Author Topic: Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?  (Read 1694 times)

Offline sanman

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Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?
« on: 11/09/2012 02:49 pm »
The big story that's just come out is about NASA's plans for more lunar missions in the wake of the US election results:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-intend-to-establish-a-manned-outpost-on-the-moon-according-to-experts-8298466.html

So, I'm curious, if these plans work out - and I realize that's a longshot - could SpaceX be utilized for some kind of support role on this?

For instance, if a lunar base were established, could SpaceX be capable of carrying out resupply missions for it? Or if a depot was established at L2, could SpaceX likewise resupply that?

What further development would they have to do to augment their capabilities for this purpose?
Does anyone think that NASA is going to provide them any opportunities, or try to fit them into these new plans somehow?

Offline go4mars

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Re: Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?
« Reply #1 on: 11/09/2012 03:10 pm »
could SpaceX be utilized for some kind of support role on this?

could SpaceX be capable of carrying out resupply missions for it?

if a depot was established at L2, could SpaceX likewise resupply that?
Yes, yes, and yes.

What further development would they have to do to augment their capabilities for this purpose?
Assuming you mean lunar base support role:  Get FH working well, perhaps finish developing raptor, and as always, reusable stages wouldn't hurt. 

Figure out how to make an iteration of grasshopper (probably methane version) capable of setting things down on the moon, and launching them back toward Earth (ideally with its own TPS and propulsive landing capability for reuse).  Might need on-orbit fuel transfer without raptor.  Pad changes would be required.  I'd be surprised if this was ready while Obama was still on the throne.

Does anyone think that NASA is going to provide them any opportunities, or try to fit them into these new plans somehow?
No.  I think it will (and should) be a competition.  If someone can do it better and cheaper than SpaceX, then go with them instead/as well.  I'd prefer to see two providers for the critical function (resupply). 


If was Elon, I'd get on this as soon as reasonably possible, because having experience doing it with tourists/rovers would fast-track validation.  For a lunar delivery service, I would only adapt elements that would be dually useful to my Mars plans where practicable.

I think it would have been better to focus on commercial as a whole instead of singling out spacex. 
  A general thread will probably pop up if this gets officially announced. 
« Last Edit: 11/09/2012 03:28 pm by go4mars »
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Offline kirghizstan

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Re: Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?
« Reply #2 on: 11/09/2012 03:24 pm »
I know spacex is the apple of the space industry so it doesn't surprise me that this question is focused only on spacex.

However I think it would have been better to focus on commercial as a whole instead of singling out spacex. 

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?
« Reply #3 on: 11/09/2012 04:03 pm »
could SpaceX be utilized for some kind of support role on this?

could SpaceX be capable of carrying out resupply missions for it?

if a depot was established at L2, could SpaceX likewise resupply that?

Without substantial development.

No, no for the moon.
Yes for L2 resupply.

The yes assuming they have Falcon Heavy flying by then, which is likely.

The moon would require development of a lander, which they would probably not do unless they have a contract with NASA.

Offline neilh

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Re: Role for SpaceX in NASA's New Lunar Plans?
« Reply #4 on: 11/09/2012 04:18 pm »
I know spacex is the apple of the space industry so it doesn't surprise me that this question is focused only on spacex.

However I think it would have been better to focus on commercial as a whole instead of singling out spacex. 

Absolutely. Actually, I think if ULA develops ACES, they will have a significant edge.
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