Author Topic: SpaceX in the 2030s  (Read 29678 times)

Online philw1776

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #20 on: 06/20/2021 04:39 pm »
I see spinoff of Skynet Starlink into a public company this decade. source of funds for Mars.
Lunar flyby & landings under NASA contract this decade using early matured Starcraft
Mars cargo, then first human landing at decade's end
I think Gwynne steps down in a few years; hope to be wrong as she has been essential

Given decent health, a concern, Musk in the 2030s will be consumed with...
1. Mars base establishment, will consume $$$; need a Gwynne type to get other orgs to jump in and participate
2. Next gen transport after Starcraft variants; no idea whatsoever other than bigger diameter higher payload Starcraft
3. Selling NASA et. al. on asteroid & outer planet & moons missions

FULL SEND!!!!

Offline rakaydos

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #21 on: 06/21/2021 12:11 pm »

Supposedly there's a quote out there, from either elon or qwynn, I forget which, that a breakthrough in free-space antiproton capture is the next revolution (though I've probably mangled what's actually said)

If I've captured the gist of the original statement, that's an antimatter-supplemented drive, with two really efficent endpoints- earth orbit, and saturn orbit.

I would also expect SpaceX to spin up some fusion-related tech expertise, once one of the teams working on fusion succeeds commercially.

Under the mandate of "multiplanetary humanity" I expect continuation of the Mars project, but I dont expect them to stop there. Venus floaters would "only" have a 48 hour day/night cycle, with sub-bahama level temperatures at denser-than-everest atmospheric pressures, making evas only require scuba gear. Titan is a likely 3rd location, if the thermodynamics works out. these locations would be a lower priority than mars, but would certiantly be a back burner project.

I think a good bet is that after Mars gets started, they'll be looking at Ceres next.
Problem is the lack of an atmosphere doubling the DV costs.
« Last Edit: 06/21/2021 01:42 pm by rakaydos »

Online M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #22 on: 06/21/2021 01:15 pm »
SpaceX in the 2030ís? Why all the wild speculation? Just go with what Elon has said instead. 1000 Starship launches per year.

That dominates everything else. (And makes everything else possible).

Online wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #23 on: 06/21/2021 01:16 pm »
My bet after Mars goes to Callisto

May I live so long to see human travel to Mars so established they can look for the next location.

If the 9 meter Starship is proven to work, I think we'll see a larger version, 12 or 15 or 18 meter.

Once they know how to build a successful starship, I think we'll see a consolidated shipyard built, where materials go in one end and the humans, and countless robots produce completed boosters and starships out the other end.

The shipyard will be built to handle the larger starship size.

Not sure that we see other Raptor versions, maybe there needs to be a larger raptor instead of putting 90 engines on 1 booster.

Starlink will be the cash machine that funds most of this.  It will go public and have a market cap upwards of a half trillion.
Superheavy + Starship the final push to launch commit!

Offline WTF

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #24 on: 06/21/2021 03:32 pm »
" ... I think we'll see a larger version, 12 or 15 or 18 meter. ..."

I'm thinking 27 to 30 meter.

Have the consolidated shipyard at the offshore launch site, no more SPMTs, minimal shuffling these ships around ... launch directly after fabrication.

Larger version of raptor ...
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Offline nacnud

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #25 on: 06/21/2021 04:07 pm »
" ... I think we'll see a larger version, 12 or 15 or 18 meter. ..."

I'm thinking 27 to 30 meter.

Have the consolidated shipyard at the offshore launch site, no more SPMTs, minimal shuffling these ships around ... launch directly after fabrication.

Larger version of raptor ...

I'd think wider version of starship too. Starship hight after all is determined by the ISP, thrust and weight of the raptors. Not sure about larger raptors though as didn't they do a study on the optimum size of the raptors and came out with what they have.
« Last Edit: 06/21/2021 04:18 pm by nacnud »

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #26 on: 06/21/2021 07:50 pm »
" ... I think we'll see a larger version, 12 or 15 or 18 meter. ..."

I'm thinking 27 to 30 meter.

Have the consolidated shipyard at the offshore launch site, no more SPMTs, minimal shuffling these ships around ... launch directly after fabrication.

Larger version of raptor ...

I'd think wider version of starship too. Starship hight after all is determined by the ISP, thrust and weight of the raptors. Not sure about larger raptors though as didn't they do a study on the optimum size of the raptors and came out with what they have.
The optimization was associated with the engine bell area percentage in a particular size of LV as in the 9m diameter SH. Larger bells are less packed and have less percentage usage of the available area hence lower total possible thrust even though the bigger engines can be massive.

For a double diameter SH (18m) having a double diameter bell Raptor would yield the same percentage efficient use of space. These Raptors could be 4X the thrust of the current.

So believe that the optimization for current design on Raptor size is unlikely to hold when the diameter of the SH increase greatly as in 2X, 3X, or 4X. (Raptor thrust 4X, 9X, 16X). At some point other problems arise with materials,, handling, etc. So that the Raptor would increase in size but not by the same rates as the SH diameters. An SH increase diameter of 2X with a Raptor thrust increase of 2X would mean 60 raptors would be used for a 18m diameter Starship. Optimization is a group of multiple factors. Usage of available area (the area described by the SH diameter) by the total area of each bell of all the Raptors that would fit. The mass of the total number of Raptors. The thrust possible for a size as a factor of the exit bell area (this is mostly related to TC pressure capabilities and strength of materials). Plus there are others.

Raptors will get larger but likely not as fast or nearly as much as SH's grow in size.

Will have to wait and see when SpaceX announce the design for the next size up Starship.

Now when would this likely happen. I predict that a larger Starship would be started worked on once the current one has met its basic goals. Fully reusable, flights per vehicle SS >5 and SH >10, on orbit refueling, Lunar landing and return, Mars Landing and return, and as well as a reliable and consistent demonstration of <$100/kg payload cost to LEO. To get to that point may take until 2030. But the time between evidence of such a vehicle being worked on (tooling and testing of larger Starship components) and the vehicle doing it's first orbital flight is likely to be measured in as little as 3 years.

Such that 2030 will have the current size of Starship while the larger one takes over more and more of the launch tasks as it works through the "bugs" (you can tell I did a lot of programming work) and get the vehicle to the point where it successfully lowers the cost of payload to LEO to <$20/kg. A NOTE here is that  a ticket price for a person's trip to LEO would be possibly <$5,000. Travel to Space would become as common as International travel between continents and probably cost nearly the same.

Once you get into the fly to space like you would for air travel and SpaceX may get out of much of the transport operations and just build the rockets and sell them to operators. They would only operate a set for higher risk operations such as multi-planetary travel or other solar system exploratory travel. The Mars and especially Lunar travel and cargo transport would eventually be filled with multiple operators offering travel and shipping.

The SpaceX prediction of launching a 1000 Starships in a year with that increasing to what air travel looks like of 1000 Starships a day. You have to realize that the just at the 1000 a year the payload capability of those starships in Mid 2030's is likely to be 500t or 500,000t a year. Every decade the number of launche are likely to increase by a factor of 10 as well as the payload capabilities increase. Such that Mid 2040's 30 Starships a day, Mid 2050's 300 Starships a day, Mid 2060's 3000 Starships a day. If I live that long I will be over a 100 years old and close to a 110. Tonnage estimated going to and from space in the 2060's 6,000,000t each way every day.

Offline AU1.52

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #27 on: 06/22/2021 10:00 pm »
I would think it is likely one or more of his children will be very active in SpaceX by the 2030's to carry on his legacy.

Offline steveleach

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #28 on: 06/22/2021 10:37 pm »
I would think it is likely one or more of his children will be very active in SpaceX by the 2030's to carry on his legacy.
It's really quite unlikely that his ability to deliver on the Mars vision is something that can be inherited or instilled in his children. And children of successful people often (though not always) have a sense of entitlement that can be very counterproductive.

The best that should be expected is handing over a smoothly running operation to a safe pair of hands, with the goal of drawing out the descent into mediocrity over the longest possible time.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #29 on: 06/23/2021 12:18 am »
If this whole COVID-19 pandemic era has thought me anything, it's that a colony on Mars is not likely
in the 2030s or even the entire century. A huge amount of people went basically nuts with restrictions
that are a mere fraction of what the restrictions Mars would impose on prospective colonists. The feeling
of isolation with such a large communications delay from Earth would be even more daunting for the vast
majority of the public, who resented being reduced to digital only communications with loved ones. Musk
himself called these relatively minor measures for the pandemic "Fascist " and "House Arrest". You would be always
indoors, not able to go out and breathe fresh air, surrounded by radioactive desert. Everything would be more
expensive than it is on Earth because of the lack of built up supply chains for basic goods. If you like pets as
creature comforts, you're probably not going to like Mars either. They're unlikely to be as adaptive as we are
to changing gravity levels or politely do their business in toilet facilities in zero-G. Even if you could bring those
pets on a long dangerous journey, feeding them would be something of a problem as I presume dogs and cats
are not going to become vegans overnight. On that note, eating meat is big preference for many people in
the industrialized world and making it on Mars is unlikely to be possible in the 2030s if ever. No one knows the long
term effect of Mars gravity and radiation on human health and re-productivity, so not knowing that will be a huge
deal breaker for the vast majority of prospective colonists. That will take as much as decades to find out. And there is a lot of basic exploration of the planet that has yet to be done and probably needs to be done with many many robots
to get a good idea of where even to put a base near the best mix of resources available. That will take years.

Part of the allure of Mars is that its exotic and no one has ever been there. As soon as we get people there, the
fantasy will be gone and reality will sink in. That reality is that Mars is mostly a terrible place to live compared to ANYWHERE on Earth. On Earth we're undergoing a significant period of human migration, and most of those people are going from poorer environments to richer ones, in terms of energy, environment and resources. Those who move the other way, do so
occasionally for holidays to somewhere exotic and then go back to their comfortable lifestyle.


With that said, I think the biggest impact SpaceX will have in the 2030s will be nearer to Earth even if that's not where
they had been initially aiming. Satellite internet, surveillance and even navigation are going to grow and SpaceX has
the capability to be an important player there. Rocket transport, either for military, emergency cargo or even people
is potentially possible and useful. Space tourism is a pretty obvious one, from suborbital hops to trips to the Moon.
Most people will want to have a trip to space for its exotic environment, not actually live there. Mars is basically a terrible location for tourism but low earth orbits and the Moon are reasonable. At a minimum they will be able to support a significant build up of lunar bases with the cargo capacity of Starship. Getting to Mars in the first place is also probably within their capabilities by then, and its imaginable a government base will be supported there at that time, staffed by career astronauts and scientists, akin to bases in Antarctica. The military capabilities enabled by Starship and its enormous cargo capacity are potentially terrifying for world peace but I've no doubt they'll be used and by the 2030s, systems that seem like science fiction now will be operational. That factor alone may force other
nations into developing similar rockets more so than commercial reasons. On the subject of commerce, its very possible that Starship enables the economical mining of propellants and metals in space. Especially rare platinum group metals. Not because these would make a fortune at their current prices, but to collapse the price of them
so that they're useful for a lot more purposes. PGM are vary useful catalysts for fuel cells and electrolysis and these
are made much more expensive because these metals are expensive right now. Collapsing the price of them would
do wonders for electronics and green energy production and storage. Early experiments in Space-Based Solar Power
are a more speculative possibility enabled by both asteroid mining and cheap launch. I'm sure SpaceX would be
happy enough to accept payment for launching those experiments for the government even though he balks at them
himself.

Finally, I think SpaceX's systems will enable a giant leap forward in cheap and highly capable science missions, from high speed visits to the outer planets, to
amazing space telescopes and massed produced robotic systems roving many bodies in the solar system. These systems will be more serviceable, rugged and the old paradigm of perfection and just hoping a billion dollar system
works will be broken.

Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo. The amount of people who will have been in space by the end of that decade will likely
number in the 1000s. That will sound like a depressing vision to some, but I actually think its great and a giant leap
from what we've had for the past 50 years.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline AC in NC

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #30 on: 06/23/2021 01:37 am »
Excellent thoughtful post.  I concur in parts and dissent in others. Several responses to a few of your broad themes. ​

If this whole COVID-19 pandemic era has thought me anything, it's that a colony on Mars is not likely in the 2030s or even the entire century. A huge amount of people went basically nuts with restrictions that are a mere fraction of what the restrictions Mars would impose on prospective colonists. The feeling of isolation with such a large communications delay from Earth would be even more daunting for the vast majority of the public, who resented being reduced to digital only communications with loved ones. Musk himself called these relatively minor measures for the pandemic "Fascist " and "House Arrest". You would be always indoors, not able to go out and breathe fresh air, surrounded by radioactive desert. Everything would be more expensive than it is on Earth because of the lack of built up supply chains for basic goods. If you like pets as creature comforts, you're probably not going to like Mars either. They're unlikely to be as adaptive as we are to changing gravity levels or politely do their business in toilet facilities in zero-G. Even if you could bring those pets on a long dangerous journey, feeding them would be something of a problem as I presume dogs and cats are not going to become vegans overnight. On that note, eating meat is big preference for many people in the industrialized world and making it on Mars is unlikely to be possible in the 2030s if ever. No one knows the long term effect of Mars gravity and radiation on human health and re-productivity, so not knowing that will be a huge deal breaker for the vast majority of prospective colonists.  That will take as much as decades to find out. And there is a lot of basic exploration of the planet that has yet to be done and probably needs to be done with many many robots to get a good idea of where even to put a base near the best mix of resources available. That will take years.

I think this a specious notion as it informs 2030 colony prospects.
1) Covid deprivation reactions (actual) and Mars deprivation reactions (anticipated) are almost completely unrelated.  There was a large number of people that chaffed against Covid restrictions because they were applied to billions of people, by force, arbitrarily and capriciously, with no opt-in, and where there were obvious alternatives.  A Mars colony simply needs a self-selected tiny fraction of the entire population of eligible individuals opting in to a regime where they will have been disclosed on w.r.t. restrictions that are neither arbitrary or capricious, and the unavoidable (ie: non-policy) deprivations will be more bearable than their Covid analogues because there is no alternative.
2) A colony may fail to develop in 2030, but I think that happens only for technical reasons and only if you adopt the particular definition of colony (like #2 instead of 1 here).


Quote
Part of the allure of Mars is that its exotic and no one has ever been there. As soon as we get people there, the fantasy will be gone and reality will sink in. That reality is that Mars is mostly a terrible place to live compared to ANYWHERE on Earth. On Earth we're undergoing a significant period of human migration, and most of those people are going from poorer environments to richer ones, in terms of energy, environment and resources. Those who move the other way, do so occasionally for holidays to somewhere exotic and then go back to their comfortable lifestyle.

This is true.  And irrelevant I think.  Most move to richer resources.  Buy many (colony-relevant numbers) move the other way.  And in the vast course of human history, I would argue that the lion's share (say post-prehistoric to pre-modern) were moving from richer to poorer environments depending on how you characterize poorer (and for that, here, I'm using a rough "where life is easier").  Of course, those "poorer" environments were probably, almost definitionally, richer in the most important resource(s) with that being whatever it was that motivated the emigration.  Mars will be richer in an incredible resource: one of the grandest adventures in human history.


Quote
On the subject of commerce, its very possible that Starship enables the economical mining of propellants and metals in space. Especially rare platinum group metals. Not because these would make a fortune at their current prices, but to collapse the price of them so that they're useful for a lot more purposes. PGM are vary useful catalysts for fuel cells and electrolysis and these are made much more expensive because these metals are expensive right now. Collapsing the price of them would do wonders for electronics and green energy production and storage.

I generally agree but want to mention that I have a longstanding skepticism of people's IMO too-lofty expectations of anything more than base metals mining in space unless it's the case asteroids are have high-quality nuggets just lying around for collection.  Absent that, the means of discovery, extraction, and processing are hard enough on Earth.  On asteroids I find that unimaginable. 


Quote
Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo.

I doubt the Mars vision will wither for anything other than technical reasons.  There's too many people on Earth and there's one guy that's going if it's technically possible.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2021 01:41 am by AC in NC »

Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #31 on: 06/23/2021 02:47 am »
Are you saying that colonizing Mars is not for everyone?

I just watched a youTube about saturation diving.  That's not for everyone either, but it is still done.

I have a friend that did 2 or 3 tours at the South Pole.  Not for everyone either. Still done.

There are people that go to the army. Imagine that!  Soooo many limitations. (Been there etc)

I agree mankind in general and a lot of spoiled first worlders are not cut out for it ("I can't eat the same thing two days in a row") but you only need those who self select.. 

It'll get done.
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Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #32 on: 06/23/2021 05:47 am »
If this whole COVID-19 pandemic era has thought me anything, it's that a colony on Mars is not likely
in the 2030s or even the entire century. A huge amount of people went basically nuts with restrictions
that are a mere fraction of what the restrictions Mars would impose on prospective colonists. The feeling
of isolation with such a large communications delay from Earth would be even more daunting for the vast
majority of the public, who resented being reduced to digital only communications with loved ones. Musk
himself called these relatively minor measures for the pandemic "Fascist " and "House Arrest".
I understand where your thoughts are coming from, but I disagree.  People are not all alike in what they can and cannot handle.  I recently ready that in a survey of Americans that 44 percent of adults consider this past year the low point in their life.  On the other hand 56 percent did not.  There are many things that some people go through that would break most others.  People that want to go to Mars are already a small subset of humans that are more likely the kind of people that will thrive in what Mars will become.  Also kids born there will know no other existence.  The small population and limitations on EVAs will normal to them.  Also, the settlers will be busy building and operating the settlement.  And if Musk is right there will fairly quickly be a growing population of people to get to know and socialize with.  Communications with Earth will have a lag but no where near the lag when my ancestors came to North America and only had a few letters worth of correspondence with relatives in Europe that took months to reach across the Atlantic.  I think you're under estimating how some people are able to adapt and thrive in situations others find abhorrent.

 

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #33 on: 06/23/2021 06:55 am »
If this whole COVID-19 pandemic era has thought me anything, it's that a colony on Mars is not likely
in the 2030s or even the entire century. A huge amount of people went basically nuts with restrictions
that are a mere fraction of what the restrictions Mars would impose on prospective colonists. The feeling
of isolation with such a large communications delay from Earth would be even more daunting for the vast
majority of the public, who resented being reduced to digital only communications with loved ones.

What made COVID-19 restrictions so hard was lack of social interaction with people outside of members of the same household. That would not apply to Mars. To be comfortable for a large number of people Mars will need a few thousand people. That's a wide area of opportunities for social interaction. Isolated social groups of people used to be common with a few hundred people or less.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #34 on: 06/23/2021 07:20 am »
Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo. The amount of people who will have been in space by the end of that decade will likely
number in the 1000s. That will sound like a depressing vision to some, but I actually think its great and a giant leap
from what we've had for the past 50 years.

Agree that SpaceX will enable the vision of Jeff Bezos. But with Mars as a necessary step on that path. Mars is the easiest place to learn how to live in a closed environment with mostly closed circuit habitats. Once we have mastered Mars, the path to expand outward into the asteroid belt and beyond is open, when nuclear propulsion becomes widely available.

I have said before: If the interplanetary fairy granted me one wish for a planet to settle, it would look very much like Mars. Hard, but not too hard.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #35 on: 06/23/2021 07:20 pm »
Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo. The amount of people who will have been in space by the end of that decade will likely
number in the 1000s. That will sound like a depressing vision to some, but I actually think its great and a giant leap
from what we've had for the past 50 years.

Agree that SpaceX will enable the vision of Jeff Bezos. But with Mars as a necessary step on that path. Mars is the easiest place to learn how to live in a closed environment with mostly closed circuit habitats. Once we have mastered Mars, the path to expand outward into the asteroid belt and beyond is open, when nuclear propulsion becomes widely available.

I have said before: If the interplanetary fairy granted me one wish for a planet to settle, it would look very much like Mars. Hard, but not too hard.
At some point there will be a deviation between what the Government want and is prepared to pay for and what SpaceX want and then we will really know what SpaceX is about. I'm convinced that at that point SpaceX will step up to the mark to fill the gap, whatever the cost to the company in order to make humanity a multi-planet species.
My optimistic hope is that it will become cool to really think about things... rather than just doing reactive bullsh*t based on no knowledge (Brian Cox)

Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #36 on: 06/23/2021 08:30 pm »
Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo. The amount of people who will have been in space by the end of that decade will likely
number in the 1000s. That will sound like a depressing vision to some, but I actually think its great and a giant leap
from what we've had for the past 50 years.

Agree that SpaceX will enable the vision of Jeff Bezos. But with Mars as a necessary step on that path. Mars is the easiest place to learn how to live in a closed environment with mostly closed circuit habitats. Once we have mastered Mars, the path to expand outward into the asteroid belt and beyond is open, when nuclear propulsion becomes widely available.

I have said before: If the interplanetary fairy granted me one wish for a planet to settle, it would look very much like Mars. Hard, but not too hard.
Very much so.

Even with Starship-like transport, getting out of Earth is very difficult

Once Mars is thriving, going from there to the aseroid belt is a lot easier, SSTOs are super practical (Starships, basically) and things can take off.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2021 04:59 pm by meekGee »
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Offline AU1.52

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #37 on: 06/24/2021 03:56 pm »
I would think it is likely one or more of his children will be very active in SpaceX by the 2030's to carry on his legacy.
It's really quite unlikely that his ability to deliver on the Mars vision is something that can be inherited or instilled in his children. And children of successful people often (though not always) have a sense of entitlement that can be very counterproductive.

The best that should be expected is handing over a smoothly running operation to a safe pair of hands, with the goal of drawing out the descent into mediocrity over the longest possible time.


Not always. Take the J M Smucker company - it highly successful and has been run through four generations of the family now. The key to it working is getting the children involved early and working in different areas of the company. I would think with Elon's vision of making humanity multiplanetary which is going to take multiply generations, he would seek to have some of his children follow in his footsteps. They have been seen at Boca from time to time too.

Offline RyanC

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #38 on: 06/24/2021 06:14 pm »
If the 9 meter Starship is proven to work, I think we'll see a larger version, 12 or 15 or 18 meter.

If Elon was a decade younger, then yes, you'd probably see a rapid movement to a 12 to 15 meter diameter Starship II following the success of 9m Starship.

But time isn't on Elon's side.

What I think is more likely is a rapid movement to "stretch" Starship in the same way Falcon 9 evolved into F9 Block 5, for specialized tanker/cargo transports, where you can fly them unmanned and don't care if they crash during testing. The current Starship OML can be retained for manned launch, since people aren't that mass intensive, and for manned flights, you want a lot of flight heritage built up.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2021 06:15 pm by RyanC »

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Re: SpaceX in the 2030s
« Reply #39 on: 06/24/2021 07:57 pm »
Long post, but to sum it up, I believe SpaceX in the 2030s will inadvertently end up enabling the Bezos vision of the future but the Mars vision will wither to just being at least flags and footprints, at most, supplying some government bases with people and cargo. The amount of people who will have been in space by the end of that decade will likely
number in the 1000s. That will sound like a depressing vision to some, but I actually think its great and a giant leap
from what we've had for the past 50 years.

Agree that SpaceX will enable the vision of Jeff Bezos. But with Mars as a necessary step on that path. Mars is the easiest place to learn how to live in a closed environment with mostly closed circuit habitats. Once we have mastered Mars, the path to expand outward into the asteroid belt and beyond is open, when nuclear propulsion becomes widely available.

I have said before: If the interplanetary fairy granted me one wish for a planet to settle, it would look very much like Mars. Hard, but not too hard.

Mars is a reasonably good planet to settle, especially compared to Luna, Mercury, Venus or the moon of the outer planets.   Mars has resources, both in its atmosphere and in its regolith.   Mars gravity will be good for human habitation, but not too difficult for launches.

To come around again to the topic of this thread ->

Prior to the 2030s, SpaceX will have developed cheap reusable launch, and reliable and common orbital refueling.

The big deal for 2030s will be ISRU.   ISRU has been a concept for a while ( ie Zubrin's Case for Mars ).    In 2030, ISRU will happen for the first time off Earth, and it will be SpaceX that makes this happen.   We can expect actual operational ISRU at scale, not just minor experimental / developmental work on both the Moon and Mars.

These are fundamental pillars of common, ubiquitous space travel.   And SpaceX/Elon will have been the fundamental driver of all of it  (and yes, NASA, investors, partners and customers deserve some credit too).

 

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