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A Summary of What's New from SpaceX
The news is coming fast from from SpaceX and Musk.
Posted by Sam Dinkin at March 11, 2006 04:30 AM
The ISS has never been fully staffed AFAIK, but it would seem spacex may give them that operational capability in just a few years. If plans for orbital hotels are realized you then have a whole new market (with about 5 times the capacity at much lower costs.) This is certainly exciting (I just need to figure out where I can get my $10m for a couple of weeks vacation!)
Assuming the market is big enough I can see them licensing out some of there technology (perhaps a company could provide second source for Merlin engines for instance.) I remember before IBM's PC InfoWorld used to announce a couple of new computer makers every week. But the market didn't explode until other manufacturers were making clones.
While there is certainly many inovative options to explore, wouldn't it be great if just this one market were able to produce clone manufacturers?
Ok, they have to get there first ship off the ground. I'm ahead of myself as usual. That's me. I was buying AMD five years ago and they probably won't eat INTC lunch for another year or so.
HAL, open the pod bay doors...Posted by ken anthony at March 11, 2006 06:37 AM
"Jon Goff's supposition that Dragon development has not require more than $100 million founder funding was confirmed with Musk by Boyle"
But isn't this essentially a meaningless statement? After all, how much "development" actually occurred so far? They haven't built it, they haven't flown it, and so far nobody has a photo of it. They claim that they have hardware that they _could_ fly, without important things like a reentry shield. But we don't know how much equipment is actually ready to fly with it. Is the rendezvous system ready? Life support? Power?
I'm not saying that they cannot do this cheaper than other companies. But let's not lose all our common sense here. It is not developed.Posted by Gerry Thompson at March 11, 2006 04:35 PM
While writing The Next Shuttle over the aslt 3 years, its become very clear America is seeing two space programs emerge. NASA did a vast amount of R&D in the late 50's and 60'a. But a government is not able to built a low cost economic vehicle.
The Space Shuttle fails bsicly in two areas, propulsion and TPS. The SSMe is so over stressed its a race car engine and we need a low cost Chevy. The Merlin is proving that point. MSFC has no interest in a low cost booster.
But with today's CNC and material methods , you can build an engine with a long operating life and very low thermal shock problems using powder metal
Boeing and Lockmart will tend to play the high cost exploration for NASA. But as you pointed out the COTS is the first kicking open of the door.
As both a rocketeer and engineeer, these are exciting times indeed.
Come on, Dragon flying people routinely to the ISS in 2 years? I don't believe that at all.
Life support, temperature management, navigation, rendez-vous, re-entry, parachutes, there's such a big number of different problems for the yet-to-fly space company. I don't know how long Dragon has been in development and what is ready but I have a hunch not very far, I'd guess at least five yeras for first orbital flight _if_ they can afford and decide to pursue it fully.
Same with Bigelow, people are assuming so unrealistic timetables for all this stuff... just read hobbyspace's predictions.Posted by meiza at March 12, 2006 02:45 AM
"SpaceX hasn't even flown their first rocket yet, it's slipped more than a year from original sketch timetables if I recall."
At least two years and counting. The first date I recall seeing was January 22, 2004.Posted by T.L. James at March 12, 2006 03:03 AM
"Come on, Dragon flying people routinely to the ISS in 2 years? I don't believe that at all."
No one said the first Dragons would be manned. I am certain they will be cargo.Posted by Mike Puckett at March 12, 2006 08:35 AM
read the very first sentence of the first comment. I was responding to that, no strawmen in my comment. Maybe it came out as too negative. I'm sorry if that was the case.
Anyway, I'm a cautious optimist. Maybe Falcon I will prove to be a good rocket, maybe not, maybe they'll do a lot of changes of plans along the way, who knows? Years will show. I'm dubious if the plan will hold out as sketched, falcon 9 flying in the currently envisioned configuration in 2007.Posted by meiza at March 12, 2006 02:01 PM
>>"The SSMe is so over stressed its a race car engine and we need a low cost Chevy."
I'd prefer we stayed away from American car analogies, your cars aren't a whole lot better than your rocket motors.
What we really need is the Toyota Hilux of rocket motors. Cheaply mass produced on an assembly line using the absolute minimum of parts and inefficient unionised labour, totally reliable, and almost indestructible.Posted by at March 12, 2006 10:04 PM
I suspect the folks at SpaceX find it easier to announce
They have lots of ideas, but, they need to focus on execution.Posted by anonymous at March 14, 2006 07:46 PM
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