« Last post by blackstar on Yesterday at 08:47:53 pm »
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.