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Old December 9 2012, 07:00 PM   #29
Location: Kentucky
Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

The first comment I saw on it was something like, "Wow, a new startup offering vaporware and PowerPoint presentations!"

Among my problems with it is that it's too much like Apollo, designing in mission limitations during the concept stage, specifically crew size and duration. They even consider a non-pressurized lander. They might as well go ahead and paint a Red Bull logo on the vehicle because that is a stunt.

Their concept drawing doesn't include solar cells, so they're either going with fuel cells or batteries (probably batteries because they haven't committed to cryogenics, which would make off-the-shelf fuel cells an easy choice). If they go with batteries (Apollo's LM used 255 pounds of them) then they can't extend stay time and also virtually rule out re-usability and slow, low delta-V prepositioning of the lander.

People have spent forty years thinking up better ways to do a lunar return, and the internet is full of ideas for it. Although such thoughts might not be official design studies, they'd still be useful, and should at least have been looked at.

Rand Simberg was scratching his head over this proposal's listing of $100 million for crew training as a non-recurring cost.
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