Author Topic: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX  (Read 23005 times)

Offline Tuts36

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #60 on: 07/03/2015 03:40 pm »
As a child, I was a fan of spaceflight.  Then I grew up, and moved on to other interests.  This was about the same time the Berlin Wall came down, so you can't really begrudge me that.  Watching an LEO space station get assembled at a glacial pace is just not that compelling.  Actual humans on Mars or any other new place was always "just 20 years away!  Ok maybe 30.  30-ish.  Definitely."

SpaceX has gotten me interested in space flight all over again.  They are openly pushing to put actual people on Mars, and are willing to try a bunch of new things to get there.  Say what you want about them, nobody here can accuse them of being all talk.

To draw a very simple analogy (since we are talking about the average person's attitudes towards space flight):

The US government and its mainstay launch provider (sorry, they are pretty inseparable in my mind) are the workaholic husband who has been promising you that european vacation since you were newlyweds.  He did take you to Epcot Center that one time, but other than that it's always "maybe next year".  Somewhere along the way you realize it's never going to happen, at least not until you're too old & sick to enjoy it. 


Offline chipguy

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #61 on: 07/03/2015 04:45 pm »
I am a child of Apollo. I was 7 and closely followed every scrap of space news leading up to the first landing. I had a Saturn 5 model nearly as tall as I was. I knew with certainty back then that I wanted a life in science and technology (i.e. magic that works). Growing up I considered aerospace but the opportunities looked far better and closer in EE and semiconductors. I continued to be a big space fan into middle age but the problems with the shuttle and shrinking NASA budgets and vision made me increasingly depressed to think about it. The appeal of SpaceX (besides Musk doing what I would want to do with a similar personal fortune) is that it represents the potential to shake up the hidebound and bureaucratic cost plus old boys club that space has degenerated into, lower the cost barrier to space, and try out new ideas to achieve that (vertical manufacturing, smart COTS, vehicle recovery and re-use etc.). It will never be like the 60s again but perhaps we can regain forward movement to advance *both* manned and unmanned space flight. I would like to see more progress over the rest of my life towards mankind becoming a space faring species and SpaceX today seems like an key element in achieving that. I know many of my engineer colleagues share that general sentiment.

Offline aameise9

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #62 on: 07/03/2015 05:19 pm »
I am a child of Apollo. I was 7 and closely followed every scrap of space news leading up to the first landing. I had a Saturn 5 model nearly as tall as I was. I knew with certainty back then that I wanted a life in science and technology (i.e. magic that works).

I can second all of the statements above.  I did become a scientist.  I spent 8 years at Caltech, got to know JPL and several NASA sites.  Understood that HSF (not planetary science) had been left to languish in a government bureaucracy.  SpaceX (and other new space outfits) made me hope that space might finally be brought into the human economic sphere, as Heinlein intended.

So I would consider myself a 'fan', though hardly a 'boy'.

More on topic: public perception in Germany is quite positive.  Quality and not-so quality press cover SpaceX on front page and main news.  Coverage is knowledgable and tone is hopeful anticipation of more good things to come.




Offline llanitedave

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #63 on: 07/03/2015 06:30 pm »
I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single. 


That is usually when the bands go downhill.  They were better when they were lean and mean.

I will fully admit I am a band snob (hipster has a different connotation for me).  I lost interest in many bands when they went mainstream.

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #64 on: 07/03/2015 08:06 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft

Offline davey142

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #65 on: 07/03/2015 11:23 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
As an all-around aviation enthusiast, I take offense to that statement!  :)

Offline llanitedave

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #66 on: 07/03/2015 11:59 pm »
My favorite place to take a date used to be to the runway parking area at the municipal airport.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline tyrred

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #67 on: 07/04/2015 09:30 am »
I guess you could say that I'm a "Joe average".  That's how I feel anyway.

I have no degrees and little technical knowledge.  I work hard and I play hard.  I struggle to make ends meet.  I have failed at more things than I care to admit.  I begin far too many sentences with "I".

Rocket equations give me headaches.  Maybe I'm an idiot.  There is little meaningful contribution that I can make to these excellent forums.  Others far more qualified and dedicated than me handle that.

Yet here I am, posting my contribution anyway.

Day after day I find myself on this site, reading page after page of ridiculously, tediously interesting information about... spaceflight!

Why? 

As a kid I watched the Challenger disaster in horror with the rest of my class on my elementary school television... They later named one of the elementary schools in my hometown of Auburn after Dick Scobee.  It seemed like it was something that touched everyone.  From that day onward, I desperately wanted to be an astronaut. 

Why?

I grew up (a bit) learning that the more I learn, the less I know.  "The Government" was really a bunch of different factions that try to obstruct each other from getting my money first.  I watched NASA seemingly bungle the "manifest destiny" of people conquering space.  The coolest projects (NASP, DC-X, VentureStar) became the butt of jokes.  Columbia was lost.  I learned that "Space is Hard".  America couldn't seem to keep it up.  I lost interest.

Then I remember reading about this crazy contest called the "Ansari X Prize".  I saw a rocket plane go for the gold.  There was talk of the "losers" continuing onward to other things.  I heard about a company called Spacex launching a rocket and it blowing up.  My first question was "Space Sex, is that a company trying to make a porn film?"  And then another rocket failed.  And another.  And then something happened.  A private American company founded by the dude who invented the payment pal got their sh*t together, just as it was all about to unravel.  For some reason I started to care again.

Why?

It's sexy.  It's intriguing.  It's vehicles that ride barely controlled explosions... hurtling devices that are fractions of their own mass out of the air... fast enough that they don't come back down!  And they can do it with people... It's not magic... It's rocket science!  What's cooler than that?  Smart people did that!  I should learn more about how that works...

And what has worked in the past isn't always going to move us forward.  Other paths can be taken.  Underdogs can come up.  Revolutions can happen.  Sometimes, when people "in the know" tell you that it can't be done, that you don't know what you are talking about... they can make mistakes. 

Maybe these guys at SpaceX don't know everything... but they sure as hell know how to keep me hanging on to the edge of my seat now every time they launch a rocket. They make me excited about the future.  Maybe they will even put men and women on Mars... 

To make XXX?

Space, bass, and the thrill of the chase.

Offline mme

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #68 on: 07/04/2015 07:52 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
And some of us find a company openly trying to make a rocket land and be reused more interesting than companies that aren't interested in making rockets that can land and be reused.  Even though they are not doing anything truly new.

P.S. Everything is a remix anyway.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Ludus

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #69 on: 07/05/2015 03:02 am »
Hacking stopped being interesting after folks could use google and a series of tubes to find out about it instead of reading 2600 magazine like God intended.

Offline ClaytonBirchenough

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #70 on: 07/06/2015 12:56 am »
I don't consider myself an average joe. I do like SpaceX. I do like literally everything spaceflight related.

For me, SpaceX is new, fast, exciting, and innovative. They get stuff done, at a seemingly faster pace than anyone else! And CHEAPER! They have the potential to do very big things, especially with Elon at the helm. They lowered and are lowering the cost of spaceflight. They talk of colonizing Mars... IN A REASONABLE TIMELINE!

I can't help but feel excited. Spaceflight is the pinnacle physics, engineering, technology, and exploration.

I love SpaceX. What's not to love!?
Clayton Birchenough
Astro. Engineer and Computational Mathematics @ ERAU

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #71 on: 07/06/2015 05:36 am »
The important thing about how the Average Joe perceives SpaceX is that they perceive them at all. The important thing about what SpaceX is doing is that they are taking a first principles approach different enough that they appear to be pushing forward progress. So far they've made a cheaper rocket than anyone else stateside, not exactly revolutionary. SpaceX promises getting to mars in about the same time frame as NASA, they just haven't already been saying that for 30 years so people are more inclined to believe them.

If they can get the public excited again and get the public to trust them, and then further, get the elected officials to vote that way then they are doing good work. That improved public image will hopefully rub off on the whole industry and be good for everyone.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #72 on: 07/06/2015 06:17 am »
Not an average Joe, a few of those I know have heard of SpaceX, not many though.

Me, I've been keen about spaceflight all my life, always will be.  I don't get the the frenzy  over Musk and SpaceX, although I respect what they do.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline JBF

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #73 on: 07/06/2015 10:49 am »
 :) Much as a hate to burst any bubbles, if you are reading this site you are not an Average Joe with regards to spaceflight.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but thatís the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline woods170

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #74 on: 07/06/2015 10:55 am »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft

Jim's great-grandson: "Spacelines to Mars are boring compared to warp-driven ships to Alpha Centauri".

Oh well...
« Last Edit: 07/06/2015 10:57 am by woods170 »

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #75 on: 07/06/2015 12:13 pm »
:) Much as a hate to burst any bubbles, if you are reading this site you are not an Average Joe with regards to spaceflight.
That may be true, but was not the point of this topic.  The impression that Joe Average has of SpaceX, or ULA, or ESA, or any space agency or company, has an effect on that entity, especially in the political arena.  And given that politics has a direct bearing on a very significant portion of the launch business, it matters.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline deltaV

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #76 on: 07/06/2015 01:05 pm »
Here's what an average person would say if asked about SpaceX: "Sorry me no speak English".

What's that, you meant an average American? OK then, "Space-who? Are they one of those companies that'll store your stuff if your apartment is too small?"

Offline Mader Levap

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #77 on: 07/06/2015 04:06 pm »
Joe Average do not know what SpaceX  is.

Rest is just delusion of self-importance of your hobby/interest.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
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Offline vt_hokie

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #78 on: 07/06/2015 07:05 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
As an all-around aviation enthusiast, I take offense to that statement!  :)

Me too!  I find commercial aviation to be exciting.  And the more accessible and routine it is, the more I feel like it impacts me personally.  I'll never get to fly in space because humanity has progressed too slowly, but I am kicking myself for not flying on the Concorde before the unfortunate 2003 retirement.  Mach 2 at 60,000 ft is something I could have seen personally - it was right there, leaving daily from JFK, and I blew it!  (Though really I couldn't afford it, but I could've pulled it off as a one-time experience between, say, '01 and the retirement in '03.)
« Last Edit: 07/06/2015 07:06 pm by vt_hokie »

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #79 on: 07/16/2015 11:50 am »
Something else that alters average joes perception:

I usually read an online newspaper "derstandard.at"

Here some links to their articles:

http://derstandard.at/2000011604371/Start-von-Satellit-DSCOVR-geglueckt-Raketenlandung-nicht

http://derstandard.at/2000014313913/Raumfrachter-Dragon-unterwegs-zur-ISS

http://derstandard.at/2000014475915/Traegerrakete-zerstoert-aber-Dragon-erreicht-die-Raumstation

The articles are in german, please use a translator of your choice...

My main concern is: all articles dealt with the crash-landings of rockets. And many readers expressed their point of view that it was all about the landings, where spacex has failed. And those were people who are at least interested in space. Average Joe reads about exploding rockets and forms an opinion about the reliablility of the rockets. News and media need to explain in detail what has happened and why this is not a mission critical failure, even if it explodes (at CRS-6, dragon happily reached ISS, although the first stage exploded, because by the time when it exploded, the second stage + dragon was far away).

Additionally it doesn't really help, that derstandard.at mixes up numbers (the barge isn't 170m long, and falcon 9 isn't 30m wide... although they edited that).

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