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Old September 26 2012, 08:28 PM   #9
Crazy Eddie
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Re: SpaceX's Grasshopper

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if the SuperDraco engines provide enough thrust for landing on the Moon
They don't. Depending on the fuel loads, their delta-vee is around 400m/s: just enough to escape from an exploding rocket, or enough to slow to a stop from a terminal velocity of around 250m/s and then hover for a second or two just before touchdown. That, combined with Dragon's RCS thrusters, would give you about 700m/s, about a third of what you'd need for lunar deorbit and controlled landing (The Apollo LEM needed just under 2100m/s on its way down and the ascent stage needed 1500 on its way up).

Actually, though, I was thinking that the grasshopper's landing system wouldn't be hard to modify into a lunar landing vehicle. The grasshopper stage is the same diameter as Dragon's trunk, after all, so mounting the landing system to a Dragon capsule along with propellant tanks and life support equipment is a natural evolution path.

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.
True that. If SpaceX continues to meet its technical goals the way it has in the past, they WILL supplant NASA as America's front line space program. It's fair to say that NASA's big dreams and long-range ambitions are slightly more impressive, but they're not doing the grunt work it takes to REACH those goals in a way that makes sense. It's like a kid who never does his homework and never shows up to class and studies really really hard for the final exam because he wants to get into Harvard.
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