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Thread: SpaceX

  1. #4891
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    I really don't understand how anyone could seriously argue that SpaceX's business model has issues compared to Blue Origin. SpaceX actually has provided services for paying customers and earned income in addition to their NASA contracts. Not a little, but a lot.
    Yes to everything you said (even if I don't quote the whole post).

    SpaceX did 26 launches in 2020: 2 manned flights to the ISS, 2 cargo missions to the ISS, the inflight abort test for crew Dragon, 14 Starlink missions, 7 commercial launches. 23 of the 26 successfully returned the first stage to Earth.

    Arianespace did a total of 10 launches. Did any other commercial launch operation come even close to that?
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  2. #4892
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Yes to everything you said (even if I don't quote the whole post).

    SpaceX did 26 launches in 2020: 2 manned flights to the ISS, 2 cargo missions to the ISS, the inflight abort test for crew Dragon, 14 Starlink missions, 7 commercial launches. 23 of the 26 successfully returned the first stage to Earth.

    Arianespace did a total of 10 launches. Did any other commercial launch operation come even close to that?
    I also read somewhere that they launched double the payload of everyone else combined(a lot of the Chinese launches were small rockets launching cubesats)

  3. #4893
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    Elon Musk is subsidizing his rocket development by launching satellites for-hire. A lot of these satellites will be used for various levels of online communication, including entertainment, social media and general frivolity.

    So, basically he's financing Mars exploration with other people's disposable income.

    Works for me!

  4. #4894
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    I really don't understand how anyone could seriously argue that SpaceX's business model has issues compared to Blue Origin. SpaceX actually has provided services for paying customers and earned income in addition to their NASA contracts. Not a little, but a lot.

    SpaceX is launching communications satellites (which they've designed and built themselves) 60 at a time, hundreds already up, for a system that is likely to earn them billions of dollars per year once it is complete and fully on line. It's already working in limited test and beta programs and the hardware and concept are pretty well validated already. That communications providers can make a lot of money has long been proven and while it still to be seen if SpaceX can get enough market share to pay the bills it is certainly probable that they can make good money.

    Blue Origin has not achieved any of those things.
    No issues with the SpaceX business model from me. I loved watching SN-15 test yesterday and am really impressed by their innovation. I also think their focus on the satellite sector is wise and reflects the likely commercial opportunities opening up to meet demand through the 2020s.

    And with their Starship programme they have great opportunities to diversify and respond to emerging demand in new sectors in Earth-moon space over the next few decades.

    But you can’t deny that Elon Musk is very focused on Mars....! And I’m still a bit sceptical about the commercial potential with that project.

    I also think innovation can gather more momentum where there is competition. That’s what got us onto the moon in the ‘60s. So if not from Blue Origin then who?

  5. #4895
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    Musk doesn't care about the commercial value of Mars, at least not primary. He wants people to become multiplanetary to increase survival chances. If he can fund his Mars rocket/colony development with other commercial ventures of SpaceX, I think he's perfectly happy.

    I'm not saying he has no commercial interests (if that would be the case he'd be terrible at it, given his wealth ) just that Mars isn't on his commercial list.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  6. #4896
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    I also think innovation can gather more momentum where there is competition. That’s what got us onto the moon in the ‘60s. So if not from Blue Origin then who?
    My guess China well before Blue Origin.
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  7. #4897
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    No issues with the SpaceX business model from me. I loved watching SN-15 test yesterday and am really impressed by their innovation. I also think their focus on the satellite sector is wise and reflects the likely commercial opportunities opening up to meet demand through the 2020s.

    And with their Starship programme they have great opportunities to diversify and respond to emerging demand in new sectors in Earth-moon space over the next few decades.

    But you canít deny that Elon Musk is very focused on Mars....! And Iím still a bit sceptical about the commercial potential with that project.

    I also think innovation can gather more momentum where there is competition. Thatís what got us onto the moon in the Ď60s. So if not from Blue Origin then who?
    Mars is where the easily accessible off-Earth resources are. Water, CO2, nitrogen, high grade ores you can mine with a shovel...all in one place, plus a relatively moderate environment. The moon is resource poor, the resources it has are much more difficult to access, it is further away in delta-v terms, and the radiation, dust, thermal extremes, and solar power limitations make it very challenging. Even the Starship HLS is intended to leave before lunar nightfall, lacking a reasonable way to survive the lunar night. Surviving the night on Mars only requires a modestly sized battery pack.

    I don't see any particular reason for cislunar space to be of commercial interest any time soon. The only thing there is vacuum, there's little you can do there that you can't closer to Earth. Lunar resources might someday support something there, but that's a long ways off, and it will be very difficult to get it supporting itself independently. I rather expect lunar and asteroid mining to develop as spinoffs of Mars colonization: Phobos and Deimos are indistinguishable from asteroids and are a few hours flight with a partial propellant load from a Mars colony, and many technologies developed for use there will be useful on the moon as well.

  8. #4898
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    Mars is the personal ambition of Musk, his stated reason for creating SpaceX. But I don't think it's accurate to say that that is his business model for SpaceX. His business model is to make access to space as cheap as possible so that the human race can start utilizing space as has been dreamed of for decades. It also happens to be what's needed to get to Mars. And the reverse is also true. All of the hardware, manufacturing capability, methodologies, all the experience, everything that is developed in order to achieve his personal dream of a colony on Mars also makes possible any other space utilization plans anyone else has. And Musk is perfectly willing to provide services for anyone who can pay. That's exactly what SpaceX has been doing from the beginning. To have a chance of realizing his Mars dreams he has to make SpaceX capable of earning enough to finance development for everything necessary for such an endeavor, and eventually for the missions to Mars. That's where a business plan comes into play. Mars is merely a personal goal.

    I completely agree, competition would be great. Several rather than just one would be even better. That no other companies are capable of offering competition today is not something to fault SpaceX for, though I see the point of arguing that incentive government contracts might better be given to others in hopes of helping another company to become competitive.
    Last edited by Darrell; 2021-May-07 at 12:05 PM.

  9. #4899
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    Mars is where the easily accessible off-Earth resources are. Water, CO2, nitrogen, high grade ores you can mine with a shovel...all in one place, plus a relatively moderate environment. The moon is resource poor, the resources it has are much more difficult to access, it is further away in delta-v terms, and the radiation, dust, thermal extremes, and solar power limitations make it very challenging. Even the Starship HLS is intended to leave before lunar nightfall, lacking a reasonable way to survive the lunar night. Surviving the night on Mars only requires a modestly sized battery pack.

    I don't see any particular reason for cislunar space to be of commercial interest any time soon. The only thing there is vacuum, there's little you can do there that you can't closer to Earth. Lunar resources might someday support something there, but that's a long ways off, and it will be very difficult to get it supporting itself independently. I rather expect lunar and asteroid mining to develop as spinoffs of Mars colonization: Phobos and Deimos are indistinguishable from asteroids and are a few hours flight with a partial propellant load from a Mars colony, and many technologies developed for use there will be useful on the moon as well.
    Mars has plenty of resources concentrated, in a fairly deep gravity well, but Phobos and Deimos are more accessible in delta-V, easier to land on and leave, and you can can get an orbital boost from Mars itself while doing so. Too bad we aren't exploring them for resources and landing sites!

    But distance matters too. Imagine losing you doctor, millions of miles and 10 minutes or more of radio light-lag away from the nearest hospital. Meanwhile the Moon is a few days or a couple of seconds away. And building transportation and supply infrastructure close to Earth is much easier, making direct Lunar assistance from LEO plausible in the near future. Is the Moon harder to live on than Mars? Yes. And no. It's got sparser resources and a brutal day/night cycle. But it's easier to get to and from the surface, there's no sandstorms, and it does have some resources available in places.

    But the relative merits of one site over another are kind of besides the point, because they are not at all mutually exclusive. No one is making us choose between them, we could have many groups and nations each with their own goals and setting up shop on many worlds. Musk wants to be king of Mars, that's fine. I claim Earth by squatters' rights!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  10. #4900
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Mars has plenty of resources concentrated, in a fairly deep gravity well, but Phobos and Deimos are more accessible in delta-V, easier to land on and leave, and you can can get an orbital boost from Mars itself while doing so. Too bad we aren't exploring them for resources and landing sites!

    But distance matters too. Imagine losing you doctor, millions of miles and 10 minutes or more of radio light-lag away from the nearest hospital. Meanwhile the Moon is a few days or a couple of seconds away. And building transportation and supply infrastructure close to Earth is much easier, making direct Lunar assistance from LEO plausible in the near future. Is the Moon harder to live on than Mars? Yes. And no. It's got sparser resources and a brutal day/night cycle. But it's easier to get to and from the surface, there's no sandstorms, and it does have some resources available in places.

    But the relative merits of one site over another are kind of besides the point, because they are not at all mutually exclusive. No one is making us choose between them, we could have many groups and nations each with their own goals and setting up shop on many worlds. Musk wants to be king of Mars, that's fine. I claim Earth by squatters' rights!
    Mars is lower delta-v and easier to land on than Phobos, Deimos, or the moon. And Mars doesn't even have an atmosphere capable of supporting sandstorms...it has dust storms, which are pretty much only a threat to rovers powered only by the solar panels on their backs. And it's highly weathered dust that is nowhere near as destructive to seals and machinery as lunar dust. And with everything you need to create breathable atmospheres and grow food locally available, why would you only have one doctor?

  11. #4901
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    Mars is lower delta-v and easier to land on than Phobos, Deimos, or the moon. And Mars doesn't even have an atmosphere capable of supporting sandstorms...it has dust storms, which are pretty much only a threat to rovers powered only by the solar panels on their backs. And it's highly weathered dust that is nowhere near as destructive to seals and machinery as lunar dust. And with everything you need to create breathable atmospheres and grow food locally available, why would you only have one doctor?
    You seem to be thinking of an established settlement. I'm talking about establishing a settlement. For the foreseeable future, closer to help is better.

    Maybe Mars will be the better place long term, we'll see, but it need not be the only place. There's a whole lot of "out there" out there to try.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #4902
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    In any case, SpaceX is not a Mars corporation, it's capable of general space access and transportation on a variety of scales up to heavy lift, and becoming more capable all the time. Once established that infrastructure can be used to reach many goals: "Once you're in orbit, you're halfway to anywhere."

    In the short term, SpaceX's rapid progress will be beneficial to space travel, but its monopoly may prove a difficult situation to pry loose from later on. Corporations with chokeholds do not generally turn them loose on their own.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  13. #4903
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    I need to put my moderator hat on.

    Maybe a discussion of Mars vs. Lunar colonization is better done in another thread. Let's concentrate on SpaceX in this one.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  14. #4904
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    Mars is the personal ambition of Musk, his stated reason for creating SpaceX. But I don't think it's accurate to say that that is his business model for SpaceX. His business model is to make access to space as cheap as possible so that the human race can start utilizing space as has been dreamed of for decades. It also happens to be what's needed to get to Mars.[...]
    Exactly. It isnít just about Mars, it is just necessary for more than flags and footprints on Mars. But get the launch costs down, and we will have big space stations, space tourism, space manufacturing, the Moon, asteroids, Mars and more. Cost is everything.

    The Space Shuttle was supposed to bring in the era of lower cost space access, but a compromised design and technological limits destroyed that hope. Still, it always has been understood that getting launch costs down was key in expanding access to space. The traditional approach hasnít gotten us there, hopefully a private space company can do it. Now the question is, will Starship/Heavy work as hoped, and will it be as economical as claimed? It is the most hope and excitement about space access Iíve felt in forty years. I hope this time Iím not disappointed.

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  15. #4905
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Exactly. It isn’t just about Mars, it is just necessary for more than flags and footprints on Mars. But get the launch costs down, and we will have big space stations, space tourism, space manufacturing, the Moon, asteroids, Mars and more. Cost is everything.

    The Space Shuttle was supposed to bring in the era of lower cost space access, but a compromised design and technological limits destroyed that hope. Still, it always has been understood that getting launch costs down was key in expanding access to space. The traditional approach hasn’t gotten us there, hopefully a private space company can do it. Now the question is, will Starship/Heavy work as hoped, and will it be as economical as claimed? It is the most hope and excitement about space access I’ve felt in forty years. I hope this time I’m not disappointed.
    Not just any private company either: a corporate empire with resources to spare, controlled by an individual with a bit of an obsession. In this context, that's a good thing... provisionally. I doubt a more traditionally run business would be willing to publicly fail and just dust themselves off and try again. But it's a bit scary how much one individual with money can shift the human future.

    Yes, the progress being made now seems very different than what happened in the Shuttle era. Test results measured week by week instead of year by year.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  16. #4906
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    >
    You mean apart from plans for point to point transport with Starship and the Dragon XL vehicle and the HLS contract? Later this year SpaceX will launch a fully civilian manned mission, Inspiration 4. If Blue Origin doesn't come up with another reason to postpone will be offering a really expensive alternative to a theme park vertical drop ride.
    SpaceX has 4 Crew Dragon civilian spaceflight missions that have been made public,

    1) Inspiration4, a charity fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital

    2) Space Adventures, which will try to break Gemini 11's LEO crewed altitude record (~4x higher than ISS)

    3) Axiom Space Ax-1 commercial mission to the ISS

    4) the Tom Cruise movie flight

    and they're likely to launch several missions to the Axiom Space commercial ISS modules once they go uphill (2024 - 2028).

  17. #4907
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    We have a fire suspect; an errant thermal blanket.

    20210507_122353.jpg

    https://twitter.com/StarshipGazer/st...80757890637826

  18. #4908
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    Looks like maybe some buckling on the rightmost lower member of the landing leg in that picture.

  19. #4909
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    Not surprising, they are temporary crush core designs after all.

  20. #4910
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    And the amount of crushing indicates that the vertical landing speed was quite where it was supposed to be.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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  22. #4912
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    Quote Originally Posted by docmordrid View Post
    We have a fire suspect; an errant thermal blanket.

    20210507_122353.jpg

    https://twitter.com/StarshipGazer/st...80757890637826
    The caption says ďhumans for scaleĒ, but I donít see any. Am I just missing them?
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  23. #4913
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    The caption says “humans for scale”, but I don’t see any. Am I just missing them?
    If you look at the Twitter feed there are four images, one with a foot and one containing two people.

  24. #4914
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    The caption says “humans for scale”, but I don’t see any. Am I just missing them?
    If you click on the twitter link there are several other pics that give you an idea of scale.

  25. #4915
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    StarLink 27 (skipping 26 because it's a Rideshare and a payload isn't ready)

    Schedule risk: weather in the landing zone

    Elon Musk ✓ @elonmusk
    First time a Falcon rocket booster will reach double digits in flights
    |
    SpaceX ✓ @SpaceX
    Targeting Sunday, May 9 at 2:42 a.m. EDT for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida → http://spacex.com/launches

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1390955387654914052

  26. #4916
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    From Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

    Bio: https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/le...omas-Zurbuchen

    Thomas Zurbuchen ✓ @Dr_ThomasZ
    Definitely one of the big space highlights for me this week! #Congrats to the @SpaceX team for this success.

    Canít wait to see this type of vehicle at the Moon, at Mars, and elsewhere! Time to think up some amazing payloads @NASAMoon!
    |
    Cosmic Perspective @considercosmos
    This is history: The first landed Starship! We are so inspired by all the teams working to turn sci-fi into realty... Congrats @SpaceX @elonmusk! #Starship

    20210508_104146.jpg

    https://twitter.com/Dr_ThomasZ/statu...37100035420162

  27. #4917
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    Things that bug me: Calling it "Starship". It's never going to another star. Some descendant of the current object MIGHT get to another planet. At best, it's a "Planetship". The current generation is, of course, a 10kmship.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  28. #4918
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Things that bug me: Calling it "Starship". It's never going to another star.
    Somewhat in jest, sometime back I suggested they eventually should fill one with instruments and an RTG or small reactor and put it on what would eventually be a solar escape trajectory, pointing it at a star system it could eventually reach. That way it could do something like Pioneer 10 and 11, the Voyagers or New Horizon with flybys but then it could be a true starship of sorts, even if not very useful for that.

    And they should name it “Enterprise,” because why not? I could even imagine Musk going for something like that.

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  29. #4919
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    There have been many vehicles with "Star" in their name who never went to Alpha Centauri; F-104 Starfighter for one. It's just branding.

    Some quite loud thruster tests at McGregor, TX. Methinks these aren't the little Draco's for Dragon..

    https://youtu.be/XwT76nm_gNo

  30. #4920
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    Starlink 27 webcast

    10th use mission

    https://youtu.be/J71s2KmkSrc

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