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Old September 26 2012, 08:37 AM   #6
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Re: SpaceX's Grasshopper

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ironically, between the Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule, this means SpaceX is closer to a manned moon landing than NASA is now.
I think closer is an understatement, SpaceX would soon have hardware that's almost capable of a Moon landing. And if the Grasshopper achieves its stated goals dropping the price of launches low enough, they could do a Moon landing with their own money. Regularly.

I'm not sure if the SuperDraco engines provide enough thrust for landing on the Moon, but that aside, they can do an unmanned in 2013-2014 if they have $200-300M to waste. Or even less if they utilise the Falcon Heavy demo flight due to a lack of customers.

By the way, I'm not sure if gturner's post is intended to be serious or humorous, but it is spot on. The Grasshopper and SuperDraco will be SpaceX's first* technical firsts. Being the first private company in orbit is something, true, but so far they have been doing what has been already done by governments. On the other hand, nobody has ever landed a rocket, or even a capsule propulsively. Which is the reason I'm excited for SpaceX much more than I would be for a random company that would provide launch capability and a capsule as requested.

Even that feeble hop in the video in the OP is an example of an imaginative technical first, because I'm pretty sure that nobody has done that either.

* Well, there were probably some small ones in the design of the rockets and capsule, including the launch abort, but nothing substantial.
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