Author Topic: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.  (Read 17371 times)

Online Robotbeat

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How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« on: 04/25/2017 12:03 AM »
We know inaugural launch of Falcon Heavy is supposed to be with a reusable upper stage. Previous concept videos showed a VTVL upper stage that could basically function as a Mars lander, especially if it used subscale Raptors like the one SpaceX has been testing. Basically, we might see a prototype mini-BFS launch THIS YEAR.


With refueling, it could possibly be sent to Mars next year with some ground equipment for mining water and producing power. A big advantage of the mini-BFS concept is it means you only need a tenth as much power and water.

Crew launch in 2018 2020.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2017 11:21 PM by Robotbeat »
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Online smfarmer11

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #1 on: 04/25/2017 12:33 AM »
I don't know, that's a lot of technology to develop in a year and a half... Let alone by this fall/winter for the FH demo.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #2 on: 04/25/2017 12:52 AM »
https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/847882289581359104
"Considering trying to bring upper stage back on Falcon Heavy demo flight for full reusability. Odds of success low, but maybe worth a shot."

https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/850453029987917824
"Fairing is ~$5M, but that should be reusable this year. Am fairly confident we can reuse upper stage too by late next year to get to 100%.
4:59 PM · Apr 7, 2017"

And:
From robbak's transcript of SES-10 post launch press conference, "E" is Elon:

Quote
Robinson Manuel , with the New York Observer, Could you give us an update on the development of the Interplanetary Transport System, and what's next in terms of - what's the nex component to be tested following the carbon fuel tank and the Raptor engine?

E: I think we'll provide an update on the design of the Interplanetary Transport System - Interplanetary Transport System also includes the propellant depot on Mars - that's why it's sort of - I actually usually don't like the word 'system', but we can't call it a rocket if it includes a propellant depot. So the Mars planetery transporter or Mars Transporter, ir Interplanetary Transporter - We've come up with a number of desibn refinements, and I hope I'll be ready ot put that on the Website withing a month or so.

RM: Just want a follow-up The timeframe has shifted since Gh, I was wondering if if yuo guys had any updated timeframe of when you think that firstmission will be launched - If I'm correct, the first one is uncrewed amd I right

E: Yes the first one will be uncrewed, I don't want to steal thunder from that announcement. I'm pretty excited about the upgrades strategy since Gh, it makes a lot more sense, it's - we have to not just get it done technically, but figure out how to get this done without going bankrupt. So it's like, our goal is to get people on Mars before we're dead, and the company is dead. So like, either one of that. Ideally, the first. We don't want to take so long that dead by when that happens, and we don't want to kill the company in the process. So we have to figure out not just solve the technical issues, but the economic issues. I think the new approach is going to be able to do that. Hopefully.

Can't wait to see how they address the economic issues, let the speculation begin...
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 10:33 AM by Chris Bergin »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #3 on: 04/25/2017 12:58 AM »
Dates probably as reliable as previous estimates.
"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

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #4 on: 04/25/2017 01:09 AM »
Here's some evidence:
Quote
Trump, though, said he wanted a faster timeline. “Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term,” he said. “So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?”

He reiterated an accelerated timeframe later in the discussion. “I’m very proud that I just signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars,” he said, again referring to the authorization act. “So we’ll do that. I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking.”

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/trumps-exuberance-for-mars-faces-technical-and-fiscal-challenges/#sthash.TeuqqfLY.dpuf
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

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #5 on: 04/25/2017 01:15 AM »
Not to get into politics, but Trump isn't exactly a space nut. He really knows nothing about space other than what people have told him. Who would have possibly told him that it's possible to get to Mars within his first term except Musk? Musk is on Trump's tech advisory group.
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 friendly3

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #6 on: 04/25/2017 01:27 AM »
Quote
How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020

Easy, put a guy that has terminal cancer with one year left to live in the Red Dragon and send him on a one way trip to Mars in 2020.
Problem solved.

Offline su27k

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #7 on: 04/25/2017 01:33 AM »
A reusable upper stage does not equal mini-BFS, it could be as "simple" as a normal upper stage with added heatshield and steerable parachute. I don't see how they could have the resources to do any BFS before they finish what is already on their plate: Block 5, FH, Dragon 2.

(And Jim has been very insistent that there's no Raptor upper stage, I think he has more credibility than Trump...)
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 10:33 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline dcporter

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #8 on: 04/25/2017 01:36 AM »
Not to get into politics, but Trump isn't exactly a space nut. He really knows nothing about space other than what people have told him. Who would have possibly told him that it's possible to get to Mars within his first term except Musk? Musk is on Trump's tech advisory group.

Plausible connection. I think equally plausible that he was saying nonsense or was joking.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #9 on: 04/25/2017 01:39 AM »
Y'all think I'm wrong? Fight me!

A reusable upper stage does not equal mini-BFS, it could be as "simple" as a normal upper stage with added heatshield and steerable parachute. I don't see how they could have the resources to do any BFS before they finish what is already on their plate: Block 5, FH, Dragon 2.

(And Jim has been very insistent that there's no Raptor upper stage, I think he has more credibility than Trump...)
Could be, but we do not know. Previous videos have shown vertical landing.

And even with just a heatshield (and likely split flaps for steering...), it's still retiring a lot of risk for a miniBFS.

I don't think Jim was wrong even if what I'm describing here is true. Musk explicitly HAD abandoned the upper stage reuse, for instance, but plans change.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:11 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline topo334

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #10 on: 04/25/2017 02:32 AM »
Maybe nobody told Trump anything, perhaps he suffers from a fevered ummmm, imagination?

Online M_Puckett

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #11 on: 04/25/2017 02:36 AM »
The best you could hope for by 2020 would be a flyby with a minimal crew.  And that would still be super damn hard.

Online pippin

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How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #12 on: 04/25/2017 02:39 AM »
What's that "technology for mining water" and stuff? And how does this power generation work the Länder is supposed to do?
Quite a bit of unobtainium you are planning to launch next year, IMHO.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:39 AM by pippin »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #13 on: 04/25/2017 02:40 AM »
What's that "technology for mining water" and stuff? And how does this power generation work the Länder is supposed to do?
Quite a bit of unobtainium you are planning to launch next year, IMHO.
What makes you think SpaceX hasn't been working on it already? They were working on it for Red Dragon, which was supposed to launch next year.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:41 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Online pippin

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #14 on: 04/25/2017 02:44 AM »
What's that "technology for mining water" and stuff? And how does this power generation work the Länder is supposed to do?
Quite a bit of unobtainium you are planning to launch next year, IMHO.
What makes you think SpaceX hasn't been working on it already? They were working on it for Red Dragon.
Which they said won't make the '18 window.
Also: where does it say Red Dragon will mine water. Searching for water and mining water aren't exactly the same thing.

You still thing if you throw enough money at a problem it will get solved faster but below a certain schedule you just completely waste it.
You can't just hire a few thousand highly skilled people and expect them to be up to speed in their jobs tomorrow and the whole organization in place and everything, things don't work like that.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #15 on: 04/25/2017 02:52 AM »
No, I think SpaceX has been trying to solve the water mining problem for years. Why does everyone assume SpaceX has no secrets?

Additionally, 2020 is the earliest possible. Musk is also open to sending crew before full return propellant production is up and running, as evidenced by comments relating to ITS. Idea is that crew would finish the job of getting the ISRU plant up and running. You may think this is too risky for NASA to accept, and you're probably right, but this is the sort of thing Musk would keep in mind mentally when saying 2020 is possible.


I think people just aren't very good at imagining how you actually could do this by 2020. Can't get past the giggle factor. People don't even try, because they "know" it's impossible.

2020 is the earliest possible, but 2024 gives significant margin, if taking a similar approach.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:54 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline FishInferno

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #16 on: 04/25/2017 02:56 AM »
One of the stated purposes of the Red Dragons is to scout out multiple sites that could be used for a colony.  This approach puts a Yuge gamble on one colony site.

Yes, SpaceX could land the first crew anywhere and then land at the permanent colony site for future missions, but Elon has made it pretty clear that from the get-go, all missions will have the explicit job of building the colony.  A one-off landing just anywhere would be a waste of resources in the long run.
Comparing SpaceX and SLS is like comparing paying people to plant fruit trees with merely digging holes and filling them.  - Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #17 on: 04/25/2017 03:00 AM »
It's possible SpaceX first landing site wouldn't be their last try. I think they may prefer multiple trips to agonizing over a single spot.

And what's the difference between a one-off Red Dragon and a one-off reusable FH upper stage used as a lander? Might be similar in cost, neglecting the refueling flights.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 03:01 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #18 on: 04/25/2017 03:35 AM »
Reasons to believe it:

1) Musk likes to talk about the Mars colony as a "forcing function".  I've always taken that as meaning that once there are people on Mars, people on Earth won't want to stop resupplying them because that would sentence them all to death.  Sending a small number of people on a precursor mission is a sort of insurance policy for that -- not as good as having a big colony set up, but making it more likely that SpaceX's Mars plans will go forward even if Musk goes bankrupt.  Sending the early people means they have to finish ITS and fly it regularly, and that means the big colony can get started, and that just adds more pressure to never stop flying ITS.  So, basically, hostages.

2) Musk has a history of attempting crazy plans that are just barely plausible.  As SpaceX becomes more capable, what's barely plausible expands a great deal.

Reasons not to believe it:

1) There's only weak evidence for it.  The evidence seems to be from a few quotes that have more plausible mainstream interpretations.

2) Using a mini-BFR upper stage seriously compromises the business objectives of the Falcon Heavy demo flight.  If you're flying with a methane stage, you're not really testing the baseline Falcon Heavy configuration.  You're only testing the boosters.  You're not testing the full system, with a regular upper stage.  To be a good demo flight and assure customers Falcon Heavy won't splash their payloads, you want it to use the same upper stage regular Falcon Heavy flights will use.  But regular Falcon Heavy flights won't be using a methane upper stage, or that would cause all sorts of additional issues with building customer confidence.

3) They'd need to plumb 39A to support both methane and RP-1 at the same time.  That's a bunch more complication and delay.  Do they really want to do delay the introduction of their cash cow Falcon Heavy for that?

4) They wanted to get Red Dragon to Mars for the 2018 window, but they couldn't.  If they were too busy with other things to make that, it seems implausible that they could do the much more work for a human landing by 2020.

Offline FishInferno

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #19 on: 04/25/2017 03:48 AM »
And what's the difference between a one-off Red Dragon and a one-off reusable FH upper stage used as a lander? Might be similar in cost, neglecting the refueling flights.

I was including the subsequent crew flight in your scenario for the sake of my argument. 

Dragon is already being built with most of the R&D work done, and Red Dragon requires only a few modifications to the existing design.  By using Dragons, SpaceX can scout out landing sites before an ITS or mini ITS is completed, so by the time ITS is completed, it won't have to waste time scouting different sites. (I do not believe they have a ready-to-go mini ITS for the FH Demo)
Comparing SpaceX and SLS is like comparing paying people to plant fruit trees with merely digging holes and filling them.  - Robotbeat

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