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Advanced Concepts / Re: Realistic, near-term, rotating Space Station
« Last post by Paul451 on Today at 12:19 PM »
I think even Bigelow Aerospace has stopped using the term inflatable, in favour of expandable, to get away from the notion of a balloon which can pop.

I thought they've always avoided using "inflatable". But the pedant in me gets annoyed at their choice. Balloons also "expand". And non-stretching tyres are "inflated". They're making a distinction that doesn't exist in the actual words.

The main advantage of solid modules is that the on-orbit setup period is much reduced, because you already installed everything into the module while it was on the ground - including some facilities which might be impossible/very difficult to install in an expandable once on-orbit.

Bigelow's design has a truss core and two rigid end-caps where most equipment goes, and at least some can presumably do so before launch. (Depending on how much it needs to telescope when packed for launch. A 13m BA-330 in a 11m fairing, for example, should be able to carry a lot.)
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Polls Section / Re: When will the first BFS be unveiled?
« Last post by TripleSeven on Today at 12:16 PM »
From a historical and technological development "interest" human space travel was just born to early...it was forced by cold war politics, particularly in human space flight to a level that was unsustainable from an economic standpoint...and then crashed fairly quickly when the interest dissolved.  Anyone who had half a brain in the 80's could see almost from the start the shuttle system did not have a chance of working...

The hardware for doing first stage recoveries ala falcon 9 was available quite early - it was basically in more-or-less its modern state in 1986 when GPS kicked off. Even moderately before then. In 1966, it would have been a considerably larger penalty, and would likely have involved several more ships to do ranging for example.

The key wasn't the technology, but the approach.
BFR, if it is in fact reusable to the extent hoped, or close, will have succeeded if it wholly fails to meet its goals on payload.
Fifty tons to orbit will not meaningfully affect any applications. (before ISRU on Mars kicks off).





Its not relevant as its purely historical but I dont think that the software and the computers existed for the autolanding systems that the Falcon rocket (and I assume BFR etc) use today back in the 80's much less in the 60's.  My experience with autoland development and performance based navigation (including approaches to CATIIIB) is that the "machines" simply did not exist.  The shuttle from the late 70's era has autoland but it was not propulsive autoland and did so off a rather complicated land based navigation system.

(as an aside technologies are interactive...in the commercial airplane world without EFIS systems, even with GPS etc, Performance based navigation would be nearly impossible )

like I say though it doesnt matter as it is historical.

I agree with you that the key part of BFR and also in my view its biggest challenge is to be reusable to some "large number of cycles"...and there well we can only wait and see how that unfolds.

My view based on technological history is that the road to "get there" is going to be very long and involve a reasonable amount of "blocks".

What I dont know, but what would temper my opinion somewhat is how much of each "rebuilding, restoring and simply checking" that they have had to do with the block 4's they have reused (only once)  and how near they thought the basic systems and hardware were to "end of life".  they must have thought that they were close since they expended the Block4's. (although I recognize they were going on to the Block 5 so that was some incentive anyway)

One of three big questions that await SpaceX this next year..is what cycle the Block 5's can maintain (ie how many uses they get) and what the curve is on maintenance and cost to get to that cycle limit.  They wont know that until they actually try it and get some real flight ops knowledge.

my "guess" (and that is all it is) is that they will be lucky to get to 10 with each booster on the block 5.  I would love to be wrong, but even if they get to 10 that will be a MAJOR advancement in the state of the art.

Also if they can get to 10 and what it takes them to get to 10 will have in my view a large impact on future vehicles as they are designed and built.

the amazing thing in technology development is that the B707 was the success that it was...but by the time it flew in 58, Boeing had learned an amazing amount about "reusability" in airplanes from the B47 and B52... I dont have the numbers here in Istanbul, but its an amazing "arc" of improvement as both of the planes went from prototype to flight ops...and that is why the 707 was such an immediate success in terms of lowering the "revenue seat mile"

I think that the next two years of SpaceX operating the Block 5's may well be one of the most interesting in the technological history of spaceflight.  It certainly will go over ground in space operations that has never been gone over before...

but I would be quick to add this...this is only the launch equation.  Crewing the thing and the systems associated with that...is going to be an entirely new set of learning curves.

it is going to be a fun next 10-15 years in my view



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Gary Jordan is our today's PAO...
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Thanks Chris.  Just wanted to highlight this bit to ensure people didn't miss it:
Quote
...after discovering a minor tubing leak in the ground support equipment during final processing. The tubing is being repaired, and the spacecraft is healthy....

The leak was on the spacecraft's GSE not on the spacecraft itself. 
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Alex: "We are ready in the Cupola, for Cygnus release"
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