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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX General Section => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 02/27/2017 06:42 pm

Title: SpaceX Crewed Dragon Circumlunar Mission
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/27/2017 06:42 pm
NSF Threads for Crewed Circumlunar Mission : Discussion (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42421.0)

NSF Articles for Crewed Circumlunar Mission :
      Booster Prep: SpaceX to fly two private individuals on a Dragon 2 lunar mission (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/)

NET late 2018 on Falcon Heavy from LC-39A at KSC  Seems to have been cancelled.



Livestream never worked...anyway this is the post-announcement thread.

Ah ha, a link:
http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year

Our article:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/
Title: Re: SpaceX Announcement
Post by: Rebel44 on 02/27/2017 08:29 pm
@jeff_foust  28 seconds ago

 Elon Musk announces SpaceX will launch a Dragon spacecraft with 2 people on board on a Falcon Heavy for a circumlunar mission in late 2018.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836326945059180544
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 08:31 pm
Quote
SpaceX/Update: Musk said the cost would be similar to what it would take for a private citizen to visit the space station

https://twitter.com/cbs_spacenews/status/836327448002330624 (https://twitter.com/cbs_spacenews/status/836327448002330624)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gongora on 02/27/2017 08:32 pm
Do we need a poll on whether SpaceX will fly people around the moon before Commercial Crew certification is finished?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 08:33 pm
Quote
Musk declined to identify the two individuals who would fly, beyond they know each other; they have paid a despite on the undisclosed price.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836327349998202882 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836327349998202882)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Marslauncher on 02/27/2017 08:33 pm
http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year

Quote

We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.

Most importantly, we would like to thank NASA, without whom this would not be possible. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for this mission. In addition, this will make use of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was developed with internal SpaceX funding. Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket. At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.

Later this year, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we will launch our Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board. A subsequent mission with crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018. SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew. By also flying privately crewed missions, which NASA has encouraged, long-term costs to the government decline and more flight reliability history is gained, benefiting both government and private missions.

Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth. Lift-off will be from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral – the same launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions. This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.

Designed from the beginning to carry humans, the Dragon spacecraft already has a long flight heritage. These missions will build upon that heritage, extending it to deep space mission operations, an important milestone as we work towards our ultimate goal of transporting humans to Mars.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: symbios on 02/27/2017 08:33 pm
SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon

http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/27/14754404/spacex-moon-mission-2018-elon-musk-announces-private-citizen-passengers

"The company expects to fly an uncrewed Dragon 2 with Falcon 9 to ISS by the end of this year. There will be another mission six months later with a NASA crew. Six months after that, if all goes as planned, is when the two people would fly around the Moon.

If NASA decides they want to do the first lunar mission, NASA would have priority. For its part, SpaceX expects to do more than one Moon mission. “Next year is going to be the big year for carrying people,” says Musk. Other flight teams have already expressed interest in going on future trips."
Title: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/27/2017 08:34 pm
It wouldn't surprise me if one of them might be James Cameron, don't forget the guy is an adventurer and billionaire.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: andrewsdanj on 02/27/2017 08:34 pm
Awesome! Even more ambitious than the predictions...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: shooter6947 on 02/27/2017 08:35 pm
Sounds like a free-return trajectory, presumably, without a SM for a lunar orbit insertion burn and later trans-Earth injection?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CraigLieb on 02/27/2017 08:36 pm
Apollo 8!!!  so much for the suits!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: First Mate Rummey on 02/27/2017 08:36 pm
Exactly what I said there: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42415.msg1647420#msg1647420 :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: clongton on 02/27/2017 08:37 pm
I'm a happy camper. This is wonderful news. :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 08:39 pm
Quote
Here is @elonmusk's full quote when asked the implications of this flight with regard to first SLS/Orion crewed mission. Interesting.

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/836329155973230592 (https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/836329155973230592)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: clongton on 02/27/2017 08:40 pm
Apollo 8!!!  so much for the suits!

Not quite. Apollo 8 actually entered lunar orbit. This mission would not do that but swing around the far side of the moon on a free return trajectory without entering lunar orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 02/27/2017 08:41 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DaveS on 02/27/2017 08:42 pm
Apollo 8!!!  so much for the suits!
Apollo 8 was lunar-orbital, not circumlunar. Think Apollo 13 instead and the Soviet Zond missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 08:42 pm
Apollo 8!!!  so much for the suits!

Not quite. Apollo 8 actually entered lunar orbit. This mission would not do that but swing around the far side of the moon on a free return trajectory without entering lunar orbit.
Apollo 13 then, hopefully without the drama.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jet Black on 02/27/2017 08:42 pm
I wonder if this is the real reason red dragon was delayed
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Welsh Dragon on 02/27/2017 08:44 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew
It provides them with 'deep' space tracking and control experience, long-ish term ECLSS experience, BEO reentry experience and brings in hard cash. Can't see how this is anything but a win-win-win-win situation.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/27/2017 08:44 pm
Totally open for discussion, but posting "wow" is not worth people's finger scrolling. So make a point. :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: toruonu on 02/27/2017 08:44 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew
It provides them with 'deep' space tracking and control experience, long-ish term ECLSS experience, BEO reentry experience and brings in hard cash. Can't see how this is anything but a win-win-win-win situation.

Well the Lose part comes when they somehow manage to die on the mission :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Basto on 02/27/2017 08:44 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/27/2017 08:45 pm
Sounds like a free-return trajectory, presumably, without a SM for a lunar orbit insertion burn and later trans-Earth injection?
The dragon trunk could possibly be modified to hold more fuel, it would just a be a question of if the existing (super) draco engines could perform the required burns.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Alpha Control on 02/27/2017 08:45 pm
Wow indeed! Returning to the vicinity of the Moon in under 2 years.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: KDH on 02/27/2017 08:46 pm
Wonder if this is why Sarah Brightman cancelled trip to ISS, decided trip round the moon for the same price made more sense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: andrewsdanj on 02/27/2017 08:46 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew



And what will the Mars colonists be? They'll be paying large sums of money in return for a rather long trip to Muskville.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/27/2017 08:46 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

I think it's important to separate adventurism from tourism.  Adventurers take risks that can't be fully calculated, whereas tourist take few risks.

For instance, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager were not tourists when they flew around the world without landing, but adventurers.

Adventurers pave the way for not only tourism, but commerce too.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: neoforce on 02/27/2017 08:47 pm
Any speculation if they will do an unmanned dry run?  Maybe with the Falcon Heavy demo?

If I was the paying customer, I would feel more comfortable that they are certified by NASA for commercial crew AND they successfully demonstrated the Circumlunar flight path
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/27/2017 08:47 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew
Nah.  Never has there been a more far looking company.

But.

Use opportunity to practice deep space ops, high velocity return?  Why not?

It's as near-sighted as flying supply missions to the ISS, or wasting time launching comsats....
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Mongo62 on 02/27/2017 08:48 pm
Sounds like a free-return trajectory, presumably, without a SM for a lunar orbit insertion burn and later trans-Earth injection?
The dragon trunk could possibly be modified to hold more fuel, it would just a be a question of if the existing (super) draco engines could perform the required burns.

I wouldn't use Superdracos, since ordinary Dracos apparently have much better Isp. The burn would take longer for a given delta V, but use less propellant, and in the trajectory apparently being considered, the longer burn time does not really matter.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: eric z on 02/27/2017 08:48 pm
 I would love to see NASA grab one of those seats; especially with a flown veteran. That would set a great example for the future private-public partnerships. I know Chris and the gang will be busy the next few hours! ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/27/2017 08:48 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

No this is how commercial space should be done. This is exactly the kind of fully private initiative I want to see from them that also drives interest in space exploration, especially if the two passengers are celebrities.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: clongton on 02/27/2017 08:49 pm
Apollo 8 was the first shot of the Saturn-V sending anything toward the moon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Opera on 02/27/2017 08:51 pm
Any speculation if they will do an unmanned dry run?
This is not "speculation", this is clearly explained it will be the case in the official statement.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/27/2017 08:51 pm
This news justifies the commercial crew program in of itself! Well done, SpaceX!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/27/2017 08:51 pm
Neat. But this does rather put a stake in the heart of Russian based efforts to do the same with Soyuz. SpaceX is a much more credible provider, and can do it in one launch. (Vs a Soyuz and proton)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 08:52 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

Gesendet von meinem SM-T800 mit Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: blasphemer on 02/27/2017 08:52 pm
Return of manned flights beyond LEO after 45 years. This is huge.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 02/27/2017 08:52 pm
Apollo 8!!!  so much for the suits!

Not quite. Apollo 8 actually entered lunar orbit. This mission would not do that but swing around the far side of the moon on a free return trajectory without entering lunar orbit.

Dragon 2 could probably use its landing fuel and RCS Dracos to insert into DRO for an orbit or two, then return under chutes. I doubt they will to that on this mission, but it's a possibility.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 08:53 pm
Keep in mind Musk and Bezos are doing two different things.

Bezos is doing a business meant for rapid repeated flights. He wants volume to build a reliable business.

Musk wants to enable his Mars adventurism market by bootstrapping it with a lunar adventurism market. He doesn't need volume, he just needs to prove its market existence with a few missions.

That said, he's clearly frozen Bezos balls.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 02/27/2017 08:53 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: geza on 02/27/2017 08:53 pm
Apollo 8 was the first shot of the Saturn-V sending anything toward the moon.

Yes, but there was a unmanned test of the high-speed reentry by the Apollo capsule.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Toast on 02/27/2017 08:53 pm
This makes me nervous the same way a crewed EM-1 mission does. On the other hand, Falcon Heavy and Dragon should have a few flights under their belts by then, which retires the risk substantially. Other than the Falcon Heavy demo mission, though, do we have any idea how many FH launches we'll see by next year? Seems high risk--if stuff goes south, SpaceX could have a PR disaster on their hands that could jeopardize their long-term goals.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Confusador on 02/27/2017 08:53 pm
Any speculation if they will do an unmanned dry run?
This is not "speculation", this is clearly explained it will be the case in the official statement.

The dry run mentioned is to the ISS, it does not appear they're going to do a lunar dry run.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/27/2017 08:54 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

This is after many threads which struggle to find a way to make $$$ on spaceflight. Now someone does make $$$ on spaceflight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: robert_d on 02/27/2017 08:54 pm
Any speculation if they will do an unmanned dry run?  Maybe with the Falcon Heavy demo?

If I was the paying customer, I would feel more comfortable that they are certified by NASA for commercial crew AND they successfully demonstrated the Circumlunar flight path
That becomes a great idea now - send a used Dragon 1 around the Moon to test Comm and Heat Shield. If enough weight margin, drop a commsat at EML-2.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Welsh Dragon on 02/27/2017 08:54 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?
I see your point, but what science could be done? It's a free return flyby, presumably with tight payload margins. It will mostly likely be entirely automated anyway.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bynaus on 02/27/2017 08:55 pm
Very nice. I guess there is no word on whether this means the inaugural FH launch will throw a Dragon around the Moon too? After all, the way things are set up now, the two "tourists/adventurers" will fly on a hardly flight-proven space ship, on the first mission to a new region, a first mission with a high-velocity entry profile, etc. It would seem to make sense to test this first...

PS: I don't think it says so in the announcement. The unmanned mission mentioned there is DM-1 (to the ISS).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 02/27/2017 08:56 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

NASA buys CRS missions for ~$125 million. This basically just adds 2 (reusable) side boosters which are ~$40 million each new, so I'd say the cost is unlikely to be more than $200 million and could be much less.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 08:56 pm
So, when I said watch Elon shoot the Moon before the SLS/Orion crewed proposal on that thread, I got yelled at...
Now, you can say it, I was right... ;)
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42319.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/27/2017 08:56 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

This is very much in line of where companies like Space X are going to make their money. This is what commercial space should be outside of government.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 08:57 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Eagandale4114 on 02/27/2017 08:58 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?

No crew. Just the passengers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 08:58 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?
I think the importance is that these are the very first baby steps to a cislunar economy. Tourism is one of the biggest industries on earth.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Craftyatom on 02/27/2017 08:58 pm
Worth noting that this flight would break the existing human altitude record set by Apollo 13 of 400,171 km (248,655 mi).  Certainly something I can see money being put up for.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: alang on 02/27/2017 08:59 pm
As many have probably speculated they may we'll try to hit the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8.
However, the end of 2019 seems more likely and I hope doesn't mangle red dragon plans.
Also, the first time SpaceX kills people will be a significant psychological moment for the company, I hope they take their time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bynaus on 02/27/2017 08:59 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

Would you rather have these wealthy individuals spend their money on overpriced wines, cars, and yachts? They are investing it in SpaceX instead, a company that will bring us to Mars one day!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/27/2017 08:59 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

The Russians were offering a similar mission for $150 million for each spaceflight participant. So I am guessing something closer to that amount.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: LM13 on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

Gesendet von meinem SM-T800 mit Tapatalk

SpaceX said in 2012 that their aim is $160 M per Dragon 2 flight.  Minus $60 million for F9, that's $100 M per Dragon 2.  Plus $100 M for FH, and we can estimate a price of slightly over $200 M (with some extra for mission-specific costs like communications). 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: geza on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jakusb on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
So, coincidence that just when Trump seems to start pushing NASA to go for the moon first, Elon might beat them too it...?!
What are the odds that Trumps want to own that show and demands NASA to either get there first or put NASA astronauts in the MoonDragon?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: docmordrid on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
Wonder if @astro_g_dogg is going?

(Garrett Reisman)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?
Once they prove the concept, perhaps they could increase the future crews by 1x person. I would love it if each 'wealthy individual' who got a seat had to nominate a young science or engineering student to either accompany them or take the next flight in the series! Or perhaps Elon and a commercial entity could start a scholarship fund to get young folk in on this venture. In less than a generation, it could substantially reduce the proliferation of 'Hoaxtard' thinking.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bob the martian on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 02/27/2017 09:00 pm
This makes me nervous the same way a crewed EM-1 mission does. On the other hand, Falcon Heavy and Dragon should have a few flights under their belts by then, which retires the risk substantially. Other than the Falcon Heavy demo mission, though, do we have any idea how many FH launches we'll see by next year? Seems high risk--if stuff goes south, SpaceX could have a PR disaster on their hands that could jeopardize their long-term goals.

STP-2 should fly shortly after the demo. The boosters for that flight are already built, per russianhalo.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Machdiamond on 02/27/2017 09:01 pm
There are quotes from the telcon floating around in various twitter accounts and news media, like this from CBS:

"[Elon Musk] said the passengers will be paying roughly the same amount as previous tourists have spent to visit the space station. That would be somewhere between $50 million and $80 million."

Looking forward to the full transcript of that telcon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: HailColumbia on 02/27/2017 09:01 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?


meh... only two tourists, I'm sure there will be one or two Space X crew / astronauts on board as well. I doubt they are going to go fully automated.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/27/2017 09:01 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

I understand your concern, but think - Is it magically better if it is government employees rather than tourists? We need to get out of the state of mind that only a few NASA employees a year can go to space. If all this does is break that mold, then it is not necessarily a bad thing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:01 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

"I'm happy and sad for you" - Real Genius

You're sad that a screwed up superpower and its politics conspired to waste decades to explore space because they couldn't collectively get its act together to marshal a follow on to Shuttle that could build a national security "soft power" response as a country.

You should be glad that there's a commercial means to do so that has eventually gotten into a position that it can be done as a service. Granted, only billionaires can afford it, but still, its a service.

Who knows, perhaps both will learn something from each other, and perhaps there might be sustainable engineering reasons for the costs to come down, and for economic return to be bootstrapped, such that both might do better.

I think that public/private is a great way to go.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/27/2017 09:02 pm
This makes me nervous the same way a crewed EM-1 mission does. On the other hand, Falcon Heavy and Dragon should have a few flights under their belts by then, which retires the risk substantially. Other than the Falcon Heavy demo mission, though, do we have any idea how many FH launches we'll see by next year? Seems high risk--if stuff goes south, SpaceX could have a PR disaster on their hands that could jeopardize their long-term goals.

If SpaceX is serious about this, I would expect an unmanned lunar flight first.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/27/2017 09:02 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?

From SpaceX news post:
"Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results."

Suggests to me that the other seats are for sale, but the existing two are willing to pay for the whole show themselves if nobody else steps up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:02 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

The Russians were offering a similar mission for $150 million for each spaceflight participant. So I am guessing something closer to that amount.
Yes - and they've been talking about this for donkey's years and done zilch about it!! Sadly, a bit typical! Putin could have ordered a demo flight years ago of a lunar Soyuz, but didn't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/27/2017 09:03 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

That's what NASA astronauts are for. They each have their merit. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:03 pm
Well done Elon... Show them how a space agency needs to be run...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Eric Hedman on 02/27/2017 09:03 pm
Washington Post article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/02/27/elon-musks-spacex-plans-to-fly-two-private-citizens-around-the-moon-by-late-next-year/?utm_term=.92382e2b6b7d (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/02/27/elon-musks-spacex-plans-to-fly-two-private-citizens-around-the-moon-by-late-next-year/?utm_term=.92382e2b6b7d)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: as58 on 02/27/2017 09:04 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?


meh... only two tourists, I'm sure there will be one or two Space X crew / astronauts on board as well. I doubt they are going to go fully automated.

Quotes from the media call like https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/836327385016434690 seem to be quite clear that this is not the case.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: nacnud on 02/27/2017 09:04 pm
Totally open for discussion, but posting "wow" is not worth people's finger scrolling. So make a point. :)

Guilty as charge, I just woke up and read this, hadn't kicked my thinking brain into gear. So...

Wow

But moving on this is what commercial spaceflight should be, riding on government coattails will only get you so far. Now where are all the nerdy details to geek over?  ;D  ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 09:04 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

Would you rather have these wealthy individuals spend their money on overpriced wines, cars, and yachts? They are investing it in SpaceX instead, a company that will bring us to Mars one day!

Do you begrudge wealthy people their Tesla Roadsters and Model Ss that enable development of the Model 3?  Wealthy people tend to be the ones that open up all sorts of new markets (eg mobile phones in the 1980s). We know where government space programmes get us; time to open things up I say.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jakusb on 02/27/2017 09:04 pm
Regarding the "Tourist" discussion: I expect them more to be very big supporters that not only invest heavily because they support the cause, but in return also get something personal in return...
I personally have Tesla stock, not for the potential to earn big, but simply to support the Tesla Dream! Unfortunately not enough to get something like this  in return.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 09:04 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: HighlandRay on 02/27/2017 09:05 pm
I love the name MoonDragon. His is what we have all been waiting for and more than justifies the funding of commercial flights to ISS. Well done Elon and all at SpaceX
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/27/2017 09:05 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

Would you rather have these wealthy individuals spend their money on overpriced wines, cars, and yachts? They are investing it in SpaceX instead, a company that will bring us to Mars one day!

Absolutely spot on. Better they drive space exploration that other less palatable options.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 02/27/2017 09:05 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

If I had enough money to do this, would I spend it on someone else doing it?

No, no I wouldn't. I'd damn well go myself. If you have money, why can't you spend it on yourself?

On the even brighter side, this will fund a huge amount of development that previous SpaceX would have to fund themselves.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jarnis on 02/27/2017 09:06 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?

Autopilot is the crew :)

Dragon 2 is designed to be fully automatic anyway. Just self-loading cargo.

Now obviously whoever is paying for the trip gets trained for all foreseeable emergencies, just like astronauts would be, but during nominal mission they would not need to do anything except observe.

Respect to whoever is forking out quite the sum for a seat on this historic adventure.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Orbiter on 02/27/2017 09:06 pm
SpaceX's entire paradigm is to bring paying customers to Mars in the thousands, so I'm not sure why one would be glum at the prospect of paying customers going to the Moon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 09:06 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?

From SpaceX news post:
"Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results."

Suggests to me that the other seats are for sale, but the existing two are willing to pay for the whole show themselves if nobody else steps up.
Surely this refers to a different flight. They can't stuff more than 3 people into a dragon for a full week.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: georgegassaway on 02/27/2017 09:07 pm
Is it certain that the existing Dragon heat shield can withstand the faster re-entry from returning back from the moon?

I was wondering about a retro-burn shortly before re-entry to reduce velocity a bit, but have no idea if there would likely be enough fuel left (If needed, if the current heat shield is only good for LEO re-entry velocities).

Side note, please be careful about political garbage, I could see that get out of hand real quick.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:07 pm
So, coincidence that just when Trump seems to start pushing NASA to go for the moon first, Elon might beat them too it...?!
What are the odds that Trumps want to own that show and demands NASA to either get there first or put NASA astronauts in the MoonDragon?
Not going to happen, he could care less... However; he'll still take credit for it when it happens during his term knowing him...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/27/2017 09:07 pm
I love the name MoonDragon. His is what we have all been waiting for and more than justifies the funding of commercial flights to ISS. Well done Elon and all at SpaceX

Doesn't that name infringe a Marvel copyrighted character.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moondragon
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/27/2017 09:07 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?.

The problem with it is ... ?

Quote
This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.

I am angry when, say, rich people manage to circumvent the law with their money. Here, I don't see a slightest problem: they spend their money for a fleeting moment of fame - and to help SpaceX finance R&D. Fine with me.

Quote
I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

You are free to become a billionaire and then do that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 02/27/2017 09:07 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?

No crew. Just the passengers.

Goes to show you how completely automated SpaceX D2 will be.....No "pilot" needed..even to a trip around the moon !!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/27/2017 09:08 pm
Great to see that we have gotten to a point that someone can buy a seat past the moon "off the shelf" (congratulations to both SpaceX and NASAcommercial cargo/crew for creating a new market!)

That being said, will definitely be delayed into 2019, and 2020 and even -21 aren't beyond the scope of delay (this is SpaceX after all)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Welsh Dragon on 02/27/2017 09:08 pm
Is it certain that the existing Dragon heat shield can withstand the faster re-entry from returning back from the moon?

I was wondering about a retro-burn shortly before re-entry to reduce velocity a bit, but have no idea if there would likely be enough fuel left (If needed, if the current heat shield is only good for LEO re-entry velocities)
Dragon heatshield has always been said to be ok for BEO. And that's current Dragon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Oli on 02/27/2017 09:09 pm
Great news! SpaceX finally getting into space tourism. Why did they not talk about this earlier? I hope there will be more customers in the future.

2018 sounds super optimistic to me though as usual. First the FH and Dragon 2 must prove themselves before flying tourists around the Moon. Unless this is meant to be a political statement...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jakusb on 02/27/2017 09:09 pm
I love the name MoonDragon. His is what we have all been waiting for and more than justifies the funding of commercial flights to ISS. Well done Elon and all at SpaceX

Doesn't that name infringe a Marvel copyrighted character.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moondragon

Play it smart and both companies might love the usage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 09:09 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Once the dragon is underway, there is little that can be done. There is no engine to do fancy maneuvers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:11 pm
Those that aren't happy, just think of how many SpaceX  lunar missions could have been funded with what has been already spent on CxP/SLS/Orion thus far... The waste...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 02/27/2017 09:12 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

If NASA wants to send scientists of Dragon 2, they can:

Quote
"If NASA decides they want to do the first lunar orbit mission, obviously we would give them priority," Musk said.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/27/2017 09:13 pm
Those that aren't happy, just think of how many SpaceX  lunar missions could have been funded with what has been already spent on CxP/SLS/Orion thus far... The waste...

Some $20B and counting?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: cebri on 02/27/2017 09:13 pm
Obviusly a part of me is cheering and hoping they make their late 2018 target. I would love SpaceX to honor Apollo 8 astronauts now that they are still all alive, it would be awesome to have them at the launch. By far my favourite Apollo mission.

On the other hand, i'm quite intriged about the process here. Not really liking that this is something that hasn't come out of SpaceX but from this two people that have asked for this flight. As some other people have pointed out, this mission could put SpaceX at the lead of the race for going back beyond LEO, but a LOC could be very damaging to their reputation.

Also, whatever elon says, NASA will surely take this as a direct attack on SLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:14 pm
Those that aren't happy, just think of how many SpaceX  lunar missions could have been funded with what has been already spent on CxP/SLS/Orion thus far... The waste...

Don't think of it that way.

Think of it as a "pivot". To survive, they have to leverage all that work. So now they have "motivation".

If they don't do it, someone else will. Before it was a insane boast. Now its real.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/27/2017 09:16 pm
But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry.

Tourists take calculated risks for things that have been done before.

If something hasn't been done before (i.e. the risks can't fully be calculated), then those doing it are adventurers.

Quote
People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.

Charles Lindbergh would not have been able to fly from New York City to Paris without the backing of rich investors, but also many adventurers self-fund themselves.  Do we really care how much money of their own money they are spending?

Quote
I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

It's a ride inside an aluminum can.  And it looks to be a pretty boring one until they approach the Moon, or are approaching Earth.  But otherwise it looks to be a lot of "hey, the Moon/Earth is getting closer" type observations.  Plus it's likely to be rather odorous as the flight goes on...

Quote
Am I alone in this?

Apparently not.

My view though is that this will help to breakdown the barriers to sending more people into space that are not government employees or rich people.  And that is the goal that SpaceX is working towards, certainly for colonizing Mars.

So this does fit into Musk's long-term plans.  And it should be pretty inspiring, regardless what their bank accounts look like...

My $0.02
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Eric Hedman on 02/27/2017 09:16 pm
Now develop a service module with some kick and if NASA builds and launches their deep space habitat and you have commercial crew to the Moon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gin455res on 02/27/2017 09:16 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

Would you rather have these wealthy individuals spend their money on overpriced wines, cars, and yachts? They are investing it in SpaceX instead, a company that will bring us to Mars one day!


MoonOne reality show to find the passengers, anyone?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 09:16 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Once the dragon is underway, there is little that can be done. There is no engine to do fancy maneuvers.

Yes, no need for fancy maneuvers, but still something critical might break (say ECLSS).
I re-watched Apollo 13 just yesterday, those guys had years of training, first as pilots and engineers and later as astronauts. I don't think an amateur can reach that level in a couple of years.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bdub217 on 02/27/2017 09:17 pm
Lets break down the timetable shall we.  We know SpaceX is notoriously optimistic about their timetables and this launch involves a FH (which hasn’t been launched yet) on a Dragon 2 (ditto). 

Quote
Later this year, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we will launch our Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Currently slated for November 2017.  This launch is scheduled behind: 5 commercial launches from KSC, 3 Dragon CRS missions from KSC, 3 commercial launches from VAFB, and 2 Falcon Heavy launches.  Anybody want to bet a buck that they are not quite ready for 13 launches in 8 months?  So lets be generous and say Dragon2 maiden flight happens a year from now, March 2018. 

Quote
This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board. A subsequent mission with crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018.

Lets be generous again and say the first commercial crew flight slides to the end of 3Q or September 2018. 

Quote
SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew. . . .
Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth.

Very fuzzy wording here.  Again, to be generous, lets say this means he’d want to see two more commercial crew flights to the ISS, or 1 per quarter before the moon shot.  Lets be generous again and say that’s once every 5 months, so that’s 10 months after the first commercial crew, or July 2019.  Add a generous two month turnaround and that gets us to September 2019. 

Realistically, I don’t see this happening before 2Q of 2020.  But hey, “sometime next year” sounds a lot more sexy.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: guckyfan on 02/27/2017 09:18 pm
But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry.
...................
Am I alone in this?

It isreally not NASAs fault. They have to do what they are told to.

Or who are you angry at?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 02/27/2017 09:18 pm
If NASA wants to send scientists of Dragon 2, they can:

Quote
"If NASA decides they want to do the first lunar orbit mission, obviously we would give them priority," Musk said.

I have to admit that while I feel incredibly excited about this announcement I was a little miffed that the first flight would go to tourists. I am not against space tourism at all. I just want the first people to return to the moon in 45 yrs to be representatives of the whole country, not tourists. After hearing what Musk said above I feel much better.

Even if the private crew goes first I will still be very excited and supportive of this amazing mission!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Semmel on 02/27/2017 09:19 pm
This announcement makes me very excited, as other people as well. It has been said before, this calls for an un-crewed test first. What better to use than the FH demo flight with the pad abort D2 on top? Sure, its not the same pressure vessel design, its a Dragon 1 in a new dress after all. But that is not needed to have an exact D2 for it. Its enough to prove communications, mission profile and the hot reentry, which it should be able to do. Other advantage is.. if the FH demo goes south, the timeline is not going to stick anyway and they need to redo the test with a ISS-D2. There is real danger but only to their own assets: an untested CIS D2 on an untested FH.

So my glass ball is full of tea leaves, but it predicts a D2 going around the moon for the FH demo test flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: launchwatcher on 02/27/2017 09:21 pm
I love the name MoonDragon. His is what we have all been waiting for and more than justifies the funding of commercial flights to ISS. Well done Elon and all at SpaceX

Doesn't that name infringe a Marvel copyrighted character.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moondragon
I'm not an intellectual property lawyer but my understanding is that names are a matter for trademarks, not copyrights, and trademarks are scoped to particular domains.    As a trademark, Apple the computer doesn't conflict with Apple the fruit or Apple the record company.   

As comic book characters don't directly compete with lunar space tourism...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: craigcocca on 02/27/2017 09:22 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Once the dragon is underway, there is little that can be done. There is no engine to do fancy maneuvers.

Yes, no need for fancy maneuvers, but still something critical might break (say ECLSS).
I re-watched Apollo 13 just yesterday, those guys had years of training, first as pilots and engineers and later as astronauts. I don't think an amateur can reach that level in a couple of years.


Granted, some training for our two unnamed tourist-astronauts would be a good idea.  But also remember that we've gone from flying to the moon with a computer that is as powerful as a scientific pocket calculator (1969-1972) to a world where we have cars that are better drivers than humans (Tesla, as demonstrated by the 40% reduction in Tesla crashes since Autopilot launched).  With that in mind, the two tourists are probably just along for the ride and won't have much to do.  And, as long as they are on a free return trajectory, then the only two things that have to work on Dragon post launch are life support and the landing system (parachutes or Super Dracos)...everything else is controlled by Sir Isaac Newton.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/27/2017 09:23 pm
Those that aren't happy, just think of how many SpaceX  lunar missions could have been funded with what has been already spent on CxP/SLS/Orion thus far... The waste...

Some $20B and counting?
Perhaps more sadly... :(

At $200 million for MoonDragon there would be 100 lunar flyby missions for $20B. 

Too bad congress dictates how NASA builds rockets.

I'm excited about this, very excited, but this isn't a slam dunk or some new level for SpaceX until those passengers are back on the ground.

Also, anyone care to speculate on whether they will need FAA approval for Dragon 2 to fly paying passengers?  This doesn't seem like something that can be ignored.

Edit: hard to see how there won't be a test flight.  Navigation, autopilot, re-entry.  Not something you want to do the first time with live cargo.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:24 pm
Looking forward to hear those words again... "You are GO for TLI"... 8)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: craigcocca on 02/27/2017 09:24 pm
If NASA wants to send scientists of Dragon 2, they can:

Quote
"If NASA decides they want to do the first lunar orbit mission, obviously we would give them priority," Musk said.

I have to admit that while I feel incredibly excited about this announcement I was a little miffed that the first flight would go to tourists. I am not against space tourism at all. I just want the first people to return to the moon in 45 yrs to be representatives of the whole country, not tourists. After hearing what Musk said above I feel much better.

Even if the private crew goes first I will still be very excited and supportive of this amazing mission!

Wouldn't it be a trip if one of the tourists is Elon?

EDIT:  Even better....Sir Richard Branson and Elon <ducks>
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 02/27/2017 09:24 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Once the dragon is underway, there is little that can be done. There is no engine to do fancy maneuvers.

Yes, no need for fancy maneuvers, but still something critical might break (say ECLSS).
I re-watched Apollo 13 just yesterday, those guys had years of training, first as pilots and engineers and later as astronauts. I don't think an amateur can reach that level in a couple of years.

I dunno. There are some pretty smart people out there - you generally don't acquire large amounts of cash without some level of intelligence (unless you inherit it - Trump?). Did the training the Apollo guys get enable them to duct tape containers together? Or is that something any intelligent person could do. Of course, there are lots of switches in Apollo to learn - that's not the case in Dragon where everything is automated, or computer controlled.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 09:24 pm



So my glass ball is full of tea leaves, but it predicts a D2 going around the moon for the FH demo test flight.

Would there be a Dragon in time for the demo flight? I very much doubt this...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jdeshetler on 02/27/2017 09:25 pm
Elon's "Steal Underpants" is not a figure of speech anymore.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:25 pm
I would do it in a heartbeat - if I had the money. With some exercise, I'd probably even pass the physical!! ;)

But the very most I might be able to afford would be a Branson or Bezos sub-orbital flight :( :)

...I find it interesting that in some of the threads I've participated in, the ideas for 'Lunar Dragon' missions have been batted to-and-fro, with greater or lesser detail and agreements. Now, it seems that an idea I had for doing Lunar orbital and/or basic landing missions with dual Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy launches are much closer to credible:

Launch a 20-22 ton spacecraft capable of inserting itself into Lunar orbit on a Falcon 9. Then, launch a Falcon Heavy a day or so later with an Earth Departure Stage (Falcon upper stage). The spacecraft docks with the EDS and TLI to the Moon, Alice! This would be a slimmed-down version of the Constellation paradigm, but done with cheaper Commercial launchers and spacecraft. Moon Dragon could have a 'propulsion pallet' mounted in it's Trunk - either a cluster of standard Dracos to slow it into Lunar orbit, or a modified Super Draco with an extension nozzle for better Specific Impulse.

In other threads, the mighty Space Ghost1962, myself and others have speculated on a Lunar landing Dragon - no weighty Earth entry heatshield or parachutes, and either a 'crasher stage' for most of the descent, drop tanks or 'saddle bag' tanks for propellant supplies to and from the Lunar surface. Or better and more likely yet: adapt the Space X engines to an all-new, purpose-built craft for 2x person descent and ascent.

The sky literally is, the limit...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/27/2017 09:26 pm



So my glass ball is full of tea leaves, but it predicts a D2 going around the moon for the FH demo test flight.

Would there be a Dragon in time for the demo flight? I very much doubt this...

But maybe not if they started on that a year ago and strip out some things that weren't critical.  And if it can be refurbished maybe not that expensively either.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:27 pm
Those that aren't happy, just think of how many SpaceX  lunar missions could have been funded with what has been already spent on CxP/SLS/Orion thus far... The waste...

Some $20B and counting?
Perhaps more sadly... :(

At $200 million for MoonDragon there would be 100 lunar flyby missions for $20B. 

Too bad congress dictates how NASA builds rockets.


Or even a lunar base with mining operations....
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 02/27/2017 09:28 pm
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:28 pm
Now develop a service module with some kick and if NASA builds and launches their deep space habitat
Unlikely.

Quote
and you have commercial crew to the Moon.
Likely.

Where you get them interacting is in the vehicles and flight frequency. Because there is more qualified capability that becomes cheaper with repeated use.

Likely CC role expands here, in providing "point capabilities" needed, while private absorbs incrementally greater scope.

So after you do some free returns, then they'll move up to a week in lunar orbit, and then to surface access.

If govt ups its game, it wil be to do sorties to the surface, where CC derivatives could advance landers. That's why I did the thread on them.


Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 09:28 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?
Once the dragon is underway, there is little that can be done. There is no engine to do fancy maneuvers.

Yes, no need for fancy maneuvers, but still something critical might break (say ECLSS).
I re-watched Apollo 13 just yesterday, those guys had years of training, first as pilots and engineers and later as astronauts. I don't think an amateur can reach that level in a couple of years.


Granted, some training for our two unnamed tourist-astronauts would be a good idea.  But also remember that we've gone from flying to the moon with a computer that is as powerful as a scientific pocket calculator (1969-1972) to a world where we have cars that are better drivers than humans (Tesla, as demonstrated by the 40% reduction in Tesla crashes since Autopilot launched).  With that in mind, the two tourists are probably just along for the ride and won't have much to do.  And, as long as they are on a free return trajectory, then the only two things that have to work on Dragon post launch are life support and the landing system (parachutes or Super Dracos)...everything else is controlled by Sir Isaac Newton.

Well, plenty of spare parts and tools to pack then. I expect the new spacesuits will have extra reinforcement in the diapers department, just in case ...  :P
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bynaus on 02/27/2017 09:28 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

Would you rather have these wealthy individuals spend their money on overpriced wines, cars, and yachts? They are investing it in SpaceX instead, a company that will bring us to Mars one day!

Do you begrudge wealthy people their Tesla Roadsters and Model Ss that enable development of the Model 3?  Wealthy people tend to be the ones that open up all sorts of new markets (eg mobile phones in the 1980s). We know where government space programmes get us; time to open things up I say.

Absolutely not! I would class investments in Teslas to be at the same level as circumlunar tourist flights. With "overpriced cars" I was more thinking of that classic rich-guy garage collection of Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, etc. Like you say, rich people who invest in new (and still pricey) things are very beneficial to society. There is just no point in begrudging them - that was, actually, the point I was trying to make.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Pasander on 02/27/2017 09:31 pm
This can mean only one thing: SPACE SEX!  (And that would be science, wouldn't it??)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:32 pm
If NASA wants to send scientists of Dragon 2, they can:

Quote
"If NASA decides they want to do the first lunar orbit mission, obviously we would give them priority," Musk said.

I have to admit that while I feel incredibly excited about this announcement I was a little miffed that the first flight would go to tourists. I am not against space tourism at all. I just want the first people to return to the moon in 45 yrs to be representatives of the whole country, not tourists. After hearing what Musk said above I feel much better.

Even if the private crew goes first I will still be very excited and supportive of this amazing mission!

Wouldn't it be a trip if one of the tourists is Elon?

EDIT:  Even better....Sir Richard Branson and Elon <ducks>

A Musk, a Bezos, and a Branson step into a Dragon and are launched around the Moon.  ::)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:32 pm
'Space Tourist' will become a pejorative when used by tabloids or sniffy editorials when the subject is going to be discussed in the future. :(
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DecoLV on 02/27/2017 09:34 pm
You know, even if the passengers are tourists it doesn't mean they can't do  useful work. IF the flight goes in 2018 during the closest Mars approach, and IF they get a direct line of sight to Mars, perhaps from the dark side...could they do something useful? Take a measurement with a Lidar pulse, something like that?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/27/2017 09:34 pm
Or even a lunar base with mining operations....

Now you're just teasing me.

Surface operations, 3D printed radiation shielding, Lunar Oxygen for fuel, metals for 3D printing, development of a closed loop life support system.

There is so much to do on the moon and it's 1 light second away.

But first, baby steps.

Even if this slips 2 years I have no problems.  I've been waiting 20+ years for people to leave earth orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: anonymousgerbil on 02/27/2017 09:35 pm
Also, the first time SpaceX kills people will be a significant psychological moment for the company, I hope they take their time.

Nah, quick and painless is how you want to go  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 09:36 pm
I dunno. There are some pretty smart people out there - you generally don't acquire large amounts of cash without some level of intelligence (unless you inherit it - Trump?). Did the training the Apollo guys get enable them to duct tape containers together? Or is that something any intelligent person could do. Of course, there are lots of switches in Apollo to learn - that's not the case in Dragon where everything is automated, or computer controlled.

Well, it's not about duct taping things, it's more about not panicking and keeping focus on the situation.
As a D-day veteran put it: 'Training is what makes you do the correct things when people are shooting at you'
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gin455res on 02/27/2017 09:38 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?.





The problem with it is ... ?

Quote
This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.

I am angry when, say, rich people manage to circumvent the law with their money. Here, I don't see a slightest problem: they spend their money for a fleeting moment of fame - and to help SpaceX finance R&D. Fine with me.

Quote
I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

You are free to become a billionaire and then do that.



Hearts and Minds. Sure it's a free country,  let's hope too many others don't think it is in poor taste.


Potential alternatives:


small space telescopes
small space probes
kickstarting either a) a sustainable self-financing 'pilot' for a reality tv show format with space trips to reward successful young engin-preneurs (with a covert agenda to get the public visualising a future time when space tourism is more attainable); or b) a space-lottery
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: obi-wan on 02/27/2017 09:38 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity, so an entry from a lunar free return trajectory (which is all they could do with a single FH) would be about three times as much heat as an orbital entry. There is no way they should do a crewed mission without a test flight which replicates the same entry conditions. (Also, there's the whole thing about navigation to maintain the free return trajectory with mid-course corrections and to hit the allowable entry corridor, use of the lift vector for heat and g-level modulation, and accuracy of the landing targeting.) So, unless they're planning to eat the cost of another FH launch, I would expect them to retarget the upcoming FH demo for a heat shield demo (probably with a used cargo Dragon?)

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Gordon Widera on 02/27/2017 09:39 pm
Will D2 have USB ports to charge these guys iPads?  ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 09:39 pm
Or even a lunar base with mining operations....

Now you're just teasing me.

Surface operations, 3D printed radiation shielding, Lunar Oxygen for fuel, metals for 3D printing, development of a closed loop life support system.

There is so much to do on the moon and it's 1 light second away.

But first, baby steps.

Even if this slips 2 years I have no problems.  I've been waiting 20+ years for people to leave earth orbit.
It was 1972... So 45 years for me...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:41 pm
Once this first flight is done and dusted, I expect, maybe even hope that someone will dust off the 'Inspiration Mars' plans and pair a Dragon 2 with a Habitation module and send it off for a Venus/Mars flyby with a crew of 2.

(Rough Example) Launch 1: Atlas V with a stretched, 'triple barrel' Cygnus-derived Habitat. Launch 2: Falcon 9 with Dragon 2 and crew of two - they dock with Cygnus. Launch 3: Falcon Heavy with Earth Departure Stage...

...Or adapt the above idea to having a deep space Space Station in either Distant Retrograde Lunar Orbit or Lunar Lagrange point 2; for those who think I might be off-topic ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:42 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity, so an entry from a lunar free return trajectory (which is all they could do with a single FH) would be about three times as much heat as an orbital entry. There is no way they should do a crewed mission without a test flight which replicates the same entry conditions. (Also, there's the whole thing about navigation to maintain the free return trajectory with mid-course corrections and to hit the allowable entry corridor, use of the lift vector for heat and g-level modulation, and accuracy of the landing targeting.) So, unless they're planning to eat the cost of another FH launch, I would expect them to retarget the upcoming FH demo for a heat shield demo (probably with a used cargo Dragon?)

They could do a variation on ETF-1 with a reused booster. Lighten Dragon, come down on chutes only no escape props. Use excess F9US performance  for an elliptical orbit and accelerate up to lunar reentry velocity.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 09:43 pm
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.
I partly agree - 'Space Tourist' will become a pejorative when used by tabloids or sniffy editorials when the subject is going to be discussed in the future. :(
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 09:43 pm
Question: Is the Falcon Heavy human rated? Would the FAA allow this flight?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/27/2017 09:46 pm
Or even a lunar base with mining operations....

Now you're just teasing me.

Surface operations, 3D printed radiation shielding, Lunar Oxygen for fuel, metals for 3D printing, development of a closed loop life support system.

There is so much to do on the moon and it's 1 light second away.

But first, baby steps.

Even if this slips 2 years I have no problems.  I've been waiting 20+ years for people to leave earth orbit.
It was 1972... So 45 years for me...

I am aware.  I meant me personally, the length of time I've been obsessed with returning to the moon.

This is most exciting and will be a big indicator, one way or the other, on how capable commercial space is.

Maybe in 10 years Boeing and SpaceX will be taking people to Lunar orbit every quarter before they descend to the lunar surface.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 09:47 pm
I would love to see NASA grab one of those seats; especially with a flown veteran. That would set a great example for the future private-public partnerships. I know Chris and the gang will be busy the next few hours! ;D

The NASA astros should be pi---d.

Why? They may not be the first ones to visit cislunar space, but the odds that they'll make it to the lunar surface in their professional lifetimes just went up 100x!

Things just got better for them.

Now, for the Orion/SLS guys ... lets see how they rise to the game of upping the ante.

I think its great because its likely the cost of space will drop with these moves, flight frequency will improve, and all my friends in aerospace and west/east ranges/pads will be doing great for another 50 years or more ...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/27/2017 09:47 pm
Wonder if this will torpedo Russia's lunar tourism program:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20311.360
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: BGR Kolbeck on 02/27/2017 09:52 pm
Media show. Won't happen in the timeframe and putting people onboard a spacecraft without a professional crew (i.e. pilots with proper training) is a recipe for disaster. Doesn't matter if Musk wants the Dragon to be 'fully automated', it won't be safe.

Madness.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: turbopumpfeedback2 on 02/27/2017 09:53 pm
Prediction for the flight is end of next year, that is in about 2 years.

With time dilatation factor this gives 6 years, meaning 2023.

Still very exciting!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: cebri on 02/27/2017 09:53 pm
Question: Is the Falcon Heavy human rated? Would the FAA allow this flight?

This seems key too. If Falcon 9 is approved for human space flight, would it be hard to get FH human rated given they use the exact same hardware?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 02/27/2017 09:54 pm
No mention of a crew, only 2 passengers?
People, who are going to spend so much money, are probaly ready to learn to push the abort button in case...

But think of a solvable problem, not nearly Apollo 13 leves of bad, wouldn't they like to have a pro who knows what to do and stay calm?

Such 'pros' are the the flight computers backed up by the people in mission control. Ways of doing things in the Apollo or even Shuttle era are a poor guide to how to do things with modern computer and control technology. (Though, one or both of these crew may be a highly qualified engineer!)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 02/27/2017 09:54 pm
Question: Is the Falcon Heavy human rated? Would the FAA allow this flight?

That's actually an interesting question but worth noting that the applicable FAA regulations make a distinction between spaceflight activity PARTICIPANTS (e.g., the passengers) and the general public.

Participants are allowed to waive the risks of their participation; the general public is the group of people the FAA are charged with protecting.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: vapour_nudge on 02/27/2017 09:58 pm
I only jokingly predicted moon first in the predictions thread. Probably with even a hint of snark

Then I woke up this morning to read about this. Great news. It's great to see this is actually being put in place, not another paper proposal. Someone PAID a significant deposit. So I'm much more confident it's going to happen
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: robert_d on 02/27/2017 10:01 pm
My prediction for actual launch date: July 16, 2019.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Pasander on 02/27/2017 10:02 pm
This can mean only one thing: SPACE SEX!  (And that would be science, wouldn't it??)

Yes, the 400000 km club ...

Heheh yes, but I was actually semi-serious. If they manage to conceive a child right after TLI, how many rounds of cell divisions does the embryo go through before they're back to 1G? Does the baby develop normally?

If these people don't do it, eventually some other people will. I'm sure the results will be of scientific interest.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jdeshetler on 02/27/2017 10:03 pm
"The passengers were “nobody from Hollywood”, Musk said."

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel? :o
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/27/2017 10:04 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity, so an entry from a lunar free return trajectory (which is all they could do with a single FH) would be about three times as much heat as an orbital entry. There is no way they should do a crewed mission without a test flight which replicates the same entry conditions. (Also, there's the whole thing about navigation to maintain the free return trajectory with mid-course corrections and to hit the allowable entry corridor, use of the lift vector for heat and g-level modulation, and accuracy of the landing targeting.) So, unless they're planning to eat the cost of another FH launch, I would expect them to retarget the upcoming FH demo for a heat shield demo (probably with a used cargo Dragon?)

Years ago I was suggesting test initial  F9H with Dragon  fly it around Moon, to test shield.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 10:04 pm
Wonder if this will torpedo Russia's lunar tourism program:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20311.360

Short answer - if they really can do it, they will accelerate and do it.

If they can't, they'll be some noise, and it'll gradually vanish.

These guys have always been able to reach the moon, for more than 40 years. Ask yourself why they don't bring off what clearly they are capable of doing. The answer has always been "not now".

Just like with NASA post Apollo/Saturn. "Not now".

So ... "now"?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Wicky on 02/27/2017 10:05 pm
Quote
It's a ride inside an aluminum can.... Plus it's likely to be rather odorous as the flight goes on...

Artist's impression of the spacecraft with sponsor's logo...

(http://cl.ly/1W3H141s3a1P/Lynx-Deep-Space-Anti-Perspirant.jpg)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: HighlandRay on 02/27/2017 10:05 pm
To celebrate my 70th birthday next year I'm taking my kids and grandkids to Florida to visit the parks and the Kennedy Space Centre. We'll be there in October 2018, now that would be some birthday present if Elon could arrange for the launch to happen within the two weeks that we will be there.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jsgirald on 02/27/2017 10:06 pm
"The passengers were “nobody from Hollywood”, Musk said."

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel?

Seriously, I think few people would benefit more (professionally speaking) from something like this than an actor.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: vapour_nudge on 02/27/2017 10:06 pm
Perhaps some wealthy Sheikhs from Saudi Arabia or UAE

Time for Chris Bergin to create another predictions thread regarding "who are the two customers?"
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AS-503 on 02/27/2017 10:07 pm
Good points. This video shows how the flight computers control the entry corridor and the lift vector through skipped reentry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5ozq4Tqew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Craftyatom on 02/27/2017 10:09 pm
I love the name MoonDragon. His is what we have all been waiting for and more than justifies the funding of commercial flights to ISS. Well done Elon and all at SpaceX
I've always preferred "Silver Dragon" - fits with the convention set by Red Dragon (not that SpaceX has ever made themselves beholden to naming conventions), and sounds somewhat like "Selenic" (synonym for "Lunar").  But it's their spaceship and they can call it what they want.
This can mean only one thing: SPACE SEX!  (And that would be science, wouldn't it??)
If you really want that, it's best to keep to LEO, in order to keep costs down - that is, unless you need a good shot with the Earth in one of the windows.  Point is, if that isn't happening on ho-hum LEO flights right now, it's not gonna happen on the first manned flight to the moon in over 4 decades.

Anyways, regarding test flights, there are really only 4 "new" things about this mission (compared to the manned ISS demo): Dv2 riding on FH, BLEO navigation, van Allen Belts, and Re-entry heat.  SpaceX has already shown good rad tolerance on Dragon, so I don't think that's something to be worried about.  BLEO navigation will be new, but also shouldn't be a major challenge.  Dv2 riding on FH will require testing, but it's testing they were already doing for Red Dragon, and it won't be too different from riding on F9 - if it does cause problems, though, they'll be during ascent, when powered abort is possible.

This leaves re-entry heating.  I know they'll be running all the CFD they can, and watching the demo missions to make sure those heat shields perform as expected, but still...  This is the one issue that seems to me like it really would require an unmanned shakedown.  Everything else is relatively low-risk, or can be tested during demo missions, but for this reason alone, an extra test mission up front might be important.  Plus, it might send a message to NASA about crewed firsts, though the circumstances are quite different.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CJ on 02/27/2017 10:12 pm
This is IMHO huge. No human being has gone past LEO in my lifetime - so anything beyond Earth Orbit is an enormous step forward IMHO. 

I'm even more excited by the nature of the funding; private passengers. That is truly wonderful, because paying passengers (Space tourism) are a potential huge driver of space infrastructure.

Is there a market for manned lunar landings too? If so, this is the gateway to it - and if there is a market, we'll see the capability created - which will then be available, at comparatively cheap cost, for other purposes as well.

As a side benefit, I have a hunch that a potential market like this might speed up the development of Dragon 2 and FH.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: QuantumG on 02/27/2017 10:13 pm
That was not boring!

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/27/2017 10:13 pm
Wonder if this will torpedo Russia's lunar tourism program:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20311.360
No private person will fly on SLS or Atlas V, if they could achieve the same trip for 10 times less.  When there was a plan to use Soyuz, price was around 200 million. This trip will be around 20-30 milion, this is a big difference.
SLS will cost at least billion and with Atlas V at least 500 million. To see private person flight this hardware is pipe dream. The only, who could afforded, will be NASA astronauts sucking 1/3 of NASA yearly budget. I am hoping Trump will stop such waste.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 10:16 pm
I hope this speeds up the prospect for a small 'Mini-Mir' Lunar orbit space station - a great place to park a reusable lunar lander; send crews there by either upgraded Dragon or Orion on Vulcan/ACES or... SLS (if it survives now).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: eric z on 02/27/2017 10:22 pm
 Could NASA offer use of the DSN and TDRSS networks, etc in return for a seat? As long as the flight is not bogged down with even more bureaucracy-addled requirements than CC? Maybe offer Jack Schmidt a slot as capcom as they slide around the moon? ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/27/2017 10:22 pm
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew
It provides them with 'deep' space tracking and control experience, long-ish term ECLSS experience, BEO reentry experience and brings in hard cash. Can't see how this is anything but a win-win-win-win situation.


Well the Lose part comes when they somehow manage to die on the mission :)

1/Launch failure will cover by escape system.
2/Failing to enter free moon return trajectory will be very low, it is not so difficult, they showing ability with every launch to control this part very precisely
3/Provide air for 1 week of trip sounds trivial
4/Landing they are able to control right now Dragon with offset point center gravity pretty preciously, I didn't see it as big deal. Their heat shield looks very robust.
5/Parachute landing was demonstrated without any issue.
6/The only new piece is F9H
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/27/2017 10:23 pm
Perhaps some wealthy Sheikhs from Saudi Arabia or UAE

Time for Chris Bergin to create another predictions thread regarding "who are the two customers?"
The announcement says "two private citizens", which probably means US citizens.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/27/2017 10:27 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?
It's SpaceX. They will absolutely find ways to use this flight to add to their knowledge of HSF beyond LEO. I don't begrudge the lucky billionaires funding the flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DOCinCT on 02/27/2017 10:28 pm
Wonder if this will torpedo Russia's lunar tourism program:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20311.360
No private person will fly on SLS or Atlas V, if they could achieve the same trip for 10 times less.  When there was a plan to use Soyuz, price was around 200 million. This trip will be around 20-30 milion, this is a big difference.
How did you arrive at the 20-30million? Seems the operative figure was something inline with a crewed ISS mission. Best estimate would be that of the Red Dragon figures floated last year ($300 million).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: NWade on 02/27/2017 10:28 pm
This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.
 
I've seen some other responses on this thread and I just want to point out that there are people in this world who have gotten rich by being smart and working hard. Yes, there are people who cheat the system or have gained success by being cruel to others; but let's not brand them all with the same label. Having money carries some benefits in our current society, and you can argue that they are perhaps outsized or unfairly applied... But having money does not make one evil (or lazy or stupid or anti-science).
 
Until we know who is paying for this, it could be anyone. And that means that it could be people who are smart and wealthy engineering-types or big science buffs or promoters of advanced technology who simply want an experience in return for "investing" a couple-hundred-million $ into SpaceX.
 
--Noel
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kansan52 on 02/27/2017 10:29 pm
Yes to adventurers. No to tourists.

I am neither mad nor sad. Not mad because this isn't instead of something that someone without money would have. This wouldn't happen without people paying their own costs.

Well, maybe a little sad that it took so long and it won't be me.

There is still a chance that the people going have a scientific background and can accomplish some science on the way. Because without something to do it will be a long road trip locked in a van with latrine smells.

change spelling
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/27/2017 10:30 pm
Elon says lots of stuff, and we all know enough by now to add a "s**t Elon says" multiplier to any timeline he throws out. Still, if SpaceX can pull this off, it would be literally awesome. It's still just a baby step, but at long last, it's another human venture beyond LEO after all these years! God knows if I had the money, I'd spend my last dime to take such a journey -- even given the non-negligible possibility that I'd die in the effort. It would be worth it.

Also, if SpaceX succeeds in this effort, there'll be so much investor money flowing into NewSpace (not just SpaceX) that it'll be mind-boggling. BO, ULA, and Boeing can only benefit from this.

Elon is already rich, but if this works he'll be so rich that he'll be able to burn money just to keep his other money warm.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 02/27/2017 10:34 pm
I dunno. There are some pretty smart people out there - you generally don't acquire large amounts of cash without some level of intelligence (unless you inherit it - Trump?). Did the training the Apollo guys get enable them to duct tape containers together? Or is that something any intelligent person could do. Of course, there are lots of switches in Apollo to learn - that's not the case in Dragon where everything is automated, or computer controlled.

Well, it's not about duct taping things, it's more about not panicking and keeping focus on the situation.
As a D-day veteran put it: 'Training is what makes you do the correct things when people are shooting at you'

In space, no one can hear you scream
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RobW1 on 02/27/2017 10:35 pm
"The passengers were “nobody from Hollywood”, Musk said."

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel?

You do NOT send Matt Damon. He needed rescuing in "The Martian"; he needed rescuing in "Interstellar". Putting him on a real mission around the Moon is just asking for trouble. You only even begin to think of sending him after you have built Pad 39C and have a Rescue Dragon standing by, all checked out and ready to go.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kansan52 on 02/27/2017 10:37 pm
My guess, full reuse of the the FH. ISS trip now $35 mill (if memory serves). So $35 million US times 2 so $70 million.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 10:42 pm
Quote
Alan Boyle‏ @b0yle 2m2 minutes ago

[email protected] has an intriguing comment on @SpaceX's circumlunar mission, saying it can't comment on its clients' plans prematurely.

https://twitter.com/b0yle/status/836359916730245120 (https://twitter.com/b0yle/status/836359916730245120)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Darkseraph on 02/27/2017 10:42 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 10:42 pm
An adaptation of the the most basic Lunar Soyuz mission paradigm once touted: a slightly modified Soyuz is launched on a Soyuz 2 booster (has slightly more payload capability over the previous version). Soyuz has a high-gain antenna, a thicker 'Zond' type heatshield and 1x extra propellant and 1x extra oxidizer tanks. Second launch is a Proton - or Angara A5 - with a Blok-DM upperstage with a second, spherical Soyuz Orbital module-based Hab module mounted on it - albeit one with a couple large 'picture' windows. The Soyuz docks with the Blok-DM & Hab stage and departs on a low energy, free return trip around the Moon...

This mission honestly could have been done years ago - they even had financial incentive from interested parties, apparently. Never mind - the time is finally here for a similar alternative, I suppose.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jongoff on 02/27/2017 10:43 pm
My guess, full reuse of the the FH. ISS trip now $35 mill (if memory serves). So $35 million US times 2 so $70 million.

I'm skeptical they can do a FH + DV2 flight for $70M. I haven't seen the original quote so far, but I find the interpretation that it's similar to the cost of an ISS mission (ie ~$140M divided by 2 passengers, so $70M *each*) to be more realistic. It would still be an awesome price point, and one that's likely to get several takers.

~Jon
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DigitalMan on 02/27/2017 10:45 pm
Looking forward to hear those words again... "You are GO for TLI"... 8)

This brings tears to my eyes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 10:45 pm
"The passengers were “nobody from Hollywood”, Musk said."

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel?

You do NOT send Matt Damon. He needed rescuing in "The Martian"; he needed rescuing in "Interstellar". Putting him on a real mission around the Moon is just asking for trouble. You only even begin to think of sending him after you have built Pad 39C and have a Rescue Dragon standing by, all checked out and ready to go.
If and when this is successful - I really hope that a Pad 39C is deemed necessary at last and sees the light of day! Launching dual Falcon 9s and Falcon Heavies from Pads 39A & C could do Lunar landing missions, with the right spacecraft and departure stage combinations.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/27/2017 10:45 pm
Now develop a service module with some kick and if NASA builds and launches their deep space habitat and you have commercial crew to the Moon.
ITS could land on Moon and come back. Already in development.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TomH on 02/27/2017 10:46 pm
Wouldn't it be a trip if one of the tourists is Elon?

Absolutely not. He is too important to risk. Without his leadership, I fear that SpaceX would lose its way. Churchill wanted to visit Normandy on D-Day+1. The king had to forbade it as his loss would have been a crushing blow to Britain.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 10:47 pm
Looking forward to hear those words again... "You are GO for TLI"... 8)

This brings tears to my eyes.
...And it will for me as well. I'm looking forward to seeing live 1080p or even 4k UHD camera views from the spacecraft as it approaches and rounds the Moon... :')
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Nomadd on 02/27/2017 10:51 pm
 I think I'd give even money on Cameron being behind this. He's already been deeper than anybody else. Time the mission right and he'll have been higher than anybody else. (Not counting Jefferson Airplane parties)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Arcas on 02/27/2017 10:52 pm
Question: Would it be two passengers sent alone, or two passengers plus a pilot, or one passenger plus a pilot? I can't imagine sending customers without a professional SpaceX pilot on board.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TomH on 02/27/2017 10:52 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity...

I believe RobotBeat once said to the eighth power according to a complex formula. That's far more than cubed.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: launchwatcher on 02/27/2017 10:54 pm
If they manage to conceive a child right after TLI, how many rounds of cell divisions does the embryo go through before they're back to 1G?
Data points along the curve:

2-4 cells after 2 days
7-10 after 3 days
200-300 after 5 days.

Implantation starts around day 6 or 7.



Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 02/27/2017 10:55 pm
I am so happy that regular citizens, and not government employees, are now first in line for this kind of trip. Also I hope this is the last nail in the coffin for expensive government programs that have slowed down, or in fact halted space exploration for the last several decades. Yes the launch date is very likely to slip; however, I hope they launch as soon as possible!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Darkseraph on 02/27/2017 10:55 pm
Speculating on who bought the tickets, it could be someone who has already been a space tourist like Anousheh Ansari or Dennis Tito.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 10:56 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.
By that line of thinking, they shouldn't do LEO either....
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: joek on 02/27/2017 10:57 pm
Question: Is the Falcon Heavy human rated? Would the FAA allow this flight?

No, FH is not human rated.  The flight as described would require an FAA license because: (a) it is not a USG acquired launch and spacecraft/payload; (b) SpaceX is being paid (for-profit); and (c) individuals on the flight include persons who do not qualify as "crew".[1]


[1] Crew has a very specific meaning: (a) employed by the provider (SpaceX) and qualified to perform crew functions; or (b) in the special case of commercial crew, designated USG personnel qualified to perform crew functions; and (c) not a "spaceflight participant" (i.e., anyone other than "crew").  Not sure how they're going to get away without a "crew", but maybe the exception made for commercial crew is being expanded.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bubbinski on 02/27/2017 10:58 pm
Holy Schnikies.

I was 2 years old when Apollo 17 launched, much too young to remember that. This would be the first flight of people back to the Moon that I and countless others world wide would be able to follow. I guarantee you that this mission will be widely discussed and looked forward to before it launches. If it succeeds I believe a new "space race" back to the Moon and beyond by commercial companies and national space agencies will follow. People will see that profit can be made, and that the US and the world would still have the "right stuff".

It doesn't matter to me if this flight is "just" an Apollo 13/Zond lunar pass not even orbiting the Moon. I will be counting down the days till launch. And even fly out to Florida for the launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 10:58 pm
NASA statement:

Quote
NASA Statement About SpaceX Private Moon Venture Announcement

The following is a statement on SpaceX’s announcement Monday about a private space mission around the moon:

“NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher.

“We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to U.S. soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

“For more than a decade, NASA has invested in private industry to develop capabilities for the American people and seed commercial innovation to advance humanity's future in space.

“NASA is changing the way it does business through its commercial partnerships to help build a strong American space economy and free the agency to focus on developing the next-generation rocket, spacecraft and systems to go beyond the moon and sustain deep space exploration.”

-end-

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/27/2017 11:00 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.

SpaceX is aware of the need to manage this risk. They not only know that it's impossible to guarantee 99%+ success rate on such missions - they recently had two mission failures. They know the risk is real.

SpaceX will survive even if this mission ends with a LOC.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Oli on 02/27/2017 11:00 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.

For NASA it might be a dangerous stunt with little value, but in this case billionaires are paying for some great sightseeing and an entry in the history books.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DOCinCT on 02/27/2017 11:02 pm
My guess, full reuse of the the FH. ISS trip now $35 mill (if memory serves). So $35 million US times 2 so $70 million.
I'm skeptical they can do a FH + DV2 flight for $70M. I haven't seen the original quote so far, but I find the interpretation that it's similar to the cost of an ISS mission (ie ~$140M divided by 2 passengers, so $70M *each*) to be more realistic. It would still be an awesome price point, and one that's likely to get several takers.
~Jon
I think more as there is a possibility that the FH will be partially expendable (equivalent to Red Dragon).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/27/2017 11:02 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.

Even if they do not attempt an unmanned lunar FH/Dragon flight, this will still be better than a crewed EM-1 flight:
 - Not first FH flight (will already have at least two flights, probably more)
 - Not the first crew Dragon flight (will already have gone to ISS)

But I do a agree that a lunar return and 7 day flight past the moon would be best demonstrated first in an unmanned test.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 11:03 pm
An adaptation of the the most basic Lunar Soyuz mission paradigm once touted: a slightly modified Soyuz is launched on a Soyuz 2 booster (has slightly more payload capability over the previous version).
My read is that they are running behind in needed payload capability.

Quote
Soyuz has a high-gain antenna, a thicker 'Zond' type heatshield and 1x extra propellant and 1x extra oxidizer tanks.
Zond and LOK never completed successful missions to trust a crew on. They would be running behind on this as well, and need to play "catch up". Dragon 1, of course, also hasn't qualified yet on these items.

Quote
Second launch is a Proton - or Angara A5 - with a Blok-DM upperstage with a second, spherical Soyuz Orbital module-based Hab module mounted on it - albeit one with a couple large 'picture' windows. The Soyuz docks with the Blok-DM & Hab stage and departs on a low energy, free return trip around the Moon...

This is where it economically loses. Once you have the dependence on multiple launch, on the lifetime of a Blok DM ... well, too much gambling, not enough benefit from so much risk.

Quote
This mission honestly could have been done years ago - they even had financial incentive from interested parties, apparently. Never mind - the time is finally here for a similar alternative, I suppose.
"Sh*t or get off the pot".

The only way it economically makes sense, is as a financial cost recovery scheme for a Russian moon program. Which they aren't in a position to do.

Nor, for that matter is China. This move gives China the biggest "hot foot". Musk just stuck a bunch of matches in Li Keqiang's foot and lit them off! I'm sure he's still hopping around right now. To be upstaged by a mere corporation, not even a multinational, and not for the first time (e.g. stage recovery).

My guess, full reuse of the the FH. ISS trip now $35 mill (if memory serves). So $35 million US times 2 so $70 million.

I'm skeptical they can do a FH + DV2 flight for $70M. I haven't seen the original quote so far, but I find the interpretation that it's similar to the cost of an ISS mission (ie ~$140M divided by 2 passengers, so $70M *each*) to be more realistic.
My read too.

Quote
It would still be an awesome price point, and one that's likely to get several takers.
That's the whole point.

It's not for a revenue stream. It's for the ability to raise funds for ITS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TomH on 02/27/2017 11:03 pm
Question: Would it be two passengers sent alone, or two passengers plus a pilot, or one passenger plus a pilot? I can't imagine sending customers without a professional SpaceX pilot on board.

If this is a couple, they may have signed up on the condition of privacy. Imagine being with your significant other, completely weightless, Luna passing by in the window. Welcome to the Heavenly Honeymoon Hotel!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/27/2017 11:06 pm
Wonder if this will torpedo Russia's lunar tourism program:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20311.360

Short answer - if they really can do it, they will accelerate and do it.

If they can't, they'll be some noise, and it'll gradually vanish.

These guys have always been able to reach the moon, for more than 40 years. Ask yourself why they don't bring off what clearly they are capable of doing. The answer has always been "not now".

Just like with NASA post Apollo/Saturn. "Not now".

So ... "now"?

It would be incorrect to state that the Russians would have been able to reach the moon anytime in the past 40 years if they wanted to. It would have (and still) would require a LOT of time and budget for them to re-develop a technology they barely had in the first place. The current Soyuz is not designed for lunar flights.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 11:06 pm
My take is that of this flight goes well, a commercial lunar landing won't be too far behind...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: WulfTheSaxon on 02/27/2017 11:07 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Darkseraph on 02/27/2017 11:08 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.
By that line of thinking, they shouldn't do LEO either....
It probably would have been better if this was tourists to LEO, after several operational flights of the Dragon 2 on Block 5 F9. The backlash from an accident in that case would be a lot less than what they're planning to do here. I'm hoping there is at least going to be an ummanned test of this mission between now and whenever it really flies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: butters on 02/27/2017 11:10 pm
The NASA response reads a bit like: we'll do everything we can to ensure that SpaceX checks all the contractual boxes before we'll let them launch our astronauts, but we can't hold them back from launching private individuals.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 11:11 pm
I think I'd give even money on Cameron being behind this. He's already been deeper than anybody else. Time the mission right and he'll have been higher than anybody else. (Not counting Jefferson Airplane parties)

I thought so too but Elon is quoted as saying that the two people are not Hollywood people. I think Steve Jurvetson is possible as one of the two.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Stan-1967 on 02/27/2017 11:11 pm

I wonder about the gender and ethnicity of these two people. Although I'm happy to see someone, anyone, go back to the Moon (it's been a long wait, especially if you've lived through it! :) ), I'd like to see some diversity, since all of the 24 people who've been to the Moon have been white men.

SpaceX say the two crew know each other, so perhaps they're a (mixed-gender) couple? They're probably rich tech people though, and they're overwhelmingly white male (at least among US citizens, which I'm assuming they are). If they are both white men, I anticipate public pressure on NASA via Congress to send its own astronauts to ensure one of the first people to return to the Moon is a woman and one is from an ethnic minority (SpaceX has the defences of 'we'll take anyone willing to pay' and 'first come, first served').

The suggestion that the skin color of these adventurer's has any relevance to celebrating achievements in space is depressing.  Even more depressing is the loathesome thought that NASA would need to select from its astronauts corps based on countering too much "whiteness" on a SpaceX mission.  If such was the case, humanity should abandon space altogether.

When I watched SpaceX's first successful RTLS on the live webcast, I saw young & old,  men & women, & many different races & religions celebrating together for what they worked so hard for.  I think they represent the future quite well, without any need for the interjection of racial politics.   
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 11:17 pm
In a clear minority here, but I have similar reservations about this idea that I had about the recent idea to put a crew on EM1: It's a dangerous stunt that superficially demonstrates progress in BLEO flight. A fatal accident on such a flight wouldn't just be tragic to the passengers and their families, it could set back SpaceX by years or worse.
By that line of thinking, they shouldn't do LEO either....
It probably would have been better if this was tourists to LEO, after several operational flights of the Dragon 2 on Block 5 F9. The backlash from an accident in that case would be a lot less than what they're planning to do here. I'm hoping there is at least going to be an ummanned test of this mission between now and whenever it really flies.
Loss of crew is, a loss of crew... If it happened on a ISS mission in LEO, think of the backlash of contracting flights to the commercial side. These would be private individuals doing what they want with their spare time and cash... I fly and race cars as much as I please and can afford. I take the calculated risks and no one stops me from doing so as long as I don't endanger the general public...
As some on NSF already know, back in 2002 I took a calculated risk when I applied to the Astronaut office and months later we lost another crew. It has happened on the ground and going to and from orbit. BEO adds a few more failure modes and all one can do is to remember the phrase "do good work"... Words to live by...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 11:19 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…

It changes the landscape. You're right - the pressure comes off because it will seem to compete with commercial efforts.

However, they now have to justify themselves as a program with scope.

Both EM-1/2 have always been extremely expensive "joke" missions. But that's what the politics around SLS have wanted, not NASA.

So its the Congress that really bites it in the rear if EM 1/2 are exposed as the bad jokes they have always been.

And Congress hasn't been overly fond of Musk either. So if he brings it off, there will be a lot of "WTF" directed at them.

They are then well and truly screwed.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 11:20 pm
I think I'd give even money on Cameron being behind this. He's already been deeper than anybody else. Time the mission right and he'll have been higher than anybody else. (Not counting Jefferson Airplane parties)
People keep forgetting - Cameron now lives in New Zealand; not all that far from me, as it happens - and is spending the next five years making an 'Avatar' sequel trilogy here, largely in New Zealand. The cameras roll very soon - I find it nearly impossible to believe that he'll drop all that to go train for the next 6 or 12 months for this Lunar mission. He might do it after the films, for his 70th birthday or something, still...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/27/2017 11:22 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…

That's my read as well. The only reason for a crewed EM-1 is to prove America can still get humans into space on "home grown" rockets. If SpaceX can accomplish this mission successfully, there's no reason to duplicate the mission with SLS. (Though that will then force NASA to come up with an actual mission for SLS....)

All the same, I'm wary of getting too keyed up about this. Let's remember that the FH hasn't even flown once yet, in any configuration; nor has the Dragon 2 (except in a pad-abort and hover test). A lot -- A LOT -- of stuff has to happen between now and the end of 2018 if this adventure is actually going to take place. Applying the usual multiplier to "Elon time", I think a more reasonable timeframe for this mission is probably going to be 2019 or 2020 (which still puts it ahead of the realistic SLS timeline).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/27/2017 11:25 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…

It changes the landscape. You're right - the pressure comes off because it will seem to compete with commercial efforts.

However, they now have to justify themselves as a program with scope.

Both EM-1/2 have always been extremely expensive "joke" missions. But that's what the politics around SLS have wanted, not NASA.

So its the Congress that really bites it in the rear if EM 1/2 are exposed as the bad jokes they have always been.

And Congress hasn't been overly fond of Musk either. So if he brings it off, there will be a lot of "WTF" directed at them.

They are then well and truly screwed.
SLS/Orion's only hope now is for dual-launch of Block 1B's, doing heavy-spacecraft Lunar landing missions lasting 2 or 3 weeks each. Or maybe a variation of the 'Inspiration Mars' flyby mission in 2021... But since a big funding boost is unlikely, then... :(  However, don't expect much to happen until if and when the Moon Dragon mission flies successfully. If it does, the countdown to true SLS cancellation will start.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: obi-wan on 02/27/2017 11:25 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity...

I believe RobotBeat once said to the eighth power according to a complex formula. That's far more than cubed.

If you're talking about stagnation point heating rate that would not be correct (there are some heuristics for laminar flow that have V^3.15), but there may be some disconnect on the exact equation and parameter of interest.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RobW1 on 02/27/2017 11:28 pm
"The passengers were “nobody from Hollywood”, Musk said."

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel?

You do NOT send Matt Damon. He needed rescuing in "The Martian"; he needed rescuing in "Interstellar". Putting him on a real mission around the Moon is just asking for trouble. You only even begin to think of sending him after you have built Pad 39C and have a Rescue Dragon standing by, all checked out and ready to go.
If and when this is successful - I really hope that a Pad 39C is deemed necessary at last and sees the light of day! Launching dual Falcon 9s and Falcon Heavies from Pads 39A & C could do Lunar landing missions, with the right spacecraft and departure stage combinations.

I agree. I could never understand NASA's rationale for leasing out 39A when they're planning on a dual launch architecture for their future deep space crewed missions, when the single pad they're left with would require six months of repair and refurbishment between launches. That to me is like giving the first spacecraft an extra six months for things to start going wrong up there before you launch a crew to fly it. Having the capability to do a quick one-two launch, as in the Gemini rendezvous and docking missions, just seemed to make much more sense.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see where SpaceX takes this before their interplanetary spacecraft is up and running. How often will they fly? Will they build a lunar orbit and then landing capability if the demand is there, or will they see it as detracting from their Mars vision? I'm guessing sufficient demand = yes, but what would I know?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/27/2017 11:31 pm
The NASA response reads a bit like: we'll do everything we can to ensure that SpaceX checks all the contractual boxes before we'll let them launch our astronauts, but we can't hold them back from launching private individuals.

It's more than that. It indicates that this is the kind of stuff that private companies should be focusing on while NASA focuses on "beyond the Moon" destinations (i.e. Mars).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/27/2017 11:32 pm
Question: Is the Falcon Heavy human rated? Would the FAA allow this flight?

No, FH is not human rated.  The flight as described would require an FAA license because: (a) it is not a USG acquired launch and spacecraft/payload; (b) SpaceX is being paid (for-profit); and (c) individuals on the flight include persons who do not qualify as "crew".[1]


[1] Crew has a very specific meaning: (a) employed by the provider (SpaceX) and qualified to perform crew functions; or (b) in the special case of commercial crew, designated USG personnel qualified to perform crew functions; and (c) not a "spaceflight participant" (i.e., anyone other than "crew").  Not sure how they're going to get away without a "crew", but maybe the exception made for commercial crew is being expanded.

My reading on it is that Commercial Space has a lot of leeway on these matters as long as the "space flight participant" has appropriate training, passed medical, does NOT pilot the craft and has been sufficiently informed that that the U.S. Government has not certified the launch vehicle as safe.

They explicitly allow non-certified launch vehicles.

See:
New Regulations Govern Private Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants (https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/human_space_flight_reqs/)

PDF attached.
 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: craigcocca on 02/27/2017 11:32 pm
My take is that of this flight goes well, a commercial lunar landing won't be too far behind...

Don't forget that the delta-V to brake into lunar orbit and for TEI for the return, plus the delta-V to land and ascend from the moon will not be part of the proposed 2018 mission. 

Essentially the 2018 mission is doing something that SpaceX has done before a few times, which is putting a massive payload into a highly elliptical orbit...one that just so happens to intersect the moon's position at apogee.  Beyond that, there is a long way to go to get from there to a lunar landing which will probably require a couple of additional missions (perhaps one to go into lunar orbit and then return to Earth, and then another with an unmanned Dragon 2 landing on the lunar surface).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/27/2017 11:34 pm
My article on this all:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 11:36 pm
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…

It changes the landscape. You're right - the pressure comes off because it will seem to compete with commercial efforts.

However, they now have to justify themselves as a program with scope.

Both EM-1/2 have always been extremely expensive "joke" missions. But that's what the politics around SLS have wanted, not NASA.

So its the Congress that really bites it in the rear if EM 1/2 are exposed as the bad jokes they have always been.

And Congress hasn't been overly fond of Musk either. So if he brings it off, there will be a lot of "WTF" directed at them.

They are then well and truly screwed.

SLS/Orion's only hope now is for dual-launch of Block 1B's, doing heavy-spacecraft Lunar landing missions lasting 2 or 3 weeks each.
Logistics chain for SLS/Orion does not support that, and it would take 2-5 years to change. It can't launch at that cadence.

But you are right about mission duration - Orion is designed for more duration, and SLS payload is underutilized.

However, neither Dragon or Orion have duration down yet. Dragon has been on the ISS for extended time, so its in the lead.

Quote
Or maybe a variation of the 'Inspiration Mars' flyby mission in 2021...
That will take years to get the needed ECLSS proof before flying.

Quote
But since a big funding boost is unlikely, then... :(  However, don't expect much to happen until if and when the Moon Dragon mission flies successfully. If it does, the countdown to true SLS cancellation will start.
Think it will "bumble along" in the mean time.

Again, what SLS/Orion needs is a lander on short notice. What Congress does not yet know is that they need it even worse, so they can declare SLS/Orion a victory in returning to the lunar surface and move on ...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/27/2017 11:36 pm
My take is that of this flight goes well, a commercial lunar landing won't be too far behind...

Don't forget that the delta-V to brake into lunar orbit and for TEI for the return, plus the delta-V to land and ascend from the moon will not be part of the proposed 2018 mission. 

Essentially the 2018 mission is doing something that SpaceX has done before a few times, which is putting a massive payload into a highly elliptical orbit...one that just so happens to intersect the moon's position at apogee.  Beyond that, there is a long way to go to get from there to a lunar landing which will probably require a couple of additional missions (perhaps one to go into lunar orbit and then return to Earth, and then another with an unmanned Dragon 2 landing on the lunar surface).
I was actually thinking that some other entity my be doing a lander, not necessarily SpaceX. Think the "Golden Spike" lander...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: obi-wan on 02/27/2017 11:39 pm
To misquote Han Solo, "Doing a hypervelocity entry ain't like dusting crops, boy!" Entry heating rate goes like the cube of velocity...

I believe RobotBeat once said to the eighth power according to a complex formula. That's far more than cubed.

If you're talking about stagnation point heating rate that would not be correct (there are some heuristics for laminar flow that have V^3.15), but there may be some disconnect on the exact equation and parameter of interest.

Actually, in thinking about it I did remember an equation with a large exponent, so I checked my notes - there is a heuristic for stagnation point radiative hearing that has V^8.5 (Martin's formulation), whereas I was quoting convective heating. Radiative heating doesn't kick in until you get to real hypervelocity entries - at lunar return velocity, it's measurable but still dominated by convective heating. It does go up really rapidly after that, but SpaceX won't have to contend with that until they do direct entry from Mars.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2017 11:42 pm
My article on this all:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/
Good read. Especially liked the last part with Lightfoot and the WH "Landing team" heh!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MattMason on 02/27/2017 11:47 pm
Fascinating. I jumped on late, expecting to find the NSF servers on fire. I'm not disappointed. :)

That said, my first reaction was: This was not Musk's style. He's been serious about developing tools to explore Mars. If Jeff Bezos proposed this, I wouldn't have bat one eyelash.

But I continued to read here and began thinking in the long-term. It's all about financing. Musk cannot guarantee much with NASA beyond 2024 beyond perhaps a satellite launch or two, and some comsat flights. He'll need a new revenue stream.

I wouldn't be the first to sign up, and he'd be a fool not to make a test flight, but this is certainly a 9.5 on the Fanboy Pucker Factor meter.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/27/2017 11:50 pm
Quote
Lori Garver‏ @Lori_Garver 3m3 minutes ago

Lori Garver Retweeted Elon Musk

My comment to WaPost reporter: "optimistic schedule, but even doing it by 2020 would be wonderful. The plan to open new markets is working!"

https://twitter.com/Lori_Garver/status/836376848103768064 (https://twitter.com/Lori_Garver/status/836376848103768064)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/27/2017 11:51 pm
NASA's reacted:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: joek on 02/27/2017 11:54 pm
They explicitly allow non-certified launch vehicles.

Understood.  However:
- All such missions still require an FAA launch license; use of non-certified vehicles does not mean "no FAA license required".
- As there is no definition of "certification" for commercial space vehicles at this time (outside of USG CCtCap), so requiring such at this point is effectively moot.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: speedevil on 02/27/2017 11:58 pm
<snip>
I see your point, but what science could be done? It's a free return flyby, presumably with tight payload margins. It will mostly likely be entirely automated anyway.
I have not worked out anything in detail - but Apollo 13s free return trajectory was at 250km altitude.
Lunar reconnisance orbiter is constantly orbiting a little lower than this, and has gone as low as 50km.
LRO was designed in 2006, so any instruments would be ~11 years younger, and perhaps somewhat more capable.
But - half an orbit versus continual. LRO payload was 100kg.

'Deep impact' type measurements come to mind.
Perhaps something useful could be done with a payload which separates out into multiple small impactors.
LRO does not have a spectrometer, so that impact measurements would either need to be done from existing satellites in earth orbit, earth and DSCOVR (which only has 10 band imager), or an onboard imager.

DSCOVR is very unlikely to produce much, as the resolution is too low.
Flying through the plumes of impacts is in principle possible, but 250km is quite high up, and impact velocities are quite low, meaning generation of a plume may be limited.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: punder on 02/27/2017 11:59 pm
NASA's reacted:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

I bet a lot of NASA employees are quite excited by this. But "official" NASA definitely is not. It reads almost passive-aggressive.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/27/2017 11:59 pm
NASA's reacted:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

It's likely that the folks at JSC and KSC are happy to hear about SpaceX's plans; the folks at Marshall and Stennis, less so.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: IanThePineapple on 02/28/2017 12:00 am
SpaceX COULD make a cubesat deployer to be used with Crew Dragon...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 12:04 am
My take is that of this flight goes well, a commercial lunar landing won't be too far behind...
Beyond that, there is a long way to go to get from there to a lunar landing which will probably require a couple of additional missions (perhaps one to go into lunar orbit and then return to Earth, and then another with an unmanned Dragon 2 landing on the lunar surface).
I was actually thinking that some other entity my be doing a lander, not necessarily SpaceX. Think the "Golden Spike" lander...

Consider the economics for a moment. Neither Golden Spike nor Northrup Grumman nor NASA have the budget to qualify a lander right now. Easily in the billions and decade.

The only way I can see it is to take an existing vehicle where most of that work has been done, and adapt it to the purpose.

At most there are five vehicles you can do that with on earth right now. Two are prime candidates for the role.

Golden Spike doesn't even come close ATM. Perhaps with a billion or two. Have you got that in your wallet for them , hmm?
Perhaps not, but I do like their lightweight lander concept. The problem was going to an old space company and expecting a lander for a reasonable cost...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/28/2017 12:05 am
They explicitly allow non-certified launch vehicles.

Understood.  However:
- All such missions still require an FAA launch license; use of non-certified vehicles does not mean "no FAA license required".
- As there is no definition of "certification" for commercial space vehicles at this time (outside of USG CCtCap), so requiring such at this point is effectively moot.
Right, I misread your original response as a "No" to the second half of the question "would the FAA allow it." Tired brain.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: punder on 02/28/2017 12:06 am
On the subject of comms... I can imagine a gimbaled antenna on a hinged arm, mounted inside the trunk, near the bottom. After separation from the upper stage, the arm swings out to deploy. Wonder if it will look like the CSM steerable antenna!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ads on 02/28/2017 12:09 am
So, NASA schedule vs Elon time. Which will be first to get delayed into the 2030s?  :P
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: robert_d on 02/28/2017 12:09 am
Could NASA offer use of the DSN and TDRSS networks, etc in return for a seat? As long as the flight is not bogged down with even more bureaucracy-addled requirements than CC? Maybe offer Jack Schmidt a slot as capcom as they slide around the moon? ;D

Harrison "Jack" Schmitt  (not Schmidt)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DragonRider on 02/28/2017 12:11 am
I just can't help but think that behind the scenes Trump is playing some 4D chess here. He wants a legacy and SpaceX and/or Orion are going to give him one, probably both of them because this will give SLS/Orion a much needed kick in the pants. I just feel like in a strange way Trump will end up being the best thing to happen to Space in a long time and Elon is smart enough to stay close to him.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 02/28/2017 12:11 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/28/2017 12:13 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

And EM 1/2 ... are ... better?????
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: punder on 02/28/2017 12:16 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew

You are correct. We must stamp out all forms of joy rides and ego trips, especially when they are done by rich people using their own money.

By the way, did he really name it MoonDragon? Shouldn't he have named it Alice?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 12:16 am

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew

Science didn't drive oceangoing vessels or railroads; commerce and adventure did. Science is not the end-all and be-all of human activity -- in fact, science is a lamprey, glomming onto a bigger fish to catch a ride. Thinking that spaceflight must *necessarily* have science is the primary goal is both limiting and silly. If science is all you want out of spaceflight, there's no reason to send people out there at all -- robots can do the job much more safely and at far less expense.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DragonRider on 02/28/2017 12:20 am
I just feel like in a strange way Trump will end up being the best thing to happen to Space in a long time and Elon is smart enough to stay close to him.
Drove past Tesla factory yesterday. All the electronic ad boards cycled through ads, and each time, each board, had a stark text only black and white ad that said:

"Elon, dump Trump!"

...and Elon is wise enough not to take that advice onboard, I think he has a rare opportunity here to ride in the slipstream of Trump's ambitions, he's smart enough to realize how to use them for the benefit of SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Dalhousie on 02/28/2017 12:22 am
Must be some bad news coming up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 02/28/2017 12:28 am
They explicitly allow non-certified launch vehicles.

Understood.  However:
- All such missions still require an FAA launch license; use of non-certified vehicles does not mean "no FAA license required".

But again (and forgive me - it's been some time since I read the regs), isn't the prime driver for approval or denial of a launch license the mitigation of risk to the public from the launch activity?

If so, the fact that the vehicle carries a spaceflight participant shouldn't play into the decision rationale aside from whether or not such participants have been given a reasonable warning of the inherent risks and chosen to proceed in the face of such risks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 02/28/2017 12:31 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They could very well just turn up and go. A turnip could do it. With a food and water dispenser a dog or chimp could do this. They are TOURISTS.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Oli on 02/28/2017 12:34 am
it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew

That's the future of commercial human spaceflight. You better get used to it.

Humanity should abandon space if it doesn't care about diversity. The problem is not so much too much whiteness; it's a total lack of any other colour.

I will never understand the obsession with skin color. For me diversity means different culture. Funnily enough nationalists and isolationists are more likely to preserve cultural diversity (not that I am one myself).

Ok that's all from me.  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 12:34 am
My take is that of this flight goes well, a commercial lunar landing won't be too far behind...
Actually I think this is the biggest misconception about this flight.

This mission gets you closer to a lunar landing in the same way that SS2 gets you closer to orbital flight - not one bit, except by way of PR.

This is no Apollo 8, which was a step along a carefully engineered path to a lunar landing.

This is a step towards long duration spaceflight, but there's nothing really "moony" about it.  They might as well have just done a very high elliptical orbit. (Technology-wise)

I think round-the-moon is the ultimate bang-for-buck in space tourism, and that it will become an awesome revenue source (I preached this before), but this is not leading to a moon landing.

IMO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: strip mine the moon on 02/28/2017 12:37 am
is falcon heavy enough to put the 2nd stage and dragon in earth orbit?
is the 2nd stage restartable enough to handle course corrections to and from the moon?
granted this will be a free return trajectory but still the earth reenty corridor is not that large
unless you are willing to land anywhere on earth.
just things I remember from the Apollo missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/28/2017 12:38 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew
I have trouble imagining SpaceX not getting all sorts of valuable data and experience from this fully funded mission. To me this is no more a stunt than landing boosters in the ocean was.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 12:39 am
Intriguing article Chris, thank you! ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: joek on 02/28/2017 12:42 am
But again (and forgive me - it's been some time since I read the regs), isn't the prime driver for approval or denial of a launch license the mitigation of risk to the public from the launch activity?

If so, the fact that the vehicle carries a spaceflight participant shouldn't play into the decision rationale aside from whether or not such participants have been given a reasonable warning of the inherent risks and chosen to proceed in the face of such risks.

Correct.  A spaceflight participant's risk does not (at least pro-forma) factor into whether the FAA grants a license.  However, the FAA does require some level of due diligence--you can't simply say "the spaceflight participant has signed and accepted the risk... so we're good to go on the first flight of our experimental vehicle which no one has ever flown on".  The delta between what commercial and FAA wants is an ongoing discussion and no clear lines have yet been defined to my knowledge.  So essentially case-by-case at this point as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: John Alan on 02/28/2017 12:42 am
Just stick a couple of these on the inside and go fly...  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rmencos on 02/28/2017 12:43 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

So if a government pays for it, it's serious?

It does not matter who pays for it IMO, it is not science, it is not pushing back a frontier, providing a service like satellites, it is a joy ride/ ego trip. Looks bad if you ask me.

Matthew
I think calling them "tourists" is what takes away from what is being proposed.  It's like the guy in The Right Stuff who said that Gus Grissom was just doing what monkeys could do.  This isn't a joy ride.  Two people are paying a lot of money to be guinea pigs on barely tested rocket and capsule, and go further into a hostile environment than any human in 50 years.  This is truly historic for our generation if SpaceX can pull it off.  Call these guys (or gals) adventurers, spacefarers or pioneers.  Anybody can be a tourist.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jgoldader on 02/28/2017 12:48 am
Well.

This quite possibly explains the request to see about putting crew on EM-1.  I doubt this came as a surprise to the President.  I would not want to be the briefer who has to give the EM-1 report.

I'd say this is typically audacious for Musk, but it's more.  There are a lot of things that have to move into place for this to happen, obviously.  But if it happens, it strikes me as the most significant event in space development since STS-1. It's a high stakes gamble that opens up cislunar space in one swoop.  One giant leap, indeed.

What does this mean for NASA HSF?   I obviously don't know.  What I do suspect is that the status quo for SLS is off the table now.  It will probably take a year or two to really shake out, and seriously nasty political battles, but I don't know how the current slow, expensive, vague plans will be able to deal with a successful Dragon flight to the moon.

I'm almost 50, and don't remember the moon landings.  I might not live long enough to see people back on the moon, but with a little luck, I may get to see *privately funded* missions around it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 12:54 am
I feel the nomenclature "private astronaut" suffices in this case...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 12:58 am
There are a lot of things that have to move into place for this to happen, obviously.  But if it happens, it strikes me as the most significant event in space development since STS-1. It's a high stakes gamble that opens up cislunar space in one swoop.  One giant leap, indeed.

Maybe.

A circumlunar flight is still just a baby step. We get out of LEO, so great; but we still don't have any infrastructure to live or work beyond LEO, and this mission -- while cool -- would do little to nothing to advance that goal. Nor is it intended to, really; Musk is doing two things with this mission: selling a pleasure-cruise to two extremely wealthy people and generating income for his company; and he'll be conducting a vital engineering test of various components of his company's spacecraft and ground systems. If SpaceX gets reusability of the various components, "moon cruises" might even prove a profitable line of business for SpaceX. There are lots of wealthy people in the world who'd pay for a trip like that.

But exploitation of cislunar space is going to need more than a big booster rocket and capsule. We need refueling depots, space tugs, comm sats at earth/moon L1/L2, etc. And I'm not even getting into the larger scale habs, refining, and assembly facilities that we'll need to build in order for our presence in cislunar space to be sustainable.

This will be a project of decades, not years. But as the old saying goes, the first step on any long journey begins with leaving your house!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 02/28/2017 01:07 am
As far as "regulatory bounds" go, all of that is being reassessed/ scrapped by the current presidential administration, so who knows what will be left on the books by the end of 2018.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: HIP2BSQRE on 02/28/2017 01:07 am
Why the announcement now??
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: LouScheffer on 02/28/2017 01:08 am
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. [...] This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.

Am I alone in this?
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 01:10 am
Why the announcement now??
Maybe it gives NASA an easy out...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 01:11 am
Fascinating. I jumped on late, expecting to find the NSF servers on fire. I'm not disappointed. :)

That said, my first reaction was: This was not Musk's style. He's been serious about developing tools to explore Mars. If Jeff Bezos proposed this, I wouldn't have bat one eyelash.

But I continued to read here and began thinking in the long-term. It's all about financing. Musk cannot guarantee much with NASA beyond 2024 beyond perhaps a satellite launch or two, and some comsat flights. He'll need a new revenue stream.

I wouldn't be the first to sign up, and he'd be a fool not to make a test flight, but this is certainly a 9.5 on the Fanboy Pucker Factor meter.
If Musk had gone for a lunar landing, you'd be right, since that would be a distraction...

But I'd suggest that multi-day flights would be a pre-requisite for any long term manned missions, and if someone is paying, why not start now?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/28/2017 01:11 am
I don't want to see any posts about gender, faith or skin color of the private astros (I mean, come on!). Those reported have been removed. Please report any the mods have missed!

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kharkov on 02/28/2017 01:16 am
Elon Musk & SpaceX have, AFAIK, been careful not to insult, mock, or generally diss SLS. They don't want to annoy NASA, or those Senators & Congressmen pushing SLS. Also, doing so gains them nothing or very little while feeding the 'anti-SpaceX' types.

That said, it's hard to believe that Musk/SpaceX think SLS is any good. A big, expensive, rarely-flying rocket would seem, to a proponent of cheap, frequently flying rockets, to be a bad idea.

Hence this Lunar Tourism (Or 'Once Around the Moon' Tourism). What better way to put a knife in the back of SLS without leaving any obvious fingerprints? The trip will get the whole world's attention, not just the U.S.. The news reports are bound to say, loudly, clearly and repeatedly, the cost as a whole, and per tourist.

SLS, whatever its advantages, is not likely to look good in comparison. Falcon Heavy will have a famous trip PRIOR to SLS's first mission - a (probably) unmanned mission, at a probably-reported-as-a-high price, right AFTER SpaceX does the same thing for (probably but almost certainly reported as) a lot less money.

Political support for SLS may vanish quicker than ice cubes in a Texas summer..
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 01:16 am
Why the announcement now??

But really, this may be Musk's way of positioning his company as something more than a cheap ride into LEO for NASA. If he can show that the FH/Dragon2 stack is as capable as SLS/Orion in cislunar space for short missions, and for a much lower total cost, that's a pretty big motivator for Congress and the President to decide of SLS is worth the continued development cost or not.

(Chris Edit: Naughty word masked is still a naughty word. I don't want 5 page letter of complaints from parents! ;))
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ZachF on 02/28/2017 01:19 am
Well.

This quite possibly explains the request to see about putting crew on EM-1.  I doubt this came as a surprise to the President.  I would not want to be the briefer who has to give the EM-1 report.

I'd say this is typically audacious for Musk, but it's more.  There are a lot of things that have to move into place for this to happen, obviously.  But if it happens, it strikes me as the most significant event in space development since STS-1. It's a high stakes gamble that opens up cislunar space in one swoop.  One giant leap, indeed.

What does this mean for NASA HSF?   I obviously don't know.  What I do suspect is that the status quo for SLS is off the table now.  It will probably take a year or two to really shake out, and seriously nasty political battles, but I don't know how the current slow, expensive, vague plans will be able to deal with a successful Dragon flight to the moon.

I'm almost 50, and don't remember the moon landings.  I might not live long enough to see people back on the moon, but with a little luck, I may get to see *privately funded* missions around it.

Yeah, a $billions per launch SLS is going to be really hard to keep alive if SpaceX is launching tourists around the moon for a couple hundred million or a pop.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/28/2017 01:19 am
Fascinating. I jumped on late, expecting to find the NSF servers on fire. I'm not disappointed. :)

They were humming at a SpaceX launch level, especially when Elon didn't keep to his schedule.

The servers cope as we've been improving the packages every year to cope, paid for via our great supporters who are L2 subscribers. I have a Google Analytics page which is a live view of site visitation (very cool tool Mark set up for me) and these days we're cope with some really big peaks. Just a few years ago we'd be removing guests and worrying about "Bad Gateway" errors at 20 percent of the demand we were at around 1pm Pacific today.

Anyway! Moving on!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 01:29 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: butters on 02/28/2017 01:29 am
Does this mean that the Falcon Heavy demo mission is likely an unmanned lunar free return with a Dragon 1?

Or would there be a third FH launch after STP-2 but before the human lunar mission?

Or would they really launch a Dragon on a lunar free return trajectory for the first time with people onboard??
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/28/2017 01:30 am
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. [...] This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life.

Am I alone in this?

What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.

Let me refine your thesis. Everyone needs to get what they can get done, done. Couldn't agree with that more.

Here's the fly in the ointment. It takes resources to get anything worthwhile done, and you need to coordinate/cooperate/lead to do so. Now the argument for what to do, when to do it, and how to do it ... begins.

The thesis of "little/no government" shifts everything it can to the private sector. But ... to "lead" you'd better be accomplished like a Bezos/Gates/Musk/... to be able to play any of these games. Because you are in effect a government onto your own.

That's not how our govt and its institutions have ever or will ever work, so there are bounds.

Quote
Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio? Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Good question. Because your average citizen isn't broadminded enough to consider it worth doing. And the dearth of great leaders to advocate for seemingly unpopular ideas, because of longer term yield ... aren't there to do so. And at the moment they don't seem to be desired. That is your answer.

It wasn't always so. It might not always be. Generally, when something horrible happens ... suddenly things change.

Like, say, this little beeping sphere goes by in the sky, after witnessing the dawn of a nuclear age. "Gee, you know something else could be there instead of that beeping thing, perhaps it could hurt me ..."

Human nature.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: knowles2 on 02/28/2017 01:38 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

If Space X seriously hopes to send people to Mars in 2020s, then showing they can do a fly by of the moon with normal people seems like a great idea to me. Especially if they can get some volunteers willing to pay for it.

I think the idea of NASA getting priority on these missions make me take Space X a lot less seriously.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 01:45 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

If Space X seriously hopes to send people to Mars in 2020s, then showing they can do a fly by of the moon with normal people seems like a great idea to me. Especially if they can get some volunteers willing to pay for it.

I think the idea of NASA getting priority on these missions make me take Space X a lot less seriously.
'twas obligatory politeness.

And it doesn't mean they won't fly the private parties anyway.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:52 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They are tourists.  They are on an automated vehicle, and just are going along for the ride.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mark_m on 02/28/2017 01:55 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

If Space X seriously hopes to send people to Mars in 2020s, then showing they can do a fly by of the moon with normal people seems like a great idea to me. Especially if they can get some volunteers willing to pay for it.

I think the idea of NASA getting priority on these missions make me take Space X a lot less seriously.
'twas obligatory politeness.

And it doesn't mean they won't fly the private parties anyway.
Yes, and as they mentioned in their press release, NASA provided a majority of the funding for the development of Dragon 2. Given their long working relationship, if NASA is willing to pay for a seat, giving them priority seems not only polite but reasonable to me.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 01:56 am
The "tourist/explorer" discussion belongs in the Pluto-is-isn't-a-planet thread.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 01:57 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They are tourists.  They are on an automated vehicle, and just are going along for the ride.

Was Yuri Gagarin just a tourist, then? The Vostok 1 spacecraft was automated to a large degree, or controlled from the ground....
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/28/2017 01:58 am
Or would they really launch a Dragon on a lunar free return trajectory for the first time with people onboard??

Isn't NASA considering an even less flight proven vehicle ... for same?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: punder on 02/28/2017 01:58 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They are tourists.  They are on an automated vehicle, and just are going along for the ride.

Yeah Jim, but if the Pirates of the Carribean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mainmind on 02/28/2017 02:09 am
Space tourism is a side show. I hope these stunt persons paid full price for this. Seems to have little upside and many possible pitfalls. This make SpaceX seem less serious.

Matthew

If Space X seriously hopes to send people to Mars in 2020s, then showing they can do a fly by of the moon with normal people seems like a great idea to me. Especially if they can get some volunteers willing to pay for it.

I think the idea of NASA getting priority on these missions make me take Space X a lot less seriously.

Musk has been pretty clear about two things: 1) he wants to put people on Mars 2) he'll use whatever mechanisms he can to fund the company that can make that happen, e.g. commercial satellite launches, delivering cargo to ISS, delivering crew to ISS, (potentially) creating global satellite internet constellation. A couple people with deep enough pockets came to him and said "Hey, it looks like you could put us in the history books with a mission we can afford and you have the tech for. Can we buy a lift?" and he said yes because they were willing to pay enough to generate a profit for item (1) above. If he's really smart, SpaceX will be doing it without delaying any other plans. Time will tell.

Regarding the SLS/EM1(2) vs. FH/DV2 round-the-moon argument: SLS block 1 still gets more payload to orbit per launch than FH. Per wikipedia, SLS block 1 starts at 70 metric tons to LEO; FH is at 54 mT. SLS has an evolution path to 130 mT per launch. Yes, there are cost-per-kg considerations, but also pad issues with performing multiple launches from a single pad, as mentioned up-thread. All I'm arguing is that SLS could have a useful place in BEO exploration because it can loft so much mass at once, and Orion can have a place, as well, because of its design to support more crew on long duration missions than the announced SpX sortie. Currently, neither the SLS architecture, nor SpaceX, possesses to utilize their assets beyond direct-return lunar fly-by is either a) deep-space long-duration habitats or b) lunar ascent/descent stages and lunar surface habitats.

If NASA is redirected by Congress or the White House to Lunar missions, some company will still be tasked with developing assets (a) and (b), and the status of the SLS will determine what mass allocation they have to work with. SLS isn't automatically dead because SpaceX can recreate (preemptively) the EM-2 mission profile.

If SpaceX can pull this off, kudos to them. It's a win for human space exploration, and US expertise. If more customers come forward to further pad SpaceX's bottom line, good for them. I hope they enjoy the trip.

One question - do any thermal engineers here worry that the Dragon V2 won't have the radiator capacity to properly regulate the temperature of the capsule when it isn't enjoying eclipse and the shade of the Earth 40% of its time in orbit? The artists' concepts of what the DV2 looks like in orbit doesn't appear to have much in the way of radiators and it was originally (?) designed for LEO operations. Are the fins the radiators? Will the barbecue roll be enough, or will additional equipment pointing or extending out of the trunk be required.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 02:19 am
The "tourist/explorer" discussion belongs in the Pluto-is-isn't-a-planet thread.

The matter is irrelevant. Except to Musk - the distinction will help him differentiate his business from Bezos/Branson, to the tune of  $100B of private equity financing, over 40 years.

They are tourists. But EM-2 is not much more, and at least there is some return on the investment to do the mission.

Side thought:  does this undercut the existing "space tourism" businesses? Because everyone waits for the bigger ride? Does everyone sell of their holdings ... oops.

Better question for all of you: What HSF mission can be done - that can be clearly and unambiguously classed as "not a tourist" mission, well out of LEO?

In either case, their names would go into the history books alongside Apollo astros, irrespective of "tourist".
This might eat the orbital tourism business, mostly because it has a destination... 

Suborbital will remain since it's a different price point, but it's funny to see that having started at about the same time, SpaceX is going to fly around the moon at about the same time that others are going to fly 100 km parabolas.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/28/2017 02:27 am
What is the deal with all the negativity regarding this flight having private citizens? SpaceX sells rocket launch services, and 2 people with the financial means decided to buy that service and instead buying a comsat to go on top, they are buying a crew capsule and asking to go along for the ride.

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data and if the margins allow, a whole bunch of bleeding edge stuff can be jammed into the corners and trunk to do science without the usual aerospace design requirements.

Who knows, maybe the mysterious customers will turn out to have a scientific or engineering background, and can actually do experiments themselves on the trip.

For the people who are just whining about obscenely rich people; keep in mind that a good chunk of the proceeds for this mission will be paid out to employees of spaceX, industry suppliers, and funding of ITS. How is that not a good thing?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lumina on 02/28/2017 02:29 am
Well.

This quite possibly explains the request to see about putting crew on EM-1.  I doubt this came as a surprise to the President.  I would not want to be the briefer who has to give the EM-1 report.

I'd say this is typically audacious for Musk, but it's more.  There are a lot of things that have to move into place for this to happen, obviously.  But if it happens, it strikes me as the most significant event in space development since STS-1. It's a high stakes gamble that opens up cislunar space in one swoop.  One giant leap, indeed.

What does this mean for NASA HSF?   I obviously don't know.  What I do suspect is that the status quo for SLS is off the table now.  It will probably take a year or two to really shake out, and seriously nasty political battles, but I don't know how the current slow, expensive, vague plans will be able to deal with a successful Dragon flight to the moon.

I'm almost 50, and don't remember the moon landings.  I might not live long enough to see people back on the moon, but with a little luck, I may get to see *privately funded* missions around it.

I think this is just the beginning. Not sure how many FH launches and/or new hardware may be needed, but if the 2018 flight makes history, what or who is to stop Elon Musk from shooting for a manned Moon landing as his next move?

The space frontier really seems to be opening up, whether we are ready for it or not. About time, too. The 24th December of 2018 - next year!! - will be the 50th anniversary of the Earthrise picture taken from Apollo 8.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/28/2017 02:35 am
I think this is just the beginning. Not sure how many FH launches and/or new hardware may be needed, but if the 2018 flight makes history, what or who is to stop Elon Musk from shooting for a manned Moon landing as his next move?

That would require a lot more hardware and years of development time that would be better spent on ITS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/28/2017 02:41 am
Hence this Lunar Tourism (Or 'Once Around the Moon' Tourism). What better way to put a knife in the back of SLS without leaving any obvious fingerprints? The trip will get the whole world's attention, not just the U.S.. The news reports are bound to say, loudly, clearly and repeatedly, the cost as a whole, and per tourist.

Congress both created and cursed SLS at the same time. They own it completely, no one, not Musk, anyone else.

Musk gave them a long overdue wakeup call. "Hello? do you know you'll soon be able to order passenger and cargo service to/from the moon? Have a pleasant flight ..."

clongton said here  years back that Musk would be already on the ground serving refreshments for NASA astros when they landed. He will likely be proven right.

Don't blame NASA or anyone else. Blame the idiots who thought "lean Constellation" was a good idea, or even more so walking away from Craig Stiedel's spiral development of EELV.

This nonsense of EM 1/2 and SLS "make work" goes away soon. Perhaps Congress gets a kick up ITS rump and actually does a HSF program worth a damn. It is still possible, and long overdue.

Quote
SLS, whatever its advantages, is not likely to look good in comparison. Falcon Heavy will have a famous trip PRIOR to SLS's first mission - a (probably) unmanned mission, at a probably-reported-as-a-high price, right AFTER SpaceX does the same thing for (probably but almost certainly reported as) a lot less money.

If, a big "if", Musk gets F9/FH reuse to work, Orion/SLS near term advantage becomes greater crew safety at longer duration missions, at BLEO destinations. And that's about it. It won't fly frequently enough to matter for the rest of what you'll need.

Quote
Political support for SLS may vanish quicker than ice cubes in a Texas summer..

It has been the same for quite a long time. Shelby and Boeing and Lockheed and Orbital ATK like it that way.

Feel free to tell them off at your leisure.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 02:46 am

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data

Data from what? 


if the margins allow, a whole bunch of bleeding edge stuff can be jammed into the corners and trunk to do science without the usual aerospace design requirements.


Wrong. if they don't follow aerospace design requirements, then the hardware isn't going to do "science"
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 02:48 am
I know all the information is not in yet; but has anyone crunched any numbers on this? Prospective mass of the Dragon 2 for TLI? Will the Falcon Heavy be fully expendable, or core stage expended, or core stage landed on Drone ship & boosters at the Cape? Or all three boosters back at the Cape (unlikely)?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ronpur50 on 02/28/2017 02:52 am
Why this is an exciting announcement, I have lived through many such announcements in my life since Apollo 17.  I hope it happens and is a success. 

If anyone can pull it off, a company like SpaceX could. 

I can't wait to see if it happens.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lumina on 02/28/2017 03:00 am
I think this is just the beginning. Not sure how many FH launches and/or new hardware may be needed, but if the 2018 flight makes history, what or who is to stop Elon Musk from shooting for a manned Moon landing as his next move?

That would require a lot more hardware and years of development time that would be better spent on ITS.

SpaceX has demonstrated the ability to do things in parallel; by 2020 it should have 4 launch pads at its disposal; and if lunar trips are strong money-earners they can pay for the extra hardware.

I think that the biggest factor in whether the space frontier opens up is a can-do attitude. We're not suffering from a lack of technology, only a lack of will. In the 1960's the only source of will was the U.S. government driven by cold war calculations. If the 2018 flight goes well, my bet is that Elon will be willing and able (technically, financially and "politically") to take the next step and go for the landing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/28/2017 03:04 am
This might eat the orbital tourism business, mostly because it has a destination...

This trip won't have a destination.  A destination is where you stop and spend time away from your transportation to/from the destination.  This will just be a ride - one with a great view, but still, just a ride.

Quote
Suborbital will remain since it's a different price point, but it's funny to see that having started at about the same time, SpaceX is going to fly around the moon at about the same time that others are going to fly 100 km parabolas.

The market for $250,000 sub-orbital rides is already pretty limited, and passengers don't have to worry about going to the bathroom in zero-G while floating next to someone that may not be a soulmate.

The market for flying around the Moon will likely wane after the 1st flight, since the novelty of being cooped up on a small vehicle for 6 days with not much to do except peer out a window and float in zero-G won't be enough to entice too many people.  And once the first people do it, and the risks have been mitigated to some degree, then it does become tourism - which eliminates the true adventurers with money to burn.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: watermod on 02/28/2017 03:07 am
Are there any "off the shelf" small communications sats that an F-9 could put in orbit around the moon to provide high bandwidth communications relays for the Dragon V2?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AncientU on 02/28/2017 03:09 am
The NASA response reads a bit like: we'll do everything we can to ensure that SpaceX checks all the contractual boxes before we'll let them launch our astronauts, but we can't hold them back from launching private individuals.

It's more than that. It indicates that this is the kind of stuff that private companies should be focusing on while NASA focuses on "beyond the Moon" destinations (i.e. Mars).

The goal posts just lurched to the right again. 

This is exactly what NASA was planning to use the next decade and tens of $Billions on -- and it's disingenuous to the nth degree for them now to say "focus on beyond the Moon" destinations. Yesterday it was "focus on beyond low earth orbit."
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: PhillyJimi on 02/28/2017 03:10 am
SX may hit the mother load for Space Tourism here.  Mars colonization is still 25+ years off (at best). 

There are over 1,800 billionaires in the world.  They and their kids want to brag about what they did over summer vacation.   At some point how many cars, homes and tropical islands can you own? 

Given the options which are all very dangerous. 

Suborbital is most likely a very expensive amusement park type of ride.

Orbital is nice but it would most likely be a short trip?   10 Orbits?     

Apollo 8/13 would give you best of Suborbital, Orbital and seeing the moon up close while the Earth becomes a little blue marble.  It would be a week long vacation of a lifetime. 

To me there is no real choice in what mission I would want to experience if money was no object. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 03:14 am
This might eat the orbital tourism business, mostly because it has a destination...

This trip won't have a destination.  A destination is where you stop and spend time away from your transportation to/from the destination.  This will just be a ride - one with a great view, but still, just a ride.

Quote
Suborbital will remain since it's a different price point, but it's funny to see that having started at about the same time, SpaceX is going to fly around the moon at about the same time that others are going to fly 100 km parabolas.

The market for $250,000 sub-orbital rides is already pretty limited, and passengers don't have to worry about going to the bathroom in zero-G while floating next to someone that may not be a soulmate.

The market for flying around the Moon will likely wane after the 1st flight, since the novelty of being cooped up on a small vehicle for 6 days with not much to do except peer out a window and float in zero-G won't be enough to entice too many people.  And once the first people do it, and the risks have been mitigated to some degree, then it does become tourism - which eliminates the true adventurers with money to burn.
It would suit me just fine! I'd pee in a hose and poop in a bag and spend 6 days in that 'can' with a crew mate if I could get to look at the Moon close up for a couple hours and the Universe around me!! :)  I'd take my Wife, Maree if I could - we are both 'Space Geeks' and she'd probably cope with zero-g adaptation better than I could. But Dreams are free, I suppose - the only way we could afford this would be if we were some kind of 'Lunar ticket' lottery winners... Now there's an idea!!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/28/2017 03:27 am

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data

Data from what? 


if the margins allow, a whole bunch of bleeding edge stuff can be jammed into the corners and trunk to do science without the usual aerospace design requirements.


Wrong. if they don't follow aerospace design requirements, then the hardware isn't going to do "science"

You see ISS crew using consumer grade electronics all the time, launching low cost cube sats and doing student experiments. I'm not talking about returning Hubble quality data, but I'm sure there's something that was axed (or not yet invented) from LRO that some scientist somewhere would love to have on board.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: sanman on 02/28/2017 03:33 am
Totally open for discussion, but posting "wow" is not worth people's finger scrolling. So make a point. :)

Wow! So cool!  ;D

Looks like SpaceX will beat Blue Origin to the Space Tourism market after all! This could kick off the start of a whole series of Space Tourist flights, out to the Moon or even just LEO (aka. cis-lunar space). Once the first flight proves itself - and garners all sorts of glory and publicity - then the floodgates could open up.

If it is indeed someone like James Cameron going on this mission, I would hope he'd take us all along by including one of his fancy camera systems on the flight. Then I can put on my Oculus Rift and feel like I'm along for the ride.

I'm just trying to understand what component of US govt involvement there may be in all of this. I'd read that the Trump Whitehouse had been seeking a lunar-related mission as proof to the American public that their country was more serious about space again. Both Donald Trump and Elon Musk have a lot of agility and showmanship in their respective styles, and so the rapid unveiling of this grand announcement would be consistent with how both men operate.

Since this Whitehouse is especially inclined towards positive-publicity events, then there may be opportunity for further govt-sponsored spaceflight missions that continue to push the envelope on manned spaceflight. If this helps to further subsidize development for Dragon and FalconHeavy, then all the better - and let's not forget ITS, New Glenn and New Armstrong.

Will the Age of Flags-and-Footprints soon be returning?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 03:45 am
Totally open for discussion, but posting "wow" is not worth people's finger scrolling. So make a point. :)

Wow! So cool!  ;D

Looks like SpaceX will beat Blue Origin to the Space Tourism market after all! This could kick off the start of a whole series of Space Tourist flights, out to the Moon or even just LEO (aka. cis-lunar space). Once the first flight proves itself - and garners all sorts of glory and publicity - then the floodgates could open up.

If it is indeed someone like James Cameron going on this mission, I would hope he'd take us all along by including one of his fancy camera systems on the flight. Then I can put on my Oculus Rift and feel like I'm along for the ride.

I'm just trying to understand what component of US govt involvement there may be in all of this. I'd read that the Trump Whitehouse had been seeking a lunar-related mission as proof to the American public that their country was more serious about space again. Both Donald Trump and Elon Musk have a lot of agility and showmanship in their respective styles, and so the rapid unveiling of this grand announcement would be consistent with how both men operate.

Since this Whitehouse is especially inclined towards positive-publicity events, then there may be opportunity for further govt-sponsored spaceflight missions that continue to push the envelope on manned spaceflight. If this helps to further subsidize development for Dragon and FalconHeavy, then all the better - and let's not forget ITS, New Glenn and New Armstrong.

Will the Age of Flags-and-Footprints soon be returning?
It seems nobody has seen my previous posts on this subject?! James Cameron has a five year commitment to his 'Avatar' sequel trilogy project, here in New Zealand. Unless you hear different from the man himself; that's his status.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AncientU on 02/28/2017 04:05 am
Well.

This quite possibly explains the request to see about putting crew on EM-1.  I doubt this came as a surprise to the President.  I would not want to be the briefer who has to give the EM-1 report.

I'd say this is typically audacious for Musk, but it's more.  There are a lot of things that have to move into place for this to happen, obviously.  But if it happens, it strikes me as the most significant event in space development since STS-1. It's a high stakes gamble that opens up cislunar space in one swoop.  One giant leap, indeed.

What does this mean for NASA HSF?   I obviously don't know.  What I do suspect is that the status quo for SLS is off the table now.  It will probably take a year or two to really shake out, and seriously nasty political battles, but I don't know how the current slow, expensive, vague plans will be able to deal with a successful Dragon flight to the moon.

I'm almost 50, and don't remember the moon landings.  I might not live long enough to see people back on the moon, but with a little luck, I may get to see *privately funded* missions around it.

Reposting...

The contrast between FH/Dragon 2 and SLS/Orion will be amply demonstrated over the next few years.

Let's watch the show...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: sanman on 02/28/2017 04:09 am
It seems nobody has seen my previous posts on this subject?! James Cameron has a five year commitment to his 'Avatar' sequel trilogy project, here in New Zealand. Unless you hear different from the man himself; that's his status.

Okay, so Dennis Tito then? The Cirque-du-Soleil guy? Whoever it is, I hope they'll make the most of the opportunity to video-document the trip and broadcast it.

Blue Origin also needs to step up to the plate and get a flight team of their own ready. Bezos doesn't have any rocket called New Lindbergh, but maybe they can use that nomenclature for missions of note.

If demand really picks up for BEO flights, then maybe it will resurrect ideas like DragonLab, etc.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 02/28/2017 04:17 am
Elon Musk & SpaceX have, AFAIK, been careful not to insult, mock, or generally diss SLS. They don't want to annoy NASA, or those Senators & Congressmen pushing SLS. Also, doing so gains them nothing or very little while feeding the 'anti-SpaceX' types.

That said, it's hard to believe that Musk/SpaceX think SLS is any good. A big, expensive, rarely-flying rocket would seem, to a proponent of cheap, frequently flying rockets, to be a bad idea.

I don't think Musk & SpaceX care much about SLS, either pro or con. SLS is irrelevant to their plans. Their primary goal is not to kill SLS. (even if it may end up doing so)

What this does is provide some external funds to gain experience which will be VERY valuable for their ultimate goal moving forward. A flight proven FH and Dragon does open up a lot of possibilities in the cis-lunar area which can help pave the way for their next project, to A) show private spaceflight is possible and B) build a demand for ITS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisC on 02/28/2017 04:19 am
I skimmed this whole fabulous thread before asking ...

Has the press conference audio popped up anywhere?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Nascent Ascent on 02/28/2017 04:26 am
The passengers on this journey will endure risks far beyond what average tourists encounter.  Tourist means to me that you probably have at least of 6 nines chance of survival.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: david1971 on 02/28/2017 04:32 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They are tourists.  They are on an automated vehicle, and just are going along for the ride.

Was Yuri Gagarin just a tourist, then? The Vostok 1 spacecraft was automated to a large degree, or controlled from the ground....

Well, there was that whole bail out of the capsule and land via parachute part...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ludus on 02/28/2017 04:40 am
Why the announcement now??
FWIW, think its been on the edge of happening for a while now. Suggest the launch off 39A did the trick.

Or maybe the decision to let Red Dragon slip to 2020. Both are impressive SpaceX initiated missions that use Falcon Heavy. Both are high profile. Red Dragon involves more pressure to hit a specific window and requires more work outside what SpaceX would do anyway for pay. Moon Dragon is paid for, will get more buzz, and is a better demo that FH does much of what SLS is supposed to do.

It's obvious low hanging fruit that's been discussed on NSF for many years. Once SX decided Red Dragon would have to slip to the next synod why not move it up into the slot?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mikelepage on 02/28/2017 04:40 am
I've been wondering when something like this would get announced.  Circumlunar flights are within the capability of Dragon2 plus Falcon Heavy, with no additional improvements needed.  It's too obvious a source of revenue for SpaceX to pass up. If it comes to the point where you want to send more than two people in relative comfort, send a BEAM module in the trunk, and do a flip-and-dock just after TLI.

 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rakaydos on 02/28/2017 04:40 am
I've seen some concerns about the capsule entry corridore being really narrow. I disagree.

It was in the Apollo days, certiantly, when they had to ditch the service module before entry, and "skipping off" the atmosphere meant staying in space longer than the capsule was designed for without the extra air and scrubbers.

But Dragon's Trunk has nothing. Power, perhaps, but a few extra batteries are easy enough to manage.

The Superdracos can fire during entry to fine tune the course, and even without that, a mission can be planned to do a lighter aerobreak, do an orbit, and comit to a lighter entry without the hazards of a high speed entry.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 05:07 am
I skimmed this whole fabulous thread before asking ...

Has the press conference audio popped up anywhere?

It hasn't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: northenarc on 02/28/2017 05:08 am
 Its very well played, I liked how it was noted they would of course deffer to a U.S. government mission with NASA astronauts, if they'd happen to like to fly some (hopefully) ready to go hardware. SpaceX is going anyway no matter what (well, except FH not being ready), they're funded. And of course it puts on a great cost effectiveness show for a new president who attests to the importance of such things. Is all this leading to a big NASA shakeup and the end of SLS, probably yes to the shakeup, but SLS will likely fly, its still a useful rocket, but it may end up flying even less than expected.   
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Pipcard on 02/28/2017 05:24 am
Will there be a disposable "orbital module" similar to Soyuz/Shenzhou? And if not, where will the toilets be? Because that is my number one concern about this.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 05:24 am
It seems nobody has seen my previous posts on this subject?! James Cameron has a five year commitment to his 'Avatar' sequel trilogy project, here in New Zealand. Unless you hear different from the man himself; that's his status.

Okay, so Dennis Tito then? The Cirque-du-Soleil guy? Whoever it is, I hope they'll make the most of the opportunity to video-document the trip and broadcast it.

Blue Origin also needs to step up to the plate and get a flight team of their own ready. Bezos doesn't have any rocket called New Lindbergh, but maybe they can use that nomenclature for missions of note.

If demand really picks up for BEO flights, then maybe it will resurrect ideas like DragonLab, etc.


Charles Simonyi would be a credible guess - he's a two time Soyuz to ISS veteran to boot. But he might be pushing it, age wise. And Dennis Tito is into his 70's now, so probably not him.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bynaus on 02/28/2017 05:25 am
With all the talk about NASA supposedly being p...ed about the circumlunar mission, that announcement certainly doesn't sound like that:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

Perhaps we shouldnt forget that SLS is not necessarily something NASA wants to do - its something Congress makes them do. So I can imagine that this development might be welcomed at least by some within NASA...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Hauerg on 02/28/2017 05:26 am
I've seen some concerns about the capsule entry corridore being really narrow. I disagree.

It was in the Apollo days, certiantly, when they had to ditch the service module before entry, and "skipping off" the atmosphere meant staying in space longer than the capsule was designed for without the extra air and scrubbers.

But Dragon's Trunk has nothing. Power, perhaps, but a few extra batteries are easy enough to manage.

The Superdracos can fire during entry to fine tune the course, and even without that, a mission can be planned to do a lighter aerobreak, do an orbit, and comit to a lighter entry without the hazards of a high speed entry.

Superdracos can do everything BUT FINEtuning.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 05:27 am
My two questions:

- will there be a disposable "orbital module" similar to Soyuz/Shenzhou?

- and if not, where will the toilets be?
Glorified, sealable plastic bags and germ wipes for number twos, tough plastic bottles with a one-way valve for urine. Then seal both in a tough, airtight aluminum or stainless steel box, I'd imagine.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Surfdaddy on 02/28/2017 05:28 am

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data

Data from what? 



1 - How do the thermal systems on Dragon 2 work beyond LEO?
2 - What is the performance of life support on a one week mission?
3 - How do our beyond LEO navigational systems work?
4 - What is the radiation environment beyond LEO experienced by Dragon v2?
5 - How well do our control systems work returning to reentry from beyond LEO?
6 - What is the performance of the heat shield when arriving at ~25,000mph?
7 - How well do our communication systems work at and beyond lunar distances?

I'm sure there is more.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/28/2017 06:01 am
From the SpaceX press release.

"Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket."

The people who write these need to do a bit more fact checking. The "most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket" was Energia, with 35.1 MN of thrust. What Falcon Heavy will be is the fourth most powerful launch vehicle to reach orbit.

Energia        35.10 MN
Saturn V       33.85 MN
Space Shuttle  30.90 MN
Falcon Heavy   24.68 MN
Atlas V 551    12.27 MN
GSLV Mk.III    11.66 MN
Ariane 5       11.40 MN
CZ-5           10.64 MN
H-IIB           9.98 MN
Proton-M        9.94 MN
Angara A5       9.61 MN
Delta IV Heavy  9.41 MN


"At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying."

According to the SpaceX web site Falcon Heavy is 5.55 Mlbf (24.68 MN). That is just over double the thrust of the Atlas V 551 at liftoff. 5 Mlbf (22.24 MN) is not double the thrust.

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ppb on 02/28/2017 06:10 am
SLS program managers can not be happy about this.  This will only up the pressure for a crewed EM-1 mission. 

SpaceX is stepping on some pretty big toes with this announcement.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, though. 

Having said all that...whoa.  Talk about a test under fire.  Guidance, comms, ECLSS, hot return, plus the very real risk of death.  If anyone can pull it off SpaceX can, but...woof.

I’m thinking this will actually reduce the pressure for a crewed EM-1…

It changes the landscape. You're right - the pressure comes off because it will seem to compete with commercial efforts.

However, they now have to justify themselves as a program with scope.

Both EM-1/2 have always been extremely expensive "joke" missions. But that's what the politics around SLS have wanted, not NASA.

So its the Congress that really bites it in the rear if EM 1/2 are exposed as the bad jokes they have always been.

And Congress hasn't been overly fond of Musk either. So if he brings it off, there will be a lot of "WTF" directed at them.

They are then well and truly screwed.

SLS/Orion's only hope now is for dual-launch of Block 1B's, doing heavy-spacecraft Lunar landing missions lasting 2 or 3 weeks each.
Logistics chain for SLS/Orion does not support that, and it would take 2-5 years to change. It can't launch at that cadence.

But you are right about mission duration - Orion is designed for more duration, and SLS payload is underutilized.

However, neither Dragon or Orion have duration down yet. Dragon has been on the ISS for extended time, so its in the lead.

Quote
Or maybe a variation of the 'Inspiration Mars' flyby mission in 2021...
That will take years to get the needed ECLSS proof before flying.

Quote
But since a big funding boost is unlikely, then... :(  However, don't expect much to happen until if and when the Moon Dragon mission flies successfully. If it does, the countdown to true SLS cancellation will start.
Think it will "bumble along" in the mean time.

Again, what SLS/Orion needs is a lander on short notice. What Congress does not yet know is that they need it even worse, so they can declare SLS/Orion a victory in returning to the lunar surface and move on ...
I wish NASA could revert to the NACA days and become a true research organization once again. Our Apollo success was enabled by the propulsion research of the 1950s; in fact all major advances in transportation history were preceded by the harnessing of an energy source. It's all about the propulsion: there have been no revolutionary advances here in over 50 years. NASA has been the victim of its own Apollo success: it's been stuck caring and feeding a standing army mostly built for one mission and has mostly lost the ability to push the technological frontiers.
Title: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/28/2017 06:26 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.

Can we keep the politics out of this and yes your statement is political. It's bad enough people trying to bring in party politics by the back door with somehow crediting the administration when it's clearly an entirely private venture.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 06:31 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.

Can we keep the politics out of this and yes your statement is political. It's bad enough people trying to give the administration any credit in this as it is when it's clearly an entirely private venture.

Your plea to keep politics out of this is undercut by a blatantly political sentence immediately following it.

Anyway, politics is an inherent part of this topic.  Trying to keep politics out of it is like having a discussion about soccer and trying to ban any mention of goalkeepers.
Title: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/28/2017 06:35 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.

Can we keep the politics out of this and yes your statement is political. It's bad enough people trying to give the administration any credit in this as it is when it's clearly an entirely private venture.

Your plea to keep politics out of this is undercut by a blatantly political sentence immediately following it.

Anyway, politics is an inherent part of this topic.  Trying to keep politics out of it is like having a discussion about soccer and trying to ban any mention of goalkeepers.

I don't see how what I said was party political (I've edited my OP to make this clearer) as it would have been true whoever was in the White House it's not about the present occupant.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 06:38 am

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data

Data from what?

1 - How do the thermal systems on Dragon 2 work beyond LEO?
2 - What is the performance of life support on a one week mission?
3 - How do our beyond LEO navigational systems work?
4 - What is the radiation environment beyond LEO experienced by Dragon v2?
5 - How well do our control systems work returning to reentry from beyond LEO?
6 - What is the performance of the heat shield when arriving at ~25,000mph?
7 - How well do our communication systems work at and beyond lunar distances?

I'm sure there is more.

For most of those items, if the answer is anything other than "as we expected", then two people die.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 06:46 am
One question that this does answer: Yes, Crew Dragon's 'vanilla' ECLSS can handle 7 days in BLEO thermal conditions. I don't think Musk would be confidently talking about 2018 if they needed to design and build a whole different ECLSS for this mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 06:47 am
Will there be a disposable "orbital module" similar to Soyuz/Shenzhou? And if not, where will the toilets be? Because that is my number one concern about this.

There's definitely no time for SpaceX to design and build a disposable orbital module for this mission.  Just look how long they've taken to go from the Dragon V2 reveal to operational Dragon V2 flights.  It also would kill the economics of it.

They'll just carry along toilets of some sort in the capsule itself.  Regulations in some places, such as Mt. Whitney, require hikers to pack out all solid human waste, and there are disposable "toilet" bags for the purpose.  The mission is short enough that nothing fancy is needed -- no recycling or anything like that, just capturing the waste.

For anyone willing to be the first to fly on a mission like this, primitive toilets will not be the number one concern.  I'm sure they'd be willing to just wear diapers for a few days if it came to that.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: sanman on 02/28/2017 07:20 am
The matter is irrelevant. Except to Musk - the distinction will help him differentiate his business from Bezos/Branson, to the tune of  $100B of private equity financing, over 40 years.

They are tourists. But EM-2 is not much more, and at least there is some return on the investment to do the mission.

Side thought:  does this undercut the existing "space tourism" businesses? Because everyone waits for the bigger ride? Does everyone sell of their holdings ... oops.

Plenty of people signed up to buy Tesla cars, rather than waiting for better Tesla models to come along.
There are plenty of people who'd sign up for the first circum-lunar flight, rather than wait for something better to come along.

Quote
Better question for all of you: What HSF mission can be done - that can be clearly and unambiguously classed as "not a tourist" mission, well out of LEO?

In either case, their names would go into the history books alongside Apollo astros, irrespective of "tourist".

Landing on the Moon, or traveling to an asteroid.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/28/2017 07:29 am
Glorified, sealable plastic bags and germ wipes for number twos, tough plastic bottles with a one-way valve for urine. Then seal both in a tough, airtight aluminum or stainless steel box, I'd imagine.

I'm sure that with its 5000 strong workforce, SpaceX can manage to build a proper toilet and avoid the use of baggies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TomH on 02/28/2017 07:41 am
This is not meant to be political, but to point out the effect of a political reality on the part of this discussion related to this mission and the correlation with EM-1. Trump today announced a $54B budget increase for the military coupled with commensurate cuts to discretionary spending, apparently to be equally shared as a percentage across the board. That would be about a 10% cut to NASA. If the HSF program has to absorb that kind of cut, I do not see how EM-1 could be manned. I don't even see how SLS/Orion could even survive. SpaceX may become the only manned provider the US has until Starliner and then BO come online. All US manned SF could become commercial in short order.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: vapour_nudge on 02/28/2017 07:57 am
From the SpaceX press release.

"Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket."

The people who write these need to do a bit more fact checking. The "most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket" was Energia, with 35.1 MN of thrust. What Falcon Heavy will be is the fourth most powerful launch vehicle to reach orbit.

Energia        35.10 MN
Saturn V       33.85 MN
Space Shuttle  30.90 MN
Falcon Heavy   24.68 MN
Atlas V 551    12.27 MN
GSLV Mk.III    11.66 MN
Ariane 5       11.40 MN
CZ-5           10.64 MN
H-IIB           9.98 MN
Proton-M        9.94 MN
Angara A5       9.61 MN
Delta IV Heavy  9.41 MN


"At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying."

According to the SpaceX web site Falcon Heavy is 5.55 Mlbf (24.68 MN). That is just over double the thrust of the Atlas V 551 at liftoff. 5 Mlbf (22.24 MN) is not double the thrust.

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html

Hi Steven. The Atlas numbers would be the lift off thrust but don't they throttle up shortly after? Might be wrong
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CJ on 02/28/2017 08:03 am
Any info on the orbital mechanics of this?

It *appears* to be a lunar flyby as part of a deep space 400,000 mile apogee trajectory. What would that do regarding landing zones? I recall that with Apollo, landing latitude range was dictated by the angle of the moon's orbit relative to the equator, more specifically where on its orbit the moon was for TEI. Any similar issues with this mission?

BTW, regarding the record books; would the crew not only be the humans to travel furthest from Earth, but also the humans due to returning from a 400,000 mile apogee? (I'm assuming that's going to be a slightly higher velocity than Apollo 13?) 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/28/2017 08:35 am
Any info on the orbital mechanics of this?

It *appears* to be a lunar flyby as part of a deep space 400,000 mile apogee trajectory. What would that do regarding landing zones? I recall that with Apollo, landing latitude range was dictated by the angle of the moon's orbit relative to the equator, more specifically where on its orbit the moon was for TEI. Any similar issues with this mission?

BTW, regarding the record books; would the crew not only be the humans to travel furthest from Earth, but also the humans due to returning from a 400,000 mile apogee? (I'm assuming that's going to be a slightly higher velocity than Apollo 13?)

I'm interested in this as well. There are arguments that Elon misspoke and that it will actually be 400000km, not miles. 400000 miles is supposedly not possible within a week.

Apollo 13 took ~6 days and reached a distance 400,171 km from earth (248,655 miles) which would neatly match the number from SpaceX in km.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 08:40 am
With all the talk about NASA supposedly being p...ed about the circumlunar mission, that announcement certainly doesn't sound like that:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

Perhaps we shouldnt forget that SLS is not necessarily something NASA wants to do - its something Congress makes them do. So I can imagine that this development might be welcomed at least by some within NASA...
Like I said, it gives them an out... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 08:52 am
I'm calling a target launch date for late December 2018. Why? The Apollo 8 hemicenteniary. Imagine the PR value of livestreaming Earth-rise exactly 50 years after the first photograph was taken.


[EDIT]
Tin-foil hat on - IIRC, Musk and Bezos have both been to see President Trump on at least one or possibly two occasions as part of a group of space sector leaders. I wonder if there may be a Presidential request for a favour at work here.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 08:54 am
Trump did not inherit his money. What are you talking about? Leave politics out of this. If the President can help push space forward using whatever motives he might have it is OK by me. This new announcement is something that would interest someone like that to be a part of.
Why are you talking about him? It's a matter of record how much he and his siblings inherited and how much his ventures lost and nobody really cares... Unless he is one of the two who have paid a down payment...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dodo on 02/28/2017 09:12 am
Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 09:26 am
Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!

Um... Well, Scott, Mike... This may be me but I don't think Musk would say 'no' if you gentlemen are volunteering for the CDR and PLT positions!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 09:40 am
I wish to issue a challenge/proposal to all Nasaspaceflight.com family members:

I met some of you guys at a rendezvous in Titusville for STS-135. It was good to see you folk!

For this mission - I would propose an Expedition by all willing and able NSF members to be together at KSC or nearby it for the launch of this Mission To The Moon. What do you guys think of that? I would dearly love to meet Chuck Longton, Chris Bergin, Steve Pietrobon, Space Ghost1962 etc - just for example - and indeed anyone else who thinks they could make it there.

What do you think? I know a lot of things have to fall into place first but....
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: HighlandRay on 02/28/2017 09:45 am
I would love to get together with fellow members and as I said in an earlier post I will be in Florida for two weeks of the last quarter of 2018. However, because in live in Scotland that will be my only opportunity to see the launch and I guess that it is a fairly long shot that my visit and the launch will intersect.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Archibald on 02/28/2017 09:46 am
Exciting new for sure, and imagine a three-way lunar race - lunar Soyuz vs manned EM-1 vs lunar Dragon.  8)
I suggest we call the circumlunar mission " Grey Dragon" (because the Moon is grey of course)
But...
To me manned Moon is as difficult as unmanned Mars... and unmanned Mars already missed the 2018 launch window.
What I mean is that Musk replaced an impossible (schedule) mission with another, similarly impossible mission.
An example: both missions need Falcon 9H and Dragon 2, which are hardly ready.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 09:49 am
If not December 2018, maybe July 2019, 50 years since... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 10:13 am
A little bit of speculation on my part about how this mission could help NASA in the long run.

Regarding NASA's interest, this may all feed into the possibility of a 'MoonLab' station at EML-2 for various bits of crewed exo-magnetosphere research. If Falcon Heavy/Dragon can prove this mission profile, then NASA have a CRS provider lined up and ready to go to support the program. So, it is at least in their best interests to cooperate and encourage.

If SpaceX can rig up an MPS for the Dragon (maybe a Kestrel knock-off), it might even be useful as a crew transfer vehicle for cis-Lunar space, enabling NASA to concentrate SLS on throwing large cargos (including Boeing's proposed ultra-simple lander) to the Moon or cis-Lunar space. As crewed Falcon Heavy will launch from LC-39A (and any NASA supporting mission will probably have NASA decals on the spacecraft), NASA will be able to claim with a straight face that it is a 'NASA vehicle and mission'.

It would be kind of ironic if the oft-derided CLV/CaLV launch profile happens after all, just with Falcon-9/-Heavy as CLV and SLS as CaLV instead (Yes, I'm suggesting that Falcon-9 could launch a Lunar Dragon to LEO to meet up with the lunar lander and EUS).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 02/28/2017 10:52 am
I wish to issue a challenge/proposal to all Nasaspaceflight.com family members:

For this mission - I would propose an Expedition by all willing and able NSF members to be together at KSC or nearby it for the launch of this Mission To The Moon. What do you guys think of that? I would dearly love to meet Chuck Longton, Chris Bergin, Steve Pietrobon, Space Ghost1962 etc - just for example - and indeed anyone else who thinks they could make it there.


If you read NSF and have a pulse, you have no excuse to not show up. This could be epic. And, I swear, if they radio "You are go for TLI" I'll buy a round of drinks for all assembled.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 11:08 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.

Can we keep the politics out of this and yes your statement is political.

Why should we keep politics out of this?

My statement is a political *fact*. The people who did not live in a system where government tries to fully control economy simply do not appreciate this fact enough. There may be thinking "here we go, free market apologist again with his mantra".

The thing is, the "mantra" is true. We are witnessing yet another example right now, with SpaceX vs SLS comparison.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 02/28/2017 11:20 am
I've seen some concerns about the capsule entry corridore being really narrow. I disagree.

It was in the Apollo days, certiantly, when they had to ditch the service module before entry, and "skipping off" the atmosphere meant staying in space longer than the capsule was designed for without the extra air and scrubbers.

But Dragon's Trunk has nothing. Power, perhaps, but a few extra batteries are easy enough to manage.

The Superdracos can fire during entry to fine tune the course, and even without that, a mission can be planned to do a lighter aerobreak, do an orbit, and comit to a lighter entry without the hazards of a high speed entry.

Superdracos can do everything BUT FINEtuning.

Which begs the question, how will mid-course corrections be managed? With Draco thrusters alone? Dragon 2 doesn't have the luxury of a SM fat on fuel to modify the trajectory. So many questions. Inertial guidance, ECLSS, entry corridor. I assume Dragon 2 will roll on entry, like Apollo, to control its path. Interesting to compare Dragon 2 capabilities in this regard vs. Apollo, Orion.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 02/28/2017 11:25 am
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Simple: Because they spend their own and not other peoples money.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kaputnik on 02/28/2017 11:41 am
I've seen some concerns about the capsule entry corridore being really narrow. I disagree.

It was in the Apollo days, certiantly, when they had to ditch the service module before entry, and "skipping off" the atmosphere meant staying in space longer than the capsule was designed for without the extra air and scrubbers.

But Dragon's Trunk has nothing. Power, perhaps, but a few extra batteries are easy enough to manage.

The Superdracos can fire during entry to fine tune the course, and even without that, a mission can be planned to do a lighter aerobreak, do an orbit, and comit to a lighter entry without the hazards of a high speed entry.

Superdracos can do everything BUT FINEtuning.

Which begs the question, how will mid-course corrections be managed? With Draco thrusters alone? Dragon 2 doesn't have the luxury of a SM fat on fuel to modify the trajectory. So many questions. Inertial guidance, ECLSS, entry corridor. I assume Dragon 2 will roll on entry, like Apollo, to control its path. Interesting to compare Dragon 2 capabilities in this regard vs. Apollo, Orion.



Good question. Are the SD tanks cross plumbed with the Dracos? If so, there is more than enough propellant for correction burns, just they will need to be done long and slow using Dracos. But it's not that different to some interplanetary probes using relatively small engines to enter orbit, with burns lasting many tens of minutes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: corneliussulla on 02/28/2017 11:49 am


I think there is much more going on here than sending a couple folks round the moon

Elon Musk cannot get to Mars without some government funding. He has a president in place who whilst unpredictable is generally anti gov, pro business.

Musk is effectively going to do what NASA was planning to do a year or two later for a mission cost of $140 mill ish. A similar mission with SLS will cost $1 billion plus. However going forward if the side boosters on FH and the dragon2 can be reused for say 10 such missions u could be looking at SX selling such trips for $40-$50 mill( with profit for ITS dev) NASA will look ridiculous spending $ 1 billion plus on similar missions.

There is little doubt in my mind that Musk is trying to end NASA launch vehicle development by influencing the administration and showing just how ineffectual And wasteful the NASA launch manned vehicle development has been. This is not because he dislikes NASA, he just knows he can do that bit much better and cheaper than NASA. NASA could then spend its efforts developing space telescopes to image worlds around other stars and systems for use by There astronauts who SpaxeX deliver to moon or Mars.

 $ 20 billion since constellation and not a single man in orbit. I have little doubt if NASA put out contract to land people on Mars for half that money Musk would deliver the ITS which has capabilities beyond NASA wildest imaginings, remember bushs 41,s $400 billion plan to get to Mars. ITS comes in at somewhere between 2-5% of that and with much greater capability.

I hope Musk can end the SLS nonsense and NASA can get on with what it does best, great space science and Moon/Mars surface systems development. I believe that way we get further/faster
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ugordan on 02/28/2017 11:49 am
If so, there is more than enough propellant for correction burns, just they will need to be done long and slow using Dracos. But it's not that different to some interplanetary probes using relatively small engines to enter orbit, with burns lasting many tens of minutes.

The CRS Dragon deorbit burns take, what, 6 minutes already? That's a non-issue for course-correction burns. The bigger issue I see is how are they going to perform deep space tracking and navigation in the first place in order to be able to *do* TCMs. Leasing NASA assets or is there some trivial way to do that in the absence of GPS in deep space?

Also an issue I can see right now is an unproved lunar reentry on the Dragon 2 mold line (Zond-like more than Apollo-like). Skip entry profile? Sidewall heating? Questions, questions...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/28/2017 12:04 pm
What makes me glum is not rich people doing something interesting - it's that we need rich folks, volunteers, or both, to get this stuff done in the first place.  Why should it be Rotary that's trying to get rid of polio?  Why does it take Gates to attack malaria?  Why do we need a few rich private customers to finance BEO technology?  What is a government for, if not to do those projects that are both difficult and useful?

Unfortunately, government is quite inefficient in everything it does.
It only makes sense to use government programs for things which are useful *and currently unprofitable*. When done by government, such programs still run the risk of being done inefficiently (sometimes awfully so), but at least they would be done. Scientific probes to other planets and space telescopes are good examples.

Can we keep the politics out of this and yes your statement is political.

Why should we keep politics out of this?

My statement is a political *fact*. The people who did not live in a system where government tries to fully control economy simply do not appreciate this fact enough. There may be thinking "here we go, free market apologist again with his mantra".

The thing is, the "mantra" is true. We are witnessing yet another example right now, with SpaceX vs SLS comparison.

Are you somehow expecting to make a statement on this and be unchallenged on it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/28/2017 12:09 pm
You guys can self moderate, as the above post chain showed such an attempt, but let's all remember these threads have X amount of people posting, but Y amount of people reading.

X may be a few hundred.
Y is many thousands.

You may think you're in a small conference room where only those people in the room are listening to what you have to say, but you're actually being televised around the world to a big audience. (Did you all like that analogy? ;D)

Consider your post before submitting it. One strong post is better than one post and five follow ups because someone else on this planet happens to disagree with you. The audience will decide who has the best point.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Port on 02/28/2017 12:11 pm


I think there is much more going on here than sending a couple folks round the moon

Elon Musk cannot get to Mars without some government funding. He has a president in place who whilst unpredictable is generally anti gov, pro business.

Musk is effectively going to do what NASA was planning to do a year or two later for a mission cost of $140 mill ish. A similar mission with SLS will cost $1 billion plus. However going forward if the side boosters on FH and the dragon2 can be reused for say 10 such missions u could be looking at SX selling such trips for $40-$50 mill( with profit for ITS dev) NASA will look ridiculous spending $ 1 billion plus on similar missions.

There is little doubt in my mind that Musk is trying to end NASA launch vehicle development by influencing the administration and showing just how ineffectual And wasteful the NASA launch manned vehicle development has been. This is not because he dislikes NASA, he just knows he can do that bit much better and cheaper than NASA. NASA could then spend its efforts developing space telescopes to image worlds around other stars and systems for use by There astronauts who SpaxeX deliver to moon or Mars.

 $ 20 billion since constellation and not a single man in orbit. I have little doubt if NASA put out contract to land people on Mars for half that money Musk would deliver the ITS which has capabilities beyond NASA wildest imaginings, remember bushs 41,s $400 billion plan to get to Mars. ITS comes in at somewhere between 2-5% of that and with much greater capability.

I hope Musk can end the SLS nonsense and NASA can get on with what it does best, great space science and Moon/Mars surface systems development. I believe that way we get further/faster

amen to that.

NASA's problem is that it is treated as a jobs- and electoral votes programm from the elected officials at certain states - which would be fine (not by me but hell, lets say i would care less) if it would not lead to absolutely abysmal results (creating engineering systems with constraints, never a good idea performance or price-wise).
if those 20B$ would have spent on science and research for propulsion instead of porking up aerospace giants to buy votes - just image what NASA could have already accomplished.

We have the same problem here with ESA and Airbus/Thales - bu we don't have SpaceX, take the chance you have been given, good things will happen IMO
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: nacnud on 02/28/2017 12:17 pm
From the SpaceX press release.

"Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket."

The people who write these need to do a bit more fact checking. The "most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket" was Energia, with 35.1 MN of thrust. What Falcon Heavy will be is the fourth most powerful launch vehicle to reach orbit.

Energia        35.10 MN
Saturn V       33.85 MN
Space Shuttle  30.90 MN
Falcon Heavy   24.68 MN
Atlas V 551    12.27 MN
GSLV Mk.III    11.66 MN
Ariane 5       11.40 MN
CZ-5           10.64 MN
H-IIB           9.98 MN
Proton-M        9.94 MN
Angara A5       9.61 MN
Delta IV Heavy  9.41 MN


"At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying."

According to the SpaceX web site Falcon Heavy is 5.55 Mlbf (24.68 MN). That is just over double the thrust of the Atlas V 551 at liftoff. 5 Mlbf (22.24 MN) is not double the thrust.

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html

By powerful I think they are meaning a successful launch of payload to LEO, so...

Energia - 0 tonnes, the Polyus launch failed, would have had a potential payload of 100 tonnes
Energia + Buran - 0 comparing apples to apples the Buran was part of the launch vehicle and carried no payload on its first launch, would have had a potential payload of 30 tonnes
Saturn V - 140 tonnes
Falcon 9 -  54 tonnes
Delta IV Heavy - 28.8 tonnes
Space Shuttle - 27.5 tonnes

Semantics and marketing but not categorically wrong.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: cro-magnon gramps on 02/28/2017 12:33 pm
I think this is just the beginning. Not sure how many FH launches and/or new hardware may be needed, but if the 2018 flight makes history, what or who is to stop Elon Musk from shooting for a manned Moon landing as his next move?

That would require a lot more hardware and years of development time that would be better spent on ITS.

Why?

{Jim/}
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CraigLieb on 02/28/2017 01:08 pm
Payloads to the Moon:
Although I can't afford to go to the Moon yet, I would like to place a few of my parent's ashes there as a memorial to their life journey. When my grandfather was born, the car had just been developed a few decades before, and the family vehicle was a horse/wagon. He lived to see a man walk on the moon and see the Space shuttle launch. To place his only daughter's ashes on the moon might be a fitting tribute.

Would it be possible for a separate company to secure space in the dragon trunk with an ejector that dispenses small cubes (securely sealed) to be deposited on the surface? I imagine they overall package would have to have some retro thrust to separate away and descend which adds to the risk somewhat. Maybe the smart orbital mechanics can determine the minimum dV required from a free return trajectory to a descent trajectory even if it is a very slow descent.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: clongton on 02/28/2017 01:11 pm
Astronauts do what astronauts do - they ride rockets into space.
Everything else is an add-on activity.
These are not tourists - these are astronauts.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: First Mate Rummey on 02/28/2017 01:20 pm
Some hints for the two astronauts:
1) Musk: it would give a boost to Musk coolness and give SpaceX rockets and spacecrafts a feeling them being safe enough its creator uses them first. After all, many inventors tried themself their vehicles or inventions;
2) a foreign citizen: this would kick ass to Trump and send him a message that SpaceX is deciding on its own, in the hope to get more funds in exchange of contracting stuff like who to send on these missions. Indeed the press release mentions humankind but not U.S.A..

Hopefully just not Sandra Bullock and George Clooney!  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:21 pm

The flight will undoubtedly return a massive amount of data

Data from what? 


if the margins allow, a whole bunch of bleeding edge stuff can be jammed into the corners and trunk to do science without the usual aerospace design requirements.


Wrong. if they don't follow aerospace design requirements, then the hardware isn't going to do "science"

You see ISS crew using consumer grade electronics all the time, launching low cost cube sats and doing student experiments. I'm not talking about returning Hubble quality data, but I'm sure there's something that was axed (or not yet invented) from LRO that some scientist somewhere would love to have on board.

Wrong

The ISS crew is using consumer grade electronics at standard atmosphere in a module.  Not the same as in a vacuum in sunlight.
the 'low cost cube sats" don't last very long. (the ones that do use high quality parts do)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: LouScheffer on 02/28/2017 01:21 pm
The bigger issue I see is how are they going to perform deep space tracking and navigation in the first place in order to be able to *do* TCMs. Leasing NASA assets or is there some trivial way to do that in the absence of GPS in deep space?

There's been a lot of work on  using GPS for deeper space, above the GPS orbits.  In this case you use the beams from the satellites on the far side of the Earth, some of which miss the Earth and spill over.  This is used by the MMS satellites up to 70,000 km today, and should work fine at lunar distances with a somewhat higher gain antenna.  See Navigating in Space - Taking GNSS to New Heights (http://www.insidegnss.com/node/5196).  Accuracy will not be as good as GPS down low, due to geometrical dilution of precision (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilution_of_precision_(navigation)), but should be plenty good enough for a flyby.

Alternatively, they could use a  standard deep space transponder (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Deep_Space_Transponder), and rent tracking time from NASA or ESA.  This would be super conservative, since it's what all deep space probes use already..  However it requires much more interaction and complex scheduling with other organizations, and some expense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:23 pm

1 - How do the thermal systems on Dragon 2 work beyond LEO?
2 - What is the performance of life support on a one week mission?
3 - How do our beyond LEO navigational systems work?
4 - What is the radiation environment beyond LEO experienced by Dragon v2?
5 - How well do our control systems work returning to reentry from beyond LEO?
6 - What is the performance of the heat shield when arriving at ~25,000mph?
7 - How well do our communication systems work at and beyond lunar distances?

I'm sure there is more.


No, there is less.  That data will need to be known before this.  So my point stands. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: beancounter on 02/28/2017 01:24 pm
Media show. Won't happen in the timeframe and putting people onboard a spacecraft without a professional crew (i.e. pilots with proper training) is a recipe for disaster. Doesn't matter if Musk wants the Dragon to be 'fully automated', it won't be safe.

Madness.
Dragon goes up and comes back fully automatic.  Soyuz does it,  Buran before then.  Look at the robotic probes that NASA has launched with some still going.  There's nothing magical about automation and not having human crews punching the buttons or whatever isn't a requirement.
You're just stuck in an old paradigm.
Cheers
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:25 pm
Are there any "off the shelf" small communications sats that an F-9 could put in orbit around the moon to provide high bandwidth communications relays for the Dragon V2?

No, because the issue is on earth and not in lunar orbit
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:30 pm
Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!

They are both retired and no longer speak for the astronaut corp.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:34 pm

Which begs the question, how will mid-course corrections be managed? With Draco thrusters alone? Dragon 2 doesn't have the luxury of a SM fat on fuel to modify the trajectory.


Don't need a "a SM fat on fuel".  See LRO, GRAIL, Lunar Orbiter, etc.  They all used small thrusters.

People need to forget the Apollo paradigm.  There are many other ways of doing this.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RonM on 02/28/2017 01:34 pm
I've seen some concerns about the capsule entry corridore being really narrow. I disagree.

It was in the Apollo days, certiantly, when they had to ditch the service module before entry, and "skipping off" the atmosphere meant staying in space longer than the capsule was designed for without the extra air and scrubbers.

But Dragon's Trunk has nothing. Power, perhaps, but a few extra batteries are easy enough to manage.

The Superdracos can fire during entry to fine tune the course, and even without that, a mission can be planned to do a lighter aerobreak, do an orbit, and comit to a lighter entry without the hazards of a high speed entry.

Superdracos can do everything BUT FINEtuning.

Which begs the question, how will mid-course corrections be managed? With Draco thrusters alone? Dragon 2 doesn't have the luxury of a SM fat on fuel to modify the trajectory. So many questions. Inertial guidance, ECLSS, entry corridor. I assume Dragon 2 will roll on entry, like Apollo, to control its path. Interesting to compare Dragon 2 capabilities in this regard vs. Apollo, Orion.

Dragon has a lower mass than Apollo, but with eight SuperDraco engines it has about six times the thrust of the Apollo SPS AJ10-137. Plenty of thrust to conduct lunar missions as long as it has enough fuel.

It wouldn't surprise me if SpaceX designed Dragon 2 guidance, ECLSS, etc. to be capable of cislunar operations. NASA has talked about a lunar station with commercial resupply, so SpaceX knows there is a need for that capability.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kevinof on 02/28/2017 01:36 pm
They might be retired but they are still Astronauts and well respected.

Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!

They are both retired and no longer speak for the astronaut corp.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 02/28/2017 01:36 pm
With all the talk about NASA supposedly being p...ed about the circumlunar mission, that announcement certainly doesn't sound like that:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

Perhaps we shouldnt forget that SLS is not necessarily something NASA wants to do - its something Congress makes them do. So I can imagine that this development might be welcomed at least by some within NASA...
Like I said, it gives them an out... ;)

Some substantial parts of NASA, like MSFC, Michoud and Stennis, seem to be very enthusiastic about SLS, and no doubt some big parts of KSC and JSC too.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:36 pm
the dragon trunk with an ejector that dispenses small cubes (securely sealed) to be deposited on the surface? I imagine they overall package would have to have some retro thrust to separate away and descend which adds to the risk somewhat. Maybe the smart orbital mechanics can determine the minimum dV required from a free return trajectory to a descent trajectory even if it is a very slow descent.


No, too much delta v required
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 01:37 pm
Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!

They are both retired and no longer speak for the astronaut corp.

That's not really relevant, Jim. What matters is that men who have actually done space-flight are enthusiastic about this proposal.

The astronaut corps themselves are government employees and it would be inappropriate for them to comment as NASA astronauts or on behalf of NASA astronauts. Especially as I'm pretty sure that these proposals are going to metastasise into a political football.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:39 pm

That's not really relevant, Jim. What matters is that men who have actually done space-flight are enthusiastic about this proposal.


Yes, it is because they are private citizens.  There is no reason that they would be no more enthusiastic than others.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 02/28/2017 01:40 pm
People need to forget the Apollo paradigm.

Most of all, Congress needs to forget the Apollo paradigm.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 01:53 pm
Some astronauts seem enthusiastic about this.

https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/836346660880015360

Mike Massimino
@Astro_Mike
Okay, the real space race is about to kick into high gear!  Big announcement from @spacex

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/836338112498401281

Scott Kelly
@StationCDRKelly
It's been almost a year. Send me!

They are both retired and no longer speak for the astronaut corp.

Would a not-retired astronaut risk making enemies inside agency by saying something in support of this mission? I wouldn't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 01:53 pm

Would a not-retired astronaut risk making enemies inside agency by saying something in support of this mission? I wouldn't.

Why would that matter?  Again, they are retired.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 01:54 pm
With all the talk about NASA supposedly being p...ed about the circumlunar mission, that announcement certainly doesn't sound like that:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-about-spacex-private-moon-venture-announcement

Perhaps we shouldnt forget that SLS is not necessarily something NASA wants to do - its something Congress makes them do. So I can imagine that this development might be welcomed at least by some within NASA...
Like I said, it gives them an out... ;)

Some substantial parts of NASA, like MSFC, Michoud and Stennis, seem to be very enthusiastic about SLS

I wonder why? :D :D :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 02/28/2017 02:03 pm
Though I am skeptical that SpaceX will manage to send two people around the moon in the time frame announced, I wonder whether this announcement might finally get Congress's attention (of course, I thought that would happen after Musk's Mars announcement at the IAC).

Here's a guess:  NASA starts talking more about a cis-lunar hab, proudly announcing that, thanks to the ISS model it pioneered, the hab will be launched by NASA (on SLS, of course), while the commercial sector will handle logistics.  Orion isn't canceled outright -- it's still meant to be some kind of back-up or to figure in some nebulous Mars architecture, but it's de-emphasized and begins to fade away*.  Maybe EUS gets put on hold indefinitely.

Some plan is put in place to build up the cis-lunar hab over the years, justifying continued SLS launches at a glacial pace.  The necessary cadence of launches to maintain safety can be de-emphasized, because the lanuches carry hardware only, no people.



* Orion is built by Lockheed Martin in Colorado.  It's been noted before that the first concession the Obama administration to Congress in the fight over the FY 2011 NASA budget was to rescind its proposed cancellation of Orion; it was suggested then that this was related to the fact that of the states receiving major funding through Orion/SLS, Colorado was among the most Democratic.  From the Trump administration's point of view now, Colorado committed the sin of not voting for Trump in 2016.

EDIT:  Added footnote about politics of Orion.  Footnote added after cro-magnon gramps liked the post, so the like may not apply to the footnote.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 02:16 pm
I don't know what the Trump administration will decide. But it would be interesting to see the new NASA Administrator and Congress adopt a number of human spaceflight initiatives that can be acheived before 2020. A SpaceX crewed circumlunar mission with NASA astronauts would have been interesting. A Dream Chaser to Hubble mission and an Orion/SLS crewed mission would all be interesting initiatives. If they were all pursued, at least one of these is likely to be completed before 2020. I would think that SpaceX would have the edge in this race.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 02/28/2017 02:19 pm
Why Dream Chaser to Hubble?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 02:22 pm
Orion isn't canceled outright -- it's still meant to be some kind of back-up or to figure in some nebulous Mars architecture, but it's de-emphasized and begins to fade away.  Maybe EUS gets put on hold indefinitely.

Orion costs too much and has too long a supply-chain to just freeze-dry for a rainy day. LockMart isn't just going to eat the costs of maintaining the production lines, facilities, and staff required to build that craft; if NASA wants to keep it around, they'll have to pony up the money for the industrial base. And since, to date, Orion development has cost roughly as much as a Ford-class aircraft carrier (between $8.5 and $10.5 billion, http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/gao-slams-nasas-cost-estimating-for-orion-sls), the only way for costs to go down is to make more of the capsules and amortize the cost. If the program is just canceled outright, the sunk costs are lost, but at least the hemorrhaging is stopped.

More relevant to this thread, SpaceX is trying to make the Dragon 2 viable for other roles than just ISS resupply missions. For most realistic near-to-mid-term cislunar missions involving a crew, the Dragon 2 is competitive with Orion and costs much less. I suspect this "pleasure cruise" around the moon is in part a way for SpaceX to showcase the FH/Dragon's strengths apart from being an orbital FedEx service. Which is necessary if SpaceX wants to build an actual commercial business around their spacecraft, because the ISS won't be up there forever, and the business of launching satellites is rapidly becoming commoditized.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 02:24 pm
Why Dream Chaser to Hubble?

That was a proposal that SNC made to the transition team as a mission that could be acheived before 2020:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=29416.msg1641688#msg1641688
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kaputnik on 02/28/2017 02:24 pm
Payloads to the Moon:
Although I can't afford to go to the Moon yet, I would like to place a few of my parent's ashes there as a memorial to their life journey. When my grandfather was born, the car had just been developed a few decades before, and the family vehicle was a horse/wagon. He lived to see a man walk on the moon and see the Space shuttle launch. To place his only daughter's ashes on the moon might be a fitting tribute.

Would it be possible for a separate company to secure space in the dragon trunk with an ejector that dispenses small cubes (securely sealed) to be deposited on the surface? I imagine they overall package would have to have some retro thrust to separate away and descend which adds to the risk somewhat. Maybe the smart orbital mechanics can determine the minimum dV required from a free return trajectory to a descent trajectory even if it is a very slow descent.


By far the most economical and simple way of doing this would be to include human remains as a payload that is attached to the second stage, and then intentionally crash the stage into the moon, as the SIVB did.
Any kind of free flier is going to cost way, way more than this.

Which begs a question- what do we think SpaceX intend to do with the second stage? Free return alongside the Dragon and disposal back at Earth? Depletion burn to escape? Lunar impact?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 02/28/2017 02:29 pm
Orion isn't canceled outright -- it's still meant to be some kind of back-up or to figure in some nebulous Mars architecture, but it's de-emphasized and begins to fade away.  Maybe EUS gets put on hold indefinitely.
Orion costs too much and has too long a supply-chain to just freeze-dry for a rainy day. LockMart isn't just going to eat the costs of maintaining the production lines, facilities, and staff required to build that craft; if NASA wants to keep it around, they'll have to pony up the money for the industrial base. And since, to date, Orion development has cost roughly as much as a Ford-class aircraft carrier (between $8.5 and $10.5 billion, http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/gao-slams-nasas-cost-estimating-for-orion-sls), the only way for costs to go down is to make more of the capsules and amortize the cost. If the program is just canceled outright, the sunk costs are lost, but at least the hemorrhaging is stopped.

That would matter only if NASA were to be serious about using flying Orion some day.  I'm suggesting the plan would be to kill it, just to do so nice and slowly, to reduce the political pain.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Phil Stooke on 02/28/2017 02:46 pm
CraigLieb:  do a search on 'Space Burial' and you will find two private companies who will already do this for you.  Both offer a lunar burial as well as orbital and suborbital options.  The lunar burials are currently slated to be carried by GLXP landers, but any future lander would be an option as well, subject to negotiation.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Tim S on 02/28/2017 02:47 pm
SpaceX is very competitive, once you take into account the discount they have to provide to counter their customers large insurance premium, but it needs to prove the reliability and ability to keep to schedule. I'm sure the NASA landing team are being told there is no golden ticket to deep space transportation, which requires purpose of schedule and relability, both of which SpaceX struggle with.

The only path forward is the combination of forces. Rockets can, as SpaceX knows only too well, blow up in one's face.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 02:56 pm
SpaceX is very competitive, once you take into account the discount they have to provide to counter their customers large insurance premium, but it needs to prove the reliability and ability to keep to schedule. I'm sure the NASA landing team are being told there is no golden ticket to deep space transportation, which requires purpose of schedule and relability, both of which SpaceX struggle with.

The only path forward is the combination of forces. Rockets can, as SpaceX knows only too well, blow up in one's face.

Jeesh, there is some double talk.

SLS has more struggles with both.
SLS schedules are worse than Spacex
As for reliability, SLS related components have caused some of the most expensive spaceflight accidents.

I would be worried if I lived in the Huntsville/Decatur area
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/28/2017 02:58 pm
I enjoyed these different presentations of Elon's announcement, especially as they could both be correct!

Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Sputnik, keepin’ it real.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836568314734338048 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836568314734338048)

Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Same picture, very different assessment (this one from The Atlantic.)
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836569958087802880 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/836569958087802880)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 03:10 pm
Exciting new for sure, and imagine a three-way lunar race - lunar Soyuz vs manned EM-1 vs lunar Dragon.  8)
I suggest we call the circumlunar mission " Grey Dragon" (because the Moon is grey of course)
But...
To me manned Moon is as difficult as unmanned Mars... and unmanned Mars already missed the 2018 launch window.
What I mean is that Musk replaced an impossible (schedule) mission with another, similarly impossible mission.
An example: both missions need Falcon 9H and Dragon 2, which are hardly ready.

Both have been in development for years and both are planned to fly later this year.  I don't see any evidence to support your claim that a flight by both a year later is "impossible".

Sure, the schedules could slip and they might not be able to make a 2018 target.  But "impossible" is an overstatement -- by a lot.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ppb on 02/28/2017 03:21 pm
the dragon trunk with an ejector that dispenses small cubes (securely sealed) to be deposited on the surface? I imagine they overall package would have to have some retro thrust to separate away and descend which adds to the risk somewhat. Maybe the smart orbital mechanics can determine the minimum dV required from a free return trajectory to a descent trajectory even if it is a very slow descent.


No, too much delta v required
Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 03:22 pm

Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.

Huh?

He is proposing that they try to land on the moon and not earth.
There is no aerobraking for the moon.
Aerobrake around the Earth requires to be in earth orbit and would do nothing for moon.
Aerocapture (which has yet to be done) would mean it is still in earth orbit.

So, what is your point?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ppb on 02/28/2017 03:24 pm

Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.

That isn't going to help them land on the moon
I thought we were talking about depositing cremains on the moon from this mission. But ya, probably too much requirements creep.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/28/2017 03:24 pm
And if they slip it didn't mean next chance in 2 years. Because they could fly almost any day.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 02/28/2017 03:30 pm
Exciting new for sure, and imagine a three-way lunar race - lunar Soyuz vs manned EM-1 vs lunar Dragon.  8)
I suggest we call the circumlunar mission " Grey Dragon" (because the Moon is grey of course)
But...
To me manned Moon is as difficult as unmanned Mars... and unmanned Mars already missed the 2018 launch window.
What I mean is that Musk replaced an impossible (schedule) mission with another, similarly impossible mission.
An example: both missions need Falcon 9H and Dragon 2, which are hardly ready.

Both have been in development for years and both are planned to fly later this year.  I don't see any evidence to support your claim that a flight by both a year later is "impossible".

Sure, the schedules could slip and they might not be able to make a 2018 target.  But "impossible" is an overstatement -- by a lot.

actually the difference is red dragon versus dragon 2.
Dragon 2 is already scheduled for 1st flight at end of 2017.
Red Dragon is a dragon 2 with at least some additional mods and tests
    1. demonstrated propulsive landing on earth
    2. Extra fuel for mars landing
    3. people stuff stripping
    4. Payload for mars mods
So this mission is more "off the shelf stuff" then mars 2018.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ppb on 02/28/2017 03:32 pm

Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.

Huh?

He is proposing that they try to land on the moon and not earth.
There is no aerobraking for the moon.
Aerobrake around the Earth requires to be in earth orbit and would do nothing for moon.
Aerocapture (which has yet to be done) would mean it is still in earth orbit.

So, what is your point?
The original idea was to do something else on the cicumlunar mission, and the poster's idea was to deposit cremains on the moon, maybe in an ejected cubesat vessel. I thought your delta v comment was referring to that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: raketa on 02/28/2017 03:34 pm
Right she Spacex is flying hardware every month. SLS one launch on several years. It wil not tested system. I will not fly it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 02/28/2017 03:35 pm

Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.

Huh?

He is proposing that they try to land on the moon and not earth.
There is no aerobraking for the moon.
Aerobrake around the Earth requires to be in earth orbit and would do nothing for moon.
Aerocapture (which has yet to be done) would mean it is still in earth orbit.

So, what is your point?
The original idea was to do something else on the cicumlunar mission, and the poster's idea was to deposit cremains on the moon, maybe in an ejected cubesat vessel. I thought your delta v comment was referring to that.

as said above it is probably best to either eject after or during TLI or put it on S2.
If done after TLI it means the initial trajectory would be impact moon.
Might not be a good idea.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: pb2000 on 02/28/2017 03:35 pm

You see ISS crew using consumer grade electronics all the time, launching low cost cube sats and doing student experiments. I'm not talking about returning Hubble quality data, but I'm sure there's something that was axed (or not yet invented) from LRO that some scientist somewhere would love to have on board.

Wrong

The ISS crew is using consumer grade electronics at standard atmosphere in a module.  Not the same as in a vacuum in sunlight.
the 'low cost cube sats" don't last very long. (the ones that do use high quality parts do)

Exactly, for stuff in the trunk, it only needs to last ~6 days, and it would be trivial add enough shielding and heat-sinking for that period of time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 03:35 pm
Jeesh, there is some double talk.

SLS has more struggles with both.
SLS schedules are worse than Spacex
As for reliability, SLS related components have caused some of the most expensive spaceflight accidents.

I would be worried if I lived in the Huntsville/Decatur area

Many the SLS/Orion development problems stem, IMO, from NASA's horrible project management and outdated procurement model, not so much with the design of the system itself. I expect the SLS, all things being equal, will be a very reliable launch platform...but also an extremely expensive one. Going with the traditional capsule-on-top model will alleviate the most severe safety design flaw of the shuttle (the side-mount orbiter).

SpaceX's Falcon is a pretty reliable booster, but it has a ways to go to match that of the Atlas or even Soyuz. This reliability issue will be amplified when they start flying "used" boosters and the long-delayed FH this year. If SpaceX can execute their 2017/2018 plans with no major anomalies, that's going to put the SLS project in a very precarious position, particularly with the current Administration. On the other hand, if the FH does not perform to expectations or is delayed again, it could boost the fortunes of the SLS accordingly.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: smfarmer11 on 02/28/2017 03:50 pm
The easiest thing would to do what EM-1 was going to do before any manned volitions of putting a few cubesats on the second stage or in this case, the trunk.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/28/2017 03:51 pm
To NASA's credit, they're putting on a brave face and making it sound like it's at least partially their idea.
I don't understand all these assumptions that NASA (as if it's a monolith) has a problem with this. There are people in NASA that support Commercial Space. The whole point of Commercial Space is to foster this sort of thing.

NASA is a big organization with a lot of moving parts and people with different goals and beliefs. No doubt there are groups that are not fans of commercial space. But if we're going to refer to NASA as a monolith, they have been a huge supporter of SpaceX.  If they were anti-SpaceX they could have down selected them and gone with Starliner only for crew.  They could have said no to using Dragon 2 for latest commercial cargo contract.  There are so many ways that NASA could have delayed or derailed SpaceX over the years and they haven't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 03:53 pm

outdated procurement model, not so much with the design of the system itself.


Not true at all.  It is a 180. 

The government still has a need to buy hardware and to use cost plus.  Cost plus is never going away.
The issue with SLS is that is an outdated hardware and design.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/28/2017 03:54 pm
FWIW, the only thing that I want to see in the trunk is a Kestrel engine and plenty of fuel tanks to take care of the LOI/ROI issue.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RedLineTrain on 02/28/2017 03:59 pm
After some thought, this looks to me like a gambit played in the SLS versus Commercial Crew tug-of-war, coming three days after NASA's press conference on the EM-1 study.

Nasawatch's coverage of this seems right on.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/28/2017 04:16 pm
Quote
Buzz Aldrin
‏Verified account @TheRealBuzz

Actually @elonmusk I support space tourism & there are many useful things we can do at the moon such as an Int'l moon base mining the ice.🌙🌘

https://twitter.com/TheRealBuzz/status/836624983073910784 (https://twitter.com/TheRealBuzz/status/836624983073910784)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 02/28/2017 04:17 pm
Jeesh, there is some double talk.

SLS has more struggles with both.
SLS schedules are worse than Spacex
As for reliability, SLS related components have caused some of the most expensive spaceflight accidents.

I would be worried if I lived in the Huntsville/Decatur area

Many the SLS/Orion development problems stem, IMO, from NASA's horrible project management and outdated procurement model, not so much with the design of the system itself. I expect the SLS, all things being equal, will be a very reliable launch platform...but also an extremely expensive one. Going with the traditional capsule-on-top model will alleviate the most severe safety design flaw of the shuttle (the side-mount orbiter).

SpaceX's Falcon is a pretty reliable booster, but it has a ways to go to match that of the Atlas or even Soyuz. This reliability issue will be amplified when they start flying "used" boosters and the long-delayed FH this year. If SpaceX can execute their 2017/2018 plans with no major anomalies, that's going to put the SLS project in a very precarious position, particularly with the current Administration. On the other hand, if the FH does not perform to expectations or is delayed again, it could boost the fortunes of the SLS accordingly.
The SLS procurement model, choice of key hardware, support of missions to leverage it and it's very existence are largely outside of NASA's control so I think it's pretty unfair to blame it on NASA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/28/2017 04:19 pm
To NASA's credit, they're putting on a brave face and making it sound like it's at least partially their idea.
I don't understand all these assumptions that NASA (as if it's a monolith) has a problem with this. There are people in NASA that support Commercial Space. The whole point of Commercial Space is to foster this sort of thing.

NASA is a big organization with a lot of moving parts and people with different goals and beliefs. No doubt there are groups that are not fans of commercial space. But if we're going to refer to NASA as a monolith, they have been a huge supporter of SpaceX.  If they were anti-SpaceX they could have down selected them and gone with Starliner only for crew.  They could have said no to using Dragon 2 for latest commercial cargo contract.  There are so many ways that NASA could have delayed or derailed SpaceX over the years and they haven't.

Eric Berger has a good piece on what parts of NASA may really be thinking about yesterday's announcement: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/)

Edit: clarified
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: smfarmer11 on 02/28/2017 04:19 pm
The kestrel in the trunk idea is a non starter mainly because it's use of cryogenic propellants. Better would be a superDraco with a higher expansion ration for better ISP, and the storability of hypergolics. However this subject was discussed extensively in this thread:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40318.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dodo on 02/28/2017 04:21 pm
Quote
Buzz Aldrin
‏Verified account @TheRealBuzz

Actually @elonmusk I support space tourism & there are many useful things we can do at the moon such as an Int'l moon base mining the ice.🌙🌘

https://twitter.com/TheRealBuzz/status/836624983073910784 (https://twitter.com/TheRealBuzz/status/836624983073910784)

For the sake of completeness, his first tweet of the subject was:

Buzz Aldrin
@TheRealBuzz
Been there, done that. I prefer Get Your Ass to #Mars [red ball here]#GYATM

Also, yesterday Bill Harwood did a short piece on this for CBS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAR-tBpOol8
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 04:41 pm
This is the natural progression of technology which has happened before so NASA should understand this. In the 1930's civilian aircraft were faster than the US government military fighters. Air racing drove technology hard and if it wasn't for WWII the air force would still have been behind civil aviation. This is just an ebb and flow where once all the institutional knowledge was exclusively held by the government. What NASA should be doing is  cutting edge nuclear propulsion R&D...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: montyrmanley on 02/28/2017 04:53 pm
The SLS procurement model, choice of key hardware, support of missions to leverage it and it's very existence are largely outside of NASA's control so I think it's pretty unfair to blame it on NASA.


It's NASA's program, and it's up to them to manage it. NASA is a government agency and thus is bound to the diktat of Congress, no doubt, but it's no different than any other federal agencies in that respect. It's also NASA's job to provide advice and guidance to Congress to establish national priorities, and it is in this area that NASA has fallen most criminally short. And not just in the SLS program, but...well, since they were founded, really. NASA's departmental remit is so nebulous and badly defined that NASA by default is often in the dark about their actual goals; and NASA leadership is often too spineless and rudderless to ask for more concrete direction. "But...but...Congress!" is no excuse.

SpaceX can justify sending two civilians on a pleasure-cruise around the moon for the simple reason that the civilians are willing to pay for the privilege. It's a fee-for-service deal. Musk may have larger ambitions, but he doesn't need to have larger ambiitions, or big-picture plans. If there's money to be made ferrying rich people to the moon and back, SpaceX can decide to be in that business simply by deciding if they have a capability to provide the service at a cost the market will bear. That's it. If they fail to execute on their strategy, they go out of business or reorganize into more profitable endeavors.

NASA can't do that -- it (as an agent of the Federal Government) has to justify the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on any program it oversees (whether developed in house or via contractors). NASA's decades-long inability to perform this essential task well is at the root of their present difficulties. Why has the Orion capsule's design stretched out for more than a decade and cost damned near $10 billion dollars when SpaceX could design the Dragon2 in far less time and for far less money? NASA needs to justify this to Congress and the Administration (i.e., representatives of the American people). Why is this taking so long and costing so much? If the Orion capsule is much more capable than Dragon 2, fine: let NASA explain how this additional capability will be used, and why it justifies the extra expense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 02/28/2017 05:05 pm
Question: Would it be two passengers sent alone, or two passengers plus a pilot, or one passenger plus a pilot? I can't imagine sending customers without a professional SpaceX pilot on board.

Why would it need to be piloted?
Is Red Dragon piloted? 
No. 
RD travels further, does interplanetary re-entry and lands on the surface of a planet tens of millions of miles away.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 05:05 pm
The SLS procurement model, choice of key hardware, support of missions to leverage it and it's very existence are largely outside of NASA's control so I think it's pretty unfair to blame it on NASA.

This completely ignores the genesis of SLS: the Constellation program. It's a brainchild of a NASA admin, Michael Griffin. He fought tooth and nail against any proposal to adapt Atlas or Delta for crewed flights.

It was a golden opportunity to end this nonsense of government-designed launch vehicles, and _NASA_ leadership fought against it. Not only Congress.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 05:08 pm

It's NASA's program, and it's up to them to manage it. NASA is a government agency and thus is bound to the diktat of Congress, no doubt, but it's no different than any other federal agencies in that respect. It's also NASA's job to provide advice and guidance to Congress to establish national priorities, and it is in this area that NASA has fallen most criminally short. And not just in the SLS program, but...well, since they were founded, really. NASA's departmental remit is so nebulous and badly defined that NASA by default is often in the dark about their actual goals; and NASA leadership is often too spineless and rudderless to ask for more concrete direction. "But...but...Congress!" is no excuse.


Wrong takeaway on every point.  Shows a lack of understanding on how the government works.   
No, it is the administration's job to give NASA priorities.  NASA does not set its own course.

And knock it off with the "criminally" terms. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Helodriver on 02/28/2017 05:09 pm
The kestrel in the trunk idea is a non starter mainly because it's use of cryogenic propellants. Better would be a superDraco with a higher expansion ration for better ISP, and the storability of hypergolics. However this subject was discussed extensively in this thread:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40318.0

As for "junk in the trunk" I don't see it becoming a service module but I do think it will likely carry one or even a few expendable free flying camera equipped cubesats or something similar that will separate, maneuver, and maintain somewhat close formation with the capsule as it swings by the moon to provide the ultimate drone imagery of the Dragon with the lunar surface rotating underneath.  Images will be transmitted to the capsule as part of the tourist package and for SpaceX promotional use.

Such a thing could also be as simple as a few wifi GoPros or commercial 360 degree ball cameras ejected from under the nose cap.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Donosauro on 02/28/2017 05:14 pm
This news that is exciting as all here on this forum is hardly getting any coverage from the UK television news other that a few brief mentions of tourist going round the moon. As I type this they are still racking over the Oscars gaff.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39115201
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: hydra9 on 02/28/2017 05:17 pm
Maybe this will put an end to the White House idea of using the SLS/Orion for a stunt mission around the Moon!

NASA's focus should be on using the SLS to deploy a Deep Space Hab to EML1 and deploying habitat modules and water extraction machinery to the lunar surface.

NASA should also be focusing on converting upper stage propellant tanks (SLS-EUS, Centaur, ACES 68, etc.) into reusable  propellant manufacturing, storing, and distributing LOX/LH2 depots that can be deployed within cis-lunar space and beyond.

Marcel 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kaputnik on 02/28/2017 05:32 pm
the dragon trunk with an ejector that dispenses small cubes (securely sealed) to be deposited on the surface? I imagine they overall package would have to have some retro thrust to separate away and descend which adds to the risk somewhat. Maybe the smart orbital mechanics can determine the minimum dV required from a free return trajectory to a descent trajectory even if it is a very slow descent.


No, too much delta v required
Aerobrake around the Earth ala Mars orbiters. See what Planet is doing with their cubesats.

Erm, it's kind of important to consider *where* you do your braking. I hope you apply a little more logic when you drive your car!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 05:34 pm
Maybe this will put an end to the White House idea of using the SLS/Orion 

There, fixed it for you
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 05:42 pm
The SLS procurement model, choice of key hardware, support of missions to leverage it and it's very existence are largely outside of NASA's control so I think it's pretty unfair to blame it on NASA.

This completely ignores the genesis of SLS: the Constellation program. It's a brainchild of a NASA admin, Michael Griffin. He fought tooth and nail against any proposal to adapt Atlas or Delta for crewed flights.

It was a golden opportunity to end this nonsense of government-designed launch vehicles, and _NASA_ leadership fought against it. Not only Congress.

That he did, but Bolden, for example fought against SLS until congress made them do it.

It may not be NASA's "Fault", but NASA by its definition is subject to congressional intervention down to "thou shall use SRBs, because reasons", and NASA can't change that, so it's part of NASA, fault or not.

This is all playing out as expected. 

---

As for a Lunar landing, it's not only that this flight is not a technological enabler.  It's that such a landing will require a lot of development and be a distraction from the Mars goal.

For this flight, they'll use an almost generic D2, and most everything they have to develop is "on the way to Mars".

Plus, it's a revenue source. If they do it once, and if the boosters and capsules are reusable, they might work up to flying once per month.  This is so much more than a LEO flight.  With care, this can rival comsat revenue. 

---

Also - to land on the moon will require 2400 m/s dV.  A Hydrazine motor with ISP of 240 will give a mass ratio of 2.7, so to land 100 kg mass, you need to start out with 270 kg.  That's a reasonable package to put in the trunk, and plenty of space agencies and even universities would pay for a ride like that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kirghizstan on 02/28/2017 05:42 pm
Maybe this will put an end to the White House idea of using the SLS/Orion 

There, fixed it for you


Is this Jim officially planting a anti-SLS/Orion flag.  I'm sorry if I either misinterpreted or you planted this flag on a prior occasion. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: VulcanCafe on 02/28/2017 05:42 pm
Has anyone considered that the NASA announcement last week may have been a preemptive face-saving response to SpaceX. I assume here SpaceX notified NASA of their upcoming announcement, which prompted a quick re-analysis of the EM1 mission.

Complete and total speculation but I smell smoke.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dodo on 02/28/2017 06:05 pm
Question: Would it be two passengers sent alone, or two passengers plus a pilot, or one passenger plus a pilot? I can't imagine sending customers without a professional SpaceX pilot on board.

Why would it need to be piloted?
Is Red Dragon piloted? 
No. 
RD travels further, does interplanetary re-entry and lands on the surface of a planet tens of millions of miles away.

Just from a psychological viewpoint it makes sense to have an experienced astronaut accompany the paying customers. Plus if something breaks you want someone who knows how it was put together. I'd be very surprised if Garrett Reisman is not in that flight.

* rests back in armchair
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 02/28/2017 06:07 pm
Got the impression from Musk that the 2 wanted the Dragon to themselves.
I would.
If duct tape directions from ground control can't fix it.  They're likely hosed.  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 06:09 pm
Question: Would it be two passengers sent alone, or two passengers plus a pilot, or one passenger plus a pilot? I can't imagine sending customers without a professional SpaceX pilot on board.

Why would it need to be piloted?
Is Red Dragon piloted? 
No. 
RD travels further, does interplanetary re-entry and lands on the surface of a planet tens of millions of miles away.

Just from a psychological viewpoint it makes sense to have an experienced astronaut accompany the paying customers. Plus if something breaks you want someone who knows how it was put together. I'd be very surprised if Garrett Reisman is not in that flight.

* rests back in armchair

On the other hand, you're paying $100 million for a week-long vacation in a very small space with a person you want to be with.  You might not want a third person you don't know very well also crammed in that small space.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 06:13 pm
. Plus if something breaks you want someone who knows how it was put together.


Then that person is not an astronaut.  Astronauts just know how to operate a vehicle, they don't build or design it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: M.E.T. on 02/28/2017 06:16 pm
To NASA's credit, they're putting on a brave face and making it sound like it's at least partially their idea.
I don't understand all these assumptions that NASA (as if it's a monolith) has a problem with this. There are people in NASA that support Commercial Space. The whole point of Commercial Space is to foster this sort of thing.

NASA is a big organization with a lot of moving parts and people with different goals and beliefs. No doubt there are groups that are not fans of commercial space. But if we're going to refer to NASA as a monolith, they have been a huge supporter of SpaceX.  If they were anti-SpaceX they could have down selected them and gone with Starliner only for crew.  They could have said no to using Dragon 2 for latest commercial cargo contract.  There are so many ways that NASA could have delayed or derailed SpaceX over the years and they haven't.

Eric Berger has a good piece on what parts of NASA may really be thinking about yesterday's announcement: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/)

Edit: clarified

I find that to be a rather negative article by Eric Berger, to be honest. At one point, in support of his overall argument,  he quotes a certain Ms. Dittmar, who provides a negative view on Musk's endeavours. Only to reveal that Ms. Dittmar "serves as executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, the organization formed by the principal contractors behind NASA's SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft".

Well shock and horror, the contractors building the SLS have bad things to say about SpaceX. What a surprise.

The general gist of it seems to be that NASA is bending over backwards for SpaceX despite SpaceX's  commercial crew program slipping to 2018. No mention is made, however, of the fact that 2018 is still a year earlier than Boeing - a long established "old Space" company - can produce their version of a commercial crew vehicle.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsnellenberger on 02/28/2017 06:22 pm
This announcement can also be viewed as a "Declaration of Independence" by SpaceX with respect to the capability that they've developed with the funds supplied by the Commercial Crew program.  While acknowledging that SpaceX owes an obligation to continue meeting the terms of their agreement with NASA, they assert here their proprietary right to employ Dragon 2 & Falcon Heavy to perform other missions that they believe are in their commercial interest. 

Assuming that they've done an adequate job of market research, "E-Ticket Ride to the Moon" has the advantage (commercially) that they can "own" the entire critical path of the effort rather than depend on some other entity (e.g., Bigelow) as a partner. 

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 06:33 pm
This announcement can also be viewed as a "Declaration of Independence" by SpaceX with respect to the capability that they've developed with the funds supplied by the Commercial Crew program.  While acknowledging that SpaceX owes an obligation to continue meeting the terms of their agreement with NASA, they assert here their proprietary right to employ Dragon 2 & Falcon Heavy to perform other missions that they believe are in their commercial interest.

SpaceX doesn't need to declare that.  Nobody has ever doubted it.  In fact, the idea that companies would find other customers for the vehicles they are using for NASA has been an explicitly-stated goal of NASA's commercial cargo and crew programs from day one, starting with the first CRS announcement.

The timing of this announcement is all about the customer.  Someone agreed to pay for the trip, no more, no less.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/28/2017 06:42 pm
Maybe this will put an end to the White House idea of using the SLS/Orion 

There, fixed it for you


Is this Jim officially planting a anti-SLS/Orion flag.  I'm sorry if I either misinterpreted or you planted this flag on a prior occasion. 

How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Capable vehicles, but my gosh!

We maybe living through a (two) decades long transition of NASA from the Apollo and Shuttle era to commercial space.  I would not be surprised if in 5-10 years that NASA buys launch services and focuses on other things, like science and technology development.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dodo on 02/28/2017 06:55 pm
. Plus if something breaks you want someone who knows how it was put together.


Then that person is not an astronaut.  Astronauts just know how to operate a vehicle, they don't build or design it.

Hmm... I had this romantic idea (perhaps from the Apollo era) that astronauts were very much involved in the design of systems. I may be (a) plain wrong or (b) outdated - specialization is a true devil.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 06:56 pm
I don't understand all these assumptions that NASA (as if it's a monolith) has a problem with this. There are people in NASA that support Commercial Space. The whole point of Commercial Space is to foster this sort of thing.

NASA is a big organization with a lot of moving parts and people with different goals and beliefs. No doubt there are groups that are not fans of commercial space.

In every big organization there are many different people, true.

However, organizations _as a whole_, regardless of the thoughts of individual people inside them, tend to act to self-preserve (because those which dont, disappear) and if possible, to grow. The same is true about departments inside big organizations.

You are a bad, unsuccessful manager if you allow your project to be canceled (even if the project is pointless). In the bureaucratic logic and politics, it does not actually matter whether project makes sense or not. You must survive at any cost. We all remember ESAS, which "proved" that EELVs are unsuitable for manned flights. Because Constellation had to survive no matter what. If you need to lie in order to achieve that, you do that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 02/28/2017 07:09 pm
Has anyone considered that the NASA announcement last week may have been a preemptive face-saving response to SpaceX. I assume here SpaceX notified NASA of their upcoming announcement, which prompted a quick re-analysis of the EM1 mission.

Complete and total speculation but I smell smoke.

Thoughts?

that thought crossed my mind too.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 07:12 pm
See below:

Apparently, there is a Rumor that Trump will say something about returning to human spaceflight tonight. See tweets from Eric Berger and John Yang.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dglow on 02/28/2017 07:13 pm
The timing of this announcement is all about the customer.  Someone agreed to pay for the trip, no more, no less.

The timing of the announcement is very calculated. Elon has too prominent a seat at the new administration's table for it not to be.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 07:14 pm
Has anyone considered that the NASA announcement last week may have been a preemptive face-saving response to SpaceX. I assume here SpaceX notified NASA of their upcoming announcement, which prompted a quick re-analysis of the EM1 mission.

Complete and total speculation but I smell smoke.

Thoughts?

It was mentionned in Chris' article:

Quote from: Chris Bergin NSF
A NASA HQ source claimed they were not informed about the announcement ahead of Elon’s comments on Monday, although he believes Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and President Trump’s NASA “Landing Team” was briefed, which in turn – the source claimed – was why Mr. Lightfoot asked NASA to conduct a study into accelerating the schedule towards crewed missions on Orion.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 02/28/2017 07:18 pm

Hmm... I had this romantic idea (perhaps from the Apollo era) that astronauts were very much involved in the design of systems. I may be (a) plain wrong or (b) outdated - specialization is a true devil.

How old were the STS-135 astronauts in the early 70's?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: woods170 on 02/28/2017 07:24 pm
Maybe this will put an end to the White House idea of using the SLS/Orion 

There, fixed it for you


Is this Jim officially planting a anti-SLS/Orion flag.  I'm sorry if I either misinterpreted or you planted this flag on a prior occasion. 
Jim has been openly sceptic about SLS/Orion for a long time. He merely confirmed what he has stated before.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mn on 02/28/2017 07:27 pm
I understand that what they are planning is just to fly around the moon and not enter lunar orbit.

I would love to know in terms of fuel requirements, once you reach the moon how much additional fuel would be needed for orbit insertion and then escape lunar orbit and head back to earth.

If it takes X amount of fuel to do TLI, how much more would be needed for lunar orbit? are we talking about 20% more, 50% more, double? etc.

Just Curious.

TY
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Star One on 02/28/2017 07:28 pm
Really just a speculative article.

How much are SpaceX tourists actually paying to fly around the Moon?

http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/28/14763632/spacex-private-moon-flight-price-cost-estimate-nasa-space-adventures
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mvpel on 02/28/2017 07:35 pm
Hmm... I had this romantic idea (perhaps from the Apollo era) that astronauts were very much involved in the design of systems. I may be (a) plain wrong or (b) outdated - specialization is a true devil.

I've been involved in writing documentation for military systems, and have had the opportunity to spend a bit of time working with teams on site. There, as in the ISS, everything that is to be done with or to the systems is extensively and meticulously documented down to the letter, and any off-nominal work is done in close coordination with the engineering teams back home. The astronauts, as I see it, are not distinguished by their engineering prowess, but their generalist flexibility, their ability to learn new things easily, and most importantly to make connections among their various areas of knowledge and experience. Take a look at a space walk, such as the IDA installation, for example - there's no "winging it" in that situation. Each step is laid out and timed to the second, and the ideal mission never deviates from that plan. And when it does, the generalist flexibility of the astronauts enables them to fully and accurately assess the situation, whether it's a fussy connector or a malfunctioning suit, and work in close collaboration with others to identify, understand, solve the problem.

But just imagine how many heads are going to explode when the first high-school-graduate blue collar employee launches into space. Expert welder? Plumber? Electrician? Millwright? Janitor? We'll see.
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/mBgUObLnlHI/hqdefault.jpg)

But even if they don't have a PhD., they'll have that same kind of flexible generalist mindset which good astronauts exhibit.

Have you ever watched the "Gold Rush" series on the Discovery Channel? Rough-looking, dirt-covered, cussing, and endlessly tough folks with calloused hands unafraid of putting in grueling hours keeping enormous, dangerous, complex equipment up and running by any means necessary in the middle of a hostile wilderness miles from the nearest hardware store with only a supply of metal, welders, assorted large tools, and their wits, ingenuity, and substantial intelligence.

I'm descended from generations of Kansas farmers; these are my people. Snooty coastal elites tend to look down on them, but if you want to see what the Martian pioneers are going to look like - the ones who survive anyway - take in a few episodes of "Gold Rush" or "Bering Sea Gold." Instead of Au they'll be digging for H2O

In the long run, the foundations of Lunar and Martian civilization are going to be built by rednecks, not only by PhD's. Folks need to get over it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: obi-wan on 02/28/2017 07:53 pm
I understand that what they are planning is just to fly around the moon and not enter lunar orbit.

I would love to know in terms of fuel requirements, once you reach the moon how much additional fuel would be needed for orbit insertion and then escape lunar orbit and head back to earth.

If it takes X amount of fuel to do TLI, how much more would be needed for lunar orbit? are we talking about 20% more, 50% more, double? etc.

Just Curious.

TY

As a rough rule of thumb, using storable propellants:

One kilogram on a translunar trajectory takes 4 kg in low Earth orbit
One kg in lunar orbit takes 4 kg in translunar trajectory
One kg on the lunar surface takes 4 kg in lunar orbit
One kg returned to Earth takes 4 kg on the lunar surface

Not suitable for use in navigation, but it supplies a good intuitive bound to the problem.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wolfpack on 02/28/2017 08:14 pm
If they actually do what they're proposing WHEN they're proposing to do it,

I'll buy a Tesla.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CitabriaFlyer on 02/28/2017 08:32 pm
Question for Jim (other professionals feel free to chime in)

Assume that I am a 45 year old lay person with some scientific acumen.  Private practice doctor, former USAF flight doc, >1000 hours private pilot with instrument and aerobatic experience.  Biology major with a little physics and math 25 years ago.  Burning desire to fly in space since watching STS -1 in 4th grade.  Assume I win Powerball and decide I want to purchase this trip free return around the moon with SpaceX.

What are the five most important questions I should ask SpaceX management as part of my due diligence as I consider paying for this trip?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/28/2017 08:45 pm
Hmm... I had this romantic idea (perhaps from the Apollo era) that astronauts were very much involved in the design of systems. I may be (a) plain wrong or (b) outdated - specialization is a true devil.

I've been involved in writing documentation for military systems, and have had the opportunity to spend a bit of time working with teams on site. There, as in the ISS, everything that is to be done with or to the systems is extensively and meticulously documented down to the letter, and any off-nominal work is done in close coordination with the engineering teams back home. The astronauts, as I see it, are not distinguished by their engineering prowess, but their generalist flexibility, their ability to learn new things easily, and most importantly to make connections among their various areas of knowledge and experience. Take a look at a space walk, such as the IDA installation, for example - there's no "winging it" in that situation. Each step is laid out and timed to the second, and the ideal mission never deviates from that plan. And when it does, the generalist flexibility of the astronauts enables them to fully and accurately assess the situation, whether it's a fussy connector or a malfunctioning suit, and work in close collaboration with others to identify, understand, solve the problem.

But just imagine how many heads are going to explode when the first high-school-graduate blue collar employee launches into space. Expert welder? Plumber? Electrician? Millwright? Janitor? We'll see.
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/mBgUObLnlHI/hqdefault.jpg)

But even if they don't have a PhD., they'll have that same kind of flexible generalist mindset which good astronauts exhibit.

Have you ever watched the "Gold Rush" series on the Discovery Channel? Rough-looking, dirt-covered, cussing, and endlessly tough folks with calloused hands unafraid of putting in grueling hours keeping enormous, dangerous, complex equipment up and running by any means necessary in the middle of a hostile wilderness miles from the nearest hardware store with only a supply of metal, welders, assorted large tools, and their wits, ingenuity, and substantial intelligence.

I'm descended from generations of Kansas farmers; these are my people. Snooty coastal elites tend to look down on them, but if you want to see what the Martian pioneers are going to look like - the ones who survive anyway - take in a few episodes of "Gold Rush" or "Bering Sea Gold." Instead of Au they'll be digging for H2O

In the long run, the foundations of Lunar and Martian civilization are going to be built by rednecks, not only by PhD's. Folks need to get over it.
Years ago here on NSF I came up with the designation you are describing... "astronaut-technician"... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 02/28/2017 08:50 pm
Actually, ESAS predicted the date of the Moon return quite correctly. A bit wrong about the launcher, tho :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Phil Stooke on 02/28/2017 09:12 pm
And the lander...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/28/2017 09:13 pm
I understand that what they are planning is just to fly around the moon and not enter lunar orbit.

I would love to know in terms of fuel requirements, once you reach the moon how much additional fuel would be needed for orbit insertion and then escape lunar orbit and head back to earth.

If it takes X amount of fuel to do TLI, how much more would be needed for lunar orbit? are we talking about 20% more, 50% more, double? etc.

Just Curious.

TY

As a rough rule of thumb, using storable propellants:

One kilogram on a translunar trajectory takes 4 kg in low Earth orbit
One kg in lunar orbit takes 4 kg in translunar trajectory
One kg on the lunar surface takes 4 kg in lunar orbit
One kg returned to Earth takes 4 kg on the lunar surface

Not suitable for use in navigation, but it supplies a good intuitive bound to the problem.

So you're saying that we should be making liquid oxygen on the lunar surface?

I'm in!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mn on 02/28/2017 09:15 pm
I understand that what they are planning is just to fly around the moon and not enter lunar orbit.

I would love to know in terms of fuel requirements, once you reach the moon how much additional fuel would be needed for orbit insertion and then escape lunar orbit and head back to earth.

If it takes X amount of fuel to do TLI, how much more would be needed for lunar orbit? are we talking about 20% more, 50% more, double? etc.

Just Curious.

TY

As a rough rule of thumb, using storable propellants:

One kilogram on a translunar trajectory takes 4 kg in low Earth orbit
One kg in lunar orbit takes 4 kg in translunar trajectory
One kg on the lunar surface takes 4 kg in lunar orbit
One kg returned to Earth takes 4 kg on the lunar surface

Not suitable for use in navigation, but it supplies a good intuitive bound to the problem.

Sorry I'm a bit lost here.

I was not thinking of lunar surface, so just translunar to lunar orbit and then lunar orbit back to translunar/earth

Thanks
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Oersted on 02/28/2017 09:44 pm
It's all very simple really:

The 2018 synod had closest Earth-Mars distance in July 2018.

SpaceX realised they wouldn't be ready for a 2018 Mars mission.

Going to the Moon in December 2018 (Apollo 8 anniversary) buys them half a year more.

Musk knows he has to motivate his employees with grand and lofty goals.

The December 2018 Moon shot fits the bill perfectly: being technically feasible and inspiring as well.   
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jongoff on 02/28/2017 09:45 pm
I understand that what they are planning is just to fly around the moon and not enter lunar orbit.

I would love to know in terms of fuel requirements, once you reach the moon how much additional fuel would be needed for orbit insertion and then escape lunar orbit and head back to earth.

If it takes X amount of fuel to do TLI, how much more would be needed for lunar orbit? are we talking about 20% more, 50% more, double? etc.

Just Curious.

TY

As a rough rule of thumb, using storable propellants:

One kilogram on a translunar trajectory takes 4 kg in low Earth orbit
One kg in lunar orbit takes 4 kg in translunar trajectory
One kg on the lunar surface takes 4 kg in lunar orbit
One kg returned to Earth takes 4 kg on the lunar surface

Not suitable for use in navigation, but it supplies a good intuitive bound to the problem.

I'm not sure how legit those rules of thumb are...

The key Delta-V numbers are approximately:

LEO to TLI -- ~3100m/s
TLI to LOI -- ~800m/s
LUNO to EOI -- ~800m/s

So, if you wanted a Dragon capsule to enter low lunar orbit from a Trans Lunar Injection orbit, and then subsequently do an Earth return burn that would take it back to earth, you're talking on the order of 1600m/s or so.  Assuming a 320s Isp for NTO/MMH, that yields a required mass ratio of MR=e^(dV/(Isp*g0))=1.67. That means that if you had a 10mT capsule (I can't remember the Dragon V2 numbers off the top of my head), you'd need to send an additional 6.7mT of prop through TLI for it to enter and exit lunar orbit.

That's enough that you almost certainly couldn't do it with a FH, but not multiple 4x multipliers.

Also, that was for entering a circular LLO. If you want to enter/exit EML-2 it's more like 150-250m/s each for entry and exit if you do a powered lunar swingby on the way out and back. That would only require ~1.7mT of extra propellant, which might actually be feasible. But it would make your trip *much* longer (on the order of 3wks). So you'd likely need to beef up the ECLSS non-trivially compared to an ISS capsule. Still intriguing though--I could see a future Dragon V2 option to deliver crews/passengers/cargo to an EML-2 station.

~Jon
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kraisee on 02/28/2017 09:54 pm
How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Its the same old two edged sword that we faced on DIRECT.

SLS has become a money pit of a program, but the decision makers for that program are exactly the same ones who are the core supporters of NASA within Congress, and they are the only line of defense against the other members of Congress who would prefer to gut the whole agency budget for other programs of their choice.

Don't forget that NASA's top line budget is also set by these same people (think: which leading appropriator represents NASA rocket design center in Alabama?   Always follow the money).

Then we must also remember that these same people are chosen by the electorate in their own states specifically to look out for the interests of the people in that state.   So it isn't much of a surprise that they push programs that create jobs in those districts.   That's their actual job.

So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 10:04 pm
The timing of this announcement is all about the customer.  Someone agreed to pay for the trip, no more, no less.

The timing of the announcement is very calculated. Elon has too prominent a seat at the new administration's table for it not to be.

There's zero evidence for that, and it makes little sense.  Elon said two people put a significant deposit down for a flight around the Moon.  Do you think he was lying?  If so, the lie will eventually be exposed.  Elon isn't dumb enough to do that.  If he wasn't lying, this isn't something Elon just dreamed up, it's based on an external factor: these two people who paid money.  Do you think they put down a deposit long ago and Elon has been sitting on that news just waiting until he can use the announcement for political purposes?  That doesn't make any sense to me.  He wouldn't know if there would eventually be a time to announce it for political purposes, and in the meantime SpaceX would be failing to capitalize on this great PR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/28/2017 10:22 pm
...And it's really nice to hear from Ross again - our NSF Blood-Brother. Your post is succinct and one I pretty much concur with.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dglow on 02/28/2017 10:26 pm
The timing of this announcement is all about the customer.  Someone agreed to pay for the trip, no more, no less.

The timing of the announcement is very calculated. Elon has too prominent a seat at the new administration's table for it not to be.

There's zero evidence for that, and it makes little sense.  Elon said two people put a significant deposit down for a flight around the Moon.  Do you think he was lying?  If so, the lie will eventually be exposed.  Elon isn't dumb enough to do that.  If he wasn't lying, this isn't something Elon just dreamed up, it's based on an external factor: these two people who paid money.  Do you think they put down a deposit long ago and Elon has been sitting on that news just waiting until he can use the announcement for political purposes?  That doesn't make any sense to me.  He wouldn't know if there would eventually be a time to announce it for political purposes, and in the meantime SpaceX would be failing to capitalize on this great PR.

Whoa. Please take a breath and read what I wrote. In no way do I suggest Elon is lying.

Your opinion: the timing is all about the customer. Mine: the timing is very calculated.

Quote
Do you think they put down a deposit long ago and Elon has been sitting on that news just waiting until he can use the announcement for political purposes?

It appears Elon did not make his announcement as soon as the deposit was made. Read what Bergin wrote: (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/)

"A NASA HQ source claimed they were not informed about the announcement ahead of Elon’s comments on Monday, although he believes Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and President Trump’s NASA “Landing Team” was briefed, which in turn – the source claimed – was why Mr. Lightfoot asked NASA to conduct a study into accelerating the schedule towards crewed missions on Orion."

Quote
He wouldn't know if there would eventually be a time to announce it for political purposes, and in the meantime SpaceX would be failing to capitalize on this great PR.

The evidence we have suggests otherwise. Musk didn't announce until after NASA made the EM-1 study public. He did announce in advance of Trump's speech tonight. Let's wait and see whether there's any connection there.

Peace.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 02/28/2017 10:33 pm
Of course, but the gist of it remains. The old launch vehicles can't escape the reality of what's happening.  You can only bury your hand in the sand and keep ploughing along (A physical impossibility, I know, but doesn't seem to stop people) for so long.

The F9/FH/D2 architecture is about the stabilize now, at a performance level that is even above what was originally promised.

With Block 5 and streamlined barge operations, SpaceX will be launching at a cost point that's just without competition and will be servicing markets that it created - from comsat constellations to tourism - that they created.

Which now really puts it out there - what is NASA (or anyone else) doing developing expendables?  And is there any place for them in a reusable market that has SpaceX, and at some point BO?

NASA should at this point really do some soul searching.  It's got plenty of places to go, but trying to stay in the launcher game isn't one of them.

I think transportation-level ideas (e.g. depots) will be best handled by the launch providers.  But there's a lot of science that can be done with fund that can be liberated from SLS.  More science probes.  More planetary science.  More telescope platforms.  More basic science and technology.  Please.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 02/28/2017 10:48 pm
...
I think transportation-level ideas (e.g. depots) will be best handled by the launch providers.  But there's a lot of science that can be done with fund that can be liberated from SLS.  More science probes.  More planetary science.  More telescope platforms.  More basic science and technology.  Please.

I doubt any funds liberated from SLS will go to NASA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 10:59 pm
How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Its the same old two edged sword that we faced on DIRECT.

SLS has become a money pit of a program, but the decision makers for that program are exactly the same ones who are the core supporters of NASA within Congress, and they are the only line of defense against the other members of Congress who would prefer to gut the whole agency budget for other programs of their choice.

Don't forget that NASA's top line budget is also set by these same people (think: which leading appropriator represents NASA rocket design center in Alabama?   Always follow the money).

Then we must also remember that these same people are chosen by the electorate in their own states specifically to look out for the interests of the people in that state.   So it isn't much of a surprise that they push programs that create jobs in those districts.   That's their actual job.

So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.

I've heard that claim before.  I have yet to see any convincing evidence that it's true.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 02/28/2017 11:10 pm
The timing of this announcement is all about the customer.  Someone agreed to pay for the trip, no more, no less.

The timing of the announcement is very calculated. Elon has too prominent a seat at the new administration's table for it not to be.

There's zero evidence for that, and it makes little sense.  Elon said two people put a significant deposit down for a flight around the Moon.  Do you think he was lying?  If so, the lie will eventually be exposed.  Elon isn't dumb enough to do that.  If he wasn't lying, this isn't something Elon just dreamed up, it's based on an external factor: these two people who paid money.  Do you think they put down a deposit long ago and Elon has been sitting on that news just waiting until he can use the announcement for political purposes?  That doesn't make any sense to me.  He wouldn't know if there would eventually be a time to announce it for political purposes, and in the meantime SpaceX would be failing to capitalize on this great PR.

Whoa. Please take a breath and read what I wrote. In no way do I suggest Elon is lying.

Yeah, that's my point.  Obviously, he's not lying, and I figured you didn't think so either.  So I wanted to dispense with that possibility first.

Your opinion: the timing is all about the customer. Mine: the timing is very calculated.

Quote
Do you think they put down a deposit long ago and Elon has been sitting on that news just waiting until he can use the announcement for political purposes?

It appears Elon did not make his announcement as soon as the deposit was made. Read what Bergin wrote: (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/)

"A NASA HQ source claimed they were not informed about the announcement ahead of Elon’s comments on Monday, although he believes Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and President Trump’s NASA “Landing Team” was briefed, which in turn – the source claimed – was why Mr. Lightfoot asked NASA to conduct a study into accelerating the schedule towards crewed missions on Orion."

Yeah, and I've discussed that exact quote from the article in other posts.

Two important points here:

1. This is from a NASA source and he says NASA wasn't briefed.  And it says the source "believes" there was a briefing.  It's not clear whether the source actually has any information for that believe or whether it's pure speculation.

2. Even if Trump's team was briefed, that doesn't mean the announcement was timed for political purposes.  For example, Musk might have made the deal 3 weeks ago and decided to do an announcement, then briefed the White House, then did the announcement.  The timing is still based on being done a short time after the deal was done.

Quote
He wouldn't know if there would eventually be a time to announce it for political purposes, and in the meantime SpaceX would be failing to capitalize on this great PR.

The evidence we have suggests otherwise. Musk didn't announce until after NASA made the EM-1 study public. He did announce in advance of Trump's speech tonight. Let's wait and see whether there's any connection there.

You still haven't given any evidence.  The timing of Musk's announcement relative to the EM-1 announcement could be coincidence.  Or the EM-1 announcement could have been rushed to come before Musk's announcement, which the the opposite of the causal relationship you're claiming.  Or the EM-1 announcement might have triggered the customers to do the deal with Musk.  There are all kinds of possibilities.  The truth is we just don't know.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: yg1968 on 02/28/2017 11:13 pm
How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Its the same old two edged sword that we faced on DIRECT.

SLS has become a money pit of a program, but the decision makers for that program are exactly the same ones who are the core supporters of NASA within Congress, and they are the only line of defense against the other members of Congress who would prefer to gut the whole agency budget for other programs of their choice.

Don't forget that NASA's top line budget is also set by these same people (think: which leading appropriator represents NASA rocket design center in Alabama?   Always follow the money).

Then we must also remember that these same people are chosen by the electorate in their own states specifically to look out for the interests of the people in that state.   So it isn't much of a surprise that they push programs that create jobs in those districts.   That's their actual job.

So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.

You could find substitute government projects: Mars habitats and a lander come to mind. It's not like we are on the verge of running out of things to spend on for Mars exploration or colonization.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/28/2017 11:18 pm
So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

NASA is not monolithic, and the SLS and Orion only support the "Human Exploration Operations" part of the budget, which includes the ISS and Commercial Cargo & Crew.

Cancelling the SLS and Orion won't affect the ISS or Commercial Cargo & Crew, and certainly won't affect the Science, Space Technology or Aeronautics Research parts of NASA.  And it may not "free up" any money for any of those either, which is OK by me.

NASA is a tool that the U.S. Government chooses to solve non-defense related specific problems that deal with space (not so much aeronautics anymore unfortunately).  And if we don't have a problem that the SLS and Orion solve, then we don't need them - and funding them "just because" would be a drain on NASA's overall resources, and a waste of taxpayer money.

This SpaceX mission is showing that we may have reached an inflection point in history where the technology has come down enough in overall price that private individuals can afford to not only leave Earth, but travel just as far as government employees have.  And the government is not involved in a direct way.

One of the goals of our government is to support the private sector, and if our government wants to support private sector space-related activities then we might have reached a point in our history where NASA doesn't need to own as much infrastructure as they had to own at the beginning of the space era, and instead they can rely on the private sector for their needs.  That should be celebrated, not feared.

So in that light this mission by SpaceX to send two civilians around the Moon is definitely historic.  Whereas the SLS and Orion EM-1 proposed mission is looking more and more like a desperate attempt to salvage two programs that were never needed from Day 1.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 02/28/2017 11:53 pm
My take is that with a selected Lunar orbit that the Dragon2 on FH can reach and return, possibly refueling at the docking location to be able to return, presents two methods of Lunar orbit "providers" that would support a deep space habitat. Now add using the EM-1 flight to launch a BE-330DS instead of a one off Orion mission and then accelerating the EM2 mission to be able to then be able to have regular 6 month stays on the DS Lunar station starting in 2021.

This would be my hope for the direction things go. If not then another provider needs to develop DS capability with their CC system. Meanwhile SLS/Orion disappears and is replaced with the public /private program for DS Lunar habitat and transport of crew and cargo as an outgrowth of the CC program. A BTW Vulcan using ACES with distributed launch can reach and actually possibly exceed any of the FH and even SLS payload capabilities.

As far as whether there is an Lunar orbit that the Dragon2/FH can reach is unknown because the basis to determine that is not a public set of information containing the exact design details of both the FH and the Dragon2.

As far as whether upper level government managers knew about this mission and why it was just announced is that negotiations are not an instant thing and take in some case multiple months. The public announcment would be after the negotiations have concluded and a contract existed. The upper level government managers could have been briefed that SpaceX had been contacted by customers that would like to hire such a ride at SpaceX soonest opportunity and SpaceX started negotiations with these customers. They would also possibly breifed of when that soonest possibility could be.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: speedevil on 03/01/2017 12:10 am
As a rough rule of thumb, using storable propellants:

One kilogram on a translunar trajectory takes 4 kg in low Earth orbit
One kg in lunar orbit takes 4 kg in translunar trajectory
One kg on the lunar surface takes 4 kg in lunar orbit
One kg returned to Earth takes 4 kg on the lunar surface

Not suitable for use in navigation, but it supplies a good intuitive bound to the problem.

Is anyone aware of a thread for 'existing spacex hardware' mini lander?
Something along the lines of a gimballed Draco thruster, 50kg of propellant, and a 20kg payload, to be kicked out of the trunk sometime before the moon, get to a safe distance and then enable. It would be very hard to get something that lasted over a lunar day.
The Yutu rover weight 140kg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yutu_%28rover%29
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: virnin on 03/01/2017 12:15 am
Just wondering when this new mission will show up on the SpaceX Launch Manifest web page.  Maybe they're still trying to decide on a title for it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: docmordrid on 03/01/2017 12:25 am
Red Dragon = Mars

Silver Dragon = Moon? (lyric: Light of the Silvery Moon)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dglow on 03/01/2017 12:41 am
You still haven't given any evidence.  The timing of Musk's announcement relative to the EM-1 announcement could be coincidence.  Or the EM-1 announcement could have been rushed to come before Musk's announcement, which the the opposite of the causal relationship you're claiming.  Or the EM-1 announcement might have triggered the customers to do the deal with Musk.  There are all kinds of possibilities.  The truth is we just don't know.

That's right, we don't know.

All we have is Thiel in the administration (https://qz.com/869105/peter-thiel-is-pushing-donald-trump-use-private-space-companies-like-spacex-at-nasa/), a sudden announcement (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/science/spacex-moon-tourists.html?_r=0) by Musk, Bergin's source (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/) in NASA, and Yang (https://twitter.com/johnyangtv/status/836658161771819010) and Berger's tweets (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/836662420877737984) about tonight. A lot of smoke. No point arguing whether or not we see flames.

FWIW, I want Musk to be calculating in these matters. For the sake of SpaceX, I hope he is political. It's a good and necessary thing, IMO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: vt_hokie on 03/01/2017 12:49 am

This SpaceX mission is showing that we may have reached an inflection point in history where the technology has come down enough in overall price that private individuals can afford to not only leave Earth, but travel just as far as government employees have.  And the government is not involved in a direct way.


Well, yes and no.  SpaceX is using technology developed largely though government efforts, refined and improved to reduce costs but not revolutionary, and arguably Falcon 9 and certainly Dragon wouldn't exist without NASA funding. 

I'm excited by this announcement, because it seems realistic enough to have a real shot of happening (even if 2018 is a little optimistic) and to see people leave low Earth orbit for the first time in my life, having been born too late for Apollo, would be nothing short of awesome.  So, I'm all for it provided that it does not threaten commercial crew in any way (which I suppose it shouldn't, as long as proper resources are devoted to that, and as long as a failure of this risky flight doesn't also risk lengthy delays in commercial crew).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 12:50 am
Just wondering when this new mission will show up on the SpaceX Launch Manifest web page.  Maybe they're still trying to decide on a title for it?

Kardashian Dragon? 

I mean, if you're gonna pay for it, maybe you get to name it?

(no, not for realz)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jdeshetler on 03/01/2017 01:19 am
Silicon Dragon?
 
- Silicon is the 2nd most common elements on the lunar surface.
- Those 2 deep pocket riders may be related to Silicon Valley in a way.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: maitri982 on 03/01/2017 02:24 am
I think SLS will be cancelled.  It's a waste of money given the new commercial alternatives coming online.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: maitri982 on 03/01/2017 02:53 am
Any guesses as to whether or not the falcon heavy used for this launch will support flight proven boosters?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Comga on 03/01/2017 04:03 am
We can go back and forth forever on SLS, NASA's budget and those who set it, SpaceX's relationship with NASA, [/size]etc, but....

How will SpaceX recover the crew from the mission around the moon?

There are at least four possibilities:
1) Proven parachute landing in the ocean
2) SpaceX's undemonstrated propulsive landing on the Super Dracos
3) Soyuz style propulsively assisted parachute landing in the dessert. 
4) A drogue only descent with propulsive assist (not mentioned anywhere else that I know of.)

There could be significant dispersion in the location of a splash-down.  SpaceX will have to develop an water recovery operation adequate for crew recovery for Commercial Crew, if NASA doesn't change its demand, but they won't have enough assets to cover a large part of the ocean.  Option 1 seems unlikely.

Option 2 seems pretty far out there.  Almost everything will have been proven, including Falcon Heavy, but not propulsive landing.

Option 3 is my best guess.  There is lots of area in the American southwest, and if the Dragon comes down 100 km off course, it's not likely to be a big problem.  It was, IIRC, the landing method SpaceX wanted to use for Commercial Crew at the beginning, so they have already planed for it.  They used to have plans to demonstrate this from a helicopter drop.

Option 4 is my favorite, with option 3 as a backup.  However, the strongest advantage of option 4 is that there would be much less drift under the parachutes, but that won't be the biggest source of landing point error when returning from the moon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 03/01/2017 04:05 am

Which now really puts it out there - what is NASA (or anyone else) doing developing expendables?  And is there any place for them in a reusable market that has SpaceX, and at some point BO?


The reusable market has yet to exist.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kraisee on 03/01/2017 04:37 am
How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Its the same old two edged sword that we faced on DIRECT.

SLS has become a money pit of a program, but the decision makers for that program are exactly the same ones who are the core supporters of NASA within Congress, and they are the only line of defense against the other members of Congress who would prefer to gut the whole agency budget for other programs of their choice.

Don't forget that NASA's top line budget is also set by these same people (think: which leading appropriator represents NASA rocket design center in Alabama?   Always follow the money).

Then we must also remember that these same people are chosen by the electorate in their own states specifically to look out for the interests of the people in that state.   So it isn't much of a surprise that they push programs that create jobs in those districts.   That's their actual job.

So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.

You could find substitute government projects: Mars habitats and a lander come to mind. It's not like we are on the verge of running out of things to spend on for Mars exploration or colonization.

Yes, that was what we tried to promote back in the day.

The blockage we hit was that particularly Sen. Shelby had a strangle hold of this one big program that was very lucrative for his district, and he had enough power on appropriations committee to keep it.

Any split of that money into other elements like propellant depots, landers and habs would have meant the NASA would be obligated to share the budget resources with some of the other centers (JSC, KSC etc) and that would have made Alabama/Marshall's pie slice smaller.   That's why he wanted one huge rocket development program as the centerpiece of the NASA HSF budget.

I have seen nothing in recent years to indicate this situation has changed.

SpaceX might yet tip the balance - they certainly have the best chance to do so - but they will need a few more years to change the political momentum that underpins the whole agency.

And I'm not trying to bash SpaceX at all, but the truth is that their two recent accidents don't work in their favour in the question of whether they can replace the big NASA program.   They just don't yet seem ready to take on the mantle of Flagship NASA Human Space Flight Program of Record.   They can get there, but first they are going to need to demonstrate they are reliable.   20 to 30 totally successful missions would demonstrate that their recent accidents are definitely not part of a larger trend, were actually aberrations, and that they can indeed be heavily relied upon by the US Government and Taxpayer.

Similarly, because each mission costs so much, if SLS screws the pooch on any of its early flights, all their bets are off there too.   This whole question could still swing either way.

But the single biggest factor, I believe, is just who is lined-up to replace the 82 year old Shelby pro-NASA powerhouse on the Senate appropriations committee whenever he retires?   That choice will dictate years of NASA's future top-line budget hopes *FAR* more than anything else will.

Ross.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 04:53 am
How can anyone, other than a member of congress, support SLS and Orion at their costs? 

Its the same old two edged sword that we faced on DIRECT.

SLS has become a money pit of a program, but the decision makers for that program are exactly the same ones who are the core supporters of NASA within Congress, and they are the only line of defense against the other members of Congress who would prefer to gut the whole agency budget for other programs of their choice.

Don't forget that NASA's top line budget is also set by these same people (think: which leading appropriator represents NASA rocket design center in Alabama?   Always follow the money).

Then we must also remember that these same people are chosen by the electorate in their own states specifically to look out for the interests of the people in that state.   So it isn't much of a surprise that they push programs that create jobs in those districts.   That's their actual job.

So, the choice sadly comes down to supporting the expensive SLS program and the rest of NASA in tow, or remove the core political support for the agency and see the whole of NASA's budget gutted - and that would include gutting SpaceX's contracts and the science budget too.

You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.

You could find substitute government projects: Mars habitats and a lander come to mind. It's not like we are on the verge of running out of things to spend on for Mars exploration or colonization.

Yes, that was what we tried to promote back in the day.

The blockage we hit was that particularly Sen. Shelby had a strangle hold of this one big program that was very lucrative for his district, and he had enough power on appropriations committee to keep it.

Any split of that money into other elements like propellant depots, landers and habs would have meant the NASA would be obligated to share the budget resources with some of the other centers (JSC, KSC etc) and that would have made Alabama/Marshall's pie slice smaller.   That's why he wanted one huge rocket development program as the centerpiece of the NASA HSF budget.

I have seen nothing in recent years to indicate this situation has changed.

SpaceX might yet tip the balance - they certainly have the best chance to do so - but they will need a few more years to change the political momentum that underpins the whole agency.

And I'm not trying to bash SpaceX at all, but the truth is that their two recent accidents don't work in their favour in the question of whether they can replace the big NASA program.   They just don't yet seem ready to take on the mantle of Flagship NASA Human Space Flight Program of Record.   They can get there, but first they are going to need to demonstrate they are reliable.   20 to 30 totally successful missions would demonstrate that their recent accidents are definitely not part of a larger trend, were actually aberrations, and that they can indeed be heavily relied upon by the US Government and Taxpayer.

Similarly, because each mission costs so much, if SLS screws the pooch on any of its early flights, all their bets are off there too.   This whole question could still swing either way.

But the single biggest factor, I believe, is just who is lined-up to replace the 82 year old Shelby pro-NASA powerhouse on the Senate appropriations committee whenever he retires?   That choice will dictate years of NASA's future top-line budget hopes *FAR* more than anything else will.

Ross.
That's a very good analysis IMO.

SpaceX is not quite ready, agreed, but most of us are talking in terms of "reasonable trajectories": "If everything goes reasonably OK for all players".

Failures for any of the players can change or delay the outcome of course. (And already have)

Shelby, formidable as he is, is just a symptom of the way the system is structured.  If it wasn't him, it'd have been someone else. No shortage of his type in politics.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kraisee on 03/01/2017 05:05 am
...
You don't have to like it - I don't - but the choice comes down to putting up with SLS, or cutting everyone's budget.   Pinching my nose, I'll continue to 'support' SLS.

Ross.

I've heard that claim before.  I have yet to see any convincing evidence that it's true.

I certainly think it is wise to be healthily skeptical of any information you get regarding political motives - on all subjects.   But this is what I believe, based on doing my time in the wringer.

This viewpoint was formed by my experience, and that of Chuck, Steve and our team, based on ~7 years of fighting for a major program change between 2005 and 2011.

We walked a lot of the halls of power in DC.   We had so many meetings with Senators and Congressmen, and their various staff members in the Russel, Hart and Rayburn buildings, OMB, West Wing, E Street etc.   We also met a variety of company Exec's and even a few lobbyists.   Gads, how many lunches did we have in Union Station?!?

If you're trying to make a real difference, believing your own thing only gets you so far.   We had our heads collectively stuck in the sand for the first few years, but to really change things you have to learn what's really going on, who wants what - and why.   It took us about three years to finally figure out the real motives for all of the big NASA players in DC.   Thanks to a handful of people willing to really teach us the ropes, we actually got under the skin of the whole NASA-related political landscape there, and what I said above remains what I believe today.

Personally, the whole political environment was never comfortable for me.   I got out of that world in 2011 and don't miss it for one second.   But it sure was an eye opening experience.   Perhaps more people should push a cause the way we did, because it teaches you the difference between how you think the government runs, how you wish the government were run, and the reality of how it actually does.

Ross.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 05:05 am

Which now really puts it out there - what is NASA (or anyone else) doing developing expendables?  And is there any place for them in a reusable market that has SpaceX, and at some point BO?


The reusable market has yet to exist.
The funny part is that it already does, even before the first reused rocket flies.

This is because customers estimate that the most likely future course is that SpaceX will have a low cost highly reusable system soon.

Anyone who's job requires to look forward and determine how to position their company, can't afford to wait till after this has become a done deal, or else they'll be too late.

You may not be seeing signs of it, but I believe that in the last year, this perception has gone from being "fringe" to being the common wisdom.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/01/2017 05:39 am
This viewpoint was formed by my experience, and that of Chuck, Steve and our team, based on ~7 years of fighting for a major program change between 2005 and 2011.

I first became active on space blogs because of DIRECT, so I salute you for your efforts.  It's not easy pushing a boulder up a hill you can't see the top of, and all you have is the faith that it's the right thing to do.

Ultimately though I learned about the cost of the Shuttle system, and I eventually came to the conclusion that government systems that relied on using Shuttle technology were not going to result in affordable transportation systems.

Even if you ignore the cost challenges the SLS has, it's very apparent that the U.S. Government doesn't have a need to move enough mass to space that merits owning and operating it's own unique transportation system.  And that is the real program killer here, since every year it just becomes more and more apparent that there is nothing for the SLS and Orion to support.

We already know what the future is, since the USAF stopped depending on NASA for rides to space after the Challenger accident, and NASA has already committed to using the private sector for supporting the ISS.

If anything this SpaceX Moon trip is just the confirmation that our private sector is truly up to taking over the task of space transportation from NASA.  NASA knows that, so it's just a matter of how long it will take the politicians to finally admit to it...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 03/01/2017 05:49 am
If you're trying to make a real difference, believing your own thing only gets you so far.   We had our heads collectively stuck in the sand for the first few years, but to really change things you have to learn what's really going on, who wants what - and why.   It took us about three years to finally figure out the real motives for all of the big NASA players in DC.

With healthy dose of cynicism and common sense, you do not need "few years" to figure these things out. Just assume that everyone acts in his own interests (even if this hurts overall society) - and you'll have a rather accurate first approximation of what's going on.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2017 06:01 am
So this might deserve its own thread, but I got thinking about the whole "how could you build on this to get to lunar landings" question, and came up with a first-pass concept that basically closes (technically--the politics of making it happen require a wee bit of willful suspension of disbelief): http://selenianboondocks.com/2017/02/random-thoughts-first-pass-analysis-of-a-white-dragonxeus-lunar-sortie-mission/

Basically, a two-launch, joint ULA/SpaceX mission. Falcon Heavy launches Dragon V2 and a tanker module. ULA launches a Vulcan/ACES 546 with the ACES having a Xeus landing kit and a crew cabin module. The two stacks rendezvous and swap propellant between the tanker and the ACES stage. Dragon then discards the tanker, and attaches to the now fully-refueled Xeus stack. Xeus does the TLI burn, the LOI burn, and then the crew enters the crew cabin and leaves the Dragon in LLO. Xeus and crew cabin descend to the surface, the astronauts/tourists get out and do their thing for a day or two, then Xeus takes off with the crew cabin and returns to LLO. Dragon mates back up, and Xeus does the homeward burn.

Without doing anything clever, the concept barely closes with a tiny bit of margin. But there are several clever things you could do that might even allow you to have enough margin to make the mission really work, while recovering the Xeus/crew cabin in LEO for refueling and subsequent missions.

I'm suggesting a ULA/SpaceX mission because I really think that a) SpaceX doesn't care about the Moon (White Dragon is an exception since they don't have to really do much new development to start tapping a new market), and b) ULA/Masten are better positioned for a *lunar* lander, and they actually want to develop one--assuming they can find the development funding.

I don't even want to know how many people you'd have to get seriously drunk to get SpaceX and ULA singing kumbaya, and Boeing and LM giving ULA their blessing to openly compete with SLS/Orion. But the concept comes close enough to working that it's at least an intriguing technical thought.

~Jon
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: avollhar on 03/01/2017 06:46 am
A short reminder on orbital mechanics:
without any crazy slingshot maneuvers at the moon or large course corrections, the orbital periods (Earth-apogee-Earth) are as follows for different apogee heights

384000 km  =  9.7 days
500000 km = 14.4 days
640000 km = 20.9 days
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: corneliussulla on 03/01/2017 06:54 am
It appears to me the likely scenario here is that Musk is looking at all ways to increase SpaceX income so he can afford ITS development. Along come a couple guys willing to pay $80 mill each lets say to live out a dream. Musk thinks if I could sell a mission like this twice a year I would have $120 mill (guesstimate) a year to get things moving on ITS. This is probably worth delaying the red dragon programme

He knows this will have political implications for NASA and SLS. He privately probably thinks SLS is a load of nonsense but doesn't want to embarrass NASA so he lets the administration know what he is up to. This sets alarm bells off at NASA and they come up with daft idea of first mission of SLS being manned ( meanwhile falcon design must be frozen and flown 7 times) and maybe ask Musk to delay announcement until they announce There moon mission which he did.

It's hard to know the exact events but Elon needs cash to get ITS done and he is not a guy who will wait around for NASA/ congress to change its mind on SLS. Once falcon is frozen and dragon certified he might be able to spend all surplus from satellite launch and ISS servicing missions on ITS development. Lets say that $200 mill a year plus moon tourists at $100 mill a year. Budget for ITS could be $3 billion over 10 years to 2028. Things are not static of course but hard to see that budget being enough to develop ITS when a Nimitz class carrier costs $13 bill and they already have the plans.

Elon is going to have to come up with some more ideas or get administration and NASA fired up about his vision of Mars to get An ITS on Mars by end of 2020ies, maybe his other ventures will start throwing shed loads of cash in coming years because he probably needs between 4 to 10 times the resources Available from spacex to get this job done.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Bynaus on 03/01/2017 07:05 am
A short reminder on orbital mechanics:
without any crazy slingshot maneuvers at the moon or large course corrections, the orbital periods (Earth-apogee-Earth) are as follows for different apogee heights

384000 km  =  9.7 days
500000 km = 14.4 days
640000 km = 20.9 days

I actually start to think that Elon mixed up miles and km in the telecon. So then it would be 400'000 km, not miles - approximately the distance of the Moon.

Also, orbital periods with an apogee at the Moon are not a good approximation for the duration of a free return flight. Take Apollo 13, which lasted just short of 6 days.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ringsider on 03/01/2017 08:00 am
It wouldn't surprise me if one of them might be James Cameron, don't forget the guy is an adventurer and billionaire.
One of them might be Musk?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Archibald on 03/01/2017 09:08 am
It appears to me the likely scenario here is that Musk is looking at all ways to increase SpaceX income so he can afford ITS development. Along come a couple guys willing to pay $80 mill each lets say to live out a dream. Musk thinks if I could sell a mission like this twice a year I would have $120 mill (guesstimate) a year to get things moving on ITS. This is probably worth delaying the red dragon programme

He knows this will have political implications for NASA and SLS. He privately probably thinks SLS is a load of nonsense but doesn't want to embarrass NASA so he lets the administration know what he is up to. This sets alarm bells off at NASA and they come up with daft idea of first mission of SLS being manned ( meanwhile falcon design must be frozen and flown 7 times) and maybe ask Musk to delay announcement until they announce There moon mission which he did.

It's hard to know the exact events but Elon needs cash to get ITS done and he is not a guy who will wait around for NASA/ congress to change its mind on SLS. Once falcon is frozen and dragon certified he might be able to spend all surplus from satellite launch and ISS servicing missions on ITS development. Lets say that $200 mill a year plus moon tourists at $100 mill a year. Budget for ITS could be $3 billion over 10 years to 2028. Things are not static of course but hard to see that budget being enough to develop ITS when a Nimitz class carrier costs $13 bill and they already have the plans.

Elon is going to have to come up with some more ideas or get administration and NASA fired up about his vision of Mars to get An ITS on Mars by end of 2020ies, maybe his other ventures will start throwing shed loads of cash in coming years because he probably needs between 4 to 10 times the resources Available from spacex to get this job done.

When you think about it, everything Musk done since 2001 (post- PayPal era) is geared to support Mars colonization someday.

- Solar city = large solar arrays on Mars since Mars Direct nuclear pile is politically unacceptable

- Tesla: electric Mars rovers, obviously

- reusable rocket / capsules: Mars landers

- Space internet, lunar tourists, NASA-COTS-CCDEV, military sats, competition with Arianespace: funding, funding, more funding.

It is a two-prongue attack on Mars colonization: on one side, technology readiness, on the other, massive funding and dollars. Both developments are to work together and converge on Mars within the next decade.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 03/01/2017 09:10 am

Evil Dragon?

That would be the one that Elon spoke about during a NASA TV interview with the 'Lay-zors'.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Oersted on 03/01/2017 09:28 am

When you think about it, everything Musk done since 2001 (post- PayPal era) is geared to support Mars colonization someday.

- Solar city = large solar arrays on Mars since Mars Direct nuclear pile is politically unacceptable

- Tesla: electric Mars rovers, obviously

- reusable rocket / capsules: Mars landers

- Space internet, lunar tourists, NASA-COTS-CCDEV, military sats, competition with Arianespace: funding, funding, more funding.

It is a two-prongue attack on Mars colonization: on one side, technology readiness, on the other, massive funding and dollars. Both developments are to work together and converge on Mars within the next decade.

His Boring Company project as well. He obviously realised that tunnelling is our best bet for creating a Mars base. When tunnelling the 'building materials' are already there, and with well-functioning machinery there is practically no limit to the size of the base. He must have been reading the 'Amazing habitats'-thread...  :-)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 03/01/2017 09:31 am
I dunno. There are some pretty smart people out there - you generally don't acquire large amounts of cash without some level of intelligence (unless you inherit it - Trump?). Did the training the Apollo guys get enable them to duct tape containers together? Or is that something any intelligent person could do. Of course, there are lots of switches in Apollo to learn - that's not the case in Dragon where everything is automated, or computer controlled.

Well, it's not about duct taping things, it's more about not panicking and keeping focus on the situation.
As a D-day veteran put it: 'Training is what makes you do the correct things when people are shooting at you'

That sort of training is not limited to astronauts.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 03/01/2017 09:49 am
Please stop calling them tourists. They are not. I'd call them adventurers, explorers, something like that. Not tourists. They are not going to turn up and go, like a tourist would.

They could very well just turn up and go. A turnip could do it. With a food and water dispenser a dog or chimp could do this. They are TOURISTS.

Matthew

Just like....astronauts in the same seat?

These are completely automated craft. Anyone in them in a turnip, whether they pay for the trip or not. So you are clearly saying that astronauts are turnips, just along for the ride.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 03/01/2017 10:06 am
I've said this before but I'll say it again. I'd personally want at least one pilot/engineer along for the ride.

A lot can happen in seven days and I'd prefer to have someone who is able to manually execute course-correction burns and steer the thing through re-entry if the computers become balky or an error in the FHUS sends them on an unexpected and marginal trajectory (steeper re-entry corridor, for example). Then there is the issue of correct training to fix any fixable problems.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 03/01/2017 10:08 am
I doubt any funds liberated from SLS will go to NASA.

If, say, SLS were canceled (not that I expect that), I doubt Sen. Shelby would fight redirecting some of its funding to, say, buying more EELVs (made in Decatur, Alabama) or to development of large-scale space power or depot technology at MSFC.  It would still be spending driven by parochial politics, but it could be more productive from a space cadet's point of view.

I'm not saying there is no risk at all to NASA's funding, but I think that with some political skill (which was notably absent when Obama rolled out his FY 2011 budget proposal), the net result could be a higher level of useful funding.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 03/01/2017 10:15 am
I think SLS will be cancelled.  It's a waste of money given the new commercial alternatives coming online.

I don't think that's going to happen soon.  Obama tried to cancel Ares V, but all he managed to do was turn it into SLS, and that was likely mostly because one senator in his party (Bill Nelson) objected (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27070.msg819080#msg819080).  To cancel SLS, Trump would have to cross several senators and representatives in his own party, and he's got plenty of fights brewing with Congress already.  There is no reason to believe he'd want to blow political capital on something so insignificant as SLS.  As Trump seems a very vindictive person, I could imagine him going after SLS if multiple SLS supporters crossed him in some way, but that's not particularly likely.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ringsider on 03/01/2017 10:16 am
It appears to me the likely scenario here is that Musk is looking at all ways to increase SpaceX income so he can afford ITS development. Along come a couple guys willing to pay $80 mill each lets say to live out a dream. Musk thinks if I could sell a mission like this twice a year I would have $120 mill (guesstimate) a year to get things moving on ITS. This is probably worth delaying the red dragon programme

He knows this will have political implications for NASA and SLS. He privately probably thinks SLS is a load of nonsense but doesn't want to embarrass NASA so he lets the administration know what he is up to. This sets alarm bells off at NASA and they come up with daft idea of first mission of SLS being manned ( meanwhile falcon design must be frozen and flown 7 times) and maybe ask Musk to delay announcement until they announce There moon mission which he did.

It's hard to know the exact events but Elon needs cash to get ITS done and he is not a guy who will wait around for NASA/ congress to change its mind on SLS. Once falcon is frozen and dragon certified he might be able to spend all surplus from satellite launch and ISS servicing missions on ITS development. Lets say that $200 mill a year plus moon tourists at $100 mill a year. Budget for ITS could be $3 billion over 10 years to 2028. Things are not static of course but hard to see that budget being enough to develop ITS when a Nimitz class carrier costs $13 bill and they already have the plans.

Elon is going to have to come up with some more ideas or get administration and NASA fired up about his vision of Mars to get An ITS on Mars by end of 2020ies, maybe his other ventures will start throwing shed loads of cash in coming years because he probably needs between 4 to 10 times the resources Available from spacex to get this job done.

When you think about it, everything Musk done since 2001 (post- PayPal era) is geared to support Mars colonization someday.

- Solar city = large solar arrays on Mars since Mars Direct nuclear pile is politically unacceptable

- Tesla: electric Mars rovers, obviously

- reusable rocket / capsules: Mars landers

- Space internet, lunar tourists, NASA-COTS-CCDEV, military sats, competition with Arianespace: funding, funding, more funding.

It is a two-prongue attack on Mars colonization: on one side, technology readiness, on the other, massive funding and dollars. Both developments are to work together and converge on Mars within the next decade.
Tunnels...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kaputnik on 03/01/2017 10:16 am
We can go back and forth forever on SLS, NASA's budget and those who set it, SpaceX's relationship with NASA, [/size]etc, but....

How will SpaceX recover the crew from the mission around the moon?

There are at least four possibilities:
1) Proven parachute landing in the ocean
2) SpaceX's undemonstrated propulsive landing on the Super Dracos
3) Soyuz style propulsively assisted parachute landing in the dessert. 
4) A drogue only descent with propulsive assist (not mentioned anywhere else that I know of.)

There could be significant dispersion in the location of a splash-down.  SpaceX will have to develop an water recovery operation adequate for crew recovery for Commercial Crew, if NASA doesn't change its demand, but they won't have enough assets to cover a large part of the ocean.  Option 1 seems unlikely.

Option 2 seems pretty far out there.  Almost everything will have been proven, including Falcon Heavy, but not propulsive landing.

Option 3 is my best guess.  There is lots of area in the American southwest, and if the Dragon comes down 100 km off course, it's not likely to be a big problem.  It was, IIRC, the landing method SpaceX wanted to use for Commercial Crew at the beginning, so they have already planed for it.  They used to have plans to demonstrate this from a helicopter drop.

Option 4 is my favorite, with option 3 as a backup.  However, the strongest advantage of option 4 is that there would be much less drift under the parachutes, but that won't be the biggest source of landing point error when returning from the moon.

A dessert landing would be pretty sweet.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mikelepage on 03/01/2017 11:17 am
Question for Jim (other professionals feel free to chime in)

Assume that I am a 45 year old lay person with some scientific acumen.  Private practice doctor, former USAF flight doc, >1000 hours private pilot with instrument and aerobatic experience.  Biology major with a little physics and math 25 years ago.  Burning desire to fly in space since watching STS -1 in 4th grade.  Assume I win Powerball and decide I want to purchase this trip free return around the moon with SpaceX.

What are the five most important questions I should ask SpaceX management as part of my due diligence as I consider paying for this trip?

Not an aerospace professional (34yo PhD in Immunology myself), but these are the questions that come to mind for me:

1) I'd want a quantification of risks.  So for instance: 7 days outside the magnetosphere is a radiation dose of ~12.6mSv or about one PET scan (ie nothing to worry about).  What are the risks of RUD at launch, TLI, landing? What kind of testing have the life-support systems been through? (duration/stress testing).  All the places I could die :) This kind of thing.

2) What do I need to learn in order to gain a strong working understanding of the Dragon2? It may all be automated - and I might not be allowed to change anything, but I want to be able know the parts of the ship, such that if the ground teams are diagnosing a problem, I can follow along on the control screen inside the Dragon, verifying the readings they are using.  Supposing some completely unforeseen, compound, emergency (eg loss of communications + hurricane forms at the landing site during the mission), will there be a failsafe in the interface so I can simply and manually adjust the programmed burns and move my landing site by 1000km?

3) What kind of control will I be allowed over the internet communication back to Earth.  Could I livestream the entire thing in 4K if I wanted to?  If my role in this mission is to be a talking, breathing payload, then I want to make sure it's worth it.

4) Suppose I want to run my own experiments/launch smallsats etc, is SpaceX open to working with me like that?  I can't imagine why they wouldn't be, but still that would be an expectation of mine.

5) Do I get to keep my underpants?

My $0.02.


Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: JamesH65 on 03/01/2017 11:50 am
Thoughts on training for the flight and whether a SpaceX 'pilot' is necessary.

I cannot see what benefit having a pilot would give. Given an extremely automated system, I cannot think of anything that a pilot would be able to do that a computer wouldn't be able to do, probably much better. Will the craft even have any manual controls that a pilot would be able to use? What could they possible influence? The craft itself is going to pretty complicated - it's not as if someone on board is going to be able to 'fix' anything even with the right training.

So anyone on board one of these things is a passenger (I think the word tourist is inappropriate), whether they are paid by SpaceX to be there or have paid to be there.

Of course, could be wrong-  perhaps there will be 'user serviceable parts', but what spares would you take with you....apart from duct tape and cable ties? Soldering iron for bad connections? Thick jumper in case the heating fails?

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ric Capucho on 03/01/2017 12:51 pm
Exactly, no controls for anyone to push, prod, twist or pull. So anyone in Dragon 2 is effectively a (well-heeled) passenger.

But there *is* something that sets an astronaut apart from a "mere" space tourist: EVA.

Ric
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 03/01/2017 01:11 pm

So anyone on board one of these things is a passenger (I think the word tourist is inappropriate), whether they are paid by SpaceX to be there or have paid to be there.


A passenger that has no specific destination and is along for the ride and sightseeing is a tourist.

Actually,

Tourist:  a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: uhuznaa on 03/01/2017 01:23 pm
We can go back and forth forever on SLS, NASA's budget and those who set it, SpaceX's relationship with NASA, [/size]etc, but....

How will SpaceX recover the crew from the mission around the moon?

There are at least four possibilities:
1) Proven parachute landing in the ocean
2) SpaceX's undemonstrated propulsive landing on the Super Dracos
3) Soyuz style propulsively assisted parachute landing in the dessert. 
4) A drogue only descent with propulsive assist (not mentioned anywhere else that I know of.)

There could be significant dispersion in the location of a splash-down.  SpaceX will have to develop an water recovery operation adequate for crew recovery for Commercial Crew, if NASA doesn't change its demand, but they won't have enough assets to cover a large part of the ocean.  Option 1 seems unlikely.

Option 2 seems pretty far out there.  Almost everything will have been proven, including Falcon Heavy, but not propulsive landing.

Option 3 is my best guess.  There is lots of area in the American southwest, and if the Dragon comes down 100 km off course, it's not likely to be a big problem.  It was, IIRC, the landing method SpaceX wanted to use for Commercial Crew at the beginning, so they have already planed for it.  They used to have plans to demonstrate this from a helicopter drop.

Option 4 is my favorite, with option 3 as a backup.  However, the strongest advantage of option 4 is that there would be much less drift under the parachutes, but that won't be the biggest source of landing point error when returning from the moon.

I think everything that involves firing the SuperDracos without depleting the propellants before touch down is much too risky. If you're sitting on lots of hypergols you definitely want to have everything nicely sealed or the tanks empty when you hit the ground or water.

So it will either be a full powered landing or a parachute landing in the ocean. The latter will have to work anyway in an emergency.

But yes, for tourism you don't want to add the expenses of plucking the craft out of the middle of the ocean, so in the long run it will be powered landings right on the landing pad. I have a hard time though seeing that happening next year after a lunar flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 03/01/2017 01:26 pm

So anyone on board one of these things is a passenger (I think the word tourist is inappropriate), whether they are paid by SpaceX to be there or have paid to be there.


A passenger that has no specific destination and is along for the ride and sightseeing is a tourist.

Actually,

Tourist:  a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

Not a dictionary definition, but astronauts are paid to go, while tourists pay to go.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: maitri982 on 03/01/2017 01:31 pm
We don't know the political/funding consequences yet.

What one should be concerned for is our good friends that might get caught up in a RIF as a consequence. Especially as it seems that govt funding might be across the board may get cut. Especially mid level GS. Who aren't in the greatest position to go elsewhere. At least that's my concern here.


I don't want a single job lost at NASA...In fact I want expansion.  But I think NASA should get out of the deep involvement in creating launchers via these cost plus contracts.  It has failed over and over and simply does not work.  Instead incentivize commercial providers to provide what you need and prove that they can at a given price.

NASA should focus on exploration and science, which they are peerless at.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/01/2017 01:40 pm
In my world of aviation, if you are the operator you are the PIC, either private or for hire commercial. Anyone else on board is considered a "passenger" the destination does not matter even if you return back to the field without landing. Now to Jim's point I can see the addition of the word tourist such as passengers that buy tickets to have a scenic Grand Canyon aerial tour, thus "tourist-passengers". So what does that leave: Tourist-Passenger-Astronaut" or TPA...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 03/01/2017 01:57 pm
You still haven't given any evidence.  The timing of Musk's announcement relative to the EM-1 announcement could be coincidence.  Or the EM-1 announcement could have been rushed to come before Musk's announcement, which the the opposite of the causal relationship you're claiming.  Or the EM-1 announcement might have triggered the customers to do the deal with Musk.  There are all kinds of possibilities.  The truth is we just don't know.

That's right, we don't know.

All we have is Thiel in the administration (https://qz.com/869105/peter-thiel-is-pushing-donald-trump-use-private-space-companies-like-spacex-at-nasa/), a sudden announcement (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/science/spacex-moon-tourists.html?_r=0) by Musk, Bergin's source (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/) in NASA, and Yang (https://twitter.com/johnyangtv/status/836658161771819010) and Berger's tweets (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/836662420877737984) about tonight. A lot of smoke. No point arguing whether or not we see flames.

Let's review the history of the round-the-moon-by-2020 idea in a little more detail.


5 February.  Andy Pasztor publishes a Wall Street Journal article entitled "Trump Space Policy Options Emphasize Role of Private Enterprise" (https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-space-policy-options-emphasize-role-of-private-enterprise-1486317411).  One passage pertains to circum-lunar missions:
Quote from: Andy Pasztor in WSJ, 5 Feb
In the email, Mr. Miller advocates that NASA “hold an internal competition between Old Space and New Space” to determine the best and least expensive way to return to the moon. “If this initiative can be approved quickly by the White House, and appropriately funded,” he said in the email, there could be “private American astronauts, on private space ships, circling the moon by 2020.”
So, competition between NASA and American industry is integral to the idea at inception.

15 February.  News leaks that NASA is looking at making EM-1 a circum-lunar flight with a crew (https://twitter.com/clownShowPony/status/831879711580160000).  In accordance with the WSJ piece ten days before, one might assume that a similar mission utilizing commercial vehicles is also under consideration....

23 February.  Strongly pro-commercial NASA liason Gene Autry resigns (https://twitter.com/nasawatch/status/835852041209720832) just six weeks after having been appointed (https://www.wired.com/2017/01/trump-names-former-climate-scientist-erik-noble-nasa-advisory-role/).  He makes a cold parting statement about crewing EM-1 (http://www.space.com/35840-trump-nasa-liaison-departure-sls-orion.html): "Autry said he has faith that NASA, its vendors, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and other reviewers will 'make a wise choice' about whether or not to add crew to Exploration Mission-1, or EM-1."  ASAP's position can confidently be predicted to be negative.

24 February.  NASA holds a press conference about launching a crew on EM-1 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42319.msg1646740#msg1646740) in 2019, without any mention of a commercially-based alternative.

26 February.  Elon Musk tweets (https://twitter.com/elonmusk) about a SpaceX announcement at 1 PM PST the following day.

27 February.  A scheduled House vote to pass S.442 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/442/text), the joint Senate-House NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, expected to be uncontroversial, is suddenly postponed, apparently because of disputes with the White House and Justice Department* (http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/house-vote-onnasa-authorization-bill-delayed) regarding three commercially oriented sections (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39540.msg1648686#msg1648686).  Though pro-commercial, the provisions hardly threaten Orion/SLS, which is supported throughout the bill.

27 February.  Elon Musk announces SpaceX's intention to fly a circum-lunar mission with two people aboard in 2018 (http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year).


Put yourself in Musk's shoes for moment.  He was one of the few tech moguls to co-operate with Trump and has taken heat for it (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-30/elon-musk-s-trump-outreach-is-angering-the-resistance).  There's lots of talk from the Trump transition team about supporting commercial space endeavors, but, when push comes to shove, he gets the cold shoulder.  I'd be pretty ticked off.  Wouldn't you?

So, my conclusions are:

1. Musk got played.  Now it's no more Mr. Nice Guy, and that's why he was willing (and probably a little eager) to embarrass NASA by announcing SpaceX's circum-lunar mission.  I hope Musk's approach works, but, as Eric Berger says (https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/), it's risky.

2. The results of the first round of the match between oldspace and newspace under Trump are in:  newspace got shellacked (and there may not be many more rounds).  You know all that stuff you heard about Trump's business-like approach, about promoting American industry, and so forth?  Well, with respect to space policy, as they say in the President's native Queens, FUGGEDABOUDIT (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fuggedaboutit)!!!


* Headed up, of course, by Jeff Sessions, former senator from Alabama, which is the heart of the SLS empire.


EDIT:  Added (after rsdavis9's like) footnote about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/01/2017 02:02 pm

So anyone on board one of these things is a passenger (I think the word tourist is inappropriate), whether they are paid by SpaceX to be there or have paid to be there.


A passenger that has no specific destination and is along for the ride and sightseeing is a tourist.

Actually,

Tourist:  a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

If successful, the two of them will hold the altitude record currently held by the crew of Apollo 13. They'll be explorers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 03/01/2017 02:11 pm
If all these 'tourists' get out of it is a week of weightlessness, and peering at the Moon through the porthole, I think it would not be worth the money.  Now, if they are trained to operate experiments located in the trunk it gets more interesting.  And if there are cameras back there they would get a better view on their internal screens (Dragon 2 has great displays) than looking through a smudged window.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: uhuznaa on 03/01/2017 02:18 pm
Exactly, no controls for anyone to push, prod, twist or pull. So anyone in Dragon 2 is effectively a (well-heeled) passenger.

But there *is* something that sets an astronaut apart from a "mere" space tourist: EVA.

Ric

I would think that part of the package will be some deep familiarization with the craft anyway. Also I think that there WILL be some manual controls like attitude control. And in a pinch you also WILL want to be able to assure that the antenna points the right way to keep up communications. Note that neither SpaceX nor Musk have even touched the word "tourist" here.

I definitely would want to be able to do some troubleshooting, rebooting computers and so on. I doubt very much that anyone going for that would be happy with just being strapped in and being told to enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/01/2017 02:20 pm
A passenger that has no specific destination and is along for the ride and sightseeing is a tourist.

Actually,

Tourist:  a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

But a tourist is unlikely to be familiar enough with their transportation to fix it if it breaks, which is why these are adventurers.

Plus tourists only travel to places that have been traveled to already, and deemed "safe enough".  Being the first to do something, and in an unproven transport system (for it's application), is being an adventurer.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/01/2017 02:24 pm
If all these 'tourists' get out of it is a week of weightlessness, and peering at the Moon through the porthole, I think it would not be worth the money.  Now, if they are trained to operate experiments located in the trunk it gets more interesting.  And if there are cameras back there they would get a better view on their internal screens (Dragon 2 has great displays) than looking through a smudged window.
I'd rather have an EVA thanks... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CraigLieb on 03/01/2017 02:25 pm
My opinion (of course)
The discussions about there not being enough demand for Falcon Heavy launches have now been put to rest.  Plus, the business model has expanded in the near term to include private spaceflight for significant(?) profit. It also brings the re-use model into focus since this mission is not affordable without reuse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/01/2017 02:29 pm
If all these 'tourists' get out of it is a week of weightlessness, and peering at the Moon through the porthole, I think it would not be worth the money.  Now, if they are trained to operate experiments located in the trunk it gets more interesting.  And if there are cameras back there they would get a better view on their internal screens (Dragon 2 has great displays) than looking through a smudged window.

We know that the passengers "know each other", so becoming founders of the 400000 Miles high club might be part of the motivation. In this case a pilot astronaut would be a real problem...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/01/2017 02:33 pm
I would think that part of the package will be some deep familiarization with the craft anyway. Also I think that there WILL be some manual controls like attitude control. And in a pinch you also WILL want to be able to assure that the antenna points the right way to keep up communications. Note that neither SpaceX nor Musk have even touched the word "tourist" here.

I definitely would want to be able to do some troubleshooting, rebooting computers and so on. I doubt very much that anyone going for that would be happy with just being strapped in and being told to enjoy the ride.


Troubleshooting means there is trouble. No one sane actively WANTS trouble on a flight like this. No one is going to need anyone to "turn it off and on again," either. Except for a few brief moments the Dragon will be in contact of Earth with very little delay time.

In any case, you're not going to be a red-shirt running around the warp core with a wrench or writing miracle code to fix something on the way out. "MoonDragon this is ground control. Funny thing! We forgot to write a landing engine sequence program. Imagine that? Well, in the pocket of your suit you'll find a series of notecards called 'Python for Novices' also, did you bring a leatherman tool?"

If you want trouble, go kayaking.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 03/01/2017 02:47 pm
My opinion (of course)
The discussions about there not being enough demand for Falcon Heavy launches have now been put to rest.  Plus, the business model has expanded in the near term to include private spaceflight for significant(?) profit. It also brings the re-use model into focus since this mission is not affordable without reuse.

Increasing the flight rate is so key to making reuse affordable. 

I don't understand the debate on tourist versus astronaut.  For the love of Pete, they'll be flying around the moon!! 

For the first time since December 1972 someone has a realistic goal of going beyond low earth orbit.  Enjoy it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Surfdaddy on 03/01/2017 02:48 pm

So anyone on board one of these things is a passenger (I think the word tourist is inappropriate), whether they are paid by SpaceX to be there or have paid to be there.


A passenger that has no specific destination and is along for the ride and sightseeing is a tourist.

Actually,

Tourist:  a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

Astronaut and tourist are not mutually exclusive.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Elvis in Space on 03/01/2017 02:56 pm
Maybe this ultimately gets it's own thread, maybe I've missed the discussion elsewhere, but what will these passengers do during the trip? They are unlikely to be scientists so not much heavy science going on. It's an automated spacecraft so they won't have near the workload of an Apollo flight in that regard. There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Just wondering what they might actually do.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: acsawdey on 03/01/2017 02:58 pm
If all these 'tourists' get out of it is a week of weightlessness, and peering at the Moon through the porthole, I think it would not be worth the money.  Now, if they are trained to operate experiments located in the trunk it gets more interesting.  And if there are cameras back there they would get a better view on their internal screens (Dragon 2 has great displays) than looking through a smudged window.

So, the question I have is: what is the largest telescope you could fit into Dragon 2's trunk? Point that at the back side of the moon and pipe the sensor data to the internal displays.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/01/2017 03:01 pm
Maybe this ultimately gets it's own thread, maybe I've missed the discussion elsewhere, but what will these passengers do during the trip? They are unlikely to be scientists so not much heavy science going on. It's an automated spacecraft so they won't have near the workload of an Apollo flight in that regard. There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Just wondering what they might actually do.

To answer this question one would really need to know what "they know each other" means. Are they a couple? Is this a spectacular honeymoon cruise?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Phil Stooke on 03/01/2017 03:06 pm
What do you get out of climbing Everest?  Hardship, danger and a few great views if the weather allows you to look at them.  But the real point is to say you've done it.  And the first participants also get a place in the history book - uh - websites.  So I wouldn't be asking about what they can do, that's not likely to be the point.  Maybe what they will do is live-tweet the whole thing for public engagement, and then go on the lecture circuit or make a documentary about it, being inspirational etc.  Trying to find 'science' to do is probably not very important.

Note that I wouldn't be saying that about a future landing mission, where even amateurs can collect samples for scientific analysis back on Earth.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meberbs on 03/01/2017 03:12 pm
Eric Berger has a good piece on what parts of NASA may really be thinking about yesterday's announcement: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/)

Edit: clarified

I find that to be a rather negative article by Eric Berger, to be honest. At one point, in support of his overall argument,  he quotes a certain Ms. Dittmar, who provides a negative view on Musk's endeavours. Only to reveal that Ms. Dittmar "serves as executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, the organization formed by the principal contractors behind NASA's SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft".

Well shock and horror, the contractors building the SLS have bad things to say about SpaceX. What a surprise.

The general gist of it seems to be that NASA is bending over backwards for SpaceX despite SpaceX's  commercial crew program slipping to 2018. No mention is made, however, of the fact that 2018 is still a year earlier than Boeing - a long established "old Space" company - can produce their version of a commercial crew vehicle.

I think you are being too harsh on Eric Berger here. He is not reporting on his opinions on this, but the opinion of NASA, and the attitudes and reasoning he described in the article certainly represent the feelings of at least some at NASA. His "argument" as you put it, is not that NASA shouldn't support SpaceX in this, it is that there are those in leadership at NASA that don't like this even though this kind of private use was part of the justification for how they structured commercial crew. He posted a response in the comments that helps clarify this:

Quote from: Eric Berger
There are things said publicly by NASA, and there are things said privately. I am fortunate to have some pretty good contacts high in NASA's administration who speak to me privately. They are not amused or enthused by this.

I will agree with you that a lot of younger engineers at NASA are very rah-rah when it comes to SpaceX. They see what the company is doing, and they love it. But, for the most part, they don't make the decisions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/01/2017 03:21 pm
Are they hams? Could be the greatest DX-pedition in history. :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 03/01/2017 03:23 pm
Isn't it more likely two wealthy people were shopping for a Moon trip ASAP, and went to NASA first, and were told it is not possible or affordable (anytime soon), and then they went to SpaceX, who said yes.

I don't understand why NASA would be butt hurt over a private person paying his/her own money to SpaceX for a trip to LEO, Lunar, or Mars.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DanielW on 03/01/2017 03:24 pm
I am curious what they will do with the docking ring. Will they leave it to keep commonality with dragon 2 and allow for far-fetched rescue scenarios? Or, will they replace it with a lighter boilerplate or even a nice big window?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kansan52 on 03/01/2017 03:31 pm
NASA could point out that this flight is a success in both Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew. Win for NASA. SX was literally saved from bankruptcy by that first contract. Now SX is strong enough to go the the Moon!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jtrame on 03/01/2017 03:31 pm
Are they hams? Could be the greatest DX-pedition in history. :)

QSL.  It might take a good size array like the moon bouncers use to reach them.  At least on VHF - UHF.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Mongo62 on 03/01/2017 04:02 pm
There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Do we know that there would be no EVAs? How long would it take to train two paying passengers to do EVAs using SpaceX spacesuits? Doing an EVA while the Dragon is passing the Moon would be spectacular. Can you imagine floating in space next to the Dragon, watching the craters of the Moon sliding past, a few hundred km away?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rory on 03/01/2017 04:03 pm
There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Do we know that there would be no EVAs? How long would it take to train two paying passengers to do EVAs using SpaceX spacesuits? Doing an EVA while the Dragon is passing the Moon would be spectacular. Can you imagine floating in space next to the Dragon, watching the craters of the Moon sliding past, a few hundred km away?

SpaceX suits are for IVA, not EVA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/01/2017 04:05 pm
There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Do we know that there would be no EVAs? How long would it take to train two paying passengers to do EVAs using SpaceX spacesuits? Doing an EVA while the Dragon is passing the Moon would be spectacular. Can you imagine floating in space next to the Dragon, watching the craters of the Moon sliding past, a few hundred km away?

D2 has no airlock, AFAIK.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Mongo62 on 03/01/2017 04:35 pm
There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Do we know that there would be no EVAs? How long would it take to train two paying passengers to do EVAs using SpaceX spacesuits? Doing an EVA while the Dragon is passing the Moon would be spectacular. Can you imagine floating in space next to the Dragon, watching the craters of the Moon sliding past, a few hundred km away?

D2 has no airlock, AFAIK.

Capture the cabin air with a pump, then just open the hatch? After the EVA is completed, close the hatch and return the air to the cabin.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: vt_hokie on 03/01/2017 04:39 pm
What are the implications of a catastrophic failure for commercial crew, if any?  Certainly this is additional risk - will it be seen as an Everest climb that won't slow down parallel climbs on other mountains if it goes the way Everest climbs sometimes do?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 03/01/2017 04:39 pm

Capture the cabin air with a pump, then just open the hatch? After the EVA is completed, close the hatch and return the air to the cabin.

a. What pumps?  Never been done in space before.
b.  Not everything in the cabin is compatible with a vacuum.
c.  Again, the suits are not EVA suits.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/01/2017 04:47 pm

Capture the cabin air with a pump, then just open the hatch? After the EVA is completed, close the hatch and return the air to the cabin.

a. What pumps?  Never been done in space before.
b.  Not everything in the cabin is compatible with a vacuum.
c.  Again, the suits are not EVA suits.

How did Gemini do it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Surfdaddy on 03/01/2017 04:51 pm

Capture the cabin air with a pump, then just open the hatch? After the EVA is completed, close the hatch and return the air to the cabin.

a. What pumps?  Never been done in space before.
b.  Not everything in the cabin is compatible with a vacuum.
c.  Again, the suits are not EVA suits.

How did Gemini do it?

Everything in the cabin must have been compatible with a vacuum.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/01/2017 04:56 pm
Everything in the cabin must have been compatible with a vacuum.

Would be interesting to know what exactly SpaceX means by the when it says the Dragon 2 can operate in full vacuum.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DanielW on 03/01/2017 04:58 pm
Everything in the cabin must have been compatible with a vacuum.

Would be interesting to know what exactly SpaceX means by the when is says the Dragon 2 can operate in full vacuum.

When did SpaceX say that? What did I miss?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Eric Hedman on 03/01/2017 04:59 pm

Capture the cabin air with a pump, then just open the hatch? After the EVA is completed, close the hatch and return the air to the cabin.

a. What pumps?  Never been done in space before.
b.  Not everything in the cabin is compatible with a vacuum.
c.  Again, the suits are not EVA suits.

How did Gemini do it?
If I remember correctly they just vented the cabin air before the EVAs and then refilled the cabin from on board supplies when done.  A pump would probably have more mass than the lost cabin air for one EVA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/01/2017 05:03 pm
Everything in the cabin must have been compatible with a vacuum.

Would be interesting to know what exactly SpaceX means by the when is says the Dragon 2 can operate in full vacuum.

When did SpaceX say that? What did I miss?

The exact words were from the source was "The suits and the vehicle itself will be rated for operation at
vacuum." so maybe the statement was misinterpreted by Wikipedia.

 http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY16-WState-GReisman-20150227.pdf

Edit: IMO there's no way this would happen without a experienced astronaut doing it first so no way on this flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 03/01/2017 05:04 pm

I think you are being too harsh on Eric Berger here. He is not reporting on his opinions on this, but the opinion of NASA, and the attitudes and reasoning he described in the article certainly represent the feelings of at least some at NASA. His "argument" as you put it, is not that NASA shouldn't support SpaceX in this, it is that there are those in leadership at NASA that don't like this even though this kind of private use was part of the justification for how they structured commercial crew. He posted a response in the comments that helps clarify this:

Quote from: Eric Berger
There are things said publicly by NASA, and there are things said privately. I am fortunate to have some pretty good contacts high in NASA's administration who speak to me privately. They are not amused or enthused by this.

I will agree with you that a lot of younger engineers at NASA are very rah-rah when it comes to SpaceX. They see what the company is doing, and they love it. But, for the most part, they don't make the decisions.

On one hand we're repeatedly told that NASA has little decision making control and that the administration & Congress "force" NASA admins to do stuff, e.g. SLS. 
Now this.
Time for some senior NASA admins to take their pensions.

(FWIW I'm not a member of the Bash NASA standing army)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 03/01/2017 05:04 pm
[massive trim]
So, my conclusions are:

1. Musk got played.  Now it's no more Mr. Nice Guy, and that's why he was willing (and probably a little eager) to embarrass NASA by announcing SpaceX's circum-lunar mission.  I hope Musk's approach works, but, as Eric Berger says (https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/), it's risky.
[trim]

No, I don't agree with that. If anything, indications are that SpaceX gave the administration a heads up notice about this, which is what caused the request for the study of a manned EM-1 mission. So if correct, "crewed EM-1" is actually a response to SpaceX. Not the other way around.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DOCinCT on 03/01/2017 05:26 pm
Everything in the cabin must have been compatible with a vacuum.
Would be interesting to know what exactly SpaceX means by the when is says the Dragon 2 can operate in full vacuum.
When did SpaceX say that? What did I miss?
Statement of Garrett Riesman
Director of Crew Operations Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceXZ
Before the Subcommittee on Space,
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
February 27, 2015
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Survtech on 03/01/2017 06:18 pm
Can we do a back of the envelope calculation of the price? My gu is about $500 million...

Gesendet von meinem SM-T800 mit Tapatalk
I'm going to estimate the total cost at around half of your calculation.  My reasoning is that while Musk wouldn’t specify an exact price, he did say that the around-the-Moon mission could cost roughly the same or a bit more than a crewed trip to the International Space Station. NASA pays on the order of $81 million per seat and Soyuz has 3 seats so 3x $81 = $243 million.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dodo on 03/01/2017 06:23 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dglow on 03/01/2017 06:25 pm
There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Just wondering what they might actually do.

Guess it depends whether they're actually watching the movie or just 'putting it on'.

I'm going there since others have broached the subject. Let's consider this seriously for a moment: what if the the two passengers are a couple so inclined?

Perhaps not for this first mission, but eventually, inevitably, it will happen. And humanity will be presented with its first child conceived outside the gravity well of Terra. Cue the Star Child references and social media explosion; this person will be an instant celebrity for life.

But clamor aside, such an event will be incredibly profound. Just contemplate it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: edkyle99 on 03/01/2017 06:31 pm
Livestream never worked...anyway this is the post-announcement thread.

Ah ha, a link:
http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year

Our article:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/02/spacex-two-citizens-dragon-2-lunar-mission/
I haven't had time to think about this announcement until now.   My initial reaction is to ask how SpaceX plans to prove its spacecraft before this flight.  I would expect that certification to include a one-week crewed duration test in LEO, a high velocity reentry test, and a mission to test the necessary long-distance communications and tracking. 

The flight could be an adventure.  I hope it won't be a reckless adventure.  (I have the same thoughts about the SLS/Orion inaugural crew proposal.)

 - Ed Kyle   
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wolfpack on 03/01/2017 06:41 pm

How did Gemini do it?

Vent cabin to space, open doors, close doors, repressurize from LO2 stores. Oxygen has something like > 800:1 expansion ratio when going from liquid to gas.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 06:56 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...
What they meant is that the capsule and crew can continue to operate if the Dragon is unpressurized.

Where did 3 K come from?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lobo on 03/01/2017 06:56 pm
I'm somehow glum about this announcement. I mean, it's great that this move is happening - that the technology and processes will be developed to further humanity into space. But at the same time - to have that first great leap in 50 year go to ... tourists!?. This hurts and makes me a bit angry. People with extreme amounts of money are yet again able to buy their way though life. I would have been happier if the announcement read: "Wealthy private individuals donate significant money to SpaceX to train and launch two engineering citizen scientists on a free return orbit of the moon. The two future private astronauts will be chosen based on merit, education, and their ability to stimulate and captivate the future generation of space explorer..." (you get the idea).

Am I alone in this?

This is very much in line of where companies like Space X are going to make their money. This is what commercial space should be outside of government.

According to the NSF article on this, Musk did offer those seats to NASA astronauts., and the tourists bumped to a later flight.  So NASA could still be first.

Which is a smart move by Musk.  Very subtly he gives them a conundrum.  Do they stick with their hardware and let SpaceX and tourists beat them back to the Moon?  Or do they put two of their astronauts on it, and then deal with the awkward political questions that creates?

It's a win for SpaceX either way.  And either way it starts to turn up the heat on SLS and Orion.  Which I've been saying is Musk's plan for a long time.  He'll never -say- it, lest he creates enemies in NASA and in Congress, but he just puts the 800lb gorilla in the room that's impossible to ignore.

IMO, I think he's hoping to take over HSF for NASA, partly because I think he believes that government and Oldspace has just become too slow and beuracratic to effectively produce rockets and spacecraft anymore.  And he thinks he can help move things along himself.    And he also wants access to 39B and other KSC facilities for his long term Mars plans with ITS, along with 39A.  But he'll need to gently "help" SLS and Orion out the door to facilitate that. 
A big white rocket launching before SLS from NASA's own Kennedy Space Center will start creating those optics.  Launching humans from KSC to Space before NASA does will further that.  As will launching humans on their big white rocket from there around the Moon before SLS/Orion are able to.    The nostalgia of doing it on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8 won't hurt either.

I think he'll offer NASA the same conundrum later with ITS.  Do they want to stick with their systems and have SpaceX and civilians go to Mars first?  Or do they put their own astronauts on those first missions, and then deal with the political issue of the hardware that they've been working on for decades.  But ITS will need to get further along before that happens.  But I think this is the opening bid by Musk to start getting his own plans moving along.
Of course, this assumes no major setbacks with FH or Dragon 2.

Just my opinion.  :)

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: IainMcClatchie on 03/01/2017 07:07 pm
How close does the capsule get to the Moon surface on a free-return trajectory?

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a ball of cameras follow the capsule about 50 feet farther back and away from the Moon, such that the capsule appeared a few degrees below the Moon horizon at perigee?  Relay the entire spherical stream back to Earth, and folks can watch it with a VR headset.  It'd feel like you were doing an EVA, during a close approach to the Moon, with something of human scale in the scene for perspective.  Ideally there would be a window on the capsule through which we could see some portion of a person, moving around in there.  The immersive feel of VR is a very good application for this.

That moment when the Earth rises over the horizon of the Moon will be perfect.  If the Earth's face is well lit, then the spacecraft will be as well.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jcliving on 03/01/2017 07:10 pm
This seems to be a very easy decision for Spacex.  A Red Dragon mission in 2018 checks the following boxes with the entire cost being paid by Spacex.

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use for dragon 2

A Private Tourist Moon Mission paid by the customer checks the following boxes

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use of dragon 2
- another proof point for crewed dragon

I stipulate that the checkbox lists above are not comprehensive, but there are enough items in the list to illustrate my point.


Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lobo on 03/01/2017 07:16 pm


2. The results of the first round of the match between oldspace and newspace under Trump are in:  newspace got shellacked (and there may not be many more rounds).  You know all that stuff you heard about Trump's business-like approach, about promoting American industry, and so forth?  Well, with respect to space policy, as they say in the President's native Queens, FUGGEDABOUDIT (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fuggedaboutit)!!!


I've been wondering about this myself.  I think on this issue, the President is conflicted.
On one hand he's a businessman, and so unlike some long time politicians, he sees when things can be done cheaper and more efficiently.
other the other hand, he is a Nationalist.  And NASA is a very historic and famous standard bearer for American pride and world leadership in areas of science and space exploration.  They have a lot of "Brand Recognition", so to speak.  And when they are doing noteworthy things, it's "America" doing those things in people's minds.

Not sure it's so much so with SpaceX, although they are an American Company so there is -some- of that.  It's just not the same in people's minds as "NASA".

So this could be an instance where the President diverges from his business instincts, and goes with his Nationalistic ones?  I've been wondering which way he might go, because of that.


Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 07:20 pm
This seems to be a very easy decision for Spacex.  A Red Dragon mission in 2018 checks the following boxes with the entire cost being paid by Spacex.

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use for dragon 2

A Private Tourist Moon Mission paid by the customer checks the following boxes

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use of dragon 2
- another proof point for crewed dragon

I stipulate that the checkbox lists above are not comprehensive, but there are enough items in the list to illustrate my point.
You should add to the first list:

- Mars EDL
- Interplanetary navigation
- Persistent science station / beacon on Mars surface
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lobo on 03/01/2017 07:23 pm
I've said this before but I'll say it again. I'd personally want at least one pilot/engineer along for the ride.

A lot can happen in seven days and I'd prefer to have someone who is able to manually execute course-correction burns and steer the thing through re-entry if the computers become balky or an error in the FHUS sends them on an unexpected and marginal trajectory (steeper re-entry corridor, for example). Then there is the issue of correct training to fix any fixable problems.

The NSF article by Chris said,
Quote
In a hastily arranged announcement, Elon Musk has revealed a plan to launch a Dragon 2 spacecraft on a circumlunar mission, with two paying customers.

Does that mean there will only be those two customers on the Dragon?  Or that there will be two paying customers going along [with 1 or 2 SpaceX personnel]?

Did I miss some place it said the two customers would be the only two people on the capsule?  If not, I'd think there'd be at least one SpaceX person on it.  Should be adequate room for 3 people in a trip around the moon, or even 4 if a little more cramped.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/01/2017 07:24 pm


2. The results of the first round of the match between oldspace and newspace under Trump are in:  newspace got shellacked (and there may not be many more rounds).  You know all that stuff you heard about Trump's business-like approach, about promoting American industry, and so forth?  Well, with respect to space policy, as they say in the President's native Queens, FUGGEDABOUDIT (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fuggedaboutit)!!!


I've been wondering about this myself.  I think on this issue, the President is conflicted.
On one hand he's a businessman, and so unlike some long time politicians, he sees when things can be done cheaper and more efficiently.
other the other hand, he is a Nationalist.  And NASA is a very historic and famous standard bearer for American pride and world leadership in areas of science and space exploration.  They have a lot of "Brand Recognition", so to speak.  And when they are doing noteworthy things, it's "America" doing those things in people's minds.

Not sure it's so much so with SpaceX, although they are an American Company so there is -some- of that.  It's just not the same in people's minds as "NASA".

So this could be an instance where the President diverges from his business instincts, and goes with his Nationalistic ones?  I've been wondering which way he might go, because of that.
They could easily spin it by saying "We leave SpaceX to do a commercial Moon trip for tourists which NASA astronauts did 50 years ago, while the agency works on the more difficult mission to Mars"...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 03/01/2017 07:30 pm

Did I miss some place it said the two customers would be the only two people on the capsule? 


yes
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 03/01/2017 07:32 pm
Besides the Mars colonization goal of Musk his secondary goals to achieve his primary goal is to lower launch costs, increase tonnage to space, increase number of people to space, increasing technical capabilities, and generally just significantly more flights. This Lunar flight fits with those goals.

The commercial market price for a Lunar free return was set several years ago at $150M per person for a 2 passenger flight (actually included a Pilot that rode along as well so total number of people on flight was 3 on a very cramped Soyuz). So that makes the revenue for this flight at that market price ~$300M. A FH price runs at $90-125M with a Crew Dragon at $70-90M. That puts the price of the components at $160-215M. Now add some amount for the minor modifications to Dragon for the Deep Space flight of ~$100M. This then gets you to a price of $260-315M.

So SpaceX could be offering to NASA to do such a flight at $300M. If this is the price point for 2 or 3 persons to a free return then SLS could be very dead politically at the level of the president. SLS/Orion program would need to show that it can accomplish much more and more quickly than the commercial industry such as a deep space habitat ride along mission for a multi-month stay in deep space. A BTW this is already in planning and is receiving some funding but its schedule is out mid to late 2020's.

But on the commercial side we only know that FH/Dragon can do a free return. What we do not know is can it achieve a Lunar orbit and then return. With all of the increased performance capabilities that Falcon has acheived in the last year and a half the values we are assuming for FH capabilities are definitely out of date. Meaning the FH/Dragon stack is possibly able to achieve Lunar orbit using the US for the Lunar orbit insertion and the on-board Dragon propellant for the return. Which then presupposes that for $300M for the manned mission and another $200M for the transport of a habitat or a cargo Dragon flight to the habitat to Lunar orbit (~12mt in size: 6mt of cargo for cargo Dragon) at a total per mission cost of $500M for 2 or 3 person stay of 6 months with continuous occupancy of the "station" at a total cost of about $1B/yr. That is 1/3 of cost of the SLS/Orion.

The political gears are turning in all different directions and we do not have a clue as to which way they will eventually mesh up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 03/01/2017 07:51 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...
What they meant is that the capsule and crew can continue to operate if the Dragon is unpressurized.

Where did 3 K come from?

3 K is the radiation temperature of the microwave background, the glow left over from the big bang.  It's a temperature that might be approached in deepest, darkest intergalactic space.  Things won't get that cold in cis-lunar space; I think you'd have to try pretty hard to get cooler than about ten times that.

Nitpick:  Technically, it's 3 K or 3 kelvins (lower case), but no longer 3 degrees Kelvin.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: gospacex on 03/01/2017 07:53 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...
What they meant is that the capsule and crew can continue to operate if the Dragon is unpressurized.

Where did 3 K come from?

Exactly. Some people think that "space is cold". Not so. If anything, space (vacuum) is a good thermal insulator. Only radiative heat transfer is possible.

When it comes to heat balance from the Sun, for a black body equilibrium temperature on earth orbit is -18 Celsius, IIRC.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/01/2017 07:57 pm
I don't understand why people think there is the need for a pilot/flight engineer.

These are adults and I assume they understand the risks they are taking and are self-aware enough to have thought this through. Yes, some people are not constitutionally fit for potentially dangerous situations. But lots of average Janes and Joes manage to SCUBA dive, fly experimental aircraft, rock climb, etc.

I think people are underestimating the capabilities of the "tourist" and over estimating need/value of bringing along Assistant Chief Engineer Jim Shimoda to rearrange the main computer's isoliner chips.

I assume the flight participants will be trained where the Ctl-Alt-Del keys are on the iPad, how to cycle through various comm options and how to wait for further instructions. I also assume there will be a three-ring binder that reminds them how to do these things.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: acsawdey on 03/01/2017 07:58 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...

I had not thought of that issue, but perhaps Planet Labs could whack together something workable that's a little bigger than the one used on their Dove sats.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: georgegassaway on 03/01/2017 08:06 pm
Totally agreeing that depressurizing and opening the hatch for an EVA would be quite risky, especially for a "passenger" flight of untrained individuals (Yes, I know they will get some training. But this is not their profession, they will not know the systems and vehicle as thoroughly as spacecraft commanders/pilots would.)

Anyway, the mention of SpaceX spacesuits only being rated for IVA, not EVA, made me wonder about opening the hatch for a much better view, even putting their head outside, but not doing an external EVA.  Sort of like David Scott's "stand up EVA" on Apollo-9, but not that far. Would need to minimize issues with overheating from direct sunlight, the flight approach to the moon and phase of the moon as they went by would dictate how well rolling away from the sun and still seeing the moon, would work out. If the IVA suits can't be warm enough in a vacuum, that would seem to be a problem for any crew on any mission, since loss of pressure is one of the main reasons for wearing an IVA  suit anyway. I admit I may be missing some other major issues with  looking out side of the hatch in a vacuum, wearing an IVA suit.

Not suggesting it would be a good idea. Particularly for passengers with limited training, doing it just for a lark. 

Even with paying passengers , SpaceX does need to be responsible for their safety. Not "let them" do any risky thing they want.

As for modifying Dragon-2 for this, like replacing the hatch with a huge window. Nice theory. Hard to justify that for what may be a one-time-thing.  The R&D and development time, hard to see that,  or any other significant mods, in that timeframe. And by timeframe I do not mean 2018 (most who know SpaceX schedule history knowns that ain't happening). I mean their place in line, after the first couple of crewed missions for NASA, and meeting the NASA CC flight schedule beyond that.

Given what NASA has done for SpaceX (saving them from bankruptcy), they need to give priority to those flights, and give this private moon flight a lower priority so as not to interfere or delay CC any more than it otherwise would be.

This should not be allowed to "bump" or delay ANY NASA mission they are contracturally obligated to do. In theory, it would not. In reality...... not so sure. Can they produce an additional man-rated ready-for-space Dragon-2 without delaying any NASA Dragon-2's that may be needed according to schedule?   So, they need to fit this in, somewhere, with whatever extra capacity they might have, if they have it.  History does not show proof they have extra capacity, or schedule to have everything ready when everything needs to be ready (Landing Pad 2 not started yet as a current example, 39A taking so long as another example),  so that is a concern.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 03/01/2017 08:09 pm
Totally agreeing that depressurizing and opening the hatch for an EVA would be quite risky, especially for a "passenger" flight of untrained individuals (Yes, I know they will get some training. But this is not their profession, they will not know the systems and spacecraft as spacecraft commanders/pilots do.)

Anyway, the mention of SpaceX spacesuits only being rated for IVA, not EVA, made me wonder about opening the hatch for a much better view, even putting their head outside, but not doing an external EVA.  Sort of like David Scott's "stand up EVA" on Apollo-9, but not that far. Would need to minimize issues with overheating from direct sunlight, the flight approach to the moon and phase of the moon as they went by would dictate how well rolling away from the sun and still seeing the moon, would work out. If the IVA suits can't be warm enough in a vacuum, that would seem to be a problem for any crew on any mission, since loss of pressure is one of the main reasons for wearing an IVA  suit anyway. I admit I may be missing some other major issues with  looking out side of the hatch in a vacuum, wearing an IVA suit.

Not suggesting it would be a good idea. Particularly for passengers with limited training, doing it just for a lark. 

Even with paying passengers , SpaceX does need to be responsible for their safety. Not "let them" do any risky thing they want.

As for modifying Dragon-2 for this, like replacing the hatch with a huge window. Nice theory. Hard to justify that for what may be a one-time-thing.  The R&D and development time, hard to see that,  or any other significant mods, in that timeframe. And by timeframe I do not mean 2018 (most who know SpaceX schedule history knowns that ain't happening). I mean their place in line, after the first couple of crewed missions for NASA, and meeting the NASA CC flight schedule beyond that.

Given what NASA has done for SpaceX (saving them from bankruptcy), they need to give priority to those flights, and give this private moon flight a lower priority so as not to interfere or delay CC any more than it otherwise would be.

This should not be allowed to "bump" or delay ANY NASA mission they are contracturally obligated to do. In theory, it would not. In reality...... not so sure. Can they produce an additional man-rated ready-for-space Dragon-2 without delaying any NASA Dragon-2's that may be needed according to schedule?   So, they need to fit this in, somewhere, with whatever extra capacity they might have, if they have it.  History does not show proof they have extra capacity, or schedule to have everything ready when everything needs to be ready (Landing Pad 2 not started yet as a current example, 39A taking so long as another example),  so that is a concern.
They already scheduled the production of an extra D2 for Red Dragon which has now moved out to 2020 so there is an extra D2 in the schedule pipeline for this mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: 2552 on 03/01/2017 08:17 pm
Aren't the Dragon 2s for both Red Dragon and this mission going to be reused from NASA ISS crew missions? Still need a new trunk for both though.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Phillip Clark on 03/01/2017 08:35 pm
How did Gemini do it?
Vent cabin to space, open doors, close doors, repressurize from LO2 stores. Oxygen has something like > 800:1 expansion ratio when going from liquid to gas.

Remember that Gemini was designed for EVA work as part of the programme's objective.   Is Dragon similarly designed?   I am not sure that we know this for certain.

As for the spacesuits, they are like the ones that the Russiansand Chinese wear inside their spacecraft: intended to protect against depressurisation but NOT designed for EVA work.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TrueBlueWitt on 03/01/2017 08:54 pm
Totally agreeing that depressurizing and opening the hatch for an EVA would be quite risky, especially for a "passenger" flight of untrained individuals (Yes, I know they will get some training. But this is not their profession, they will not know the systems and spacecraft as spacecraft commanders/pilots do.)

Anyway, the mention of SpaceX spacesuits only being rated for IVA, not EVA, made me wonder about opening the hatch for a much better view, even putting their head outside, but not doing an external EVA.  Sort of like David Scott's "stand up EVA" on Apollo-9, but not that far. Would need to minimize issues with overheating from direct sunlight, the flight approach to the moon and phase of the moon as they went by would dictate how well rolling away from the sun and still seeing the moon, would work out. If the IVA suits can't be warm enough in a vacuum, that would seem to be a problem for any crew on any mission, since loss of pressure is one of the main reasons for wearing an IVA  suit anyway. I admit I may be missing some other major issues with  looking out side of the hatch in a vacuum, wearing an IVA suit.

Not suggesting it would be a good idea. Particularly for passengers with limited training, doing it just for a lark. 

Even with paying passengers , SpaceX does need to be responsible for their safety. Not "let them" do any risky thing they want.

As for modifying Dragon-2 for this, like replacing the hatch with a huge window. Nice theory. Hard to justify that for what may be a one-time-thing.  The R&D and development time, hard to see that,  or any other significant mods, in that timeframe. And by timeframe I do not mean 2018 (most who know SpaceX schedule history knowns that ain't happening). I mean their place in line, after the first couple of crewed missions for NASA, and meeting the NASA CC flight schedule beyond that.

Given what NASA has done for SpaceX (saving them from bankruptcy), they need to give priority to those flights, and give this private moon flight a lower priority so as not to interfere or delay CC any more than it otherwise would be.

This should not be allowed to "bump" or delay ANY NASA mission they are contracturally obligated to do. In theory, it would not. In reality...... not so sure. Can they produce an additional man-rated ready-for-space Dragon-2 without delaying any NASA Dragon-2's that may be needed according to schedule?   So, they need to fit this in, somewhere, with whatever extra capacity they might have, if they have it.  History does not show proof they have extra capacity, or schedule to have everything ready when everything needs to be ready (Landing Pad 2 not started yet as a current example, 39A taking so long as another example),  so that is a concern.
They already scheduled the production of an extra D2 for Red Dragon which has now moved out to 2020 so there is an extra D2 in the schedule pipeline for this mission.

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't the plan to refit an already flown Dragon 2 for the Red Dragon mission? 
I think it was posted here somewhere.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 09:00 pm
IMO the risk of any EVA-like activity is not in the act itself, but in ensuring that the latch closes properly when it's done.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RoboGoofers on 03/01/2017 09:14 pm
I don't understand why people think there is the need for a pilot/flight engineer.

These are adults and I assume they understand the risks they are taking and are self-aware enough to have thought this through. Yes, some people are not constitutionally fit for potentially dangerous situations. But lots of average Janes and Joes manage to SCUBA dive, fly experimental aircraft, rock climb, etc.

I think people are underestimating the capabilities of the "tourist" and over estimating need/value of bringing along Assistant Chief Engineer Jim Shimoda to rearrange the main computer's isoliner chips.

I assume the flight participants will be trained where the Ctl-Alt-Del keys are on the iPad, how to cycle through various comm options and how to wait for further instructions. I also assume there will be a three-ring binder that reminds them how to do these things.

Furthermore, any crew sent along would be just as novice (with Dragon 2 and with cis Lunar) as the passengers, and any issues would be handled by the engineers at mission control (like with Apollo 13). The passengers will be able to follow mission control commands as well as crew would.

 It's also more people to keep alive if something goes wrong.

The crew would be, basically, flight attendants.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Brovane on 03/01/2017 09:56 pm
The big risk with aa EVA, besides depressurization of the entire spacecraft and depressurize. 

Is, you have the issue of only two crew members.  If you do anything more than just stick your head out you are doing a solo EVA essentially.  You don't want both crew members leaving the Dragon while in orbit so you have one person at a time.  With Gemini when NASA did solo EVA's the other crew member was not in a real good position to help if something went wrong.  During Gemini-9, Stafford couldn't really help Cernan as he struggled through the EVA.  During the EVA's for Apollo-15-17 at least they had 3 crew members so one of them was positioned at the open hatch to help the CMP as they retrieved the film.  Not a good idea for a "spaceflight participant" to be conducting a solo EVA. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Khadgars on 03/01/2017 10:15 pm
Totally agreeing that depressurizing and opening the hatch for an EVA would be quite risky, especially for a "passenger" flight of untrained individuals (Yes, I know they will get some training. But this is not their profession, they will not know the systems and spacecraft as spacecraft commanders/pilots do.)

Anyway, the mention of SpaceX spacesuits only being rated for IVA, not EVA, made me wonder about opening the hatch for a much better view, even putting their head outside, but not doing an external EVA.  Sort of like David Scott's "stand up EVA" on Apollo-9, but not that far. Would need to minimize issues with overheating from direct sunlight, the flight approach to the moon and phase of the moon as they went by would dictate how well rolling away from the sun and still seeing the moon, would work out. If the IVA suits can't be warm enough in a vacuum, that would seem to be a problem for any crew on any mission, since loss of pressure is one of the main reasons for wearing an IVA  suit anyway. I admit I may be missing some other major issues with  looking out side of the hatch in a vacuum, wearing an IVA suit.

Not suggesting it would be a good idea. Particularly for passengers with limited training, doing it just for a lark. 

Even with paying passengers , SpaceX does need to be responsible for their safety. Not "let them" do any risky thing they want.

As for modifying Dragon-2 for this, like replacing the hatch with a huge window. Nice theory. Hard to justify that for what may be a one-time-thing.  The R&D and development time, hard to see that,  or any other significant mods, in that timeframe. And by timeframe I do not mean 2018 (most who know SpaceX schedule history knowns that ain't happening). I mean their place in line, after the first couple of crewed missions for NASA, and meeting the NASA CC flight schedule beyond that.

Given what NASA has done for SpaceX (saving them from bankruptcy), they need to give priority to those flights, and give this private moon flight a lower priority so as not to interfere or delay CC any more than it otherwise would be.

This should not be allowed to "bump" or delay ANY NASA mission they are contracturally obligated to do. In theory, it would not. In reality...... not so sure. Can they produce an additional man-rated ready-for-space Dragon-2 without delaying any NASA Dragon-2's that may be needed according to schedule?   So, they need to fit this in, somewhere, with whatever extra capacity they might have, if they have it.  History does not show proof they have extra capacity, or schedule to have everything ready when everything needs to be ready (Landing Pad 2 not started yet as a current example, 39A taking so long as another example),  so that is a concern.
They already scheduled the production of an extra D2 for Red Dragon which has now moved out to 2020 so there is an extra D2 in the schedule pipeline for this mission.

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't the plan to refit an already flown Dragon 2 for the Red Dragon mission? 
I think it was posted here somewhere.

Correct, they were not manufacturing a new Dragon specifically for the Mars mission.  It was to reuse one of the Dragons used for crew testing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 03/01/2017 10:19 pm
Yes - an EVA of any kind on a mission such as this is a complete non-starter, a non-issue. And just reiterating for the nth time, for those who didn't see earlier posts - James Cameron absolutely is not involved in any space missions for the forseeable future - he's making 'Avatar' sequels for the next few years.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: alang on 03/01/2017 10:33 pm
I'm often wrong but if you are paying that kind of change for this kind of flight then the only way not to be seen as spam in a can is to conduct an EVA.
In fact that could be a selling point: we take you there and back, we make that easy for you so that you have time to develop your skills to do other things. Going into space should be easy so we won't be hiring astronauts. Not only that we provide a new generation spacesuit to make an EVA easier.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 03/01/2017 10:33 pm
Totally agreeing that depressurizing and opening the hatch for an EVA would be quite risky, especially for a "passenger" flight of untrained individuals (Yes, I know they will get some training. But this is not their profession, they will not know the systems and spacecraft as spacecraft commanders/pilots do.)

Anyway, the mention of SpaceX spacesuits only being rated for IVA, not EVA, made me wonder about opening the hatch for a much better view, even putting their head outside, but not doing an external EVA.  Sort of like David Scott's "stand up EVA" on Apollo-9, but not that far. Would need to minimize issues with overheating from direct sunlight, the flight approach to the moon and phase of the moon as they went by would dictate how well rolling away from the sun and still seeing the moon, would work out. If the IVA suits can't be warm enough in a vacuum, that would seem to be a problem for any crew on any mission, since loss of pressure is one of the main reasons for wearing an IVA  suit anyway. I admit I may be missing some other major issues with  looking out side of the hatch in a vacuum, wearing an IVA suit.

Not suggesting it would be a good idea. Particularly for passengers with limited training, doing it just for a lark. 

Even with paying passengers , SpaceX does need to be responsible for their safety. Not "let them" do any risky thing they want.

As for modifying Dragon-2 for this, like replacing the hatch with a huge window. Nice theory. Hard to justify that for what may be a one-time-thing.  The R&D and development time, hard to see that,  or any other significant mods, in that timeframe. And by timeframe I do not mean 2018 (most who know SpaceX schedule history knowns that ain't happening). I mean their place in line, after the first couple of crewed missions for NASA, and meeting the NASA CC flight schedule beyond that.

Given what NASA has done for SpaceX (saving them from bankruptcy), they need to give priority to those flights, and give this private moon flight a lower priority so as not to interfere or delay CC any more than it otherwise would be.

This should not be allowed to "bump" or delay ANY NASA mission they are contracturally obligated to do. In theory, it would not. In reality...... not so sure. Can they produce an additional man-rated ready-for-space Dragon-2 without delaying any NASA Dragon-2's that may be needed according to schedule?   So, they need to fit this in, somewhere, with whatever extra capacity they might have, if they have it.  History does not show proof they have extra capacity, or schedule to have everything ready when everything needs to be ready (Landing Pad 2 not started yet as a current example, 39A taking so long as another example),  so that is a concern.
They already scheduled the production of an extra D2 for Red Dragon which has now moved out to 2020 so there is an extra D2 in the schedule pipeline for this mission.

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't the plan to refit an already flown Dragon 2 for the Red Dragon mission? 
I think it was posted here somewhere.

Correct, they were not manufacturing a new Dragon specifically for the Mars mission.  It was to reuse one of the Dragons used for crew testing.
Which answers in part why RD got delayed because the crew Dragon testing slipped out. The Dragon would not be available in time for the March-April-May 2018 Synod. It is still possible that the Lunar Dragon could still be that test Crew Dragon refurbished with updates for deep space. The timeline of 4Q 2018 fits with the CC program schedule slips.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/01/2017 10:43 pm
Quote
compatible with a vacuum
Question: in the context of this discussion, the above presumably means also "capable of working at 3 degrees Kelvin", right?

I had a similar doubt when someone mentioned a telescope in the trunk...
What they meant is that the capsule and crew can continue to operate if the Dragon is unpressurized.

Where did 3 K come from?

3 K is the radiation temperature of the microwave background, the glow left over from the big bang.  It's a temperature that might be approached in deepest, darkest intergalactic space.  Things won't get that cold in cis-lunar space; I think you'd have to try pretty hard to get cooler than about ten times that.

Nitpick:  Technically, it's 3 K or 3 kelvins (lower case), but no longer 3 degrees Kelvin.
Yeah, I know where it came from, I was protesting it...

For a vehicle that's producing heat internally, and will only be out of direct solar insolation for minutes, "too cold" will not be a problem.

Temperature difference between light and dark side will be, as well as overall heat rejection - both part of the basic design of Dragon.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: sanman on 03/01/2017 10:53 pm
Maybe this ultimately gets it's own thread, maybe I've missed the discussion elsewhere, but what will these passengers do during the trip? They are unlikely to be scientists so not much heavy science going on. It's an automated spacecraft so they won't have near the workload of an Apollo flight in that regard. There's no landing, orbiting, or EVA's to contend with. That leaves 8-10 days for CNN and selfies. How many times can you watch Apollo 13 and 2001?

Just wondering what they might actually do.

If it was me flying, I'd be giving live interviews in space during the trip. Goodness knows there'd be enough media queuing up to talk to you that it would fully occupy your time for the duration of the voyage.

Hopefully the communications link with Earth would be able to support live video-conferencing. It would also be interesting to see the communications lag that occurs at 250K miles out.

 But I wonder what they'll be doing to simulate on advance the effects of a week-long journey, which is far different than a short trip to ISS. How do we know that a weeklong voyage won't leave the Dragon2 cabin filled with phlegm and saliva floating in the air? How do we know the 2 people won't end up with a bad case of cabin Fever 3 days in?






Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/01/2017 10:58 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: CNYMike on 03/01/2017 11:06 pm
This announcement and Musk's Mars colonization plan are apparently straining his relationship with NASA.  I stumbled on this article:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 03/01/2017 11:08 pm
Once the first Lunar mission is done and dusted, I could forsee a revenue opportunity for a the best kind of reality show - a science journalism venture. They would not spend the money, but the BBC could cough up the dough for a couple of seats: one for Professor Brian Cox to make a future 4 part special on him and another crew member: perhaps James May would be an excellent co-presenter - he's done a U-2 flight and some 'journalistic' Astronaut training.

However; I don't see either of those fine men agreeing to do this. I think the very best American presenter for the job would be Miles O'Brien - pre-'Columbia' there was a very real chance he could have become the first journalist in Space in late 2003 or early 2004. And since there are no actual piloting or EVA tasks required for this mission, the fact that Miles O'Brien lost most of his left arm in an accident some years back need not be a show-stopper for him. On the contrary - it could provide inspiration for amputees everywhere. Most of us know an amputee in our lives, so it's not an affliction as such and is common. Miles is an experienced pilot, too. Perhaps he could accompany a wealthy person from Qatar, or from the UAE, and do the mission as a Freelance reporter/presenter for Al-Jazeera TV. Because I cannot see an American network or entity paying to put one of their own on such a flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/01/2017 11:15 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

Is there a forum/thread where you have outlined what you would like to see?  Because you are right, you are not alone.  But because I am excited where this type of activity takes us, I'm curious why it does not excite everyone.

And I'm not looking for a debate, but an education.  Maybe call it "customer development (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_Development)", and you represent a part of the customer base that has not yet expressed interest in this particular "feature".
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Poole Amateur on 03/01/2017 11:16 pm
As a Brit, I like your suggestion of James May and Brian Cox, but Miles is a brilliant communicator and space advocate. Would love to see him get his ride to space and share the experience with us all on a human level.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jimmy Murdok on 03/01/2017 11:16 pm
The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

NASA has had the resources to do what they did almost 50years ago, of course politics do not help the development of a dragon-soyuz equivalent, but could still could have been done after the Shuttle.
They need to look ahead further, this acusations with SpaceX are demoralizing. Put efforts and keep the politicians happy developing deep space habitats and reusable landers, but be imaginative on how to keep the pork jobs for useful stuff, make proposals that they cannot refuse.

There is real possibility of space tourists around the moon and we are unhappy? NASA should be doing it's own way without looking at the "infant terrible" that they have helped to create. We should be speaking about how to land and not about whom betrayed whom with the announcement.

Edit: some ortographics
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 03/01/2017 11:21 pm
As a Brit, I like your suggestion of James May and Brian Cox, but Miles is a brilliant communicator and space advocate. Would love to see him get his ride to space and share the experience with us all on a human level.
Yes! O'Brien has done some Space reporting for a variety of sources in recent years - even for his former employers, CNN. And I've seen his former colleague John Zarella reporting Space issues on China's CCTV as well.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Poole Amateur on 03/01/2017 11:25 pm
I really enjoyed his series TWIS (This Week In Space) with Spaceflight Now. Pity they couldn't make it pay. 😢
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 03/01/2017 11:32 pm
Part of the explosive growth in aviation in the 1920's was the result of World War 1 surplus JN-4 Jenny's being sold at an average cost of $500.00.  In today's money that would be approximately $6257.30.

Unfortunately, no one is even close to selling 'used usable spaceships' for that amount. ;)

Thus, seeing the price of a Lunar Flight come to a range where anyone feels that the cost of doing so has value to them as an individual is highly encouraging!  It implies that the costs of flight that we spacefans have bemoaned for years are beginning to move from their prohibitive levels.

Much like Dennis Tito's ISS flight created the kind of public interest that, joined with the XPrize, resulted in the the recognition of a private spaceflight market; I expect that this flight will spark the kind of interest that will encourage new and unexpected developments in private spaceflight.

I can't wait to see what comes along as a result.  It is sure to be interesting!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kansan52 on 03/01/2017 11:39 pm
Lee Jay, I'm like Coastal Ron and would love to have views of where things should be going.

I'm excited about this mission. Having rich people help keep a space company in business does not make me feel disenfranchised. The costs do.

What does make sad is how politics stopped Apollo and the improvements to HSF that were in the pipeline.

For me, this trip shows a breakthrough. First it was the ISS. Now the Moon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/01/2017 11:44 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

Is there a forum/thread where you have outlined what you would like to see? 

Not entirely, but a bit of it is here, from 2010:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19548.msg531215#msg531215
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TomH on 03/01/2017 11:49 pm
....I am excited where this type of activity takes us, I'm curious why it does not excite everyone.

It puzzles me as well. This is not meant to be unkind to any particular person, but I think there is a certain elitism in play, the thought that this type of to boldly go where no one has gone before is only the realm of specialists. The primo national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite were opened when railroad barons built lines into these remote places and catered to the very wealthy. Sure, explorers and trappers were the first, but the pathway that allowed everyone in was established by the wealthy.

Military spending enables cutting edge technology in aeronautics. New developments then enable technology to trickle down to general aviation. This, however, enables a larger base of more streamlined and efficient engineering to develop. This more streamlined and more economically efficient base is then able to be a platform for even more advanced technology to arise, which is primarily paid for in military spending.

The US government, via missile programs, then NASA, pioneered space exploration. Companies like Hughes (DirecTV) have profited from that. Their participation helped build a technology and manufacturing base. NASA has been invaluable in enabling SpaceX to get to where it is, but the ability of SpaceX to apply business principles to a now more common technology has driven efficiency and deflated costs. The fact that common people (albeit rich) are now entering the equation is a good thing. It is a part of a natural cycle of advancement and progress. It is a milestone marker that access to space is becoming more prevalent. It will help build a technological and economic base that will allow humanity to reach the Red Planet. It is time to let go of elite persons being the only ones allowed access to space.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jcliving on 03/01/2017 11:49 pm
This seems to be a very easy decision for Spacex.  A Red Dragon mission in 2018 checks the following boxes with the entire cost being paid by Spacex.

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use for dragon 2

A Private Tourist Moon Mission paid by the customer checks the following boxes

- Increases the number of flights by Falcon Heavy
- A beyond earth orbit mission
- proof of an additional use of dragon 2
- another proof point for crewed dragon

I stipulate that the checkbox lists above are not comprehensive, but there are enough items in the list to illustrate my point.
You should add to the first list:

- Mars EDL
- Interplanetary navigation
- Persistent science station / beacon on Mars surface

I agree those are good editions to the list for Red Dragon.  There is more technical achievement value for the Red Dragon, but your additions just increase the cost differential between the two missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 12:03 am
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.
If this were SpaceX's end goal and business plan, I would be disappointed.  But to me it's just a stepping stone.  Someone is footing the bill for development and proving of Dragon's BEO applications.

And there may, or may not, be political reasons they are doing this as well. I don't buy into that too much. I assume it's basically paid for development and additional testing of a general purpose BEO capsule.

OK, I'm not sure if it's technically BEO, but it's B-LEO at least.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/02/2017 12:30 am
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19548.msg531215#msg531215

I read it, and I agree that building a follow-on space station to support the expansion of humanity out into space would be a good idea.

The devil is in the details of course, and the sequence of events that allow that.  I look forward to chatting about this on another thread.

Thanks!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 03/02/2017 12:58 am
I'm often wrong but if you are paying that kind of change for this kind of flight then the only way not to be seen as spam in a can is to conduct an EVA.
In fact that could be a selling point: we take you there and back, we make that easy for you so that you have time to develop your skills to do other things. Going into space should be easy so we won't be hiring astronauts. Not only that we provide a new generation spacesuit to make an EVA easier.

I'm not sure how to make it much clearer than others have, but NO. There will be no Dragon EVAs. While not impossible to build into a Dragon-like spacecraft, it would be a significant redesign that would cost $$$ and lots of time, something not in plenty of supply. Dragon is a people/cargo carrier. That is all.

Landing on the moon would be a selling point too, but that ain't happening here either.  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 03/02/2017 01:14 am
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19548.msg531215#msg531215

I read it, and I agree that building a follow-on space station to support the expansion of humanity out into space would be a good idea.

The devil is in the details of course, and the sequence of events that allow that.  I look forward to chatting about this on another thread.

I don't really see that type of Battlestar Galactica research exploration is feasible, but I just think its great that we actually have multiple ideas about human spaceflight now competing in the open. SpaceX has one idea. Blue Origin another. NASA has... a complicated set of ideas.  ;) May the best one idea win.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Doesitfloat on 03/02/2017 01:17 am
Hey if you can afford to once... you can afford to go again when they have a lander.
I'm not saying it has to be a Spacex lander, but if they lower the cost enough someone will make it into an amusement park.  :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 01:19 am
I don't really see that type of Battlestar Galactica research exploration is feasible,

I hate it when people call it that.  Makes it sound like it has to be the size of Texas and cost 100 trillion dollars.

To make a long story short, it's about 7 SLS launches.  What was there, about 30 for ISS, of which something like 25 were STS launches, not including Russian crew and resupply during the process?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/02/2017 01:21 am
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi.  And they're using this as a very obvious way to fund one of the steps of the program.  Not even a necessary distraction (like, for example, the commsats are), but a bone-fide step they'd have to do anyway on the way to Mars.  (fly humans in cis-lunar space for various periods)

So unless you think SpaceX will go gold-blind, forget about Mars, and spend the rest of their corporate lives flying rich people around the moon, I don't have a problem with this little project.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AncientU on 03/02/2017 01:52 am
I don't really see that type of Battlestar Galactica research exploration is feasible,

I hate it when people call it that.  Makes it sound like it has to be the size of Texas and cost 100 trillion dollars.

To make a long story short, it's about 7 SLS launches.  What was there, about 30 for ISS, of which something like 25 were STS launches, not including Russian crew and resupply during the process?

Seven SLS launches... plus the cost of building the station, which hasn't even been designed.  We're still talking about a few tens of $Billions and a couple decades.  NASA has made zero progress in that direction in the seven years since you proposed it, and not because it isn't a good idea.

Next natural (and parallel) steps as I see them:
Bigelow putting up a BA-330, hopefully not attached to the ISS -- two scheduled by 2020.
New Glenn and ITS getting their methane engines -- next 1-2 years.
ULA flying IVF demo and first ACES -- early 2020s.
Masten making headway on Xeus...

There is a natural and healthy role for NASA in all of this.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 02:08 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Brovane on 03/02/2017 02:09 am
This announcement and Musk's Mars colonization plan are apparently straining his relationship with NASA.  I stumbled on this article:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/if-you-think-nasa-is-frustrated-with-spacex-youre-probably-right/

The author of this article has spent to much time trying to read between the lines of what NASA has said and not enough time paying attention to what NASA actually has said. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AS-503 on 03/02/2017 02:11 am
Though I am skeptical that SpaceX will manage to send two people around the moon in the time frame announced, I wonder whether this announcement might finally get Congress's attention (of course, I thought that would happen after Musk's Mars announcement at the IAC).

Here's a guess:  NASA starts talking more about a cis-lunar hab, proudly announcing that, thanks to the ISS model it pioneered, the hab will be launched by NASA (on SLS, of course), while the commercial sector will handle logistics.  Orion isn't canceled outright -- it's still meant to be some kind of back-up or to figure in some nebulous Mars architecture, but it's de-emphasized and begins to fade away*.  Maybe EUS gets put on hold indefinitely.

Some plan is put in place to build up the cis-lunar hab over the years, justifying continued SLS launches at a glacial pace.  The necessary cadence of launches to maintain safety can be de-emphasized, because the lanuches carry hardware only, no people.



* Orion is built by Lockheed Martin in Colorado.  It's been noted before that the first concession the Obama administration to Congress in the fight over the FY 2011 NASA budget was to rescind its proposed cancellation of Orion; it was suggested then that this was related to the fact that of the states receiving major funding through Orion/SLS, Colorado was among the most Democratic.  From the Trump administration's point of view now, Colorado committed the sin of not voting for Trump in 2016.

EDIT:  Added footnote about politics of Orion.  Footnote added after cro-magnon gramps liked the post, so the like may not apply to the footnote.

Lockheed Martin/Orion is not exclusively Colorado and given LM is a major defense contractor and the current president wants to increase military spending...I don't think your "political" hunch is correct.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AS-503 on 03/02/2017 02:20 am
I've said this before but I'll say it again. I'd personally want at least one pilot/engineer along for the ride.

A lot can happen in seven days and I'd prefer to have someone who is able to manually execute course-correction burns and steer the thing through re-entry if the computers become balky or an error in the FHUS sends them on an unexpected and marginal trajectory (steeper re-entry corridor, for example). Then there is the issue of correct training to fix any fixable problems.

There is no way a human pilot can "steer" a manned space craft manually through re-entry (limiting g loads, structural loads, thermal loads). If the systems are not able to do it automatically how can these "offline" systems give the pilot the critical data he/she would need for this already impossible task? There is no stick-and-rudder approach to re-entry.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Norm38 on 03/02/2017 02:25 am
I would love to see this happen, it would be a lot of fun.  But after two failures in two years, Spacex is behind in their mailnifest. They have customers who need rides.
What is the ROI on this adventure versus 3 cores lifting three satellites?
I don't doubt their will. I doubt their resources and the will of their customers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rockets4life97 on 03/02/2017 02:29 am
What is the ROI on this adventure versus 3 cores lifting three satellites?

Re-use of FH cores and Dragon 2 should make the ROI high. I expect the adventurers are paying a premium as well such that the profit from this launch is higher than your average GTO satellite launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AncientU on 03/02/2017 02:41 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.

They are just using the same definition of late 2018 as Gerst a few days ago*.
I'd take the bet if it was who flies crew around the Moon first... (including the Trampoline man)


*At 4:00:
Here is a recording of the teleconference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEoiWTo0E9Y
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 03/02/2017 03:10 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.

I look forward to see you yelling FUD at any NASA schedule and announcement. Slipping schedules and changing priorities is not unique to SpaceX. (Asteroid redirect, looking in your direction)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meberbs on 03/02/2017 03:14 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
I interpret your first sentence as your response being you spreading fear uncertainty and doubt. Because I certainly don't see how SpaceX announcing that they have paying passengers around the moon does that. You also failed to use any actual facts in your response.

Why could they not meet the schedule in 2018? If nothing major goes wrong, Dragon will have flown crew to the station twice by the end of 2018. I count 3 other Falcon Heavy flights by the end of 2018 scheduled, which is reasonable for crew rating given the very high commonality with Falcon 9.

The 2018 schedule is the "everything goes right" schedule that SpaceX always uses. If there are any failures, or new issues in testing for commercial crew, this date will move. Even regular launch scheduling delays could push it to early 2019, but I am not seeing any reason that it could not be done in that general time frame barring major failures.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: kch on 03/02/2017 03:18 am

There is no way a human pilot can "steer" a manned space craft manually through re-entry (limiting g loads, structural loads, thermal loads). If the systems are not able to do it automatically how can these "offline" systems give the pilot the critical data he/she would need for this already impossible task? There is no stick-and-rudder approach to re-entry.

Somewhere, Gordon Cooper is laughing his [posterior] off at that ... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Mongo62 on 03/02/2017 03:23 am
I think that most people would agree that a test flight of Falcon Heavy putting an unmanned Cargo Dragon in a trajectory around the Moon would be a very good thing to do before a manned Crew Dragon is sent to the Moon and back.

There is a test flight of Falcon Heavy coming up, which is required before the Air Force STP-2 launch can happen. But the Falcon Heavy fairing-interior mounting hardware does not match the Cargo Dragon mounting hardware, and a fairing is required by the Air Force.

The fairing itself is not a problem, there is apparently plenty of room for the Cargo Dragon (and trunk?) inside it.

But the existing mounting hardware is a show-stopper. Designing and fabricating a one-off set of mounting hardware to hold the Cargo Dragon for just this flight would be too expensive. Unless... can an additional adapter to fit the Cargo Dragon trunk to the existing Falcon Heavy mounting hardware be fabricated and tested, in time to be ready for the test flight, preferably by the fourth quarter of this year? Basically a truncated cone, with the proper connections on both sides. It's possible that the design work for this might already be underway, we do not know how long it's been since the lunar mission was given the go-ahead, and this issue is the obvious long pole at this point.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Jim on 03/02/2017 03:26 am
Dragon in a fairing is not a good idea.  Too much one off work would have to be done
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/02/2017 03:28 am
This is not FUD. This is literally the opposite of FUD, which is an acronym Meaning "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt."

If anything, it's fearless, confident, and (over-?)optimistic.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AncientU on 03/02/2017 03:34 am
I think that most people would agree that a test flight of Falcon Heavy putting an unmanned Cargo Dragon in a trajectory around the Moon would be a very good thing to do before a manned Crew Dragon is sent to the Moon and back.

There is a test flight of Falcon Heavy coming up, which is required before the Air Force STP-2 launch can happen. But the Falcon Heavy fairing-interior mounting hardware does not match the Cargo Dragon mounting hardware, and a fairing is required by the Air Force.

The fairing itself is not a problem, there is apparently plenty of room for the Cargo Dragon (and trunk?) inside it.

But the existing mounting hardware is a show-stopper. Designing and fabricating a one-off set of mounting hardware to hold the Cargo Dragon for just this flight would be too expensive. Unless... can an additional adapter to fit the Cargo Dragon trunk to the existing Falcon Heavy mounting hardware be fabricated and tested, in time to be ready for the test flight, preferably by the fourth quarter of this year? Basically a truncated cone, with the proper connections on both sides. It's possible that the design work for this might already be underway, we do not know how long it's been since the lunar mission was given the go-ahead, and this issue is the obvious long pole at this point.

A FH test flight around the Moon was my suggestion, too, a couple weeks before the latest announcement (after Red Dragon postponement to 2020).  I still think it a good idea for the FH Demo flight.  Question is whether the standard upper stage with fairing, demonstrated numerous times on F9, would be sufficient for STP-2.  Loading and vibration differences might be significant enough that the FH demo needs to fly with a fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 04:13 am

I look forward to see you yelling FUD at any NASA schedule and announcement. Slipping schedules and changing priorities is not unique to SpaceX. (Asteroid redirect, looking in your direction)

NASA normally does not have to use FUD to limit competition as IBM did. However, they may have done so in the past, especially during the 1990s when private companies were considering SSTO designs; the failed X-33 program may have been an expensive but successful FUD tactic.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 04:20 am

I interpret your first sentence as your response being you spreading fear uncertainty and doubt. Because I certainly don't see how SpaceX announcing that they have paying passengers around the moon does that. You also failed to use any actual facts in your response.

Why could they not meet the schedule in 2018?

Let me quote Wikipedia to provide some actual facts:

By August 2008, SpaceX were aiming for the first launch of Falcon 9 in Q2 2009, and "Falcon 9 Heavy would be in a couple of years." Speaking at the 2008 Mars Society Conference, Elon Musk also said that a hydrogen-fuelled upper stage would follow 2–3 years later (notionally 2013).

 8) 8) 8)

SpaceX were targeting late 2012 for pad integration of the Falcon Heavy demonstration rocket at its west-coast launch location, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, followed by first launch in 2013.

 8) 8) 8)

The first launch from the Cape Canaveral east-coast launch complex was planned for late 2013 or 2014

 8) 8) 8)

By September 2015, impacted by the failure of Falcon 9 Flight 19 that June, SpaceX rescheduled the maiden Falcon Heavy flight for April/May 2016, but by February 2016 had moved that back to late 2016. The flight was now to be launched from the refurbished Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A. In August 2016, the demonstration flight was moved to early 2017 and further missions are rescheduled accordingly.

 :-* :-* :-*

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/02/2017 04:37 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
Okay, 10:1 odds (in my favor). Will you accept? Payable in food or beverage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mikelepage on 03/02/2017 04:56 am
....I am excited where this type of activity takes us, I'm curious why it does not excite everyone.

It puzzles me as well. This is not meant to be unkind to any particular person, but I think there is a certain elitism in play, the thought that this type of to boldly go where no one has gone before is only the realm of specialists. The primo national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite were opened when railroad barons built lines into these remote places and catered to the very wealthy. Sure, explorers and trappers were the first, but the pathway that allowed everyone in was established by the wealthy.

Military spending enables cutting edge technology in aeronautics. New developments then enable technology to trickle down to general aviation. This, however, enables a larger base of more streamlined and efficient engineering to develop. This more streamlined and more economically efficient base is then able to be a platform for even more advanced technology to arise, which is primarily paid for in military spending.

The US government, via missile programs, then NASA, pioneered space exploration. Companies like Hughes (DirecTV) have profited from that. Their participation helped build a technology and manufacturing base. NASA has been invaluable in enabling SpaceX to get to where it is, but the ability of SpaceX to apply business principles to a now more common technology has driven efficiency and deflated costs. The fact that common people (albeit rich) are now entering the equation is a good thing. It is a part of a natural cycle of advancement and progress. It is a milestone marker that access to space is becoming more prevalent. It will help build a technological and economic base that will allow humanity to reach the Red Planet. It is time to let go of elite persons being the only ones allowed access to space.

Well said.

I'd only make a slightly different analogy, imagine that you've invested in a company to build a bridge across some deep impassable gorge, and then you find out that one of your fellow co-investors in the bridge has this burning desire to get to the other side of the bridge, eat some broccoli, and do cartwheels while whistling yankee doodle, your response is probably "well, that seems kind of pointless to me, but I thank you for co-investing in this bridge."

Point being that the explosion of use-cases occurs every time someone builds a bridge (in this case, from one side of Earth's gravity well to the other), and you don't have to think every use-case is worthwhile to be supportive of what they represent. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 05:10 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
Okay, 10:1 odds (in my favor). Will you accept? Payable in food or beverage.

How much would you have bet in 2012 that FH would fly in 2014?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/02/2017 06:01 am
I think that most people would agree that a test flight of Falcon Heavy putting an unmanned Cargo Dragon in a trajectory around the Moon would be a very good thing to do before a manned Crew Dragon is sent to the Moon and back.

Yes, with you so far.

Quote
But the existing mounting hardware is a show-stopper. Designing and fabricating a one-off set of mounting hardware to hold the Cargo Dragon for just this flight would be too expensive. Unless... can an additional adapter to fit the Cargo Dragon trunk to the existing Falcon Heavy mounting hardware be fabricated and tested

Sorry, you've lost me. Excuse my ignorance, but isn't FH S2 basically a F9 S2? Why is it different to mount a Dragon on a FH compared to what SpaceX already does with the F9?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/02/2017 06:08 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
Okay, 10:1 odds (in my favor). Will you accept? Payable in food or beverage.

How much would you have bet in 2012 that FH would fly in 2014?
Who the F cares?

They're a few years late to being a few decades early.

Put differently, how much was even this delayed timeline likely in 2000?

You seem to think you're the only one who notices delays.

Chill.  Round the moon tourism will become a thing, and add revenue.  It's a good thing.  Red Dragon will fly in 2020, and will likely have larger scope now. 

Not fast enough?  Sadly you're out of alternatives.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/02/2017 06:18 am
My initial response: this is FUD.

I would bet my last dollar that there will not be a SpaceX tourist mission around the Moon launched in 2018. Could there be one later? Sure, much later. My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.
Okay, 10:1 odds (in my favor). Will you accept? Payable in food or beverage.

How much would you have bet in 2012 that FH would fly in 2014?
Hmmm... Not sure I would have! But given your response, I take it that you think they have at least a 9% chance, then! :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: darkenfast on 03/02/2017 06:18 am
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/02/2017 06:19 am
My guess is by the time that FH is sufficiently mature to fly a tourist to any destination, SpaceX will be on to something else.

I disagree. They have paying customers, who have already put down sizeable deposits, and as others have said a trip around the moon is a good stepping stone towards SpaceX's Mars ambitions - not least by demonstrating to NASA (and anyone else) that they are capable of human spaceflight beyond LEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: MATTBLAK on 03/02/2017 06:28 am
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?


Ha ha! Excellent. You tell 'em. I for one, don't have a problem with this at all. And as for James Cameron and his trench dive - yes; he was criticized by some sniffy scientists who accused him of treating the dive as trivial adventure, etc - which is complete B.S. And worse than that, some Hoaxtards were saying Cameron faked the whole thing because he's a special effects expert! Heh - I'd love some of these comedians to try saying it to his face...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 03/02/2017 06:31 am
Energia - 0 tonnes, the Polyus launch failed, would have had a potential payload of 100 tonnes

That was a simple software error that caused Polyus to fire in the opposite direction it was supposed to. I have no doubt that Energia had the potential to launch 88 t to LEO, as demonstrated by it launching Buran into orbit. The press release said "most powerful". Taking that literally, power is measured in Watts, not kg. The power in Watts of a rocket is F*v/2 where F is the thrust (in Newtons) and v is the exhaust speed (in m/s). So rocket power is directly proportional to its thrust for a constant exhaust speed. The same can not be said for payload mass where a host of other factors need to be considered.

Quote
Energia + Buran - 0 comparing apples to apples the Buran was part of the launch vehicle and carried no payload on its first launch, would have had a potential payload of 30 tonnes

Buran was the payload! Energia is not like the Space Shuttle where the only payload that could be carried was in the cargo bay. Energia could carry Buran or a very large payload like Polyus.

Quote
Saturn V - 140 tonnes

That is the Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO). That is not the potential payload that could be carried, which is 118 t.

Quote
Falcon 9 -  54 tonnes

Should be Falcon Heavy in expendable mode. That is the potential payload. It may never carry 54 t, just like Falcon 9 has never carried its full payload of 22.8 t or even got close to it. The same should be said for Energia. It worked and it had a potential payload of 88 t.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/02/2017 06:38 am
On the subject of the price for this trip, this article says that the 'bit more than a crewed trip to the ISS' relates to the deposit not the full price: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603752/spacex-plans-to-fly-tourists-to-the-moon-but-2018-is-ambitious/ (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603752/spacex-plans-to-fly-tourists-to-the-moon-but-2018-is-ambitious/)

Any other sources saying that? If true I guess that makes the full price several hundred million dollars? May be as much as $0.5B ?

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/02/2017 06:42 am
Sounds like balooney. People don't realize that this mission is actually fairly "easy," and don't realize that Falcon Heavy is mostly two reusable boosters strapped on to an F9, so should be similar to ISS (but without the hassle of docking, ISS cargo and logistics, etc...).

Russians could do this mission, too, on a similar timescale. The Soviets basically did it (with turtles) with a orbital-module-less Soyuz on top of a Proton. And that China could easily do it. And that China already did it in subscale a few years ago.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meberbs on 03/02/2017 06:55 am

I look forward to see you yelling FUD at any NASA schedule and announcement. Slipping schedules and changing priorities is not unique to SpaceX. (Asteroid redirect, looking in your direction)

NASA normally does not have to use FUD to limit competition as IBM did. However, they may have done so in the past, especially during the 1990s when private companies were considering SSTO designs; the failed X-33 program may have been an expensive but successful FUD tactic.

The only one using FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) here is you, you appear not to even understand the meaning of these words every time you accuse SpaceX of FUD, which is basically as opposite as possible to what they are doing.


I interpret your first sentence as your response being you spreading fear uncertainty and doubt. Because I certainly don't see how SpaceX announcing that they have paying passengers around the moon does that. You also failed to use any actual facts in your response.

Why could they not meet the schedule in 2018?

Let me quote Wikipedia to provide some actual facts:

(trimmed for length)


That trimmed portion is really, truly not relevant. It can be summarized as: SpaceX found that launching a Falcon Heavy is a bit more complicated than just strapping boosters together, which combined with the lack of reason to prioritize it (few launches, and other priorities) has led to it being pushed back a few years, with unrelated issues (launch failures) being major drivers of the most recent delays.

None of this provides any evidence that they won't make their current schedule or at least something close to it. (I already said that this is obviously the best case schedule and there are various reasons it could slip, and probably will slip some. I don't see any high probability of major issues at this point, the relevant systems are far along in development.)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 06:58 am

I interpret your first sentence as your response being you spreading fear uncertainty and doubt. Because I certainly don't see how SpaceX announcing that they have paying passengers around the moon does that. You also failed to use any actual facts in your response.

Why could they not meet the schedule in 2018?

Let me quote Wikipedia to provide some actual facts:

By August 2008, SpaceX were aiming for the first launch of Falcon 9 in Q2 2009, and "Falcon 9 Heavy would be in a couple of years." Speaking at the 2008 Mars Society Conference, Elon Musk also said that a hydrogen-fuelled upper stage would follow 2–3 years later (notionally 2013).

 8) 8) 8)

SpaceX were targeting late 2012 for pad integration of the Falcon Heavy demonstration rocket at its west-coast launch location, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, followed by first launch in 2013.

 8) 8) 8)

The first launch from the Cape Canaveral east-coast launch complex was planned for late 2013 or 2014

 8) 8) 8)

By September 2015, impacted by the failure of Falcon 9 Flight 19 that June, SpaceX rescheduled the maiden Falcon Heavy flight for April/May 2016, but by February 2016 had moved that back to late 2016. The flight was now to be launched from the refurbished Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A. In August 2016, the demonstration flight was moved to early 2017 and further missions are rescheduled accordingly.

 :-* :-* :-*

The difference is, that the past examples you cite were for PowerPoint and paper rockets. The hardware required for the moon mission is well into and beyond the "bending metal" stage.

(https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/wp-content/uploads/sites/230/2016/06/KSC-20160621-PH_SPX01_0002-1024x683.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/zPdInH5.jpg)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 07:05 am
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

If you look for (uninformed) whining, read this: Money Won't Save SpaceX's Moon Tourists If Something Goes Wrong (http://gizmodo.com/money-wont-save-spacexs-moon-tourists-if-something-goes-1792864750)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 07:27 am
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

Just remember this: Space tourist dispute deepens (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1310410.stm)

NASA threw a tantrum when Dennis Tito flew to the ISS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 03/02/2017 07:31 am
Hi Steven. The Atlas numbers would be the lift off thrust but don't they throttle up shortly after? Might be wrong

As a basis of comparison, I'm using the lift-off thrust. Maximum thrust will be higher, but depends on the height the vehicle reaches, the throttle settings used and the thrust profile of any solid motors.

For this mission - I would propose an Expedition by all willing and able NSF members to be together at KSC or nearby it for the launch of this Mission To The Moon. What do you guys think of that? I would dearly love to meet Chuck Longton, Chris Bergin, Steve Pietrobon, Space Ghost1962 etc - just for example - and indeed anyone else who thinks they could make it there.

Thanks for the invitation, but I'll be at home, covering the launch for NSF. :-) It will be interesting to see if the TV channels will be covering the launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 07:34 am
It will be interesting to see if the TV channels will be covering the launch.

Doubt it. Today we have webcasts.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: tea monster on 03/02/2017 07:35 am
There is an awful lot of uninformed whining in that article.

Having said that, it is true that if something does go wrong out beyond Luna, then nobody is going to be able to zoom out and save them - but space is dangerous, something that we all know here and that the people who put their money down probably know as well.

As to the argument that "NASA should be doing this", I'm sure that they want to. They wanted to go to Mars in the 80's and I'm sure that if Congress had given them the money, they would have made it. NASA never got the funding, so they didn't go, and Congress still displays little intention of changing their minds.

Will the Falcon Heavy get to the moon on time? Maybe. It might be delayed. Everyone, including NASA, suffers from delays. I'd rather they delay the flight a year or so than fly before they are ready. We all know what what can happen when that occurs. 

Musk, for whatever faults you want to find with him, is the only person who has both the will and the ability to push us out past Earth orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 07:40 am
Musk, for whatever faults you want to find with him, is the only person who has both the will and the ability to push us out past Earth orbit.

If this was true, I would be truly terrified. He is the one most visible right now, but I'm sure there are others.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Surfdaddy on 03/02/2017 08:01 am
All the talk of FUD and tourism and negativity is depressing to me.

I grew up in the 1960's. I didn't miss a launch of a manned mission. I watched breathlessly as Apollo 11 descended to the Moon.

I've waited DECADES to see something happen beyond Earth orbit.

At the rate NASA has been going, full of bureaucracy and micromanaged by Congress, I won't live long enough to see anything happen at Mars other than a few rovers.

SpaceX is a breath of fresh air. If they can reignite interest in space, great. And if it takes them to send the first humans out of low Earth orbit, then good for them as well.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Pipcard on 03/02/2017 08:27 am
It will be interesting to see if the TV channels will be covering the launch.

Doubt it. Today we have webcasts.
But this is the first time humans are going to go beyond LEO since 1972.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AS-503 on 03/02/2017 09:36 am

There is no way a human pilot can "steer" a manned space craft manually through re-entry (limiting g loads, structural loads, thermal loads). If the systems are not able to do it automatically how can these "offline" systems give the pilot the critical data he/she would need for this already impossible task? There is no stick-and-rudder approach to re-entry.

Somewhere, Gordon Cooper is laughing his [posterior] off at that ... ;)

The context here is re-entry from BEO. Does the laughing still apply?  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: guckyfan on 03/02/2017 09:40 am
The key point seems to be to me at least. There are no longer wires going from a switch to an engine. The whole thing is hooked up to a computer. As long as the computer works, a human has nothing to do. When it does not work, there is nothing a human can do.

Except I remember from the early days that entry is passively stable. So once you are on a survivable reentry path you can do with complete computer failure. The parachutes can be manually activated in that situation.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: AS-503 on 03/02/2017 10:11 am
The key point seems to be to me at least. There are no longer wires going from a switch to an engine. The whole thing is hooked up to a computer. As long as the computer works, a human has nothing to do. When it does not work, there is nothing a human can do.

Except I remember from the early days that entry is passively stable. So once you are on a survivable reentry path you can do with complete computer failure. The parachutes can be manually activated in that situation.

Your statement says "once your one a survivable path", at what point in a BEO reentry with computer failure are you on a survivable path?  ;)

If you watch the NASA Apollo era video that was posted on page 8 (reply 158) of this thread, you will see how the BEO reentry is controlled by the computer. Small-ish errors in the reentry corridor angle which may or may not be discernible by a human pilot with no computer will most likely result in excessive g/structural/thermal loads (too steep) or skipping off the atmosphere (too shallow). Also the steering (pitch/yaw/roll) done by the computer provides the necessary/correct cross-range for landing accuracy. The human pilot could not carry that task out with a high level of reliability.

Personally I am very excited for this crewed proposal, but I will not argue for the case of having the humans in the loop to provide BEO reentry back up. Its kind of like that argument about having the Falcon 9 landing being dynamically controlled with feedback from the ASDS in real-time vs. the autonomous way it is actually done.

 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: guckyfan on 03/02/2017 10:23 am
Your statement says "once your one a survivable path", at what point in a BEO reentry with computer failure are you on a survivable path?  ;)

If you watch the NASA Apollo era video that was posted on page 8 (reply 158) of this thread, you will see how the BEO reentry is controlled by the computer.

With Apollo 13 they were able to hit the reentry corridor manually. The point I was trying to make is, this is no longer possible with the electronics controlling everything. There is no point in having a pilot.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 03/02/2017 10:24 am

There is no way a human pilot can "steer" a manned space craft manually through re-entry (limiting g loads, structural loads, thermal loads). If the systems are not able to do it automatically how can these "offline" systems give the pilot the critical data he/she would need for this already impossible task? There is no stick-and-rudder approach to re-entry.

Somewhere, Gordon Cooper is laughing his [posterior] off at that ... ;)

Well, I think the center of gravity of Mercury was the same as the geometric center so it would not have been possible to alter the trajectory by rolling the spacecraft. Gordo flipped switches in the right order when the automatic sequencer went down before entry. However, I do recall Mike Collins writing that he was prepared to take manual control over the roll sequence of the CM if the computer malfunctioned on entry on Apollo 11. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 03/02/2017 10:38 am
One significant difference between Apollo and Dragon Mk2 is that the Apollo autopilot and flight control systems, although linked, went through different systems. The manual flight controls would operate even in the event of a navigation computer failure.

I'm not so sure that Dragon's flight controls would work in the event that the GNC system went down. From what I saw of the roll-out presser, Dragon Mk2 looks a lot more glass-and-software with very few physical controls. I mean, I'd like to assume that GNC and flight control are on separate, redundant circuits that talk but are not one and the same (so that one dying doesn't kill the other) but I don't know that for certain.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 11:58 am
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 03/02/2017 12:01 pm
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

I'm thinking crowd funding of some creative sort is maybe how elon gets his 10b to build ITS. Not sure what it is yet but crowd funding does amazing things these days.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Mongo62 on 03/02/2017 12:18 pm
But the existing mounting hardware is a show-stopper. Designing and fabricating a one-off set of mounting hardware to hold the Cargo Dragon for just this flight would be too expensive. Unless... can an additional adapter to fit the Cargo Dragon trunk to the existing Falcon Heavy mounting hardware be fabricated and tested

Sorry, you've lost me. Excuse my ignorance, but isn't FH S2 basically a F9 S2? Why is it different to mount a Dragon on a FH compared to what SpaceX already does with the F9?

The second stage itself is basically the same, as far as I know, but when a fairing is used, as is required for the test flight by the Air Force, the Dragon can no longer be mounted directly to the second stage. There is mounting hardware inside the fairing, which has a smaller diameter than the second stage, and does not fit the Dragon's mounting points (which is designed to fit the second stage).
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 03/02/2017 12:19 pm
People forget that elon started with a russian rocket to put a greenhouse with plants on mars. If that isn't frivolous what is? He is a master presenter of ideas to the public. People around the moon is just another master idea to ignite interest in the public.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ugordan on 03/02/2017 12:53 pm
The second stage itself is basically the same, as far as I know, but when a fairing is used, as is required for the test flight by the Air Force, the Dragon can no longer be mounted directly to the second stage.

Is this a statement of fact or an assumption?

I do agree with your point that trying to fly a Dragon on the inaugural FH flight would go against qualifying the fairing for the (likely higher) max Q environment than on a single stick F9, which would kind of defeat the purpose of the demo flight when it comes to USAF. I guess it boils down to what kind of risk USAF would be willing to take. I personally don't see Dragon on FH-01 happening, but I've been proven wrong before.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: cscott on 03/02/2017 01:42 pm
I do not remember seeing any definitive statement that a fairing was required on the falcon heavy demo flight. Lots of NSFers making assumptions, but no actual facts.

And the NSFers were making their points to argue that dragon wouldn't be on top of the falcon heavy demo flight.  This news from Elon strongly implies the opposite.

I'm not saying who was right and wrong, but I wouldn't treat either option as gospel yet.  Unless someone can dig up an authoritative source.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 01:57 pm
...
What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

Just remember this: Space tourist dispute deepens (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1310410.stm)

NASA threw a tantrum when Dennis Tito flew to the ISS.
I think that has more to do with the effects of the tourist on the safety and operation of the ISS and any extra burdens for NASA than the concept of space tourists in general. NASA may or may not be a fan of the private cislunar (circumlunar?) mission but it's not effecting NASA operations or astronauts.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 02:13 pm
But the existing mounting hardware is a show-stopper. Designing and fabricating a one-off set of mounting hardware to hold the Cargo Dragon for just this flight would be too expensive. Unless... can an additional adapter to fit the Cargo Dragon trunk to the existing Falcon Heavy mounting hardware be fabricated and tested

Sorry, you've lost me. Excuse my ignorance, but isn't FH S2 basically a F9 S2? Why is it different to mount a Dragon on a FH compared to what SpaceX already does with the F9?

The second stage itself is basically the same, as far as I know, but when a fairing is used, as is required for the test flight by the Air Force, the Dragon can no longer be mounted directly to the second stage. There is mounting hardware inside the fairing, which has a smaller diameter than the second stage, and does not fit the Dragon's mounting points (which is designed to fit the second stage).
I think the solution to the problem is to just accept that Dragon launches don't count toward AF acceptance. I doubt using a custom PF would count anyway and it seems like just asking for trouble IMO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ugordan on 03/02/2017 02:17 pm
I think the solution to the problem is to just accept that Dragon launches don't count toward AF acceptance.

That's not really a "solution" for the topic of this thread if you consider the limited number of flights FH can realistically have by the time the end-of-2018 timeframe comes. People didn't start invoking Dragon on the FH demo for no particular reason, but as a means to make that schedule somewhat more realistic.

Some things to consider:

1. FH won't fly from 39A until 40 is back in action.
2. 40 repairs were basically on hold until 39A became operational.
3. because of 2. IMHO it's very optimistic to expect 40 to be rebuilt by even late summer.
4. Despite many past claims on production rate of vehicles, it's still obvious that production is lagging and the only way they can get several flight cores in the launch pipeline is if Something Bad happens and there's a launch campaign standdown. Case in point - Iridium at VAFB.
5. Each FH requires 3 first stage acceptance campaigns at McGregor, which will inevitably have to compete with single cores for their non-shrinking manifest.

All of this combined suggests the number of FHs launched in the next 2 years will be low, even if we assume no major snags during the inaugural campaign. This leaves very few opportunities to test a Dragon 2 with a BEO-like reentry velocity. As for the recent comments about increased production rate later this year, we've heard it all before. Seeing is believing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: douglas100 on 03/02/2017 02:22 pm
One significant difference between Apollo and Dragon Mk2 is that the Apollo autopilot and flight control systems, although linked, went through different systems. The manual flight controls would operate even in the event of a navigation computer failure.

I'm not so sure that Dragon's flight controls would work in the event that the GNC system went down. From what I saw of the roll-out presser, Dragon Mk2 looks a lot more glass-and-software with very few physical controls. I mean, I'd like to assume that GNC and flight control are on separate, redundant circuits that talk but are not one and the same (so that one dying doesn't kill the other) but I don't know that for certain.

The important thing is that the computers don't go down. Without them you don't get home. There are no manual controls on Dragon unlike Mercury. All control inputs go though computers.

There are a few other critical systems  for navigation, particularly star trackers and  the IMU, (also, of course, communications.) The technology for these things has come on a lot since Apollo. And you would expect a lot of redundancy in these systems.

There is nothing for the crew to do on this flight as far as navigation is concerned. The spacecraft can do a lot of it autonomously along with ground command. The crew might have the option of choosing the attitude to get a better view during the flight, but that would have nothing to do with navigation.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 02:34 pm
I think the solution to the problem is to just accept that Dragon launches don't count toward AF acceptance.

That's not really a "solution" for the topic of this thread if you consider the limited number of flights FH can realistically have by the time the end-of-2018 timeframe comes. People didn't start invoking Dragon on the FH demo for no particular reason, but as a means to make that schedule somewhat more realistic.

Some things to consider:

1. FH won't fly from 39A until 40 is back in action.
2. 40 repairs were basically on hold until 39A became operational.
3. because of 2. IMHO it's very optimistic to expect 40 to be rebuilt by even late summer.
4. Despite many past claims on production rate of vehicles, it's still obvious that production is lagging and the only way they can get several flight cores in the launch pipeline is if Something Bad happens and there's a launch campaign standdown. Case in point - Iridium at VAFB.
5. Each FH requires 3 first stage acceptance campaigns at McGregor, which will inevitably have to compete with single cores for their non-shrinking manifest.

All of this combined suggests the number of FHs launched in the next 2 years will be low, even if we assume no major snags during the inaugural campaign. This leaves very few opportunities to test a Dragon 2 with a BEO-like reentry velocity. As for the recent comments about increased production rate later this year, we've heard it all before. Seeing is believing.

Falcon 9 Block 5 can almost certainly launch Dragon 2 around the Moon if it doesn't need to carry any payload and they are willing to throw the booster away. No need for FH for Dragon test flights.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ugordan on 03/02/2017 02:43 pm
Falcon 9 Block 5 can almost certainly launch Dragon 2 around the Moon if it doesn't need to carry any payload and they are willing to throw the booster away. No need for FH for Dragon test flights.

You're making this statement based on what numbers? What is implied by no payload? An empty shell with nothing but RCS and comms? Does launching a boilerplate shell make an accurate test of TPS and reentry performance as the energy to dissipate per surface area goes up linearly with mass, E=(mv*v)/2?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 03:00 pm
Falcon 9 Block 5 can almost certainly launch Dragon 2 around the Moon if it doesn't need to carry any payload and they are willing to throw the booster away. No need for FH for Dragon test flights.

You're making this statement based on what numbers? What is implied by no payload? An empty shell with nothing but RCS and comms? Does launching a boilerplate shell make an accurate test of TPS and reentry performance as the energy to dissipate per surface area goes up linearly with mass, E=(mv*v)/2?
Advertised payload to GTO of 8,300 kg (presumably GTO-1800). That corresponds to 6,850 kg to TLI, which is right around where a dry Dragon 2 is estimated. Certainly more than a boilerplate.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rakaydos on 03/02/2017 03:02 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
You think he hasnt thought about steps four through fourteen?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 03:05 pm
Didn't Musk already say this would be the first Dragon to go beyond LEO?

Edit: He certainly feels the heat shield is already up to the task of lunar return. How many times has a heat shield failed (other than Columbia which was for a very specific reason.)? This whole must do a full on free return test is FUD.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rakaydos on 03/02/2017 03:09 pm
The key point seems to be to me at least. There are no longer wires going from a switch to an engine. The whole thing is hooked up to a computer. As long as the computer works, a human has nothing to do. When it does not work, there is nothing a human can do.

Except I remember from the early days that entry is passively stable. So once you are on a survivable reentry path you can do with complete computer failure. The parachutes can be manually activated in that situation.

Your statement says "once your one a survivable path", at what point in a BEO reentry with computer failure are you on a survivable path?  ;)

If you watch the NASA Apollo era video that was posted on page 8 (reply 158) of this thread, you will see how the BEO reentry is controlled by the computer. Small-ish errors in the reentry corridor angle which may or may not be discernible by a human pilot with no computer will most likely result in excessive g/structural/thermal loads (too steep) or skipping off the atmosphere (too shallow). Also the steering (pitch/yaw/roll) done by the computer provides the necessary/correct cross-range for landing accuracy. The human pilot could not carry that task out with a high level of reliability.

Personally I am very excited for this crewed proposal, but I will not argue for the case of having the humans in the loop to provide BEO reentry back up. Its kind of like that argument about having the Falcon 9 landing being dynamically controlled with feedback from the ASDS in real-time vs. the autonomous way it is actually done.
Something I dont understand is what is wrong with skipping off? Sure, in Apollo they had to discrd their life support equipment and power supply, and thus could not survive "going around for another pass", but Dragon for the most part doesnt have that problem with the Trunk.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 03:12 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
You think he hasnt thought about steps four through fourteen?

Thought about, maybe, but without plans to implement.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 03/02/2017 03:12 pm
The key point seems to be to me at least. There are no longer wires going from a switch to an engine. The whole thing is hooked up to a computer. As long as the computer works, a human has nothing to do. When it does not work, there is nothing a human can do.

Except I remember from the early days that entry is passively stable. So once you are on a survivable reentry path you can do with complete computer failure. The parachutes can be manually activated in that situation.

Your statement says "once your one a survivable path", at what point in a BEO reentry with computer failure are you on a survivable path?  ;)

If you watch the NASA Apollo era video that was posted on page 8 (reply 158) of this thread, you will see how the BEO reentry is controlled by the computer. Small-ish errors in the reentry corridor angle which may or may not be discernible by a human pilot with no computer will most likely result in excessive g/structural/thermal loads (too steep) or skipping off the atmosphere (too shallow). Also the steering (pitch/yaw/roll) done by the computer provides the necessary/correct cross-range for landing accuracy. The human pilot could not carry that task out with a high level of reliability.

Personally I am very excited for this crewed proposal, but I will not argue for the case of having the humans in the loop to provide BEO reentry back up. Its kind of like that argument about having the Falcon 9 landing being dynamically controlled with feedback from the ASDS in real-time vs. the autonomous way it is actually done.
Something I dont understand is what is wrong with skipping off? Sure, in Apollo they had to discrd their life support equipment and power supply, and thus could not survive "going around for another pass", but Dragon for the most part doesnt have that problem with the Trunk.

trunk has solar power?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 03:12 pm
The key point seems to be to me at least. There are no longer wires going from a switch to an engine. The whole thing is hooked up to a computer. As long as the computer works, a human has nothing to do. When it does not work, there is nothing a human can do.

Except I remember from the early days that entry is passively stable. So once you are on a survivable reentry path you can do with complete computer failure. The parachutes can be manually activated in that situation.

Your statement says "once your one a survivable path", at what point in a BEO reentry with computer failure are you on a survivable path?  ;)

If you watch the NASA Apollo era video that was posted on page 8 (reply 158) of this thread, you will see how the BEO reentry is controlled by the computer. Small-ish errors in the reentry corridor angle which may or may not be discernible by a human pilot with no computer will most likely result in excessive g/structural/thermal loads (too steep) or skipping off the atmosphere (too shallow). Also the steering (pitch/yaw/roll) done by the computer provides the necessary/correct cross-range for landing accuracy. The human pilot could not carry that task out with a high level of reliability.

Personally I am very excited for this crewed proposal, but I will not argue for the case of having the humans in the loop to provide BEO reentry back up. Its kind of like that argument about having the Falcon 9 landing being dynamically controlled with feedback from the ASDS in real-time vs. the autonomous way it is actually done.
Something I dont understand is what is wrong with skipping off? Sure, in Apollo they had to discrd their life support equipment and power supply, and thus could not survive "going around for another pass", but Dragon for the most part doesnt have that problem with the Trunk.

Dragon needs the trunk for power and cooling. It can't survive very long without it, although I haven't seen a number for exactly how long.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/02/2017 03:17 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RoboGoofers on 03/02/2017 03:21 pm
The important thing is that the computers don't go down. Without them you don't get home. There are no manual controls on Dragon unlike Mercury. All control inputs go though computers.

There are a few other critical systems  for navigation, particularly star trackers and  the IMU, (also, of course, communications.) The technology for these things has come on a lot since Apollo. And you would expect a lot of redundancy in these systems.

There is nothing for the crew to do on this flight as far as navigation is concerned. The spacecraft can do a lot of it autonomously along with ground command. The crew might have the option of choosing the attitude to get a better view during the flight, but that would have nothing to do with navigation.

I doubt they'll even have that. There's only the moon and earth too look at. SpaceX mission planners will have all the maneuvers for the best views planned out ahead of time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 03/02/2017 03:22 pm
trunk has solar power?

My understanding was that the Dragon Mk2 trunk was a very minimalist affair and that the spacecraft itself was considered to have sufficient battery power for the entire of an ISS crew rotation + margin. If that is still the plan, then this mission will use a non-stock trunk.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 03:23 pm
I think the solution to the problem is to just accept that Dragon launches don't count toward AF acceptance.

That's not really a "solution" for the topic of this thread if you consider the limited number of flights FH can realistically have by the time the end-of-2018 timeframe comes. People didn't start invoking Dragon on the FH demo for no particular reason, but as a means to make that schedule somewhat more realistic.

Some things to consider:
...
All of this combined suggests the number of FHs launched in the next 2 years will be low, even if we assume no major snags during the inaugural campaign. This leaves very few opportunities to test a Dragon 2 with a BEO-like reentry velocity. As for the recent comments about increased production rate later this year, we've heard it all before. Seeing is believing.
We're talking across each other.  I am not opposed to using Dragon on the demo flight.  I'm opposed to creating special PF to add an unnecessary fairing around the Dragon in the hope that the AF would still count the demo as a qualification flight. More mass, more separation events, more complexity and may not even qualify in the AF's eyes since it's not the PF they'd use. My "solution" is prioritizing what is more urgent and if Dragon is more urgent than a flight that counts toward AF acceptance, so be it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 03:26 pm
Falcon 9 Block 5 can almost certainly launch Dragon 2 around the Moon if it doesn't need to carry any payload and they are willing to throw the booster away. No need for FH for Dragon test flights.

But this would significantly increase the price tag of the moon cruise, wouldn't it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Comga on 03/02/2017 03:29 pm
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?

Bravo!
All this fussing.  Let's apply "Dog Rules" as in "Why does a dog lick his..... parts?  Because he can."

Once Falcon Heavy is demonstrated, and SpaceX is ready, or has flow, a passenger mission (The term "crewed" is so clumsy.) to the ISS, there isn't that much else required for a Zond/Apollo 13 circumlunar mission. 

A couple of wealthy and adventurous people talking to Space Adventures approach SpaceX with enough money to make it worthwhile.  (2*${50+?}M?).  What is Musk going to say?  No?

He informs NASA.  (I know second hand that the mission plan was know a week ahead of time.)  NASA puts on a show of their own.  Lots of people there and their supporters aren't happy.  (They won't be happy when China gets to the Moon while we are still doing PowerPoints about our #JourneyToMars, but they will face that when it comes.)   Everyone draws smiley faces.

People scoff at SpaceX's schedule.  It slips.  Endless debates ensue about what to call the "fliers".  They debate if circumlunar is reall BEO or just BLEO.  People post "better" mission designs.  People assume that SpaceX is careless, or hasn't thought of obvious issues.  They want their preferred type of people to fly, preferably a random choice where they have P=10^-7 chance to go instead of zero.  Cry me a river.

Other talk about EVAs and SEVAs and telescopes and surface probes, lunar satellites, companion satellites.  All way more than what's available and likely.  They say the passengers will be bored.  That it's a one-off and no one will care after the first.  Simonyi went to the ISS TWICE.  I personally know people who have been to the summit of Everest multiple times. These experiences are not just for bragging rights.  Anything this big is an incomparable adventure and will generate a lineup of applicants, even if it involves sitting in a can for a week.

This is great.  It's a flight beyond LEO.  It is an adventure and a spectacle.  I wish them all well.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: douglas100 on 03/02/2017 03:32 pm
trunk has solar power?

My understanding was that the Dragon Mk2 trunk was a very minimalist affair and that the spacecraft itself was considered to have sufficient battery power for the entire of an ISS crew rotation + margin. If that is still the plan, then this mission will use a non-stock trunk.

Half the trunk will be covered by solar cells.

https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--BN3w0lcM--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/v6wr96kznig7na8msfbs.jpg (https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--BN3w0lcM--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/v6wr96kznig7na8msfbs.jpg)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 03/02/2017 03:33 pm
Personal considerations: not only I think the Moon is the first logical step, but I actually do not care about the Mars plans too much. If I were a billionaire I would totally apply for the Moon tour (and maybe a landing later on) but I would not care to relocate to Mars, at all. And, I think the Moon trips are very good: the end of setting up a reliable, routing space access for civilians with *no training* (think of the process of flying on a commercial airliner, possibly without TSA, where the only training is the hostess boringly giving you the safety instructions before takeoff) is the most important thing human kind can do.
So for this trip, I hope the participants won't have to go through more than a few days of training, and that they won't be forced to conduct lame science experiments on board unless they like to perform the usual tricks with water bubbles etc. I wonder what kind of food they will eat, just freeze dried stuff or they will have some sort of oven to hat up real meals? Will they be allowed to carry any nice bottle (or pouch) of wine  to celebrate? Will they have to wear the spacesuit at all times or only for takeoff and landing? What kind of internet bandwidth will they have, and will they bring their own devices (phones, tablets, laptops) or they will have to use the Dragon screens for that? It's funny to think that Dragon would provide wi-fi access. If so, what kind of network will they use? To me these are important questions, and the fact that in the next several months we might have answers, is so exciting.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 03/02/2017 03:42 pm
These are in fact technical questions, not personal considerations:

- will this orbit be just an elliptical Earth Orbit that is big enough that it crosses the Moon's path? Or the Moon plays a fundamental role in the trajectory? (I have seen a drawing of the trajectory that looks like an "8" loop)
- would it be possible to make the mission go back and forth Earth and Moon multiple times (assuming the Astronauts had enough food/water etc) or this option requires a different launch profile? (I think that the Moon orbiting around Earth, so changing relative position, will be a challenge, but I cannot quantify if there might be ways to compensate)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 03:43 pm
Falcon 9 Block 5 can almost certainly launch Dragon 2 around the Moon if it doesn't need to carry any payload and they are willing to throw the booster away. No need for FH for Dragon test flights.

But this would significantly increase the price tag of the moon cruise, wouldn't it?

It would be a test flight. No people on board. I don't think it would be a great idea, especially if a reuseable FH can get a better test flight; but it's a possible option.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 03:46 pm
These are in fact technical questions, not personal considerations:

- will this orbit be just an elliptical Earth Orbit that is big enough that it crosses the Moon's path? Or the Moon plays a fundamental role in the trajectory? (I have seen a drawing of the trajectory that looks like an "8" loop)
- would it be possible to make the mission go back and forth Earth and Moon multiple times (assuming the Astronauts had enough food/water etc) or this option requires a different launch profile? (I think that the Moon orbiting around Earth, so changing relative position, will be a challenge, but I cannot quantify if there might be ways to compensate)

It will probably look like this (Credit: Circumlunar Free Return Trajectory by Robert A. Braeunig (http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/free-return.htm)):
(http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/pics/freereturn.gif)

Edit: Make sure the simulation is properly credited.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 03:47 pm

That trimmed portion is really, truly not relevant. It can be summarized as: SpaceX found that launching a Falcon Heavy is a bit more complicated than just strapping boosters together, which combined with the lack of reason to prioritize it (few launches, and other priorities) has led to it being pushed back a few years, with unrelated issues (launch failures) being major drivers of the most recent delays.



Let me prequote you from a few years from now:

"SpaceX found that flying beyond Earth orbit" was a bit more complicated than just pushing an object deeper into space".

Note that I am not saying that SpaceX won't do all sorts of great things in the future (fingers crossed), I am saying that this particular announcement is not likely to result in a flown mission anywhere close to 2018, or that the mission as announced is likely to morph into something else as time passes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 03/02/2017 03:55 pm
Something I dont understand is what is wrong with skipping off?

Because after skipping off, when you come back down (if you come back down at all) it will be somewhere you did not plan for and there will be no recovery ship.  Might even be some nasty place.  And you might come in too steep the second time and burn up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/02/2017 04:09 pm
Yes - an EVA of any kind on a mission such as this is a complete non-starter, a non-issue. And just reiterating for the nth time, for those who didn't see earlier posts - James Cameron absolutely is not involved in any space missions for the forseeable future - he's making 'Avatar' sequels for the next few years.

But a filmaker going up there would definitely be able to recoup some of the cost of the journey, if not recouping it. 10 days of weightless flight, close shots of the moon. The public interest. It would add up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/02/2017 04:11 pm
Didn't Musk already say this would be the first Dragon to go beyond LEO?

Does anyone have a source for this? I'd be very nervous about sending people - especially paying customers - beyond LEO if SpaceX hasn't done it before. Surely they have to test beyond LEO that their navigation, tracking, comms, maybe radiation effects etc are all ok first?

Edit: typo
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/02/2017 04:16 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Kansan52 on 03/02/2017 04:24 pm
Sorry, can't support your crowd funding for your trip around the Moon. Still working on getting mine started!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 04:25 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.

The idea of sending tourists beyond LEO on a very early FH mission is not wise.

First off, sending anyone with no prior spaceflight experience on a prolonged mission where there is no possibility of early return is perilous. If the crew were all experienced, that would be "safer".

Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

Third, FH with its 27 engines needs to be fully tested before putting crew on it, and ultimately tourists.

One mitigation approach that I happen to really like (for obvious reasons) is to fly a tourist mission to ISS, and then have the Dragon rendezvous and dock with an upper stage orbited by a FH. The additional performance from this approach may allow the Dragon to contain enough prop to enter and leave lunar orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 04:41 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 03/02/2017 04:45 pm
The biggest risk IMO is the ECLSS failing or being inefficient for the task. and could always get a power failure. Not sure about backups. I don't worry about FH or Dragon on take off or landing. Or GNC or Comms or EDL.

If someone wants to do it, I don't see why NASA or FAA or even SpaceX would prevent them. If I had the money I would go the the Moon, or better yet a Red Dragon or Mars 500. You can be bored and uncomfortable or dead on Earth or in Space.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: matthewkantar on 03/02/2017 04:46 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.

I have no problem with the risk, worst case scenario we lose a couple of nonessential billionaires. SpaceX would most likely weather the storm.  Negativity is relative, more like dismay at turning a tool in to a toy.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 03/02/2017 04:46 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.

The idea of sending tourists beyond LEO on a very early FH mission is not wise.

First off, sending anyone with no prior spaceflight experience on a prolonged mission where there is no possibility of early return is perilous. If the crew were all experienced, that would be "safer".

Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

Third, FH with its 27 engines needs to be fully tested before putting crew on it, and ultimately tourists.

One mitigation approach that I happen to really like (for obvious reasons) is to fly a tourist mission to ISS, and then have the Dragon rendezvous and dock with an upper stage orbited by a FH. The additional performance from this approach may allow the Dragon to contain enough prop to enter and leave lunar orbit.

I agree with your 3 points, however, I don't believe the late 2018 schedule. 

I think the 3 points will be addressed to a reasonable level before the flight actually happens.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 04:48 pm
The biggest risk IMO is the ECLSS failing or being inefficient for the task.

How many days did commercial crew spec for the ECLSS? Hard to believe that it would be the absolute minimum.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: wannamoonbase on 03/02/2017 04:49 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

Short answer would be experience, more exhausting engineering, design and testing.

There is a reason why most things from NASA work the first time and cost a ton.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 03/02/2017 04:52 pm
It will probably look like this:
(http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/pics/freereturn.gif)

wonderful. Could you explain the graphic? Does each step of the animation represent a constant time? If so, how much? The lunar fly by will be extremely quick compared to the whole trip, I knew that, but I did not know it would be *that* small, just 3-4 hours maybe?

What program did you use for that, do you have the source code? Thank you
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 04:52 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

Abort modes.

Can't do that after TLI.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 03/02/2017 04:54 pm
The biggest risk IMO is the ECLSS failing or being inefficient for the task.

How many days did commercial crew spec for the ECLSS? Hard to believe that it would be the absolute minimum.

I heard it was originally 7 humans for 2 weeks, and be on station unmanned for two years (lifeboat). But that is the safety of LEO. We all know Gremlins live in space. 

Now we do know for sure that 4 humans and cargo is the Norm for Crew Dragon. Not sure about toilet though, or any ECLSS backups.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 04:57 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 04:59 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

What NASA is planning to do is a topic for another thread.  Remember, it is the same NASA that put live crew on the first shuttle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DaveJ576 on 03/02/2017 05:00 pm
Wow.  I can't remember hearing so much whining in a thread in a long time in NSF.  Two people are going to PAY SpaceX for a trip around the Moon! 

"Waah! It's shouldn't be rich people!  It should be someone from Category X that I like better and paid for by someone else!"  "Waah!  They can't do it without a professional astronaut!"  Waah!  They're just tourists!"  "Waah!  It's too dangerous!  Let's sneer at it and maybe it'll go away!"

I wonder if the same thing happened on, say, oceanographic forums condemning Cameron for going to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as a TOURIST?  Probably did, if the same kind of people are on there.  Or let's pile on anyone who pays a bunch of money to jump out of a balloon in the Stratosphere: "Waah!  That should only be done by professional test pilots!".

What is the matter here?  It's their money, not yours.  Someone is helping push BEO flight along and some of you are acting like they are killing babies or something.

I'd go in a heartbeat.  Crowdfunding, anybody?


Unfortunately, NSF will only allow me to "Like" this once!

For pity's sake, have we all become so inured to the concept that NASA is the end-all and be-all of human spaceflight that we have forgotten that this is a PRIVATE venture? Repeat this as often as necessary: "SpaceX isn't NASA!" SpaceX can do whatever they want with whoever they want as long as they are using PRIVATE money and they don't endanger the public. My hat is off to them for having the vision, resources, and most importantly the WILL to make us a multi-planet species, three qualities that politics and a fickle public will prevent NASA from having anytime in the near future. Go for it SpaceX! I hope it goes well, but I will still support you if it doesn't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: RonM on 03/02/2017 05:04 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

Reasonable, but you're stuck with government funded missions and we've seen over the decades that it's not a priority. Commercial space activity has to make a profit somewhere or be a nonprofit funded by billionaires. So, to get anywhere in space these days will require tourists and billionaire pet projects. Maybe mining one day to support colonies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 05:05 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

What NASA is planning to do is a topic for another thread.  Remember, it is the same NASA that put live crew on the first shuttle.

Who do you think the FAA is going to look to for guidance on this?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 03/02/2017 05:06 pm
How close does the capsule get to the Moon surface on a free-return trajectory?

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a ball of cameras follow the capsule about 50 feet farther back and away from the Moon, such that the capsule appeared a few degrees below the Moon horizon at perigee?  Relay the entire spherical stream back to Earth, and folks can watch it with a VR headset.  It'd feel like you were doing an EVA, during a close approach to the Moon, with something of human scale in the scene for perspective.  Ideally there would be a window on the capsule through which we could see some portion of a person, moving around in there.  The immersive feel of VR is a very good application for this.

That moment when the Earth rises over the horizon of the Moon will be perfect.  If the Earth's face is well lit, then the spacecraft will be as well.

I like the idea.  My thoughts were send a drone in the trunk and let the crew operate it.
Probably not gonna happen as SpaceX would have concerns that accidentally crashing the drone into a draco thruster or worst of all a communications antenna could lead to loss of crew.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 05:09 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

Short answer would be experience, more exhausting engineering, design and testing.

There is a reason why most things from NASA work the first time and cost a ton.

So in this case SpaceX and the people who are going are just capitalizing on the great oversight job NASA has done on commercial crew.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/02/2017 05:15 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

Short answer would be experience, more exhausting engineering, design and testing.

There is a reason why most things from NASA work the first time and cost a ton.
The problem is that most things worked the first time for SpaceX too.

They broke later.  Much like has happened with NASA hardware (and pretty much everyone else)


Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/02/2017 05:16 pm
Lots of talk about risks, and no doubt they are all valid.

We should all keep in mind though that the two individuals that are paying for this trip would know the story of Apollo 13, and would be aware that there would be no equal level of potential support (i.e. no lunar module for instance as a refuge) in case something went wrong.  They are going into this with their eyes wide open.

So are they expecting a true tourist flight, where everything has been proven?  No.

These individuals, whoever they are, are willing to take substantial risks in order to do something that will go down in the history books - either because they were a success, or a failure.

SpaceX knows this too.  It's a risk for them, especially since even though this effort is not related to what they plan to do regarding Mars, it will be connected in the mind of the public.

So really the question should be whether we should be encouraging and supporting assumed risk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_risk)?  There are many sports we enjoy where the likelihood of death and injury is part of the "excitement", so how is this any different?  It's not.  It's just new, and in a new realm that previously was reserved for governments and science.

If the goal is to expand humanity out into space, and I would argue that is the only reason to have a government human spaceflight program, then this type of activity is important.  Does it check all the boxes for all the activities everyone wants?  No, but then again we're not paying for it - private citizens are.

And isn't that the real reason we should be cheering for this to succeed?

My $0.02
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meekGee on 03/02/2017 05:19 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.
What is more interplanetary than ITS?

Do you really think it'll only fly to Mars?

No 6-month trips to NEOs? That's something NASA should be doing - using ITS for exactly what you want.

But ITS will only come into being in the context of a Mars colonization plan.  It sure as hell didn't come into being as an evolution of planetary probes or ISS LEO flights.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jimvela on 03/02/2017 05:21 pm
Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

This isn't a zero-sum game, despite what some people assert. 
Having paying customers fund development accelerates everything, which can be an enabler for more exploration and science.

In the not too terribly distant past, I was on vacation at my houseboat at lake Powell.   We came across a lady walking along the docks gossiping on an early iridium phone. One of my good friends and colleagues was utterly disgusted with this.  His initial reaction was complete horror- how could someone "misuse" something as grand as a satellite network for something as repugnant (to him) as gossip?

The answer shocked him- "That's what we build this stuff for- so everyone that can afford it uses it, letting us have more capability to do those things that *you* want to do."

Keep the faith, bud- there's room in this game to do science, exploration, and any matter of goofing off.  This isn't a bad thing, its a really, really good next step.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 05:23 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.

The idea of sending tourists beyond LEO on a very early FH mission is not wise.

First off, sending anyone with no prior spaceflight experience on a prolonged mission where there is no possibility of early return is perilous. If the crew were all experienced, that would be "safer".

Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

Third, FH with its 27 engines needs to be fully tested before putting crew on it, and ultimately tourists.

One mitigation approach that I happen to really like (for obvious reasons) is to fly a tourist mission to ISS, and then have the Dragon rendezvous and dock with an upper stage orbited by a FH. The additional performance from this approach may allow the Dragon to contain enough prop to enter and leave lunar orbit.
SpaceX stated:

Quote
Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth.

This mission is gated by operational crew missions to the ISS. So the Dragon 2 will have had an in flight abort and at least 3 orbital flights at that point, two of those with crew. You can argue it will lack BEO experience if you assume that the crewed cislunar flight is the first time Dragon is sent cislunar.  But I think it's hard to argue the Dragon 2 will be untested at that time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Proponent on 03/02/2017 05:23 pm
Exactly what are the hard facts that we have about SpaceX's announcement?  Is a recording of the phone conference available anywhere?

For the most part, I'm going on this article (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/02/27/spacex-transport-private-parties-around-moon/98472346/) in Florida Today:

* Launch from LC-39A (obviously);
* 2 people;
* 300,000-400,000 miles, i.e., 480,000-640,000 km (presumably, distance from Earth);
* Those aboard will travel "will travel faster and farther into the solar system than any before them";
* Week-long trip;
* Not a one-time thing

To aid in speculation about flight paths, I attach a figure from the paper attached to this post (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31487.msg1043318#msg1043318), which shows flight times as a function of periselenum radius (recall that that moon's equatorial radius is about 1738 km) for in-plane free-return trajectories.  I'm sure it's the circum-lunar curve for co-rotating injection (SpaceX can't launch West from LC-39A!) that applies: the "cis-lunar" trajectories are those that pass in front of the moon rather than behind it, even though their apogees lie beyond the moon's orbit.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: DnA915 on 03/02/2017 05:28 pm
So stupid curiosity time:
Do the buyers of this trip get to keep the Dragon 2 that they fly in? I can't tell you how amazing it would be to me to have a Dragon capsule in my Great room. When people come over I can casually mention that "Oh yeah, the wife and I flew around the moon on that last year"
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 05:31 pm
It will probably look like this:
(http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/pics/freereturn.gif)

wonderful. Could you explain the graphic? Does each step of the animation represent a constant time? If so, how much? The lunar fly by will be extremely quick compared to the whole trip, I knew that, but I did not know it would be *that* small, just 3-4 hours maybe?

What program did you use for that, do you have the source code? Thank you

Sorry, I can't take credit for this. It's from Circumlunar Free Return Trajectory  (http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/free-return.htm) by Robert A. Braeunig . I will modify the original post to make sure that this is correctly credited.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: rsdavis9 on 03/02/2017 05:41 pm
It will probably look like this:
(http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/pics/freereturn.gif)

wonderful. Could you explain the graphic? Does each step of the animation represent a constant time? If so, how much? The lunar fly by will be extremely quick compared to the whole trip, I knew that, but I did not know it would be *that* small, just 3-4 hours maybe?

What program did you use for that, do you have the source code? Thank you

Sorry, I can't take credit for this. It's from Circumlunar Free Return Trajectory  (http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/free-return.htm) by Robert A. Braeunig . I will modify the original post to make sure that this is correctly credited.

The only thing the animation is missing is probable couple of LEO orbits before TLI to check out equipment.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: virnin on 03/02/2017 05:42 pm
Sorry, can't support your crowd funding for your trip around the Moon. Still working on getting mine started!

Pretty sure PowerBall is my only option!  And no, that is NOT my retirement plan too. ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: bad_astra on 03/02/2017 05:49 pm
Secondly, Dragon 2 will not be fully tested in 2018, there will be flight modes yet undiscovered that could cause problems.

So why is NASA not requiring more test flights before allowing crew on board?

What NASA is planning to do is a topic for another thread.  Remember, it is the same NASA that put live crew on the first shuttle.


And it worked. And NASA got things done, back then.


The problem with spaceflight is not that we run the risk of losing lives. This sounds crass but we should have lost MANY more by now.

Dragon 2 will have had a test flight by then. So will Falcon Heavy. The life support for this mission need be no more complicated than a minisub with extra fans. We're talking about two people in a capsule built for 7.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jpo234 on 03/02/2017 05:49 pm
It will probably look like this:
(http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/pics/freereturn.gif)

wonderful. Could you explain the graphic? Does each step of the animation represent a constant time? If so, how much? The lunar fly by will be extremely quick compared to the whole trip, I knew that, but I did not know it would be *that* small, just 3-4 hours maybe?

What program did you use for that, do you have the source code? Thank you

Sorry, I can't take credit for this. It's from Circumlunar Free Return Trajectory  (http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/free-return.htm) by Robert A. Braeunig . I will modify the original post to make sure that this is correctly credited.

The only thing the animation is missing is probable couple of LEO orbits before TLI to check out equipment.

Quote from: Robert A. Braeunig
Translunar Injection, or TLI, is a propulsive maneuver used to set a spacecraft on a trajectory that will arrive at the Moon. Prior to TLI the spacecraft is in a low circular parking orbit around Earth. In this example, we have assumed a parking orbit altitude of 185 kilometers and a TLI delta-v of 3,150 m/s.

So, the LEO orbits are there, just not part of the simulation.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 05:53 pm

What is more interplanetary than ITS?


What I described in the link posted upthread.

Quote

Do you really think it'll only fly to Mars?


I really think it won't fly at all.  At least, not in any configuration even remotely like the video they provided.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: philw1776 on 03/02/2017 05:53 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

Your goals are congruent with much of what NASA aims for and does and ESA.  They're doing well from my view.

If that does not suffice "Be Like Musk" and start your own spaceflight company embracing your goals.

Musk is spending his daily life and personal wealth to achieve his dream, not yours.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/02/2017 06:02 pm
Put Dragon under a fairing on FH and get two tests for the price of one...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 03/02/2017 06:06 pm
Sorry, I can't take credit for this.

Oh wait I was not asking about credits, just if you had a model that was possible to tweak. However the page you linked specifies each time slot is four hours. So it seems correct to think the lunar fly by will only last about 4 hours, taking only one slot of the total 38 that I counted in the animation (for a total of around 6 days)
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: meberbs on 03/02/2017 06:11 pm

That trimmed portion is really, truly not relevant. It can be summarized as: SpaceX found that launching a Falcon Heavy is a bit more complicated than just strapping boosters together, which combined with the lack of reason to prioritize it (few launches, and other priorities) has led to it being pushed back a few years, with unrelated issues (launch failures) being major drivers of the most recent delays.



Let me prequote you from a few years from now:

"SpaceX found that flying beyond Earth orbit" was a bit more complicated than just pushing an object deeper into space".

Note that I am not saying that SpaceX won't do all sorts of great things in the future (fingers crossed), I am saying that this particular announcement is not likely to result in a flown mission anywhere close to 2018, or that the mission as announced is likely to morph into something else as time passes.
For Falcon Heavy they had to increase structural strength for the core, and build a pad capable of supporting it.

To send a spacecraft to the moon that was originally designed with BEO in mind, after said spacecraft has been tested in LEO they will have to....? without an explanation, you are just handwaving and spreading FUD.

Also, I don't think you understand how your post sounds to me (and presumably others), so let me paraphrase you:

Let me prequote you 2 and a half years from now: "They were six months late, how dare anyone consider this a success. This proves they can't do anything right"

Or preferably within a few posts from now: "I'm sorry for being rude, I'll stop spreading FUD now. Here is a timeline of probable events that shows how I think this mission will be delayed until (insert reasoned date, or an explanation of what this mission could morph to)." 

Edit: 1 and a half -> 2 and a half, because I can't do simple math
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: dror on 03/02/2017 06:12 pm
Put Dragon under a fairing on FH and get two tests for the price of one...


Dragon in a fairing is not a good idea.  Too much one off work would have to be done
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jcliving on 03/02/2017 06:48 pm
I'm honestly very surprised at the level of risk-aversion and negativity to this idea.

I have no problem with the risk, worst case scenario we lose a couple of nonessential billionaires. SpaceX would most likely weather the storm.  Negativity is relative, more like dismay at turning a tool in to a toy.

Matthew

I agree with you.  The same billionaires could die free climbing a vertices face.  Climbing without a rope is dangerous.  As long as the customers truly understand the risk, I am fine with anything that happens.  People need to stop being a nanny to consenting adults!!
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/02/2017 06:52 pm
Put Dragon under a fairing on FH and get two tests for the price of one...


Dragon in a fairing is not a good idea.  Too much one off work would have to be done
Thanks, I was playing "catch-up" and must have missed Jim's comment...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: jcliving on 03/02/2017 06:54 pm
I've been sick and out-of-the-loop the last couple of days, but reading this made me a bit depressed.

So I went back and started reading the thread from the beginning.

Looks like I'm not the only one, but pretty darned close.

The more I see of this sort of thing the more disenfranchised I feel about where spaceflight is actually heading versus where I'd like it to be heading.

Sure, I'll watch the mission carefully, and even be excited doing so (I'm a techno-geek), but this sort of thing - and SpaceX's Mars plans in general - are not where I'd like us to be going in spaceflight, especially human spaceflight.

In a way, I completely agree, and then in another way, disagree....

If there was no context to this, and all you'd be telling me is about a company that built the minimal infrastructure required to fly around the moon, for tourism purposes, I'd be with you - puke. Neil Armstrong, for this?!

But there is context.  This is a company focused on the real thing - beyond exploration even - actually forming a spacefaring civilization. Sacred words, pretty much, straight out of childhood's sci-fi. 

I don't like their Mars plans either.  They're focued on colinization  which is folly and about the fifteenth major step in a human Mars program.  We're on about step three.
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

The problem is that only governments and very affluent companies can fund true science without a commercial return.  Tourism can be funded by the public.  Currently, it is limited to very affluent members of the public.  This mission will fund progress toward Red Dragon and other scientific mission accelerating projects.  Since it is not government funded, it is not an either or proposition.  You should be cheering them on with a silly grin on your face.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 07:04 pm
Put Dragon under a fairing on FH and get two tests for the price of one...


Dragon in a fairing is not a good idea.  Too much one off work would have to be done
Thanks, I was playing "catch-up" and must have missed Jim's comment...

Also, Dragon on FH goes through a different acceleration profile and atmospheric environment than it does on F9. They wouldn't be testing a real launch if it's in a fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: manoweb on 03/02/2017 07:07 pm
Does anyone see any value in this tweet by @nasawatch:

https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464 (https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464)

Informed speculation as to who one of @ElonMusk's passengers *might* be on @SpaceX moon trip: investor Steve Jurvetson @dfjsteve
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 07:10 pm
Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

The problem is that only governments and very affluent companies can fund true science without a commercial return. 

Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Quote
Tourism can be funded by the public.  Currently, it is limited to very affluent members of the public.  This mission will fund progress toward Red Dragon and other scientific mission accelerating projects.

I don't see this getting applied to any scientific missions.

Quote
Since it is not government funded, it is not an either or proposition.

Unfortunately, I think you're wrong.  Look at the first couple of pages of discussion on this thread for evidence that you're wrong.

Quote
You should be cheering them on with a silly grin on your face.

I'll watch the mission, but this sort of thing benefits a very small number of people, and only for a short time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/02/2017 07:11 pm
There's another issue here you all are missing. And that is about CC budget. Or should I say "under budget".

Having another customer for Dragon 2 besides CC is very important as a business.

It can fund you over a "hump" in your finances. It makes you less dependent on your sole customer that you had before. It inspires new customers to join the ranks, because the second one is there, and its NOT a government customer. You're then not as much "under their thumb".

Also, funding for CRS/CC has always been under constant attack from those who say that there will never be a true HSF or commercial market, that its all a shell to "steal" funding away from govt HSF primes.

This move potentially reverses the argument. And even if it succeeds, certain ones like Shelby will still maintain that its insufficient as an alternative for a host of reasons, so it will take a while for this "alternative fact" to go away.

add:

I think we'll see a handful of American tourists. Then perhaps a few govt "missions". Then about two dozen foriegn nationals wanting to be the first of their nationality beyond the moon - about 1/3rd of them from China.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: as58 on 03/02/2017 07:18 pm
Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

The problem is that only governments and very affluent companies can fund true science without a commercial return. 

Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 07:20 pm
Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

The problem is that only governments and very affluent companies can fund true science without a commercial return. 

Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?

The next steps - all the steps that are between what we are doing now, and colonization of another planet.  There's probably a century or more of that - if we try.  And we aren't.  And neither is SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 07:20 pm
"Having another customer for Dragon 2 besides CC is very important as a business."

I agree. There is a place where tourists could go in the near future, called "LEO". There is probably enough LEO tourism market to support SpaceX for a long time to come.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/02/2017 07:31 pm
"Having another customer for Dragon 2 besides CC is very important as a business."

I agree. There is a place where tourists could go in the near future, called "LEO". There is probably enough LEO tourism market to support SpaceX for a long time to come.
Agree.

However, and trust me on this, they are quite different categories of "customers", and the impact of this difference cannot be understated.

It puts certain countries into a bind. Like again take China - there are 4 I *personally know* that will easily do it, but the Chinese govt would want to have Chinese taikonauts on Chinese vehicles do it first.

Do you understand the strange situation this puts them into? And there are five other cases from other nationalities ... like this.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Surfdaddy on 03/02/2017 07:35 pm
We as technology enthusiasts are focusing all over the science and technology of this.

But SpaceX is quite vulnerable to

a) NASA funding and congressional and administration whims; and
b) FUD and politicking from other entrenched interests.

Perhaps the tougher part of the Mars colonization is not even technological, it is funding.
You don't want to count on NASA for all of that.

Elon is wise to find various ways to diversify the funding model for SpaceX so that if the governmental support evaporates significantly, he can continue his mission at some reasonable pace.

The launching of satellites isn't really "directly" relevant to Mars colonization any more than lunar tourism missions. Yet I'm not seeing complaints that launching satellites is a deviation from their mission.

Bot the satellite launches and the lunar tourism

a) Give additional experience and knowledge to SpaceX; and
b) Offer diversity of funding to their eventual goals.

That's why those who want science and interplanetary travel to be done, instead, should not be unhappy. In this context, this "tourist" exercise is *completely consistent* with SpaceX's goal of Mars colonization.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Negan on 03/02/2017 07:35 pm
Does anyone see any value in this tweet by @nasawatch:

https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464 (https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464)

Informed speculation as to who one of @ElonMusk's passengers *might* be on @SpaceX moon trip: investor Steve Jurvetson @dfjsteve

Pretty good resume for some joy seeking tourist without a clue.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lars-J on 03/02/2017 07:37 pm
Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?

The next steps - all the steps that are between what we are doing now, and colonization of another planet.  There's probably a century or more of that - if we try.  And we aren't.  And neither is SpaceX.

Uh-huh.  ::) I'm glad you can speak so authoritatively on their steps. So it all boils down to dismissing other ideas just because they don't follow your master plan?

Of course their colonization plan is wildly optimistic and ambitious. But... even if it fails, we will learn a lot. Lots of "steps" will be explored.  And without any tax dollars being spent on it (so far), that's a good return on investment for humanity no matter the outcome. If it is a failure, the pieces of that failure will be a leap forward that would otherwise not have happened.

Try seeing the glass as half full instead. ITS and New Glenn would allow someone to build that slightly movable research space station of yours in years/months instead of decades.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: envy887 on 03/02/2017 07:40 pm
Does anyone see any value in this tweet by @nasawatch:

https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464 (https://twitter.com/NASAWatch/status/836781408823742464)

Informed speculation as to who one of @ElonMusk's passengers *might* be on @SpaceX moon trip: investor Steve Jurvetson @dfjsteve

Pretty good resume for some joy seeking tourist without a clue.

That's fairly safe speculation. From 2012:

Quote
Jurvetson, a board member of both SpaceX and Tesla, talked about why he invested in Musk's companies when the entrepreneur was out of money and the rest of the world thought Musk was crazy.

The answer: Jurvetson wants to fly to the moon.

http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jurvetson-spacex-elon-musk-2012-9
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Lee Jay on 03/02/2017 07:49 pm
Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?

The next steps - all the steps that are between what we are doing now, and colonization of another planet.  There's probably a century or more of that - if we try.  And we aren't.  And neither is SpaceX.

Uh-huh.  ::) I'm glad you can speak so authoritatively on their steps. So it all boils down to dismissing other ideas just because they don't follow your master plan?

Of course their colonization plan is wildly optimistic and ambitious. But... even if it fails, we will learn a lot.

And waste a lot of time, and possibly kill a lot of people, and possibly put a black eye on space exploration for decades.

Quote
Lots of "steps" will be explored.  And without any tax dollars being spent on it (so far), that's a good return on investment for humanity no matter the outcome. If it is a failure, the pieces of that failure will be a leap forward that would otherwise not have happened.

Try seeing the glass as half full instead. ITS and New Glenn would allow someone to build that slightly movable research space station of yours in years/months instead of decades.

That slightly moveable station was supposed to go to Mars.  And seven SLS launches need not take any longer than 7 STS launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/02/2017 07:54 pm
Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

The problem is that only governments and very affluent companies can fund true science without a commercial return. 

Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?

The next steps - all the steps that are between what we are doing now, and colonization of another planet.  There's probably a century or more of that - if we try.  And we aren't.  And neither is SpaceX.
Agree that it's unfortunate that government isn't acting as government should.

However, there are many who vote who appear to not want to pay for HSF at any price.

Suggest that this will force a reconsideration. Because they'll have to decide soon, who does exploration and why?

Which countries and indivduals and credits get awards for doing so.

I've watched Emirates Mars/"HOPE" Mission come into existence as a US university lab got approached by a foreign govt to design, instrument and manage a mission - as a means to "jump start" a country into space.

Uh-huh.  ::) I'm glad you can speak so authoritatively on their steps. So it all boils down to dismissing other ideas just because they don't follow your master plan?

Of course their colonization plan is wildly optimistic and ambitious. But... even if it fails, we will learn a lot. Lots of "steps" will be explored.  And without any tax dollars being spent on it (so far), that's a good return on investment for humanity no matter the outcome. If it is a failure, the pieces of that failure will be a leap forward that would otherwise not have happened.

Try seeing the glass as half full instead. ITS and New Glenn would allow someone to build that slightly movable research space station of yours in years/months instead of decades.

And the role for govt in doing it will shift. What many fear is a complete and utter "back out" that will cause a massive RIF. A not unreasonable conclusion with some of what I've heard.

But that's because we have spent too long not reconciling govt role, that it may face such a sudden change.

We can't blithely build intentionally overexpensive vehicles as "jobs programs" to force markets like space from happening forever. There's got to be a middle ground, we just might take the long way round the barn ... to get there.

Right.  I'm disappointed that the government is not funding this.

Can you clarify what "this" is?

The next steps - all the steps that are between what we are doing now, and colonization of another planet.  There's probably a century or more of that - if we try.  And we aren't.  And neither is SpaceX.

Uh-huh.  ::) I'm glad you can speak so authoritatively on their steps. So it all boils down to dismissing other ideas just because they don't follow your master plan?

Of course their colonization plan is wildly optimistic and ambitious. But... even if it fails, we will learn a lot.

And waste a lot of time, and possibly kill a lot of people, and possibly put a black eye on space exploration for decades.
The road we were on with an infrequently flown Orion/SLS did not lead to a safe situation either.

Quote
Quote
Lots of "steps" will be explored.  And without any tax dollars being spent on it (so far), that's a good return on investment for humanity no matter the outcome. If it is a failure, the pieces of that failure will be a leap forward that would otherwise not have happened.

Try seeing the glass as half full instead. ITS and New Glenn would allow someone to build that slightly movable research space station of yours in years/months instead of decades.

That slightly moveable station was supposed to go to Mars.  And seven SLS launches need not take any longer than 7 STS launches.
After you spend the 2-5 years changing the logistics to allow it...
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/02/2017 08:01 pm

That trimmed portion is really, truly not relevant. It can be summarized as: SpaceX found that launching a Falcon Heavy is a bit more complicated than just strapping boosters together, which combined with the lack of reason to prioritize it (few launches, and other priorities) has led to it being pushed back a few years, with unrelated issues (launch failures) being major drivers of the most recent delays.



Let me prequote you from a few years from now:

"SpaceX found that flying beyond Earth orbit" was a bit more complicated than just pushing an object deeper into space".

Note that I am not saying that SpaceX won't do all sorts of great things in the future (fingers crossed), I am saying that this particular announcement is not likely to result in a flown mission anywhere close to 2018, or that the mission as announced is likely to morph into something else as time passes.
Ill take this bet! SpaceX will send people at least to lunar distance by the end of 2020. Deal?
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: LouScheffer on 03/02/2017 08:02 pm
You should be cheering them on with a silly grin on your face.
I'll watch the mission, but this sort of thing benefits a very small number of people, and only for a short time.
It's very much in the natural order of things:  For example,

Amundsen reached the South Pole as a one-off stunt, just for a day or so,  in 1911 (think Apollo).

Byrd flew over (but did not stop) at the South Pole in 1929.  This is like the SpaceX mission - no stopping, unlike the mission before, but using newer technology.  He took a photographer along, basically the same as a tourist with no responsibility for operating the plane.  None of them spent years training for arctic traverses by sled, as had been needed before. 

By 1956, existing commercial technology and understanding had improved enough to allow more-or-less stock planes to stop at the South Pole.  Now people could (and did) start a crewed base, which remains a crewed research station to this day.

So basically (a) first you do it as an (expensive) stunt, then (b) you can at least get there by commercial means, then (c) commercial means get good enough to establish a base.  We are now at step (b), which we were not a week ago.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: Danderman on 03/02/2017 08:04 pm
Ill take this bet! SpaceX will send people at least to lunar distance by the end of 2020. Deal?

2020 is much more likely than 2018.

Also "people" <> "tourists".
Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: feynmanrules on 03/02/2017 08:07 pm
So you don't like the Mars plan since it is too far-reaching, and you don't like this plan since it is too near sighted.

Hard man to please.

What is it that you want them to aim at?


Interplanetary spacecraft and scientific exploration.

Not tourism and colonization.

Cash Flow + Growth = More investment.

Exploration is great and we're doing that... we could do more certainly but when an investment returns immediate cash it will automatically get more.   The speed and size of cash return mass is what improves tech and drives down costs.    This is 100% the reason spacex is a for-profit company, to maximize this investment today.

Tourism starts with the wealthiest, tell their friends who are slightly-less wealthy... drives up demand which you convert to deposits, which de-risks more investment.   Rinse repeat.

Parallel example... I'm not a huge fan of snapchat, facebook or even broadcast.com... but their existence sped up a lot of other good things.   There's plenty of evidence showing which works faster and it's not close... not always better, but much better on average and ain't close either.   

Maybe you're saying that larry page or steve jurvetson is not your Zefram Cochrane? Or you're just seeing one side of capitalism while you check your email and use your indoor plumbing.   In either case not understanding the sadness.   

to get back on topic, even if you're gung-ho for pure science and exploration missions... NASA and spacex are collaborating and sharing data on many of these missions (again to accelerate each others progress).   How is it possibly bad if NASA gets even a small fraction of data from spacex cislunar or mars missions?   that's expensive knowledge which can be 100% used for science obtained at tiny cost to NASA.   

my .02 but I don't see a lot of reasons to be anything but optimistic here.

Title: Re: SpaceX Crewed Circumlunar Mission - 2018
Post by: mme on 03/02/2017 08:08 pm
From http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year (http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year)

Quote
We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission.

Quote
Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth.

My understanding from reporting on the call is that they paid a lot of money for this mission, not bargain basement prices. I'm really struggling with all the hand wringing over SpaceX securing another funding source to finish the Dragon 2 capsule.  We want less expensive HSF, right?  So tell me again how people throwing money at SpaceX for HSF is a bad thing and not the next logical step? Especially since we have no idea what NASA's priorities will be moving forward.

As for IST being a silly pipe dream, I've been hearing that about SpaceX every single step along the way.  They'll never get to orbit.  They'll never get a 9 engine rocket to work. They'll never deliver cargo.  They'll never make a dent in the GTO market.  They'll never recover a booster.  We're a month away from resolving the "they'll never re-fly a booster..."

IST may be unlikely, but I'd bet on it flying before relying on any President and Congress [1] funding a realistic plan to get to Mars at even the boots and flags level.  And good luck with any next administration  embracing