Author Topic: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon  (Read 723711 times)

Offline SteveOliver

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2540 on: 02/12/2009 12:13 AM »
The blurb from SpaceX estimates 1000 "high quality" jobs at the Cape, with 14 astronauts per year to the station. Is that 1000 additional over the non-manned requirements? How does that level of staffing compare to other operations? Also, those 14 are an even multiple of Dragon's capacity, so is he proposing just 2 launches per year? With the level of CRS activity on the manifest, the whole arrangement is starting to look like Soyuz-west; a 1-for-1 equivalent to Russian launches to ISS.


Offline Jim

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2541 on: 02/12/2009 12:52 AM »
I guess you could say that Ares 1 is not a given either.

That only applies whether that the program goes forward and not that won't be able to work

Offline SteveOliver

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2542 on: 02/12/2009 01:16 AM »
I guess you could say that Ares 1 is not a given either.

That only applies whether that the program goes forward and not that won't be able to work

It's a given that Ares 1 will work, but it's not a given that Falcon-9 will work?  Not that it matters, I guess: was it was a given (beforehand) that Delta-3 would work?

Curious that SpaceX makes a big deal that "NASA has already reviewed our cargo F9/Dragon and is comfortable enough to assign it the bulk of the operational transport duties following Shuttle retirement". Seems that NASA deems Falcon-9 to be a given. If that is NASA's position then surely nobody at NASA will differ: I just saw a youtube video produced at NASA that shows how they deal with wayward lemmings! (I couldn't resist)


Offline Jim

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2543 on: 02/12/2009 01:18 AM »
Seems that NASA deems Falcon-9 to be a given.

No, it has two contractors for the task and the bulk of the contract money is not upfront.

Offline jongoff

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2544 on: 02/12/2009 01:18 AM »
The blurb from SpaceX estimates 1000 "high quality" jobs at the Cape, with 14 astronauts per year to the station. Is that 1000 additional over the non-manned requirements? How does that level of staffing compare to other operations? Also, those 14 are an even multiple of Dragon's capacity, so is he proposing just 2 launches per year? With the level of CRS activity on the manifest, the whole arrangement is starting to look like Soyuz-west; a 1-for-1 equivalent to Russian launches to ISS.

Steve,
We also don't know for sure that he means that all 1000 of those "jobs created" would be SpaceX jobs.  A lot of times when people quote job impacts, it's based on assumptions about multiplier effects.  Ie one engineer is going to spend his money by consuming products from other providers in the area.  I'm not sure if the 1000 number we keep hearing bandied about includes such multiplier effects (in which case you may only be talking about another 250-500 actual SpaceX people, with the rest coming from multipliers), or if that's an actual headcount increase for SpaceX itself.

Me personally, I have a hard time seeing how adding a capsule is somehow going to require them to triple the size of their company.

~Jon

Offline Jim

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2545 on: 02/12/2009 01:21 AM »

Curious that SpaceX makes a big deal that "NASA has already reviewed our cargo F9/Dragon and is comfortable enough to assign it the bulk of the operational transport duties following Shuttle retirement".


The focus of the reviews deal with operating around the ISS.  For the LV, they don't even scratch the surface.  It is nothing like a review for a science spacecraft

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2546 on: 02/12/2009 02:20 AM »
NUAETIUS,
SpaceX weren't the first to come up with a 'truncated cone' capsule - I seem to recall some early OSP/CEV proposals that had the same outline, and probably earlier examples as well. The shape is an efficient volume/mass trade-off.

I looked at those, and all the other capsules had a different top to bottom ratio, different window placement (or no windows), different placement of the door...  etc.

All I am pointing out is just like the Chinese space capsule looks and shares many design characteristics with the Soyuz (by design), this capsule seems to share a lot of design characteristics with the Dragon.  It can either be seen as India copying SpaceX, or India made the same design choice as SpaceX, either way it is a validation of SpaceX's design that the Indian Space Agency made the same choice.

I think it's great, can't wait for the day that Iran, China, India, the US, the EU, Russia, and Japan all have independent means to get to space.  Completion is good.

The design also was used by Raytheon for their CEV concept which was a remarkably light design.
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/cevtheon.htm

Offline R.Simko

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2547 on: 02/12/2009 02:49 AM »
This country needs to have a complete back-up system like Falcon 9/Dragon can offer, for crew transfer to the ISS.   To reduce the risk to American taxpayers, COTS D can be funded now, with the stipulation that it does not become activated unless SpaceX launches a successful Falcon 9 launch within a year.  This way, the program could be completely in place (including the funding).  As far as what constitutes a successful launch, that can be worked out between NASA and SpaceX.

This is a very low cost option to create a back-up system.  Only about $300 million according to Spacex and most of the money could be back-ended to decrease taxpayer risk.  The other choice is to fund a complete COTS D competition.   We shouldn't have all our eggs in one basket.

Online edkyle99

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2548 on: 02/12/2009 04:33 AM »
That is just plain silly.  Falcon 9 is not a given.  Cargo Dragon is not a given. 
Again, this is like expecting an expansion NFL franchise to win a Super Bowl their first year in the league

So would Orbital be the Arizona Cardinals in that analogy..... which reminds me.
The Cardinals, founded in 1898, are the "oldest continuously run professional American football club in the United States".  The Cardinals were a charter member of the NFL when it was formed in 1920.  They were Chicago's first NFL team, *before* the Bears.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/12/2009 04:37 AM by edkyle99 »

Online docmordrid

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2549 on: 02/12/2009 07:21 AM »
I think it's great, can't wait for the day that Iran, China, India, the US, the EU, Russia, and Japan all have independent means to get to space.  Completion is good.
Ahhh....but the question is will Iran's capsule come standard with a bomb jacket, or the ability to launch  'space mines'?
DM

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2550 on: 02/12/2009 12:56 PM »
Ahhh....but the question is will Iran's capsule come standard with a bomb jacket, or the ability to launch  'space mines'?

It will be a one way trip and lack a heat shield, the irrationalnaut will be a martyr ;)

We are seriously off topic...
When I retire, I want to go to Mars and start a dry ice plowing business!

Offline William Barton

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2551 on: 02/12/2009 01:01 PM »
Great video of Falcon 9/Dragon.  Elon Musk is right, America can not only save money and close the gap by funding COTS D, but it can create American jobs and a back-up system to whatever rocket system NASA goes with. 

That is just plain silly.  Falcon 9 is not a given.  Cargo Dragon is not a given. 

Again, this is like expecting an expansion NFL franchise to win a Super Bowl their first year in the league

What is a given? EELV? Launching what? Orion is not a "given" either.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2552 on: 02/12/2009 05:09 PM »
Great video of Falcon 9/Dragon.  Elon Musk is right, America can not only save money and close the gap by funding COTS D, but it can create American jobs and a back-up system to whatever rocket system NASA goes with. 

That is just plain silly.  Falcon 9 is not a given.  Cargo Dragon is not a given. 

Again, this is like expecting an expansion NFL franchise to win a Super Bowl their first year in the league

What is a given? EELV? Launching what? Orion is not a "given" either.

I agree the Russians have pursued designs farther then Orion has gotten so far such as MAKS,Zarya and Buran only to decide not to pursue it any farther.
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/zarya.htm
Though they were suffering from a financial crisis that makes the one the US is going though look like small potatoes.

If the Obama administration decides to do more stuff in LEO and forget about a return to the moon then expect Orion to get dumped for a space plane or RLV or even privately developed vehicles.

Dragon is more of a given then Orion because more real hardware for it exists.
Real hardware beats power points ,CAD files and mockups.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2553 on: 02/12/2009 05:14 PM »
I think it's great, can't wait for the day that Iran, China, India, the US, the EU, Russia, and Japan all have independent means to get to space.  Completion is good.
Ahhh....but the question is will Iran's capsule come standard with a bomb jacket, or the ability to launch  'space mines'?

A manned reentry capsule would make a very poor MRV shell because it looses too much velocity at high altitude.
By the time it's at the altitude nuclear devices usually explode it's going slow enough you probably can chase it down with a fighter let alone being an easy target for an anti ICBM weapon.

Offline William Barton

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2554 on: 02/12/2009 07:46 PM »
Orion is in some sense dangling by a political thread. Constellation can be cancelled by the stroke of a pen, and I suspect any serious malf on Ares I-X would trigger just that. Dragon has at least limited ability to survive anything other than Musk going bankrupt. I suspect without COTS-D funding, manned Dragon will never materialize, and cargo Dragon would probably stop if the US withdrew from ISS, since it has nowhere else to go. I don't think we'll quit ISS before 2016, but you never know.

Offline DaveJ576

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2555 on: 02/12/2009 08:03 PM »
Dragon has at least limited ability to survive anything other than Musk going bankrupt.

Is there any potential technical reason that F9/Dragon won't work?

Short of something that I have missed in all this discussion, I don't see any reason why it won't. Sure, Elon might loose one or two of them initially, but eventually he will be successful. So, despite Jim's protests to the contrary, isn't it safe to assume that from a purely technical standpoint F9/Dragon is a given?

Now, SpaceX actually making money with them and being financially viable is a whole other story that I heartily agree bears some level of skepticism.

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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2556 on: 02/12/2009 08:13 PM »
Orion is in some sense dangling by a political thread. Constellation can be cancelled by the stroke of a pen, and I suspect any serious malf on Ares I-X would trigger just that. Dragon has at least limited ability to survive anything other than Musk going bankrupt. I suspect without COTS-D funding, manned Dragon will never materialize, and cargo Dragon would probably stop if the US withdrew from ISS, since it has nowhere else to go. I don't think we'll quit ISS before 2016, but you never know.

There will be a manned spaceflight program no matter what.
Not having one would be too large a blow to national prestige and leadership in science.

I could not imagine this administration would be dumb enough to leave us with no space program at all.
If Constellation were canceled they would immediately replace it with a different program.

Instead they could decide to keep STS and Boeing gets an order for a new batch of orbiters but with considerable upgrades.
Not everything in STS it's self is fundamentally flawed but the system does have several flaws that probably can be fixed.
Or they could contract the new spacecraft from companies like Boeing, LM, Spacex, and Orbital as the air force does fighters vs having NASA design the vehicles in house.

Personally I think LEO can be left for private companies to handle since they can do this cheaper and better while NASA needs to concentrate on advanced concepts.
NTR rockets and space reactors for example are still far outside of the reach of private companies while a space capsule is something they can easily develop.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2009 08:13 PM by Patchouli »

Offline William Barton

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2557 on: 02/12/2009 08:34 PM »
Nobody ever lost a bet by underestimating the stupidity and short-sightedness of American politicians.

Offline William Barton

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2558 on: 02/12/2009 08:40 PM »
Dragon has at least limited ability to survive anything other than Musk going bankrupt.

Is there any potential technical reason that F9/Dragon won't work?

Short of something that I have missed in all this discussion, I don't see any reason why it won't. Sure, Elon might loose one or two of them initially, but eventually he will be successful. So, despite Jim's protests to the contrary, isn't it safe to assume that from a purely technical standpoint F9/Dragon is a given?

Now, SpaceX actually making money with them and being financially viable is a whole other story that I heartily agree bears some level of skepticism.



As far as I know, $$$ is the only big stumbling block for eventual SpaceX success. It's a big one though, because Elon Musk isn't Bill Gates, and he can't afford to put too many Falcon 9s in the drink. Humanity could stand for somebody with a much bigger bank account to get in the game. Unfortunately, we don't know what Bernie Madoff did with the $50bln he clipped. 8-)

Offline nomadd22

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Re: Elon Musk Q&A - Updates SpaceX status on Falcon and Dragon
« Reply #2559 on: 02/12/2009 08:43 PM »
Nobody ever lost a bet by underestimating the stupidity and short-sightedness of American politicians.

Wouldn't that be the other way around?

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