Author Topic: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion  (Read 405151 times)

Online meekGee

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #40 on: 08/25/2014 05:14 PM »
Well, I suppose it would have really been 'v.1.5' as it would have had the LAS motor pods and an ECLSS added as originally intended. My speculation is that the list of things to do to get v.1 crew-ready was getting longer and, combined with negative rumbles about getting the CCrew contract, Elon decided it would be more cost-efficient to build an optimised crew variant rather than a modified cargo version used for crew.

How do you know that the v2 isn't "really" a v1.5?

It has Super Dracos with fancy fairings (which are not part of the pressure vessel), life support, seating, flight controls, new hatch, docking adapter...

But all of these are on the minimal-change list from 1.0 to "1.5" anyway.

What pushes it over the edge to becoming "totally new"?

The only thing I can see that makes it a v2 is that they've decided to present it as such.

There was a long argument 1-2 years ago about what the crewed Dragon would look like, and this is pretty much along the mid-range of the opinions.  It does not have wings, it still has a drop-off trunk...

It's all a matter of perception.
My only caution would be a few data points:

1. Garett said a few weeks ago that they hit a few snags along the way.
2. IIRC, they are still working towards their Primary Structures Qualification.

I'm only thinking that perhaps attaching the SDs to the primary structure and all the added stresses that implies, necessitated enough core design changes that the very underlying structures have been modified to a greater extent then we are aware of. Not counting how they redesigned the entire parachute system and placement, modified plumbing, wiring/electric, outer mold-lines , fuel storage, TPS/ landing legs and trunk.

Start adding all that up and it's like going from Gemini to  Apollo. (or not)

I agree 100%.  It's just that all of this work would have had to go into any notional v1.5 anyway.

The only "optional" part of v2.0 is propulsive landing, (and the windows) but since the LAS modifications already come built-in, and since you can fly without propulsive landing, it doesn't look like the giant detour that it is portrayed as.

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Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #41 on: 08/25/2014 05:22 PM »
Well, I suppose it would have really been 'v.1.5' as it would have had the LAS motor pods and an ECLSS added as originally intended. My speculation is that the list of things to do to get v.1 crew-ready was getting longer and, combined with negative rumbles about getting the CCrew contract, Elon decided it would be more cost-efficient to build an optimised crew variant rather than a modified cargo version used for crew.

Musk has been quoted as stating that Dragon V1 was their first spacecraft and they realized a lot of things they were doing sub-optimally the first time around.  Do you have any facts to point to that not being the case?  Do you have any facts to support "negative rumbles about getting the CCrew contract"?  This seems like a lot of speculation without any data to me, which makes it highly suspect, unless you can substantiate any of this.

[EDIT] Should have caught up with the thread before replying, but the point still stands that this is a whole lot of stuff made up out of whole cloth.
« Last Edit: 08/25/2014 05:25 PM by abaddon »

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #42 on: 08/25/2014 05:24 PM »
They could have gone the way of Boeing, putting the LAS propulsion into the trunk, that would become a kind of service module. Would that really be that much easier? I doubt it. And they would lose all the flexibility an empty trunk gives them for additional services plus the LAS gets lost before landing.

BTW, what is really easier and simpler in CST-100 compared to Dragon V2?

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #43 on: 08/25/2014 07:49 PM »
Remember: This decision will be at least partly made based on politics and perception. Boeing is nearly-guaranteed selection because they're Boeing; problems with CST-100 will be considered second, if at all, out of fear of Shelby et al defunding the program. Because perception is the key, the implication that v.2 is a near-fully-new design will work against it, in my view.
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Offline rcoppola

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #44 on: 08/25/2014 11:26 PM »
Remember: This decision will be at least partly made based on politics and perception. Boeing is nearly-guaranteed selection because they're Boeing; problems with CST-100 will be considered second, if at all, out of fear of Shelby et al defunding the program. Because perception is the key, the implication that v.2 is a near-fully-new design will work against it, in my view.
While I don't completely disagree that "politics" may take its' seat at the table, it will not be the overriding decision influencer.

There is no scenario where SpaceX is not selected. I think they are the most assured of a full award.
1. They'll be certified sooner and cost the least to get there.
2. They'll  provide the most cost effective service

NASA will not sacrifice DC by giving a second full award to Boeing, so...

...For the fun of it, let's just say NASA blinks and/or becomes Machiavellian.  They may decide they already know SpaceX can get to certification soonest and their services will be the cheapest. They don't want a Congressional headache by leaving Boeing out but they really prefer SNC. So they decide to give SNC & Boeing a half award each and see who decides to go all in and make it to certification. They would do this thinking a few things. SNC will go all the way regardless but will be certified a bit later then SpaceX. Until then, SpaceX will handle things. And Boeing won't make it to certification as they will not self-invest to the level needed without full NASA funding. Now, that eventuality may turn out a couple ways. Boeing's Congressional allies will fight for additional funding to keep Boeing going and do a supplemental funding round. Or, Boeing goes as far as they can on NASA funding alone, focussing on core structures, call it a day and use what they have to go after CRS-2 contracts. 
« Last Edit: 08/25/2014 11:33 PM by rcoppola »
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Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #45 on: 08/25/2014 11:36 PM »
While your scenario has its appeal, I believe someone from NASA was quoted saying they are not planning on handing out half awards for CCtCAP.

Offline rcoppola

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #46 on: 08/25/2014 11:55 PM »
While your scenario has its appeal, I believe someone from NASA was quoted saying they are not planning on handing out half awards for CCtCAP.
I sure as heck hope they don't and I don't think they will.

Dragon & DC all the way!
« Last Edit: 08/26/2014 12:00 AM by rcoppola »
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Offline Mariusuiram

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #47 on: 08/26/2014 03:31 AM »
This whole discussion of V2 reminds me of almost every SpaceX development program.

Every product is developed relatively quickly & cheaply with big promises and big margins. There are inevitably problems because of the pace & target (or maybe inexperience) causing delays. The end product under performs on their initial promises, however they quickly turn around and announce the "latest & greatest" which will surpass the past promises and fix all the problems. And so far they have proved capable in this last part which is what takes them that step beyond a typical vaporware business.

Falcon 1 to Falcon 9 (and even 9 v1.0 to 1.1/R)
Merlin engines up to 1D (which is kind of synonymous with the v1.0 to v1.1)
Now Dragon v1 to Dragon v2
Next would be going from FH & F9 to true FH-R & 9-R. My guess is their initial recoveries will require more refurbishment & time than desired, but then they'll announce a  v1.2 or something else that solves it.

There is a valid complaint from certain people regarding their initial over promising and delays. It is definitely a negative from the perspective of delivering what is promised in your contractual obligations. However, in terms of achieving growth and longer term corporate goals, this strategy seems to be working wonderfully (as long as they can get away with it). This is also likely why so many established firms are/were dismissive of SpaceX: they weren't thinking about all the issues, they didn't optimize this or that, they wont achieve what they promised to.

Although SpaceX's competitors are generally right, they did not fully understand the scale of R&D cost savings achieved which allow a much more iterative approach. By iterating everything, they are already operational, helping to fund the next stage of R&D, while also getting the benefits of the extensive data generated from having operational equipment. And because they are cheaper and striving for more cost savings, many customers are somewhat more forgiving of the delays or big promises since they want to go along for the ride.

So, Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it. That seems like the secret in a nutshell. In Dragon V2 case, they are delivering a potentially overqualified vehicle at the lowest cost (assuming the pattern follows from previous rounds). End result is a somewhat future-proofed operational product capable of uses beyond ISS and potentially fully reusable.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #48 on: 08/26/2014 04:44 AM »
This whole discussion of V2 reminds me of almost every SpaceX development program.

...snip...

So, Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it. That seems like the secret in a nutshell.

The problem with your assertion is that you don't know what SpaceX customers were promised.  And they are the only ones that matter.  It doesn't matter what we think SpaceX has "promised" or not.

And from what I can remember, SpaceX has not under-delivered on performance, just been later than their public goals.

Quote
In Dragon V2 case, they are delivering a potentially overqualified vehicle at the lowest cost (assuming the pattern follows from previous rounds).

Keep in mind that all three current contenders have overqualified vehicles, since NASA's requirement was to transport 4 crew, not 7.

Quote
End result is a somewhat future-proofed operational product capable of uses beyond ISS and potentially fully reusable.

I don't know about "future-proofed".  For all we know just as the Dragon V1 was a pathfinder for the Dragon V2, the V2 is probably a pathfinder for the V3.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline beancounter

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #49 on: 08/26/2014 08:05 AM »
I don't know about "future-proofed".  For all we know just as the Dragon V1 was a pathfinder for the Dragon V2, the V2 is probably a pathfinder for the V3.

Yes agreed.  After all, we haven't seen anything that resembles a fully optioned SM for Dragon V2.   No creature comforts either.  Who knows what Elon and his team are dreaming up.
I await with considerable interest Dragon V3, MarsDragon, BEO Dragon, etc, etc.  or just perhaps MCT is their next interation.

Cheers.
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #50 on: 08/26/2014 09:30 AM »
This whole discussion of V2 reminds me of almost every SpaceX development program.

...snip...

So, Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it. That seems like the secret in a nutshell.

The problem with your assertion is that you don't know what SpaceX customers were promised.  And they are the only ones that matter.  It doesn't matter what we think SpaceX has "promised" or not.

To be fair, he didn't say they promised it to customers.

They have promised things on their web site.  Falcon 9 had promised performance that wasn't actually met until v1.1, so "Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it" sounds accurate to me.

And from what I can remember, SpaceX has not under-delivered on performance, just been later than their public goals.

I don't think you two are disagreeing, just phrasing it differently.  The "then promise more, and deliver it" part implies that SpaceX eventually did deliver on their original promise.

Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #51 on: 08/26/2014 12:20 PM »
What exactly was over-promised and under-delivered with Dragon that will be addressed with Dragon V2?  Dragon seems to have delivered on NASA's requirements just fine.  Dragon V2 isn't fixing anything from the original, it is adding new capabilities for a different purpose.

Offline Jet Black

Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #52 on: 08/26/2014 12:28 PM »
Every product is developed relatively quickly & cheaply with big promises and big margins. There are inevitably problems because of the pace & target (or maybe inexperience) causing delays.

Hasn't this happened with many if not most other projects, like Orion, without the excuse of pace & target (or inexperience)
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Online LouScheffer

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #53 on: 08/26/2014 12:35 PM »
This whole discussion of V2 reminds me of almost every SpaceX development program.

[...]

So, Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it.
This is life as usual in the software and consumer world, even for the most reputable companies.  And it works very well - compare the pace of development between consumer and aerospace.

What drives this process is faith - faith that the engineers can fix the problems, faith that the management will not only allow but demand they do so, faith that the company will not leave its customers in the lurch, even should that prove to be the most profitable option.

The reward for faith is speed.  If you can design in a part not when it's proven, but when it's clear it can be made to work, you can save years of development.  This is the story of consumer electronics, where designers routinely specify parts that cannot even be made with current technology.  It's also a huge component of the famous technical projects that did a lot in a short time - the Manhatten project, radar, Apollo, skunk works, etc. But it requires trust, lots of trust, since you are risking your project, and your job, on someone else's future actions.  You must trust that when the time comes, they can fix any problems that arise.

It may seem weird to speak of faith and trust, and not technology, in spaceflight.  But in this case the technologies are not in doubt, and the intangibles will determine who will succeed and who will fail.

In Boeing, I have trust but not faith.  They can surely make it work, but their will to do so is shaky.  In DC I have faith but not trust.  They will try to their dying breath to make it work, but the problems might overwhelm their organization.  In SpaceX I have faith that they will try, and trust they will succeed.   

Of course these are my own opinions.  But if I was giving out the contracts, these would be my main points, since the combination of faith and trust is exactly what was present during the rapid start of the field, and exactly what is missing now.  So I'd pick SpaceX first, and then I'd pick DC, since it's easier to gain trust than inspire faith.   

Offline MTom

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #54 on: 08/26/2014 03:54 PM »
This whole discussion of V2 reminds me of almost every SpaceX development program.

[...]

So, Over promise, under deliver, then promise more, and deliver it.

This is the main difference of the iterative approach: the most variability is pushed into the content, and less in time and cost. What at the beginning to see is only a concept which will be changing with the time.

The content blocks are always prioritized, so the customer gets in every iteration what he wants sooner so he can begin to use it. The remaining content pushed back + after the first experiences it could be modified (and it will be done).
After more iterations the customer gets what he exactly wants - often others as thought at the beginning of the project (what you mentioned as "over-promising")
« Last Edit: 08/26/2014 04:01 PM by MTom »

Offline Mariusuiram

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #55 on: 08/27/2014 06:14 AM »


To be fair, he didn't say they promised it to customers.

.....

I don't think you two are disagreeing, just phrasing it differently.  The "then promise more, and deliver it" part implies that SpaceX eventually did deliver on their original promise.

This exactly. I realize my original note sounded somewhat negative or vague. But it was really intended to be a mainly positive message. They are delivering their promises eventually. A more practical company might set their design targets more modestly to ensure they achieve it. Whereas SpaceX is purposely pushing the envelope on every new design (probably inspired by the Software industry)

And yes its also fair that they are probably not promising all these things to customers or NASA or at least they see more data & documents, less renderings & twitter statements. But the videos and public statements create expectations (that are not automatically "promises").

Online ClayJar

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #56 on: 08/27/2014 11:59 PM »
I was listening to today's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group Presentation, "Commercial Spaceflight" by Garrett Reisman of SpaceX.   During the presentation and again during the Q&A period he mentioned part of the landing sequence that I didn't recall being expressly laid out before.

Quote
We land on land under parachutes and then use the SuperDraco launch abort system to provide cushioning for the final touchdown. And then we have landing legs that are designed to take up any residual load and allow us to land on a variety of different surface hardnesses.
26:13 in the MP3, while talking about slide 16

Quote
However, if you exceed a three-sigma wind case and drift onto shore, the good news is that the landing, the whole landing system is designed so that it's survivable if there's no propulsive assist at all.  So if you come down chutes only with the landing legs, we anticipate no crew injury.  But it will be, you know, basically, it'll be kind of like landing in the Soyuz.  It'll be... You'll know that you've reached the earth.
27:41 in the MP3, referring to, shall we say, off-nominal aborts

Quote
Yeah, and it's really, the propulsive assist is really just in the final descent and landing really within the last few seconds otherwise it's parachute all the way down.
44:17 in the MP3, responding to a request for clarification

I suppose that pretty much settles the questions about how exactly they intend Dragon V2 to land, at least early on.  Dry land, under parachutes, with propulsive assist to cushion it, and a bit Soyuz-like if you land on land without the propulsive assist at the end.  (So, DragonFly is to open up future options, but Dragon V2 will start off closer to what's already been seen elsewhere.)

Offline GalacticIntruder

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #57 on: 08/28/2014 12:33 AM »
Dr Riesman did not elaborate on why they will land with parachutes. Elon has been pretty adamant about full propulsive landings. Either it does not work, or NASA said no thanks to something that radical.
« Last Edit: 08/28/2014 12:34 AM by GalacticIntruder »
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #58 on: 08/28/2014 12:50 AM »
Dr Riesman did not elaborate on why they will land with parachutes. Elon has been pretty adamant about full propulsive landings. Either it does not work, or NASA said no thanks to something that radical.

It's just the incremental process. Would ya prefer they wait until propulsive landings are mature before flying anyone?
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Offline 411rocket

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Re: SpaceX Dragon V2 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #59 on: 08/28/2014 01:13 AM »
Dr Riesman did not elaborate on why they will land with parachutes. Elon has been pretty adamant about full propulsive landings. Either it does not work, or NASA said no thanks to something that radical.

It's just the incremental process. Would ya prefer they wait until propulsive landings are mature before flying anyone?

Also, they have an estimated 2 years, of DragonRider testing to do first. With us having no idea, of when that will start.

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