Register here

Author Topic: Space-X DRAGON (manned/unmanned) capsule.  (Read 53576 times)

Offline Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1565
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.

Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux - Mérignac / Dassault aviation museum
http://www.caea.info/en/plan.php

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2241
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 480
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9158
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2241
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 480
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
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.

Offline carmelo

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 191

Offline Grey Havoc

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 7281
  • _ \\ //
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


To the Stars