Author Topic: Predictions for 2018  (Read 17985 times)

Offline Zingpc

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #80 on: 02/02/2018 04:30 AM »
Just one thing.

NASA rejects the use of LOX enclosed COPVs for human flight.

This could be an instant conclusion if there is another COPV popping, say due to fuel loading rate mixup/ limits violation coupled with a quality control lapse at manufacturing.

This could have interesting consequences... Musk goes for raptor conversion of Falcons for human flight. The commercial kero fuels will continue for a while.  The falcon heavy could be the vehicle on which to prove this system for risk taking customers as in the recent flights. 

Offline Svetoslav

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #81 on: 02/03/2018 08:18 AM »
Apparently I underestimated the smallsat vehicles - now there are two small rocket - Electron and the Japanese who conducted a successful orbital flight. It would be interested if the Japanese rocket will have a commercial future (as far as I know, it's not considered, just a tech demonstrator)

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #82 on: 02/05/2018 10:51 PM »
Japanese who conducted a successful orbital flight

I guess you mean SS-520-4 flight 2. Yeah, it's a great achievement but it's not really the same category.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Athrithalix

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #83 on: 02/06/2018 09:51 AM »
I track these small launchers fairly closely, and I'm almost certain we won't see the SS-520 enter commercial service. It sounds like a technology piece to allow them to explore moving on to something else.

Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #84 on: 02/14/2018 03:01 PM »
Since no one has mentioned it here yet, yay Falcon Heavy! Flew successfully on Feb. 6th
Video!:

I predicted at least one successful FH flight. That turns out to have been a rather low bar.

I also predicted at least one Falcon 9 would be lost while attempting to land. Are there bonus points for two in one?

Offline K-P

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #85 on: 03/04/2018 07:53 PM »
Not a prediction but just a thought:
What would you expect from manned space exploration in 2018 and in the upcoming years if SpaceX didn't exist?

I try not to be a SpaceX fanboy too much, but still I can not help to think about, how things have changed after shuttle retired and NASA launched it's latest (or last...?) manned mission. Without SpaceX and its plans, there would be very little to look for in the coming decade.

Russia:
After ISS is abandoned, there's no destination for Soyuz to go. Maybe 1 solo flight per year for "research" or tourism in LEO. Maybe 1 flight per year to Chinese space station if politics allow. But that's it.
And there's always a chance their entire space program is forgotten once Putin goes out of the picture and another turmoil in Russia begins...

China:
The always exciting one manned flight per 2 years to their LEO station.

Europe:
Nothing.

NASA:
SLS gets delayed more and more every year and it seems more and more unlikely to fly ever.
Manned EM-2 might happen, but building DSG is a stretch. Regular DSG operations are even less likely.
Moon landers and/or Mars ships are never gonna happen by current funding/system/architecture.
So, nothing to look forward there really.
(sorry for being cynical, but this is the reality today)

Other:
Delta IV Heavy is phased out pretty soon.
So is Ariane 5.
So there goes away two major heavy-lift vehicles in the world.
What and when will replace that lost capability for alternative solutions to SLS, is anyone's guess.
Vulcan maybe, maybe not. But without NASA's input there won't be too many Boeing spaceships flying to Boeing gateways in space...
Bigelow seems to be on a back burner.
Blue Origin might have some aces in the sleeve, but so far nothing too mind-blowing has been realised. And their schedules with New Glenn etc. will most certainly move to the right anyway.

So all in all. No matter how you feel about SpaceX or Elon Musk, things would be looking pretty bad (or at least bleak) without their rocket fleet and future missions. It's like 1975 again. But much worse.

Now we bring SpaceX back in the equation. And things suddenly look somewhat brighter. For 2018. For 2019. For the 2020s.
It's not just about having another reliable rocket family in the medium/heavy category.
It's a freaking revolution.
And it's a program with a mission, with a plan, with a leader.
And it is flying, flying again, and bending metal for future missions.

I haven't been this excited for years about the future of manned space exploration.
And boy, I am a cynical person, really. And I used to follow each and every shuttle mission and ISS construction flight. And I used to love NASA hands down. But last 15 years of this nonsense has made me lost my trust and hopes for the rocket/spacecraft program they are putting together after shuttle program.

The main reason behind all this might be of course that the organization and program still tries to do things as were done during the days of Apollo. But it is a different world now. And after Falcon 9 / FH, it is also a different space now...

All the said above applies of course only to manned spaceflight.
What NASA or parts of it (JPL...) does good is robotic exploration and I love that.
But manned spaceflight and rocket business...
At the moment I feel it will be 50/50 odds between STS-135 and EM-2 for which will be written in the history books as the final NASA manned spaceflight...

Offline JH

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #86 on: 03/04/2018 09:11 PM »
A few things worth noting:

Without SpaceX, Arianespace would probably be going forward with the Ariane 5 ME, rather than retirement of the Ariane 5. Also, The Ariane 64 design has similar performance to the Ariane 5 ECA for GTO and Ariane 5 ES for LEO, but at a lower price. Therefore, I don't know that it is fair to call the retirement of the Ariane 5 a loss, even if you only care about specifically European launch capacity... The caveat of course being that the Ariane 5 was designed to launch the Hermes shuttle, and some would argue is more aligned with the needs of HSF than the Ariane 6 as a result.

As for the D4H retiring, I don't think that there is any reason to believe that ULA would have changed their stable of rockets without the emergence of SpaceX. Also, much like the A5/A6 situation, the Vulcan with just a Centaur V upper stage (not even ACES) is expected to come close to D4H performance, but at a much lower price. So again, there isn't really anything being lost. In fact, as Vulcan is intended to carry astronauts, while the D4H never was, HSF is gaining a powerful launch vehicle, rather than losing one.

I guess my point is that you can't double count things. Yes, some rockets are going away, but they are only going away because of SpaceX's existence, and they are being replaced by things that are arguably better.

Offline dpspaulding

Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #87 on: 03/07/2018 11:29 AM »
I truly understand people's cynicism in regards to NASA and the SLS/Orion program. I'm a young employee at Cape Canaveral, too young to have been here in person for the end of Shuttle, and driving around out here is like exploring a place of abandoned history. Brevard County has many towns that sprung up solely due to the space program and now many of them look like old mining boom towns with empty store fronts and deteriorating homes. We are approaching the longest gap in American manned spaceflight since the period between Apollo and Shuttle. With that said, my feelings are changing because I can tell you first hand that the Space Coast is on the rise. There are new homes/apartments, new shopping centers, and new restaurants/bars being built everywhere around the Space Center, even towns impacted the worst by the end of Shuttle, such as Titusville.

I'm excited about the future of SpaceX and Blue Origin here and have friends who work for both as pad technicians and engineers. Boeing and Sierra Nevada are getting closer everyday to being man-rated with the Starliner and Dream Chaser. I'm also here to say that SLS and Orion are here for the long haul. The VAB has completed a massive restoration and repurposing to support SLS. The new MLP (mobile launch platform) for SLS is almost completed with the crew access arm being installed a couple of weeks ago. The new KSC Headquarters building is in the final phase of construction and work on support facilities increases every month. It seems like there are more and more construction vehicles lined up at the gates to the base every week. Orion continues to be the headline project in my company, Lockheed Martin. The Michoud Assembly plant in Louisiana is up and running building the fuel tanks for the SLS first stage. The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi has completed work on new engine test stands and support facilities for SLS. In Huntsville, AL (I grew up near here), the MSFC is buzzing with levels of activity not seen since the days when the ISS was being built and assembled in space by the shuttle.

Lastly, NASA is absolutely suffocated by its meager budget, congress, and the opinion of American constituents. NASA receive's 0.4% of the U.S. Government's annual budget yet everyone jumps to complain about their tax dollars being used for space flight. If you add up every annual budget in NASA's history you'll get a number that is slightly lower than the annual budget of the DoD in 2016 alone. NASA is trying to compete with billionaire entrepreneurs and regain the lead in space transportation/exploration with both hands tied behind its back. NASA put a man on the moon with the same computing power as an iPhone and created the most sophisticated and beautiful spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, against every demand and restriction you could think of. Without NASA none of that happens and there would be no ISS. SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc. talk about doing things and achieving great strides in manned spaceflight, but NASA has achieved these things, is achieving, and will continue to beat the odds. Until these private companies put astronauts in space, NASA is humanity's space exploration golden boy.

Offline Svetoslav

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #88 on: 03/08/2018 07:58 PM »
Looks like my original tenth prediction came true:

10: Orion and SLS : Even more delays, launch date now firmly in 2020.

Online Lar

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Re: Predictions for 2018
« Reply #89 on: 03/09/2018 12:42 AM »
This is a place to make predictions (or was, technically I think we draw a metaphorical line somewhere in the very early part of the year, which almost anyone would say we are past) ... not to debate SLS or commercial crew.

I was moved by dpspaulding's initial post. Inclined to trim the rest of the back and forth away.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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