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IIRC, the context of the question is the common belief that Earth needs, or will need, natural resources from other Planets or asteroids to bring back for Earth's economy. Musk always gets a question like that.  Musk has addressed that many times before. There is no need, nor the economics, nor the available mass, at least for the foreseeable future, for  that resource belief.

I'll buy that.. but I still think he's wrong. If he succeeds in making colonization affordable then mining stuff for markets on Earth has to be affordable too. If you can send a person to Mars, along with everything they need to support themselves, for a mere $500k, then it's simply obvious that two-way trade of manufactured goods between Mars and Earth is also profitable because there's manufactured goods that are worth more than $500/ton or $1000/ton or even $5000/ton (if you're thinking of sending skinny colonists with nothing but the clothes on their backs, that's the threshold you'll argue). We don't even need to start talking about gold which is worth $48.2 million / ton (!) or platinum which is worth even more.  $500k/colonist implies solar system wide exploitation. Of course, if you want to argue that the ground worms on Earth won't be the richest humans in the solar system for very long with that going on, I'd be happy to agree.
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SpaceX General Section / Re: Gwynne Shotwell Keynote at WE14
« Last post by Oli on Today at 03:13 AM »
All SpaceX's reuse stuff was premature. Work on Dragon was premature. People said that skipping Falcon 5 and dropping F9v1.0 (and F1) was premature, but those look like excellent decisions right now (how much can change in just over a year!).

I never said any of those projects were premature, he did what the market asked for. Except reusability maybe, but that's an ongoing project. If I were SpaceX I'd try to improve F9R performance.

BFR and Raptor are in another league. But hey, I won't complain if somebody is willing to spend the money.

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SpaceX General Section / Re: Musk's colony philosophy
« Last post by Robotbeat on Today at 03:07 AM »
Yeah, I agree with Musk's multiplanetary-or-destruction thesis, but it's a matter of who's going to be the c̶h̶u̶m̶p̶  courageous initial colonists to get the colonization ball rolling, because obviously the risk is highest for the earliest arrivals, and goes down considerably as colonization becomes more entrenched and more adapted to the environment. I can picture a lot of sensible people with $500K+ saying "why don't you go first and I'll, uhh, hold your coat..."

Musk is obviously sober in his pursuit of building vehicles which can travel to Mars, but is he underestimating the challenges of maintaining a sustainable presence there? Building space launch vehicles can be financed by the obvious existing market for putting satellites in Earth orbit, but that same limited market won't be financing the colonization of Mars. So there is that risk of finding a new market and in maintaining financial support in pursuit of it.

What if the Chinese, or Jeff Bezos, are not as Mars-colonization-minded, and end up making inroads into SpaceX's basic market - launching satellites into Earth orbit - while Musk is busy pursuing his higher noble goals? I'm not trying to be a pessimist or party-pooper here, I'm just trying to consider the possible  obstacles or downsides that we usually don't talk about while we're all staring longingly at Mars.
Bezos is space-crazy like Musk, so I don't think that it'd be bad if Bezos made in-roads to Musk's market. Both want millions of people living and working in space. Competition is good.

Chinese aren't terribly nimble, they just have low wages compared to the developed world, but that discrepancy is decreasing as Chinese wages increase (which is good for the Chinese people and probably for everyone else, too). Frankly, I don't think the Chinese are much of a threat unless and until Chinese entrepreneurs get their footing (right now, Chinese aerospace is very gov't-heavy, worse even than the US). I don't think the Chinese gov't can long afford to subsidize most of the cost of all the world's competitive launch services (which they'd have to do in order for their expendables to compete with SpaceX's reusables).
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Here is my best shot.

IIRC, the context of the question is the common belief that Earth needs, or will need, natural resources from other Planets or asteroids to bring back for Earth's economy. Musk always gets a question like that.  Musk has addressed that many times before. There is no need, nor the economics, nor the available mass, at least for the foreseeable future, for  that resource belief. That does not mean, that Mars has nothing of perceived or real value, just nothing that requires a dedicated return mission, and regular Earth-Mars trading.  But if the ship is going back to Earth anyway, you can put some things or people in it.  It is just hard to see anything physical on Mars, for the foreseeable future, that would be valuable enough for dedicated return missions. The demand for physical goods will be one way, from Earth to Mars, for a very, very, very  long time.

There is stuff on Mars that you or Musk don't know what it is. Everything else is a bit of a conceit.
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We'd be very lucky if it makes to the 4th season...
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SpaceX General Section / Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates
« Last post by Jdeshetler on Today at 03:02 AM »
Is that a new Payload Processing Hanger in the rear of HIF at Helodriver's lower photo?
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As well as floating down if any of the space elevator ribbon reenters the atmosphere at orbital speed it will get hot and catch fire.  Pure carbon burns to carbon dioxide gas.

The space elevator is not moving at orbital speed unless it breaks at the anchor, in which case it rockets straight out into space.

However, hilarity ensues if it brakes at the top. It would start (slowly at first) to wind around the earth as the planet spins in the opposite direction. It would pick up speed after a few windings until it snaps and parts of it whip out into space while the remainder rains down.  I imagine they'd blow the bottom of the tether in any scenario to keep this from happening. ..

There are great animations of broken tethers here:http://gassend.net/spaceelevator/break

A fixed link:
http://gassend.net/spaceelevator/breaks/
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SpaceX General Section / Re: Gwynne Shotwell Keynote at WE14
« Last post by Robotbeat on Today at 02:59 AM »
Musk seems to think he can invent markets.

Well he hasn't so far.
Not really arguing, but many people would point to Tesla and Dragon. Dragon was due to the timing of the Columbia accident, so was chance for him, not due to his skill.
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There is possibly a market for a simplified, two-stage fully reusable BFR.

Simply premature at this point.
All SpaceX's reuse stuff was premature. Work on Dragon was premature. People said that skipping Falcon 5 and dropping F9v1.0 (and F1) was premature, but those look like excellent decisions right now (how much can change in just over a year!).

But there is a market for Falcon Heavy, no doubt? SpaceX is going to build BFR regardless of whether or not it's premature. In the meantime, a simplified form of BFR can serve the FH market when it's ready (not before 6 years from now, so not anytime super soon!).

Personally, I find BFR/MCT a little outlandish at this point. I wouldn't give it more than a 50% chance of flying (at least before 2025). But still, if SpaceX conquers the world's medium and heavy launch markets while keeping the ability to innovate quickly, they certainly could do it. Just because it looks incredible right now doesn't mean it can't happen. It's just a matter of engineering (which they seem perfectly capable of) and financial ability (which should take care of itself if they're successful with F9R, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon, as now seems likely).
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Here is my best shot.

IIRC, the context of the question is the common belief that Earth needs, or will need, natural resources from other Planets or asteroids to bring back for Earth's economy. Musk always gets a question like that.  Musk has addressed that many times before. There is no need, nor the economics, nor the available mass, at least for the foreseeable future, for  that resource belief. That does not mean, that Mars has nothing of perceived or real value, just nothing that requires a dedicated return mission, and regular Earth-Mars trading.  But if the ship is going back to Earth anyway, you can put some things or people in it.  It is just hard to see anything physical on Mars, for the foreseeable future, that would be valuable enough for dedicated return missions. The demand for physical goods will be one way, from Earth to Mars, for a very, very, very  long time.
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From WorldView's site:

http://worldviewexperience.com/stratex/

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When Eustace was released from the balloon, his initial free fall was stabilized by a patent pending drogue parachute that prevents entanglement during the initial micro-gravity portion of the fall, and completely eliminates the possibility of spin upon descent. The main chute was then opened at around 18,000 feet, allowing for a controlled descent to a gentle landing.

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