Author Topic: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017  (Read 69204 times)

Offline Daniels30

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Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« on: 05/13/2017 11:34 PM »
Hi All
i found this interview with, Tom Mueller talking about reusability, BFR, Merlin and Raptor.

Hope you enjoy it, just stubbled across it on Facebook and only a few views to its name (3 of them mine, no seriously :) Reason you only really see Toms forehead is due to video being zoomed in, presumably to hide personal info. As evident by how large the call time symbol is at the beginning.

A few points that really stick out:

-Block V landing legs will be able to retract them selves and have better ablative protection across the bottom of the rocket. - Presumably removing all smouldering that occurs after landing.
-Satellite constellation will double current global bandwidth, better in more remote locations due to lack of users.
-Hitting limits of chemical propulsion with Raptor.
-Raptor is designed for 99% chemical efficiency. (That is crazy!)
-SpaceX looking at nuclear propulsion for mars surface power with NASA, this will be used for propellent production however as stated by Musk solar will be first. Nuclear propulsion also but testing bans, performance limitations and ultimately money stopping it.
-Electric propulsion will be used for satellite constellation. (As i thought due to hiring patterns in Seattle, lots of ex NASA JPL folks)
-Musk can be extremely demanding to work for.
-Musk is known for going a totally different direction despite engineers wanting to go down the other route, has had horrible results but has also worked well.
-Merlin 1D uses a method called “Face shut off”, removes most valves reducing chances of failure by removing components and removing a lot of risk of a hard start. - Musk convinced Mueller of using this method despite Mueller explaining what it is and how it increases complexity of R&D and increased costs due to blowing lots of hardware up before mastering the method.
-Mars Rocket (BFR) will render all other LV’ inert.
-Roughly 1000tons of propellent needed to get home(Earth) from Mars according to Mueller. Manufactured over a two year cycle.
-Musk wanted a 12 hour turnaround for Block V but was stopped after being told it was too tricky currently, settled for 24 hour turnaround after landing.
-Raptor runs 3.5, 3.6 O/F ratio.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/139688943
« Last Edit: 05/15/2017 10:42 AM by Daniels30 »
“There are a thousand things that can happen when you go to light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good.” -
Tom Mueller, SpaceX Co founder and Propulsion CTO.

Offline The Roadie

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #1 on: 05/13/2017 11:54 PM »
Glad you posted this here because I was about to and give you credit! Great find!!!
"A human being should be able to...plan an invasion..conn a ship..solve equations, analyze a new problem..program a computer, cook a tasty meal.."-RAH

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #2 on: 05/14/2017 12:12 AM »
It's like an interview with Wilson from Home Improvement.

Offline Zucal

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #3 on: 05/14/2017 12:41 AM »
r/SpaceX thread - full transcript here.




Offline LucR

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #4 on: 05/14/2017 12:59 AM »
Merlin 1D uses a method called “Phase shut off”, removes most valves reducing chances of failure by removing components and removing a lot of risk of a hard start.
I think he means "face shutoff", meaning propellants are "shut off" at the injector face.

See e.g. http://www.rocket-propulsion.info/resources/articles/TRW_PINTLE_ENGINE.pdf.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #5 on: 05/14/2017 01:01 AM »
Incredible discussion. Lots we knew... more we didn't.
Gonna take a while to digest...
« Last Edit: 05/14/2017 01:01 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline butters

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #6 on: 05/14/2017 01:15 AM »
Retractable landing gear must be intended for use with the landing pad robot (Roomba). Otherwise, erroneous retraction of landing gear while on the ground is a bad day which happens from time to time in aviation.

Offline Jcc

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #7 on: 05/14/2017 02:08 AM »
Power on Mars- fission is the way to go but will have to be solar initially.
Need solar panels covering 4 football fields to make fuel for the trip home over 2 years, and keep dust off them.
SpaceX is just offering a cheap ticket to Mars, it will take other companies, investors, governments to make everything else.

Offline John Alan

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #8 on: 05/14/2017 02:13 AM »
Retractable landing gear must be intended for use with the landing pad robot (Roomba). Otherwise, erroneous retraction of landing gear while on the ground is a bad day which happens from time to time in aviation.

Power fold was NOT indicated... Not my take anyway from Tom's statements...
Manual unlatch and manual fold (I assume with some GSE involved) was hinted at...
Key take away... is leaving the legs on to save in turn around time...  ;)

Added quote from transcript...
Quote
Quote
And it’s going to have a much better landing legs that just fold up and; just drop the rocket, fold the legs, ship it, fold the legs out when it lands. Making it turn very fast;
« Last Edit: 05/14/2017 02:17 AM by John Alan »

Offline Jimmy Murdok

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #9 on: 05/14/2017 03:27 AM »
Sunday morning building drones, having good breakfast and listening this inspirational conversation. Thank you for posting!

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #10 on: 05/14/2017 03:41 AM »
There wasn't actually a lot new in here. A lot of the stuff was extrapolatable.

For instance, Block 5 has reusable TPS on the bottom. I suspected as much as they're hiring carbon-carbon engineers, and that's perhaps the most obvious use for carbon-carbon (other than perhaps a nozzle extension on the upper stage?).

A lot of the "new" content is simply taking stuff Musk has already said seriously. People have this idea that Musk is spouting BS constantly, but in reality he takes what he says seriously. For instance, the 24 hour turnaround for block 5 is a real requirement, with real engineering trades going into it (and even a trade between 12 and 24 hours). And the idea of how cheap ITS is actually being engineered to be. If it only takes a few million to launch hundreds of tons of payload into orbit at a time, you're almost certainly going to end up with hundreds of huge commsats in orbit.  This is just a logical extension of what Musk has said. (Though obviously it's interesting to hear Mueller speak about it.)

The talk about nuclear thermal rockets isn't too surprising, either. We know already that SpaceX had been considering NTR at one point due to past presentations (most of them many years old, now). I feel this is a Mueller thing, as Mueller is maybe /the/ greatest propulsion engineer on the planet right now, and NTR is pretty tantalizing. I mean, we actually built them in the past and designed even better ones. (BTW, I think the conclusion is a good one: too expensive for what SpaceX wants to do now.) If you're a propulsion engineer that isn't super old, you might chafe a bit at the fact that you weren't around at the time when these things were being developed (potentially) for flight.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2017 04:22 AM 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 Prettz

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #11 on: 05/14/2017 04:20 AM »
There were a lot of what seemed like very important, or at least highly interesting, parts that were obliterated by transmission errors. A couple of his anecdotes were getting right to the part I most wanted to hear when the audio dropped until he was finished. I suppose whatever he was saying is lost for good?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #12 on: 05/14/2017 04:41 AM »
For instance, Block 5 has reusable TPS on the bottom. I suspected as much as they're hiring carbon-carbon engineers, and that's perhaps the most obvious use for carbon-carbon (other than perhaps a nozzle extension on the upper stage?).
(to the tune of Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls":)

"Are you gonna land it down tonite"

"Ah down on that big SpaceX"

"Are you going to leave it all soot up"

"Hot bottomed stage you make the rocket world reused"

(Yeah I know it goes in the party thread Lar, but just this once...)

Offline DanseMacabre

Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #13 on: 05/14/2017 04:50 AM »
There were a lot of what seemed like very important, or at least highly interesting, parts that were obliterated by transmission errors. A couple of his anecdotes were getting right to the part I most wanted to hear when the audio dropped until he was finished. I suppose whatever he was saying is lost for good?

Review the Transcript Zucal posted above.

Offline Prettz

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #14 on: 05/14/2017 05:15 AM »
Review the Transcript Zucal posted above.
Yes it features a lot of <inaudible>

Offline Negan

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #15 on: 05/14/2017 05:29 AM »
I'm just glad to see that someone with so much influence in today's space development has such a huge night and day difference in attitude compared to the status quo of most of the experts on this forum.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #16 on: 05/14/2017 05:31 AM »
Tom's talk starting to get media attention:

Quote
Top SpaceX employee throws shade at just about all of his competitors
The price that government programs “charge for their rockets is just ridiculous.”

by Eric Berger - May 14, 2017 1:24am BST

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/a-top-spacex-employee-throws-shade-at-just-about-all-of-his-competitors/

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #17 on: 05/14/2017 05:59 AM »
Really like how the obsession with low cost comes through the talk:

Quote
We actually picked the wrong propellant. It wasn’t too bad, but we picked RP-1, rocket-grade kerosene, which at the time was, you know, 8 dollars a gallon. We tried jet fuel, which is more like 2 dollars a gallon, but it just didn’t run very good. But recently, we re-negotiated the cost of the kerosene fuel and we got it close to the cost of jet fuel.

I find it hard to believe any other launch provider would worry about the 'high' cost of RP-1 compared to jet fuel.

Online Lars-J

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Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #18 on: 05/14/2017 06:14 AM »
Wow, that was a great interview. (I read the Reddit transcripts)

Mueller's thoughts about chemical propulsion and future nuclear stuff was as others have said not earth shattering by any means, but the level of detail and frank discussion is so refreshing.

It seems like people (myself included) continually underestimate what SpaceX really have in the pipeline.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2017 06:15 AM by Lars-J »

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Tom Mueller interview 02 May 2017
« Reply #19 on: 05/14/2017 06:58 AM »
Given the cost goal Elon gave him for the Merlin 1D, depending on how close he got, those engines could be a whole lot cheaper than people have estimated them to be. That was a pretty seriously low price he was targeting.

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