Author Topic: SpaceX to begin testing on Reusable Falcon 9 technology this year  (Read 541289 times)

Offline edfishel

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 150
  • Liked: 19
  • Likes Given: 66
Chris ...
I've watched some cooperation between SpaceX and this forum over the years and I hope this marks the beginning of greater participation with this forum.  While it is true that there is a wide range of views among NSF members, it is also true that this is one of the most important places to be heard in the industry. I trust that the folks at SpaceX are reading!

The attention by you and your colleagues to accuracy and fairness over the years has given this forum a credibility that others, who are just voicing opinions without facts, do not enjoy.

As a former news managing editor, I would have been thrilled to have you on my staff. Good job.

Online Chris Bergin

Chris ...
I've watched some cooperation between SpaceX and this forum over the years and I hope this marks the beginning of greater participation with this forum.  While it is true that there is a wide range of views among NSF members, it is also true that this is one of the most important places to be heard in the industry. I trust that the folks at SpaceX are reading!

The attention by you and your colleagues to accuracy and fairness over the years has given this forum a credibility that others, who are just voicing opinions without facts, do not enjoy.

As a former news managing editor, I would have been thrilled to have you on my staff. Good job.

Wow, thanks Ed!

Online billh

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
  • Houston
  • Liked: 271
  • Likes Given: 189
Chris ...
I've watched some cooperation between SpaceX and this forum over the years and I hope this marks the beginning of greater participation with this forum.  While it is true that there is a wide range of views among NSF members, it is also true that this is one of the most important places to be heard in the industry. I trust that the folks at SpaceX are reading!

The attention by you and your colleagues to accuracy and fairness over the years has given this forum a credibility that others, who are just voicing opinions without facts, do not enjoy.

As a former news managing editor, I would have been thrilled to have you on my staff. Good job.

Wow, thanks Ed!

I don't know the first thing about journalism, but I second the kudos. Your work has always been characterized by accuracy and fairness. Well done!

Offline Hunt101

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 142
  • ULA
  • Liked: 68
  • Likes Given: 27
There's very little chance they'll be able to pull it off with any meaningful payload ability.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28759
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8869
  • Likes Given: 5743
There's very little chance they'll be able to pull it off with any meaningful payload ability.
They may if the payload can do some of the work of orbital insertion, which the Dragon can. They may also need a hydrogen upper stage or some other propellant for the upper stage (methylacetylene has a significant Isp boost for about the same bulk density as kerosene... and is even denser once sub-cooled... higher Isp than even methane and is still nontoxic).

If they can do first stage recovery in the way they portray (or similar... boost-forward), that goes quite a long way. There are other options for upper stage recovery, too, like ballute+parachute+snagging with a helicopter, all things which have already been demonstrated separately (i.e. ballute with a Fregat upper stage was recovered from orbit, parachute+snagging on countless film capsule retrievals, and the Falcon 9 upper stage has a low enough empty mass that it may well be feasible).
« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 05:34 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline SpaceX_MS

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 379
  • Liked: 8713
  • Likes Given: 120
Excellent article, easily one of the best I've read on SpaceX. It will be hard to have success with this, but trying is half of the battle.

Offline tigerade

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 718
  • Low Earth Orbit
  • Liked: 50
  • Likes Given: 36
Excellent article, easily one of the best I've read on SpaceX. It will be hard to have success with this, but trying is half of the battle.

Good luck to you and all of your team.  :)  And we hope you guys post videos too, we love that stuff.

Offline Norm Hartnett

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
  • Liked: 56
  • Likes Given: 2
Putting my SpaceX fanboy hat squarely on my head…

Elon Musk is, without doubt, the Henry Ford, the D. D. Harriman, of rocketry in our era. While some have hailed, or quibbled about, the possible increase in thrust in the Merlin 1D engine the most telling aspect IMO is the reduced per unit cost and improved manufacturing technology, increased thrust is just icing on the cake. Mr. Musk’s clear focus on improved cost and reliability via modern mass production techniques is the true game changer that he brings to space exploration.

So far as I can tell the future of U.S. space exploration rests solely on Mr. Musk’s shoulders. No other program, either governmental or commercial, offers much hope for a viable, sustainable space program IMO.

I hope that this site will continue to develop close ties with SpaceX and all the “new space” entities.

Doffs SpaceX fanboy hat.

“You can’t take a traditional approach and expect anything but the traditional results, which has been broken budgets and not fielding any flight hardware.” Mike Gold - Apollo, STS, CxP; those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it: SLS.

Offline sammie

  • Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
It's a shame that Matthew Bellamy believes every single conspiracy theory about the USA, but it is good music (used to be better, in the olden days).

One thing that does strike me is a complete shift in paradigm from SpaceX. When they started out they wanted to be like the Russians, build'em cheap and build tons of them. Thereby lowering the price for launching and thus creating a larger market. "Volume, volume turn up the volume" Tom Waits would say.

Now, some 6 or 7 years later they've completely changed their approach to things and are pursuing expensive and complicated RTLS strategy flying for NASA, and not cranking out the rockets like they first envisioned.
"The dreams ain't broken downhere, they're just walking with a limp"

Offline dcporter

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 873
  • Liked: 246
  • Likes Given: 411
IIRC, Elon has always talked up reusability as the ultimate goal. The dearth of mass-produced falcon 1s has come about for other reasons.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32550
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11343
  • Likes Given: 334

snip

 reduced per unit cost and improved manufacturing technology, increased thrust is just icing on the cake.

snip

 Mr. Musk’s clear focus on improved cost and reliability via modern mass production techniques is the true game changer that he brings to space exploration.

So far as I can tell the future of U.S. space exploration rests solely on Mr. Musk’s shoulders. No other program, either governmental or commercial, offers much hope for a viable, sustainable space program IMO.



None of that has happened. 

And future is bleak by your opinion, since the shoulders won't be able to handle it.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 06:24 pm by Jim »

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28759
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8869
  • Likes Given: 5743
Norm: I actually disagree. Blue Origin's plan offers just as much hope for sustainable space access (and thus enabling sustainable exploration) if they are successful. They are well into pursuing the technology needed for their hydrogen powered fully reusable VTVL two-stage orbital rocket with a reusable capsule or whatever it is. They're just going a little slower, but they have an arguably much more secure source of funding as a legacy philanthrocapitalist project of the billionaire Jeff Bezos. They already have significant experience with their reusability mode of VTVL fully reusable rocket vehicles.

XCor is in a similar situation (seeking fully reusable orbital transport using hydrogen and already significant experience with HTHL fully reusable rocket vehicles), though with more short-term focus with real customers via suborbital Lynx but without quite the enormous philanthrocapitalist backing (that we know about).

SpaceX is going a different route, relying on more typical NASA and commercial (and perhaps military) customers to try to grow to become a big aerospace company with significant experience putting stuff into orbit before really tackling the reusability aspect head-on. Musk is more flashy and cocky. It makes the program more interesting in some ways, but it's also a little more risky. It may well pay off (and I hope it does), but it's not the only one out there, not by a long shot. And SpaceX is already well beyond the stage of being able to be sustained indefinitely by money from philanthrocapitalists like Blue Origin is (and Elon Musk isn't that rich). They're playing poker for keeps, here.

As Jim says, SpaceX can't shoulder the whole future of space exploration themselves.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 06:27 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9773
  • Liked: 1460
  • Likes Given: 887
Norm: I actually disagree. Blue Origin's plan offers just as much hope for sustainable space access (and thus enabling sustainable exploration) if they are successful. They are well into pursuing the technology needed for their hydrogen powered fully reusable VTVL two-stage orbital rocket with a reusable capsule or whatever it is. They're just going a little slower, but they have an arguably much more secure source of funding as a legacy philanthrocapitalist project of the billionaire Jeff Bezos. They already have significant experience with their reusability mode of VTVL fully reusable rocket vehicles.

XCor is in a similar situation (seeking fully reusable orbital transport using hydrogen and already significant experience with HTHL fully reusable rocket vehicles), though with more short-term focus with real customers via suborbital Lynx but without quite the enormous philanthrocapitalist backing (that we know about).

SpaceX is going a different route, relying on more typical NASA and commercial (and perhaps military) customers to try to grow to become a big aerospace company with significant experience putting stuff into orbit before really tackling the reusability aspect head-on. Musk is more flashy and cocky. It makes the program more interesting in some ways, but it's also a little more risky. It may well pay off (and I hope it does), but it's not the only one out there, not by a long shot. And SpaceX is already well beyond the stage of being able to be sustained indefinitely by money from philanthrocapitalists like Blue Origin is (and Elon Musk isn't that rich). They're playing poker for keeps, here.

As Jim says, SpaceX can't shoulder the whole future of space exploration themselves.

I like Blue Origin but they are not at the same level as SpaceX and their objective is to get experience through suborbital flights first. Blue Origin has strong financial backing but they only have between 100 and 250 employees.  Blue Origin may turn out to be the next SpaceX in a decade or so but they aren't there yet.

Online Chris Bergin

Excellent article, easily one of the best I've read on SpaceX. It will be hard to have success with this, but trying is half of the battle.

There's probably better, as there's a fair few wordsmiths out there, but thanks! :)

Offline Norm Hartnett

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
  • Liked: 56
  • Likes Given: 2
And future is bleak by your opinion, since the shoulders won't be able to handle it.


Indeed it is, Jim, indeed it is. I can not tell you how depressing the entire Constellation fiasco was, from inception to expected failure, only to be followed by the even more depressing SLS… But I’ve sworn to never bash NASA here so I’ll say no more.

And I don’t discount Blue Origin or any of the other companies, new space or old, Robotbeat. It is just that I don’t hear such a clear focus on lowering the cost of access to LEO from them. And without that, without sustainable access to LEO, no space exploration is going to take place.

Whether SpaceX can achieve its promise, whether Mr. Musk can put together the kind of funding required to keep pushing the cost envelope remains to be seen. But as SpaceX_MS said above, “trying is half the battle”, and I hold out hope, it is really the only hope I have
“You can’t take a traditional approach and expect anything but the traditional results, which has been broken budgets and not fielding any flight hardware.” Mike Gold - Apollo, STS, CxP; those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it: SLS.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28759
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8869
  • Likes Given: 5743
If Elon is Luke:
« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 07:05 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Mader Levap

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 963
  • Liked: 431
  • Likes Given: 501
And future is bleak by your opinion, since the shoulders won't be able to handle it.
And should not. Musk spaceflight monopoly would, after outcompetitng rest, halt progress at half of way. Fortunately this will never happen. SpaceX should (and I believe will) be one of many.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32550
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11343
  • Likes Given: 334
And without that, without sustainable access to LEO, no space exploration is going to take place.


Not going to happen with chemical propulsion. 

Offline baldusi

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7438
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Liked: 1459
  • Likes Given: 4518
Excellent article, easily one of the best I've read on SpaceX. It will be hard to have success with this, but trying is half of the battle.
Actually, you learn something new only when you fail. You only confirm what you already know from success. So actually trying is more than half the battle. So, good luck, and I hope you go all the way.

Offline Norm Hartnett

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
  • Liked: 56
  • Likes Given: 2
And without that, without sustainable access to LEO, no space exploration is going to take place.


Not going to happen with chemical propulsion. 

Well, I'm not going to argue with a rocket scientist about his own field but Mr. Musk seems to think that the Falcon Heavy will offer substantial savings in the cost of a pound to orbit, and that's without fly back boosters. With them...

As for a "Musk spaceflight monopoly" I would hope that once he's kicked open the doors to affordable access there would be many to follow. I am certainly not advocating a monopoly but something has to break if we hope to see space exploration in the next 100 years.
“You can’t take a traditional approach and expect anything but the traditional results, which has been broken budgets and not fielding any flight hardware.” Mike Gold - Apollo, STS, CxP; those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it: SLS.

Tags: