it wasn't just the cost, it was the perception.
In 1920 a used Jenny cost less than an average car. A new one was much less than the cost of an average house. That sounds better than airplanes of today.

01101001
2009-Mar-30, 05:21 PM
I've never heard them announce plans for orbital. Do you have any more information on how they plan this?

Pipe dream, but it's probably in their very long-range plans.

BBC: Virgin Galactic: The logical next step (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3693518.stm)


Konrad Dannenberg, an original member of the German rocket team that kickstarted America's space programme after WWII told BBC News Online recently: "[Burt Rutan] eventually wants to take well-paying passengers into space and to let them see from up there what it looks like down here.

"But he is not in Earth orbit. To get into Earth orbit is still a pretty large, pretty major step. I have heard Rutan has plans to do that eventually. I am really looking forward to hearing what he wants to do."

New Scientist: Virgin Galactic announces its first 100 space tourists (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8457)


Orbital flights may well follow if the spaceport hosts suborbital flights in 2008. "Burt is looking at orbital technology for us, but he hasn't made any breakthroughs yet," says [Alex Tai, vice-president of operations at Virgin Galactic].

Edit: For people who want to follow developments over the upcoming years, the program is likely called "Tier Two" (Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tier_Two)). Tier One and Tier 1B are SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo.

NEOWatcher
2009-Mar-30, 05:28 PM
Pipe dream, but it's probably in their very long-range plans...
I'm sure you can say long range plans with anyone who's dreaming.
Even what you have there is over 4 years old, through hearsay, and a rumor.
I need to see some plans. Nothing too intricate, but something to get a feel for the approach and needed technology to achieve it. Other than that, it gets put on the shelf with the other pipe dreams.

publiusr
2009-Mar-30, 09:01 PM
I will give Musk this much. He is smart enough to keep wings away from his design. Still, I think the point is valid that the very same folks who still push for space privatization even after many failures---still won't give NASA a break during any developmental problems they might have. That isn't fair and is cherry picking.

Most of the alt.spacer's attacks on Ares are just ways to get it killed so they can get its budget for COTS.

Let EELV reign, and ULA's next target will be the alt.spacers like Musk's Space X. Count on it.

byronm
2009-Apr-08, 12:49 AM
Wings or No wings, SpaceX isn't doing what it said it would.. For example if i understand the COTS program correctly the cost per launch would be nearly 170 million for spaceX launches when we could pay Russia 40 million per launch.. COTS is Cheaper than the shuttle but not what SpaceX promised.. cots is what, 2500kilos per launch which is 5,500 lbs and nowhere near the 500/lb promised by spaceX - more like 30,909 per pound.

Oddly enough Cato institute still preaches about privatizing NASA that private industry could do it cheaper but i have YET to see THAT happen.

Buy i'll be happy as a clam if they prove me wrong!!!! :)

Siguy
2009-Apr-08, 01:54 AM
Wings or No wings, SpaceX isn't doing what it said it would.. For example if i understand the COTS program correctly the cost per launch would be nearly 170 million for spaceX launches when we could pay Russia 40 million per launch.. COTS is Cheaper than the shuttle but not what SpaceX promised.. cots is what, 2500kilos per launch which is 5,500 lbs and nowhere near the 500/lb promised by spaceX - more like 30,909 per pound.

Oddly enough Cato institute still preaches about privatizing NASA that private industry could do it cheaper but i have YET to see THAT happen.

Buy i'll be happy as a clam if they prove me wrong!!!! :)

I'd like to know where you are citing your figures from, SpaceX removed the figures for cost from their website, but they were definitely cheaper than what you're describing. Plus I don't think they were figuring in reusability.

Also, publiusr, why you are so incredibly defensive about Constellation, and where exactly does your hatred towards spaceplanes stem from?

cjameshuff
2009-Apr-08, 05:32 AM
Wings or No wings, SpaceX isn't doing what it said it would.. For example if i understand the COTS program correctly the cost per launch would be nearly 170 million for spaceX launches when we could pay Russia 40 million per launch.. COTS is Cheaper than the shuttle but not what SpaceX promised.. cots is what, 2500kilos per launch which is 5,500 lbs and nowhere near the 500/lb promised by spaceX - more like 30,909 per pound.

Only recent launch cost estimate I've seen for the Falcon 9 is $35 million, not $170 million, and for 9900 kg to LEO, not 2500 kg (not even 2500 kg to GEO, it can get 4900 kg of payload there). Your figures seem wildly off.

Also..."isn't doing what it said it would"...they're just launching their first vehicles, and have a lot of R&D to pay for while simultaneously receiving no benefit from reuse or large production volume. In the long term, high launch volumes and reuse may allow them to achieve lower prices, but they don't have either of those yet. Of course the first launches are going to be more expensive.

Siguy: spaceplanes have earned plenty of hate. They seem quite clearly the worst possible path to take, but they are endlessly advocated by people who seem to have no idea about what makes space access hard in the first place. Resources are scarce, and the misguided and persistent perception that the future of space access was in "airplanes that fly really high and fast" has spawned project after project that wasted those resources, and also led to us getting stuck with the Shuttle for several decades, and now to us facing an indefinite gap in our ability to get humans into orbit. When, after all the time, energy, and money that's been thrown away on space planes, people still act like the rockets that got us to the moon and which now are the cheapest option for access to orbit are somehow inferior...some frustration is understandable.

However, I'd still like to know why publiusr is such a fan of the Ares I, with all the problems from those Shuttle-derived solid boosters and more due to the need to scale them up, while simultaneously so derisive toward anything that uses RP-1, a compact, inexpensive, and easy-to-handle fuel that gives much better performance than solids while being far less troublesome than liquid hydrogen.

byronm
2009-Apr-08, 03:36 PM
I'd like to know where you are citing your figures from, SpaceX removed the figures for cost from their website, but they were definitely cheaper than what you're describing. Plus I don't think they were figuring in reusability.


I'm just going by the contract value that SpaceX has been awarded 1.6 billion for 12 flights

I'm happy SpaceX's price was cheaper than Orbital Sciencies but i haven't looked to see if thats because of different requirements or just competitive marketing yet.

Either way, by the appearance of the press release the award doesn't cover the cost of engineering a new system so it would be safe to assume to any reader that the 1.6 billion is the operating and expense costs of 12 flights which breaks down to over 133 million a piece at an easy 25k per pound.

My initial numbers were based upon estimated total value of 3.1 billion which hasn't been awarded so i'll back down from that.

byronm
2009-Apr-08, 03:52 PM
Also..."isn't doing what it said it would"...they're just launching their first vehicles, and have a lot of R&D to pay for while simultaneously receiving no benefit from reuse or large production volume. In the long term, high launch volumes and reuse may allow them to achieve lower prices, but they don't have either of those yet. Of course the first launches are going to be more expensive.


Is there enough volume that isn't tax payer subsidized that can get SpaceX to reach its profitbility and cost per launch figures?

The way i see it we could have paid russia 480 million for 12 launches but instead we spent 1.6 billion for 12 launches on a platform that hasn't even left the ground yet.

THis is in NO WAY SHAPE FORM OR FASHION to be taken as any disgust for spacex, i love every commercial space company there is and wish there were more but as far as spaceX goes i've seen the marketing hype before, i seen the snake oil before so call me a skeptic :)

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-08, 08:50 PM
Either way, by the appearance of the press release the award doesn't cover the cost of engineering a new system so it would be safe to assume to any reader that the 1.6 billion is the operating and expense costs of 12 flights which breaks down to over 133 million a piece at an easy 25k per pound.

That cost includes the Dragon capsule as well as the Falcon 9 booster. There's a big difference between payload delivered to orbit and payload delivered to the ISS safely.

byronm
2009-Apr-08, 09:17 PM
Either way, by the appearance of the press release the award doesn't cover the cost of engineering a new system so it would be safe to assume to any reader that the 1.6 billion is the operating and expense costs of 12 flights which breaks down to over 133 million a piece at an easy 25k per pound.

That cost includes the Dragon capsule as well as the Falcon 9 booster. There's a big difference between payload delivered to orbit and payload delivered to the ISS safely.

Soyuz is ~40 million a launch and the progress resupply ships are ~20-50 million depending on configuration. WIth that said your looking at 60-90 million vs 133 million. Still a huge gap in costs.

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-08, 09:41 PM
What is the relative capacity of the Progress verses the Dragon? According to this source (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/proressm.htm), the payload capacity of the Progress M GO appears to be 1,340 kg (2,950 lb). That might not be the latest and greatest example of the Progress but it serves as a starting point for discussion. According to SpaceX (http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php), the Dragon will have a payload of > 3000 KG (>6600 lb), or more than twice that of the Progress. The Dragon will also be able to return materials from the ISS, something the Progress can't do*. That greater capacity and capability should count for something.

*Some versions of the Progress tried a sample return capsule but it wasn't very successful and was abandoned.

JonClarke
2009-Apr-08, 10:15 PM
What is the relative capacity of the Progress verses the Dragon? According to this source (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/proressm.htm), the payload capacity of the Progress M GO appears to be 1,340 kg (2,950 lb). That might not be the latest and greatest example of the Progress but it serves as a starting point for discussion. According to SpaceX (http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php), the Dragon will have a payload of > 3000 KG (>6600 lb), or more than twice that of the Progress. The Dragon will also be able to return materials from the ISS, something the Progress can't do*. That greater capacity and capability should count for something.

Progress M (according to Wikipedia) has a payload of 2.6 tonnes, spread between liquid and dry cargo (max capacity of each 1.5 tonnes)

Can Dragon transfer propellant?


*Some versions of the Progress tried a sample return capsule but it wasn't very successful and was abandoned.

The Raduga was used ten times between 1990 and 1994 and appears quite successful. One was lost on entry (the second). I suggest that the reason it has not been used since is that it has been simpler to use the Space shuttle for down mass (first Shuttle-Mir docking in 1995). the Shuttle also could carry much more.

The ATV is larger than either, and has 8 tonnes of payload.


Jon

Siguy
2009-Apr-09, 01:41 AM
Siguy: spaceplanes have earned plenty of hate. They seem quite clearly the worst possible path to take, but they are endlessly advocated by people who seem to have no idea about what makes space access hard in the first place. Resources are scarce, and the misguided and persistent perception that the future of space access was in "airplanes that fly really high and fast" has spawned project after project that wasted those resources, and also led to us getting stuck with the Shuttle for several decades, and now to us facing an indefinite gap in our ability to get humans into orbit. When, after all the time, energy, and money that's been thrown away on space planes, people still act like the rockets that got us to the moon and which now are the cheapest option for access to orbit are somehow inferior...some frustration is understandable.

But you see, the Shuttle alone is not a reason to hate spaceplanes, and spaceplanes aren't based on aesthetics, there are reasons for wanting them. Crossrange capability, of course, and the ability to reenter more diverse shaped craft. The reason the shuttle is bad is not because it has wings, it is because of its excessive maintenance requirements, and because upon launch the incredibly heavy orbiter is, in itself, payload. Which is why DIRECT makes so much sense (see below).

If you count lifting bodies as spaceplanes, I'd say a blunt lifting body is probably much better than a plain capsule. More of it is recoverable, unlike a capsule which is restricted to a small cone reentering, for example.


However, I'd still like to know why publiusr is such a fan of the Ares I, with all the problems from those Shuttle-derived solid boosters and more due to the need to scale them up, while simultaneously so derisive toward anything that uses RP-1, a compact, inexpensive, and easy-to-handle fuel that gives much better performance than solids while being far less troublesome than liquid hydrogen.
Yes, the Ares I is ridiculous. I've seen no evidence that it will be safer than any other LVs (its safety seems to be derived from the pointlessly redeveloped launch escape motor) and safety seems to be the only reason to develop a whole new rocket. The design tries to look shuttle derived, but everything has been redeveloped so really, it's only the SRB and the orange insulation that keeps in common with the Shuttle. Same thing with the Ares V. If you want to make something safer and cheaper for less by making it recycled and/or shuttle derived, then actually make it recycled and/or shuttle derived and don't spend billions on development. Sure, a new launch vehicle is great, but neither of the Ares are innovative enough to justify the cost of development, and then of course the ridiculous launch costs.

I really hope Obama or someone seriously considers DIRECT Jupiter. Such an incredibly better idea than Constellation for the same basic purpose.
http://www.directlauncher.com/
(Unless you perhaps believe that Constellation was George Bush's elaborate scheme to slowly discredit NASA by an performing an incredibly expensive moon landing with no long term goals, then allowing Congress to never give them money ever again. Still deciding on that one)

byronm
2009-Apr-09, 01:01 PM
I really hope Obama or someone seriously considers DIRECT Jupiter. Such an incredibly better idea than Constellation for the same basic purpose.
http://www.directlauncher.com/
(Unless you perhaps believe that Constellation was George Bush's elaborate scheme to slowly discredit NASA by an performing an incredibly expensive moon landing with no long term goals, then allowing Congress to never give them money ever again. Still deciding on that one)

I'm not a fant at all of the DIRECT Jupiter launch system.. Shuttle technology is 50 years old now, the engineers that designed not only the actual components in use but the engineering, manufacturing an testing of those components are long retired. I don't think re-engineerng and recycling those programs is going to be as efficient and as much of a safe long term strategy as DIRECT suggests.. not at all.

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-09, 01:09 PM
Can Dragon transfer propellant?

I don't know.

The Raduga was used ten times between 1990 and 1994 and appears quite successful. One was lost on entry (the second). I suggest that the reason it has not been used since is that it has been simpler to use the Space shuttle for down mass (first Shuttle-Mir docking in 1995). the Shuttle also could carry much more.


From what I read, they stopped it because it cost too much in payload delivery capacity for what the capsule could return.

The ATV is larger than either, and has 8 tonnes of payload.

And it's launched on an Ariane V. What is the cost of the ATV and the launch compared to the payload?

I've read ESA is looking at carrying people in an upgraded version of the ATV. Sounds interesting. SpaceX is working to carry people in the Dragon. If they succeed, they'll have most of the capability of the Orion for a tiny fraction of the cost.

Siguy
2009-Apr-09, 08:38 PM
I'm not a fant at all of the DIRECT Jupiter launch system.. Shuttle technology is 50 years old now, the engineers that designed not only the actual components in use but the engineering, manufacturing an testing of those components are long retired. I don't think re-engineerng and recycling those programs is going to be as efficient and as much of a safe long term strategy as DIRECT suggests.. not at all.

But it doesn't require the re engineering Constellation is wasting money on. Plus saying the technology is "50 years old" doesn't mean anything.

Plenty of new launch vehicles use the same technology. Look at the Delta IV.

Since we're currently launching Shuttles and Delta IVs, there's no reason DIRECT couldn't work.

cjameshuff
2009-Apr-10, 05:14 AM
But you see, the Shuttle alone is not a reason to hate spaceplanes, and spaceplanes aren't based on aesthetics, there are reasons for wanting them. Crossrange capability, of course, and the ability to reenter more diverse shaped craft.

And these are such overwhelming benefits, because...?
I didn't say the Shuttle was the only reason, I in fact referred to the many other failed space-plane projects. The Shuttle just hurt more because it was close enough to a more traditional rocket to succeed. The main reason there's hate for spaceplanes is because it's a deeply flawed concept that won't go away, and the vastly superior approaches that have put the majority of spacecraft into orbit, sent men to the moon, and probes out to the edges of the solar system, get derided and ridiculed simply because they're not spaceplanes.

And unfortunately, just by being loud about it, the spaceplane proponents influence public perception, and public perception influences funding, which both gets more money wasted on various projects for getting into orbit and back in the most difficult way that still may be technically possible, and kills enthusiasm for "old and boring 1960s technology" projects that are of far greater benefit.



I really hope Obama or someone seriously considers DIRECT Jupiter. Such an incredibly better idea than Constellation for the same basic purpose.

From what I've seen, the DIRECT plan oversimplifies the task of modifying the external tank, boosters, etc to an absurd degree. Yes, you have a fuel tank, rocket engines, etc, and rockets also have fuel tanks, rocket engines, etc...but that tank wasn't designed to be the first stage in a rocket stack, it was designed to be an external tank for the Shuttle. You're going to end up re-engineering the entire rocket, you may as well engineer a new rocket and not have to put up with 30-year-old engineering practices and designs.

It also uses and throws away more expensive components intended for the reusable shuttles, making it more expensive to use even if it really turns out to be cheaper to develop. With the Ares V, we also get some good engine designs to use in other rockets. With DIRECT, we keep building and throwing away expensive and over-engineered Shuttle engines.

I do wonder about the LH2+solid boosters first stage...Saturn V had a RP-1 first stage and no boosters, which I think would be a better approach. Easier to handle, denser fuel on the stage with the greatest fuel requirements, and higher thrust when the most thrust is needed, without the need to manufacture, transport, and assemble giant chunks of solid rocket fuel...but even though it may be more expensive than it needs to be, this approach will work. And Ares V can lift larger and heavier payloads, not a minor benefit.

Siguy
2009-Apr-10, 08:20 PM
Yes, the public perception of rockets as "old technology" is an issue, perhaps it is on part of spaceplanes.

DIRECT does not use SSMEs, it uses RS-68 engines, which I can't imagine are that expensive since they are thrown away with Delta IVs and use 80 percent fewer parts than a SSME.

Also, do you consider Energia II fly-back boosters spaceplanes?

cjameshuff
2009-Apr-11, 08:42 PM
DIRECT does not use SSMEs, it uses RS-68 engines, which I can't imagine are that expensive since they are thrown away with Delta IVs and use 80 percent fewer parts than a SSME.

The DIRECT proposal I read about used SSMEs, apparently they have changed that for the reasons I stated. Each set of refinements seems to take it closer and closer to Ares V...making the reduction in cost of and time needed for development even more exaggerated. There is also a very significant reduction in capability and flexibility, the maximum payloads are lower and you need to prep and launch a large vehicle even if you just want to ferry personnel. The specialization of the Ares I/Ares V pair is a good idea, it is the enormous solid that I have issues with.



Also, do you consider Energia II fly-back boosters spaceplanes?

From what I've seen, they're just jet powered recovery systems for boosters. They don't make even a slight attempt at pretending to be spaceplanes. The flight back doesn't require reentry from orbit or extended powered flight at hypersonic speeds while accelerating to orbital speeds...the booster just needs to drop back into the atmosphere, and stay in the air until it can land.

JonClarke
2009-Apr-13, 10:59 PM
The Raduga was used ten times between 1990 and 1994 and appears quite successful. One was lost on entry (the second). I suggest that the reason it has not been used since is that it has been simpler to use the Space shuttle for down mass (first Shuttle-Mir docking in 1995). the Shuttle also could carry much more.


From what I read, they stopped it because it cost too much in payload delivery capacity for what the capsule could return.

Like you also read that it was "unreliable"? There was a payload cost, of course, supposedly when used it reduced Progress payload by only 100 kg, or 4%.


[/QUOTE]The ATV is larger than either, and has 8 tonnes of payload.

And it's launched on an Ariane V. What is the cost of the ATV and the launch compared to the payload?[/QUOTE]

An ATV costs $400 million to build, and $180 million to launch. That's more expensive than Progress, but then it is a more complex spacecraft with a much smaller production run.

I've read ESA is looking at carrying people in an upgraded version of the ATV. Sounds interesting. SpaceX is working to carry people in the Dragon. If they succeed, they'll have most of the capability of the Orion for a tiny fraction of the cost. [/QUOTE]

The CTV is the proposed crewed version of the ATV. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_Transfer_Vehicle#Proposed_crewed_version

As for Dragon, it may be cheaper, assuming that Dragon actually flies and the cost estimates are realistic, I have low confidence of either. As opthers have noted, the real cost of a Falcon 5 launch are much higher than oft quoted cost. CTV is a proposal, not a committment, like a lot of good ideas it may not see the light of day. And of couse neither Dragon nor the CTV are designed to be lunar capable. Orion is still essential and very desirable.

mto
2009-Apr-20, 02:20 PM
To bring this thread back on topic: SpaceX.com (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php)

Launch of RazakSAT Postponed

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Hawthorne, California April 20, 2009 Due to a potential compatibility issue between the RazakSAT spacecraft and Falcon 1 launch vehicle, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) have agreed to postpone the launch of ATSB's RazakSAT satellite.

While both the Falcon 1 vehicle and satellite passed all preliminary checkouts and are cleared for launch, a concern has been identified regarding the potential impact of predicted vehicle environments on the satellite. Based on these concerns, the SpaceX team is evaluating options to minimize this impact and ensure mission success.

"SpaceX is committed to the safety and success of our customer's payloads," said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. "Our engineers are addressing this issue and we look forward to launching RazakSAT once the issue is fully understood and resolved."

"Both teams are confident the issue will be resolved," said Dr. Ahmad Sabirin, CEO of ATSB. "We are all looking forward to a successful launch."

slang
2009-Apr-21, 12:04 AM
To bring this thread back on topic

Thank you. Can we now please keep it on this topic, and have vehicle/company comparisons in a thread of their own?

Larry Jacks
2009-Jun-03, 09:40 AM
RazakSAT Launch Rescheduled for July 13th according to this article (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/Raz060209.xml&headline=RazakSAT%20Launch%20Rescheduled&channel=space).

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Malaysia's Astronautic Technology have set July 13 as the first launch window opportunity for the delayed Falcon 1 Flight 5, carrying the RazakSAT Earth resources satellite.

SpaceX originally held up the launch on April 20 after identifying a "potential compatibility issue between the Falcon 1 vehicle and the payload." After further analysis, the company says a simple vibration isolation system is expected "to address this concern." SpaceX has selected the SoftRide isolation system from California-based CSA Engineering, a specialist in vibration and dynamic interaction mitigation.

mto
2009-Jul-13, 08:51 PM
Didn't want this to be forgotten today - Follow the fifth flight of the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket July 13

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon/005/status.html

01101001
2009-Jul-14, 04:05 AM
Webcast (http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php) log:


Posted July 13, 2009 - 20:47 PDT

This completes our live RazakSAT Mission broadcast. Thanks for joining us!

Posted July 13, 2009 - 20:46 PDT

T+:00:09:50 We have SECO. RazakSAT in parking orbit

Metricyard
2009-Jul-14, 04:46 AM
What a beautiful launch. I love the web cams they use on the rockets.

mto
2009-Jul-14, 06:22 PM
Video hi-lites of the launch

http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php

KaiYeves
2009-Jul-15, 12:34 AM
Success!

mto
2009-Jul-18, 01:19 PM
Video of entire launch until SECO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTFlFFrfEB0

naelphin
2009-Jul-18, 04:52 PM
Was Lockheed or Boeing purchased by the government when I wasn't checking? How is SpaceX the first "private" space launch when those two companies have made rockets for decades?

Antice
2009-Jul-18, 10:19 PM
boeing and Lockheed are government contractors. that means the US government paid them for developing those rockets. SpaceX is not directly funded by the government. altho some will claim that the cots program is sort of doing that by giving out milestone awards.

ugordan
2009-Jul-24, 07:48 PM
I'm just going by the contract value that SpaceX has been awarded 1.6 billion for 12 flights


To those comparing the prices by the Russians to SpaceX CRS contract and referring to Musk's cost promises in the past, you might be interested to know NASA specifically wanted a brand new Dragon flown for each of the 12 resupply missions. That means no Dragon reusability whatsoever and since the cost of a spacecraft is always a large portion of total launch cost (let's say $40 mil for F9 and $90 mil for Dragon), that's where the cca. $130 million comes from.

Had they been allowed to try reusing and refurbishing flown Dragons, that price could have gone down significantly. As it stands now, SpaceX plan to use those flown Dragons for DragonLab missions instead.