Author Topic: Additional potential uses for McGregor (SpaceX related only)  (Read 2968 times)

Offline go4mars

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All the recent pictures of new buildings and activity got me thinking about other things that might be planned for McGregor. 
Assisted by a recent uptick in wealth, I wonder whether Elon is increasingly likely to build yet more new facilities at McGregor; to test things he would "probably do".

A few things come to mind that might benefit from a vacuum facility and "rarefied wind tunnel" -if that's the term, to further some of his plans.  For example, elements of EDL that could be tested.   

If they can make low pressure controlled atmosphere experiments (pressure, temp, composition) McGregor could conceivably become a locus for Mars surface hardware testing too (habs, greenhouses, ISRU tech, life support experiments, broadcast power, etc.) 

Notably, "aerospace" covers both realms; one form of Mars EDL could be "electric supersonic jets -for Mars" -perhaps providing greater cross-range on Mars...  Perhaps even for future point to point VTVL travel on Mars.

There may even arise a Mars related need for testing Martian surface transport elements; things that can operate efficiently and quickly in roughly one to ten millibars of pressure.  Perhaps where CO2 solid/gas cushions are part of the solution.  Chill the hull until CO2 solid builds up, then go for a rip on something smooth - the friction on the dry ice, versus the active cooling might allow for a low friction glide (owing to an approximate plane where CO2 both degasses and recrystallizes).  Or maybe dusty martian atmosphere would be compressed into footpads for lift on a hard sintered "half-pipe" (dust/silt/sand likely centrifuged out as part of the process).

Or point to point ISRU rocket hoppers that receive broadcast power. 

Or more mundane things with wheels (whether battery, internal combustion, or broadcast power receptive). 



If they can crank the vacuum up to 11, then maybe they would test a lot of strictly in-space stuff there too (thermal loads in vacuum, radiation shielding, etc.);  all that jazz. 

Some other questions regarding future uses for McGregor:
What size of singular rocket engine would the water tower be able to sufficiently suppress accoustics for during testing? 
Could hydraulic head from the water tower be efficiently used to create a good enough vacuum chamber for small vacuum engines to be tested with?

How else can McGregor aid the Mars colony effort?
« Last Edit: 02/27/2014 06:17 am by go4mars »
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline Mader Levap

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Way, way too early for anything mars-related.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Offline AncientU

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Only exotic testing there in foreseeable future would be controlled flights of the Dragon 2.

Though for Earth-bound in purposes (i.e., launch abort  system), future of controlled, partially propulsive EDL rests on this tech and software.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Dudely

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Creating a vacuum chamber bigger than a room is incredibly difficult.

Offline rpapo

Creating a vacuum chamber bigger than a room is incredibly difficult.
They did it in the Plum Book facility in Ohio, but there's not much point in building another when that facility is underutilized as it is.  SpaceX rented it to test the payload fairing.
Following the space program since before Apollo 8.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Creating a vacuum chamber bigger than a room is incredibly difficult.
They did it in the Plum Book facility in Ohio, but there's not much point in building another when that facility is underutilized as it is.  SpaceX rented it to test the payload fairing.

Think SpaceX will build their own facility eventually. The Plum Brook facility got logistics issues. If SpaceX ever started the MCT program, then a nearby testing facility would ease logistics & timing issues. However the McGregor location might not be ideal.

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