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(NBC News)   In case you haven't noticed, and judging by the budget cuts and bad reports about lack of vision, you haven't. NASA is threatening to stay on track to get a manned mission to Mars in 2021. Bonus...big rocket   (science.nbcnews.com) divider line 49
    More: Interesting, NASA, manned mission to Mars, Space Launch System, United Launch Alliance, solid rocket booster, rockets, Earth Orbit, National Space Symposium  
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1746 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Apr 2013 at 8:34 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



49 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-04-17 08:45:15 AM
Oh, we've noticed.

Y'all just keep greenliting repeats.
 
2013-04-17 08:56:09 AM
So they've officially Photoshopped and AutoCAD'd a rocket.
 
2013-04-17 08:56:55 AM

the_innkeeper: Oh, we've noticed.

Y'all just keep greenliting repeats.


Why not?  It gives them another chance to set up a Geek Tab Troll trainwreck.
 
2013-04-17 09:05:17 AM
They're still shiatty.
 
2013-04-17 09:13:57 AM
Makes me want to play KSP some more...
 
2013-04-17 09:21:37 AM
It remains a poorly-conceived jobs program for selected Congressional districts that will produce (or not) a more expensive and less flexible version of what SpaceX will launch next year -- developed on their own without regard to Congress.

NASA may well have men on Mars by 2021 -- likely because they'll pay for a small portion of what Elon Musk is doing whether Congress likes it or not.
 
2013-04-17 09:23:58 AM

OhioKnight: developed on their own


Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
 
2013-04-17 09:24:05 AM
We're trying to build a Saturn V out of space shuttle parts. Which is good, we should have a Saturn V, because it can, you know, actually leave Earth and not just fly around it.
 
2013-04-17 09:25:29 AM

Nem Wan: Which is good, we should have a Saturn V, because it can, you know, actually leave Earth and not just fly around it.


It can't. Just the tip.
 
2013-04-17 09:27:53 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Nem Wan: Which is good, we should have a Saturn V, because it can, you know, actually leave Earth and not just fly around it.

It can't. Just the tip.


Penetration, no matter how slight...
 
2013-04-17 09:36:41 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!


Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.
 
2013-04-17 09:54:44 AM

OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.


" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...

Oh how bootstrappy. And I bet they just started their designs from scratch too. Oh the never-ending mythology about space. The cold-eyed individualist just reaching, gloriously, for space, unaided.

The mythology is just incredible. You can't even be bothered to google for like five minutes. Don't wanna let facts get in the way of a good, chest-thumping mythos.

On his own! With 80% of the money from other people! Unaided! Except for all the previous designs!

Glorious! A true savior of mankind!

Are you erect yet? Time to ejaculate a light-year long stream of species-seed!
 
2013-04-17 10:13:05 AM
And Henry Ford can go fark himself because someone else invented the wheel, too.
 
2013-04-17 10:16:30 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.

" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...


Ignoring the very silly trolliness that follows (Really. -- I ASSUME you actually have an interest in discussion?  I know the "ranting persona" is your thing)

Yes, SpaceX didn't invent rockets.  Or computers. Or electric lights. Or wheels. Or fire.

SpaceX invented new engines.  SpaceX invented new rocket vehicles.  SpaceX invented a new orbital vehicle. SpaceX sold its services to customers.  Among those customers were NASA and the DOD.  The Government is by far their largest customer making up one third of their business (hardly surprising -- they do the most launching to orbit) Neither NASA nor the DOD told SpaceX what to build.  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying anything for SpaceX to make their vehicles reusable (they have no reason to since Musk is selling services at fixed prices).  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying SpaceX to go to Mars (Yet.  I imagine that if they have developed and demonstrated the tech to do this (which they plan) then NASA will kick in money -- or not depending on what Congress decides).
 
2013-04-17 10:25:24 AM

OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.

" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...

Ignoring the very silly trolliness that follows (Really. -- I ASSUME you actually have an interest in discussion?  I know the "ranting persona" is your thing)

Yes, SpaceX didn't invent rockets.  Or computers. Or electric lights. Or wheels. Or fire.

SpaceX invented new engines.  SpaceX invented new rocket vehicles.  SpaceX invented a new orbital vehicle. SpaceX sold its services to customers.  Among those customers were NASA and the DOD.  The Government is by far their largest customer making up one third of their business (hardly surprising -- they do the most launching to orbit) Neither NASA nor the DOD told SpaceX what to build.  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying anything for SpaceX to make their vehicles reusable (they have no reason to since Musk is selling services at fixed prices).  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying SpaceX to go to Mars (Yet.  I imagine that if they have developed and demonstrated the tech to do this (which they plan) then NASA will kick in money -- or not depending on what Congress decides).


Ah, so you're no longer about the whole "unaided" spiel? SpaceX is about as exciting as someone inventing a new kind of tire, with someone else's money. We know what tires can do. You're not going to go all that much faster or further because you invented a new kind of tire.

Rockets just aren't that open to radical improvements. And physics and reality and engineering just don't offer anything else for moving lots of mass. F=ma and all that.

No warp drives, no transporter beams, no space elevators. Just burning a fark ton of chemicals out one end of a metal bell.

Changing a screw here, or specifying a different pump manufacturer there won't change much. You won't retire on Mars. Neither will your kids.

We'll put more junk into LEO and GEO, and maybe send more probes here and there.

Oh and let's not forget the all-important Tang and freeze-dried mashed potato delivery runs to the very important and useful ISS.
 
2013-04-17 10:45:42 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.

" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...

Oh how bootstrappy. And I bet they just started their designs from scratch too. Oh the never-ending mythology about space. The cold-eyed individualist just reaching, gloriously, for space, unaided.

The mythology is just incredible. You can't even be bothered to google for like five minutes. Don't wanna let facts get in the way of a good, chest-thumping mythos.

On his own! With 80% of the money from other people! Unaided! Except for all the previous designs!

Glorious! A true savior of mankind!

Are you erect yet? Time to ejaculate a light-year long stream of species-seed!


Dear God!!  That's three, no almost four F22s!!  CUT THEIR FUNDING.
 
2013-04-17 10:45:54 AM
Manned mission =/= manned mission to Mars. They are planning to test this new shuttle's ability to sustain humans in space and bring them back safely. We are still a very, very long way from sending humans to Mars. 20 years if I had to wager.

My guess is that a private company may actually beat NASA there, if only because NASA will take all precautions and won't send anyone until they are certain they can do it right, while Richard Branson or someone just like him will gladly flip a coin on sending a couple of people to their deaths to be the person who did it.
 
2013-04-17 10:48:20 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
...
Ah, so you're no longer about the whole "unaided" spiel?


I said "developed on their own".  SpaceX has developed both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy without input from Government (or Congressional) planners.  Musk sold launch services on his new proposed launch service to NASA who said "OK, if you build we'll buy launches -- here's the money up front -- if you don't deliver, then we get it back."
 

SpaceX is about as exciting as someone inventing a new kind of tire, with someone else's money. We know what tires can do. You're not going to go all that much faster or further because you invented a new kind of tire.

I don't really care about your excitement level.

The point is SpaceX is developing much lower cost launch systems... THINKS they can develop fully-reusable launch systems (and have earned the benefit of the doubt)... and can bring the cost of putting things in orbit (or to Mars) much lower than it is currently.  They have already reduced the cost to orbit with Falcon 9.

I don't believe the new proposed rocket that NASA is developing will do that (specifically because it is being designed by political rather than engineering considerations).
 
2013-04-17 10:56:28 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: You won't retire on Mars. Neither will your kids.


Goddamn right! BTW.

I'm fairly sure that people will colonize Mars in the historically short term.  The people I feel really sorry for are the first generation born on Mars. Can you imagine being a teenager with all the movies, media, etc. sent from Earth showing you what life is like there and knowing that you can NEVER leave the domes?  Talk about being stuck in your crappy little home town!
 
2013-04-17 10:58:48 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.

" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...

Ignoring the very silly trolliness that follows (Really. -- I ASSUME you actually have an interest in discussion?  I know the "ranting persona" is your thing)

Yes, SpaceX didn't invent rockets.  Or computers. Or electric lights. Or wheels. Or fire.

SpaceX invented new engines.  SpaceX invented new rocket vehicles.  SpaceX invented a new orbital vehicle. SpaceX sold its services to customers.  Among those customers were NASA and the DOD.  The Government is by far their largest customer making up one third of their business (hardly surprising -- they do the most launching to orbit) Neither NASA nor the DOD told SpaceX what to build.  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying anything for SpaceX to make their vehicles reusable (they have no reason to since Musk is selling services at fixed prices).  Neither NASA nor the DOD are paying SpaceX to go to Mars (Yet.  I imagine that if they have developed and demonstrated the tech to do this (which they plan) then NASA will kick in money -- or not depending on what Congress decides).

Ah, so you're no longer about the whole "unaided" spiel? SpaceX is about as exciting as someone inventing a new kind of tire, with someone else's money. We know what tires can do. You're not going to go all that much faster or further because you invented a new kind of tire.

Rockets just aren't that open to radical improvements. And physics and reality and engineerin ...


I don't know man...  You should stop by Englishtown raceway some time and talk to the guys there about tires.  They can get pretty excited about that.  I also remember overhearing many thousands of teen hours spent on the school bus and at lunch debating what the correct tire is for the mythical muscle car that was going to be built/bought/somehow aquired.  Just like radio geeks get excited about some new antenna configuration, or network geeks getting excited about the next gen optical platform (100G is awesome!  Gives me 10x headroom on LAG bundles or ECMP).  Space geeks get excited that SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING!

You must be real fun at parties, if you ever get invited.
 
2013-04-17 10:59:09 AM
I think you meant "A really massive rocket".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw
 
2013-04-17 11:03:22 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: developed on their own

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Funny?  Because they sell launch services and development to the government at set prices per service which constitute one-third of their business?  (And delivering a lower launch cost per pound to orbit than any previous supplier?).  What do you think is not "on their own"?

They are designing and building the vehicles.  They are setting the prices and delivering while accepting all the risks.

" As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400-500M of this amount "...

Oh how bootstrappy. And I bet they just started their designs from scratch too. Oh the never-ending mythology about space. The cold-eyed individualist just reaching, gloriously, for space, unaided.

The mythology is just incredible. You can't even be bothered to google for like five minutes. Don't wanna let facts get in the way of a good, chest-thumping mythos.

On his own! With 80% of the money from other people! Unaided! Except for all the previous designs!

Glorious! A true savior of mankind!

Are you erect yet? Time to ejaculate a light-year long stream of species-seed!


You sound like Kurt Vonnegut.
 
2013-04-17 11:06:40 AM
Man-rating this monster is just plain stupid. Why NASA persists in the "giant spurt" approach to manned space is baffling. Orbital assembly of a two- or three-part system and having the astronauts launched separately makes far more sense.
 
2013-04-17 11:11:24 AM
Why does anyone debate QA about space? He is clearly just as biased and willing to move the goalposts as most of us space nerds are. Nothing good will come of having these discussions and nobody's mind will be changed, why derail every damn space thread?

I don't mean this as a personal attack on you QA butthe opposition of very strong opinions isn't serving anyone because nobody will budge in either direction.
 
2013-04-17 11:19:54 AM

OhioKnight: The point is SpaceX is developing much lower cost launch systems... THINKS they can develop fully-reusable launch systems (and have earned the benefit of the doubt)... and can bring the cost of putting things in orbit (or to Mars) much lower than it is currently.  They have already reduced the cost to orbit with Falcon 9.

I don't believe the new proposed rocket that NASA is developing will do that (specifically because it is being designed by political rather than engineering considerations).


Oh, that's adorable! You think you can rationalize with QA. You are either new around here or an eternal optimist. Please don't be too disappointed; after all you have a very valid point. Space travel currently is all about $ per lb. to orbit. What is needed currently is not a radical new engine design, but affordability. SpaceX is making great strides in that area compared to the shuttle, Delta 4, Atlas V, Soyuz, etc.. As far as NASA spending money to inspire competition; that seems like money well spent to me. Speaking of which, isn't Orbital's Antares launch today? Not a big fan of their design, but I'd love to see those Russian engines (NK-33) actually work for a change.

QA: I don't understand the fascination some people  have with comic books, but I don't jump in every comic book thread to tell everyone what a waste of time and money they are. I just tend to ignore them. You either need to get back on your meds or tell us more about how flat-earthies want to colonize the moon, because that was entertaining.
 
2013-04-17 11:21:40 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Ah, so you're no longer about the whole "unaided" spiel? SpaceX is about as exciting as someone inventing a new kind of tire, with someone else's money. We know what tires can do. You're not going to go all that much faster or further because you invented a new kind of tire.

Rockets just aren't that open to radical improvements. And physics and reality and engineering just don't offer anything else for moving lots of mass. F=ma and all that.

No warp drives, no transporter beams, no space elevators. Just burning a fark ton of chemicals out one end of a metal bell.

Changing a screw here, or specifying a different pump manufacturer there won't change much. You won't retire on Mars. Neither will your kids.

We'll put more junk into LEO and GEO, and maybe send more probes here and there.

Oh and let's not forget the all-important Tang and freeze-dried mashed potato delivery runs to the very important and useful ISS.


Well that settles it....evolutionary changes are worthless. Automobile development should have stopped after the Model T. So called "modern" cars are the same damn thing, just after a farkton of squandered "research" dollars. Gasoline goes in, heat, CO2 and water (with the added benefit of locomotion) comes out.

And every single business endeavor worth a damn is completely self-funded. There is no such thing as business loans, partnerships, investors or the like...those are all communist scams to take money from the foolish!

/my apologies for feeding the troll
 
2013-04-17 11:22:36 AM
Really likening the simplified F-1 engine proposals.
The days of solid fuel are long past us, and a direct link to the good old Saturn (but cheaper, more robust, and easier to mass produce) seems just the thing for getting out of our low orbit rut.
 
2013-04-17 11:28:17 AM

Egoy3k: Why does anyone debate QA about space? He is clearly just as biased and willing to move the goalposts as most of us space nerds are. Nothing good will come of having these discussions and nobody's mind will be changed, why derail every damn space thread?

I don't mean this as a personal attack on you QA butthe opposition of very strong opinions isn't serving anyone because nobody will budge in either direction.


He's as nuttery in the other direction as he claims people who are interested in space development are.

And some people on 'my' side are pretty nutty. They're also not incorrect, but the only idea they wont reject is that there is no value in space exploration and technology.

QA refuses to accept the validity of spin-off technology that was developed specifically for the space programs, and the money from NASA paid for commercial development.

If we are to keep expanding as a species, we will need to expand our resoure base. Improvements to efficiency will only take us so far, improvements in land use only so far. Better to drop the pitance of wealth now to lay the groundwork we will need in the future...

...if we dont have a collapse of industrial civilization before that. But certain space-related spinoff technologies csn help stave that off. If we develop them.

/Power generation and space/energy efficient food production, specifically.
 
2013-04-17 11:42:22 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Ah, so you're no longer about the whole "unaided" spiel?


So will your mythical life extension come about from someone with no knowledge or awareness of the history of medicine, and just brought into being like magic, the way the rest of your beliefs work?
 
2013-04-17 11:49:47 AM
Gee, I wonder how they could increase their budget...
 
2013-04-17 11:50:14 AM

AngryDragon: Dear God!! That's three, no almost four F22s!! CUT THEIR FUNDING.


Goalpost changing noted.

Summercat: QA refuses to accept the validity of spin-off technology that was developed specifically for the space programs


There isn't any. Only with convoluted and dishonest claims. The technology existed BEFORE we went into space. It would have gotten better by itself anyways. You ever look at WWII???

Sasquach: evolutionary changes are worthless.


That's the thing. There aren't any with space. You can't do it "evolutionary". You have to go the WHOLE THING at once. We didn't start orbiting at one meter, then one kilometer, etc. It's SO not the same that I'm amazed you can't see that!

Egoy3k: I don't mean this as a personal attack on you QA butthe opposition of very strong opinions isn't serving anyone because nobody will budge in either direction.


You're right, but even reality isn't enough for the Space Nutters. Will another ten years of nothing at all happening in space change their opinion? It didn't the first forty years nothing happened after Apollo.

MadHatter500: Just like radio geeks get excited about some new antenna configuration, or network geeks getting excited about the next gen optical platform (100G is awesome! Gives me 10x headroom on LAG bundles or ECMP).


Information processing precisely HAS the headroom to grow BECAUSE it requires so little energy and materials to represent a bit.

OhioKnight: I'm fairly sure that people will colonize Mars in the historically short term.


I'm fairly sure they won't.

OhioKnight: The point is SpaceX is developing much lower cost launch systems...


Even if they were FREE. SO WHAT!? There's nowhere to go and nothing there! Jeez!

You guys are like in the late 19th century when they saw canals on Mars! They thought Mars was just full of alien civilizations and stuff! Until we looked closer. Woops.

Then we thought Venus was a cloud covered lush tropical paradise! Until we looked closer. Woops.

But the mythology of a promised land "up there" to salvage the wicked humans just won't die.

Religion.
 
2013-04-17 12:07:45 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Even if they were FREE. SO WHAT!? There's nowhere to go and nothing there! Jeez!


land...not currently controlled by any government
 
2013-04-17 12:10:29 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: That's the thing. There aren't any with space. You can't do it "evolutionary". You have to go the WHOLE THING at once. We didn't start orbiting at one meter, then one kilometer, etc. It's SO not the same that I'm amazed you can't see that!


So we didn't launch vehicles into atmosphere, followed by space, followed by stable orbit, followed by going to moon, followed by orbiting the moon, followed by landing on the moon?  Nope, we just launched and landed right on the surface.

Quantum Apostrophe: Even if they were FREE. SO WHAT!? There's nowhere to go and nothing there! Jeez!

You guys are like in the late 19th century when they saw canals on Mars! They thought Mars was just full of alien civilizations and stuff! Until we looked closer. Woops.
Then we thought Venus was a cloud covered lush tropical paradise! Until we looked closer. Woops.
But the mythology of a promised land "up there" to salvage the wicked humans just won't die.
Religion.


Blathering irrelevancies.  How does any of that have anything to do with engineering vehicles and landing on a foreign planetary body? Things didn't move much after Apollo because we were motivated by gaining the high ground against a national enemy.  Once that threat ended, we backed off due to national disinterest.  That doesn't mean we can't do anything anymore.  Landing and surviving on Mars isn't some magical barrier we can't cross.  It's expensive and complicated, but that's it.

Now, living there and creating something sustainable takes more research.  We need to understand the available raw materials, and how best to use them to maintain oxygen and water levels, and what types of nitrogen compounds exist for possible plant growth.  It's long range, expensive, and difficult.  Maybe it is impossible.  Maybe it can't be done.  But to claim you know it can't be done now is silly.  Your data is so incomplete on this issue, one cannot make a reasonable assertion.
 
2013-04-17 12:25:18 PM
Quantum Apostrophe:

I am an angry nutter. NUTTER NUTTER NUTTER WHARGARBRLE

There is no hope with you. 10/10 for trolling.
 
2013-04-17 01:21:54 PM
SLS is largely a duplication of what can be done with Delta-IV and Atlas-V.

Granted SLS has a higher throw weight, but it is not worth the expense.

Autonomous docking systems and the interface inefficiency is are cheaper with multiple launches than one loft of a SLS.

That you can burn a bigger hole in the sky, does not mean you should.

Plus there is more than one customer for D-IV and A-V.

NASA would be better off creating an additional D-iV and A-V launchpad to eliminate conflicts with the DoD and commercial customers.

But that would be spending money the correct way.

\\And don't feed the nutter troll
 
2013-04-17 01:26:50 PM
SewerSquirrels:Speaking of which, isn't Orbital's Antares launch today? Not a big fan of their design, but I'd love to see those Russian engines (NK-33) actually work for a change.

Yeah, launch window opens at 5:00 PM Eastern.  I'll have NasaTV on.

Orbital has a strange approach to designing launch vehicles, but it makes a certain kind of sense when you consider that component prices are just as much a part of the engineering landscape as thrust, mass fraction, specific impulse, et cetera.  They find opportunities to buy chunks of rockets cheap, then bolt them together into something commercially useful.  The end result isn't what you'd get if you were designing the whole industry from scratch, and it often doesn't have the sort of performance-per-kilogram numbers that make engineers' pants tight, but you can't complain too much when it gets the job done for cheap.  There's also something faintly Kerbal about the whole thing, too.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the first successful flight to come out of the N-1 program.  Those engines are amazing pieces of work.
 
2013-04-17 01:46:01 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: The point is SpaceX is developing much lower cost launch systems...

Even if they were FREE. SO WHAT!? There's nowhere to go and nothing there! Jeez!


First a disclaimer -- I'm perfectly aware QA is a troll -- not because of his positions but because of his style.  But I also think that his rather different perspective is useful and he often makes good and useful points scattered amongst the blather.  So that's why I respond to him.  I know I won't persuade him but I'm trying to contribute to the larger conversation.

Mr. Musk is planning to colonize Mars as a "religious" exercise, if you will.  It is a position I am sympathetic to.  I believe it is useful to have self-sustaining technological communities outside Earth's biosystem. (Not that I'm planning to go, I rather like beaches and oceans, thank you)

One of the things I MOST admire about Mr. Musk is that he's pursuing this sensibly.  Since we have a need, already to put things in orbit... first fix THAT part of the problem.  Then if you can't make a Mars colony work, you're still ahead.  Then fix it in such a way that you can extend that solution to any other environment.  A reusable launch / landing system that works on Earth without parachutes or wings will also work anywhere else in the Solar system that you would want to land.  So a fully reusable, manned Falcon 9 Dragon combination will also land people on the Moon or Mars with no REQUIRED additional hardware (you'll probably not want to use a first-generation fully reusable Dragon, but you COULD).

Making the engines burn Methane and LOX gives you a low-hassle fueling solution that COULD be refueled from components abundantly available on Mars.  Then the Mars colony questions become "Can you live there sustainably? (meaning making air, water, food, manufacturing necessities, etc.)"  "Can you extract fuel from the environment?"  "Does a Mars-based refueling solution for deep-space resource development (like Asteroid mining) make economic sense?"  etc.

At the end of the day the answers might be "no" but you (and the US taxpayers and other launch customers) still come out ahead in the process.
 
2013-04-17 02:07:25 PM

Professor Science: There's also something faintly Kerbal about the whole thing, too.


Yeah, but wasting that much thrust lifting a Castor 30 as a second stage? I'm not sure if that's more silly or scary. Then again, if it works and it makes financial sense...

Kerbal: I see your point.
 
2013-04-17 02:51:31 PM

OhioKnight: Quantum Apostrophe: OhioKnight: The point is SpaceX is developing much lower cost launch systems...

Even if they were FREE. SO WHAT!? There's nowhere to go and nothing there! Jeez!

First a disclaimer -- I'm perfectly aware QA is a troll -- not because of his positions but because of his style.  But I also think that his rather different perspective is useful and he often makes good and useful points scattered amongst the blather.  So that's why I respond to him.  I know I won't persuade him but I'm trying to contribute to the larger conversation.

Mr. Musk is planning to colonize Mars as a "religious" exercise, if you will.  It is a position I am sympathetic to.  I believe it is useful to have self-sustaining technological communities outside Earth's biosystem. (Not that I'm planning to go, I rather like beaches and oceans, thank you)

One of the things I MOST admire about Mr. Musk is that he's pursuing this sensibly.  Since we have a need, already to put things in orbit... first fix THAT part of the problem.  Then if you can't make a Mars colony work, you're still ahead.  Then fix it in such a way that you can extend that solution to any other environment.  A reusable launch / landing system that works on Earth without parachutes or wings will also work anywhere else in the Solar system that you would want to land.  So a fully reusable, manned Falcon 9 Dragon combination will also land people on the Moon or Mars with no REQUIRED additional hardware (you'll probably not want to use a first-generation fully reusable Dragon, but you COULD).

Making the engines burn Methane and LOX gives you a low-hassle fueling solution that COULD be refueled from components abundantly available on Mars.  Then the Mars colony questions become "Can you live there sustainably? (meaning making air, water, food, manufacturing necessities, etc.)"  "Can you extract fuel from the environment?"  "Does a Mars-based refueling solution for deep-space resource development (like Asteroid mining) ...


Spin-off technologies are developed because we are pushing the limits of what we know and can do.

There's entire worlds out there in space, filled with resources. We've tapped most of the easily-accessable minerals on Earth already. Recylcing only goes so far when the demand is also increasing.

/not coherent in this post
 
2013-04-17 02:56:12 PM

SewerSquirrels: Professor Science: There's also something faintly Kerbal about the whole thing, too.

Yeah, but wasting that much thrust lifting a Castor 30 as a second stage? I'm not sure if that's more silly or scary. Then again, if it works and it makes financial sense...

Kerbal: I see your point.


I think the numbers make more sense once they start putting the longer second stages on them.  If that's their plan for the majority of the launches, then it isn't worth the bother of making a smaller first stage that would be more sensibly matched to the current upper stages.  Even if you used the same tank diameter so you could reuse that tooling, you'd have to find smaller engines, redo design work, structural analysis, testing, changes to the production line, tweaks to the pad infrastructure, etc., and all of that costs lots of money.  Burning some extra fuel and dropping some extra metal into the ocean is cheaper unless they launch a lot of the small version.

I also seem to recall reading that they had planned for a liquid-fueled second stage, which might be what the current first stage was designed around.  In that case, the whole solid upper stage thing would be suboptimal.  But if the plan changes after you've spent the money to make the lower stage, you can still end up with a suboptimal rocket being cheaper than a redesign.
 
2013-04-17 03:22:39 PM
I`ve decided not to feed the troll that is QA.

I`ve also decided to try and actually curse whoever got me into kerbal space program. I think it may be the most addictive thing I have played.

I can now get into orbit around mun at an altitude of 5000-5500m, I have sent no return probes to the outer planets, unfortunately with people on them, crashed numerous vehicles into the moon, crash landed with survivors on mun but I had put a solar panel over the hatch so couldn`t go out. I am in the process of making a space station, a lunar lander and figuring out slingshots to the outer planets...
 
2013-04-17 05:54:28 PM

Professor Science: I also seem to recall reading that they had planned for a liquid-fueled second stage, which might be what the current first stage was designed around.  In that case, the whole solid upper stage thing would be suboptimal.  But if the plan changes after you've spent the money to make the lower stage, you can still end up with a suboptimal rocket being cheaper than a redesign.


I'm not a rocket surgeon, but from my understanding any solid upper stage is by definition "suboptimal" unless ATK is giving them away. Don't you want your most efficient stage up top? That isn't going to be a perchlorate engine considering your fuel is going to be aluminum.

I know, I know...think Kerbal.

No Antares launch today...bummer.
 
2013-04-17 11:14:42 PM
QA: RAAAAAAAGE!! PEOPLE GROK SOMETHING I HAAAAAAAATE!!!
in the meantime I'll blow witlessly through twenty red lights on a scrawny metal frame with two fragile wheels
 
2013-04-17 11:42:50 PM

Tommy Moo: Manned mission =/= manned mission to Mars. They are planning to test this new shuttle's ability to sustain humans in space and bring them back safely. We are still a very, very long way from sending humans to Mars. 20 years if I had to wager.

My guess is that a private company may actually beat NASA there, if only because NASA will take all precautions and won't send anyone until they are certain they can do it right, while Richard Branson or someone just like him will gladly flip a coin on sending a couple of people to their deaths to be the person who did it.


NASA is saying 2032 or something like that for Mars, IIRC, so yeah, 20 years. Though it could be faster with more money and political will- a lot faster. By 2025, we're going to try and land on an asteroid, and there's been talk of modifying the plans on that so that we capture one and bring it here as a test of potential deflection plans should an asteroid make another suspiciously close pass to the earth.

Basically, NASA is getting out of the low earth orbit business and is building up the heavy lift capability. They want to leave orbit, and leave the orbital stuff to the commercial guys.
 
2013-04-17 11:59:07 PM
newth.net
/hawtlinked
//yep, that's a painting all right
///quite pretty, methinks
 
2013-04-18 05:37:09 AM
Asteroids. Big heavy lumps of rock on the top of a gravity well. Give one a nudge in the right way and your enemies will be dust and you will get a twitter about the lamentation of their women..
 
2013-04-18 05:42:28 AM
Just launched my gemini rockets. One with a lander and one with an engine and a full tank of fuel designed to link in space. Gonna explore the outer planets...
 
2013-04-18 06:21:31 AM
Done it. Got my outward engine, heavy lander and homeward engine all connected in space with docking clamps, now off to explore!
 
2013-04-18 11:20:53 AM
Khellendros:
Blathering irrelevancies.  How does any of that have anything to do with engineering vehicles and landing on a foreign planetary body? Things didn't move much after Apollo because we were motivated by gaining the high ground against a national enemy.  Once that threat ended, we backed off due to national disinterest.  That doesn't mean we can't do anything anymore.  Landing and surviving on Mars isn't some magical barrier we can't cross.  It's expensive and complicated, but that's it.

Now, living there and creating something sustainable takes more research.  We need to understand the available raw materials, and how best to use them to maintain oxygen and water levels, and what types of nitrogen compounds exist for possible plant growth.  It's long range, expensive, and difficult.  Maybe it is impossible.  Maybe it can't be done.  But to claim you know it can't be done now is silly.  Your data is so incomplete on this issue, one cannot make a reasonable assertion.


Swarms of ion engines very slowly nudging whole flocks of comets to smack into Daedelia Planum. Expensive, but not too far from today's technology. It would take centuries to get a thick enough atmosphere, but you get enough water to start large lakes relatively quickly (ie - within a few dozen decades).
 
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