6 thoughts on “The Year In SpaceX”

  1. Apropos my snark, I recall a quotation from Jeff Bezos about flight cadence, comparing space launch to surgery and that you wouldn’t want your specialized procedure performed by somebody who only does it once every two years.

    Alas I cannot find it.

    Does anybody recall the venue and/or publication?

  2. Well, to be fair, given the depth of Jeff Bezos’ deep pockets Blue Origin can afford to take their time.

  3. I suspect New Shepard will end the same way as the Falcon 1. i.e. it will be knifed once the larger rocket becomes available.

    SpaceX managed to do a bunch of milestones this year from launching the Falcon Heavy, building the new pad in Florida, getting the Block 5 up and running, and flying a first stage three times for the first time. They also apparently fixed the second stage tank design.

    Still it seems the Block 5 is not 100% debugged yet in terms of landing the first stage I think it went a step backwards with that reentry failure. It was clearly obvious the grid fins were not working properly the minute they started using them on that flight. It was kind of interesting how it managed to stay mostly intact on splash down however. That might provide useful data for them with regards to ocean landings which used to be their initial plan.

    There is also the change of BFR’s second stage to use metal construction. Which I kinda of expected to happen. I said that much here that I thought it was a step too far for SpaceX to go into all composite construction since it’s not their area of expertise to begin with. Also consider the issues they had with the cryogenic composite tank in a reusable. It was basically a recipe for failure I think. But the solution they picked is not risk free either. There are a lot of things they have not made clear yet. I also think that it is a bit premature on their part to build a subscale demonstrator of that size without testing it at a smaller scale for reentry. Unlike what we see in the Spaceship demonstrator I think SpaceX would have been better served by testing smaller models on the most demanding environment for a second stage which is high-speed reentry. Not hopping.

  4. PS: It might be that SpaceX built the demonstrator to test something like the DC-X flipover manuever though. I guess that would make more sense since it would test the engines, tanks, and pumps in that environment.

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