Author Topic: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?  (Read 3517 times)

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #20 on: 12/06/2017 03:04 AM »
Actually they got pretty close to a robotic mission that can land 1t of useful payload on Mars. As it is, they still have a rocket that can push 16t through TMI, I wouldn't call that "nowhere close to Mars".

This thread assumed "get to Mars" meant with humans. It doesn't make sense any other way. If it meant with a robotic lander, NASA would have to slip Mars Insight 4 years and Mars 2020 2 years (not to mention they were on the surface in the 70s) . I was just following the convention of this discussion.

You can't get human to Mars in one step, there will be multiple milestones, I would call flying a launch vehicle that is 50% of a Saturn V a big milestone, it basically put them ahead of every space agency in the world in terms of launch capability. Another milestone would be landing the biggest robotic lander on Mars, it's unfortunate that this latter one had to be skipped.
« Last Edit: 12/06/2017 03:12 AM by su27k »

Online AncientU

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #21 on: 12/06/2017 11:43 AM »
Two thirds of a Saturn V.
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Online MATTBLAK

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #22 on: 12/06/2017 11:54 AM »
Yes; two thirds of a Saturn V in thrust, but with 'only' about half the lifting power in expendable mode. A Falcon Heavy with a 5.4 meter wide upper stage powered by a Raptor engine, or a fully cryogenic upper stage like the upcoming ULA Centaur 5 would give very impressive performance in fully expendable mode. The Saturn V's LH2 fueled upper stages really made the difference.

But we're very unlikely to see such a thing for the Falcon Heavy as I think it's going to have a relatively short career.
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #23 on: 12/06/2017 12:55 PM »
If you look at the major developments SpaceX has actually done up to now, they've generally had an anchor customer (e.g. F9 and Dragon development got serious when there was NASA commitment.) Ideas that don't attract such a customer (hello Red Dragon, Dragon lab...) tend to get discarded or indefinitely postponed.

I predict this pattern will continue.

And it is obvious why. The U.S. government is on the hook to put something like $10 billion into SpaceX(past and on contract). With that ~$10 billion, they will have done maybe ~10 satellite flights, put ~60 mT of cargo into LEO and transported a couple of dozen astronauts into LEO. ...

Also developed 3 or 4 new reusable or partially reusable launch vehicles, 2 new main propulsion systems, 1 or 2 unmanned reusable cargo spacecraft, 1 or 2 reusable manned spacecraft. All of which were developed for less than any comparable vehicle and can be operated for less than any comparable vehicle, lowering the cost of future operations.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #24 on: 12/06/2017 03:32 PM »
Yes; two thirds of a Saturn V in thrust, but with 'only' about half the lifting power in expendable mode. A Falcon Heavy with a 5.4 meter wide upper stage powered by a Raptor engine, or a fully cryogenic upper stage like the upcoming ULA Centaur 5 would give very impressive performance in fully expendable mode. The Saturn V's LH2 fueled upper stages really made the difference.

But we're very unlikely to see such a thing for the Falcon Heavy as I think it's going to have a relatively short career.

Well you probably can fitted a centaur in a RUAG PLF (like on the Atlas V 551)  with a probe to the outer system on top of the FH stack. As a super-sized kick motor. :)

Wandering what would be the C3 velocity of a fully expendable FH with a single engine Centaur "kick motor" lifting something twice as heavy as the New Horizon probe?


Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #25 on: 12/06/2017 04:39 PM »
Yes; two thirds of a Saturn V in thrust, but with 'only' about half the lifting power in expendable mode. A Falcon Heavy with a 5.4 meter wide upper stage powered by a Raptor engine, or a fully cryogenic upper stage like the upcoming ULA Centaur 5 would give very impressive performance in fully expendable mode. The Saturn V's LH2 fueled upper stages really made the difference.

But we're very unlikely to see such a thing for the Falcon Heavy as I think it's going to have a relatively short career.

Well you probably can fitted a centaur in a RUAG PLF (like on the Atlas V 551)  with a probe to the outer system on top of the FH stack. As a super-sized kick motor. :)

Wandering what would be the C3 velocity of a fully expendable FH with a single engine Centaur "kick motor" lifting something twice as heavy as the New Horizon probe?

I think Falcon Heavy can already send 3500 kg direct to Jupiter for a gravity assist, or a 1,000 probe about twice the size of New Horizons direct to Pluto.

With a Centaur 3rd stage it could send about 5,000 kg direct to Pluto, more than 10x New Horizons mass.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #26 on: 12/06/2017 05:14 PM »
Yes; two thirds of a Saturn V in thrust, but with 'only' about half the lifting power in expendable mode. A Falcon Heavy with a 5.4 meter wide upper stage powered by a Raptor engine, or a fully cryogenic upper stage like the upcoming ULA Centaur 5 would give very impressive performance in fully expendable mode. The Saturn V's LH2 fueled upper stages really made the difference.

But we're very unlikely to see such a thing for the Falcon Heavy as I think it's going to have a relatively short career.

Well you probably can fitted a centaur in a RUAG PLF (like on the Atlas V 551)  with a probe to the outer system on top of the FH stack. As a super-sized kick motor. :)

Wandering what would be the C3 velocity of a fully expendable FH with a single engine Centaur "kick motor" lifting something twice as heavy as the New Horizon probe?

I think Falcon Heavy can already send 3500 kg direct to Jupiter for a gravity assist, or a 1,000 probe about twice the size of New Horizons direct to Pluto.

With a Centaur 3rd stage it could send about 5,000 kg direct to Pluto, more than 10x New Horizons mass.
Was thinking of a flyby visit of Eris or flight beyond the scattered disc in a reasonable amount of time. So sling shoot around Jupiter and maybe Saturn will be needed along with a small ion drive. Hence the doubling of the mass from the New Horizon probe.

Online ncb1397

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #27 on: 12/06/2017 05:55 PM »
Two thirds of a Saturn V.

What orbit? If we are talking TLI, Saturn V did about 48,600 kg. It isn't on the Falcon Heavy webpage on SpaceX.com(They have GTO, LEO, Pluto and Mars), but it would be somewhere between the Mars number of 16,800 kg and the GTO number of 26,700 kg. So, it is probably less than half actually. LEO is the best orbit that favors kerolox which probably skews reality a bit if you only use that orbit. If we are talking fairing sizes, cross section supported by the 6.6 meter upper stage on Saturn V would be 3x what would be supported by a 3.7 meter upper stage assuming the same limit of fairing diameter to stage diameter. 

Offline punder

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #28 on: 12/06/2017 06:39 PM »
Thread title should really be "SpaceX or Certain Powerful Congressmen" because that is the reality. NASA's plans are effectively at the mercy of those Congressmen (you know who they are), no matter who the President is, or what he wants to do with the agency.

This is an old and trite assertion, but not because it isn't true. In fact it is blatantly obvious and I'm surprised someone hasn't brought it up already.

(If I just edged past the "space policy" line, mods feel free...)

And that leads me to conclude that SpaceX wins (barring Elon Musk's untimely demise). Because NASA is already performing the mission imposed on it. No actual space flight required.

Online MATTBLAK

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #29 on: 12/06/2017 08:10 PM »
The 'Flerthers' and Hoaxtards are already FILLING the internet with 'NASA doesn't do anything' memes. NASA and it's 'pork supporters' aren't doing themselves any favours... :'(
« Last Edit: 12/06/2017 08:10 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #30 on: 12/07/2017 06:52 AM »
And it is obvious why. The U.S. government is on the hook to put something like $10 billion into SpaceX(past and on contract). With that ~$10 billion, they will have done maybe ~10 satellite flights, put ~60 mT of cargo into LEO and transported a couple of dozen astronauts into LEO. That is half of Elon's net worth and they aren't anywhere close to Mars with that amount of cash infusion. Elon can't fund it himself(yet).

Your post is in dire need of some perspective:

- From 2006 to 2017 NASA has spent $12.4 billion on Orion with only one unmanned testflight to show for it.

- The total NASA investment in Orion, from it's start in 2006 to the end of the EM-2 mission in 2023 is ~ $20.4 billion. And that is without the cost for the Service Module as that bill is footed by ESA.

- From it's conception in 2011 to 2017 NASA has spent $10 billion on the Space Launch System with NO testflight to show for it.

- The total NASA investment in SLS, from it's start in 2011 to the end of the EM-2 mission in 2023 is ~ $17 billion. And that is without the CxP investment in the 5-segment SRB of approx $1 billion.

- NASA total investment in Boeing for CCP is $4.8 billion, whereas NASA total investment in SpaceX for CCP is just $3.2 billion. However, both providers fly the same number of crew rotation missions.

- NASA paid SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 CRS1 operational missions whereas Orbital got $1.9 billion for just 8 CRS1 missions.

- A CRS1 extension of 8 additional Cargo Dragon missions cost NASA just $700 million.


The ~ $10 billion the US government is paying to SpaceX is for the most part payment for "services provided". Only an estimated ~ $1.5 billion is actual investment money.

And as envy887 already pointed out: for that ~ $10 billion the US government got a helluvalot more than just the items listed in your post.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2017 07:16 AM by woods170 »

Offline Caleb Cattuzzo

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #31 on: 12/08/2017 07:56 PM »
For everyone saying NASA doesn't have a plan past DSG that is incorrect because EM6-10 will be doing a shakedown for the DST (Deep Space Transport) and preparing it for EM-11.Which will be a crewed flight to Mars orbit in 2033 beyond that we don't know much.The DST is a interesting concept since it will be reusable and its possible NASA might make multiple for multiple missions going on at once.I do think SpaceX will be the first to land a man on mars though but NASA just might make it to mars orbit before Elon.I don't really think it's a competition perhaps we might even see Elon Musk riding in the DST?Maybe a spacex designed lander with a DST mission. ;D 

(The image is a very early concept art the DSG will probably be expanded a bit since Roscosmos officially signed on to the DSG program the DST will probably be redesigned as well)   
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 08:04 PM by Caleb Cattuzzo »
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Online ncb1397

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #32 on: 12/08/2017 08:16 PM »
And it is obvious why. The U.S. government is on the hook to put something like $10 billion into SpaceX(past and on contract). With that ~$10 billion, they will have done maybe ~10 satellite flights, put ~60 mT of cargo into LEO and transported a couple of dozen astronauts into LEO. That is half of Elon's net worth and they aren't anywhere close to Mars with that amount of cash infusion. Elon can't fund it himself(yet).

Your post is in dire need of some perspective:

- From 2006 to 2017 NASA has spent $12.4 billion on Orion with only one unmanned testflight to show for it.

- The total NASA investment in Orion, from it's start in 2006 to the end of the EM-2 mission in 2023 is ~ $20.4 billion. And that is without the cost for the Service Module as that bill is footed by ESA.

- From it's conception in 2011 to 2017 NASA has spent $10 billion on the Space Launch System with NO testflight to show for it.

- The total NASA investment in SLS, from it's start in 2011 to the end of the EM-2 mission in 2023 is ~ $17 billion. And that is without the CxP investment in the 5-segment SRB of approx $1 billion.

- NASA total investment in Boeing for CCP is $4.8 billion, whereas NASA total investment in SpaceX for CCP is just $3.2 billion. However, both providers fly the same number of crew rotation missions.

- NASA paid SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 CRS1 operational missions whereas Orbital got $1.9 billion for just 8 CRS1 missions.

- A CRS1 extension of 8 additional Cargo Dragon missions cost NASA just $700 million.


The ~ $10 billion the US government is paying to SpaceX is for the most part payment for "services provided". Only an estimated ~ $1.5 billion is actual investment money.

And as envy887 already pointed out: for that ~ $10 billion the US government got a helluvalot more than just the items listed in your post.

You read negative connotation where there was none. I don't think the $10 billion for SpaceX was a waste of money. The point is that Elon could blow his $20 billion in space very easily. He is now planning to launch 4000 satellites (a sort of wrinkle in polar orbiting LEO constellations is you need nearly all of them up to give reliable internet access) and build a rocket an order of magnitude larger than Falcon 9 and a spacecraft two orders of magnitude larger than dragon.

They are going into telecommunications, right? Verizon spends $20 billion on operations in 10 weeks.

Elon has somewhat of a history of over-extending himself. Next time, a $500 million dollar loan from the DoE and a $1.6 billion dollar NASA contract won't be enough to save him. So, he needs to be careful.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 08:25 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline tdperk

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #33 on: 12/08/2017 11:43 PM »
If you look at the major developments SpaceX has actually done up to now, they've generally had an anchor customer (e.g. F9 and Dragon development got serious when there was NASA commitment.) Ideas that don't attract such a customer (hello Red Dragon, Dragon lab...) tend to get discarded or indefinitely postponed.

I predict this pattern will continue.

And it is obvious why. The U.S. government is on the hook to put something like $10 billion into SpaceX(past and on contract). With that ~$10 billion, they will have done maybe ~10 satellite flights, put ~60 mT of cargo into LEO and transported a couple of dozen astronauts into LEO. That is half of Elon's net worth and they aren't anywhere close to Mars with that amount of cash infusion. Elon can't fund it himself(yet).

I am not aware you can justify the claim SpaceX has the USGov "on the hook" for one red cent, let alone $10bn.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: SpaceX or NASA?Who will lead the way?
« Reply #34 on: 12/09/2017 12:23 AM »
This question makes no sense under crony capitalism.
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?

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