Author Topic: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)  (Read 220526 times)

Offline Andy USA

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #760 on: 07/16/2017 02:39 PM »
It's old news previous discussed in L2. Chris asked SpaceX and JPL and only got it was delayed, which it since has been. Social media tend to retell things and then the more the retell it the more dramatic it becomes. I would think we should have a higher standard of discussion working with documented and official notes, more than what's said on Twitter or whereever. It may be cancelled eventually. SpaceX tend to make big bold ambition statements and then find it's not as easy as Elon tweeting it. Look at Falcon Heavy, which was supposed to be years ago.

Online jpo234

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #761 on: 07/16/2017 07:13 PM »
Someone on reddit said that "Red Dragon is canned for the foreseeable future, if not forever." according to some employees. Can anyone comment/confirm/deny it?
Gwynne Shotwell sounded evasive on the topic during the Spaceshow interview.
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Online high road

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #762 on: 07/16/2017 07:14 PM »
Someone on reddit said that "Red Dragon is canned for the foreseeable future, if not forever." according to some employees. Can anyone comment/confirm/deny it?
A later comment notes they're going for an intermediate vehicle or straight to BFR.

SpaceX was going to build and launch Red Dragon with their own money. I suspect they figured it'd be better spent going straight to BFR or some intermediate.

I don't think this is a bad decision.

Depends on the size of the intermediate vehicle(s). The advantage of Red Dragon was/is that it's supposed to use the propulsive landing tech matured by Crew Dragon, and give SpaceX more experience with the environment on Mars, which they could use to improve the design of subsequent bigger vehicles. It was supposed to be a relatively cheap system to deploy heavier payloads than Curiosity.

As things are now, I can understand why Red Dragon has become the long way round. But I hope they replace it with an intermediate vehicle to do all that, with a payload capacity so they can transport and deploy any payload that NASA or any other space agency that's getting tired of adding craters on Mars, would want to send. That way, they get some more income to work on their bigger stuff. And even if the bigger stuff doesn't work out, they'll still have made exploring Mars easier, and that system can probably be sized up to allow crewed missions.

Making the jump to a gigantic colonization ship (an intermediary system that's too big to find paying customers doesn't help at all) still has too much risk that they don't make money fast enough to get ITS developed before the design is obsolete.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #763 on: 07/16/2017 07:26 PM »
Your weekly reminder that "too big" is not a problem but "too expensive" is.
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Online high road

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #764 on: 07/16/2017 10:13 PM »
Exactly. 'big' in this case refers to the price per launch, and specifically part of that caused by the jump in systems that have to be developed and matured. A subscale ITS that still tries to do the whole thing including returning to earth, albeit with a smaller payload, is going to be every bit as expensive as ITS. Leaving it on Mars seems cheaper in the short run. Not doing a tailflip (to maximize lift) cuts some development costs as well, etc.

edit: now the cat's out of the bag on crew dragon landing propulsively, that is where the main advantage of Red Dragon was. Now that maturing propulsive landing is put on the long road, skipping Red Dragon, that would do build on that experience and limit new development to the bare minimum, is probably better. By the time propulsive landing is matured, design on the new intermediate ship can have progressed a long way. As long as they come up with something similar in capability, without much of the fancier stuff required for ITS.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 10:21 PM by high road »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #765 on: 07/16/2017 10:21 PM »
Not at all. You hit a knee in the curve if you're trying to do a full sized ITS. New factory, new, much larger Raptor (current subscale Raptor would be fine for subscale ITS), need to dig a new flame trench, build a new HIF, new environmental permits, etc, etc.

Subscale ITS saves a lot of cash and is right-sized for launching their constellation.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #766 on: 07/16/2017 11:56 PM »
Not at all. You hit a knee in the curve if you're trying to do a full sized ITS. New factory, new, much larger Raptor (current subscale Raptor would be fine for subscale ITS), need to dig a new flame trench, build a new HIF, new environmental permits, etc, etc.

Subscale ITS saves a lot of cash and is right-sized for launching their constellation.

Agree with all that -- maybe with reservations on the constellation part -- so long as the subscale version is big enough to get things rolling on Mars.  (it will be)
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #767 on: 07/17/2017 05:29 AM »
Pretty sure they want NASA funding for Red Dragon and aren't getting much traction.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online high road

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #768 on: 07/17/2017 06:31 AM »
Not at all. You hit a knee in the curve if you're trying to do a full sized ITS. New factory, new, much larger Raptor (current subscale Raptor would be fine for subscale ITS), need to dig a new flame trench, build a new HIF, new environmental permits, etc, etc.

Subscale ITS saves a lot of cash and is right-sized for launching their constellation.

Subscale BFR is. Subscale ITS, not so much. As usual, the revolutionary new things that ITS has to be designed for that SpaceX has not (yet) done before, are skipped over very lightly: spending months in outer space, landing propulsively on another planet, descending as a lifting body, spending years on a foreign planet and launching again. Developing all this dwarfs the cost of a new factory and launch facilities. Let alone the required time.

If that is not what you meant, be sure to quote the part of my post you did respond to.

Edit: If by 'ITS' you guys refer only to the booster, that would explain a lot about those timelines you propose for its completion.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 06:45 AM by high road »

Online Semmel

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #769 on: 07/17/2017 07:38 AM »
Not at all. You hit a knee in the curve if you're trying to do a full sized ITS. New factory, new, much larger Raptor (current subscale Raptor would be fine for subscale ITS), need to dig a new flame trench, build a new HIF, new environmental permits, etc, etc.

Subscale ITS saves a lot of cash and is right-sized for launching their constellation.

Subscale BFR is. Subscale ITS, not so much. As usual, the revolutionary new things that ITS has to be designed for that SpaceX has not (yet) done before, are skipped over very lightly: spending months in outer space, landing propulsively on another planet, descending as a lifting body, spending years on a foreign planet and launching again. Developing all this dwarfs the cost of a new factory and launch facilities. Let alone the required time.

If that is not what you meant, be sure to quote the part of my post you did respond to.

Edit: If by 'ITS' you guys refer only to the booster, that would explain a lot about those timelines you propose for its completion.

I am pretty sure (subscale) BFR/BFS will fly many (>5) years before attempting a deep space mission beyond the earth/moon vicinity. We will most likely see it used for LEO and GTO sat deliveries in the first years before some lunar missions. In this time, the missions will provide revenue for SpaceX. The booster and second stage/space ship development is up front. The factory is up front. The development of the lifting body reentry at earth is up front. However, development and testing of deep space hardware can be done during the revenue phase. For example, the (subscale) BFR/BFS can deliver some cargo to the ISS or a GTO sat or some constellation LEO sats. The payload might not be maxed out as GTO sats are far below the capacity of either version of BFR/BFS as we understand it today. So SpaceX could basically test deep space hardware "for free". They still have to develop and build it, but the test can be a second objective on a paying customer and they can come pout of that with a profit.

So yes, you are correct, the large issues of deep space hardware are glossed over right now. But only because the other problems are immediate and up front. Once BFR/BFS flies successfully, its time to ramp up the Mars hardware development.

Red dragon is kind of a mixed bag. I think the opportunity cost were low at the time of proposal. D2 already had to be designed. It wasnt much extra cost to design it with Mars EDL in mind. It was and still is a good plan, but it is only a "cheap" opportunity. If that opportunity was lost or turned out to be much more costly, the benefits probably were not substantial enough to justify the (now) extra cost.

Online woods170

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #770 on: 07/17/2017 09:16 AM »
Pretty sure they want NASA funding for Red Dragon and aren't getting much traction.

No, ITS much simpler than that (pun intended). With ITS SpaceX created a competitor for Red Dragon. When that happened the only rationale for Red Dragon was propulsive landing on Mars as proof-of-concept for propulsive landing on CCP and CRS-2 missions. However, NASA is reluctant to do propulsive landing on both CCP and CRS-2. With that, the only remaining viable reason for Red Dragon disappeared.

However, Red Dragon being cancelled is generally a lost deal for NASA. In return for NASA helping SpaceX to find suitable landing spots for Red Dragon on Mars, NASA was to get a number of things in return:
1. Access to SpaceX-supplied full telemetry and results of retro-propulsive atmospheric entry and propulsive landing on Mars.
2. NASA instruments carried on Red Dragon.
3. NASA being granted exclusive use, for a limited amount of time, of certain elements of Red Dragon technology.

Needless to say that NASA will now not get those things.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 09:17 AM by woods170 »

Online jpo234

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #771 on: 07/17/2017 10:46 AM »
Needless to say that NASA will now not get those things.

Not from Red Dragon, anyway. Since SpaceX is still fully committed to Mars, NASA can still support the replacement missions, whatever they turn out to be.
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #772 on: 07/17/2017 11:51 AM »
Pretty sure they want NASA funding for Red Dragon and aren't getting much traction.

No, ITS much simpler than that (pun intended). With ITS SpaceX created a competitor for Red Dragon. When that happened the only rationale for Red Dragon was propulsive landing on Mars as proof-of-concept for propulsive landing on CCP and CRS-2 missions. However, NASA is reluctant to do propulsive landing on both CCP and CRS-2. With that, the only remaining viable reason for Red Dragon disappeared.

However, Red Dragon being cancelled is generally a lost deal for NASA. In return for NASA helping SpaceX to find suitable landing spots for Red Dragon on Mars, NASA was to get a number of things in return:
1. Access to SpaceX-supplied full telemetry and results of retro-propulsive atmospheric entry and propulsive landing on Mars.
2. NASA instruments carried on Red Dragon.
3. NASA being granted exclusive use, for a limited amount of time, of certain elements of Red Dragon technology.

Needless to say that NASA will now not get those things.
Instead, NASA will get access to a human-scale Mars lander, which is why they want that data anyway.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #773 on: 07/17/2017 12:00 PM »
Not at all. You hit a knee in the curve if you're trying to do a full sized ITS. New factory, new, much larger Raptor (current subscale Raptor would be fine for subscale ITS), need to dig a new flame trench, build a new HIF, new environmental permits, etc, etc.

Subscale ITS saves a lot of cash and is right-sized for launching their constellation.

Subscale BFR is. Subscale ITS, not so much. As usual, the revolutionary new things that ITS has to be designed for that SpaceX has not (yet) done before, are skipped over very lightly: spending months in outer space, landing propulsively on another planet, descending as a lifting body, spending years on a foreign planet and launching again. Developing all this dwarfs the cost of a new factory and launch facilities. Let alone the required time.

If that is not what you meant, be sure to quote the part of my post you did respond to.

Edit: If by 'ITS' you guys refer only to the booster, that would explain a lot about lj timelines you propose for its completion.
Lifting body and landing is something they need for Earth use of ITS. Even propellant transfer and long-duration capability provided by solar panels would be useful for direct GSO and other missions.

Im pretty sure the "economical" part of the new ITS approach is that they can use the base platform for replacing Falcon with this kind of fully reusable platform. That way they can get all the bugs worked out and save money on the marginal cost of launch. For Red Dragon, they'd only have gotten dual use for the landing tech if they could do Dragon 2 propulsive landing. For subscale ITS, they can take advantage of their landing tech every launch that they do, since the upper stage would be reused every flight (or very nearly every flight).

Also, I'm not sure the returning to Earth part will be done until people are sent.
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Online matthewkantar

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #774 on: 07/17/2017 02:04 PM »
If Red Dragon is off the table, and propulsive landings of Dragon 2 on Earth are no longer a thing, is it possible some unexpected problem came up with the concept of landing on Super Dracos? It has been a long time since seeing tether tests and no flights have been reported. Is there some sort of unimagined stumbling block in the way?

Matthew

Offline envy887

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #775 on: 07/17/2017 02:15 PM »
If Red Dragon is off the table, and propulsive landings of Dragon 2 on Earth are no longer a thing, is it possible some unexpected problem came up with the concept of landing on Super Dracos? It has been a long time since seeing tether tests and no flights have been reported. Is there some sort of unimagined stumbling block in the way?

Matthew

NASA is the main customer for Dragon 2 and wasn't willing to accept the additional risk at this point. SpaceX has other things to work on right now and so are removing unnecessary work and unnecessary risk makes it easier to hit both the timeline and LOM/LOC goals for NASA.

Red Dragon seems to be off the table in order to focus now on Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy, and then move asap to BFR/BFS. I suspect they will try hard to hit the 2020 window with BFS to Mars.

Online jpo234

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #776 on: 07/17/2017 02:21 PM »
Red Dragon seems to be off the table in order to focus now on Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy, and then move asap to BFR/BFS. I suspect they will try hard to hit the 2020 window with BFS to Mars.

It's really hard to see how they can build a complete Mars stack in a little bit more than 2 years. Simply building the launch pad will take longer.
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline envy887

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #777 on: 07/17/2017 02:34 PM »
Red Dragon seems to be off the table in order to focus now on Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy, and then move asap to BFR/BFS. I suspect they will try hard to hit the 2020 window with BFS to Mars.

It's really hard to see how they can build a complete Mars stack in a little bit more than 2 years. Simply building the launch pad will take longer.

The 2020 window is mid July to late August of 2020, which is 36 to 37 months from now. They could do it if they go sub-scale with a less than 12 meter diameter, use a lot of existing infrastructure, drop a few of the long-pole technologies (carbon fiber LOX tanks, launch mount landing) and are a little further along with Raptor than we think.

Coincidentally, if they launch in August and use a high-energy ~90-day transfer, they would attempt a landing only a few days before the 2020 election in the US.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 02:37 PM by envy887 »

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #778 on: 07/17/2017 02:42 PM »
Red Dragon seems to be off the table in order to focus now on Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy, and then move asap to BFR/BFS. I suspect they will try hard to hit the 2020 window with BFS to Mars.

It's really hard to see how they can build a complete Mars stack in a little bit more than 2 years. Simply building the launch pad will take longer.

The 2020 window is mid July to late August of 2020, which is 36 to 37 months from now. They could do it if they go sub-scale with a less than 12 meter diameter, use a lot of existing infrastructure, drop a few of the long-pole technologies (carbon fiber LOX tanks, launch mount landing) and are a little further along with Raptor than we think.

Coincidentally, if they launch in August and use a high-energy ~90-day transfer, they would attempt a landing only a few days before the 2020 election in the US.

What launch pad?

LC-39A is untouchable because of Commercial Crew.
SLC-40 is just being rebuild for Falcon 9 and probably too small for a Super Heavy (even if it's smaller than a full BFR).
Boca Chica?
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 02:44 PM by jpo234 »
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline envy887

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Re: Red Dragon Discussion Thread (2)
« Reply #779 on: 07/17/2017 03:52 PM »
What launch pad?

LC-39A is untouchable because of Commercial Crew.
SLC-40 is just being rebuild for Falcon 9 and probably too small for a Super Heavy (even if it's smaller than a full BFR).
Boca Chica?

Boca Chica, unless they can build a crew tower at 40 and convince NASA to move back there.

Spacex has never met a development schedule.

Then they slip to the 2022 window. Red Dragon might have slipped to 2022 anyway...

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