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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX General Section => Topic started by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 10:05 AM

Title: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 10:05 AM
In today Sunday Times Newspaper in the UK. There is an interview with Elon Musk. In the interview he is asked about destinations beyond earth. To which he replies that

" he may soon have an announcement to make concerning moonflights"

I wonder has the Falcon Heavy dragon combination the capability to land on the moon? What sort of additional functionality would they need to land. Could the Dragon be used as a lander and return astronauts to Earth ?

Would they need a space habitat as well to do flyby mission. Would they require a 2nd stage or could they use the middle tank to inject in Lunar orbit

The dragon can hold 4 astronauts without space suits. 7 if they use the cargo bay. But i expect if they are thinking of flying 7 people in a moon flyby they would need space suits and extra space for the journey.

Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 10:19 AM
In today Sunday Times Newspaper in the UK. There is an interview with Elon Musk. In the interview he is asked about destinations beyond earth. To which he replies that

" he may soon have an announcement to make concerning moonflights"

Maybe a free return around the moon trip using a falcon heavy and a dragon.

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I wonder has the Falcon Heavy dragon combination the capability to land on the moon?

Not with one launch.

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What sort of additional functionality would they need to land.

A lander.

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Could the Dragon be used as a lander and return astronauts to Earth ?

You might be able to land a second generation dragon (with the powered landing system) on the moon using a crasher stage approach. You use an expendable stage to decelerate the dragon, and just do the last 100m/s or so using the dragon propulsion system. But you can not launch from the moon again. It has enough thrust, but not nearly enough delta-v to make low lunar orbit.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Phillip Clark on 07/31/2011 10:32 AM
Whilst I agree that the Falcon series can be extremely useful for a manned lunar programme, it will always need multiple launches.   Now I know that ISS has been constructed successfully with multiple launches, but I would feel safer if the number of launches for a lunar (or beyond) mission were to be minimised.   That is why on a separate thread I voted in favour of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle.

It is interesting that the Chinese are now talking about the preliminary studies for a Heay Lift Changzheng vehicle in the Saturn-5 class of payload capability (again, the papers are on a separate thread in the Forum).   Previous discussions had centred around multiple CZ-5 launches, although that might have been simply echoing back western speculations.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 10:50 AM
rklaen as far as i undersand you need 1870m/s of delta v to land and same to return to Lunar orbit. I wonder if the Cargo dragon was fitted tanks and landing legs could this provide enough fuel to get the required delta v. Maybe the cargo module could be split with two sets of tanks in such a way as to allow the legs and empty tanks to be left on the surface
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 11:04 AM
Whilst I agree that the Falcon series can be extremely useful for a manned lunar programme, it will always need multiple launches.   Now I know that ISS has been constructed successfully with multiple launches, but I would feel safer if the number of launches for a lunar (or beyond) mission were to be minimised.   That is why on a separate thread I voted in favour of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle.

All that is needed for a moon landing is a single docking in low lunar orbit or EML1/2 to get the crew from the dragon to the lander.

Even with a single launch heavy lift mission you need at least one docking (the ascent stage has to dock with the dragon in LLO on the way back) unless you plan for direct return from the surface of the moon.

So you propose to spend tens of billions of dollars to build a heavy lift launcher to reduce the number of autonomous dockings at the staging point from two to one?

Comparing the assembly of the ISS with thousands of hours of spacewalks with a simple docking of a lander and a dragon that can be done completely autonomously is misleading.

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It is interesting that the Chinese are now talking about the preliminary studies for a Heay Lift Changzheng vehicle in the Saturn-5 class of payload capability (again, the papers are on a separate thread in the Forum).   Previous discussions had centred around multiple CZ-5 launches, although that might have been simply echoing back western speculations.

It's not surprising that a centrally planned space program that is done mostly for reasons of national presige will come up with the biggest possible launcher. That does not mean that this is the best approach. The russians copied the space shuttle with buran. That does not mean that the space shuttle was the most economical way to go to space.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 11:11 AM
rklaen as far as i undersand you need 1870m/s of delta v to land and same to return to Lunar orbit.

That is correct.

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I wonder if the Cargo dragon was fitted tanks and landing legs could this provide enough fuel to get the required delta v. Maybe the cargo module could be split with two sets of tanks in such a way as to allow the legs and empty tanks to be left on the surface

You could modify a cargo dragon as a lander. Remove the heat shield, add more (external) propellant tanks, add legs. But that would be a completely new spacecraft that reuses some parts of dragon such as the pressurized section and the new "super draco" engines.

Spacex is building a "toolkit" of engines, avionics, life support systems etc. And most of the people that developed these subsystems are still with the company. So I think it wouldn't be that hard for spacex to assemble the parts in this toolkit in a different way to build a lander.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 11:35 AM
Well Falcon Heavy gets around 53Tonnes in LEO. That equates to about 19 Tonnes in LLO. Now to land the full 19 tonnes on the moon would require about 7 tonnes of Fuel if Dragon 2+ had ISP of 350. To get back  to LLO wstarting with full 11tonnes would require 4.6 Tonnes of fuel leaving us with 6.4 tonnes in orbit. LLO to LEO  requires a delta v of 1300 m/s so we would require to burn another 2.2 tonnes leaving us 4400Kgs in LEO. Dragon mass 4200KG.


It may also be posible to leave some mass on Moon giving us an extra 500kgs - 1000kGS in LEO

So it may be possible to do a direct return to earth using a dragon and a variation of the Cargo hold to carry extra fuel. Now that would be an exciting mission
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 11:41 AM
Well Falcon Heavy gets around 53Tonnes in LEO. That equates to about 19 Tonnes in LLO.

Wrong on two accounts. The throw weight to TLI would be about 13 tonnes, not 19 tonnes. 19 tonnes to GTO maybe.

Second, it most certainly does not mean 19 tonnes in LLO, to enter LLO from a TLI trajectory requires a sizable burn so the usable mass in LLO will end up being even less than 13 tonnes.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 11:48 AM
Well Falcon Heavy gets around 53Tonnes in LEO. That equates to about 19 Tonnes in LLO.

Nope. Much less. Since the falcon heavy has only a kero/LOX upper stage it can only get 19t to GTO. You are lucky go get 12t to LLO using a fast trajectory. You might be able to get 15t to LLO using a belbruno trajectory, but that is only viable for unmanned payloads since it takes >90 days.

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Now to land the full 19 tonnes on the moon would require about 7 tonnes of Fuel if Dragon 2+ had ISP of 350. To get back  to LLO wstarting with full 11tonnes would require 4.6 Tonnes of fuel leaving us with 6.4 tonnes in orbit. LLO to LEO  requires a delta v of 1300 m/s so we would require to burn another 2.2 tonnes leaving us 4400Kgs in LEO. Dragon mass 4200KG.

You won't get 350s Isp out of NTO/MMH. 320 is more likely. And 4200kg is the empty mass of a dragon. You need more than that for a realistic mission. So you do need two launches unless you want to use something radical like an open lander.
http://www.retro.com/employees/gherbert/Space/LunMil/lunarM.html (http://www.retro.com/employees/gherbert/Space/LunMil/lunarM.html)

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It may also be posible to leave some mass on Moon giving us an extra 500kgs - 1000kGS in LEO

So it may be possible to do a direct return to earth using a dragon and a variation of the Cargo hold to carry extra fuel. Now that would be an exciting mission

A free return lunar flyby would be exciting enough, and it would actually be possible using a single falcon heavy.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 11:49 AM
Fair enough, no single launch Falcon Heavy to Moon surface then. Oh well might be done with a falcon 9 and a falcon Heavy then. Definetly two falcon Haevies.Total cost $200-300 mill. 4 people on Moon surface. I wonder what the market size for 3 days on the moon at $100 mill a pop is. Could be in the 100's
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 11:58 AM
Just done the calculations

If you have ISP of 350 (like merlin in vacuum). Then 53 tonnes in LEO will give you 16 Tonnes in LLO.

If however you have an engine like Raptor with ISP 450 you get 21 Toones in LLO. which makes a dragon direct to moon surface withion realms of possiblity
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 12:01 PM
Just done the calculations

If you have ISP of 350 (like merlin in vacuum). Then 53 tonnes in LEO will give you 16 Tonnes in LLO.

I'd like to see that calculation.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 12:07 PM
Well i used this Delta V calculator

http://www.strout.net/info/science/delta-v/

and this table of delta vs required to move around inside earth moon system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget#Earth.E2.80.93Moon_space
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 12:14 PM
Actual numbers? What is the delta-V you input for going from LEO to LLO, the full mass and dry masses? Does your dry mass take into account the 2nd stage dry mass? This is required at least for the TLI portion of the trajectory.

Also, minor nit - MVac can't do 350 s Isp, it's closer to 340. It's a gas generator engine.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 01:51 PM
53 tonnes Full mass gives you 21 Tonnes dry mass in LLO if ISP 450. Delta V 4040 m/s from LEO to LLO.  Thats raptor class engine. Regards Merlin 342 ISP. Thats true of old Merlin but maybe upgraded one will be able to do a bit better.

Using ISP 350 you get around 16tonne dry mass in LLO.

So dry mass needs to include 2empty 2nd stage plus Dragon and Modified Hold to include landing propellant. With 21 Tonnes it may be enough to get dragon down and back to LEO. 16 Tonnes:- no mission.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 02:12 PM
53 tonnes Full mass gives you 21 Tonnes dry mass in LLO if ISP 450. Delta V 4040 m/s from LEO to LLO.  Thats raptor class engine.

A LH2/LOX upper stage might or might not happen in the next decade. Raptor is not even officially announced. Shouldn't we stick to the vanilla falcon heavy for now?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 02:16 PM
Using ISP 350 you get around 16tonne dry mass in LLO.

Subtract Falcon Heavy 2nd stage dry mass from that number as the TLI burn comprises the majority of total delta-V, call it 4 tonnes effective mass penalty over the total burn and you're down to 12 tonnes in LLO, at most. A far cry from the 19 tonnes you originally claimed.

Once you start talking about Raptors and all kinds of modifications to the system, the cost estimates of adding FH + Dragon costs go out the door.

If FH proves to be a reliable vehicle (with 27 first stage engines that is not a given), theoretically nothing prevents SpaceX from sending a Dragon around the Moon (NOT enter orbit). The question is what impetus would Elon have for just swinging around? All other options require more than 1 launch.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Jim on 07/31/2011 02:21 PM
Fair enough, no single launch Falcon Heavy to Moon surface then. Oh well might be done with a falcon 9 and a falcon Heavy then. Definetly two falcon Haevies.Total cost $200-300 mill. 4 people on Moon surface. I wonder what the market size for 3 days on the moon at $100 mill a pop is. Could be in the 100's

No, your costs are way too low.  Another fantasy idea
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: docmordrid on 07/31/2011 02:32 PM
So was Falcon (9) Heavy this time last year  ::)
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 02:36 PM
If FH proves to be a reliable vehicle (with 27 first stage engines that is not a given), theoretically nothing prevents SpaceX from sending a Dragon around the Moon (NOT enter orbit). The question is what impetus would Elon have for just swinging around? All other options require more than 1 launch.

It would be a great way to show off the capabilities of the falcon heavy.

I think you could do a true apollo 8 style mission (entering lunar orbit) using falcon heavy. You would need a propulsion module in the trunk for LOI ant TEI.

The mass that the falcon heavy can send to TLI is ~16t. An empty dragon is 4,2t. So there is enough mass margin for a propulsion module for LOI.

But for a tourist flight you would probably not bother. A free return trajectory is much safer and has much more margin, and most people wouldn't understand the difference anyway...
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 02:40 PM
The mass that the falcon heavy can send to TLI is ~16t.

That number sounds too optimistic to me.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: 2552 on 07/31/2011 02:47 PM
Here's the article, but it's behind a paywall:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/ingear/Tech___Games/Technofile/article678896.ece
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Jim on 07/31/2011 02:48 PM
So was Falcon (9) Heavy this time last year  ::)

The heavy was always part of the F9 plan and is needed to complete with other vehicles performance wise
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: rklaehn on 07/31/2011 03:36 PM
The mass that the falcon heavy can send to TLI is ~16t.

That number sounds too optimistic to me.

You start off with 53000kg in LEO. Assuming a semi-major axis for the TLI orbit of 200000km (about half the lunar SMA), and starting with a 200km LEO staging orbit, we get 3133 m/s of delta-V for the TLI.

Assuming an Isp of 338s or 3315.78m/s, we get a mass ratio of 2.5725. Now, how much payload you get depends on the dry weight of the third stage. Assuming 5000kg dry weight and 2000kg residuals, we get a mass to TLI of

(53000kg+7000kg)*1/2.57-7000kg=16324.33kg

I think these are pretty conservative numbers for dry weight and residuals. Now, the big question is if they can really make 53t to LEO, but on that we just have to take their word.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 04:16 PM
Well hopefully soon he will put forward his ideas. I think if he does announce a return to the moon even if only to lunar orbit or free return people will start to wonder how Nasa spends so much more and never gets anywhere. I think with New US Budget restrictions and Musk putting people in Lunar Orbit. Congreess will need to look again at SLS. Falcon XX will start to look like a no brainer Still there is plenty of No brainers in the house ...just look at the last week
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 07/31/2011 04:23 PM
Everyone has assumed a manned spaceflight, I think it much more likely that he means an unmanned landing of one of the Google Moon prize entrants.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ChefPat on 07/31/2011 04:25 PM
While it would be nice to do a Lunar Free Return Mission, wouldn't be more likely that a GLXP contestant is ready to make a try?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: douglas100 on 07/31/2011 04:33 PM
While it would be nice to do a Lunar Free Return Mission, wouldn't be more likely that a GLXP contestant is ready to make a try?

I think so. Let's not get too carried away about this.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Zed_Noir on 07/31/2011 04:51 PM
Think SpaceX might firm up the launch of the Astroboticstech/Carnegie Mellon  mission as part of the Google Lunar X-Prize race with maybe other contestants.

It's just a basic Falcon 9 rocket to be launched around the end 2013 to landed a small rover on the moon from a lander. The mass for the lander with the rover is about 2.5 mT with propellants. and 0.8 mT without. The rover will have HD video in 3D.

All Google Lunar X-prize contestants get a discount from SpaceX for launch services the last time I read up on this topic.


edited with revised mass numbers
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Adaptation on 07/31/2011 05:05 PM
Instead of landing the whole dragon on the moon you could have astronauts just be in space suits on a landing / accent platform.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 07/31/2011 06:09 PM
Elon mentions a lunar flyby with FH and Dragon as being "kinda cool" in the Falcon Heavy press conference.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtoADdSry6g
Remarks start at 31.50
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: douglas100 on 07/31/2011 06:22 PM
Elon mentions a lunar flyby with FH and Dragon as being "kinda cool" in the Falcon Heavy press conference.

It might indeed be cool, but the reality is that SpaceX needs to be focused on ensuring that F9 flies regularly and reliably and that Dragon works as advertised. People should stop taking Musk's off the cuff remarks at face value.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: krytek on 07/31/2011 06:58 PM
Well Elon always says the public relates to firsts and superlatives, so not entirely out of the question. But it's still hard to imagine him launching something like that without a customer, otherwise it's gonna be a really expensive publicity stunt.

A little farther than apollo, isn't it the farthest any human being traveled away from Earth?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: baldusi on 07/31/2011 07:59 PM
The Astrobotics lander is completely built and was sent out for testing, so I don't think it's too far fetched to think that they are going to put a press release and putting a more "firm" launch date in the manifest. The Payload's Planner Guide, also talks about a second and third flights (2013/14/15). So may be they found a sponsor for a second flight.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 08:21 PM
The Astrobotics lander is completely built and was sent out for testing

Completely built? They only built the lander structure AFAIK.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: baldusi on 07/31/2011 08:30 PM
The Astrobotics lander is completely built and was sent out for testing

Completely built? They only built the lander structure AFAIK.

You are right, it "flight-ready structure". Whatever that means  ???
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 07/31/2011 08:55 PM
A BEO-rated version of the Crewed Dragon capsule with extra LSS consumables in the trunk + the existing Falcon Heavy would allow a free-return Lunar fly-by for, say, two passengers and a pilot.  That doesn't offer much in the way of science but it might be salable as a space tourist product.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Seer on 07/31/2011 09:12 PM
Doesn't falcon heavy have enough payload capacity for a Dragon lunar orbit mission? Dragon only needs to be 8 tonnes with 2.5 tonnes fuel to get back to earth from lunar orbit. The FH upper stage is say, 5 tonnes, so 13 tonnes altogether to be entered into llo.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 09:23 PM
For those who are conjecturing that Elon maybe looking at a unmanned xprize type flight. It is not the way the article reads. They are discussing the dragons capability to land on other planets. They then ask him what is his first destination. Elon says he wont reveal his first destination but then says he may soon have an announcement to make concerning moon flights. Flights not flight.

I think we are looking at Lunar tourism. I see that james cameroon (avatar director) has already said he would like to take a trip to moon and is willing to pay. I am, sure there are other wealthy people who would take the trip. If you have two tourists on each flight at 100 mill a pop. There could be enough people interested for say 6-12 trips a year for many years
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ChefPat on 07/31/2011 09:27 PM
I think we are looking at Lunar tourism. I see that james cameroon (avatar director) has already said he would like to take a trip to moon and is willing to pay. I am, sure there are other wealthy people who would take the trip. If you have two tourists on each flight at 100 mill a pop. There could be enough people interested for say 6-12 trips a year for many years
And I thought I was a wild eyed optimist.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Geron on 07/31/2011 09:36 PM
Cameron's networth is $650 million. If he had to shell out $150 million for a lunar flight that is a pretty sizable chunk of one's net worth. I would think the first lunar flyby if not landing tourists will be in the billionaire club. We have over 1500 billionaires and 1/10 of your life's earnings is probably easier to part with than 1/3-1/4 IMO.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 07/31/2011 09:50 PM
Well cameroon is definetly interested. If you have 100k savings and you spend 25k on a holiday it might be considered reckless.

If you have 600 mill and you spend 150 mill. You are left with 450 mill. Which i am sure he will die with most of it in his bank account. So die with 450 mill in your bank account and do the things you have dreamed of or die with 600 mill in your bank account and not fullfill your dreams. Its a no brainer for a most rich guys, they all know that money is a tool to fulfill their ambitions, its the small men who get caught up in the dollars and cents.

Here is link to him signing up. Cameroon may not fly with Musk but others will

 http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2011/06/is-james-camero.html
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: ugordan on 07/31/2011 09:51 PM
Cameron, not cameroon.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: kch on 07/31/2011 09:58 PM
Cameron, not cameroon.

Indeed -- He is only one man, not an entire country:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cameron

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameroon

;)
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: hop on 07/31/2011 10:04 PM
http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2011/06/is-james-camero.html
This is a rumor. He has not officially signed up for anything. In any case, the meat of the rumor is that he signed up for Space Adventures "Soyuz around the moon" flight, so it doesn't have much to do with SpaceX even if it turns out to be true.

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Its a no brainer for a most rich guys, they all know that money is a tool to fulfill their ambitions, its the small men who get caught up in the dollars and cents.
There's a lot more to it than money. You have to be fit enough to undertake the mission, you have to be able to take many months out of your normal schedule, you have to be willing to accept a lot of discomfort and a quite high risk of death. Many of the very wealthy have other ideas about how to spend their wealth (e.g. Gates and Buffet), blowing a substantial portion on a moon trip is not "no brainer" for anyone who isn't an extremely hard core space geek.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Cinder on 08/01/2011 12:48 AM
Well cameroon is definetly interested. If you have 100k savings and you spend 25k on a holiday it might be considered reckless.

If you have 600 mill and you spend 150 mill. You are left with 450 mill. Which i am sure he will die with most of it in his bank account. So die with 450 mill in your bank account and do the things you have dreamed of or die with 600 mill in your bank account and not fullfill your dreams. Its a no brainer for a most rich guys, they all know that money is a tool to fulfill their ambitions, its the small men who get caught up in the dollars and cents.

Here is link to him signing up. Cameroon may not fly with Musk but others will

 http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2011/06/is-james-camero.html
Doesn't return on investment count in this metric?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: grr on 08/01/2011 09:51 AM
....
Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.

I really wish that ppl would quit comparing private space to NASA, esp. SpaceX. Private Space is making HEAVY use of NASA's work. I am not saying that SpaceX is NOT investing into R&D on this, but their engines, their tanks, their frames are from NASA. Not directly, but all of the core Research was done by NASA.

And as to comparing Dragon to Orion, that is another none starter. NASA DID start it, however, it is CONgress that keeps it going. I believe that Bolden was pushing L-Mart to take ownership of the craft, but L-Mart did not want it. They simple wanted America to own it.
Well, my bet is that like SLS, Orion will never see space. However, much of the tech that went into will likely make it into other private ventures. Perhaps L-Mart will get smart and develop their own.

But please consider stopping from making this a NASA vs. Private Space, and realize that this is NASA AND private space.

Also, weighing in on a lunar flyby, I will SHOCKED if more than 4 flights occur.  To be honest, I suspect that it will never happen, except as a way to test sending dragons to the lunar surface (and I doubt it even then). The reason is that there is no reason for a gov. or a business to do this. So, all that would be is testing or vacationer. Well, even the vacationer would prefer being on the moon.
And Bigelow has said multiple times that he wants to be on the lunar surface by 2020. Ppl like Cameron will wait for that.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: gospacex on 08/01/2011 10:12 AM
....
Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.

I really wish that ppl would quit comparing private space to NASA, esp. SpaceX. Private Space is making HEAVY use of NASA's work. I am not saying that SpaceX is NOT investing into R&D on this, but their engines, their tanks, their frames are from NASA. Not directly, but all of the core Research was done by NASA.

And in turn, NASA did all that R&D on taxpayers' money. What's your point?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 08/01/2011 11:55 AM
Doesn't falcon heavy have enough payload capacity for a Dragon lunar orbit mission?

It might, if there were a Dragon MPS already under development.  If there isn't then Dracos alone lack the delta-v to put the vehicle into LLO, let alone perform the ROI burn.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Garrett on 08/01/2011 12:35 PM
I really wish that ppl would quit comparing private space to NASA, esp. SpaceX. Private Space is making HEAVY use of NASA's work. I am not saying that SpaceX is NOT investing into R&D on this, but their engines, their tanks, their frames are from NASA. Not directly, but all of the core Research was done by NASA.

...

But please consider stopping from making this a NASA vs. Private Space, and realize that this is NASA AND private space.
Well said.

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The reason is that there is no reason for a gov. or a business to do this. So, all that would be is testing or vacationer. Well, even the vacationer would prefer being on the moon.
And Bigelow has said multiple times that he wants to be on the lunar surface by 2020. Ppl like Cameron will wait for that.
Not well said  :P

I imagine a lot of potential "vacationers" will be prepared to pay for a non-landing trip. Some of them are not that young, and there's no guarantee that commercial Moon landings will occur before they are physically incapable of taking such a trip. Many of them, I believe, also have a philanthropic attitude to space travel and will therefore be prepared to pay extra to help pioneer the future of space travel.
Bigelow may want to be on the moon by 2020, but so far his LEO project is still on the ground. Until we see Bigelow customers in LEO, the notion of Bigelow on the Moon by 2020 is mere pie in the sky. Cheese pie of course ;)
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Dave G on 08/01/2011 12:45 PM
Also, weighing in on a lunar flyby, I will SHOCKED if more than 4 flights occur...  The reason is that there is no reason for a gov. or a business to do this. So, all that would be is testing or vacationer.
I think space tourists would pay for a lunar flyby, especially if they can get 7 people on a flight for less than 200 million.  Assuming they would have 1 company tour guide, that would be around 35 million per tourist, and they can do this with just FH and Dragon.

Well, even the vacationer would prefer being on the moon.
Landing people on the moon would cost a lot more than a lunar flyby, and it would require the development of a new lunar spacecraft capable of returning people back.  Dragon can land on the moon, but not many people will pay for a 1-way ticket.  So that scenario would require a lot of new development cost, higher mission costs, fewer tourists per mission.  In the end, it may not be commercially viable.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Nate_Trost on 08/01/2011 02:45 PM
I think space tourists would pay for a lunar flyby, especially if they can get 7 people on a flight for less than 200 million.  Assuming they would have 1 company tour guide, that would be around 35 million per tourist, and they can do this with just FH and Dragon.

You think 7 people in a Dragon is feasible for a lunar flyby mission?
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: jabe on 08/01/2011 04:06 PM
They will need more windows if 7 go on a tourist fly by... For the money they pay they would want a window for themselves. :)
Jb
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Garrett on 08/01/2011 04:22 PM
Assuming they would have 1 company tour guide ...

Eh, don't you mean company qualified pilot? Somebody needs to be trained for off-nominal situations. I'm sure passengers would get training beforehand that would include the necessary "tour guide" stuff.

This thread has gone way speculative. As somebody mentioned earlier, any upcoming SpaceX Moon announcement is likely going to be about the Google Lunar X-Prize.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: hyper_snyper on 08/01/2011 04:32 PM
I think SpaceX should concentrate on getting F9 and Dragon flying on a consistent basis and not worry about things like Moon and Mars missions just yet, if that's what they're doing.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: grr on 08/01/2011 07:41 PM
....
The reason is that there is no reason for a gov. or a business to do this. So, all that would be is testing or vacationer. Well, even the vacationer would prefer being on the moon.
And Bigelow has said multiple times that he wants to be on the lunar surface by 2020. Ppl like Cameron will wait for that.
Not well said  :P

I imagine a lot of potential "vacationers" will be prepared to pay for a non-landing trip. Some of them are not that young, and there's no guarantee that commercial Moon landings will occur before they are physically incapable of taking such a trip. Many of them, I believe, also have a philanthropic attitude to space travel and will therefore be prepared to pay extra to help pioneer the future of space travel.
Bigelow may want to be on the moon by 2020, but so far his LEO project is still on the ground. Until we see Bigelow customers in LEO, the notion of Bigelow on the Moon by 2020 is mere pie in the sky. Cheese pie of course ;)

Allright. Lets assume that it is the way that you say.
First off, I will concede that a FEW will do this for the altruistic notion. That is, having the ability to say that they helped get private space going. But, again, how many will there be? I would argue that it will be less than 12 ppl, and in fact, I think that it will be less than 8 ppl. It will not be 7 ppl going in a dragon to the moon. No how, no way. It will be 4 at most. One of those will be the pilot. So, the point is, that this will not be a 20 million dollar trip. It will be around 100 million or better.
Now, lets talk about landing on the moon. What is expensive? We need a craft to land there and take off. It needs to be a VTVL that can go to about 120 miles above the moon (apollo was at 100 miles). So, do we have in development a VTVL that can go to 100 miles? Well, Interestingly, that is what Blue Origin is working on. They will have a craft that is capable of going to 100 miles up on its own, with something like 4-7 ppl. Then supposedly the upper part separates and comes down via chutes.
Of course, do we really need it to go 100 miles up and down? Nope. The moon has no atmosphere and has 1/6 G. So, if this craft can go roughly to 30 miles up and land under power with no chutes, then it is capable of working on the moon. Interestingly, this will be working next year, and will then have a number of years to be tested.
So, the REAL cost is fuel to go up and down. Well, initially we will have to send it. But, I am going to guess that before 2020, we will have mining on the moon for water esp. if Blue Origin has their ability to move cargo up and down from the lunar surface. That is water for the ISS, Bigelows, etc.
In the end, by the time that SpaceX is ready to send a tourist trip, we will be so close to landing on the moon that few billionaires will want to spend 100 million to orbit, when for 120-150 million they can land on the moon and stay for a week or longer. Of course, it will be miners, shovel retailers and govs. that will pay big dollars to get to the moon and stake out claims.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: douglas100 on 08/01/2011 08:06 PM
I'm sorry, but you don't seem to understand what the mechanics of landing on the Moon involve.

Look back at hyper_snyper and Dave G's posts: they've got it right.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: go4mars on 08/01/2011 08:19 PM
List of possible announcements in order of likelyhood:

1)  F9/Google Lunar X prize.

2)  FH test/unmanned dragon on free-return Zond.

3)  FH test/unmanned dragon on Apollo 8 type mission. 

4)  A moon orbiter or probe for a government program (perhaps non-USA customer).

5)  Manned lunar tourism availability announcement.  Seeking customers type of announcement.  Scheduled for "after 2016".  Zond or Apollo 8 type.  Ride-share with James Cameron?

6)  Small test-hab from Bigelow to the moon surface (Genesis I and II as precedent)
 
7) 
Instead of landing the whole dragon on the moon you could have astronauts just be in space suits on a landing / ascent platform.
I would be very surprised to see a humans to the lunar surface type of announcement.  Unless someone decided to pitch-in big dollars from somewhere, this is unlikely.  Still...  Avatar cost $300 million to make.  Would a SpaceX Lunar module of some form be possible for perhaps $150 million in development costs?  If FH truly can launch for $80 million as advertised ($160 million to launch dragon and LM?), then perhaps...   I'd go see a James Cameron film that was largely (or partially) filmed on the surface of the moon.  I think everyone else would too.  He's filming a lot of Avatar-2 under seven miles of water:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1312406/Into-deadly-deep-How-James-Cameron-plans-film-Avatar-sequel-7-miles-seas-surface.html
Might Avatar-3 be on the moon?  It's not impossible.  Just remote. 

Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Jim on 08/01/2011 08:49 PM
There are many more likely announcements that go before your # 1, such as another commercial order, some USAF or NASA agreement
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 08/02/2011 03:40 PM
There are many more likely announcements that go before your # 1, such as another commercial order, some USAF or NASA agreement

Jim the thread is about Elon Musk making a statement that he is about to make an annoucement about moon flights. So your statement is incorrect in the context of the thread
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: Dave G on 08/03/2011 02:48 AM
I think SpaceX should concentrate on getting F9 and Dragon flying on a consistent basis and not worry about things like Moon and Mars missions just yet, if that's what they're doing.

Commercial development works like a pipeline.  By the time you start shipping the current product, the next product is being tested, and the one after that is already starting the design phase. 

Each phase of development has different people - manufacturing engineers, test engineers, design engineers, etc.  So if you concentrate on one thing at a time, you have a lot of engineers sitting around waiting for something to happen.  I've found that engineers tend to be happier when they're busy, so concentrating on one thing at a time often leads to attrition.  Use it or lose it.

Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: marsavian on 08/03/2011 02:49 PM

Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.

Is Dragon a finished working product at $300m already ? How much did they pay NASA for PICA and all the operational advice/guidance they have been given ? Has Orion spending really reached $8bn already and isn't its LAS already working ? Perhaps Dragon will be as successful in BEO work as Falcon 1/9 reusability has proven to be ;).
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: DaveH62 on 08/08/2011 12:03 AM

Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.

Is Dragon a finished working product at $300m already ? How much did they pay NASA for PICA and all the operational advice/guidance they have been given ? Has Orion spending really reached $8bn already and isn't its LAS already working ? Perhaps Dragon will be as successful in BEO work as Falcon 1/9 reusability has proven to be ;).
Dragon has completed development as a launchable payload carrying capsule and has proven capability to launch and land, which involved the technical architecture and engineering and the flight control operations. Perhaps Orion will prove superior for BEO, but does anyone see a standalone capsule for 3-7 astronauts, with the room of a small SUV, a deep space system? Any capsule is going to need a Bigelow or other like living quarters system. Atrophy will be too critical for humans to stay seated or be so limited in movement. Psychologically and physically, it is not going to work.
You are correct that SpaceX has utilized NASA developments, but seems to be building on NASA's research and iteratively improving on the base technology. SpaceX is indeed completing and achieving results at a reduced cost from NASA and cost plus contractors. The engineering community at the traditional providers should feel insulted about their capabilities. SpaceX is competing by being an engineering, industrial and architectural company. The traditional companies have gone down the cost plus road, which is far more profitable, but more about finance and having lawyers defining what a toilet seat is in 10,000 words or less. Cost plus contracting creates barriers to entry that have blocked entrepreneurs from government contracting for large integrated services. Entrepreneurs like Howard Hughes were responsible for tremendous industrial change when America needed it to fight WWII, but with the oversight required by traditional government acquisitions the speed to market and development cycles done between 1939 and 1945 could never be repeated. SpaceX and the new SAA contractors are proving that the government can state goals, and that the private sector can build toilet seats and integrated space flight systems for under $900 and $9 billion, respectively. Should NASA share technology developed internally with American companies and license it for less than they spent developing technology: Aren't technology spin-offs what all us NASA supporters have been saying is NASA's economic justification for being? Or is that only when it doesn't compete with existing NASA service providers?
SpaceX is what should have come out of NASA in the 1970's. Do all our development cycles and costs really need to be in the 10's of billions or more? Do we need engineers to clock in for a 15 minute collaboration session with a colleague in a different silo? Is productivity better when the life is sucked out of achievement with paperwork that weighs more than the finished product?
You are correct, SpaceX has benefited from earlier NASA development. So has Bigelow. The problem isn't that SpaceX and Bigelow have cherry picked NASA technologies, it is that it hasn't happened sooner, and that this licensing and technology sharing is not a greater part of NASA culture.
I am proud of what NASA has done for itself and for our country. I think there are fewer things we can be more unquestionably proud of, but that does not mean there are not better ways for us to advance NASA and our country.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: catiare on 08/12/2011 09:38 PM

Once again Elon leads NASA on a shoestring budget showing the ineptitude of the Government body. NASA spend $8 bill developing Orion to go nowhere. Elon spends $300 mill on Dragon as is talking return to the moon.

Is Dragon a finished working product at $300m already ? How much did they pay NASA for PICA and all the operational advice/guidance they have been given ? Has Orion spending really reached $8bn already and isn't its LAS already working ? Perhaps Dragon will be as successful in BEO work as Falcon 1/9 reusability has proven to be ;).
Dragon has completed development as a launchable payload carrying capsule and has proven capability to launch and land, which involved the technical architecture and engineering and the flight control operations. Perhaps Orion will prove superior for BEO, but does anyone see a standalone capsule for 3-7 astronauts, with the room of a small SUV, a deep space system? Any capsule is going to need a Bigelow or other like living quarters system. Atrophy will be too critical for humans to stay seated or be so limited in movement. Psychologically and physically, it is not going to work.
You are correct that SpaceX has utilized NASA developments, but seems to be building on NASA's research and iteratively improving on the base technology. SpaceX is indeed completing and achieving results at a reduced cost from NASA and cost plus contractors. The engineering community at the traditional providers should feel insulted about their capabilities. SpaceX is competing by being an engineering, industrial and architectural company. The traditional companies have gone down the cost plus road, which is far more profitable, but more about finance and having lawyers defining what a toilet seat is in 10,000 words or less. Cost plus contracting creates barriers to entry that have blocked entrepreneurs from government contracting for large integrated services. Entrepreneurs like Howard Hughes were responsible for tremendous industrial change when America needed it to fight WWII, but with the oversight required by traditional government acquisitions the speed to market and development cycles done between 1939 and 1945 could never be repeated. SpaceX and the new SAA contractors are proving that the government can state goals, and that the private sector can build toilet seats and integrated space flight systems for under $900 and $9 billion, respectively. Should NASA share technology developed internally with American companies and license it for less than they spent developing technology: Aren't technology spin-offs what all us NASA supporters have been saying is NASA's economic justification for being? Or is that only when it doesn't compete with existing NASA service providers?
SpaceX is what should have come out of NASA in the 1970's. Do all our development cycles and costs really need to be in the 10's of billions or more? Do we need engineers to clock in for a 15 minute collaboration session with a colleague in a different silo? Is productivity better when the life is sucked out of achievement with paperwork that weighs more than the finished product?
You are correct, SpaceX has benefited from earlier NASA development. So has Bigelow. The problem isn't that SpaceX and Bigelow have cherry picked NASA technologies, it is that it hasn't happened sooner, and that this licensing and technology sharing is not a greater part of NASA culture.
I am proud of what NASA has done for itself and for our country. I think there are fewer things we can be more unquestionably proud of, but that does not mean there are not better ways for us to advance NASA and our country.

Well said. I wish lawmakers would get this message. If we could get dozens of SpaceX-type companies to assist in different aspects of the space exploration who knows were would we be today.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: happyflower on 08/22/2011 06:27 AM
You are correct, SpaceX has benefited from earlier NASA development. So has Bigelow. The problem isn't that SpaceX and Bigelow have cherry picked NASA technologies, it is that it hasn't happened sooner, and that this licensing and technology sharing is not a greater part of NASA culture.
Amen.
Also I like to add that NASA should even start any project with the idea that the technology and knowledge be in a way built to be profitable. That way when private companies do use/license the technology the market is built into the product to foster the private company succeeding. That way NASA can extricate itself from that project and move on to blaze a new trial some where else but leave behind an infrastructure that is designed to make money.
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 08/22/2011 07:01 PM
You are correct, SpaceX has benefited from earlier NASA development. So has Bigelow. The problem isn't that SpaceX and Bigelow have cherry picked NASA technologies, it is that it hasn't happened sooner, and that this licensing and technology sharing is not a greater part of NASA culture.
Amen.
Also I like to add that NASA should even start any project with the idea that the technology and knowledge be in a way built to be profitable. That way when private companies do use/license the technology the market is built into the product to foster the private company succeeding. That way NASA can extricate itself from that project and move on to blaze a new trial some where else but leave behind an infrastructure that is designed to make money.

A ready to go comercializable project is depots. See the details from this thread.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26396.135
Title: Re: Spacex and the Moon?
Post by: corneliussulla on 08/23/2011 09:57 AM
Great post DaveH. I couldnt agree with you more