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#1 2018-06-14 12:34:50

EdwardHeisler
Member
Registered: 2017-09-20
Posts: 350

The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

The space race is over and SpaceX won
By Robert X. Cringely
2 Months Ago
Beta News

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently gave SpaceX permission to build Starlink -- Elon Musk's version of satellite-based broadband Internet. The FCC specifically approved launching the first 4,425 of what will eventually total 11,925 satellites in orbit. To keep this license SpaceX has to launch at least 2,213 satellites within six years. The implications of this project are mind-boggling with the most important probably being that it will likely result in SpaceX crushing its space launch competitors, companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin's United Launch Alliance (ULA) partnership as well as Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.

Starlink is a hugely ambitious project. It isn't the first proposed Internet-in-the-sky. Back in the 1990s a Bill Gates-backed startup called Teledesic proposed to put 840 satellites in orbit to provide 10 megabit-per-second (mbps) broadband anywhere on Earth. Despite spending hundreds of millions, Teledesic was just ahead of its time, killed by a lack of cost-effective launch services. Twenty years later there are several Teledesic-like proposals, the most significant of which may be OneWeb -- variously 882 or 648 or 1972 satellites, depending who is talking, offering 50 mbps. OneWeb has raised more than $1 billion, found a launch partner in Arianespace and even broken ground on a satellite factory in Orlando, Florida.
 
While OneWeb is ambitious and looks like it will actually happen, Starlink kicks the whole idea up about 20 notches to one gigabit-per-second connectivity (two test satellites are already in orbit). And while OneWeb may thrive offering Internet service where there presently is none (third world countries and rural areas of first world countries) Starlink seems to want to compete head-to-head against the Verizons and Comcasts of the world.

Purely in terms of hardware in orbit, Starlink's minimal system of 2,213 satellites weighing 400 kilograms (kg) each will total 885,200 kg or just under two million pounds while OneWeb’s maximal system of 1972 satellites at 200 kg each will weigh 394,400 kg (867,870 lbs) -- just over a third as much. Clearly these projects are aiming at different customer bases.

IF Starlink is deployed, the most interesting effect will probably be on global satellite launch services rather than Internet. Right now there are just under 1300 operational satellites in orbit, yet Starlink is promising to launch at least 2,213 satellites within six years and more likely 4,425. This means launching 1-2 satellites per day.

In 2017 a total of 90 satellite launches were carried out by seven nations, which is an average of one every four days. So even the minimal Starlink system will require a massive expansion of global launch capacity, with 100 percent of that capacity coming from SpaceX, as Starlink’s owner.

SpaceX was already by far the price and volume leader in global launch services, but Starlink will kick the operation into an entirely new orbit.

Here's the strategic part. Starlink satellites will, for the most part, be secondary payloads on Falcon 9 launches. Usually the secondary customer can't specify the orbit they want, taking whatever the primary customer gives them, but SpaceX has a second stage rocket motor that can be restarted, powering the secondary payload to a new orbit after the primary payload has been dropped. Launching as a secondary payload means SpaceX's launch costs will be mainly covered by the primary client. It will cost them very little to put their Starlink satellites into orbit.

But wait, there's a lot more to this than just a cheap ride to space. SpaceX is currently the only launcher that recovers and reuses its first stage rockets, powering them back to those spectacular automated landings on ocean barges or right back to the launch pad in Florida. This, too, makes SpaceX cheaper and gives them greater total capacity.

And capacity is the real name of the game here, because launching all those Starlink satellites will require SpaceX to dramatically expand the number of launches it will make each year. Extra launches drive down costs through more efficient utilization of ground facilities and economies of scale in building more reusable rockets.

SpaceX, which already costs less than half as much as an otherwise comparable ULA launch, is about to get even cheaper.

There is a side effect, too, of this greater launch frequency: it will change the very nature of the SpaceX business, making it less of a charter service and more like an airline.

Here is the comparison to keep in mind. Using ULA as a example, that company currently launches about one Atlas V rocket per month for a price of $150-200 million per launch. SpaceX presently does about three times as many launches for about half the ULA price, with most of those first rocket stages recovered and reused. Starlink demand should again triple SpaceX's number of launches to something like nine per month. The company will need primary payloads to cover much of that cost, so they will inevitably lower primary payload prices even further, taking business not just from ULA but from the Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese -- you name it.

There will be a substantial change, too, in the terms of service for throwing larger payloads into orbit. Let's use that charter versus airline example again. Under the current system any company or agency that wants to launch a satellite generally starts spending money on launch services two years before they plan to actually have something in space. This is not all bad because it takes a long time just to build a satellite -- or used to. So the current business has customers putting 80 percent down two years before their launch -- a payment that begins construction of the launch vehicle that is used once then destroyed. So it's a one-way charter at best. Against this SpaceX will be launching (and recovering!) three rockets per week no matter what. It becomes a scheduled service, like an airline. And like an airline, it may no longer be necessary to book two years in advance.

It is going to be near impossible to compete with such a SpaceX system if you can’t match SpaceX scale -- a scale that will be driven primarily by Starlink (that is internal) demand.

The FCC is very unlikely to approve another constellation on the scale of Starlink, so for the next six years SpaceX will be protected from big competitors.

ULA will stay in business for national security payloads and some NASA business, but I can’t imagine their commercial business will survive. Blue Origin may get some business launching larger payloads with the huge New Glenn rocket they have in development, but unless Bezos comes up with his own demand generator like Starlink, it's unlikely he can keep pace

ULA will become an afterthought kept around by NASA and DoD mainly to avoid total dependence on SpaceX. How does Blue Origin find a place in this new landscape? SpaceX will need them to avoid anti-trust.

IF it works (and there’s no reason why it shouldn't) this one project turns SpaceX from a charter company into a scheduled carrier -- the ONLY scheduled carrier. With three reusable launches per week they'll undercut everyone else on both price AND service.

Keep this in mind: all Starlink has to do is break-even and maybe not even that because it will also be financing the SpaceX expansion.

This could be the endgame for traditional launch companies and with the FCC's recent action, that endgame may have already begun.

https://betanews.com/2018/04/09/space-race-over-spacex/

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#2 2018-06-14 18:03:45

Void
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Seems encouraging actually.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#3 2018-06-14 18:29:13

louis
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Posts: 6,859

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Space X's own financial projections are clearly dependent on the success of Starlink. It is clearly a huge plus for Space X, allowing it to skim off a few billion here and there for Mars and other projects.

However, I think we are all still underestimating the potential of orbital and lunar tourism to provide mega revenue streams once the BFR is up and running. There are just so many mega-rich people around the planet these days that they can easily sustain a v. high price ticket market for such tourism - in fact that's one of its attractions for mega rich people, to demonstrate they can afford to do it.

Whether Earth to Earth (E2E) comes about remains to be seen. Likewise there is a question mark over ISS supply using BFR. But these are all big revenue streams.

If everything comes off the way Space X plan, they will have huge amounts of revenue available ( probably several billiion every year) to fund Mars colonisation.

Last edited by louis (2018-06-15 06:32:16)


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#4 2018-06-14 21:10:54

SpaceNut
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

First what are the satelites size and what are the costs?

SpaceX's Prototype Internet Satellites Are Up and Running

Two experimental SpaceX satellites known as Tintin A and Tintin B deploy from one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets on Feb. 22, 2018. The two spacecraft are designed to help lay the foundation for Starlink, a huge SpaceX constellation that will provide internet service from low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX plans to start launching operational satellites next year, with an eye toward starting limited service by as early as 2020. It has plenty of competitors in the developing market for low-Earth-orbit satellite internet access, including the OneWeb consortium, Telesat and perhaps even Boeing.

Here's What You Need to Know About SpaceX's Satellite Broadband Plans

Starlink satellites will be in low Earth orbit, between 684 and 823 miles in the air.

Elon Musk’s company wants to initially deploy 800 satellites in low Earth orbit, in order to cover “initial U.S. and international coverage.” Then it wants to throw over 7,000 more into the sky at “Very Low Earth Orbit” (VLEO, in this case around 211 miles up) to fill in the blanks as needed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_ … tellation)

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#5 2018-06-15 07:37:44

Void
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Posts: 3,884

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Quote:

However, I think we are all still underestimating the potential of orbital and lunar tourism to provide mega revenue streams once the BFR is up and running. There are just so many mega-rich people around the planet these days that they can easily sustain a v. high price ticket market for such tourism - in fact that's one of its attractions for mega rich people, to demonstrate they can afford to do it.

I think the word Lunar is very important as well, from the quote of Louis.

Add onto that space mining both of the Moon and NEA's.

While the lunar gateway could be argued to be a wrong approach, maybe not, if you consider the building of pressurized synthetic gravity habitats, both in LEO and near the Moon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining

I think that Blue Origins will survive.  It is also natural that other nations and groups will develop their own re-usable space systems for low cost, as it is demonstrated to work.  Just seeing that SpaceX can do it, will cause other nations and entities to take the leap to try to do it also.  Cold truth.  I am sure Elon Musk and SpaceX know this.  And, as long as they can get a sufficient piece of the pie to continue advancing and developing, I believe that at least Elon Musk will encourage it.

I really enjoyed a presentation I viewed on line from Dr. Zubrin.  In it he depicted a method to access the Moon.  It was good, but looking at BFR, and looking at a probable evolution of the technology of SpaceX and Blue Origins, (Others), I can see that BFS will be fantastic for accessing the Moon, and yes the Lunar Gateway.

My reasons are that the BFS itself could easily I think have vacuum adapted structures temporarily attached to it to land cargo on the Moon.  Possibly it would also be cost effective to then bring Lunar materials up to orbit.  Certainly for scientific purposes it will be.

A full fledged artificial gravity habitat in proximity of the Moon would allow for telepresence access to the Moons resources with a small latency period.

I could see BFR/BFS for the Moon being specialized where upon achieving LEO or alternately Lunar orbit, the protective shell of the device (For atmospheric operations), would be detached.  And clipped onto the Naked BFS would be a cargo ring.   The cargo ring would then be filled with cargo from the typical cargo compartment, and when the device landed on the Moon, the assembly would have a low center of gravity, and you would not need to move the cargo from the high up cargo hold using a crane, rather a fork lift would do, as the cargo ring would be flush to the ground, also helping to keep the BFS from tipping over.

And of course Blue Origins intends to have an automated cargo delivery.

While the Moon is said to have water and CO in dark polar craters, I would think that much water and Carbon may come from NEO's, (NEA's).  And from these operations valuable metals as well.

The point being, that although BFR/BFS may be able to put Mars at it's fingertips, it is likely to put the Moon and NEA's firmly within the grasp of the human race in the relatively near future.

A thriving space economy based on that would bode well for the eventual serious settlement of Mars.

The diversion away from the Moon in the previous administration I think is likely to viewed by history as a massive mistake.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2018-06-15 07:57:44)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#6 2018-06-15 14:05:25

Terraformer
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

I see a three world system, in this century. Terra, Luna, Mars. There'd probably be  some mining of asteroids, but all human settlements would be on or around those three bodies.

Mars offers a chance for homesteading. If we're lucky, we might even be able to boost the atmospheric pressure and temperature a bit, making settlement significantly easier. I see it starting out with scientific bases from various countries, which will pay for developing the technology and infrastructure to get there and thrive. Once at that point, it will cost a lot less for a private initiative to construct a permanent colony. Maybe enough for (wealthy) homesteaders to pay their own way and set up on Mars.

Luna doesn't offer that. I see Luna as being from the start an urban colony, with human settlement concentrated at the poles, and also the sub-terra point, where a space elevator or power beaming can cheaply send cargo to L1. The economy would start out being based around tourism, scientific research, and mining. Much like Alaska, really. I definitely think there's enough demand to support a small town sized settlement at one of the poles. Growing from there into Space Monaco, as wealthy people move there. As it grows, it can start supplying more and more services and products to the space industry. Lunar shipyards, for example. Servicing orbital infrastructure such as communications satellites. Still reliant upon Terra for high tech components, but most of the mass will be from Luna.


"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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#7 2018-06-15 15:52:12

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,859

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

I agree - Earth-Moon-Mars will be a very synergetic triangle of development.

I think lunar tourism will be very significant in a couple of decades. The Apollo sites are ready made tourist destinations.  Seeing the Earth rise and taking photos of Earth will be a tourist rite of passage, which will increasingly become a mainstream experience.

Terraformer wrote:

I see a three world system, in this century. Terra, Luna, Mars. There'd probably be  some mining of asteroids, but all human settlements would be on or around those three bodies.

Mars offers a chance for homesteading. If we're lucky, we might even be able to boost the atmospheric pressure and temperature a bit, making settlement significantly easier. I see it starting out with scientific bases from various countries, which will pay for developing the technology and infrastructure to get there and thrive. Once at that point, it will cost a lot less for a private initiative to construct a permanent colony. Maybe enough for (wealthy) homesteaders to pay their own way and set up on Mars.

Luna doesn't offer that. I see Luna as being from the start an urban colony, with human settlement concentrated at the poles, and also the sub-terra point, where a space elevator or power beaming can cheaply send cargo to L1. The economy would start out being based around tourism, scientific research, and mining. Much like Alaska, really. I definitely think there's enough demand to support a small town sized settlement at one of the poles. Growing from there into Space Monaco, as wealthy people move there. As it grows, it can start supplying more and more services and products to the space industry. Lunar shipyards, for example. Servicing orbital infrastructure such as communications satellites. Still reliant upon Terra for high tech components, but most of the mass will be from Luna.


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

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#8 2018-06-15 17:28:26

SpaceNut
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Posts: 23,078

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

I would not count out venus cloud cities and fuel creation for the others coming from the very thick atmosphere as a surplus for the rest of the others to share in with tanks being ion tracktered to the other locations of need.
All space capable launchers and creators of stuff win so long as they each can get funding to make a profit for what they can do.

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#9 2018-06-16 04:30:07

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,362
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Oh, I'm not counting them out. I think that we'll probably have some scientific bases on Venus before or around the point that Mars gets its first colony. But I think colonisation will come after Mars and Luna are colonised. I don't see people moving to Venus until there's a steady stream of them moving to Mars.


"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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#10 2018-06-16 13:18:11

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,884

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Great to see your posts Terraformer.

A term I have always hated is "Mission to planet Earth".  It always seemed to me that it was the verbal people looting technological potential, and retarding the hopes of humanity.

Still, Starlink and projects are better than that.  Finally I can accept a "Mission to planet Earth".

......

I think we will need to progress beyond the term BFR to something more generic.

Perhaps just "Reusable Space Hardware".  I will not create an acronym for that since I know Elon Musk is quite reluctant to tolerate excessive use of Acronyms.

The formula from that is "Reusable Space Hardware" = "Lower Cost Mass Delivery to Orbit".

"Lower Cost Mass Delivery to Orbit" then provides for greater profits, and greater reach, because items like fuel and consumables are cheaper.

......

So if you have greater potential for profit and greater reach, what should you reach for?

It seems like you have a number of items within reach then.

1) Earths upper atmosphere can be mined (Maybe).
2) The Moon.
3) Venus.
4) Mars.
5) NEA's (Near Earth Asteroids).

Elon Musk started with a goal of reaching for Mars, but now is involved with starlink, point to point travel on Earth, and the Moon as well.  All to be started within 5-20 years (He says he may sell some of his Tesla stock in 20 years, to start a Mars colony).

Jeff Bezos, has a vision of the Moon, apparently and apparently if it read it correctly O'Neil type space habitats (Hopefully updated to new technology).  And thinks the solar system could support a trillion people at least, providing many times the number of exceptional people to advance the human position.  Taking perhaps 200 years.

Mr. Branson, is a contender as well, his intentions being more Earth oriented than that of Elon Musk.

There will be many others I am sure.

......

So, from my point of view, upon these various entities participating in;

"Lower Cost Mass Delivery to Orbit" then provides for greater profits, and greater reach, because items like fuel and consumables are cheaper. 

We just wait to see who does what in terms of;

1) Earths upper atmosphere can be mined (Maybe).
2) The Moon.
3) Venus.
4) Mars.
5) NEA's (Near Earth Asteroids).

One thing that will be very important will be the amplification of propulsion.

I have tried to suggest that BFR just using it's resources to, daisy chain BFS's of various types, could break far beyond what the stated mission to Mars, scenario implies.  But that drops like a lead balloon so far.  People just don't want to talk about it.

But where will the first extra-terrestrial propulsion mass source come from?  I think one of these:

1) Earths upper atmosphere can be mined (Maybe).
2) The Moon.
3) Venus.
4) Mars.
5) NEA's (Near Earth Asteroids).

Whatever that turns out to be will set the major pattern for some time.  That, and the enormous complexity of changing technology.

To be honest with you Mars does not look like as good a case as before.  In my little world the Moon, and NEA's are looking pretty good.

Mars is apparently a killer world with the long dust storms.
It will likely stay that way long into efforts to terraform it.  Therefore any attempt to settle it is going to require a huge investment.  That is not a bad thing, but under the circumstances, we might want to stand back let SpaceX go to Mars if they like, but brace ourselves for a need to try something different.

We don't even know at this point if the gravity of Venus will be sufficient for long term human health.  The Moon will tell us something about that. That and presumed to come experiments with synthetic gravity.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2018-06-16 14:35:47)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#11 2021-07-02 04:02:57

Mars_B4_Moon
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Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 885

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Elon Musk calls rocket launch regulations ‘broken’ after SpaceX delay
https://nypost.com/2021/06/30/elon-musk … cex-delay/

Elon Musk lashed out at US rocket launch regulations, calling them “broken” after SpaceX’s latest mission was delayed due to an aircraft that entered the launch zone.

“Unfortunately, launch is called off for today, as an aircraft entered the ‘keep out zone’, which is unreasonably gigantic,” Musk wrote Tuesday afternoon in a tweet.

“There is simply no way that humanity can become a spacefaring civilization without major regulatory reform. The current regulatory system is broken,” he added.

It’s far from the first time that Musk has taken aim at regulators.

Elon Musk asks space-themed video game for ideas to get humans living on Mars
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-styl … 76310.html
When Will Regular People Be Able to Visit the Moon?
https://gizmodo.com/when-will-regular-p … 1847033131
The Chinese releases first sounds of Zhurong’s Mars mission
https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/explor … s-mission/
China to start building base station on Mars by 2033
https://www.aerotime.aero/28241-china-t … on-in-mars
Virgin Orbit to double launch rate next year, CEO says: ‘We can turn any airport into a spaceport’
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/30/richard … -year.html

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2021-07-02 04:03:56)

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#12 2021-07-03 13:19:09

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Posts: 4,572
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Musk is just venting his frustration on-line,  as many users of Twitter (and similar) do.  However,  he'd best think before he posts.  If he should piss off the FAA or NASA or the EPA,  the bureaucracy will pull his chain short and stop him.  He came close to that not playing the rules right with the SN-8 test,  but the higher-ups in the FAA forgave him.  His problems with his environmental impact statement for Boca Chica may get very serious,  if he pisses off the EPA.  They are not,  repeat NOT,  known to be forgiving of anything. 

On-line rants leave public records that others can see and use.  Best to vent frustrations alone in a room shouting.  It works just as good,  and leaves no evidence for others to use or abuse.  My recommendation to Musk:  learn some self-control,  boy.  You're certainly old enough to have some.  And you so evidently don't.

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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#13 2021-07-03 15:02:14

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

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

especially in light of the ocean gas line leak since they want launch in that same gulf

Screen-Shot-2021-07-03-at-9.44.05-AM.png?width=1440

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#14 2021-07-03 16:35:38

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,612

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Rather than deploying thousands upon thousands of tiny satellites, I wonder if SpaceX would be better served by deploying a smaller number of more capable but longer-lived and lower cost satellites that they maintain in orbit through successive hardware upgrades as better commercial hardware becomes available.  If they really can launch for $2M per flight using Starship, then the cost of "space rated" satellite hardware could be brought down to commercial levels.  They'll always have rockets ready to launch, so they can replace that hardware in orbit, at-will.

A heavier but more durable steel chassis to adequately shield commodity silicon from GCR / SPE / CME could drastically improve throughput for minimal cost.  For example, Apple's M1 chips could be used for high speed internet, telecommunications, weather, and mapping.  Their chips are cheaper than the purpose-built rad-hard chips typically found in satellites, and available by the millions.  Replaceable thin film solar arrays, similar to what NASA is deploying aboard ISS, AF-M315E mono-propellant to avoid Hydrazine-related issues, and Tesla Lithium-ion batteries would round out the commercial hardware approach.  When the old hardware becomes obsolete, a Starship could deliver a small crew to upgrade the satellite's electronics / batteries / solar panels and return the old hardware to Earth for recycling.

Right now, there's a veritable cloud of thousands of satellites, most of which are no longer operational.  To avoid creating an impassable debris field in orbit around the Earth, perhaps as Starship comes online, it's time to consider cleanup so that when a fleet of ships is ready for Mars colonization, there is less risk of collision with thousands of small but still dangerous satellites zipping around up there.  Satellite cleanup and repair is also another potential source of revenue for SpaceX that can produce immediate return on investment.

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#15 2021-07-04 15:11:57

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Posts: 4,572
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

I found where the image in post 13 came from.  It was a ruptured gas line just west of the Yucatan peninsula in the Bay of Campeche area.  Pemex owns it.  They got it stopped by closing valves.  The risk was fire exposure to a nearby oil platform. 

As for Musk and his offshore platforms:  there are thousands of abandoned oil rigs off the coast of Texas.  Musk bought two of them.  Better to see them used,  than to see them continue corroding away in the Gulf. 

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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#16 2021-07-29 19:52:20

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,305

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

https://www.yahoo.com/news/welcome-home … 18076.html

It is time for the inhabitants of this beleaguered, endangered and fragile world to think of themselves fundamentally and primarily as earthlings, not just as members of nation-states. We can unite internationally, perhaps through the United Nations, to explore and settle other worlds, starting with a lunar colony and then going on to Mars and beyond. Ultimately, this space race will determine whether we survive and flourish or become as extinct as Tyrannosaurus rex.

William E. Burrows is an aerospace writer, the author of 13 books and a professor emeritus of journalism at New York University.

This article takes a positive look at the current space race.

(th)

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#17 2021-08-06 08:27:04

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Posts: 4,572
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

Getting back to the title of this thread (space race is over and Spacex won),  that actually may be coming true,  at least as far as the commercial crew contract from NASA is concerned.  Boeing's Starliner is just not ready to fly,  as recent events so pathetically demonstrate. 

Their first attempt at the uncrewed ISS flight test was undone by inadequately-debugged software,  and this recent second attempt has been undone by hardware failures.  For a manned transport,  such potentially-lethal failures are intolerable,  once you reach the demonstration flight stage of development.

This is happening on a program taking almost twice as long as Spacex,  with almost twice the funding.  Given the history with space capsules that should have been acquired when Boeing bought up McDonnell-Douglas,  one would expect Boeing would be a shoe-in to build another orbital space capsule scaled up from a Gemini.

Didn't happen,  did it,  NASA?

Makes you wonder about SLS,  doesn't it,  American taxpayer,  doesn't it?

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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#18 2021-08-06 09:40:44

kbd512
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Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

GW,

At this point, the SLS and Orion programs have been in development for longer than the Apollo Program officially existed.  It's not as if this is the first time we're going to the moon.  If SpaceX manages to get Starship flying before SLS and Orion, then we should immediately pull the plug on those vehicles.  That 1.5-stage vehicle that Boeing is still working on will never be as reliable as a sequentially-fired 2-stage vehicle with a single engine and propellant combination.  History has proven that.  If it was feasible, I think using the SLS core stage as an upper stage for the Starship booster has some interesting possibilities for science missions, such as direct launches of large payloads to the outer planets.  There have been enough ongoing problems with the solid rocket boosters that I think it's time to revert back to liquid boosters.  NASA has been using solids since the 1970s, and Thiokol / ATK are still experiencing catastrophic failures.  If they couldn't resolve those problems after 50+ years of using them, then perhaps they're not solvable.  Boeing's CEO scoffed at the idea that SpaceX would get to Mars before SLS, but he's been eerily silent as of late.  We did get useful rad-hard flight control computers and long duration life support technology from Orion's development, so it's not a total loss.  If the NASA crawlers can be modified again to launch Starship, then those upgrades were also useful.  It's no wider or heavier than SLS, so it will certainly fit and put less wear and tear on those machines to boot.

After SpaceX finishes up here, I would like to see them resume work on their original Interplanetary Transport System rocket concept, capable of launching 350t to 500t payloads.  That will virtually require an offshore floating launch platform, but current limitations surrounding operations near population centers will be eliminated.  We could repurpose the hardware from one of our old aircraft carriers to tow the rockets out to sea, and one of our old oil rigs to act as the launch platform.  We'd have the first interplanetary rocket carrier in existence, along with the first interplanetary colonization platform.  We will need that gigantic rocket to deliver 1,000 people per launch, rather than 100.  At some point, possibly within the next 10 years, flying 100 people per launch will become wildly cost-inefficient as compared to a larger vehicle.

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#19 2021-09-12 09:08:27

Mars_B4_Moon
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Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 885

Re: The Space Race Is Over And SpaceX Won

SpaceX wins contract to launch weather satellite after ULA withdraws
https://spacenews.com/spacex-wins-contr … withdraws/

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