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#1 2014-07-04 18:16:37

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,719

Musk's plans for Mars

I was intrigued by Rob S's comments on another thread:

"And Musk has already started developing the Methane-Oxygen Raptor engine of his "Mars Colonial Transport" which, if it is a triple barrel vehicle like the Falcon Heavy, will be able to launch 400-500 tonnes to low Earth orbit and land 100 tonnes on Mars. THAT'S a commitment! It'd be a nine-engine first stage, 1-engine second stage vehicle and would be reusable using the same system as the Falcon. Apparently he told NASA he could develop it for 2 or 3 billion and would even absorb the cost overruns. But they (or the Senate, to be exact) prefered the pork barrel 10-12 billion dollars SLS instead, wich will launch much less mass for a much higher cost per launch."

I thought it would be good to start a thread specifically dealing with Musk's plans.

What do we know exactly? What are the sources for information?

Here's a helpful recent news article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ … 0-000.html

From the article:

"Elon Musk has previously said he created SpaceX for the sole reason of developing rocket technology to get people to Mars.

He wants to help establish a colony of up to 80,000 people on the planet, but admitted he’d like to start small, with a group of 10 people, and build the colony from there.
‘At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilisation and grow it into something really big,’ Musk said.
‘I think we're making some progress in that direction - not as fast as I'd like.’  "

Very much my vision, though I'd say start with six and aim for 100,000.


The article appears to link the Mars project to the reusable rocket.


Some questions I have:

How does the "Red Dragon" fit in with the reusable rocket? Is the reusable rocket going to be a supply vehicle only?  How do you get the supply module off the top of the rocket on Mars without damaging the rocket or the supplies?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2014-07-04 21:14:00

RobS
Member
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

"Red Dragon" is a proposal to launch a Dragon capsule to Mars via a Falcon Heavy. The capsule would contain a drill that would drill through the bottom of the capsule and then one meter into the Martian surface. It would be a NASA mission using Musk's hardware. The calculatin is that Dragon can land at least a tonne on the Martian surface; some think it could land 2 tonnes.

Another proposal involves landing a Dragon on Mars with a sample return vehicle inside the capsule. It would blast off through a port in the top of the capsule. The calculations suggest the sample return vehicle could be large enough to make a direct return to the Earth. The landing mass probably would be large enough to include a small rover to retrieve samples as well.

The way I keep track of Musk's plans are to check Space.com and spacedaily.com and spacex.com daily for anything new. Every few days I also check the Wikipedia articles on "Falcon Reusable," "Falcon Heavy," and "Mars Colonial Transporter." Occasionally I will also check the wikipedia articles on "Dragon," and "Raptor" as well. The footnotes for all these articles will take you to a great wealth of online articles.

Musk developed the Falcon/Dragon system for $1 billion over 10-12 years. Presumably the Falcon Heavy and Dragon will be fully functional, including reuse, by 2017. His bottleneck right now is that he can't launch things fast enough; his launch manifest is growing very, very fast and his launch schedule keeps falling behind. His price is already just about the lowest in the world. The French are panicking because no one wants to launch satellites with the Ariane; they are trying to push a new Ariane launcher that is cheaper, but it'll still be more than Falcon, even without reuse. With reuse, the price potentially falls almost 10 fold to 5-7 million dollars for 10 tonnes of LEO (with reuse, which cuts the payload from 13 tonnes).

What happens if he can launch for $1,000 per kilo ($1 million per tonne) and everyone else is launching for 2 or 3 times as much? Everyone will want to launch with him. He has pads at Canaveral and at Vandenberg in California, and will open his own spaceport in Brownesville, Texas, in a few years. Additional spaceports in Georgia and Puerto Rico are still being considered. He will need more pads to meet demand.

And what if he charges $2 million per tonne even though his costs are half that? He'd still be the cheapest and will make billions pretty quickly. The Mars Colonial Transporter will cost $2.5 billion more to develop. It is a 10-fold upgrade of Falcon 9, just Falcon 9 is a 10-fold upgrade of Falcon 1. The Mars Colonial Transporter will have a 10-meter diameter and thus can accommodate a 15-meter fairing. That would be quite an upgrade for the Dragon, but perhaps it'd cost a billion to develop; I think the Dragon cost $300 million to develop. The Mars Colonial Transporter will use methane and oxygen for its fuel, rather than kerosene/LOX, because you can make methane on Mars (the raptor engine supposedly will use methane and generate 1 million pounds of thrust). So I think you can see the outline of Musk's plan, from the existing information. A "Superdragon" capsule 15 meters in diameter and about 30 meters high, as a guess for its conical dimensions, would have 5,300 cubic meters of volume. That could accommodate a lot of people. If it massed 100 tonnes and used angled landing jets like the Dragon, it could probably fly 100 or more to Mars. If the Mars Colonial Transport's TMI stage retained enough fuel to land itself on Mars, the capsule could be hoisted back on top with a crane (in a few years, after they build a crane), the system could be refueled, and the capsule could be flown back to Earth for reuse.

That seems to be Musk's plan, but more details will come out in a few years. I think he could send people to Mars with the Falcon Heavy, but the Mars Colonial Transporter, if it actually gets built, will certainly be better.

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#3 2014-07-04 21:55:04

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

This is my variant, based on the Dragon and Falcon Heavy, for what it's worth:

I'd develop a relatively large capsule with a built in sidewall methane/oxygen propulsion system with a delta-v of about 5.2 kilometers per second. I'll paste the details below. It would be refuelable at a methane/oxygen fuel depot in low Earth orbit and at the L2 point between the Earth and the moon. It would have these potential uses:

1. It would be launched with a Falcon Heavy without a second stage, because the 5.2 km/sec of delta-v would allow it to serve as its own second stage. It would be capable of transporting a large number of tourists to low earth orbit; perhaps about 30.

2. If it were refueled in low Earth orbit, it would be able to go to the L2 Gateway or to low lunar orbit and be refueled again for a lunar landing. In either case, that refueling would be sufficient for it to land on the moon, then take off and fly back to the Earth.

3. If it were refueled in low Earth orbit, a delta-v of 5.2 km/sec is sufficient to fly to Mars and land there. Even better, if it refueled at L2 Gateway, it would have greatly increased capacity to fly people and cargo to Mars.

4. If refueled on Mars, 5.2 km/sec is sufficient to launch it into a high Mars orbit. It is not enough to fly straight back to Earth; it would need to be refueled in Martian orbit.

Such a vehicle could serve three purposes: transport of tourists to low earth orbit, transport of astronauts and tourists to the moon, and transport of astronauts to Mars. By having three possible uses, the vehicle (1) gets more use and flight experience, and (2) its development costs are sprad out among more users, making its use as a Mars transport vehicle cheaper and more reliable.

Here are the details below.

The Versatile Gryphon

The Gryphon consists of two sections, a lower propulsion module and an upper capsule. Its basal diameter is 6 meters. It has a 15 degree sidewall angle and a height of 11.5 meters. The top has a diameter of about 1.5 meters.
1. Propulsion Module: The propulsion module has a heat shield, tanks, engines, structure, and landing legs massing a total of 4 tonnes. It is 4.5 meters high and 6 meters in diameter on the bottom, tapering to 4.2 meters on top. Its total volume is about 90 m3. It has two sections in the Bloc-1 configuration:

Lower cargo hold (height, 2 meters). It is on the bottom so that it is just a meter above the ground for ease of unloading and has a volume of about 40 cubic meters. Protruding into the sides of the cargo space are the four pairs of engines mounted in the lower sidewall. They fire outward at a 65 degree angle from the horizontal (25 degrees from the vertical). The sidewall below the engines may need ablative shielding or active cooling to protect them from the exhaust. The methane-oxygen fuel (Isp 380) will produce an effective “vertical” Isp of 344 and a “vertical” exhaust velocity of 3.38 km/sec. Engines located in this position are protected from reentry and are able to fire into a hypersonic airstream during the landing sequence.

Propellant section: The upper half of the propulsion module consists of a central fuel tank 2 meters in diameter, with six tanks arrayed around it, for a total of 7 tanks. The central tank holds 8 cubic meters of propellant; the 6 surrounding tanks hold 6 cubic meters each, for a total of 44 cubic meters. The tanks can be configured two ways:

20 m3 (8.4 tonnes) methane and 24 m3 (27 tonnes) LOX = 35.4 tonnes total propellant
30 m3 (2.12 tonnes) LH2, 6 m3 (2.5 tonnes) methane, 8 m3 (9.1 tonnes) LOX = 11.5 tonnes of propellant for Mars landing. The hydrogen can be used to manufacture 35 tonnes of ascent propellant

2. Capsule: The capsule has three levels:
Lower deck:        4.2 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (13.8 m2, 24.8 m3)
Middeck:                       3.3 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (8.5 m2, 14.3 m3)
Flight deck:        2.4 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (4.5 m2, 6.7 m3)
Habitation decks total  26.8 m2, 45.8 m3

The capsule has no heat shield because it does not separate from the propulsion module. Its total mass is 3 tonnes, plus a 1-tonne life support system. This is the mass of the Mars Direct ERV, which has about five times the internal volume. Cargo, consumables, and crew mass are variable.

Uses: Assuming the Gryphon has a total mass of 9 tonnes (4-tonne propulsion module, 4-tonne capsule, and 1 tonne for crew and consumables) and 35 tonnes of methane and oxygen propellant, the vehicle has a delta-v of about 5.2 km/sec.

Low Earth orbit: The Gryphon could serve as its own second stage in a launch from the Earth to a station in low Earth orbit. Depending on the size of the first stage and the delta-v it imparts, the capsule could be used to transport up to 30 to low earth orbit (a Boeing or Airbus jet aircraft provides 1.5 cubic meters per passenger in their cabins, on average; the Gryphon has 45 m3). By serving as a tourist transport to a LEO hotel, the gryphon’s development costs are amortized more quickly and the vehicle gains flight experience rapidly.

Lunar Transport: If the gryphon could be refueled in low Earth orbit (this requires creation of a fuel depot), it could fly from LEO to low lunar orbit (delta-v, 4.1 km/sec). There, it could be refueled for landing (1.9 km/sec) and return to Earth (2.8 km/sec from the lunar surface; total, 4.7 km/sec). Fueled with 35 tonnes of fuel in LEO, 15 tonnes can be transported to low lunar orbit (propulsion module, capsule, 7 tonnes for crew, consumables, cargo). If the capsule is configured to provide 3 cubic meters per passenger (Apollo provided 2 cubic meters per astronaut), it could carry 15 people to the moon.

Mars Transport: Assuming water is available on the Martian surface to manufacture methane and oxygen return propellant, a gryphon with just 1 tonne of payload (total dry mass of vehicle, 9 tonnes) could fly from low Earth orbit to the Martian surface using aerobraking (total delta-v, about 5.2 km/sec). Normally, it would fly to the L1 Gateway (delta-v from LEO, 3.5 km/sec) and refuel for trans-Mars injection and landing (delta-v, about 1.7 km/sec). The gryphon can transport itself and 11 tonnes of additional mass to the L1 Gateway.

A gryphon is not able to fly from the Martian surface straight back to Earth (delta-v, 6.4 km/sec). From a 1-sol elliptical orbit (delta-v, 5.2 km/sec from Martian surface), trans-Earth injection requires 1.2 km/sec. Thus it requires access to a Martian orbit fuel depot.

Other Configurations. The gryphon’s propulsion module can be used in several other ways.

“Bloc 2” Configuration. In the bloc 2 configuration, the fuel tanks are consolidated into two, one for methane and one for LOX, and placed in the bottom of the propulsion module where the cargo hold had been located. The top of the propulsion module then becomes an additional fourth deck in the capsule, increasing its volume from 45 m3 to 84 m3. This would allow the transport of 56 people to low Earth orbit and 28 to the moon.

“Bloc 3” Configuration. In the bloc 3 configuration, the entire propulsion module is filled with propellant tanks sized for liquid hydrogen and oxygen. The liquid hydrogen tank (60 m3) holds 4.25 tonnes of LH2; the liquid oxygen tank (23 m3) holds 26 tonnes of LOX. The 30 tonnes of propellant (Isp 450 seconds, effective Isp at a 65 degree angle, 408 seconds or 4 km/sec) can propel 9 tonnes of mass to 5 km/sec, essentially the same as the methane/oxygen configuration.

Hippogryph Configuration. The hippogryph or “hippo” consists of a bloc-1 propulsion module as an unmanned cargo vehicle. With 35 tonnes of methane/oxygen fuel and an empty mass of 4 tonnes, it can launch 15 tonnes to LEO, refuel, fly to L1 Gateway, refuel again, and land 15 tonnes of cargo on Mars or the moon. Its 35-tonne propellant capacity can also be used as an extra propulsion stage to push a gryphon and crew to Mars from the L1 Gateway. The “hippo” can aerobrake into Mars orbit and has enough fuel left over to provide trans-Earth injection propulsion to send the crew back to Earth.

Manned Mission Plan. A manned mission to Mars would start with the launch of a hippogryph cargo vehicle with 15 tonnes of cargo, including a pressurized rover that can be controlled from Earth, several small robotic rovers, one tonne of hydrogen feedstock, a large drill, and 3 tonnes of solar panels able to produce about 30 kilowatts of power. Mission purpose: demonstrate propellant manufacturing technology and characterize the outpost site. The pressurizable rover would power a drill to see whether water can be obtained.

Two years later, a gryphon would land to provide a backup launch vehicle for the subsequent human crew. Its 11 tonnes of cargo would include 2 tonnes of hydrogen feedstock, backup supplies, and possibly the surface shelter. A second “hippo” could also be sent with 15 tonnes of additional cargo, which might include communications/GPS satellites. Mission goals: refuel one return vehicle, provide the basics of an outpost, and extend power cables between the various vehicles, thereby establishing a “power grid.”

Two years later, two gryphons with 3 crew each (able to back each other up during the interplanetary flight) would be sent. Each gryphon would arrive with an additional hippogryph propulsion stage to provide trans-Earth injection at the end of the mission. Two additional hippogryph cargo landers would also be sent with another pressurized surface vehicle, more solar panels, greenhouses, and industrial machinery. Mission purpose: establish an outpost on the surface, a fuel depot/station in orbit, drill for water, and explore up to several hundred kilometers from the outpost.

Subsequent missions would transport 4 crews per gryphon, initiate ISRU on Phobos and/or Deimos, and explore outward to greater distances from the outpost.

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#4 2014-07-05 08:21:23

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,719

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobS wrote:

"Red Dragon" is a proposal to launch a Dragon capsule to Mars via a Falcon Heavy. The capsule would contain a drill that would drill through the bottom of the capsule and then one meter into the Martian surface. It would be a NASA mission using Musk's hardware. The calculatin is that Dragon can land at least a tonne on the Martian surface; some think it could land 2 tonnes.

Another proposal involves landing a Dragon on Mars with a sample return vehicle inside the capsule. It would blast off through a port in the top of the capsule. The calculations suggest the sample return vehicle could be large enough to make a direct return to the Earth. The landing mass probably would be large enough to include a small rover to retrieve samples as well.

The way I keep track of Musk's plans are to check Space.com and spacedaily.com and spacex.com daily for anything new. Every few days I also check the Wikipedia articles on "Falcon Reusable," "Falcon Heavy," and "Mars Colonial Transporter." Occasionally I will also check the wikipedia articles on "Dragon," and "Raptor" as well. The footnotes for all these articles will take you to a great wealth of online articles.

Musk developed the Falcon/Dragon system for $1 billion over 10-12 years. Presumably the Falcon Heavy and Dragon will be fully functional, including reuse, by 2017. His bottleneck right now is that he can't launch things fast enough; his launch manifest is growing very, very fast and his launch schedule keeps falling behind. His price is already just about the lowest in the world. The French are panicking because no one wants to launch satellites with the Ariane; they are trying to push a new Ariane launcher that is cheaper, but it'll still be more than Falcon, even without reuse. With reuse, the price potentially falls almost 10 fold to 5-7 million dollars for 10 tonnes of LEO (with reuse, which cuts the payload from 13 tonnes).

What happens if he can launch for $1,000 per kilo ($1 million per tonne) and everyone else is launching for 2 or 3 times as much? Everyone will want to launch with him. He has pads at Canaveral and at Vandenberg in California, and will open his own spaceport in Brownesville, Texas, in a few years. Additional spaceports in Georgia and Puerto Rico are still being considered. He will need more pads to meet demand.

And what if he charges $2 million per tonne even though his costs are half that? He'd still be the cheapest and will make billions pretty quickly. The Mars Colonial Transporter will cost $2.5 billion more to develop. It is a 10-fold upgrade of Falcon 9, just Falcon 9 is a 10-fold upgrade of Falcon 1. The Mars Colonial Transporter will have a 10-meter diameter and thus can accommodate a 15-meter fairing. That would be quite an upgrade for the Dragon, but perhaps it'd cost a billion to develop; I think the Dragon cost $300 million to develop. The Mars Colonial Transporter will use methane and oxygen for its fuel, rather than kerosene/LOX, because you can make methane on Mars (the raptor engine supposedly will use methane and generate 1 million pounds of thrust). So I think you can see the outline of Musk's plan, from the existing information. A "Superdragon" capsule 15 meters in diameter and about 30 meters high, as a guess for its conical dimensions, would have 5,300 cubic meters of volume. That could accommodate a lot of people. If it massed 100 tonnes and used angled landing jets like the Dragon, it could probably fly 100 or more to Mars. If the Mars Colonial Transport's TMI stage retained enough fuel to land itself on Mars, the capsule could be hoisted back on top with a crane (in a few years, after they build a crane), the system could be refueled, and the capsule could be flown back to Earth for reuse.

That seems to be Musk's plan, but more details will come out in a few years. I think he could send people to Mars with the Falcon Heavy, but the Mars Colonial Transporter, if it actually gets built, will certainly be better.


Rob, thanks for the tips on how to keep tabs on what Musk is planning. He seems to let it out in dribs and drabs here and there, rather than as a published master plan - I suspect partly out of respect for NASA, on whom he has depended commercially (and might depend on for comms if the Mars project goes ahead?) and partly out of a canny sense that it might endanger the mission, from a political point of view if he gave it too high a profile (i.e. he doesn't want to start worrying the Senate, UN, and competitor nations too much).

There are some  fascinating elements in the plan as it is developing.

It begins to make a lot of sense - take the crane parts with you and build the crane that will then allow you to hoist back Superdragons (or maybe just the ascent module??) on top of the reusable Space X rocket that has landed on the surface of Mars in a separate operation. 

It seems like Musk is thinking big, in terms of direct transplant of human civilisation, rather than a slow ISRU-based growth rate. 

If you can transport 100 people a time you can get 80,000 in 800 trips - at a launch rate of 20 per year, you could do it in 40 years...it all becomes a lot more credible doesn't it?

This is all very intriguing.

I have always thought Musk could fund a mission from his own resources with Space X but it now seems he can potentially fund a transplant of human civilisation.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2014-07-05 08:32:52

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,719

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I like your approach, similar to my views, though I wouldn't have the technical ability to express it as you do.  Orbital docking/refuelling is clearly now well within our ability. We should be making full use of ISRU on Moon and Mars to facilitate missions.

The great thing about your proposal is, as far as I can see, you could fire the starting pistol now and within 8 years we could be there with a permanent station on Mars.


RobS wrote:

This is my variant, based on the Dragon and Falcon Heavy, for what it's worth:

I'd develop a relatively large capsule with a built in sidewall methane/oxygen propulsion system with a delta-v of about 5.2 kilometers per second. I'll paste the details below. It would be refuelable at a methane/oxygen fuel depot in low Earth orbit and at the L2 point between the Earth and the moon. It would have these potential uses:

1. It would be launched with a Falcon Heavy without a second stage, because the 5.2 km/sec of delta-v would allow it to serve as its own second stage. It would be capable of transporting a large number of tourists to low earth orbit; perhaps about 30.

2. If it were refueled in low Earth orbit, it would be able to go to the L2 Gateway or to low lunar orbit and be refueled again for a lunar landing. In either case, that refueling would be sufficient for it to land on the moon, then take off and fly back to the Earth.

3. If it were refueled in low Earth orbit, a delta-v of 5.2 km/sec is sufficient to fly to Mars and land there. Even better, if it refueled at L2 Gateway, it would have greatly increased capacity to fly people and cargo to Mars.

4. If refueled on Mars, 5.2 km/sec is sufficient to launch it into a high Mars orbit. It is not enough to fly straight back to Earth; it would need to be refueled in Martian orbit.

Such a vehicle could serve three purposes: transport of tourists to low earth orbit, transport of astronauts and tourists to the moon, and transport of astronauts to Mars. By having three possible uses, the vehicle (1) gets more use and flight experience, and (2) its development costs are sprad out among more users, making its use as a Mars transport vehicle cheaper and more reliable.

Here are the details below.

The Versatile Gryphon

The Gryphon consists of two sections, a lower propulsion module and an upper capsule. Its basal diameter is 6 meters. It has a 15 degree sidewall angle and a height of 11.5 meters. The top has a diameter of about 1.5 meters.
1. Propulsion Module: The propulsion module has a heat shield, tanks, engines, structure, and landing legs massing a total of 4 tonnes. It is 4.5 meters high and 6 meters in diameter on the bottom, tapering to 4.2 meters on top. Its total volume is about 90 m3. It has two sections in the Bloc-1 configuration:

Lower cargo hold (height, 2 meters). It is on the bottom so that it is just a meter above the ground for ease of unloading and has a volume of about 40 cubic meters. Protruding into the sides of the cargo space are the four pairs of engines mounted in the lower sidewall. They fire outward at a 65 degree angle from the horizontal (25 degrees from the vertical). The sidewall below the engines may need ablative shielding or active cooling to protect them from the exhaust. The methane-oxygen fuel (Isp 380) will produce an effective “vertical” Isp of 344 and a “vertical” exhaust velocity of 3.38 km/sec. Engines located in this position are protected from reentry and are able to fire into a hypersonic airstream during the landing sequence.

Propellant section: The upper half of the propulsion module consists of a central fuel tank 2 meters in diameter, with six tanks arrayed around it, for a total of 7 tanks. The central tank holds 8 cubic meters of propellant; the 6 surrounding tanks hold 6 cubic meters each, for a total of 44 cubic meters. The tanks can be configured two ways:

20 m3 (8.4 tonnes) methane and 24 m3 (27 tonnes) LOX = 35.4 tonnes total propellant
30 m3 (2.12 tonnes) LH2, 6 m3 (2.5 tonnes) methane, 8 m3 (9.1 tonnes) LOX = 11.5 tonnes of propellant for Mars landing. The hydrogen can be used to manufacture 35 tonnes of ascent propellant

2. Capsule: The capsule has three levels:
Lower deck:        4.2 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (13.8 m2, 24.8 m3)
Middeck:                       3.3 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (8.5 m2, 14.3 m3)
Flight deck:        2.4 meters diameter, 2.25 meters high (4.5 m2, 6.7 m3)
Habitation decks total  26.8 m2, 45.8 m3

The capsule has no heat shield because it does not separate from the propulsion module. Its total mass is 3 tonnes, plus a 1-tonne life support system. This is the mass of the Mars Direct ERV, which has about five times the internal volume. Cargo, consumables, and crew mass are variable.

Uses: Assuming the Gryphon has a total mass of 9 tonnes (4-tonne propulsion module, 4-tonne capsule, and 1 tonne for crew and consumables) and 35 tonnes of methane and oxygen propellant, the vehicle has a delta-v of about 5.2 km/sec.

Low Earth orbit: The Gryphon could serve as its own second stage in a launch from the Earth to a station in low Earth orbit. Depending on the size of the first stage and the delta-v it imparts, the capsule could be used to transport up to 30 to low earth orbit (a Boeing or Airbus jet aircraft provides 1.5 cubic meters per passenger in their cabins, on average; the Gryphon has 45 m3). By serving as a tourist transport to a LEO hotel, the gryphon’s development costs are amortized more quickly and the vehicle gains flight experience rapidly.

Lunar Transport: If the gryphon could be refueled in low Earth orbit (this requires creation of a fuel depot), it could fly from LEO to low lunar orbit (delta-v, 4.1 km/sec). There, it could be refueled for landing (1.9 km/sec) and return to Earth (2.8 km/sec from the lunar surface; total, 4.7 km/sec). Fueled with 35 tonnes of fuel in LEO, 15 tonnes can be transported to low lunar orbit (propulsion module, capsule, 7 tonnes for crew, consumables, cargo). If the capsule is configured to provide 3 cubic meters per passenger (Apollo provided 2 cubic meters per astronaut), it could carry 15 people to the moon.

Mars Transport: Assuming water is available on the Martian surface to manufacture methane and oxygen return propellant, a gryphon with just 1 tonne of payload (total dry mass of vehicle, 9 tonnes) could fly from low Earth orbit to the Martian surface using aerobraking (total delta-v, about 5.2 km/sec). Normally, it would fly to the L1 Gateway (delta-v from LEO, 3.5 km/sec) and refuel for trans-Mars injection and landing (delta-v, about 1.7 km/sec). The gryphon can transport itself and 11 tonnes of additional mass to the L1 Gateway.

A gryphon is not able to fly from the Martian surface straight back to Earth (delta-v, 6.4 km/sec). From a 1-sol elliptical orbit (delta-v, 5.2 km/sec from Martian surface), trans-Earth injection requires 1.2 km/sec. Thus it requires access to a Martian orbit fuel depot.

Other Configurations. The gryphon’s propulsion module can be used in several other ways.

“Bloc 2” Configuration. In the bloc 2 configuration, the fuel tanks are consolidated into two, one for methane and one for LOX, and placed in the bottom of the propulsion module where the cargo hold had been located. The top of the propulsion module then becomes an additional fourth deck in the capsule, increasing its volume from 45 m3 to 84 m3. This would allow the transport of 56 people to low Earth orbit and 28 to the moon.

“Bloc 3” Configuration. In the bloc 3 configuration, the entire propulsion module is filled with propellant tanks sized for liquid hydrogen and oxygen. The liquid hydrogen tank (60 m3) holds 4.25 tonnes of LH2; the liquid oxygen tank (23 m3) holds 26 tonnes of LOX. The 30 tonnes of propellant (Isp 450 seconds, effective Isp at a 65 degree angle, 408 seconds or 4 km/sec) can propel 9 tonnes of mass to 5 km/sec, essentially the same as the methane/oxygen configuration.

Hippogryph Configuration. The hippogryph or “hippo” consists of a bloc-1 propulsion module as an unmanned cargo vehicle. With 35 tonnes of methane/oxygen fuel and an empty mass of 4 tonnes, it can launch 15 tonnes to LEO, refuel, fly to L1 Gateway, refuel again, and land 15 tonnes of cargo on Mars or the moon. Its 35-tonne propellant capacity can also be used as an extra propulsion stage to push a gryphon and crew to Mars from the L1 Gateway. The “hippo” can aerobrake into Mars orbit and has enough fuel left over to provide trans-Earth injection propulsion to send the crew back to Earth.

Manned Mission Plan. A manned mission to Mars would start with the launch of a hippogryph cargo vehicle with 15 tonnes of cargo, including a pressurized rover that can be controlled from Earth, several small robotic rovers, one tonne of hydrogen feedstock, a large drill, and 3 tonnes of solar panels able to produce about 30 kilowatts of power. Mission purpose: demonstrate propellant manufacturing technology and characterize the outpost site. The pressurizable rover would power a drill to see whether water can be obtained.

Two years later, a gryphon would land to provide a backup launch vehicle for the subsequent human crew. Its 11 tonnes of cargo would include 2 tonnes of hydrogen feedstock, backup supplies, and possibly the surface shelter. A second “hippo” could also be sent with 15 tonnes of additional cargo, which might include communications/GPS satellites. Mission goals: refuel one return vehicle, provide the basics of an outpost, and extend power cables between the various vehicles, thereby establishing a “power grid.”

Two years later, two gryphons with 3 crew each (able to back each other up during the interplanetary flight) would be sent. Each gryphon would arrive with an additional hippogryph propulsion stage to provide trans-Earth injection at the end of the mission. Two additional hippogryph cargo landers would also be sent with another pressurized surface vehicle, more solar panels, greenhouses, and industrial machinery. Mission purpose: establish an outpost on the surface, a fuel depot/station in orbit, drill for water, and explore up to several hundred kilometers from the outpost.

Subsequent missions would transport 4 crews per gryphon, initiate ISRU on Phobos and/or Deimos, and explore outward to greater distances from the outpost.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#6 2014-07-05 11:29:12

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,719

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

For anyone, like me, who had lost touch with latest developments on Space X's plans for Mars, here is an illustrated article on the rocket development which would back up the plan:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/03/ … tor-power/


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2014-07-09 13:19:01

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Dear Louis:

I didn't see you had posted until now; I apologize for the delay in responding. I don't think Musk is trickling out his plan in drips and drabs. I don't think he has all the details of his plan yet. He doesn't need to decide now what he will land on Mars because he still doesn't know whether he will build the Mars Colonial Transporter, whether he needs a triple barrel "heavy" version or not, whether he can land and reuse stages, etc. A lot of the plan hangs on the technology he is developing now and, even more importantly, what it will do in terms of profit. It appears Musk can develop a first stage that can land and be reused. But he still can't build a rocket that can be launched on time! The OS2 launch was supposed to go up in May and still hasn't gone up. He's supposed to launch about 10 to 12 Falcons this year, but he can't get them up.

He is aware of the problem, of course. Musk made the comment that his company needs to go from ten launches per year to hundreds, then to thousands. But no one knows how to do that, and that's a much harder technological problem to solve.

As for my "gryphon," the key idea is that if you can develop a spacecraft that in one variant can take tourists to orbit, another variant will take astronauts to the moon, and a third variant will take astronauts to Mars, you can amortize your development costs over a much larger number of flights, and that is important. That's basically what the Falcon series of rockets do, as well; anything that goes to Mars will be launched on a rocket that will have already been uses dozens or hundreds of times.

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#8 2014-07-09 18:31:44

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobS wrote:

Dear Louis:

I didn't see you had posted until now; I apologize for the delay in responding. I don't think Musk is trickling out his plan in drips and drabs. I don't think he has all the details of his plan yet. He doesn't need to decide now what he will land on Mars because he still doesn't know whether he will build the Mars Colonial Transporter, whether he needs a triple barrel "heavy" version or not, whether he can land and reuse stages, etc. A lot of the plan hangs on the technology he is developing now and, even more importantly, what it will do in terms of profit. It appears Musk can develop a first stage that can land and be reused. But he still can't build a rocket that can be launched on time! The OS2 launch was supposed to go up in May and still hasn't gone up. He's supposed to launch about 10 to 12 Falcons this year, but he can't get them up.

He is aware of the problem, of course. Musk made the comment that his company needs to go from ten launches per year to hundreds, then to thousands. But no one knows how to do that, and that's a much harder technological problem to solve.

As for my "gryphon," the key idea is that if you can develop a spacecraft that in one variant can take tourists to orbit, another variant will take astronauts to the moon, and a third variant will take astronauts to Mars, you can amortize your development costs over a much larger number of flights, and that is important. That's basically what the Falcon series of rockets do, as well; anything that goes to Mars will be launched on a rocket that will have already been uses dozens or hundreds of times.

I agree with your basic "gryphon" concept (i.e. spreading costs between different uses).  I tend to see it in terms of orbital assembly. If you want to go to Mars you have to assemble a number of parts - the propulsion system, the lander/ascent vehicle, the supply module and the hab. It's certainly within current capabilities. And each of the part may have other uses.

I assume Space X problems with throughput of launches is really a question of quality control...one catastrophic mis-launch could be fatal to a company Space X in its early stages...satellite companies want near 100% launch guarantee...looking at it optimistically it is a problem that should decrease over time as they gain experience and launches become more routinised.

I still think Musk is (correctly) very circumspect about his Mars plans.  Had he wanted to, he could have promoted it in a Mars One fashion.  But I think he does deliberately break it down. 

My guess is that he is a middle aged man in a hurry and, so, while the MCT may be his long term vision, I think he probably has a more immediate mid term vision of how to get human beings to Mars.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#9 2014-07-23 13:55:39

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Yet another major triumph for Space X...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ … OCEAN.html


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#10 2014-09-27 11:58:35

RGClark
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From: Philadelphia, PA
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

With the higher cited thrust of the Raptor engine, SpaceX's proposed super
heavy lift launcher could lift 100+ metric tons to orbit as a SSTO.
As a two-stage vehicle it could manage 200 mT. And using three cores, it
could do over 500 mT.

A SpaceX Heavy Lift Methane Rocket, Page 2.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2014/0 … -page.html

  Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#11 2016-04-28 20:32:37

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Bump here is the 5th topic of Red Dragon

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#12 2016-05-02 09:30:39

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Here's another interesting twist about Musk's Mars Plans: yesterday the Falcon Heavy website adjusted upward the payload of the Falcon Heavy to LEO from 53 tonnes to 54.4 tonnes:

http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

The site also lists 22.2 tonnes to GTO, 13.6 tonnes to Mars, and 2.9 tonnes to Pluto (!). I have long suspected that as they improve these rockets, the payloads will adjust upward. I doubt this is the last one. A few more tonnes to LEO, and the Falcon Heavy won't be significantly worse performing that the SLS, and of course will cost less than a TENTH as much (a Falcon Heavy is priced on that website at $90 million; for 54.4 tonnes, that's $1,651 per kilo and $750 per pound). I am still not sure whether the SLS will cost $1 billion or $2 billion per launch; anyone know?

The site has also adjusted upward the payload of a Falcon 9, 22.2 tonnes to LEO, 8.3 tonnes to GTO, and 4.0 tonnes to Mars.

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#13 2016-05-02 10:21:33

RobertDyck
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Original design of Falcon Heavy was the standard first stage from Falcon 9, plus "side sticks" that were slightly taller, holding more propellant. However, the president Gwynne Shotwell wanted a standard stage, not two different designs. So the core stage was replaced with the larger one, holding more propellant. That's why performance increased. By the way, Falcon 9 "full thrust" aka Falcon 9 v1.2 also used that larger core stage.

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#14 2016-05-02 13:14:39

GW Johnson
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Last time I checked some months ago,  NASA was projecting around $500 MM per launch for SLS.  That would be the initial 70 ton version.  The estimate was too crude to distinguish it from the later 100 ton version.  That's about $3200-3300/lb or $7100-7200/kilo,  flying fully loaded. 

Their critics were pointing to NASA's notorious history of too-low estimated costs,  and claimed the per-launch price would be higher at around $1B.  In which case,  double the numbers in the previous paragraph:  $6400-6600/lb,  or $14,200-14,400/kilo. 

Some folks say the price per launch will be nearer $2B /launch,  for double the numbers in paragraph 2.  That's about the same as shuttle was.  Which is in part why ISS cost over $100B to build. 

ULA will have to replace the Russian engines on its Atlas-5 vehicle.  That's now a legal requirement.  I noticed they have discontinued the Delta-4,  which they were unable to make inexpensive enough to compete commercially in the satellite business.  But their basic Atlas-5,  if successfully re-engined,  is cheap enough to compete.  Prices vary with how many SRB's you buy and whether your Centaur upper stage has one or two engines.  But it works out around $2500/lb or $5500/kilo flying fully loaded,  for things around 10-15 tons delivered. The -HLV version should fling 20 tons or thereabouts.  Maybe 22.

Ariane,  Proton,  all the rest,  including Falcon-9,  fall just about that same $2500/lb,  give or take a little.  So they're all commercially competitive.  Falcon-Heavy is going to change the game at around $800-1000/lb for 53 or 54 tons.  There aren't many payloads that big yet,  but we've already seen multiple payloads delivered by one rocket. 

SLS could do the same multi-payload cost-sharing,  but at over $3000/lb (if you believe NASA's cost estimates),  how can it ever be financially attractive compared to the existing world fleet?  You would only use it if your payload was so big you had no other choice.  And then there's Falcon-Heavy,  almost as big,  and many times cheaper,  available in a year or two. 

So tell me,  who knows better how to make access to orbit easier and cheaper:  the government or the private companies? 

My betting money is on Spacex,  and maybe soon some others like them. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#15 2016-05-02 16:58:10

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobertDyck wrote:

Original design of Falcon Heavy was the standard first stage from Falcon 9, plus "side sticks" that were slightly taller, holding more propellant. However, the president Gwynne Shotwell wanted a standard stage, not two different designs. So the core stage was replaced with the larger one, holding more propellant. That's why performance increased. By the way, Falcon 9 "full thrust" aka Falcon 9 v1.2 also used that larger core stage.

I'm curious, Robert, where did you hear that the central core will now be the same size as the side sticks? I haven't seen that anywhere.

The other thing that strikes me is that the payload estimate of 53 tonnes for the Heavy was made BEFORE the current larger Falcon 9 with the Merlin-D engines was announced. The larger Falcon 9 can lift quite a bit more to orbit; the old version was rated at 13 tonnes and the new one is 22 tonnes. But the Falcon Heavy was estimated able to lift 53 tonnes when the old Falcon 9 was in production. Any ideas about that?

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#16 2016-05-02 17:44:52

RobertDyck
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobS wrote:

I'm curious, Robert, where did you hear that the central core will now be the same size as the side sticks? I haven't seen that anywhere.

Initially it was an interview with Gwynne Shotwell. But it's confirmed on Wikipedia, and the SpaceX website.
Wikipedia: Falcon Heavy
::Edit:: Oops! The Wikipedia article still says the centre core will be the original Falcon 9 v1.1, not the "full thrust" version. I did notice that "Falcon 9 full thrust" was after development of Falcon Heavy was underway, with its taller side sticks. So the order is first Falcon Heavy, then Falcon 9 full thrust. Now Gwynne doesn't want to maintain inventory with more than one model of core stage. That's the reason she gave in the online video interview.

SpaceX: Falcon Heavy
Scroll down, you can click "INSIDE THE INTERSTAGE". Before the announcement...
reveal-merlin-heavy-inner.png
Some time after...
reveal-merlin-heavy-inner.png

Last edited by RobertDyck (2016-05-02 17:54:35)

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#17 2016-05-02 18:57:46

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

http://www.nss.org/articles/falconheavy.html

To fairly compare the two rocket performances, you really have to look at the numbers. Although the Falcon Heavy looks similar to a Delta 4 Heavy, its performance is much higher and, simultaneously, its cost per launch is much lower. It can put 53 metric tons (117,000 lbs) in orbit compared to the Delta 4 Heavy’s 23 metric tons (or 50,600 lbs), a 230% improvement. At the same time, it only costs about $100 million per launch, while the Delta 4 Heavy launches cost $435 million each (calculated from an Air Force contract of $1.74 billion for 4 launches).

yup contract not direct sales that is supported by a contract....the other is a performance contract or puchasing agreement.... its not what space x is doing....

two side boosters have a fully fueled to empty mass ratio of 30.

SpaceX: Falcon Heavy poised to fly this year

Falcon-9-v1.1-Octaweb-configuration-SpaceX-photo-posted-on-SpaceFlight-Insider-300x200.jpg


tankland2v2.jpg
Falcon 9 v1.1 booster cores.

First flight of SpaceX Falcon Heavy moves to NET November 2016

In terms of the Falcon Heavy, the booster should allow SpaceX to ferry an estimated 116,845 lbs (53,000 kg) to orbit (as opposed to the approximately 28,991 lbs or 13,150 kg that the v1.1 version of the Falcon 9 was able to send to low-Earth orbit).

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#18 2016-05-04 07:03:22

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Here's the answer to my question why all the upgrades to the Falcon 9 haven't increased the payload to LEO more. Apparently the 54.4 tonnes does NOT include propellant crossfeed! This is a comment on spaceflightnow.com: http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/03/sp … vy-flight/ . It's a good article, but I have no idea whether this comment by a reader is accurate. If they use propellant crossfeed, I suspect the Falcon Heavy will be pretty close to the payload of the first version of SLS!

"They cancelled development over a year ago. They have apparently completed about 75 percent of the research and development, but would need a customer that really needs it, to pay for it. Basically, development ceased when a non-crossfeed-based FH could put over 53 metric tonnes into GTO [he must mean LEO]. In the Merlin C-based original FH, it would have needed cross-feed to achieve putting that much payload into GTO. Cross-feed also adds another failure mode, and currently, there are no payloads that require it. So, if it ever appears, it will be years down the road, and a really big payload that weights over 54,000 kg, with a customer willing to underwrite the rest of the research and development."

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#19 2016-05-04 16:43:05

SpaceNut
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#20 2016-06-02 13:13:35

GW Johnson
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Interesting tidbits:  (1) NASA finally seems on board to do the Red Dragon unmanned lander probe mission.  That was fairly widely reported a couple of weeks ago.

(2) Just heard on AP news over the radio today (and not yet found on-line or otherwise to confirm):  Elon Musk says if all goes well,  he will put men on Mars 9 years from now.  That's 2025.

Listed on MSNBC online is a video titled "How NASA will take us to Mars",  but if you watch it,  you find out they actually will not.  The title is more deceptive than most.  For the very first time,  I saw a reporter say that Orion cannot take men to Mars.  Similar with two other major items in the video. 

BTW,  the 2016 version of my mission concept is now posted over at "exrocketman".  LH2/LOX departure,  NTO-hydrazine for all other burns.  Artificial gravity at 7 rpm with two modified Bigelow B330's plus a center hard module with spin-up flywheels.  Crew of 6.  Radiation shelter for solar flare events.  Hohmann transfer to low Mars orbit.  Return propellant,  landers,  and lander propellant sent ahead "slowboat" with solar electric,  waiting for the men to arrive.   Landers are 1-stage reusable,  serve as campout habitation for up to 30 days.  Planned 8 trips,  to up to 8 different sites.  Alternating crews of 3 on the surface,  with 3 landers so there is always rescue capability.  The lander development paces schedule,  everything else is re-shape/re-size/test-to-verify from stuff we already build.  About $50 billion,  7-9 years from now.

9 years.  Coincidence?

GW

Update:  just saw new story at 3:20 central reported on MSNBC on-line.  Musk will send Red Dragon in 2018 he says,  followed every 2 years by an unspecified something.  Musk says men will not ride Dragon to Mars,  it is too small and cannot return (as we know).  Without saying how,  Musk says he wants to send men in 2024.  There is a conference this September where Musk is scheduled to say more about his plans for "colonizing Mars".

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-06-02 14:29:28)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#21 2016-06-06 09:26:33

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Opinion

Elon Musk Charts Path to Colonizing Mars Within a Decade

By Robin Seemangal • 06/06/16 9:10am   

musk1.png?w=953&h=510
Elon Musk speaks at the third annual Recode Code Conference. (Photo: Recode)

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk attended the third annual, invite-only Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA last week and spoke in-detail about his many interests and projects that range from electric cars to artificial intelligence.

The most startling statements from Musk relate to his vision for building a city on Mars—a plan that has been recently teased by SpaceX and that will be fully revealed to the world in September at the International Aeronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. The billionaire’s discussion at Code Conference painted a clear picture of SpaceX’s development and shows the road the company is taking to land the first humans on Mars.

The talk began with a discussion of a common practice for SpaceX these days: recovering rockets. With a ground landing at Cape Canaveral and three touchdowns on the company’s autonomous drone ship now complete, many are wondering what’s next for the Hawthorne, California-based firm or rather, when we’ll see one of their Falcon 9’s fly again.  “We’re planning to re-fly one of the landed rocket boosters hopefully in about 2 or 3 months,” said Elon Musk. “That will be an important milestone.”

Musk explained that the road towards the red planet and to other destinations in the solar system will be paved with the development of reusable rocket technology because space becomes more accessible when travel costs are reduced. At SpaceX, Musk encourages his team to think of a returning Falcon 9 booster as a giant wad of cash falling from the sky—around $35 million in cash. Who wouldn’t want to save that? Musk asks.

The firm is now scheduling launches 2-4 weeks apart and will continue to do so until they catch up with the backlog of missions that have accumulated since last year’s mission failure. The explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicle delayed their launch schedule by 6 months.

The amount of missions being planned will make SpaceX the most frequent traveller to space by next year beating out the Russians, Europeans and the Chinese. A quarter of those missions are under a contract with NASA to resupply the space station and the rest are comprised of communication satellites for private companies and science missions for other nations.

Despite the busy launch schedule, SpaceX intends to rollout and test its next rocket, the Falcon Heavy. “Hopefully by the end of this year we’ll be launching Falcon Heavy which will be the most powerful rocket in the world by more than a factor of 2,” said Musk to Code Conference moderators Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. The new heavy-lift rocket will have 5 million pounds of thrust on liftoff which is “two-thirds the size of a Saturn V.”

The enormous Saturn V rocket launched the Apollo 11 crew to the Moon from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center—the same pad where the Falcon Heavy will depart for missions to deep space destinations.

Following that rollout, SpaceX will debut the upgrade to its current Dragon cargo vehicle, the Dragon V2. The new human-rated spacecraft will be capable of flying up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station and will begin doing so in 2018 under a commercial crew contract awarded by NASA. “It’s intended to carry astronauts to the space station but it’s also capable of being a general science delivery platform to anywhere in the solar system,” explained Musk.

“We’re going to send one to Mars in 2018.”

This bit of information was tweeted by SpaceX in April showing a concept variant of the Dragon V2 dubbed “Red Dragon” and in an email to the the Observer, a SpaceX rep explained that “Red Dragon missions to Mars will also help inform the overall Mars colonization architecture that SpaceX will reveal later this year.”

1

Following the company’s first successful landing on a drone ship in April, Musk closed an impromptu post-launch  press conference—in response to a question from the Observer—by announcing his intentions to give the talk in September where he will lay out the architecture for building a city on Mars. A plan he says is going to “sound pretty crazy, so it should at least be entertaining.”

Musk says SpaceX will begin launching unmanned cargo flights to Mars every 26 months starting in 2018. The schedule will line up with the Mars/Earth rendezvous window where the two planets are at the closest point in their respective orbits. These missions will begin to deliver supplies intended for future colonist who may be following sooner than many expected. “If things go according to plan, we should be able to launch people probably in 2024 with arrival in 2025,” said Musk.

Musk mentions the often-rumored Mars Colonial Transport system as a way for a significant amount of colonists to travel there and indicates that it will be larger than the Saturn V rocket. When prompted continuously by the moderators to share more, Musk refused and explained that they’ll have to wait until September.

As for humanity’s first Martian colonists, they have quite a bit of work ahead of them. Not only with the task of building a city, but also creating a functioning society. After joking about ruling Mars as a king, Elon Musk gave his thoughts on how he thinks a government would form. “I think that most likely, the form of government on Mars would be a direct democracy, not representative,” said Musk. “So it would be people voting directly on issues. And I think that’s probably better, because the potential for corruption is substantially diminished in a direct versus a representative democracy.”

http://observer.com/2016/06/elon-musk-c … -a-decade/

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-06-06 09:27:07)

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#22 2016-06-06 19:19:50

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I am all for Elon Musk being able to provide a path to space but it can only happen once the common man can put boots on and begin to work as a civilian in space and not as the elite astronaut.....With price of launch being one factor and the other being the seat count available to someone other than the piloting crew.....

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#23 2016-06-07 08:11:16

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Elon Musk is trying to be the "Thomas Edison" of space, so I think that's exactly what he has in mind. Thomas Edison made light bulbs, phonographs and movie cameras, things intended for the "common man" that is how he got so rich! Electricity pretty much made the 20th century, he built power plants and strung up wires all across the country.

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#24 2016-06-07 17:06:32

GW Johnson
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Tom,  what you say about Edison is true,  but it is also very misleadingly incomplete.  Thomas Edison installed and promoted DC as the electric power of choice.  George Westinghouse promoted AC.  Westinghouse eventually won out with his AC,  because of the rather extreme range limitations on DC distribution,  in spite of its greater lethality. 

The details of the squabble between them are quite sordid,  mostly centered around the dangers of electricity and its use for executions.  THAT is what the history books record. 

Spacenut,  as for Elon Musk sending colonists to Mars,  I think it wiser to look for exploration astronauts first,  who identify where and how the colony is to be established.  Then Musk builds his city on Mars.  We'll see what he says in the September meeting,  but my bet is on a handful of exploration astronauts in 2025,  if he can pull it off.  The colony will come later.  It'll be less about the price tag on the seat than just getting this task done.  Musk is unusual in that respect. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-06-07 17:13:12)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#25 2016-06-07 17:27:45

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

A colony can do a lot of exploring. Exactly what is it you need to know about where to plant the colony?
marsmap1b.jpg
Where would you put it? I'd put it at 100˚ west and 0˚ North. (on the equator) See the map? This is right between two major land features. Pavonis Mons and Valles Marineris.

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