Poll

When will SpaceX launch their first Red Dragon mission to Mars?

2018 window
87 (49.7%)
2020 window
69 (39.4%)
2022 window
11 (6.3%)
2024 window
3 (1.7%)
Never
5 (2.9%)

Total Members Voted: 175

Voting closed: 07/23/2016 11:49 PM


Author Topic: POLL: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?  (Read 14144 times)

Offline redliox

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1720
  • Arizona USA
  • Liked: 323
  • Likes Given: 54
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #20 on: 06/26/2016 08:30 AM »
With a star chart in one hand and roll of duct tape in another, come hell or high water, they will throw a Dragon to Mars in 2018.
2018 for sure. Looking at previous Mars missions, what they're proposing to do is much less complex. They're also smart enough to describe it as a "test flight" so just like the first F9 landing attempts, they can point to a failure as a learning experience and a probable outcome.

I'm likewise willing to be optimistic for 2018.  One advantage the capsule will have: it doesn't need  life support to be installed like its LEO counterparts.  Rocketry, both FH and retropropulsion, would be an item to watch.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Online Barrie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Planets are a waste of space
  • Liked: 185
  • Likes Given: 2312
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #21 on: 06/26/2016 08:56 AM »
With a star chart in one hand and roll of duct tape in another, come hell or high water, they will throw a Dragon to Mars in 2018.
2018 for sure. Looking at previous Mars missions, what they're proposing to do is much less complex. They're also smart enough to describe it as a "test flight" so just like the first F9 landing attempts, they can point to a failure as a learning experience and a probable outcome.

I'm likewise willing to be optimistic for 2018.  One advantage the capsule will have: it doesn't need  life support to be installed like its LEO counterparts.  Rocketry, both FH and retropropulsion, would be an item to watch.

Yes, I can't see them not putting together an EDL test in time, even if it only delivers a tin of Spam for the Vikings.  They shouldn't be afraid of embarrassment, as any failure at Mars probably wouldn't produce any newsworthy footage, but success would.

Offline kch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1732
  • Liked: 467
  • Likes Given: 8362
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #22 on: 06/26/2016 09:19 AM »
With a star chart in one hand and roll of duct tape in another, come hell or high water, they will throw a Dragon to Mars in 2018.
2018 for sure. Looking at previous Mars missions, what they're proposing to do is much less complex. They're also smart enough to describe it as a "test flight" so just like the first F9 landing attempts, they can point to a failure as a learning experience and a probable outcome.

I'm likewise willing to be optimistic for 2018.  One advantage the capsule will have: it doesn't need  life support to be installed like its LEO counterparts.  Rocketry, both FH and retropropulsion, would be an item to watch.

Yes, I can't see them not putting together an EDL test in time, even if it only delivers a tin of Spam for the Vikings.  They shouldn't be afraid of embarrassment, as any failure at Mars probably wouldn't produce any newsworthy footage, but success would.

That'd get them singing!  ;D

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8621
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 5370
  • Likes Given: 3555
Well, there's this poll:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37233.0

Reporting my own post to the Mods...


Different (although similar) polls, my own personal opinion would be to leave them both (but I encourage the poll starters to crosslink by giving links to the other poll in their first post)

(mod hat off)

For this one, I voted 2020, I think Robotbeat's assessment that there is a 40% chance of 2018 is pretty accurate. I usually go pretty optimistic so I'm surprised I went this way. Hope I'm wrong and it goes in 2018...
« Last Edit: 06/26/2016 02:59 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline TaurusLittrow

  • Member
  • Posts: 76
  • Pennsylvania, USA
  • Liked: 53
  • Likes Given: 22
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #24 on: 06/26/2016 03:14 PM »
2018, at about 70%.

I find it difficult to believe that FH and Dragon 2 won't be flying at that point.  So on the grounds that "something" is better than "nothing" I think they'll throw one in the right direction with as much on board as they are able to have ready.  Now, I'd give them low odds of being able to do much useful with it other than EDL (ISRU testing is out until 20), but EDL by itself is valuable enough that the only thing I see holding them back is their ablility to manufacture Dragons quickly enough.

Exactly. Red Dragon will be a substantially unmodified Dragon 2 vehicle and Falcon Heavy will have already flown. The 2018 window will drive the SpaceX team...maybe to exhaustion and some early coronaries. But there's a fair chance they'll make it. Don't expect the Hawthorne parking lot to empty at 5 pm. Like Apollo.

Offline arachnitect

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1438
  • Liked: 384
  • Likes Given: 456
2022.

I could see 2020 happening, but I'd wager the chances of 2018 at something like 12 to 1 against.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4262
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 2855
  • Likes Given: 952
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #26 on: 06/27/2016 12:52 PM »
Why is two years enough for the project to evolve that much? Is it something magic about the alignment of the planets that helps SpaceX make great strides forward in two years time? ;-) Really... how come it won't take three years? Or five?

Ok you got me, 'maximise' was the wrong word.

My opinion is simply that FH will be ready in 2017 & I think commercial crew with Dragon 2 will start at some point in 2018. But I think Red Dragon being ready for launch in the 2018 window is too tight. Another 26 months feels enough to me for Elon to be happy to launch in 2020.

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2075
  • Liked: 257
  • Likes Given: 310
I'd like to think 2020 is realistic, but given the delays to everything else..

Falcon Heavy 5 years and counting...
Reusable Dragon 7 years and counting...
Crewed Dragon 8 years and counting...
Falcon 9 reuse 11 years and counting...

I'll go for 2022


« Last Edit: 06/30/2016 04:47 AM by Dalhousie »
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Endeavour_01

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
I went a bit pessimistic and voted 2022. I think 2018 is highly unlikely given that both FH and Dragon 2 have yet to fly with FH having a payload backlog and most of the Dragon 2 resources going to commercial crew. 2020 is more achievable but with all the other things SpaceX will be trying to achieve, the short launch window, and the SpaceX time dilation factor I erred on the side of caution.



I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5156
  • Liked: 783
  • Likes Given: 542
I'm with Dalhousie and Endeavour_01: 2022.

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6041
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2019
  • Likes Given: 691
We're about a quarter of the way through the poll period, and right now about half of respondents think SpaceX will make the 2018 window, and half think it will be 2020 or later. Interesting.

~Jon

Offline Comga

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3912
  • Liked: 1232
  • Likes Given: 1050
We're about a quarter of the way through the poll period, and right now about half of respondents think SpaceX will make the 2018 window, and half think it will be 2020 or later. Interesting.

~Jon

Looked at another way, 90% believe that it will be before 2022. 
That is, either 2018 as announced, only two years away, or a single slip to 2020
That is high confidence.
Or Kool-aid drinking
Time will tell
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline billh

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 295
  • Houston
  • Liked: 136
  • Likes Given: 107
We're about a quarter of the way through the poll period, and right now about half of respondents think SpaceX will make the 2018 window, and half think it will be 2020 or later. Interesting.

~Jon

Looked at another way, 90% believe that it will be before 2022. 
That is, either 2018 as announced, only two years away, or a single slip to 2020
That is high confidence.
Or Kool-aid drinking
Time will tell

Yep. I took a long draught of the Kool-Aid and voted 2020.

Offline high road

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 688
  • Europe
  • Liked: 176
  • Likes Given: 43
I originally thought 2020 was more realistic, but considering they still have to launch and mature Falcon Heavy, get Dragon v2 flying and human rated, relaunch first stages and Dragons (this pays the bills, so I think they're going to devote a lot of their efforts to these projects while simultaneously workin on Red Dragon), I'm going for 2022.

Offline RonM

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2126
  • Atlanta, Georgia USA
  • Liked: 998
  • Likes Given: 777
I think SpaceX has a pretty good chance of launching Red Dragon in 2018. They have been discussing this for years, so SpaceX may have been working on this for quite some time. It is an EDL test. No need to develop a complex science package. While that would be nice, developing a science package takes time and would push the mission back years. A simple weather station and some cheap cameras would do.

If SpaceX wants to land people on Mars in the next decade, they need to get testing done ASAP.

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8184
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2954
  • Likes Given: 710
I wonder if there's any hope that September's announcement will be about the short term plan as well as the long term. Most of us tend to think Elon is designing the "exploration" architecture to be a subset of the colonization architecture - but what if there's a plan for a Dragon + Hab precursor?

« Last Edit: 07/04/2016 10:51 PM by QuantumG »
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?

Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2174
  • Likes Given: 2687
I voted 2018, mainly because sometimes I'm an irrational optimist...   :)

But I won't be disappointed if it's after 2018.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online abaddon

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1506
  • Liked: 940
  • Likes Given: 752
Voted 2020.  2018 is possible, but everything has to go right for it to happen.  More realistically I expect slips in the Crew Dragon schedule and that SpaceX will be too busy with that effort to spend enough time on Red Dragon to make it worthwhile.  It doesn't help that the end of the 2018 window is in May...

Offline Paul451

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1276
  • Australia
  • Liked: 626
  • Likes Given: 531
Re: When will the first Red Dragon mission be launched to Mars?
« Reply #38 on: 07/19/2016 12:37 AM »
Voted 2020.

But to argue against myself, Red Dragon is actually simpler than Dragon-Crew. They already have everything they need for a Mars landing, provided FH is reliable by 2018, the rest is just proving the thrusters can operate after long-duration exposure, and proving the radiation shielding of the control systems, and proving that is Red Dragon. So the hold-up I'm picturing isn't any technical development, but simply that there are so many other things on their books, there just aren't enough hours in the day between now and 2018.

[Beyond 2022, I can't see them bothering with Dragon to Mars. With a launch date for BFR in the mid-2020s, they'd have at least locked down the main design for BFS by 2024, even allowing for Elon-time. If they haven't launched Red Dragon in 2022, they'd drop it and plan for a BFS test-flight to Mars in 2026 or 2028/29.]

Is it something magic about the alignment of the planets that helps SpaceX make great strides forward in two years time? ;-) Really... how come it won't take three years? Or five?

Uh... yeah.

Offline Comga

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3912
  • Liked: 1232
  • Likes Given: 1050
Is it something magic about the alignment of the planets that helps SpaceX make great strides forward in two years time? ;-) Really... how come it won't take three years? Or five?

Uh... yeah.

sdsds: Google "synodic period" and "Hohmann transfer"
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?