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Author Topic: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.  (Read 51370 times)

Offline Matej

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Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« on: May 24, 2009, 03:45:26 am »
It is interesting to know, that it will take probably only months and we will have a new COMMERCIAL spaceship. California based company Space-X (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) received under NASA COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) multimillion contract to develop a space transfer reentry capsule in manned and cargo variants to support the ISS. This are all known facts, but I want to note, that the first two flights are scheduled for this year! If it be reality, than I must say, that compared to the other (more sophisticated) spaceships, developed by the space agencies worldwide that need much more time and ten to hundred times bigger development costs, it will be a great success.

The launcher is also a new Falcon 9 space rocket with four planned flights this year (two of them with the Dragon). In 2008 except the manned Dragon and unmanned cargo Dragon, there was also announced the commercial space laboratory DragonLab for various experiments in microgravity or for a launching of a small satellites. Two test flights are scheduled to 2010 and 2011. If everything goes well, than the plan is to launch up to two DragonLab spaceships per year.

http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php

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Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 04:38:36 am »
Quote
In 2008 except the manned Dragon and unmanned cargo Dragon...

we are now almost June 2009 and Falcon 9 or Dragon not be launch.

SpaceX is a controversial company, 
cheered by Space flights fanatic, booh by space flights expert

fact is SpaceX launch 4 rockets witch only one was successfully
the tree failure had be simply to avoided,
like simple check and controll, error analysis of the rocket design in advance.
with other words they make mistake like in begin of space flight back in 1950's

since 2002 Falcon 1 payload data goes smaller and smaller, from 1500 kg to 570 kg in LEO
also the promess of Dragon
first as manned capsule, now in actual data (at SpaceX) a unmanned orbital lab.
with absolute minimum requirement, unable to dock on ISS

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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2009, 04:16:30 pm »
also the promess of Dragon
first as manned capsule, now in actual data (at SpaceX) a unmanned orbital lab.
with absolute minimum requirement, unable to dock on ISS

This is somewhat misleading.  Dragon was unveiled as an unmanned orbital lab.  That is what they are trying to sell.  Their hope is that they can find buyers and then convert the design into a manned version.

Also, the ability to dock at ISS is tied to NASA requirements.  NASA has specific requirements for docking.  SpaceX can get around those requirements by building a vehicle that gets close to ISS and is then captured with the robotic arm.

If you judge SpaceX by the standards of other entrepreneurial space companies, they are doing very well.  If you judge them by the standards of traditional space companies, they have had problems.  I think that the jury is out on whether they can produce what they promise at the cost that they promise.  They seem to be learning that there are reasons why rockets and spacecraft are expensive.

Offline CFE

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2009, 07:59:02 pm »
In some ways, SpaceX is going through the same growing pains that "Big Aerospace" went through during the 50's and early 60's as the first orbital rockets were developed.  I definitely think SpaceX has a tendency to over-promise, and they've fallen victim to the schedule slips that all complex aerospace programs fall into.  But with that said, they've generated a lot of excitement due to Elon Musk's bold proclamations of his company's goals.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 12:55:08 am »
The previous couple of posts make a number of good and valid points. This is a classic glass half-empty/half-full discussion.

There's no doubt that SpaceX has found it harder than they expected, as Elon has freely admitted. Things have taken much longer, costs are not as low and there's little apparent work yet on making their launch vehicles reusable (excepting the Merlin engine). 

On the other hand, they have successfully developed a satellite launcher from scratch (and I think for rather less than an equivalent cost-plus contract would have been). Their second, much more powerful, launcher is almost ready to go (and even if they have initial problems I'm sure they're capable of resolving them). Finally their rates for ISS re-supply are certainly competitive!

Ignoring the hype, for me the acid test is: what would we have thought when SpaceX was founded if we'd been told then what they would achieve by now? 

I'm not disappointed!

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 02:49:30 am »
The previous couple of posts make a number of good and valid points. This is a classic glass half-empty/half-full discussion.

CUT

Ignoring the hype, for me the acid test is: what would we have thought when SpaceX was founded if we'd been told then what they would achieve by now? 

The previous couple of posts were made almost a year ago.  It's worth asking what has substantially changed since then.  Nothing really.  SpaceX is still _almost_ ready to do something.  But they have not done it yet.

The real acid test is this: can they deliver on what they promise?  Because "what they have achieved by now" cannot be measured.  There have been other companies that have gotten to the point of _almost_ launching a rocket and then failed (look up the history of American Rocket Company, or Connestoga--both built rockets and then blew them up, and then went bankrupt).

Keep in mind also that SpaceX is not a publicly traded company, so we don't know what they have spent yet.  A lot of enthusiasts like to claim that they have spent little money and already put a couple of satellites in orbit.  But we don't know what they have actually spent.  From my rough calculation, they received $278 million from NASA, and they recently claimed to have spent twice that amount of their own money on the Falcon 9.  That equals $834 million.  It's not clear how much of that money went to the Falcon 1, but the comment seemed to imply that it was only money spent on Falcon 9.  It's entirely possible that they've spent a billion dollars so far, which is _much_ more than what their enthusiasts brag about.

Finally, I'd point out that the real test is not SpaceX's ability to launch _something._  The real test will be their ability to continue over a period of years.  Keep in mind that there are lots of space companies, and some rocket providers, that operated for several years and then failed.  An important question to ask is why we expect SpaceX to succeed when SeaLaunch failed?  (There is also the cautionary lesson of the Delta III.)

I'm not knocking SpaceX.  I actually toured their facility and saw their equipment and setup and listened to their explanation as to why they are different.  They've already gone quite far.  And I've talked to some people with long experience in rockets (buying them for their spacecraft, or supporting USAF/NASA rocket programs) who are impressed with them (although I am really dubious about their plans for Falcon 9 Heavy, with its 27 main engines).  But the enthusiasts act like a) SpaceX has already done something when they've only launched a couple of small rockets, and b) like SpaceX's success is assured, when there is no reason to believe that.  If they are flying successfully five years from now, then we can all say that they've achieved something impressive.

Offline RyanC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 05:24:03 pm »
Falcon 9 keeps getting delayed -- and apparently the Launch Abort System (LAS) on Dragon will be high thrust hypergolic engines mounted on the side of the spacecraft that will draw fuel from the Draco RCS propellant tanks.

Can anyone see the reliability problems inherent in having your emergency LAS system interlinked and drawing propellant from your RCS system?

Plus; you carry around that parasitic mass for the whole mission -- rather than jettisoning the LAS once you no longer need it -- ala Apollo and then Orion.

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2010, 05:34:15 pm »

The real acid test is this: can they deliver on what they promise?  Because "what they have achieved by now" cannot be measured.  There have been other companies that have gotten to the point of _almost_ launching a rocket and then failed (look up the history of American Rocket Company, or Connestoga--both built rockets and then blew them up, and then went bankrupt).

Well, they have flown to orbit successfully twice now with Falcon 1. Few companies have managed that.

Quote
Keep in mind also that SpaceX is not a publicly traded company, so we don't know what they have spent yet.  A lot of enthusiasts like to claim that they have spent little money and already put a couple of satellites in orbit.  But we don't know what they have actually spent.  From my rough calculation, they received $278 million from NASA, and they recently claimed to have spent twice that amount of their own money on the Falcon 9.  That equals $834 million.  It's not clear how much of that money went to the Falcon 1, but the comment seemed to imply that it was only money spent on Falcon 9.  It's entirely possible that they've spent a billion dollars so far, which is _much_ more than what their enthusiasts brag about.

Finally, I'd point out that the real test is not SpaceX's ability to launch _something._  The real test will be their ability to continue over a period of years.  Keep in mind that there are lots of space companies, and some rocket providers, that operated for several years and then failed.  An important question to ask is why we expect SpaceX to succeed when SeaLaunch failed?  (There is also the cautionary lesson of the Delta III.)

I'm not knocking SpaceX.  I actually toured their facility and saw their equipment and setup and listened to their explanation as to why they are different.  They've already gone quite far.  And I've talked to some people with long experience in rockets (buying them for their spacecraft, or supporting USAF/NASA rocket programs) who are impressed with them (although I am really dubious about their plans for Falcon 9 Heavy, with its 27 main engines).  But the enthusiasts act like a) SpaceX has already done something when they've only launched a couple of small rockets, and b) like SpaceX's success is assured, when there is no reason to believe that.  If they are flying successfully five years from now, then we can all say that they've achieved something impressive.

Yeah, there are some over-enthusiastic fans. The upcoming flight will only carry a pretty dummy-like Dragon, as far as I know. I don't know if one can really expect  *that different* results compared to previous aerospace companies if SpaceX's problem solving methods are mostly similar. Some competition is healthy, if the industry does not get overfragmented.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2010, 07:22:09 am »
Well, they have flown to orbit successfully twice now with Falcon 1. Few companies have managed that.

That's true.  But there have been other companies that have done it and gone bankrupt or quit.  Look at the Delta III or SeaLaunch.  My point is that there seems to be a group of enthusiasts who let their enthusiasm run wild and fail to recognize that many other companies have tried this and failed.  SpaceX is not guaranteed success.

Quote
I don't know if one can really expect  *that different* results compared to previous aerospace companies if SpaceX's problem solving methods are mostly similar. Some competition is healthy, if the industry does not get overfragmented.

Those are two valid issues.  The first is that there seems to be a belief among some enthusiastic space, er, enthusiasts, that SpaceX will be able to do things fundamentally differently from every other company out there.  But the laws of physics have not changed.  Now from what I understand, SpaceX intends to lower their costs in several ways:

-building most of the vehicle in-house, thereby eliminating the overhead and profit-taking that happens for all the components that they have to buy
-using a younger workforce (as I understand it, their engineering workforce is younger, but their technician workforce is a little older, which seems like a good approach--put the experienced hands to work actually building the hardware)
-streamlining operations and taking advantage of modern technology whenever possible
-reusing engines from the first stage

Those all save a bit.  But even cutting costs in half does not actually make a big dent in the launch business.  They can potentially bring the cost of a Falcon 9 launch down to around the cost of a Delta II 8-10 years ago, which will make a lot of people happy, but doesn't open up the solar system (after all, we weren't building colonies on Mars using inexpensive Delta II's either).

There's something else that is relevant, which is how many launches per year SpaceX needs in order to be viable.  I talked to a guy who used to be a senior aerospace executive and used to essentially run one of the big rocket building companies.  He said that if SpaceX's model assumes that they can sell X number of rockets per year and they are only able to sell X-1, the question is what does that do to their profitability?  Does it wipe out their profits?  At the moment, SpaceX claims that they need to sell four launches a year and they think they can do that.  But by when?  They're already a few years behind schedule. 

The second issue you raise is also an important one and it's hard to know what is going to happen.  At the moment there are too many rockets chasing too few payloads.  But because the fixed costs for the rockets are high, this oversupply has not resulted in lower launch costs.  (In other words, this is not a traditional market.)  SpaceX has assumed that if they build a cheaper rocket, more payloads will emerge.  But this "build it and they will come" approach to markets is usually a fallacy.


Offline quellish

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2010, 11:12:53 am »
-reusing engines from the first stage

Days after their first successful launch I had a talk with a very senior person there about this. First stage reuse is a "nice to have", but it's a "must have" part of their planning. They factor in the cost of recovering a first stage, but don't bank on successfully recovering and refurbishing it. Their first launch lost the first stage, it sank and they could not locate the pinger on it. That didn't adversely affect their planning or budgeting.

So first stage reuse, for them, isn't a critical part of their business. They allocate resources for it but don't depend on it.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2010, 05:36:36 pm »
They've said publicly on several occasions that reusing the engines is not "vital" to their business plan and we'll have to take them for their word on it.  My point is that it is supposedly one of the ways that they are going to reduce costs.  Don't reuse the engines and their costs will be higher.

There's no reason to believe that the engines cannot be reused, at least theoretically.  A short dunk in saltwater is not likely to be fatal.  I see a bigger problem being recovering the engines intact.

Offline ouroboros

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2010, 08:57:43 pm »
It would be interesting to see what they can do with the architecture of the capsule to make a semi-reusable upper stage/tug for delivering modules to ISS. Proximity operations are hell on module delivery. Having reusable flight certified hardware, along with ISS robot arm capture docking is appealing from a cost reduction standpoint. A simple example being Bigelow's inflatable living modules AKA TransHab being delivered to ISS or other places. 

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 12:29:15 am »
-using a younger workforce (as I understand it, their engineering workforce is younger, but their technician workforce is a little older, which seems like a good approach--put the experienced hands to work actually building the hardware)

I think there's a difficult balance here. Youth can bring energy and a greater willingness to try new things but can have the risk of insufficient knowledge/experience to learn from past mistakes. The first Falcon 1 launch failure has been cited as an example of this?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2010, 10:29:18 pm »
After a series of delays, it appears the first Falcon 9 launch may finally happen this week http://www.spacex.com/updates.php.

There's also an article by Alan Stern on how different interests may view the success or failure of this launch: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1636/1.

Offline Lauge

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 10:54:47 pm »
There's something else that is relevant, which is how many launches per year SpaceX needs in order to be viable.  I talked to a guy who used to be a senior aerospace executive and used to essentially run one of the big rocket building companies.  He said that if SpaceX's model assumes that they can sell X number of rockets per year and they are only able to sell X-1, the question is what does that do to their profitability?  Does it wipe out their profits?  At the moment, SpaceX claims that they need to sell four launches a year and they think they can do that.  But by when?  They're already a few years behind schedule. 

The second issue you raise is also an important one and it's hard to know what is going to happen.  At the moment there are too many rockets chasing too few payloads.  But because the fixed costs for the rockets are high, this oversupply has not resulted in lower launch costs.  (In other words, this is not a traditional market.)  SpaceX has assumed that if they build a cheaper rocket, more payloads will emerge.  But this "build it and they will come" approach to markets is usually a fallacy.

Indeed two important, and often overlooked, issues, especially when debating the whole "expendable-vs-reusable" thing.

The book "The Rocket Company " by Patrick Stiennon (Author) and Doug Birkholz (Illustrator) discusses these points at some length, intermixed with discussions of engineering, certification, etc. Definitely worth a read.

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Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2010, 04:01:23 am »
update from SpaceX Homepage on 2 june

Quote
SpaceX is now targeting Friday, June 4th for its first test launch attempt of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
Launch Window Opens: 11:00 AM Eastern / 8:00 AM Pacific / 1500 UTC
Launch window lasts 4 hours. SpaceX has also reserved a second launch day on Saturday 5 June, with the same hours.

as payload comes boilerplate version of DRAGON called
Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit (DSQU)
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 04:49:53 am »
There's also an article by Alan Stern on how different interests may view the success or failure of this launch: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1636/1.

I thought that looked like it was written by the company's public relations department.  There's a lot of cheerleading.  And it makes some claims that are misleading, if not completely false.  The statement that nobody accepts failure in the rocket industry is wrong.  There are a number of companies that suffered initial losses and then folded:  American Rocket Company, Connestoga, the Delta III.  Even his mention of SeaLaunch is odd considering that they went bankrupt and only now are being rescued by the Russian company that builds their rockets (and therefore has a vested interest in keeping them afloat).

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2010, 07:44:56 am »
Yes, it is a little over done. Actually feels rather defensive to me, as if written in anticipation of a lot of negative flak if there are any problems?

I do agree with Alan that SpaceX are, rightly or wrongly, something of a poster child for the commercial launch industry and that SpaceX will persist if the first Falcon 9 launch fails. As you've commented previously in this thread, however, I've no idea how deep their pockets are and so how many issues they can persist through.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 08:30:56 am »
Well, it could be defensive.  It could also be read in a different way.

But the Falcon 9 launch is a flight test, that's all.  The symbolism attached to this flight is ridiculous.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2010, 02:34:12 pm »
From my rough calculation, they received $278 million from NASA, and they recently claimed to have spent twice that amount of their own money on the Falcon 9.  That equals $834 million.  It's not clear how much of that money went to the Falcon 1, but the comment seemed to imply that it was only money spent on Falcon 9.  It's entirely possible that they've spent a billion dollars so far, which is _much_ more than what their enthusiasts brag about.

In their pre-Falcon 9 test teleconference today, SpaceX is reported as saying their total spend from company's beginning is $350M-400M. Is the previous statement available somewhere? (or was it a verbal remark?)

Offline Archibald

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2010, 01:07:20 pm »
Holly crap, THEY DID IT !!!

Falcon 9 first flight a SUCCESS !!

Bravo. Just Bravo !
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2010, 02:04:46 pm »
In their pre-Falcon 9 test teleconference today, SpaceX is reported as saying their total spend from company's beginning is $350M-400M. Is the previous statement available somewhere? (or was it a verbal remark?)

It was a Twitter comment by Jeff Foust made during a talk by the company's CEO.  Try his Twitter page.  I'd also add that there are rough calculations you can do on this.  Figure out the size of their company and then look up some information to give you a monthly "burn rate"--i.e. about how much you would expect a company like that to spend per month.  From my very poor understanding of this, $400 million would be pretty low considering how many people they employ and how long they've been in business.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 02:07:54 pm by blackstar »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2010, 02:06:08 pm »
Yes, many congratulations to SpaceX. A fantastic achievement on their first Falcon 9 launch.

From http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/status.html:

Quote
It's official. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the Falcon 9 rocket achieved a nearly perfect orbit during today's dramatic blastoff.

GPS telemetry showed the rocket's second stage and dummy Dragon capsule hit "essentially a bullseye," according to Musk.

The apogee, or high point, was about 1 percent higher than planned and the perigee, or low point, was 0.2 percent off the target. The second stage shutdown was nominal, Musk told Spaceflight Now.

The Falcon 9 was shooting for a circular orbit 250 kilometers, or 155 miles, high and an inclination of 34.5 degrees.

Video capture (no sound) of the SpaceX webcast:



I'll add official SpaceX video when available.

Update: SpaceX has posted a brief launch highlights video at http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=51

Further Update: here's a longer SpaceX compilation video:
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 12:40:38 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2010, 05:05:43 pm »
Is that second stage roll intentional? It cuts just before alleged second stage shutdown at T+8 min 50 s..

EDIT: OK seems orbit is accurate:
http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=21153

Quote
Any off nominal issues such as the second stage roll?
- Little more roll than expected but it didn't affect the mission.
- Will investigate the excessive roll to insure it's not a problem for future flights.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 05:08:03 pm by mz »

Offline TomS

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2010, 07:01:55 pm »
This is not the first time SpaceX has had excessive roll problems -- Falcon 1 had the same issue to varying degrees on at least the first three flights. 

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2010, 12:44:28 am »
It was a Twitter comment by Jeff Foust made during a talk by the company's CEO.  Try his Twitter page.

Thanks for that. Unfortunately Jeff is so prolific it appears I can't search his tweets back far enough :(

However, some interesting business info from Elon's post-Falcon 9 flight interview (from above hobbyspace link, thanks again to Jeff and others):

  • SpaceX have spent $350-400M on Falcon 1 and 9, $150-200M on Dragon. Includes NASA and other money.
  • Not generally realized that SpaceX has been profitable for 3 years and should be for a fourth as well.
  • Independently audited. NASA also examines books closely. Major customers do as well to insure company is sound.
  • $2.5B in contracted revenue on the books.
  • Will soon be announcing several new launch contracts.
  • Several already signed but they wanted to wait till after this flight to make them public.
  • Expect to sign new customers soon as well.
  • Current pricing for F9/Dragon does not assume [first stage] reusability.
  • Long term, though, reusability is a high priority. Will examine what happened [with first stage break-up on re-entry] and try to fix the problem(s).

So SpaceX spend is more like $600M so far. They have grown very rapidly in the last 3? years, so spend for earlier years I assume would be much less than now.

The fact that income has exceeded (on-going) expenditure for 3 years already is very encouraging for longer-term sustainability. I hope those contracts turn into real launches, rather than 'options' that are too dependent on clients' own business projections working out ...

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2010, 05:21:41 pm »
It was a Twitter comment by Jeff Foust made during a talk by the company's CEO.  Try his Twitter page.

Thanks for that. Unfortunately Jeff is so prolific it appears I can't search his tweets back far enough :(

Email him through his website.

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2010, 11:29:45 am »
first independent source about Falcon 9 launch
after NORAD
Second stage and DSQU end up 232 x 242 km Orbit with 34,5 degree inclination
original orbit had to be 500 x 500 km (with 28 degree inclination?)

also show the video that second stage start to roll after ignition.
and on end of transmission show the stage beginn to somersault


source on orbit
German blog of bernd leitenberger
http://www.bernd-leitenberger.de/blog/2010/06/04/falcon-9-wie-wars/
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Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2010, 12:27:50 pm »
first independent source about Falcon 9 launch
after NORAD
Second stage and DSQU end up 232 x 242 km Orbit with 34,5 degree inclination
original orbit had to be 500 x 500 km (with 28 degree inclination?)

also show the video that second stage start to roll after ignition.
and on end of transmission show the stage beginn to somersault


source on orbit
German blog of bernd leitenberger
http://www.bernd-leitenberger.de/blog/2010/06/04/falcon-9-wie-wars/

Where is the 500x500 km target from?
The link I posted earlier contradicts that:

Quote
- The orbit was right on the money
- From SpaceX: "Nominal shutdown and orbit was almost exactly 250km. Telemetry showed essentially a bullseye: ~0.2% on perigee and ~1% on apogee."

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2010, 05:01:38 am »
SpaceX have issued a press-release (see http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20100607), which includes:

Quote
Preliminary data indicates that Falcon 9 achieved all of its primary mission objectives, culminating in a nearly perfect insertion of the second stage and Dragon spacecraft qualification unit into the targeted 250 km (155 mi) circular orbit.

SpaceX have also published the following link http://heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=36595, so I assume they've supplied some data to the website? Here's the ground track from that page:


Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2010, 06:16:18 am »
Anyone happen to recall if the Second Stage was usable on-orbit as a propulsion module? I was under the impression it could perform multiple restarts and such.

Randy

Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2010, 05:33:57 am »
Anyone happen to recall if the Second Stage was usable on-orbit as a propulsion module? I was under the impression it could perform multiple restarts and such.

Randy

No, it is restartable just like any upperstage

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2010, 06:20:54 am »
No, it is restartable just like any upperstage

This is illustrated in the Falcon 9 User's Guide http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2010, 06:38:09 am »
No, it is restartable just like any upperstage

This is illustrated in the Falcon 9 User's Guide http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf
Great... you took down their website ;D

Randy

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2010, 12:07:12 pm »
Now from what I understand, SpaceX intends to lower their costs in several ways:

-building most of the vehicle in-house, thereby eliminating the overhead and profit-taking that happens for all the components that they have to buy
-using a younger workforce (as I understand it, their engineering workforce is younger, but their technician workforce is a little older, which seems like a good approach--put the experienced hands to work actually building the hardware)
-streamlining operations and taking advantage of modern technology whenever possible
-reusing engines from the first stage

As part of the Iridium /SpaceX $492M contract announcement last week, Elon Musk gave a teleconference and talked quite a bit about why he believes SpaceX is much more cost-efficient then other companies.

There's a write-up at http://www.pehub.com/74756/elon-musk-on-why-his-rockets-are-faster-cheaper-and-lighter-than-what-youve-seen-before/. He stresses that savings come from many different areas and describes a few examples, including their vertical intergration.

Rand Simberg has another write-up of the call and one other topic I think of note is what Elon said when Rand asked him about re-usability:

Quote from: Rand quoting Elon
I asked him if they knew yet why the [Falcon 9] first stage didn’t survive entry, or if they would have to wait for another flight to get better data (because they didn’t get the microwave imaging data they wanted). He said that they still didn’t know, and might not figure it out until they try again. I followed up, asking if he could conceive of a time that they might just give up on it, and pull the recovery systems out to give them more payload. I was surprised at the vehemence of his answer (paraphrasing): “We will never give up! Never! Reusability is one of the most important goals. If we become the biggest launch company in the world, making money hand over fist, but we’re still not reusable, I will consider us to have failed.” I told him that I was very gratified to hear that, because I like reusability.

Like Rand, I'm very pleased to hear it too :)

Offline RyanC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2010, 03:58:36 am »
I like how musk talks shit about how SpaceX is so awesome; but leaves out the fact that OSC got there far far before Musk ever did with their Taurus; an all solid rocket that can put 2,900 lb into orbit; and has been around since 1998 or so.  But Taurus' first stage is an evil derivative of the Stage I motor for PEACEKEEPER, so is not "private".  ::)

Also, Musk's speech is full of silicon valley technobabble buzz; a lot of words; but not very substantiative. For example, he talks about friction stir welding; leaving out teh fact that it's used to make the Shuttle SRBs.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 04:05:43 am by RyanCrierie »

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2010, 06:28:44 am »
The shuttle SRB:s were made way back in a huge forging machine. You can see a flaming hammer of doom in some PR videos. They can't be made in the USA anymore.

You probably mean the shuttle external tank.
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2010/10-010.html

I think the EELV:s don't use friction stir welding for everything, at least not yet.
You can check Kirk Sorensen's factory tour writeup here:

http://energyfromthorium.com/2009/11/01/visiting-americas-rocket-factory/
The panels are FSW:d together but the barrels formed from that are welded differently?

Overall, I'm not so sure if SpaceX has a future of low costs or decent reliability. Their reusability strategy seems uncertain.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2010, 10:27:42 am »
I like how musk talks shit about how SpaceX is so awesome; but leaves out the fact that OSC got there far far before Musk ever did with their Taurus; an all solid rocket that can put 2,900 lb into orbit; and has been around since 1998 or so.  But Taurus' first stage is an evil derivative of the Stage I motor for PEACEKEEPER, so is not "private".  ::)

Also, Musk's speech is full of silicon valley technobabble buzz; a lot of words; but not very substantiative. For example, he talks about friction stir welding; leaving out the fact that it's used to make the Shuttle SRBs.
Putting the question into perspective helps with this. First we need to "clarify" your statement since you don't specify WHERE OSC got to "before" Musk ever did. Orbit?
That wasn't the "Taurus" that was the "Pegasus" LV which Orbital says was the first "privately" developed LV and first flew in 1990. (It should be noted that though Orbital lists the Pegasus as "privately" developed funding WAS provided through DARPA and the DoD for development under various contracts whereas the Falcon-1 was FULLY designed and developed with ONLY private funding. A major difference)

Pegasus-XL (current) version is capable of orbiting @1,000lbs and has the distinction of having the ONLY "fully-reusable" first stage which is the L-1011 "Carrier Aircraft" used to Air-Launch the Pegasus. Unfortunately this has not proved to be a commercially viable launch vehicle, leading Orbital to design and develop a "ground-launched" version with an added stage which is based on the Peacekeeper ICBM first stage.

The Taurus Launch Vehicle first stage is a Castor-120 which is currently used is a 'civilian-ized' production version of the Peacekeepr first stage. The Taurus-1 can put a little over 3,000lb into orbit but it was designed and developed using DARPA and DoD funding under contract to Orbital. Both due to design (all solid) and regulation (it was not in any sense a "privately funded" vehicle) and is not eligable for COTS. Orbital has begun to work around these issues with the concept of the Taurus-II which will be a duel Lox/Kerosene stage booster with a single solid rocket attached to the paylpoad.

Payload to the ISS is projected to be about 15,430lbs, IF the design ever gets built as Orbital is not finding investments to match the NASA funds as per COTS regulations. So far they have had to match funding from internal sources as has Space-X however unlike Space-X, Orbital has sought outside partnerships and investment to continue development and testing of the Taurus-II which has not as yet been overly successful nor allowed the company to reduce internal funding commitments.

Orbital also has designed and produced (again, under contract with the DoD and DARPA so not "private") the Minotaur series of Launch Vehicles based on demilitarized parts of the Minuteman ICBM of which only the Minotaur-I, IV and V are actual space launch. The Minotaur's II, and III are sub-orbital boost vehicle only and lack the power or systems to achieve orbit. Payload for the Minotaur-I is a little over 1,200llbs to LEO while the Minotaur-IV can place over 3,800lbs into LEO and by adding a 5th stage the Minotaur-V can transfer this amount to GEO.
Again because of non-private development and regulation neither of these qualify for COTS, nor ISS missions.

Comparatively the Falcon Launch Vehicle series has the Falcon-1 (original) orbiting a little over 925lbs. The current model of the Falcon-1 which has had the original Merlin-1A main engine replaced with the more powerful Merlin-1C can put @1,050lbs into LEO and the stretched and uprated Falcon-1e due out this year is projected to have a payload capability of excess of 2,200lbs. The Falcon-9 was actually a change of plans for Space-X since they had originally planned to incrementally move forward from the Falcon-1 to the medium lift Launch Vehicle the Falcon-V. However careful attention to market demand trends, and customer feedback suggested that there would only be a small market for the Falcon-V and that a more stable and lucrative market lay in designing and building the more powerful Falcon-9 with its over 23,000lb payload capacity.
The design and development process for the Falcon-9 was already underweigh when Space-X competed for the COTS contract, again the majority of the money coming from Space-X internal resources.

I'd also suggest before one 'dismiss' Musk's talk is to recall that even though it seems filled with "Silicon-Valley-Technobabble-Buzz" as you put it that Musk was one of the people who came UP with the language and those words. Unlike the majority of others in the beginning HE managed to not only survive but to thrive and even more-so you should remember that the same babble and buzzwords have become the standard speech of business around the world because at ONE point in history, people who PRACTICED as well as PREACHED the language ended up being highly successful AT business. As for being "substantive" or not it might be well to recall that Musk and Space-X IS being successful, competitive, and innovative in an industry who's business models have been stagnated for decades with competitiveness lost to inflated costs-of-operations and successive layers of bureaucracy and administration laid between customers and their needs and those actually producing the product.

One only need look at the differences between the commercial success of the Pegasus-XL or the Taurus-1 and Minotaur LVs and the Falcon-1/9 to see that there was and is a serious disconnect between the 'standard' aerospace company and the market.
If you recall there was a HUGE amount of discussion about Musk's decision to produce the Falcon-1 as a commercial launch vehicle instead of JUST a 'technology-demonstrator' since it had been 'proven' by Orbital's failure to make the Pegasus, Taurus, or Minotaur a commercial success that there OBVIOUSLY was NO market for smaller payloads to orbit. However after Space-X got to the point of actually offering launches the orders came rolling in, so much so that both Boeing and LockMart announced that they TOO would put "Falcon-1" class vehicles into service! LockMart is still halfheartedly supposedly pursuing plans to offer a Falcon-1 vehicle but Boeing dropped theirs when they realized they couldn't afford to compete. Orbital I suppose MIGHT have a chance since they are being provided with a large amount of relatively "inexpensive" components for their Taurus and Minotaur launch vehicles, but LockMart has NO chance to develop and produce a Falcon-1 class vehicle that is competitive since even their most MINIMUM costs even accepting huge losses to try and undercut Space-X out of the market don't "appeal" to customers.

And that right THERE is probably the biggest indicator of trouble for the bigger aerospace manufacturers: When your NAME doesn't "sell" your product anymore simply because it IS your name, how do you stay competitive?

Randy

Offline RyanC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2010, 05:36:36 pm »
Putting the question into perspective helps with this. First we need to "clarify" your statement since you don't specify WHERE OSC got to "before" Musk ever did. Orbit?

Yep, to orbit. Along with a whole clutch of other companies; like Conestoga.

Link to Conestoga

Conestoga I was the FIRST privately funded rocket to reach space...in 1982.

Quote
Both due to design (all solid) and regulation (it was not in any sense a "privately funded" vehicle) and is not eligable for COTS.

This I did not know until now.....but it makes sense now in a sick sick way.

COTS was never about getting quick, cheap space launch capabilities.

It was all about playing politics -- because why else would these asinine rules that prevent existing light launch vehicles already developed by various companies from being used in COTS contracts?

I seem to recall that during the initial COTS contract tenders for in-orbit resupply and manned crew delivery -- NASA picked the COTS tenders which were all new capsules...on all new rockets (SpaceX and a company that failed -- their contract was picked up by Orbital) instead of picking the far more sensible designs that were being proposed (use a variant of the European Automated Supply Vehicle on top of an existing EELV).

Quote
Comparatively the Falcon Launch Vehicle series has the Falcon-1 (original) orbiting a little over 925lbs. The current model of the Falcon-1 which has had the original Merlin-1A main engine replaced with the more powerful Merlin-1C can put @1,050lbs into LEO and the stretched and uprated Falcon-1e due out this year is projected to have a payload capability of excess of 2,200lbs.

Great! SpaceX has managed to.......get to the point where Orbital's been at for the last decade -- in fact their entire business model is centered around exploiting the loophole in COTS contracting that shuts out proven and already in production launch vehicles.

Quote
As for being "substantive" or not it might be well to recall that Musk and Space-X IS being successful, competitive, and innovative in an industry who's business models have been stagnated for decades with competitiveness lost to inflated costs-of-operations and successive layers of bureaucracy and administration laid between customers and their needs and those actually producing the product.

I wouldn't call a launch record of:

Falcon 1: 2/5
Falcon 9: 1/1

Exactly successful.

The Iridium contract that Musk just got will either make or break SpaceX; since Iridium won't keep feeding SpaceX money like NASA through COTS. If SpaceX can't deliver; then Iridium will cancel the contract and reassign it to other launch providers.

And from reading OSC's Taurus' User's Manual LINK to 14.7 MB PDF you find that they behave a lot like SpaceX, and that many of Musk's "innovations" aren't exactly innovations:

1. Horizontal integration of launch vehicle to save time and costs.
2. A fast arrival of payload to launch time of 20~ days or less.
3. A streamlined launch control center that fits in two portable trailers.

Etc.

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2010, 06:51:29 pm »
Blah. SpaceX is hyped, yes. Now can we get over that?

For some reason NASA did not award any COTS contracts to companies that were proposing flying on existing launch vehicles. Spacehab Arctus was one, it proposed a modded Centaur for the job. That certainly could have been cheap! But SpaceX and Orbital won, NASA specifically mentioned that building new launch vehicles was a plus.

I don't view that as a sensible policy, but then, it kind of at least is consistent if you think they somehow bought the "new spacecraft <=> new launcher" mindset after 2004 or so.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2010, 07:59:32 pm »
This thread is really more appropriate to www.nasaspaceflight.com  There you'll find a lot more people interested in discussing it, and a lot more knowledgeable people.  You'll also quickly discover that every possible argument on every possible side has been made over and over again, by smart people and dumb people.  If you like arguing about this stuff, that's the place to take it.  If you don't like arguing about this stuff, then best to just let it drop.  But it's not exactly on-topic for this forum.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2010, 08:15:51 am »
The company that Orbital "took-over-from" was Rocketplane Global, which had been absorbed by Kistler Aerospace. It wasn't really a surprise though since NASA had tried an "end-run" single-source contract for "data-collection" on RLV operations with Kistler on the K-1 TSTO vehicle a few years earlier. Basically NASA was going to "pay" for Kistler to finish the K-1 and then pay them again to fly data collectors on a few flights. When that fell through it was pretty clear that one way or another someone in NASA wanted to get the K-1 flying. So when COTS came along they were a shoe-in.

Then it turned out that the K-1 being "80%" completed turned out to NOT be the actual case, (from what I understand the vehicle subassemblies MIGHT be "80%" intergrated but the overall vehicle is/was barely started) and Kistler couldn't raise the "private-investment" funds needed to match the COTS award per the COTS funding regulations and they lost the COTS contract.

While the concept of the K-1 RLV seems sound for some reason it has become a "money-sink" non-project that seems to go nowhere no matter how often they manage to get funding.

On COTS itself the overall "goal" of the COTS program was and is (politically and practically) to NOT fund "the-usual-suspects" such as Boeing and LockMart, but to give the smaller and or "newer" space companies a chance at some government funding. Therefor the regulations for funding pretty much preclude using exisisting capability even though the actual terms used is "Commercial-Off-The-Shelf" ;)
So any proposal that used an EELV, (such as Arctus) was prohibited from competing.
"Politically" it also has to pretty much be a company with a majority of its operations within the United States which is why using the European ATV isn't allowed even on an EELV. (And I recall that the ORIGINAL proposal for the system actually was using Russian boosters)

Which, by the way is where things get even 'sticker' than normal politics. Remember I mentioned the Taurus-II design? It's not actually "legal" under NASA regulations either. (Note: Not COTS regs, NASA regs) It's because the "final" stage is a solid rocket, which means it can't be used to deliver 'cargo' to any NASA sponsored manned platform unless it adds ANOTHER maneuvering stage capable of "variable propulsion and delta-V adjustments" which in other words means liquid and/or mono-propellant.
Strangely enough IF the Taurus-II was set up with solids as the launch stages and a liquid "on-orbit" stage it would be "legal' for COTS as long as it didn't use any "surplus" missile motors.
(The issues with the Orbital vehicles which also applies to vehicles like Conestoga is that they use military motors which by COTS regulation has to be considered as included in the COTS award monies. So the more 'government' equipment you use the less money you get from the government and the more money you have to "raise" from outside sources.)

No COTS was (and is) never about "cheap-quick" access to space though that is what it says verbatim in strict technical terms. The language is intended to play to and tap into the public support of such things as the "X-Prize" contest by giving government money to companies that are NOT part of the "standard" aerospace community. This is SUPPOSED to open opportunities for non-conventional and out-of-the-box thinking and concepts. Of course the REALITY it quite different as it will always be when political motivation is included.
'nough said on that...

Lastly let me clarify something, a VERY common mistake that Ryan Crierie brings up:
>Great! SpaceX has managed to.......get to the point where Orbital's been at for the last decade
>-- in fact their entire business model is centered around exploiting the loophole in COTS
>contracting that shuts out proven and already in production launch vehicles.

There is a large community of thinking that somehow assumes that the above is "true" and is in fact the ONLY reason that Space-X is getting any business at all. That without COTS Space-X would fold up and blow away. This would of course "seem" to be proven out since as noted the Falcon-1 flight record is less than 50% successful, and this is often used to 'support' the misconception.

Elon Musk has noted in response to this assumption that in fact Space-X does not NEED the COTS program to compete and this is born out by the fact that the Falcon-1 is ineligible for COTS funding (and in fact Space-X would be disqualified AND fined under COTS regulations if ANY COTS monies were spent on any aspect of Falcon-1 production) yet still has a very large list of scheduled flights that were IN-PLACE prior to COTS even being announced. The Falcon-9 is being used for the COTS program but was IN-DEVELOPMENT prior to COTS due to customer feedback and payload demands. Space-X is in no way 'dependent' on COTS restrictions as they have consistently (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future according to Musk) "matched" all government funding from COTS (as required by regulations) with internal, non-solicited monies and without the company opening up public stock purchases.

In other words: COTS has NO effect on the Space-X business plan and customers are lining up to buy launches on both the Falcon-1 and the Falcon-9 NOT because those customers have no other choice, nor because COTS allows Space-X to somehow 'undercut' other launch services but because they believe that launching with Space-X gives them some sort of 'advantage' over "proven-and-in-production" launch vehicles!

Space-X has a better business plan, less expensive launch costs, better customer service, is more applicable to market needs, or whatever that meets customer needs BETTER than "proven-and-in-production" launch service providers as is evidenced by their list of scheduled and waiting customers. They are obviously doing SOMETHING different than the other launch services providers even if they ARE "over-hyped" since they continue to GAIN customers.

And you are of course correct Blackstar in that this probably isn't the place for this discussion and if the moderator feels the need to remove this I can handle that. I just needed to get that off my chest :)
(And yes, this "discussion" is still going strong on NSF where I'm not even considered a "fan" of Space-X :) )

Randy

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #42 on: June 22, 2010, 08:18:19 am »
Hopefully on a "closer-to-topic" note:
During the run-up to the development and first flight of the Falcon-1 I seem to recall seeing a notional concept for a "Falcon-1 Heavy" similar to the Falcon-9 heavy configuration. Does anyone else recall such and maybe have something to back up my memory?

Randy

Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2010, 10:47:55 am »

1.  Which, by the way is where things get even 'sticker' than normal politics. Remember I mentioned the Taurus-II design? It's not actually "legal" under NASA regulations either. (Note: Not COTS regs, NASA regs) It's because the "final" stage is a solid rocket, which means it can't be used to deliver 'cargo' to any NASA sponsored manned platform unless it adds ANOTHER maneuvering stage capable of "variable propulsion and delta-V adjustments" which in other words means liquid and/or mono-propellant.
Strangely enough IF the Taurus-II was set up with solids as the launch stages and a liquid "on-orbit" stage it would be "legal' for COTS as long as it didn't use any "surplus" missile motors.

(The issues with the Orbital vehicles which also applies to vehicles like Conestoga is that they use military motors which by COTS regulation has to be considered as included in the COTS award monies. So the more 'government' equipment you use the less money you get from the government and the more money you have to "raise" from outside sources.)

2.  Space-X has a better business plan, less expensive launch costs, better customer service, is more applicable to market needs, or whatever that meets customer needs BETTER

1.  Huh?    The propellants for the LV has no bearing on whether the vehicle is usable for ISS resupply.  Any vehicle is going to need a maneuvering spacecraft.  Planetspace was going to be all solid.

2.  None of those are proven.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2010, 11:33:26 am »
HUGE DELETIONS

Elon Musk has noted in response to this assumption that in fact Space-X does not NEED the COTS program to compete and this is born out by the fact that the Falcon-1 is ineligible for COTS funding (and in fact Space-X would be disqualified AND fined under COTS regulations if ANY COTS monies were spent on any aspect of Falcon-1 production) yet still has a very large list of scheduled flights that were IN-PLACE prior to COTS even being announced.

Look, this really isn't appropriate to this board, which is devoted to "unbuilt projects and aviation technology" and not to commercial spaceflight.  If you want to endlessly argue over SpaceX and COTS and various aspects of space policy, take it to an appropriate forum.  I'm sure you'll find dozens of people willing to spend every waking hour discussing this on websites such as www.spacepolitics.com or www.nasaspaceflight.com  Some of us read this forum precisely so we don't have to read the perpetual SpaceX/COTS/Ares 1 fanboy flamewars.

But as to your comment above, it's pretty hard to believe when you consider that over half of the money SpaceX has spent has been government dollars.  Musk may have claimed that he never needed that money, but it apparently represents most of the money he has taken and spent.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #45 on: June 22, 2010, 12:17:13 pm »
HUGE DELETIONS

Elon Musk has noted in response to this assumption that in fact Space-X does not NEED the COTS program to compete and this is born out by the fact that the Falcon-1 is ineligible for COTS funding (and in fact Space-X would be disqualified AND fined under COTS regulations if ANY COTS monies were spent on any aspect of Falcon-1 production) yet still has a very large list of scheduled flights that were IN-PLACE prior to COTS even being announced.

Look, this really isn't appropriate to this board, which is devoted to "un-built projects and aviation technology" and not to commercial spaceflight. If you want to endlessly argue over SpaceX and COTS and various aspects of space policy, take it to an appropriate forum.  I'm sure you'll find dozens of people willing to spend every waking hour discussing this on websites such as www.spacepolitics.com or www.nasaspaceflight.com  Some of us read this forum precisely so we don't have to read the perpetual SpaceX/COTS/Ares 1 fanboy flamewars.
My apologies  :)
I tend to let some subjects "get-to-me" and I'll refrain from commenting.
(Though I DO sympathize as I've found the "view" more refreshing over here than the drek I have to wade through at the mentioned forums... No matter that I tend to contribute to the depth myself over there :) )

Which is one reason I am trying to change the 'subject' a bit :D
Quote
But as to your comment above, it's pretty hard to believe when you consider that over half of the money SpaceX has spent has been government dollars.  Musk may have claimed that he never needed that money, but it apparently represents most of the money he has taken and spent.
He does claim that and "technically" any money spent on "improvements" towards the Falcon-9 CAN be applied, somewhat to the Falcon-1 NASA and OMB especially require quite meticulous tracking of the monies spent by the COTS folks...

Randy

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #46 on: June 22, 2010, 05:36:42 pm »
(Though I DO sympathize as I've found the "view" more refreshing over here than the drek I have to wade through at the mentioned forums... No matter that I tend to contribute to the depth myself over there :) )

I am sympathetic.  But one of the reasons why this forum is more sane on that subject than some other places is precisely because those people have not brought the flamewars here.  I actually think that's a good thing.

nasaspaceflight.com is really the appropriate forum, and it is moderated, meaning that the discussion will not get really out of hand.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2010, 05:49:25 am »
Back on-topic  :o
SpaceX has updated their listed flight manifest:


Code:
Customer                     Target Date*   Vehicle      Launch Site
NASA COTS   Demo 1               2010       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS   Demo 2               2011       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS   Demo 3               2011       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
Falcon 1e Inaugural Test Flight  2011       Falcon 1e  Kwajalein
ORBCOMM - Multiple flights       2011-2014  Falcon 1e  Kwajalein
MDA Corp. (Canada)               2011       Falcon 9   Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 1     2011       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 2     2011       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 1              2012       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 3     2012       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 4     2012       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argentina)                2012       Falcon 9   Vandenberg**
Spacecom (Israel)                2012       Falcon 9   Cape Canaveral**
DragonLab Mission 2              2013       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 5     2013       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 6     2013       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 7     2013       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argentina)                2013       Falcon 9   Vandenberg**
NSPO (Taiwan)                    2013       Falcon 1e  Kwajalein
Space Systems/Loral              2014       Falcon 9   Cape Canaveral**
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 8     2014       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 9     2014       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 10    2014       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
Astrium (Europe)                 2014       Falcon 1e  Kwajalein
Bigelow Aerospace                2014       Falcon 9   Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 11    2015       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS   Flt 12    2015       F9/Dragon  Cape Canaveral
Iridium                          2015-2017  Falcon 9   Vandenberg

*Target date indicates hardware arrival at launch site
**Or Kwajalein, depending on range availability


http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

Randy

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2010, 04:42:07 am »
With all the discussions about future NASA plans and funding for an HLV, it's interesting to see that SpaceX gave a couple of presentations this week on their possible future launch vehicles:


Question is, what demand is there for an HLV in the next few years?!

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2010, 06:45:41 am »
The only customer is the government.

This is SpaceX's way of saying that if NASA starts development of an HLV, they want a piece of the pie.  But their biggest problem right now is proving that they are more than a boutique operation.  Can they launch more than one or two mid-sized rockets per year?  Taking on development of a very large engine and a very large rocket is probably not realistic for a company with limited experience.

One thing that is interesting from those charts is the performance boost from switching to RP for the first stage.  It really gives a lot better performance than H2/LOX.  Anybody have a simple explanation as to why that is?

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2010, 07:18:13 am »
Umm "better" is hard to define here.

Basically one somewhat less obvious advantage is the greater thrust to weight in later portions of the flight (if both designs have similar takeoff T/W) leading to lower gravity losses. Though hydrogen stages often use solid rockets because of this (and because of other reasons). The kerosene rocket gets lighter faster.

Since pumps pump volume rather than weight, the hydrogen stages probably need larger engines (less thrust but larger pumps) even when they are lighter in weight.

Different stages optimize differently. Higher ISP is not always better. If you look at solar electric propulsion, there higher ISP is actually worse for many applications, as you get less thrust for the same power - fuel use is negligible anyway.

Offline airrocket

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2010, 07:31:56 am »
What a somber accomplishment nearly 50 years after Sheppard's first flight we are still designing and flying splash down capsules???????????? I see SpaceX and  Dragon as a shinning example of what what not to do. It is an amazing attempt to spend vast sums of money only to set-back US aerospace tech by 50 years. If this is an example of the best "new space" can field then perhaps the US is much better off simply purchasing flights from the Russians. Seems existing Russian capsule designs are far advance to Dragon and can offer proven dry landing capability. It is my hope the Dragon remains as a concept only and never sees the light of day. I'll put my tax money on the Dream Chaser runway landing capable and reusable that is an example of a 21st century spaceship. Sad to see Dragon hogging up much of the funding from more enabling designs like Dream Chaser.
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2010, 09:04:33 am »
Seems existing Russian capsule designs are far advance to Dragon and can offer proven dry landing capability.

Why do you say that?

What is the crew capacity of Dragon vs. Soyuz?  What is the maximum size of the crew members for the two vehicles?  What is the internal volume?

Offline airrocket

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2010, 10:09:54 am »
"return to point of return"  Sadly Dragon is missing this key enabling technology required to usher in a paradigm shift in the way we go up down to LEO. Rutan and others have it.  Musk selected to ignore it with Falcon/Dragon combo which represent a mere throw back to early sixties "space race, big booster/splash down capsule" knee jerk technology. Perhaps cheaper than what NASA Orion could produce but offering little in technology advancement towards true CATS. Dragon is a shocking example of what now defines the USA pork based space program. Stymied technology development merely going up and down endlessly to the ISS to support an the existance of an entrenched pork based program. Dragon is interesting as a concept in its own regard but hardly an enabling cost effective way to approach transportation to LEO and back. Interesting as a concept saddening as a reality.
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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2010, 10:34:53 am »
"return to point of return"  Sadly Dragon is missing this key enabling technology required to usher in a paradigm shift in the way we go up down to LEO. Rutan and others have it. 

Rutan does not have an orbital vehicle, nor does he seem to be working on one.

If you want cheap space launch, the secret is *old* technology, used effectively and cheaply, not *new* technology. An effective way to get there is to build something conservative like SpaceX approach, run the hell out of it and make incremental improvements. As the Falcon flies more and more, you learn the system, and learn what can be improved. What weight can be saved, what can be made more reliable, what recovery systems can be added. What starts as a throw-away launcher becomes a parachute/splashdown recoverable booster, becomes a parafoil/runway recoverable booster, becomes a fixed-wing recoverable booster becomes a DC-X/VTOL booster.

The approach that we've seen *fail* thousands of times over the past 50 years is to design your vehicle from the get-go to be reliant upon technologies and operations that  have not been fully developed.
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Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2010, 12:59:38 pm »
"return to point of return"  Sadly Dragon is missing this key enabling technology required to usher in a paradigm shift in the way we go up down to LEO. Rutan and others have it. 

Rutan does not have an orbital vehicle, nor does he seem to be working on one.


I think airrocket mean Crew Transfer Vehicle" proposed by `t/Space and Scaled Composites
but that's only a Mock-up and subscale Drop-models
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/cxv.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T/Space



by the way, Could this be reused as "Space Ship Three" ?
I love Strange Technology

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #56 on: August 01, 2010, 01:27:50 pm »

I think airrocket mean Crew Transfer Vehicle" proposed by `t/Space and Scaled Composites
but that's only a Mock-up and subscale Drop-models

It's also a dead project, I believe.
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #57 on: August 01, 2010, 02:01:10 pm »
I think airrocket mean Crew Transfer Vehicle" proposed by `t/Space and Scaled Composites
but that's only a Mock-up and subscale Drop-models

t/Space disappeared a few years ago.

I love their vehicle as an example of how goofy some of these ideas are.  Picture the astronauts sitting inside that capsule.  Which way are they facing during launch?  Forward, toward the nose, right?  Now what happens during an abort?  They go from taking positive gees to immediately taking negative gees and then hanging in their harnesses as the vehicle descends via parachute.  Does that make any sense at all?

Look at the names of the people associated with that project and ask yourself what they're up to now?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #58 on: August 01, 2010, 02:07:16 pm »
by the way, Could this be reused as "Space Ship Three" ?

Well I believe the actual carrier aircraft design proposed by Scaled - the Custom Launch Aircraft - inspired WhiteKnightTwo and was certainly large enough to be used as the basis for a WhiteKnightThree (see http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3413.msg88099.html#msg88099).

Offline robunos

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2010, 02:45:59 pm »
Quote
I love their vehicle as an example of how goofy some of these ideas are.  Picture the astronauts sitting inside that capsule.  Which way are they facing during launch?  Forward, toward the nose, right?  Now what happens during an abort?  They go from taking positive gees to immediately taking negative gees and then hanging in their harnesses as the vehicle descends via parachute.  Does that make any sense at all?

From the Astronautix page linked to above :-

"A problem with the use of a Discoverer-type capsule for crew re-entry had always been that the direction of G-forces during launch and re-entry were opposite. t/Space solved this through use of an innovative seat design - a type of suspended semi-rigid hammock - that could rotate 180 degrees within two seconds in order to keep the astronaut correctly oriented regardless of g-force direction. The prototypes were one tenth the mass of space shuttle seats and tested up to 13 G's."


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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2010, 02:47:39 pm »
Now what happens during an abort? 

Additionally... if this is to be used as an example of how to design a launch vehicle that can return to the launch site... what happens whe  the carrier aircraft drops the rocket, the pilot of the rocket hits the "make rocket go NOW" button, and the engine burps? Can't exactly shut it down, fix the problem and try again in a few hours, as has been done with Falcon.

As to the crew orientation in the t/Space capsule... the seats were to be mounted on pivots, so that the proper orientation would be maintained for the current acceleration vector. That's not a feasible solution for something like the Gemini, Apollo or Soyuz capsules where space was a premium, but for a large, voluminous capsule like this was to be, it might be workable, if clumsy. Straight out of 1950's sci-fi.
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2010, 03:37:03 pm »
"A problem with the use of a Discoverer-type capsule for crew re-entry had always been that the direction of G-forces during launch and re-entry were opposite. t/Space solved this through use of an innovative seat design - a type of suspended semi-rigid hammock - that could rotate 180 degrees within two seconds in order to keep the astronaut correctly oriented regardless of g-force direction. The prototypes were one tenth the mass of space shuttle seats and tested up to 13 G's."

Yeah...  t/Space "solved" this, without ever building or testing anything.  And how reasonable does it seem that during an abort, when all kinds of bad stuff could be happening, they're going to subject astronauts to high G's, rotate them, then subject them to high G's again?  Sounds like you'd end up with a lot of astronauts landing with their heads facing in the wrong direction for their bodies. 

I put t/Space in the bin with a lot of other paper rocket companies that generated press releases for a couple of years, never built or tested anything, and then just faded from view. 

Offline airrocket

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #62 on: August 01, 2010, 05:13:39 pm »
Building an HLV without a destination merely to support pork based infrastructure just boggles my mind. But it appears NASA and now perhaps even Musk SpaceX is headed down that road. If it leads to a HLV based manned mars mission in my life time I will certainly revel in the journey and accomplishment. However as the current anointed God of commercial space and the messiah of a proclaimed forthcoming CATS revolution I find what Musk SpaceX is doing as very bizarre and detached from the RLV CATS LEO concepts I have supported for the past forty years. I sense what Musk is doing as simply following fat track to the federal funded money trail wherever that might lead.
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Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #63 on: August 01, 2010, 06:15:36 pm »
RLV CATS LEO concepts

Not viable until flight rates are over 40 flights per year

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2010, 02:03:50 pm »
Now what happens during an abort? 

Additionally... if this is to be used as an example of how to design a launch vehicle that can return to the launch site... what happens whe  the carrier aircraft drops the rocket, the pilot of the rocket hits the "make rocket go NOW" button, and the engine burps? Can't exactly shut it down, fix the problem and try again in a few hours, as has been done with Falcon.
The basic idea was that if you had a problem you abort, period. The pressure-fed design is supposed to be really cheap to manufacture and use so the ONLY important section is the capsule. Air-Drop aborts were supposed to actually be easier and 'safer' than ground-launch aborts for a number of factors that both T-Space and AirLaunch cite many times in their proposals.

Quote
As to the crew orientation in the t/Space capsule... the seats were to be mounted on pivots, so that the proper orientation would be maintained for the current acceleration vector. That's not a feasible solution for something like the Gemini, Apollo or Soyuz capsules where space was a premium, but for a large, voluminous capsule like this was to be, it might be workable, if clumsy. Straight out of 1950's sci-fi.
Quote
Blackstar wrote:
Yeah...  t/Space "solved" this, without ever building or testing anything.  And how reasonable does it seem that during an abort, when all kinds of bad stuff could be happening, they're going to subject astronauts to high G's, rotate them, then subject them to high G's again?  Sounds like you'd end up with a lot of astronauts landing with their heads facing in the wrong direction for their bodies.
You know that T-Space and a University engineering class actually built and tested the seat assemblies right? Even simulated aborts and multi-g/multi-axis acceleration levels? That they tested and confirmed the lanyard and trapeze system? That they have in fact done advanced work on carrier aircraft so that they now can price modifications of a 747 to allow the carry of a NEW booster design that doesn't need a "custom" carrier aircraft and still can deliver the same payload to orbit as the original vehicle? (8-foot diameter design with a "three-barrel" TSTO design instead of the 13-foot diameter model)

While "T-Space" itself has pretty much gone-away the people who were working on the designs haven't stopped. Despite all the work done for AirLaunch they STILL prefer the T-Space launch system and as of the begining of this year they are STILL working on the program even so.

Scott pretty much hit the nail on the head, while a lot of folks would PREFER something like Dreamchaser as opposed to Dragon the Dragon is being built, tested and will be flown while the Dreamchaser remains JUST a dream and a power-point project.

Randy

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2010, 02:59:59 pm »

SNIP

so that they now can price modifications of a 747 to allow the carry of a NEW booster design that doesn't need a "custom" carrier

SNIP

While "T-Space" itself has pretty much gone-away the people who were working on the designs haven't stopped. Despite all the work done for AirLaunch they STILL prefer the T-Space launch system and as of the begining of this year they are STILL working on the program even so.

So they're going to build and fly something soon?  Even though the company is kaput and they have no money?  That's pretty amazing.  I love these companies that make great progress even when they have no money and don't fly anything... it's almost like... magic.

Offline airrocket

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2010, 04:30:43 pm »
"Dreamchaser remains JUST a dream and a power-point project"

Same fate as Dyna-soar the fast track capsule and Apollo program nix it and again later the shuttle funding nixed the X-24C. As a result we are still flying around with stone age big boosters and splash down capsules. Can not seem to break the paradigm.
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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #67 on: August 02, 2010, 04:54:28 pm »
we are still flying around with stone age big boosters and splash down capsules.

If only. Sadly, far too much time, effort and money has been pissed away on programs that went for the coolness factor of the technologies involved (like scramjets, LACE, Sabre, etc.) rather than the hum-drum of engineering that actually works. Imagine if Boeing built the Dash 80 and then annpounced that they wanted to make a commercial liner version of it... but only after they'd made it VTOL, supersonic, and powered by pulse detonation engines with twice the fuel economy of high bypass turbofans.

As for boosters being "stone age:" that's because in the 1960's, the engineering of rocket engines and rocket vehicles reached a very high percentage of the physically possible. If you have a rocket engine that generates 95% of the specific impulse that it is theoretically possible to achieve, really, how  much better can you make it?
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #68 on: August 03, 2010, 09:51:31 am »

SNIP

so that they now can price modifications of a 747 to allow the carry of a NEW booster design that doesn't need a "custom" carrier

SNIP

While "T-Space" itself has pretty much gone-away the people who were working on the designs haven't stopped. Despite all the work done for AirLaunch they STILL prefer the T-Space launch system and as of the beginning of this year they are STILL working on the program even so.

So they're going to build and fly something soon?  Even though the company is kaput and they have no money?  That's pretty amazing.  I love these companies that make great progress even when they have no money and don't fly anything... it's almost like... magic.
Actually most of the companies that made up T-Space are still around in one form or another, if anyone got the money together they could have the system together and ready for flight testing in a couple of years. Almost ALL the hardware has been built and tested in some form or fashion and they have hard quotes for the equipment and modifications costs. The money, as always, is the major issue.
Quote
airrocket wrote:
"Dreamchaser remains JUST a dream and a power-point project"

Same fate as Dyna-soar the fast track capsule and Apollo program nix it and again later the shuttle funding nixed the X-24C. As a result we are still flying around with stone age big boosters and splash down capsules. Can not seem to break the paradigm.
Scott's right again though, every time we attempt to 'break-the-paradigm' it's the attempt that ends up breaking not the paradigm. The Dyna-Soar would have been fine IF it had been kept an "X" plane. But it was pitched as an operational prototype which was heavier and less capable than an already designed and built Gemini capsule was. The lifting-bodies were considered quite closely for the Shuttle program but they ended up being unable to meet the requirements needed when scaled up, especially when the Shuttle lost the "fully-reusable/TSTO" factor and went with a 1.5 stage and drop tank requirements.

Again referring to Scott's post on average rocket engines are fully capable of 95% efficiency and the only thing holding them back is the extreme costs of achieving that other 5% which usually isn't really worth the money.

And even the "crappy" engines we had in the mid-60s were shown to be really, REALLY reusable even when they were NOT designed to be reused!
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=5948
(Quoting Scott again I know but he's GOT a point!)

There really isn't any practical reason why a capsule can't be made reusable, but like ELV's there are some pretty good financial reasons why you wouldn't want to do so for low numbers of flights.

Flight test programs COST money and there is no real way around that. With a soft space-lift market and only vague "hopes" of suborbital and orbital tourism there isn't' a LOT of money around to be had and a lot of what there is has already been tied up in certain concepts. The only way to 'break-the-paradigm' is to show, conclusively, that they way "you" are proposing is better, cheaper and/or has a higher profit margin.
In other words you've got to demonstrate it. I used to think the private sector didn't have the guts to speculatively finance something along those lines but Boeing, (as an example) has been willing to stick their financial necks out for UCAV demonstrator so maybe there IS some hope.

But NASA, DARP, and other government programs are going to be "stuck" as long as Congress keeps cutting funding to innovative and technically challenging test programs when they fail a few times or, worse yet, begin to succeed.

Randy

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #69 on: August 05, 2010, 11:37:54 pm »
Quote
Imagine if Boeing built the Dash 80 and then annpounced that they wanted to make a commercial liner version of it... but only after they'd made it VTOL, supersonic, and powered by pulse detonation engines with twice the fuel economy of high bypass turbofans.

...Yeah, but if they pulled it off, it would have been one fun ride that even Disney couldn't have beaten  :D

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2010, 01:13:20 am »
There are a couple of new AW articles on SpaceX. The first article describes on-going preparations for the first Dragon (and second Falcon 9) flight later this year. It includes the following:

Quote
“In the long term we intend to land back on land,” Musk says. “For the moment we are landing in the ocean because it is far too difficult to get FAA permission to land on land.” For land recovery, SpaceX is devising a Dragon configuration with four landing legs with shock absorbers or crushable cartridges.

The second article includes come comments from Elon on the recent HLV/Merlin 2 presentations.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #71 on: August 20, 2010, 04:18:39 pm »
Several pictures (some attached) and a on the SpaceX updates page of the first Dragon drop test last week.

Dragon was dropped in a high-altitude drop test (from about 14,000 ft) by air-crane and landed safely on water and was recovered.

Quote
This is the last in a series of tests to validate parachute deployment systems and recovery operations before the craft’s first launch.

Offline Triton

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #72 on: August 20, 2010, 06:04:21 pm »
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 06:07:04 pm by Triton »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #73 on: August 28, 2010, 03:53:26 am »
Here's a shiny new Merlin engine courtesy of jurvetson at this flickr page.

Quote
Ken Bowersox, sporting the STS-73 shirt he wore while on the ISS…
and reflecting on the beauty of a shiny SpaceX Merlin 1c engine this afternoon.

Note photo is made available under a Creative Commons licence.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2010, 03:17:35 am »
The second Falcon 9 launch/first Dragon flight still has a regulatory hurdle to clear:

Quote from: http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/111005-spacex-awaiting-faa-approval-license.html
WASHINGTON — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is awaiting U.S. regulatory approval to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo vessel as soon as Nov. 20 after more than a year spent tying up loose ends associated with the recoverable space capsule’s re-entry license application, which the company submitted in final form to federal regulators Oct. 29, according to government and industry sources.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates the launch and re-entry of commercial space vehicles, approved SpaceX’s request for a license covering the launch part of the mission Oct. 15.

However, FAA spokesman Hank Price said the agency is continuing to review the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company’s updated application for the re-entry license, which would be the first ever granted by the agency since Congress gave the FAA authority to license commercial re-entry vehicles in 2004.

[...]

Tend to forget that it's not just technical issues to overcome (at least for the first flight!).

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #75 on: November 23, 2010, 12:56:16 am »
SpaceX has issued the following press release on being granted re-entry approval for the first Dragon flight:

Quote
FAA Awards SpaceX First Ever Commercial License to Re-Enter Spacecraft from Orbit

Hawthorne, CA – Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation was created in 1984, it has issued licenses for more than 200 launches.

Today the FAA has made SpaceX the first-ever commercial company to receive a license to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit.

Next month, SpaceX is planning to launch its Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The Dragon capsule is expected to orbit the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, and land in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later.

This will be the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is a feat performed by only 6 nations or governmental agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.

It is also the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program to develop commercial supply services to the International Space Station and encourage the growth of the commercial space industry. After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX will make at least 12 flights to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of a Commercial Resupply Services contract for NASA. The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were designed to one day carry astronauts; both the COTS and CRS missions will yield valuable flight experience towards this goal.

The license is valid for 1 year from the date of issue.

Interestingly Gary Hudson has pointed out that the Commercial Experiment Transporter (COMET) had the first re-entry license in 1995. Clark Lindsey has post some further info here. As COMET failed to reach orbit, I hope the forthcoming Dragon flight is more successful.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #76 on: November 30, 2010, 09:35:30 pm »
Looks like the shuttle delays aren't going to hold up the Dragon flight any more:

Quote from: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html
 
MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-168
  
NASA Sets Coverage For Cots 1 Launch Targeted For Dec. 7 
 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The first SpaceX Falcon 9 demonstration launch for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program is targeted for liftoff on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Liftoff will occur from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window extends from 9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST. If necessary, launch opportunities also are available on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 with the same window.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #77 on: December 01, 2010, 05:13:45 am »
Looks like the shuttle delays aren't going to hold up the Dragon flight any more:

Bad news on shuttle is that it could slip to January or even February.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #78 on: December 07, 2010, 01:25:22 am »
Not surprisingly there's a lot of press attention for the Dragon launch (now slightly delayed while they check "two small cracks in the aft end of the 2nd stage engine nozzle extension.") For example an interview with Elon, where he talks about his view of the chances of success for the mission.

SpaceX have released a press-pack for the mission at http://www.spacex.com/downloads/cots1-20101206.pdf. It includes the attached Dragon graphic.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #79 on: December 08, 2010, 08:58:23 am »
Dragon has made orbit! Looked like a nominal Falcon 9 launch. Launch video below:



Now to see if Dragon performs as expected and particularly for re-entry.

Offline hagaricus

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #80 on: December 08, 2010, 09:16:02 am »
WOW.. just... wow.. looked like a beautifully clean burn. Holding my breath for the reentry. beyond the "two to three orbits of the earth" reported at http://satellite.tmcnet.com/topics/satellite/articles/124713-first-space-x-dragon-capsule-makes-it-orbit.htm is there any ETA for re-entry?

(edit) breathing again, congratulations to SpaceX :D
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 11:16:14 am by hagaricus »

Offline Machdiamond

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #81 on: December 08, 2010, 09:34:29 am »
Awesome achievement for a private venture.
Is it me seeing things, or was there some kind of fuel spill at umbilical separation and subsequent ignition (or something to that effect)?
Big fireball right next to the rocket as it lifts off...
--Luc

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #82 on: December 08, 2010, 09:49:29 am »
Is it me seeing things, or was there some kind of fuel spill at umbilical separation and subsequent ignition (or something to that effect)?

You're not seeing things! Don't know whether SpaceX just dodged a bullet or if it was relatively benign. I'm sure it'll be an interesting point in the post-mission press conference.

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #83 on: December 08, 2010, 10:20:18 am »
the fire ball was on tower in high of second stage umbilical system

i gess there were fuel or Oxygene remains in tubes and ignition as rocket past by
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #84 on: December 08, 2010, 11:14:21 am »
Latest tweets:

Quote from: http://mobile.twitter.com/spacexer
"THREE MAIN PARACHUTES DEPLOYED!!!!

SPLASHDOWN!!!  

SpaceX is the first commercial company to reenter a spacecraft from space!    

Well done SpaceX, fantastic!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 11:16:47 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Matej

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #85 on: December 08, 2010, 12:23:06 pm »
Great achievement!

Certainly an amateurish question, but what is the purpose of the four towers around the launch pad?

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #86 on: December 08, 2010, 12:31:30 pm »
Certainly an amateurish question, but what is the purpose of the four towers around the launch pad?

Lightening conductors.

Further tweets:

Quote from: http://mobile.twitter.com/spacexer
Splashdown on target. Mission is a success!

Recovery crew has put the floats on the Dragon already.

Wow, not bad for a first outing :D

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #87 on: December 08, 2010, 01:23:04 pm »
respect to SpaceX

Musk hopes to launch next year final Test Launch
Dragon close to ISS

only bad news from Capitol Hill
they try to cut support for commercial space flight
even canceled COTS/CRS to minimized Spending
i hope this only lout thinking of stupid politicians...

source: online NASA tv Interview mit Eliot Musk were Reporter brought in the info
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 01:25:51 pm by Michel Van »
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #88 on: December 08, 2010, 02:56:33 pm »
respect to SpaceX

Musk hopes to launch next year final Test Launch
Dragon close to ISS

only bad news from Capitol Hill
they try to cut support for commercial space flight
even canceled COTS/CRS to minimized Spending
i hope this only lout thinking of stupid politicians...

source: online NASA tv Interview mit Eliot Musk were Reporter brought in the info
We CAN hope, but it's been made pretty clear that the incoming Chairman for the committee in charge of NASA is NO fan of Space-X. That's NOT to say he doesn't "favor" commercial development, (after all Orbital has their HQ in his home district ;) ) but he has said that he believes that Space-X is "not-ready" to take on the challenge it's being given.

I'm kinda looking forward to the verbal gymnastics he's going to go through to "show" this success doesn't show Space-X pretty well ahead of the "pack" for commercial operations...

(Hey he's GOT to try at least)
Randy

Offline Johnbr

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #89 on: December 08, 2010, 05:27:13 pm »
I just got there newletter that says that demo1 was a successes.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #90 on: December 08, 2010, 05:58:25 pm »
respect to SpaceX

Musk hopes to launch next year final Test Launch
Dragon close to ISS

only bad news from Capitol Hill
they try to cut support for commercial space flight
even canceled COTS/CRS to minimized Spending
i hope this only lout thinking of stupid politicians...

source: online NASA tv Interview mit Eliot Musk were Reporter brought in the info
We CAN hope, but it's been made pretty clear that the incoming Chairman for the committee in charge of NASA is NO fan of Space-X. That's NOT to say he doesn't "favor" commercial development, (after all Orbital has their HQ in his home district ;) ) but he has said that he believes that Space-X is "not-ready" to take on the challenge it's being given.

I'm kinda looking forward to the verbal gymnastics he's going to go through to "show" this success doesn't show Space-X pretty well ahead of the "pack" for commercial operations...

(Hey he's GOT to try at least)
Randy

There's a little more to it than that.  The concern expressed by many is not that SpaceX cannot do some things.  There is a general impression that they are a boutique operation that can prep one vehicle at a time and will have a difficult time ramping up to a higher pace and more complex operations.

Offline Machdiamond

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2010, 07:58:26 pm »
Now this is funny. A press conference quote from Flight International: "The Dragon capsule contained only an as-yet unidentified gag payload ("If you like Monty Python, you'll love the secret payload," Musk says)."

I must guess: coconuts, from "Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?".

Other suggestions?

--Luc

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2010, 08:33:23 pm »
Now this is funny. A press conference quote from Flight International: "The Dragon capsule contained only an as-yet unidentified gag payload ("If you like Monty Python, you'll love the secret payload," Musk says)."

I must guess: coconuts, from "Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?".

Other suggestions?

--Luc

a death parrot nailed to instrument board ?

thank to Unwanted blog here new link to Yt Video

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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2010, 09:20:49 pm »
There is a general impression that they are a boutique operation that can prep one vehicle at a time and will have a difficult time ramping up to a higher pace and more complex operations.

SpaceX can't run before they can walk. So far their focus has been on vehicle development, not mature multi-flight operations. Clearly, if development continues to progress well that'll change.

What gets me are those (particularly pork-focussed politicians) who implicitly criticise/downplay SpaceX every time they achieve something just because they haven't yet achieved everything.

Of course they may have trouble ramping up, in the same way that successfully launching and returning an orbital capsule is no walk in the park. I'd be surprised if SpaceX haven't already recruited people with experience in ramping up / multi-flight ops.

Update: just found this Elon quote:

Quote from: http://www.space.com/news/elon-musk-spacex-ceo-interview-101208.html
We now have Falcon 9 and Dragon in steady production at approximately one F9/Dragon every three months. The F9 production rate doubles to one every six weeks in 2012.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 10:54:28 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #94 on: December 09, 2010, 05:35:32 am »
There is a general impression that they are a boutique operation that can prep one vehicle at a time and will have a difficult time ramping up to a higher pace and more complex operations.

SpaceX can't run before they can walk. So far their focus has been on vehicle development, not mature multi-flight operations. Clearly, if development continues to progress well that'll change.

What gets me are those (particularly pork-focussed politicians) who implicitly criticise/downplay SpaceX every time they achieve something just because they haven't yet achieved everything.

Yeah, but that works both ways.  I've seen SpaceX hailed as the saviors who will colonize the solar system.  But if you approach the subject from the standpoint of commercial launch (the people who build and operate comsats and buy rockets), SpaceX is promising, but not revolutionary.  Even cutting the price of launch in half does not fundamentally change things.  So there is exaggeration on both sides.  There's an additional aspect.  Musk said during the press conference that he has told his investors that he is not maximizing profits.  That's viable as long as he is not a publicly traded company.  But as soon as he needs more cash and starts selling stock, then he will have a hard time making that claim to the stockholders.  What happens then?  CEOs who don't chase the highest profits tend to get removed.  So there are hurdles to SpaceX expanding.  They could end up as an inexpensive launch provider that remains a niche provider.

And I'd suggest not taking Musk's comments as gospel.  Several years ago I saw him give a talk where he admitted that many of their early schedule dates proved "optimistic."

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #95 on: December 09, 2010, 01:20:34 pm »
A press conference quote from Flight International: "The Dragon capsule contained only an as-yet unidentified gag payload ("If you like Monty Python, you'll love the secret payload," Musk says)."

The top secret payload is revealed: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=581457&id=353851465130

If you don't know the reference try this:

« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 01:38:13 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline robunos

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #96 on: December 09, 2010, 01:46:06 pm »
They might have been better off with some pork.......... ;)


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Offline bigvlada

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #97 on: December 11, 2010, 12:20:43 am »
Congratulations to spaceX!

In article on astronomynow's website they mentioned merging two future missions into one, specifically going close to station and docking. Will it be like soyuz/progres/atv docking or will they use robot arm like in the H2TV scenario? Does Dragon have something like KURS?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #98 on: December 11, 2010, 12:39:37 am »
Will it be like soyuz/progres/atv docking or will they use robot arm like in the H2TV scenario? Does Dragon have something like KURS?

I don't believe they'll use the robot arm, SpaceX have something called DragonEye:

Quote from: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php
DragonEye

With the help of NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office, the DragonEye Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor has already undergone flight system trials in preparation for guiding the Dragon spacecraft as it approaches the International Space Station (ISS).

DragonEye launched aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on July 15th, 2009 and tested successfully in proximity of the ISS (photos below). DragonEye provides three-dimensional images based on the amount of time it takes for a single laser pulse from the sensor to the reach a target and bounce back, providing range and bearing information from the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.

The captions for the three photos are:
  • DragonEye aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour as seen from the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASA.
  • Images on right captured by the DragonEye LIDAR system during its recent flight aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (ISS image courtesy NASA).
  • Image on the right captured by the DragonEye system during its recent flight aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (ISS Image courtesy NASA).

Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #99 on: December 11, 2010, 09:27:46 am »
Will it be like soyuz/progres/atv docking or will they use robot arm like in the H2TV scenario? Does Dragon have something like KURS?

I don't believe they'll use the robot arm, SpaceX have something called DragonEye:


Dragon will not dock, it will be berth with the arm like HTV was.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #100 on: December 11, 2010, 01:39:17 pm »
Dragon will not dock, it will be berth with the arm like HTV was.

The reason I thought Dragon docks is:

Quote from: http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php
[...]
Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration
[...]

However, you're correct as the simulation video of it at: http://www.spacex.com/assets/video/dragon_iss_rendezvous.mpg shows the arm being used. Hmm, not sure I'd call that fully autonomous rendezvous and docking!
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 01:52:14 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #101 on: December 11, 2010, 04:13:41 pm »
Dragon will not dock, it will be berth with the arm like HTV was.

The reason I thought Dragon docks is:

Quote from: http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php
[...]
Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration
[...]

However, you're correct as the simulation video of it at: http://www.spacex.com/assets/video/dragon_iss_rendezvous.mpg shows the arm being used. Hmm, not sure I'd call that fully autonomous rendezvous and docking!

that is a very old video
it show ISS orginal design and first version of Dragon
it looks that SpaceX is change on autonomous rendezvous and docking

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Offline quellish

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #102 on: December 11, 2010, 07:13:38 pm »
Apparently today the recovered Dragon arrived back on the mainland, it was trucked through downtown Long Beach to Hawthorne.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #103 on: December 12, 2010, 05:38:33 am »
Been trying to find some more info on docking. According to the discussion in the Dragon docking thread at http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23413.0;all, the cargo Dragon will be berthed to the ISS using the robot arm whilst a future crewed Dragon would dock autonomously.

Offline mz

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #104 on: December 12, 2010, 01:25:05 pm »
There's been some talk that their documents given to NASA about the berthing apporach were pretty close to the Japanese HTV ones. Maybe they just bought everything from there (or got the right people).

Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #105 on: December 13, 2010, 12:54:21 pm »
There's been some talk that their documents given to NASA about the berthing apporach were pretty close to the Japanese HTV ones. Maybe they just bought everything from there (or got the right people).

No, NASA dictates the berthing approach. 

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #106 on: May 06, 2011, 03:00:51 pm »
This SpaceX promotional video includes an animation of a Dragon landing on Mars:



Doug Messier has an interesting snippet of info about it:

Quote from: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/05/03/nasa-send-dragon-mars/
[...]
Chris McKay of NASA made a bit of news.

McKay said that Musk had told him that at every point where SpaceX had to make choices on Dragon about materials, heat shield strength and other issues, they chose to design the vehicle for Mars flights.

[...]

McKay also revealed NASA is conducting a study on how the agency might send a drill to Mars aboard an unmanned Dragon capsule.

[..]

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #107 on: May 06, 2011, 04:44:37 pm »
1-This SpaceX promotional video includes an animation of a Dragon landing on Mars:

2-Doug Messier has an interesting snippet of info about it:

Chris McKay of NASA made a bit of news.

McKay said that Musk had told him that at every point where SpaceX had to make choices on Dragon about materials, heat shield strength and other issues, they chose to design the vehicle for Mars flights.

As much as I like SpaceX, this stuff really irks me, because it's pretty amateur.  Unless I'm missing something, there are some major problems with this.

1-Where's the parachute?  And how the heck do they think they can do that when the Mars experts--the people who have done this stuff before--say that in order to land anything bigger than Mars Science Laboratory (which is smaller than Dragon), you have to invent new technology?*  Send that Dragon to Mars and it's going to slam right into the surface without slowing one little bit.  There is simply no way to carry enough propellant to slow down all the way to the surface of Mars.  This is more than fanciful, it's silly.

2-there should be less heat shield required at Mars than Earth, so if they designed that for Mars, it would burn up at Earth.  I'd like to see a better explanation of this.

I'd add that a few weeks ago when they unveiled their Falcon 9 plans they said some silly stuff about it being big enough for Mars Sample Return.  That shows that they don't understand the problems with MSR.  The reason to split up the mission is not because there's not a big enough rocket, but because there is not enough money to pay for the entire mission in a single gulp.


*That technology might include large area, low-density heat shields for slowing down in the upper atmosphere.  Imagine a spacecraft with a huge umbrella in front of it, or trailing behind.

Offline RyanC

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #108 on: May 06, 2011, 04:58:29 pm »
I think they are referring more to the capsule re-entry speed at earth at the end of the mission:

Crude speeds for re-entry:

LEO Return: 25,000~ FPS
Trans Lunar Return: 36,200~ FPS
Trans Mars Return: 40,000 to 70,000 FPS (depending on profile flown)

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #109 on: May 06, 2011, 05:50:51 pm »
I think they are referring more to the capsule re-entry speed at earth at the end of the mission:

Crude speeds for re-entry:

LEO Return: 25,000~ FPS
Trans Lunar Return: 36,200~ FPS
Trans Mars Return: 40,000 to 70,000 FPS (depending on profile flown)

That makes more sense.

Offline archipeppe

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #110 on: May 07, 2011, 01:44:20 pm »
Imagine a spacecraft with a huge umbrella in front of it, or trailing behind.

Exactly like the IRENE project currently ongoing by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). A 1/4 scale demonstrator will be soon tested at Earth reentry speed at CIRA's hypersonic facility (called SCIROCCO) in Capua near Caserta.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #111 on: May 08, 2011, 07:33:59 am »
Imagine a spacecraft with a huge umbrella in front of it, or trailing behind.

Exactly like the IRENE project currently ongoing by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). A 1/4 scale demonstrator will be soon tested at Earth reentry speed at CIRA's hypersonic facility (called SCIROCCO) in Capua near Caserta.

Bobby Braun talked about some of this in an interview over a year ago.  He said that in the 1970s NASA developed Mars entry, descent and landing technology for Viking.  But that technology does not work for anything larger than Viking (I think the limit is about 4 metric tons).  If you want to go larger, to a human vehicle, you need new technology.  A big thing is that you need to slow down a lot faster very high in the Martian atmosphere, because otherwise the vehicle will impact the ground.  I think that we are at the point where a larger vehicle would come in so fast that it would hit the ground even before it could deploy the parachute.  So you have to slow early so you can deploy the chute.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #112 on: March 19, 2012, 05:52:00 am »
It's not looking good for SpaceX: SpaceX Gleam Slips with Launch Plans

If SpaceX fails, it may well be the straw that breaks the back of NASA's COTS program, along with that of whatever space policy the current Administration has left.


By the way, I suspect 'Gleam' was meant to be 'Team'
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 06:00:38 am by Grey Havoc »
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Offline Hobbes

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #113 on: March 19, 2012, 06:01:48 am »
There's a big difference between a 2-month delay and a failed company.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #114 on: March 19, 2012, 06:06:05 am »
Wars have been won and lost on less.
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Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #115 on: March 19, 2012, 06:21:53 am »
It's not looking good for SpaceX: SpaceX Gleam Slips with Launch Plans

If SpaceX fails, it may well be the straw that breaks the back of NASA's COTS program, along with that of whatever space policy the current Administration has left.



no, there still is OSC.  And COTS is not the center of the current space policy.  There is the unmanned program, ISS, SLS and MPCV.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 06:23:52 am by Byeman »

Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #116 on: March 19, 2012, 06:22:48 am »
It's not looking good for SpaceX: SpaceX Gleam Slips with Launch Plans


By the way, I suspect 'Gleam' was meant to be 'Team'

No, gleam as in shine or sparkle.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #117 on: March 19, 2012, 06:26:00 am »
It's not looking good for SpaceX: SpaceX Gleam Slips with Launch Plans


By the way, I suspect 'Gleam' was meant to be 'Team'

No, gleam as in shine or sparkle.

You're probably right there.
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Offline Hobbes

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #118 on: March 19, 2012, 06:41:03 am »
Wars have been won and lost on less.

If companies would go bankrupt every time there's a 2-month delay on a project, we'd all still be subsistence farmers. 

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #119 on: March 19, 2012, 06:56:12 am »
They also got a segment on CBS' "60 Minutes" program:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57399210/spacex-entrepreneurs-race-to-space/?tag=currentVideoInfo;videoMetaInfo

It was a pretty good segment, although I don't think they delved deeply enough into the issues and they left out some key points. For one thing, they portrayed the "skepticism" about SpaceX as primarily coming from former Apollo astronauts (that was a great segment, as Musk started to tear up). The problem is that "60 Minutes" did not really go into the business case issue. The Apollo astronauts talked about safety (a complex issue that a TV show is never going to be able to cover effectively), but there are also questions about how likely it is that SpaceX can be financially viable without substantially raising their prices and/or securing more NASA money. In many ways, the technology issues are easy, but the business issues are more difficult.

And there were a few other things that they left out. The "delay" in the launch to ISS was not from February to March--SpaceX was talking about launching last year (and the Falcon 9 launch was delayed from 2008 to 2010). And there has been rumbling within the industry that during 2011 SpaceX issued multiple press releases about stuff that they wanted to do, like land on Mars, develop a reusable first stage, develop a powerful Falcon 9 Heavy, while they did not launch a single rocket. I read a comment somewhere where somebody said "They need to shut up and launch."

The Aviation Week article casts a little well-needed skepticism toward SpaceX. It's not that the company is destined to fail, but nobody has really taken a very objective look at them from a business perspective.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #120 on: March 31, 2012, 08:43:39 am »
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Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline Johnbr

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #128 on: March 06, 2013, 05:40:56 pm »
Dragon Spec
Crew: No (1984)-07 (passengers). Height: 6.1 m Diameter: 3.7 m Empty weight: 4,200 kg Maximum takeoff: 6,000 kg Engine: fire engines have imposed 9 1.1 v Falcons pushed 500,000 pounds to put the Dragon into Earth orbit; 18 fire engines have imposed 40 kg thrust Draco each user to navigate on the orbit. Altitude: Low Earth orbital Infrastructure. Range: 12 weeks-2 years. First flight: 08/12/2010 Value: 1.6 billion USD for the project made 12 flights. Production numbers: Unknown. Operators: United States Of America. Pilot comparisons: Automated Transfer Vehicle (European Space Agency); H-II Transfer Vehicle (Japan); Progress (Russia).Event: Dragon is a commercial space ship can be used multiple times:-Day trip 1: launched on 08/12/2010 is the first private spacecraft operated successfully on the orbit of the Earth.-The second Flight: launched on 22/5/2012 connect successfully with the international space station (ISS).-The third Flight: CRS-1 launched on 08/10/2012 by imposed fire Falcon 9 put the Dragon on the space but failed due to incorrect orbit. -Day trip Wednesday: CRS-2 launched on 01/3/2013 to carry 575 kilograms of cargo to the Station ISS and will carry 1,210 kg specimen from the ISS to Earth.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline fightingirish

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #130 on: May 31, 2014, 03:02:13 am »
Quote
Dragon V2 spacecraft is the next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to Earth orbit and beyond. Dragon was designed from the beginning to carry humans, and the upgraded vehicle will be one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown. Dragon V2's revolutionary launch escape system, the first of its kind, will provide escape capability from the time the crew enters the vehicle all the way to orbit. Eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch. This system also enables Dragon V2 to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with the precision of a helicopter, making possible interplanetary trips that would otherwise be constrained by ocean landings. Dragon V2 was designed from the beginning with astronaut safety and comfort in mind. The vehicle holds seats for 7 passengers, and includes an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable environment for crewmembers. With a minimal number of stage separations, all-liquid rocket engines that can be throttled and turned off in an emergency, and launch escape capability all the way to orbit, Dragon V2 will be capable of delivering American astronauts to the space station and beyond with incredible reliability. Additional upgrades include a SpaceX-designed and built ISS docking adapter, impact attenuating landing legs, and a more advanced version of the PICA-X (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator-X) heat shield for improved durability and performance. Dragon V2's robust thermal protection system is capable of lunar missions, in addition to flights to and from Earth orbit.

Code: [Select]
http://youtu.be/GndtFJnpYjM

Quote
SpaceX's Dragon V2 spacecraft is the next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to Earth orbit and beyond.

Code: [Select]
http://youtu.be/0S8ieBbpzoc
Slán,
fightingirish

Slán ist an Irish Gaelic word for Goodbye.  :)

Offline merriman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #131 on: May 31, 2014, 12:11:57 pm »
Jim Barnes lives!

David
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Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #134 on: May 05, 2015, 07:00:50 am »

From Spaceflightnow website:


A commercial spaceship designed to ferry U.S. astronauts into orbit by 2017 is set for a major test Wednesday, when SpaceX plans to blast the capsule away from a launch mount at Cape Canaveral on a mile-high demo flight to simulate the craft’s ability to protect occupants in the event of a catastrophic rocket mishap on the pad.


SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will not travel far, but data from Wednesday’s test should arm engineers with results to prove the capsule’s emergency safety system can save astronauts from an explosive launch failure.


The test is scheduled for 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Wednesday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, the same facility used by SpaceX for operational flights of the Falcon 9 booster.





Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #135 on: May 05, 2015, 07:35:09 am »
Fingers crossed!  B)
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #136 on: May 06, 2015, 06:06:50 am »
Successful test of the Dragon abort system.  I was hoping they would make a powered landing but they opted to flop into the ocean on parachutes like everyone else.






Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #137 on: May 06, 2015, 06:45:27 am »
Successful test of the Dragon abort system.  I was hoping they would make a powered landing but they opted to flop into the ocean on parachutes like everyone else.

Same here.  Apparently it comes with Version 2

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/29/5763028/spacexs-first-manned-spacecraft-can-carry-passengers-to-the-iss
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #138 on: May 06, 2015, 08:10:28 am »
This is the Spacex video of the pad abort test.  Whole lot of nothing until 16:00 mark.  The camera is static and loses sight of the capsule quickly.  Hopefully NASA has video that captures more of the boosted flight.  They just wanted to show the Super Draco boosters could get up and go and that was certainly accomplished.













Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #139 on: May 06, 2015, 08:15:31 am »
the Short version on Youtube




by the way
around 50 years ago


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Offline Hobbes

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #140 on: May 06, 2015, 01:08:06 pm »
Successful test of the Dragon abort system.  I was hoping they would make a powered landing but they opted to flop into the ocean on parachutes like everyone else.

AIU, they have enough fuel to do either an abort or a powered landing but not both. Parachutes will be carried as a backup.

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Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #142 on: January 22, 2016, 02:50:02 am »
Test fire of the Dragon abort-escape/landing motors.  Given how fast Spacex moves I would guess a pad abort test won't be too long coming.  It would be a nice flourish to do a powered landing after the escape maneuver.




Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #143 on: January 22, 2016, 02:56:46 am »
nice test
on the end a nasty toxic cloud of burned NTO/MMH propellant...
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Offline Byeman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #144 on: January 22, 2016, 05:22:18 am »
Test fire of the Dragon abort-escape/landing motors.  Given how fast Spacex moves I would guess a pad abort test won't be too long coming.  It would be a nice flourish to do a powered landing after the escape maneuver.


It can only do one or the other (abort or powered landing).  It doesn't have the propellant to do both.  If there is an abort, it will use parachutes to land.

Offline flanker

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #145 on: January 24, 2016, 01:03:48 pm »
Given how fast Spacex moves I would guess a pad abort test won't be too long coming.

Wat. They did the pad abort test ages ago, back in May. The video is just above your post. You mean in-flight abort test? That should be in early 2017 and they wont use this vehicle. And as Byeman said - once it does abort it will use chutes to land.
Push the envelope,watch it bend.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #146 on: January 25, 2016, 06:44:48 am »
New Shepard next to Falcon 9.

Offline merriman

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #147 on: January 25, 2016, 06:50:31 am »
Apple, meet Orange. Orange, meet Apple.

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Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #148 on: January 25, 2016, 07:47:24 am »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #149 on: January 25, 2016, 04:38:08 pm »
Apple, meet Orange. Orange, meet Apple.

David

I wasn't attempting to make any kind of statement. I saw an interesting graphic and posted it. Both projects have their merits.

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Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #151 on: January 29, 2016, 07:27:11 am »
Looks like Amazon delivering a refrigerator.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PG438XSarg&feature=youtu.be

Offline Flyaway

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #152 on: June 10, 2016, 10:06:07 am »
NASA exploring additional cooperation with SpaceX’s Red Dragon mission

http://spacenews.com/nasa-exploring-additional-cooperation-with-spacexs-red-dragon-mission/

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Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #154 on: August 29, 2016, 07:01:22 am »
is already a date set for Dragon Flight Abort Test ?

(a falcon 9 firstage carry second stage dummy and a Dragon to maximum-Q here the Dragon use it's engine to escape the Rocket)
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Offline Hobbes

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #155 on: August 29, 2016, 08:25:44 am »
Not that I've seen.

Offline Moose

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #156 on: August 30, 2016, 06:31:40 pm »
My understanding is Flight About was pushed way back, after Heavy is flying.

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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #158 on: December 14, 2016, 05:52:16 am »
http://www.clickorlando.com/news/space-news/spacex-delays-first-crewed-dragon-flight-until-2018

This is really unsurprising. SpaceX was missing a lot of small milestone deadlines and yet they had not slipped their launch dates, so you could see this coming.

And if you know how SpaceX works, you can also recognize these things. All aerospace companies have margin built into their schedules. When they use up a certain amount of that margin they know that they are going to miss a deadline, so they publicly change that deadline. SpaceX, on the other hand, uses up most of their schedule margin before they change the deadline. Thus, they get closer to the actual deadline and only then do they announce the slip. We've seen them do this repeatedly.

Why do they do it this way? My suspicion is that it is a management technique. They hold their employees' feet to the fire so that they are always working really hard to meet deadlines before they get a reprieve. Probably a great way to burn out your workforce.

Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #159 on: December 14, 2016, 05:58:24 am »
Why do they do it this way? My suspicion is that it is a management technique. They hold their employees' feet to the fire so that they are always working really hard to meet deadlines before they get a reprieve. Probably a great way to burn out your workforce.

That's how game development works.  And yes, it's a fantastic way to burn out your work force.
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Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #160 on: December 14, 2016, 06:25:02 am »
Well that explains Spacex.  What about Boeing?  Given they are not recovering from an exploded booster I would think they would have flown both test and crewed launch in 2017.  I have to agree that a rushed development tempo can frazzle nerves.  It depends on removing extraneous, non-value added work and eliminating "success based" scheduling.  Forcing senior management to spend time in the lab and on the production floor might help.


From the article:
Targeted Flight Dates

Boeing Orbital Flight Test: June 2018
Boeing Crew Flight Test: August 2018

SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: November 2017
SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2: May 2018


Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #161 on: December 16, 2016, 08:55:07 pm »
Well that explains Spacex.  What about Boeing?

Go dig around on that a bit. Boeing got a later start than SpaceX. Plus, they are a more conservatively-run company. They don't take the risks that SpaceX does.

Somebody who works with both SpaceX and ULA on rocket launches explained the two companies--and their relationship with NASA--very clearly: ULA gets paid more NOT to take risks, SpaceX gets paid LESS to take risks.

Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #162 on: December 17, 2016, 04:07:11 am »
30 seconds of digging got this.

https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-crew-program-the-essentials/

Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Contract
CCtCap is the second phase of a two-phase certification plan for commercially built and operated integrated crew transportation systems. Two FAR-based, firm fixed-price contracts were awarded in September 2014 following an open competition. Through its certification efforts, NASA will ensure the selected commercial transportation systems meet the agency’s safety and performance requirements for transporting NASA crew to the International Space Station. NASA awarded a total of $6.8 billion under CCtCap contracts. CCtCap Source Selection Statement.

Boeing - $4.2 billion
SpaceX - $2.6 billion
=========================

I remember watching the award announcement.  Where are you getting "later start" from?  I was curious why Boeing got such a larger award amount.  At the time I figured Nasa had some scoring criteria in evaluating the bids and the top scored bid simply got a bigger amount.  On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Boeing just cost more for doing the same amount of work over the same contract schedule period.  Both Boeing and Spacex were initially targeting 2017 for manned test flights.

If Spacex achieves its objectives, it will be delivering a capability at least equal to Boeing at 62% of the price at roughly the same schedule.  If the final version of the Dragon achieves powered landing, it will introduce a level of technology that operationally and economically advances the state of the art.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 04:08:43 am by fredymac »

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #163 on: December 17, 2016, 12:46:38 pm »
Later start meaning that SpaceX was adapting systems already in use for Commercial Cargo. Boeing did not have a CC contract, so they were starting from zero, SpaceX was starting from 1. You wouldn't expect them to have the exact same availability dates.

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #164 on: December 18, 2016, 05:51:39 am »
Well that explains Spacex.  What about Boeing?

Go dig around on that a bit. Boeing got a later start than SpaceX. Plus, they are a more conservatively-run company. They don't take the risks that SpaceX does.

Somebody who works with both SpaceX and ULA on rocket launches explained the two companies--and their relationship with NASA--very clearly: ULA gets paid more NOT to take risks, SpaceX gets paid LESS to take risks.

I guess that making there launch rocket Man rated, play also role in the delay, special for a "conservatively-run company"
For moment SpaceX do testing on the Falcon 9 FT vehicle for Man-rated flight
while United Launch Alliance manage to demonstrate that there "Emergency Detection System"  for Atlas and Deltas work

Certain Boeing has backup plan if ULA not able to make Atlas and Deltas Man-rated: order a Man-rated Falcon FT at SpaceX...
 
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Offline fredymac

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #165 on: December 18, 2016, 08:29:32 am »
Not to drag this out too much but I just wanted to fill in the blanks.  Boeing received early commercial crew funding that should have helped.  Spacex did a drastic re-design which basically put them back at square 1.  I would say company culture and how it affects operational tempo is more at play than start dates.


Offline Flyaway

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #166 on: December 30, 2016, 10:13:25 am »




Couple videos from ISPCS 2016, links via NSF.

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« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 02:16:39 am by Grey Havoc »
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #168 on: February 18, 2017, 08:47:53 pm »
http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/17/14652026/spacex-red-dragon-spacecraft-mars-mission-2020


EDIT: On another note: http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/17/14634940/nasa-spacex-dragon-capsule-falcon-9-launch-raven

Thanks for both those links. A few random comments:

-Red Dragon was tweeted by Elon Musk in April 2016. The 2018 launch window was always ambitious. Building new, even relatively simple spacecraft takes 3-5 years. Unless they already had a substantial head start on it, the launch date was not just optimistic, but unrealistic.

-I was in a briefing last fall by a SpaceX Red Dragon guy and he was always very careful when discussing the schedule. That briefing convinced me that they were going to miss 2018. My guess is that they knew months before that they were not going to meet the launch window. The fact that they were not showing any hardware photos was also telling.

-I know NASA Mars engineers who fully expected Red Dragon to fail on its first mission but were still looking forward to the data. I think that the chances of success have now improved because they have more time to catch problems. But the probability of success is still not very high.

-All those comments aside, I still think it is great that they're going to try this. NASA does not have the money to do technology development like this. SpaceX is going to do it on their own dime. That's great. We need more of that.

Offline Cifu

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #169 on: February 19, 2017, 06:31:52 am »
-Red Dragon was tweeted by Elon Musk in April 2016. The 2018 launch window was always ambitious. Building new, even relatively simple spacecraft takes 3-5 years. Unless they already had a substantial head start on it, the launch date was not just optimistic, but unrealistic.

The last Cargo Dragon (or Dragon v1, if you like) finished less than a year. Okay, the first one needed more than 18 month. But still, we are talking about a Dragon 2 (or Dragon v2) spaceship, with only minor modifications for Mars landing. 

-I was in a briefing last fall by a SpaceX Red Dragon guy and he was always very careful when discussing the schedule. That briefing convinced me that they were going to miss 2018. My guess is that they knew months before that they were not going to meet the launch window. The fact that they were not showing any hardware photos was also telling.

Actually the first Dragon space capsule mockup showed around 2005. So the hardware photo means anything? It's do not.
Personally I believe the main reason of the slip is not the spaceship, but rather the Falcon Heavy...


-I know NASA Mars engineers who fully expected Red Dragon to fail on its first mission but were still looking forward to the data. I think that the chances of success have now improved because they have more time to catch problems. But the probability of success is still not very high.

Yet they can testing hordes of new technologies. New rocket, interplanetary flight, interplanetary communication, aerobreaking around the Mars, parachute testing in the Mars atmosphere, landing, etc.
If they make a test flight (even with small chance of succes), that's bring informations where they need to rethink the original concepts.

-All those comments aside, I still think it is great that they're going to try this. NASA does not have the money to do technology development like this. SpaceX is going to do it on their own dime. That's great. We need more of that.

Agree. But need to point out how this started. The first two Falcon 1 payed by the Darpa, the NASA bring a big pile of money to the SpaceX. Still, we seen how those money are worth it.
But all-in-all, I prefer Jeff Bezos over Musk. Much less overly optimistic promises... 

Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #170 on: February 19, 2017, 10:58:36 am »
But all-in-all, I prefer Jeff Bezos over Musk. Much less overly optimistic promises...

What he's doing is much less difficult.  Now when they get the big rocket. . .(of course SpaceX is also looking at a BIG rocket. Would be awesome if they both made it into service.)
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #171 on: February 19, 2017, 08:38:27 pm »
But still, we are talking about a Dragon 2 (or Dragon v2) spaceship, with only minor modifications for Mars landing. 

SNIP

Yet they can testing hordes of new technologies. New rocket, interplanetary flight, interplanetary communication, aerobreaking around the Mars, parachute testing in the Mars atmosphere, landing, etc.

The first thing you wrote is not compatible with the other thing you wrote--"minor modifications" is not the same as "testing hordes of new technologies."

SpaceX has indicated that the first Red Dragon would primarily be intended to land and not really do anything else. But it is still going to need a deep space communications system and other equipment. Thermal effects are different for a Mars mission, you need longer life components, more redundancy, etc. It's not extremely difficult, but it's not simple. Putting that stuff together and doing systems integration takes time.



Update/edit: I should have distinguished between new technology and new hardware. The only new technology for Red Mars would be the supersonic retropropulsion. That's the important thing. For the rest of the mission, they don't need new technology, just hardware. For instance, deep space communications equipment already exists, they just need to build something. Same with the rest of the stuff.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 02:54:37 pm by blackstar »

Offline FighterJock

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Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #172 on: February 21, 2017, 07:53:06 am »
According to NASA the docking of the Dragon capsule will be at 04:30 tomorrow morning EST in the US.  That makes it 09:30 GMT UK time.   

Offline FighterJock

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Re: Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #173 on: February 22, 2017, 04:14:18 am »
The Dragon Capsule has aborted the planned docking to the ISS due to a navigation software glitch, according to Space.com.

http://www.space.com/35791-spacex-dragon-aborts-space-station-arrival.html


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Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #174 on: February 22, 2017, 07:31:15 am »
The planned docking of the Dragon Capsule to the ISS has now been moved to Thursday since it was aborted due to the earlier software glitch, which turned out to be a problem with the GPS system.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/spacex/2017/02/22/dragon-docking-iss-waved-off-moved-thursday/98241060/

Offline FighterJock

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Re: Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #175 on: February 23, 2017, 04:38:05 am »
The Dragon Capsule that was launched on Sunday has now successfully docked with the ISS.

http://www.space.com/35807-spacex-dragon-delivers-nasa-cargo-late.html

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Re: Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #176 on: February 23, 2017, 06:19:39 am »
Video of the Dragon Capsule docking, via NASA YouTube.


Offline ZacYates

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #177 on: February 27, 2017, 02:26:18 pm »
Two people have paid "significant" deposits to make a weeklong circumlunar flight aboard an automated Dragon next year: http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #178 on: February 27, 2017, 03:29:04 pm »
Trying to beat that proposed NASA circumlunar mission to the punch, so to speak?
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Offline FighterJock

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Re: Re: SpaceX Grasshopper: VTVL Falcon 9 1st stage RLV
« Reply #179 on: February 28, 2017, 06:08:20 am »
Just saw this article on the BBC about the SpaceX Moon shot sometime 2018, don't know what rocket SpaceX would use Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39115201

Offline Archibald

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #180 on: February 28, 2017, 08:12:52 am »
I don't think it is a good idea to replace an impossible-schedule mission (Red Dragon) with an equally hard mission (lunar Dragon).

And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

IMHO if Red Dragon didn't made it to 2018, neither will manned lunar Dragon.

Now of course, a refurbished and unmanned Dragon 1 could do it - put a camera on the window as NASA did with EFT-1 Orion in 2014.

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Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #181 on: March 01, 2017, 09:19:00 am »
I don't think it is a good idea to replace an impossible-schedule mission (Red Dragon) with an equally hard mission (lunar Dragon).

And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

IMHO if Red Dragon didn't made it to 2018, neither will manned lunar Dragon.

Now of course, a refurbished and unmanned Dragon 1 could do it - put a camera on the window as NASA did with EFT-1 Orion in 2014.

The easiest interpretation is that this is SpaceX trying to position itself to get a government contract to do this task. Look at the timing, and look at the statement they released and how it mentions that "if NASA wants to purchase this circumlunar mission instead..." This is SpaceX saying "Cancel SLS and give us the job."

Offline TomS

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #182 on: March 01, 2017, 09:21:56 am »
As soon as they start building their rockets in California, Utah, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, I'm sure Congress will approve that idea.


Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #183 on: March 01, 2017, 10:53:20 am »
As soon as they start building their rockets in California, Utah, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, I'm sure Congress will approve that idea.

I think they're aiming for the administration to do this. Getting it past Congress is another thing entirely.

Offline Dragon029

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #184 on: March 01, 2017, 04:49:25 pm »
And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

I'm not sure about that; Red Dragon would have deviated considerably from the Dragon 2 capsule - they 100% needed the propulsive landing via Draco rockets to work, and would likely have needed to develop / integrate a supersonic drogue chute to reduce burn requirements. On top of that, they were going to be filling it with scientific equipment that had yet to be determined (which would have power, thermal and weight/balance issues), and which might have required additional apertures or hatches designed into the capsule. Lastly, they had to find a location to send Red Dragon (for scientific and safe landing purposes), with the capsule potentially requiring an autonomous landing-zone selection system to avoid landing on a boulder, etc.

With Lunar Dragon, they're taking a capsule that they've already been working on for years to accommodate a human crew, slinging it around the moon and then having it land either in the ocean or back at the cape, where if the Dracos fail, they have a redundant parachute that'll give a safe landing thanks to our thick atmosphere. Plus, if the launch gets aborted due to a hurricane or an issue with Falcon Heavy, they can launch again in 27 days. With Mars, they have to wait another 778 days for Mars opposition.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #185 on: March 02, 2017, 04:50:49 am »
And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

I'm not sure about that; Red Dragon would have deviated considerably from the Dragon 2 capsule - they 100% needed the propulsive landing via Draco rockets to work, and would likely have needed to develop / integrate a supersonic drogue chute to reduce burn requirements. On top of that, they were going to be filling it with scientific equipment that had yet to be determined (which would have power, thermal and weight/balance issues), and which might have required additional apertures or hatches designed into the capsule. Lastly, they had to find a location to send Red Dragon (for scientific and safe landing purposes), with the capsule potentially requiring an autonomous landing-zone selection system to avoid landing on a boulder, etc.


Responding to this part first.

Red Dragon would have been minimal payload. I heard a SpaceX official who was directly involved in RD give a presentation last fall where he said that they were not planning on much payload at all, the primary goal was simply getting it to the surface. They wanted to minimize any other requirements, including batteries and comms.

Now Gwynne Shotwell has said that they are "in discussions" with some people who may want to put some instruments on RD. But I would assume that their default position is to keep everything to a minimum. It's a tough mission, so they don't want to make it tougher.

One additional thing: when this guy gave his presentation last fall, he was very cautious about the 2018 launch date. It was pretty clear reading between the lines that they did not expect they could meet that, but were not ready to announce the slip. There is a pattern to how SpaceX misses deadlines--it is not just that they miss deadlines, but they wait until the last possible moment before announcing a deadline slip. I think this is a management technique so that everybody keeps working hard trying to meet a deadline even if it is unrealistic.

Offline sferrin

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #186 on: March 02, 2017, 04:56:37 am »
And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

I'm not sure about that; Red Dragon would have deviated considerably from the Dragon 2 capsule - they 100% needed the propulsive landing via Draco rockets to work, and would likely have needed to develop / integrate a supersonic drogue chute to reduce burn requirements. On top of that, they were going to be . . .

Did they already cancel this then?  ???
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline TomS

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #187 on: March 02, 2017, 05:00:15 am »
And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

I'm not sure about that; Red Dragon would have deviated considerably from the Dragon 2 capsule - they 100% needed the propulsive landing via Draco rockets to work, and would likely have needed to develop / integrate a supersonic drogue chute to reduce burn requirements. On top of that, they were going to be . . .

Did they already cancel this then?  ???

Pushed from the 2018 launch window back to 2020.


Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #188 on: March 02, 2017, 05:07:16 am »
And yes they are equally hard, because lunar Dragon is manned - Red Dragon wasn't, but distance was much greater.

I'm not sure about that; Red Dragon would have deviated considerably from the Dragon 2 capsule -

SNIP

With Lunar Dragon, they're taking a capsule that they've already been working on for years to accommodate a human crew

SNIP


Your comments are similar to comments I've seen over the years when people try to characterize what SpaceX is doing, but I think they're overly simplistic.

The gist of the argument seems to go like this: SpaceX is already building a crewed vehicle that can do X, Y and Z, so adapting it to do A, B, or C is "relatively easy."

I've seen people make that argument about the original Dragon cargo capsule, for instance, claiming that it was already pressurized, already had rendezvous and docking equipment and other stuff, and really "only" needed to test an escape system and then it would be ready to carry crew. Except that SpaceX later announced that they would have to do some substantial updates--pretty much developing a new spacecraft--to meet the crew launch requirements.

I saw people make the same argument about Dragon with regards to sending humans (not simply an empty cargo hold) to Mars. People claimed that Dragon with the SuperDracos "already" had that capability.

(As an aside, I also saw people make the same claim about Falcon Heavy--that since it was "simply" three Falcon 9's bolted together, it would be easy to do.)

And now you're pretty much making the same argument regarding this circumlunar mission, that it is relatively straightforward because they've already got most of it done. (Except that they have never launched anything out that far, an operational capability that they might want to demonstrate robotically before doing it with humans.)

Several of these claims have already been essentially disproven by experience: if these things were as easy and straightforward to do as outsiders claimed, then why the delays? Why was Falcon Heavy promised in 2013 and not flown yet? Why hasn't a crewed Dragon flown yet? Why is RD delayed? I think the answer to all of these questions is that none of this stuff is as simple and straightforward as the outsiders claim. The hardware for each of these missions has to be specialized and that takes time to do. Couple that with the fact that SpaceX already has a pretty full plate, with trying to recover from the accidents, trying to launch a backlog of commercial customers, trying to get reusability for their first stage up and running, trying to develop new launch sites, and trying to develop the crewed Dragon. That's a lot of stuff to do and adding on things like Red Dragon and now this circumlunar mission is probably straining their capacity.

I'm not dissing SpaceX. I'm pointing out that claims that their existing hardware can "easily" be stretched to do things that it was not originally designed to do are inaccurate. They have to invest in those new things and build in the capability, and that takes people hours and money.


Offline Dragon029

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #189 on: March 02, 2017, 06:11:59 am »
To be clear, I'm not saying that launching people around the moon less than 2 years from now, on a rocket that's never flown before is easy or likely to happen on schedule.

What I was trying to argue is that even though Red Dragon's 2018 date was tenuous, there's still a good chance that (if reality broke and Mars stayed in opposition) it could have occurred later in 2018, or in 2019. With Lunar Dragon, they'll have literally dozens of windows to launch this mission before Red Dragon gets its next chance.

Yes, having humans on board adds considerable engineering challenge, but remember that this isn't NASA or a government contract; this is two wealthy individuals who seem like the type who would be happy to accept risks and sign waivers.

Having fatalities doesn't look good to investors and other potential customers, but we didn't stop using the Space Shuttle after Challenger, nor did the Soviets / world stop using the Soyuz after Soyuz 11, and hell, even Virgin Galactic is continuing with their mission.

So again, will Lunar Dragon happen on schedule in 2018? Probably not. Will it see delays on the scale of Red Dragon (or of Falcon Heavy)? I think the chances are low and that it'd take something like a repeat of AMOS-6 (in terms of a disaster with a very difficult-to-diagnose cause).

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #190 on: March 02, 2017, 04:48:39 pm »
Yes, having humans on board adds considerable engineering challenge, but remember that this isn't NASA or a government contract; this is two wealthy individuals who seem like the type who would be happy to accept risks and sign waivers.

So there are actually limits to that--it might not be entirely up to them. I have heard that some high wealth individuals who run corporations actually have clauses in their contracts that limit what they can do, including certain risks. The reason is that if the health of the company is linked to the health of the individual, the company does not want that individual jumping out of airplanes or racing Formula One cars. Similarly, although a person might be able to sign a waiver that says "If you injure me in a launch accident I promise not to sue you," the waiver may not extend to that person's heirs or immediate family and they may be able to sue. Of course, it all depends on the individual, but in fact it might be more complicated for some wealthy people to take extreme risks than for non-wealthy people, because a lot more other people have a stake in their health (and wealth).

I heard that come up a number of years ago during discussion of space tourism. Yeah, there were wealthy space tourists, but there were also other people who probably wanted to go and could have afforded it but who were prevented from doing so for various reasons.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #191 on: March 02, 2017, 04:58:05 pm »
SNIP

1-What I was trying to argue is that even though Red Dragon's 2018 date was tenuous, there's still a good chance that (if reality broke and Mars stayed in opposition) it could have occurred later in 2018, or in 2019. With Lunar Dragon, they'll have literally dozens of windows to launch this mission before Red Dragon gets its next chance.

SNIP

2-Having fatalities doesn't look good to investors and other potential customers, but we didn't stop using the Space Shuttle after Challenger, nor did the Soviets / world stop using the Soyuz after Soyuz 11, and hell, even Virgin Galactic is continuing with their mission.

3-So again, will Lunar Dragon happen on schedule in 2018? Probably not. Will it see delays on the scale of Red Dragon (or of Falcon Heavy)? I think the chances are low and that it'd take something like a repeat of AMOS-6 (in terms of a disaster with a very difficult-to-diagnose cause).

1-We agree that they'll have a lot of launch windows whereas the Mars windows open only every 26 months. I'd note that SpaceX did say the end of 2018. That's actually very ambitious when you consider all the things that they need to do before then. That includes things that SpaceX did not acknowledge in their announcement. (For instance, they have never sent anything beyond GTO, and so they might want to do an unmanned test flight on the same trajectory first.)

2-Yes, we agree on that. However, I'd also add that there have been companies that took big risks (sometimes for really stupid reasons) and were destroyed as a result. Look at ValuJet. I only bring that up to point out that people talk about companies willing to take risks that government agencies will not, and while that is true, it is only true in some instances. Similarly, some failures that might sink a government program might not sink a company, but the same is true in reverse as well--Challenger did not stop NASA, but suffocating James Cameron during his flight around the Moon might ruin SpaceX.

3-I'm not sure that your comparison of the possible delays is an apples to apples comparison. The reason is that although missing a launch window for Mars is a 2-year delay and missing a launch window for the Moon is a 1-month delay, the real issue is not the windows themselves but the programmatic factors. The lunar Dragon has to have a life support system that will not fail. That might take years to develop, so they could blow through many lunar launch windows.

Offline blackstar

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #192 on: March 04, 2017, 12:36:53 pm »
http://www.universetoday.com/133549/begins-red-dragon-delayed-2-years-2020/

"And whenever Red Dragon does liftoff, it will carry a significant “science payload” to the Martian surface, Shotwell told me at the pad 39A briefing.

“As much [science] payload on Dragon as we can,” Shotwell said. Science instruments would be provided by “European and commercial guys … plus our own stuff!”

There's just a bunch of stuff in this article that really has me scratching my head. For one thing, the landing alone is really difficult. So why would they want to complicate the entire mission by adding payloads? Also, stating that they are going to use a recycled Dragon for the Red Dragon mission seems pretty dubious. RD is going to require a whole bunch of special mods (like comm, power, etc.). You'd really want something that you built up from scratch, not something you need to alter. All of this sounds like stuff that will prevent a 2020 launch.

So last fall we got a briefing on Red Dragon from a SpaceX guy. He was very cautious in what he said. He would not firmly commit to the 2018 launch date, which convinced me that they were not going to make that date. But he also said some reassuring things, like they would not put any science payload on the vehicle because that would require power, and power meant more batteries, and batteries meant more mass, and that would complicate the entire system. (The power system was going to be designed to last from Mars arrival to landing and a little beyond, but that was it--and it was primarily to power telemetry, not any additional systems.) Plus, there would be no holes cut in the vehicle, etc. But now Shotwell is talking about putting science payloads on Red Dragon. That complicates the design.

And... well, you can see the iterations here. If they pushed RD from 2018 to 2020 because they needed to concentrate on other things like Crew Dragon and Falcon Heavy, then they seem to be negating that schedule gain by adding complexity to the mission. Simply LANDING is going to be tough enough, so they should be going as simple as possible. Prediction: they will miss 2020 as well.

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Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.
« Reply #194 on: July 20, 2017, 05:27:52 am »
https://science.slashdot.org/story/17/07/19/2035232/spacex-pulls-the-plug-on-its-red-dragon-plans
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/spacex-appears-to-have-pulled-the-plug-on-its-red-dragon-plans/

Here Interview of Elon Musk at ISS 2017 Conference 7/19/17
He explain why Dragon 2 abandon land landing and Red Dragon will have a different landing system for Mars.
Also about boring Tunnels in L.A. (people are delight about that project), Tesla and Space Industrialization


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