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#1 2018-02-20 11:14:02

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 2,052

Space methods review

Just thought I would have a look at where technology appears to be going in general, also including SpaceX.

I guess this applies to "Civilization and Culture" in the sense that we might want to continue to nurture all or most of these methods at least for a while.  That would be a cultural decision I suppose, that would influence our "Civilization" if that is what it is.

Several contenders for methods to access space:
1) SpaceX It's special notion, to recover hardware as hardware is the greatest cost. Recovery seems to indicate recovery to a planetary surface such as Earth or even Mars.
*SpaceX is rather far along in this, and appears to have almost an obcession about it.  Not that I am creticising.
*Others have to still find their way.  But I would be dissapointed if they did not finish their works.
3) ULA seems to have the philosophy of selective reusability.  The engines and avionics.  Throw away everything else.  The method is more heat sheild and parachute, and recovery helicopter.
Totally different.  The advantage they claim is that they do not need to consume extra fuel for a recovery landing.  Obviously so far SpaceX is ahead of the game in proving their method.
Still, I think for the human race it might pay to work towards encouraging both methods if possible. 
I am a vast Elon Musk/SpaceX fan.  Still, if possible I think it would be wonderful if SpaceX and ULA could be Frenimies.
But I think that ULA should modify their game to send the useful parts they don't want to recover to Earth, into orbit, as long as they do not constitute unusable space junk.
My objective here would be for the tankage of ULA sent to orbit, to be reused by other space entities.  Granted, probably hardware incompatabilties, and fuel methods a giant issue.
Still, if SpaceX could refuel this tankage, and other companies could reuse it for high Earth, Lunar, and deep space missions, of course that would be a desire.  Pretty far from reality I would think though.
The competitive method has been good, but some degree of co-operation might also have benefits.
Then the others:
3) Blue Origins.  Very secritive for the most part, except that the Earth/Moon subsystem seems to be the objective.  Mostly automation on the Moon, at least at first, but primarily to benefit people on the planet Earth.  Space Tourism at first.
4) Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.  A totally different method.  Objectives are space tourism, and apparently a broadband internet service from low Earth orbit.  Ultimately they want orbital capabilities.
The internet and telephony.  And a winged first stage.  SpaceX of course is working on low orbit broadband internet as well.
5) Dream Chaser.  I was supprised to read that this spaceshuttle resembinging winged lifting air body, could be lifted on an AtlasV, Arian 5 or Falcon Heavy.  The Falcon Heavy is the supprise.  Not sure about the utility of it if the International Space Station shoud not exist.  Still a skill set that most likely would have a useful purpose if it is examined carefuly.
6) Ion Rockets.  Of course cannot reach orbit on their own.  Still, this even more greatly shows how various hardware schemes can butress each other.
For instance, I should think that the proposed SpaceX BFR might be able to bring a used Ion rocket down from orbit to be referbished and later relaunched.  Will this make economic sense?  I don't know.  Maybe.
7) Others.  Others just seeing what these other companies can do may very well try a variation of what they see.  Just seeing that someting can be done, reveals some part of how it can be done.
My point is if there is a way, we should want to preserve variation in methods at least for a time. to see what each type will grow up to be.
And there should be some thought about how these verious entity-methods might also work together at times for very diffacult tasks that one alone might have trouble achieving.
I guess what prompted this in my mind is that ULA has a plan to recycle the best parts, the engines and avionics to Earth, but I cannot help wondering if the tankage could be lifted to orbit and used for non Earth landing missions.  Refueled perhaps by SpaceX.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-20 11:15:48)


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