SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space station

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by RAMA, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    That (page 2 Soyuz) is indeed a beautiful shot. Unfortunately the Dragon location is much further away from the cupola than the nearest Soyuz/Progress port, so photos from that angle will be hard to come by.

    Hopefully we'll see lots of epic shots when Dragon departs. :)
     
  2. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    I think this is an exceptional moment for humanity's space program. However, I am feeling very angry at the Republicans and the Blue Dog Democrats. They are crafting legislation that would reduce funding to the commercial space industry, in an effort at protecting their interests. First, the Republicans attempted to kill the Chevy Volt. Now this. Ugh. Will these people ever get behind initiatives that support and build on our country's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit?

    http://spacenews.com/commentaries/120507-commercial-crew-needs-help.html
     
  3. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    If they continue funding commercial companies, these companies might start producing cheap heavy launchers and threaten the future of the SLS workfare program. Now, we wouldn't want that to happen, would we?
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    ^There is no business case for heavy launchers.
     
  5. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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  6. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    Perhaps, but SpaceX just announced the first contract for a commerical Falcon Heavy launch:

    http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20120529
     
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    I wouldn't be so sure. And there's at least one private company interested in developing heavy launchers without much concern about the immediate business case.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    ^Not SpaceX. In fact, I can't think of any company that is. Who are you thinking of?

    Despite it's name, the Falcon Heavy is not a "heavy" launcher. "Heavy" is generally applied to a launcher that can get in excess of 70 metric tons to orbit. Falcon Heavy is only projected for 53 metric tons.
     
  9. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    Don't be nitpicky. But if you want to play it that way, many don't even consider 70 mt to be heavy - heavy has traditionally been considered to be 100 mT or more.

    And compared to the most capable launcher currently in the world - the Delta IV-Heavy at 25 mT - it sure is 'heavy'.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    Oh, it's heavier, but not a Heavy. Just don't blur it when talking about someone developing a "heavy" launcher. Falcon Heavy is definitely good enough for pretty much any need we might have in the near future and due to commonality with Falcon 9 it may acheive economies of scale that make true Heavies redundant.
     
  11. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    My point was merely that you yourself were blurring the 'heavy' definition - since you included 70 mt instead of the previously commonly held definition of 100 mt. (from the Saturn V era)

    But I agree with you otherwise. 50 mT will be enough for any exploration of the solar system (manned or not) that we want to do. If the FH becomes available at a low cost, then we can finally concentrate on building true spacecraft instead of dicking around with launch vehicles.
     
  12. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    ^agreed.
     
  13. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    I'm confuzzled. Last time I said I suspect that SpaceX are up to developing a heavy launcher if they get the opportunity, you countered me by saying they already have one.

    I didn't mean Falcon Heavy. Note that I didn't say “already has designed and is planning to launch this year”. I said “interested in developing”. Based on their concept designs, Musk's personal goals for his company and some of his latter comments, he and SpaceX are definitely interested in developing such rockets whether there are any money in it for them or not. Whether they can develop them is another matter.

    But given the price of the SLS program, the money NASA would pay for a deep space mission would probably be enough to fund such project.
     
  14. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    I would have to review exactly what I said at the time you're referring to. I may have been wrong then if I claimed that Falcon Heavy is a Heavy launcher.

    The closest SpaceX has come to interest in a SLS class launcher was a presentation they had showing what it might look like should NASA contract them to build one for the SLS program. Currently there is no evidence that SpaceX is working on such a vehicle nor any components that could be applied to one really. They have enough on their plate with developing reusable Falcon 9/H and manned Dragon anyway.
     
  15. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    I presume you are referring to the old (& disavowed) presentation with the Falcon X and Falcon XX:
    http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/spacex.charts.jpg

    Yeah, Both the FX & FXX clearly were marketed to NASA for the SLS contract(s). That goes for the Merlin 2 engine as well.

    While FX & Merlin 2 might happen eventually, they are clearly on the back burner - especially with the focus now being on a reusable F9. (Where 9 smaller engines is actually an advantage)
     
  16. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    Those have to happen if Musk has any intention of fulfilling some of the things he has said so far. He is repeating over and over that one of his goals is Mars, and while Falcon Heavy can carry Martian payloads, it doesn't quite cut it. This and the other things that he have been mumbling are strongly suggesting that he intends to work on those (or similar ones) once he gets the opportunity.

    Obviously, that's not now, since SpaceX is barely managing to start fulfilling its flights, and obviously, they might never reach the point where they would. But you can't say that they can't, you can't say that people counting on SLS don't have a slight reason to be worried, and you can't say that profit is required – Musk has even stated in the past that he's not hurrying for an IPO because it might interfere with plans that do not involve making a profit.
     
  17. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    If the FH can loft 53 mT payloads, you can be sure that is is enough for a Mars program. Many other technologies will be required, sure - but lift to LEO will not be a bottleneck.

    The point that many SLS detractors (such as myself) often try to make is that we should cancel SLS, and spend that $$$ on in-space and mars-related hardware. Using commercial crew and cargo to LEO should allow NASA to build actual exploration hardware - because right now there is *nothing* in the works. SLS and Orion is taking up all of NASA's development budget - and once they are completed they will have nothing to do for years, since there is no payloads/mission hardware in the works at the moment.
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    Yeah, the planned flight rate for SLS is ridiculously low and yet NASA still has no real payloads for it. Designing a rocket that will be built and flown only once every couple of years is madness.
     
  19. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

    That doesn't suggest they have any need for a heavy lift vehicle. Quite the opposite in fact, Musk probably envisions a spaceflight architecture based around the reusable Falcon 9H and dragon-derived orbiters. There isn't a whole lot you could do with a single HLV that couldn't be more efficiently accomplished with three MLVs, especially if the smaller rockets are reusable.