Author Topic: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing  (Read 4142 times)

Online hkultala

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A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« on: 10/01/2017 12:18 PM »
Based on opinion.

1) They are not doing SSTO from earth.

BFS lacks the T/W with tanks full and very SERIOUSLY lacks T/W with engines that work well in atmosphere. The first stage is there for a very good purpose.


2) They are not mass-producing many different-sized versions of raptor in parallel. They are now going to the engine with about 170 tonne thrust, with different nozzles for vacuum and atmospheric operation. Initial versions of the same engine size may have lower thrust due lower pressure and later versions may have higher thrust due greater pressure, but they will mass-produce only chamber size, one pump at a time.
 

3) They are not making reusable second stage for Falcon 9/FH. All the extra engineering work not required to service customers who have already signed goes to BFR project.


4) They will not be making BFR/BFS out of cluster of 3.7 meter tanks. These would weight much more etc. Saturn 1 was a quick hack to get Apollo capsule to the orbit as quickly as possible, but a very unoptimal solution.


5) They are not going to do versions of FH with different amount than 27 first stage engines or different tank sizes.


6) They will not be making multi-chamber main engines.


edit: added later

7) Raptor-based upper stage for Falcon 9/FH. They will go all the way into full BFR/BFS.


8 ) They will not drop FH now when it's ready and delay all FH missions ~5 years to move them to BFR/BFS.


9) They will not switch back to 12m BFR/BFS , at least until their Mars colony already exists.

Their facilities can handle 9m but not 12m, their engines are sized for 9m, not 12m. 9m is much better for general purpose usage.


10) They will not use F9 as extra side boosters to BFR/BFS. Way too much complexity, both increasing operating costs and decreasing reliability considrably. And the want to phase out F9 eventually. etc. And no need, the rocket has enough capacity without these.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2017 05:03 PM by hkultala »

Offline Proponent

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #1 on: 10/01/2017 12:21 PM »
Could we add that SpaceX is not developing a Raptor-powered second stage for F9 or FH?

Offline Semmel

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #2 on: 10/01/2017 12:44 PM »
I hope the list above breathes a bit of realism into people with overenthusiastic needs to speculate. The quality of this site depends on this. There is so much room where speculation is required, but most often a sense of pragmatism would do a lot more as well.

To add:
* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially
* No smaller sized prototypes
* No use of metallic tanks, carbon fibre all the way
* No artificial gravity, at least not initially
* No launch abort system

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #3 on: 10/01/2017 12:57 PM »
I don't like this kind of thread. A few years ago people would have put "no landing at sea" on the list. It's better to just let people speculate.

In particular nuclear is something that people top management at SpaceX have expressed an interest in. Both for surface power and nuclear-thermal propulsion.

Offline jpo234

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #4 on: 10/01/2017 01:08 PM »


* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially

Gwynne Shotwell recently at MIT:
https://mobile.twitter.com/charlottelowey/status/913145922976190464
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.

Online AbuSimbel

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #5 on: 10/01/2017 01:39 PM »
I don't like this kind of thread. A few years ago people would have put "no landing at sea" on the list. It's better to just let people speculate.

In particular nuclear is something that people top management at SpaceX have expressed an interest in. Both for surface power and nuclear-thermal propulsion.
Yeah calm down people. I'm sure Chris has enough space on NSF's servers for these topics that you find pointless. Maybe they're not.
Failure is not only an option, it's the only way to learn.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #6 on: 10/01/2017 01:46 PM »


* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially

Gwynne Shotwell recently at MIT:
https://mobile.twitter.com/charlottelowey/status/913145922976190464

They might have been thinking of using said nuclear materials for surface power rather than propulsion. Tom Mueller has made suggestions of it being beneficial for that purpose relative to solar.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Online gongora

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #7 on: 10/01/2017 02:06 PM »
I hope the list above breathes a bit of realism into people with overenthusiastic needs to speculate. The quality of this site depends on this. There is so much room where speculation is required, but most often a sense of pragmatism would do a lot more as well.

To add:
* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially
* No smaller sized prototypes
* No use of metallic tanks, carbon fibre all the way
* No artificial gravity, at least not initially
* No launch abort system

This list may be correct for the vehicle just announced but not for their long-term goals.

Online Lar

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #8 on: 10/01/2017 02:26 PM »
(fan)
I'm not sure I think this thread is a good idea. Let people speculate and if you don't want to read teh thread, don't. Some of the stuff on the combined list (taken from all the posts so far combined) is stuff that I believe SpaceX WILL do, just not at first (nuclear surface power) and some is stuff that they might be forced into rather than give up on BFR/BFS (metallic tanks)

I agree that a lot of the stuff is unlikely but we don't for sure know that it is completely off the table. For example.... Just one size Raptor makes sense to ME but may not be how things go.

(mod) No action at this time but if this thread turns into a speculation bash fest, I'll reconsider. Speculation is OK, within limits.
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Offline speedevil

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #9 on: 10/01/2017 02:32 PM »
1) No SSTO.

SSTO, no. But the stage can do very significant non-orbital hops on its own power.


Offline jpo234

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #10 on: 10/01/2017 03:25 PM »


* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially

Gwynne Shotwell recently at MIT:
https://mobile.twitter.com/charlottelowey/status/913145922976190464

They might have been thinking of using said nuclear materials for surface power rather than propulsion. Tom Mueller has made suggestions of it being beneficial for that purpose relative to solar.

https://twitter.com/charlottelowey/status/913219813882912768
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 Semmel

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #11 on: 10/01/2017 07:41 PM »
I might have overstepped with my post a bit. Sorry about that. I also dont want to stop people from speculation. Just to get some more sense and reflection upon what is actually likely to happen.

Often people speculate because they like a topic, not because its actually based on a need from SpaceX or a hint. Words of a tweet or interview are taken out of context in order to feed a specific speculation. This just decreases the signal to noise on this site. And "dont read it if you dont like it" doesnt help because one has to read it to evaluate if its actually viable or not. I dont want to prejudge people. I take every post seriously. And I do that because here are many more actually well thought through points than anywhere else I know. It does becomes increasingly difficult over time to find the well made points under all the heaps of speculation. And it is tiring, it was especially bad just before the announcement. That was the source of my frustration.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #12 on: 10/01/2017 07:45 PM »
Sadly no dev. of an F-1 class engine which they were promising for many years until 2-3 years ago.

Appears SpaceX have no interest in VASIMR so extremely unlikely they will dev. one.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #13 on: 10/01/2017 07:49 PM »
* No use of metallic tanks, carbon fibre all the way
Falcon family has metallic tanks. BFR will have CF tanks so no more metallic tanks after Falcon family production stops.

Offline Jim

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #14 on: 10/02/2017 12:34 AM »
Could we add that SpaceX is not developing a Raptor-powered second stage for F9 or FH?

I am going to post this again.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #15 on: 10/02/2017 01:54 AM »


* No sci fi propulsion like nuclear or enormous solar electric
* No nuclear power for surface operation, at least not initially

Gwynne Shotwell recently at MIT:
https://mobile.twitter.com/charlottelowey/status/913145922976190464


Nuclear power would be very useful for early power on a Mars base.
NTR engines would cut the propellant load needed for TMI in half though I think they'll stick with chemical engines here for the near future.
Though they may be more interested in whats called a radio heater unit.

One thing I can say Spacex probably won't do is liquid hydrogen chemical engines as they seem content with hydrocarbon ones.

I can't say no on solar electric and VASIMR as a solar electric tug would drastically reduce the number of launches needed for GTO and cargo missions.
« Last Edit: 10/02/2017 02:08 AM by Patchouli »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #16 on: 10/02/2017 02:06 AM »
NTR isn't worth it unless 60 day trip times is too long and you want more like 30 or 40.
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Online Lar

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #17 on: 10/02/2017 04:18 AM »
Surface power on the other hand makes a lot of sense... at some point a solar infrastructure will be bootstrapped, it doesn't make sense not to... but for initial power a small reactor might mass less and be more plug and go...
"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

Online Robotbeat

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #18 on: 10/02/2017 04:21 AM »
Surface power on the other hand makes a lot of sense... at some point a solar infrastructure will be bootstrapped, it doesn't make sense not to... but for initial power a small reactor might mass less and be more plug and go...
Initial reactor needs to be like 1 Megawatt, though. Kilopower is only up to 10kW, you'd need 100 of them... & they're expensive. And nothing else is really under development.
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Offline rakaydos

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Re: A list of things SpaceX will unlikely be doing
« Reply #19 on: 10/02/2017 05:02 AM »
NTR isn't worth it unless 60 day trip times is too long and you want more like 30 or 40.

I wonder...

Hmm.. Atomic Rockets says Methane is a crappy NTR fuel, because the heat breaks the fuel down into hydrogen (awesome NTR fuel) and elemental carbon (with a tendancy to soot up the engine in a way that O2/methane burning doesnt)

Otherwise, the thought would be a NTR tug designed to fit in a BFR-cargo, and mate with the BFR refueling pipes to run off the BFR's own tanks.

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