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The newest news from internal source said this launch will delay to July....
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The Starship from IFT-3 should be something like 100-150 tons to LEO expendable, depending on how much you would optimize it for being expended. And a third stage would allow it to throw as much as Saturn V to TLI.

Starship seems like a bad deal right now because you have the downsides of being reused, without reuse. In addition to being fairly unoptimized as a system.
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I donít know that anything like that happened with this RFP, but Iíd bet on a screw-up on the planetary protection language in the RFP over those guidelines getting relaxed or rescinded in some way.  Weíll probably find out for sure in the industry day and/or industry Q&A.

That theory was plausible when all we had was the RFP but seems pretty unlikely now that the industry day slides have been posted. The first part of the slides mentions backwards PP but not forward (and the other parts do the same). The first part of slides will be presented by either Lindsay Hays (presumably https://science.nasa.gov/people/lindsay-hays/) according to the industry day PDF or by her and Paul Hertz (presumably https://science.nasa.gov/people/dr-paul-hertz/) according to the slides themselves. Either way Lindsay Hays has almost certainly looked over the slides she'll be (co-)presenting. She does exobiology and astrobiology and has written at least one paper on forward planetary protection (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273064016_FORWARD_PLANETARY_PROTECTION_ISSUES_AND_CONSTRAINTS_RELATED_TO_PLANNING_FOR_THE_POTENTIAL_HUMAN_EXPLORATION_OF_MARS) so I'm confident she would notice if forwards PP were accidentally omitted. Of course she may be really busy and not had time to prepare properly, but I don't think that's the most likely explanation.

As you say the industry day on Monday will probably shed more light.
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Interesting idea, but those frequencies are openly available. See, for instance, here:
http://frequencyplansatellites.altervista.org/Astra/Astra_4A.pdf
So you wouldn't need a satellite to monitor them. And, again, the same is being done with Ukrainian broadcasts via Eutelsat Hotbird 13E and 13G, which are not being monitored by any Russian satellites. So it doesn't look like Luch-5X is doing anything that actually enables the jamming to take place.

Yes, but there are many different uplink frequencies. You don't want to waste resources and annoy other Astra users by jamming them all! As for the Hotbird satellites, Russia may be using other technical means to find out which uplink frequencies are being used by Ukraine.
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At claimed levels of thrust this should be trivial to verify.  For example set up a simple turntable in a vac chamber and lets see it produce power.

It won't work, because if it did we would have infinite energy - a violation of 1st law of thermodynamics.
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But the heatshield/parachute/clamshell just works. Not sure why that would pose a problem.

It only works below a certain ballistic coefficient.  Above that value (not sure what it is), the supersonic parachute tech doesn't work.

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I was wondering if multiple landers could be sent, a small volley of them if needed.

The plan of record hadn't really converged on whether to send one or two SRLs (one big one containing both the fetch vehicle and the MAV, or two, containing one of each).  But the biggest restriction was getting a big enough MAV to get the OS back to LMO and retrievable by the ERO.  That's mostly a lander diameter requirement, so small landers don't help much.

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Another question I haven't seen brought up here: any collaboration with Europe on the cards here? The conversation so far has mostly been about Starship and has been very USA centric but ESA has been part of this as well.

There's an option to bid complete architectures, or just replacements for some of the components in the POR architecture.  You don't have to leverage the ERO.  However, if you don't, then the cost for Earth return accrues to NASA instead of ESA.  Since NASA wants to save both total money and peak programmatic money, you'd better have a cheap ERO solution if you're going to replace it.
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Currently anything in LMO requires Category III protection so if Starship is allowed to be launched toward Mars, so a compromise will have to be made.

Cat III can be satisfied in two ways:

1) If the probability of impact with Mars is less than 1E-02 for 20 years and 5E-02 between 20-50 years, OR...

2) Total bioburden is <5E+05 spores.

If Starship does a propulsive insertion into an orbit with a periapse greater than about 500km, satisfying criterion #1 should be doable.  Note that the Starship would depart from LMO, either to act as the ERV, or simply to dispose of itself.

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Instantaneous impact track is to protect human life. It has not really been used in this context so there is no clear indication that a LMO insertion with a Cat II would be ok but a flyover would not since both pose a risk to Cat IV areas.


IIP doesn't have a purpose; it's just a definition of a ground track.  Until something is on the surface, it's basically a Cat III object.  Up until now, there's never been an object that intentionally entered Mars's atmosphere that wasn't already Cat IV-compliant, so a crash didn't really matter.  But if a spacecraft that isn't Cat IV-compliant begins EDL, then the IIP track needs to stay away from Cat IV areas.

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Of course, any Starship proposal is good to test the waters for their Mars program and planetary protection, so I hope SpaceX participates.

I keep trying to game this out from SpaceX's standpoint.  They don't really care about MSR, and they probably don't care if there's a clean lander that can do science missions in Cat IV areas.  But they care a lot about jamming through the relaxation of some regions to Cat II, because that's what'll allow them to do Mars EDL and surface engineering experiments.

So I think they're likely to bid on a Starship that lands on the surface, if only to start the conversation about how to relax the Cat IV requirements.  Without that, there will be serious ugliness when SpaceX is ready to go and NASA doesn't want them to for PP reasons.

Note that a Cat III Starship that merely delivers a Big Clean Generic Mars Lander is much lower risk, however.  I guess if SpaceX can find a BCGML collaborator, they could bid themselves on a Starship lander, and let the BCGML vendor bid a Starship/StarKicker for transport of the BCGML, and have it both ways.
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I have a hunch that omitting forward planetary protection requirements only happened because someone far above MSR in NASA HQ and/or the White House pushed for it.

Or someone at HQ just didnít think it through and/or screwed up and misphrased the RFP and/or didnít realize what they were leaving off and/or forgot to run the last draft by the Planetary Protection Officer (or the Officer forgot to comment before release), etc.  Honestly, thatís more likely than someone with enough authority to ignore the established guidelines agreed to ignore them this early in the process.  Leadership rarely sticks its neck out ó especially on these kinds of safety issues ó until it absolutely has to.

Youíd be surprised at how easily HQ bungles documents and clearances.  I once cleared legislative language for prize competitions thru NASAís general counselís office, got the language inserted into a bill that became law, then went back to the general counselís office to get clearance on the first prize agreement only to be told that they had goofed up and that Iíd have to wait until the next authorization bill came around in a few years to get additional prize authority added.

(I threw a pencil in that meeting and got my AA to remove the lawyer working the issue.  Turned into a lucky break.  His hyper-competent replacement was key to getting another program off the ground legally.)

I donít know that anything like that happened with this RFP, but Iíd bet on a screw-up on the planetary protection language in the RFP over those guidelines getting relaxed or rescinded in some way.  Weíll probably find out for sure in the industry day and/or industry Q&A.
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https://cameron.tx.publicsearch.us/results?department=RP&recordedDateRange=18000101%2C20230901&searchOcrText=false&searchType=quickSearch&searchValue=Lacey%20Town

Property ID: 173730 SOLD NOT TO SX OUCH!
I'm not convinced we can be sure that it wasn't SpaceX that ultimately bought this; I don't think we have any way of knowing. The new owner, "Lacey Town Center LLC", appears to be just one of a number of businesses owned by a guy in Walnut Creek CA, with no apparent reason for having any interest in that plot of land. So it's probably either a speculator hoping to make a profit from resale, or he's acting on behalf of someone else to mask the sale.

The only difference between the two is how long it will take to find its way into SpaceX ownership, and whether the profit was agreed in advance.

From looking at the business information that LLC is owned by a private real estate investment firm.

Hall Equities Group

https://www.hallequitiesgroup.com/
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