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

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.