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#51 2016-06-11 11:21:17

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Musk's plans for Mars

So the trial run to Mars with the combination of 2 ships might be the same process that will be used for each mission I would hope and that gives some bench mark numbers to solve the size of the colonial transporter as thats roughly 53 mT to orbit for each heavy launched....
So unless the transport is recycled will we be able to get a crew to mars in it needs to be worked out and of course what size would the crew be.
Also is it stated that the crew will landed or be just a flyby?

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#52 2016-06-11 11:51:00

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Did the google.....
2018 mission is a single heavy launch for a landing of the Red Dragon
spacex-dragon-mars-landing.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-none&fit=inside|660:*

Before those pioneers board a rocket, though, Musk said the unmanned flights would carry science experiments and rovers to the planet. The equipment would be built either by SpaceX, or others. The early flights also would serve to better understand interplanetary navigation and allow the company to test its ability to safely land craft on Mars.
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“Essentially what we're saying is we're establishing a cargo route to Mars,” he said. “It's a regular cargo route. You can count on it. It's going happen every 26 months. Like a train leaving the station. And if scientists around the world know that they can count on that, and it's going to be inexpensive, relatively speaking compared to anything in the past, then they will plan accordingly and come up with a lot of great experiments.”
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Follow up in 2020 is a dual launch mission

Musk said the company would aim to fly at least two Falcon Heavy rockets and Dragon spacecraft, loaded with experiments. “By that time there will be quite a few organizations ... that are interested in running experiments on Mars,” he said.
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http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organ … realities/

For more than a decade, SpaceX CEO and Founder Elon Musk has been hinting at the eventual development of a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle and accompanying spacecraft that can economically transport 100 metric tons (220,462 lbs) of cargo or 100 people to the surface of Mars.
The purpose of this ‘Mars Colonial Transporter’ (MCT) would be to establish a large city on Mars that could eventually become a self-sufficient second home for humanity.

MBMZDaj-1-655x526.jpg

http://www.geekwire.com/2016/spacex-elo … rs-colony/

2022 would mark the first use of the Mars Colonial Transporter, a spaceship that’s big enough to carry scores of people to Mars. The first MCT would be uncrewed. However, it’s plausible to think that the craft could be pre-positioned at Mars to support the crewed mission to come, and the return trip to Earth. That’s the part of the plan that’s still fuzzy.

151229-mct2-630x484.jpg

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#53 2016-06-11 12:45:29

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I wonder why they're testing Raptor components at Stennis instead of their dedicated test facility 6 miles from my front porch?  I wonder if its development is actually in-part government-funded in some way? 

I think our government has finally (!!!) realized that it was quite stupid of them to let "big space" stop developing rocket engines. 

The only liquid rocket engine developers I can think of right now are Spacex,  Blue Origin,  and XCOR.  Rocketdyne/Aerojet build some (the LH2-LOX engines that fit the Centaur upper stage of Atlas-5),  but are not developing new ones,  as far as I know.  ATK builds solids.  There are some small fry working hybrids for the likes of Virgin Galactic/Spaceship Two,  and maybe some Navy missile work. 

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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#54 2016-06-11 19:21:29

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

MBMZDaj-1-655x526.jpg
Is that thing in the middle the Mars Colonial Transporter? is that a nuclear symbol I see on top?
To the left is a profile of a Saturn V, so basically its about the size of a Nova Rocket, maybe with a nuclear upper stage if I'm interpreting this correctly, am I? Unfortunately I can't read the text in that diagram.

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-06-11 19:29:35)

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#55 2016-06-12 01:13:05

Rxke
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Thing in the middle is MCT on top of BFR. But... At the moment there is no official news about MCT, so take everything you see with a grain of salt. This is 'fan-made' graphics, from educated guesses. The nuclear symbol is there because a lot of people think Musk will need either nuclear propulsion or power generators.
(He will *not* have these available, there is no way in hell he can get his hands on those in such a short timeframe in a legal way.)

What I read is MCT will be launced as an 'empty' second stage on top of BFR, and 'filled' by two consecutive BFR launches (mainly propellant) and initially some Dragon2 for a skeleton crew in LEO before TMI

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#56 2016-06-12 10:08:54

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Rxke wrote:

Thing in the middle is MCT on top of BFR. But... At the moment there is no official news about MCT, so take everything you see with a grain of salt. This is 'fan-made' graphics, from educated guesses. The nuclear symbol is there because a lot of people think Musk will need either nuclear propulsion or power generators.
(He will *not* have these available, there is no way in hell he can get his hands on those in such a short timeframe in a legal way.)

What I read is MCT will be launced as an 'empty' second stage on top of BFR, and 'filled' by two consecutive BFR launches (mainly propellant) and initially some Dragon2 for a skeleton crew in LEO before TMI

So basically it is a "Nova Rocket" with a nuclear upper stage and perhaps reusable lower stages. Have I got this right? He'll need a larger vehicle assembly building than the one NASA has!

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-06-12 10:10:18)

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#57 2016-06-12 10:24:57

Rxke
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

No nuclear upper stage. (yet or ever?)

there is some talk at certain places about a 20 MT (metric tonne) nuclear powersource, but that would be for powering ISRU and life support.

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#58 2016-06-12 10:31:39

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Scale size would indicate that its throwing well over 500 mT to orbit and beyound in 1 shot....

If 20 mT is the reactor then the lander is way outside of current landing abilities as it will require a heat shield due to the mass at entry of the total lander size for the crew to live in....

I would also say this means no artificial gravity as well.....

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#59 2016-06-12 10:44:02

Rxke
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From: Belgium
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

It's all a lot of speculation at this point.

One thing is certain-ish: MCT will go up to (or rather end up in ) LEO 'empty' and will need 2 or 3 BFRs to refuel (and outfit?)  for TMI and Mars landing

... so that sound like the Raptors will also be landing engines... I wonder at what speed they will 'go in'

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#60 2016-06-12 10:59:46

SpaceNut
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

News from the big meeting? Developing Technology to Push Out Into the Solar System Not Just to Visit, But to Stay

One of the important keys for Space X is this mission
Red Dragon and Planetary Exploration that will lead up to others for Mars.....

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#61 2016-06-13 00:23:52

Rxke
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From: Belgium
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

News from the big meeting?.


Wow. I cannot shake the feeling everybody is taking Musk very serious all of a sudden and are doing their dang best to cooperate or help out...  in order to get on the bandwagon. He's talking privately with a lot of very big guys, lately.

Also: scan the new articles in space.com, spaceflight.com etc... Again talk about new asteroid missions, moon missions, people start dreaming again... And are getting funded by venture capitalists again. Even pretty long term stuff. (asteroid mining)

Just read an article (In my own language) about ESA. One of the big guys being interviewed said:

Some years ago there was a big conference, (outsider) Musk came in, ripped jeans, saying: 'I'm here, you're dead'. We scoffed and said: 'We're launching, you're talking'.

Now it's the other way around...

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#62 2016-06-13 10:10:53

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

The conventional wisdom in the space community is, if you want something done, get the government to do it!

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#63 2016-06-13 10:23:59

Rxke
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From: Belgium
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Well, looks like the unconventional wisdom is getting more traction by the day! smile

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#64 2016-06-13 12:17:50

GW Johnson
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I took a look on the internet using “spacex mars colonial transporter” as the search keyword.  I found a lot of speculations based on some very sparse news releases.  Perhaps there will more to digest,  when some of Musk’s plans supposedly get revealed at a meeting this September.

As near as I can tell,  he has announced plans to send what sounds like science payloads to Mars,  starting in 2018,  using Red Dragon and Falcon-Heavy.  That should be good for sending perhaps a couple of tons one-way to the surface.  There’s no solid information on what will get sent,  or where these will land.  It does sound like NASA wants to send stuff on the first one,  at least. 

No money changes hands from what I read,  but NASA provides navigation guidance,  and Spacex gives NASA’s instruments a ride.  Public-private partnership at its best.  Perfect for surface exploration. 

The other thing most of the speculation sites have in common is Musk sending men to Mars about 2024 or 2025.  It is not at all clear that these first trips will use the super booster he has in the works.  But they’ll have to be something a lot more substantial than a Falcon-Heavy with a crewed Dragon.   Yet,  such a thing could be done,  and in the 8-9 year time frame.

Actually, I’d be very surprised if he could get that super rocket flying that quickly.  He has no launchsite for it yet,  and will need a factory next to that launch site,  and he’ll have to flight test the thing before attempting to use it.  The launch site is under construction in South Texas.  8 or 9 years is awfully short to put that much infrastructure into place.  And his people are still occupied getting caught up on their production for the launch manifest.  What’s going on at Stennis is Raptor component tests,  not Raptor engine tests.  They haven’t got to that point yet. 

So,  my bet is that the first few small-crew exploration and base setup missions will use something assembled in Earth orbit using his Falcon-Heavy and Falcon-9 rockets.  I honestly don’t know if this stuff will land direct on Mars,  or use some sort of lander from Mars orbit.  From the various speculations on those sparse new releases,  I’d hazard the guess he will try to send propellant-making equipment before he tries to send men.  That’s because all the sites had in common the Mars propellant idea,  linked to the methane -LOX propellant for his new big Raptor engine.  If so,  whatever lands that will also ascend will use that propellant.  None of the Falcons uses it,  nor does Dragon. 

So, my bet is also that the giant rocket will come after the first manned missions.  You must explore and must construct a base and facilities,  before you can build a city.  I also lean toward “Mars Colonial Transporter” being the name of the second-stage interplanetary spacecraft launched by the big booster,  not the big rocket itself.  It sounds like he wants to do on-orbit refueling to enable departure to Mars.  The speculations have it that this big spacecraft is landed directly on Mars.  Myself,  I doubt if that is yet set in stone.  Maybe we’ll hear better clarity at the September meeting. 

As sparse and speculative as all this is,  I cannot justify pinning this down any firmer.  From my own studies and those of others,  I’d say if producing mass quantities of propellants quickly,  actually proves feasible on Mars,  then landing direct makes sense.  Otherwise,  with landing and ascent propellants shipped from Earth,  then basing from Mars orbit makes more sense.  You just need a one-stage reusable lander,  which is feasible at 3%-or-so payload fractions,  even with NTO-MMH. 

Whichever way he intends to do this,  the pacing item will be the vehicle or vehicles that land and ascend from Mars.  The timeline to develop and test such a thing worries me.  8-9 years is short.  I think it will take him longer.  I’m not sure NASA can even do that anymore,  though.  So if anyone can,  it is Musk. 

But on balance,  it looks to me like he will beat NASA (and all the other government space agencies) to Mars with men. 

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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#65 2016-06-13 12:31:31

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

In various places (one is here: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/06/ … will-die/) Musk is quoted as saying this:

2018: One Falcon Heavy will land one Red Dragon on Mars
2020: Two Falcon Heavies will each land one Red Dragon on Mars
2022: The Mars Colonial Transporter will go to Mars unmanned (presumably to transport cargo)
2024: The Mars Colonial Transporter will transport a small crew to Mars (to minimize the risk of death)

So he is planning to do the MCT in 2022; six years from now. I do find that time table too quick to be likely, but if it shifts by 4 years, he'll still be launching people to Mars by 2028 or so. The 2018 objective certainly is possible. The Falcon Heavy will have been flying almost a year and a half by then and will be reliable. Presumably superdraco retropropulsion will be developed as well. The 2020 goal of flying two seems reasonable even if 2018 doesn't happen; they'll have that much more experience. But 2022 will be ambitious.

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#66 2016-06-13 18:11:27

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Well,  his history is that the further off the future projection is,  the further off his estimate has proven to be.  Falcon-Heavy was originally supposed to have flown in 2014.   I just don't see a major giant rocket flying to Mars by 2022,  when they have yet to do their first full engine burn in 2016. 

He gets there,  eventually.  Just not when he first promised he would.  I'd take the dates with a major grain of salt,  approaching a big block of it,  for stuff more than 2-4 years out. 

Even so,  he will beat NASA to Mars with men by approximately a decade,  if indeed NASA ever sends men there at all. 

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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#67 2016-06-13 20:15:35

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I agree 100%, GW. What I'd like to see him do, in addition, I promise a Dragon landing on the moon; say, somewhere at Shackleton or Peary Crater (the North Pole may have more volatiles) in 2019. That would prove that Dragon could go to Europa, for example, would be much cheaper, and would start a return t the moon. Anything that can land people on Mars can land them on the moon as well, and the moon DOES have value in testing out equipment usable on Mars. there are also a lot of entrepreneurs who want to go to the moon, so he need only provide a reasonably priced transportation system (and charge them appropriately). It would give Space X useful experience for the Martian flights.

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#68 2016-06-13 21:42:22

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Kind of depends on how much money he can make launching rockets for other people, that would be his budget in making this happen. If he can undercut his competitors with that reusable rocket, he could have a nice fat profit margin for a while.

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#69 2016-06-14 08:47:43

Terraformer
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Any chance we could get an Apollo 8 repeat in the next couple of years? The Dragon capsule *should* be capable of the re-entry. Perhaps a Dragon mated on orbit to a service module launched on Falcon Heavy?

It would at least be a manned deep space flight, and we haven't had one of those for quite a while. Maybe the next President will look into commissioning one. Who knows, the following year could actually land a small crew...


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#70 2016-06-14 08:49:35

GW Johnson
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Just glancing at some old stuff I did,  I'm showing a 1-way delta-vee of 1.6 or 1.7 km/s required to land on the moon.  I think that's from lunar orbit,  but I'm not sure. 

If it is that high,  I think that's beyond what Spacex says is the propellant capacity of Dragon v2 with the SuperDracos.  I'm estimating its delta-vee capability as 0.9 to 1 km/s.  They'd have to modify it with bigger tanks to use it as a 1-way lander on the moon,  I think.

What makes it work at Mars is most of the entry delta-vee is aero drag dissipation.  You come out of the hypersonics moving roughly 0.7 km/s at low altitude.  0.9 to 1 km/s delta-vee capability should be enough to land,  although to get that,  you must lighten ship.  That's why Dragon's payload to Mars is limited to something in the vicinity of 2 tons,  depending on which source you believe. 

If I were them,  I'd be looking at how to pack extra propellant into an upgraded Dragon of some kind.  They may actually be doing that already.  Older sources said 1 perhaps 2 tons payload delivered to Mars.  Newer sources put that at 2 perhaps 3 or 4 tons payload delivered to Mars. 

As for reprising Apollo 8,  I think Bob Clark and some others have looked at that.  Dragon's heat shield is more than adequate for a return from the moon.  It's adequate for a free return from Mars at well over escape speed. 

The second stage on Falcon-Heavy is the same as Falcon-9,  at least for now.  It's restartable in space,  they do it every time they launch a satellite.  First thing I'd suggest is looking at second stage delta-vee capability:  is it enough to reach LEO,  do lunar injection,  and enter/leave lunar orbit?  That's 4 burns.  I doubt that Dragon by itself has the capability to leave lunar orbit on its Super Dracos,  but I don't know the requirements,  either. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-06-14 08:56:15)


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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#71 2016-06-14 09:25:32

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I think the biggest argument against sending a Dragon around the moon and back to Earth--unmanned or manned--is that it would undercut the justification for Orion and the SLS, and I doubt Musk wants to get a lot of people mad at him. If I were he, I'd avoid missions that SLS and Orion might be tasked for in the near future. It will be obvious enough that Orion and SLS are overpriced soon enough without that fact being rubbed in people's faces.

The delta-v to land on the moon is something like 2.3 km/sec from Earth. You burn off 0.7 km/sec to go into orbit, then 1.6 km/sec from orbit to landing. In non-metric, the escape velocity of the moon is about 5,000 mph  and its orbital velocity is about 3,500 mph. These are off the top of my head.

The only way a Dragon can land on Europa is with a larger delta-v than it currently is capable. The escape velocity of Europa won't be hugely different from the moon; it'll be somewhat less, but not a lot less. There's also jovian orbit insertion to consider. If Musk says that's possible, he must be thinking of a Dragon with more delta-v.

A Falcon Heavy can put 54 tonnes into LEO and supposedly can send 15 tonnes to the moon. Maybe they can add an additional stage on top of the second stage; two second stages, for example.

The other thing to remember is that the Falcon Heavy can now put 54 tonnes into LEO WITHOUT crossfeed capability because the larger Falcons have 60 percent more capacity (25 tonnes to LEO, I think). The earlier design could put 53 tonnes into LEO with the smaller Falcons, which each could lift 15 tonnes to LEO. If the earlier design could lift 53/15 = 3.5 times as much as an individual Falcons, does that mean the new Falcon Heavy could lift 25 x 3.5 = 88 tonnes to LEO with crossfeed capabilty? If so, the Falcon Heavy is potentially more capable than the SLS. That's another reason to eliminate crossfeed capability, at least for now; to keep NASA political supporters happy. I suspect the Falcon Heavy has a lot of potential in its design that hasn't been revealed yet.

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#72 2016-06-14 10:58:45

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobS wrote:

I think the biggest argument against sending a Dragon around the moon and back to Earth--unmanned or manned--is that it would undercut the justification for Orion and the SLS, and I doubt Musk wants to get a lot of people mad at him. If I were he, I'd avoid missions that SLS and Orion might be tasked for in the near future. It will be obvious enough that Orion and SLS are overpriced soon enough without that fact being rubbed in people's faces.

SpaceX doesn't profit from use of the Orion, why would they want to help their competition?

The delta-v to land on the moon is something like 2.3 km/sec from Earth. You burn off 0.7 km/sec to go into orbit, then 1.6 km/sec from orbit to landing. In non-metric, the escape velocity of the moon is about 5,000 mph  and its orbital velocity is about 3,500 mph. These are off the top of my head.

The only way a Dragon can land on Europa is with a larger delta-v than it currently is capable. The escape velocity of Europa won't be hugely different from the moon; it'll be somewhat less, but not a lot less. There's also jovian orbit insertion to consider. If Musk says that's possible, he must be thinking of a Dragon with more delta-v.

A Falcon Heavy can put 54 tonnes into LEO and supposedly can send 15 tonnes to the moon. Maybe they can add an additional stage on top of the second stage; two second stages, for example.

The other thing to remember is that the Falcon Heavy can now put 54 tonnes into LEO WITHOUT crossfeed capability because the larger Falcons have 60 percent more capacity (25 tonnes to LEO, I think). The earlier design could put 53 tonnes into LEO with the smaller Falcons, which each could lift 15 tonnes to LEO. If the earlier design could lift 53/15 = 3.5 times as much as an individual Falcons, does that mean the new Falcon Heavy could lift 25 x 3.5 = 88 tonnes to LEO with crossfeed capabilty? If so, the Falcon Heavy is potentially more capable than the SLS. That's another reason to eliminate crossfeed capability, at least for now; to keep NASA political supporters happy. I suspect the Falcon Heavy has a lot of potential in its design that hasn't been revealed yet.

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#73 2016-06-14 11:19:17

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

Space X profits from a good relationship with NASA and undercutting the thin political justification for SLS and Orion could make Space X enemies. Why do that? There are plenty of things they can do with the Falcon Heavy and Dragon to demonstrate their abilities without looking like they are intentionally undermining Congressional decisions about NASA. The Falcon Heavy and the Dragon cost a tenth as much as SLS and Orion and will cost a lot less to use. NASA didn't even want SLS. It's a pork barrel project imposed on NASA by Congress, but NASA now has to justify it and defend it. Why should Space X make that harder for NASA to do? That would be biting the hand that feeds them.

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#74 2016-06-14 13:24:39

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

RobS wrote:

Space X profits from a good relationship with NASA and undercutting the thin political justification for SLS and Orion could make Space X enemies. Why do that?

Because the NASA people in charge will get fired, and those that replace them will give Space X new contracts that would have otherwise gone to Boeing. If SpaceX can do it better, they should show it, and those people who's career is to waste taxpayers money will be out of a job, and no longer a concern to SpaceX. I think Donald Trump for one would be sympathetic to this view point if he ever becomes President.

There are plenty of things they can do with the Falcon Heavy and Dragon to demonstrate their abilities without looking like they are intentionally undermining Congressional decisions about NASA.

Those Congressmen and women who are shown up to be wasting money should be properly gotten rid of, every two years there are elections. Its not the job of SpaceX to preserve the jobs of pork barrel spenders in Congress. If they are shown up, then the public should get rid of them for wasting their money. Money that's wasted on the SLS could instead go towards more Falcon Heavies that get the job done cheaper! SpaceX owes nothing to Boeing, if they can't compete, they should get out of the business! The winners of contracts should be the best bidders, not the campaign contributors or kickback salemen.

The Falcon Heavy and the Dragon cost a tenth as much as SLS and Orion and will cost a lot less to use. NASA didn't even want SLS. It's a pork barrel project imposed on NASA by Congress, but NASA now has to justify it and defend it. Why should Space X make that harder for NASA to do?

Because they want more of NASA's money. NASA has only a finite amount to spend, and the more Boeing gets, the less SpaceX gets, now why should SpaceX give up business in order to share the Market with Boeing. If Boeing can't compete with them on price and quality, they should not compete at all, and their friends in Congress should be gotten rid of, because they are not serving the public but themselves!

That would be biting the hand that feeds them.

The had that feeds them is the American Taxpayer, they decide who is in Congress, and right now they are very angry! Congressmen who use taxpayer money to get themselves reelected are ill-serving the public. As a side note, we really need to clean the House and Senate, not with any particular party, but get rid of those who get kickbacks and campaign contributions from contractors who buy votes rather than produce quality at a low price.

The only way to properly win a bid is by producing the most for the least, not through gifts to congressmen and Senators, nor for building factories and production facilities in certain districts to facilitate votes! those things make it more expensive, the low bidder who can deliver should always win the contract. No more living with corruption or accommodating one self to it.

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#75 2016-06-14 13:31:03

RobS
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Re: Musk's plans for Mars

I understand your argument, but some of these Senators are well established, and their constituents are grateful for the government money coming to their state. It's not Space X's job to get them voted out of office, especially if the effort could backfire and hurt Space X.

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