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Old 09-28-2016, 04:59 AM #417
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Rivem View Post
While I think it's cool that SpaceX came out with this video and "plan", I honestly find it very disappointing. Tons of hype with not much progress at all. NASA + Lockheed are still MUCH closer to a manned interplanetary spacecraft, but people are freaking out as if SpaceX is going to start selling tickets next year.

Plus, the practicality of Elon Musk's Mars vision is still highly questionable in terms of overall feasibility. I guess it sounds great for the media. That Q&A was definitely atrocious though.

All that said, people don't care enough about space research right now, so a bit of hype may just be necessary even if it likely won't be fulfilled.
Space X isn't doing anything that hasn't been proposed that the Saturn V couldn't do (with regard to putting large cargo into LEO)

The "lifting" ability is over 50 years old. How much better could the "tech" be made after 50 years of advancement?

The only new concept they dealing with is the Mars transit/land/launch system.

It is much easier and uses WAY less fuel to do a vertical land/launch system on Mars the gravity/escape velocity and atmospheric drag are way less.


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Old 09-28-2016, 05:18 AM #418
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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Space X isn't doing anything that hasn't been proposed that the Saturn V couldn't do (with regard to putting large cargo into LEO)

The "lifting" ability is over 50 years old. How much better could the "tech" be made after 50 years of advancement?

The only new concept they dealing with is the Mars transit/land/launch system.

It is much easier and uses WAY less fuel to do a vertical land/launch system on Mars the gravity/escape velocity and atmospheric drag are way less.
I'm not saying SpaceX isn't there technologically or logically. What I'm saying is that the concepts demonstrated today weren't as fleshed out as I'd hope for the amount of hype they've gotten, and that's why it's a bit disappointing to me when there are much more developed projects out there to make it to Mars. Just my personal observation as somebody in the sciences.

Edit: Just realized you might not have liked my criticism of Elon's vision for Mars. I do believe the VTOL return spacecraft are possible, but the massive colony, vacations, and teraforming ideas of his seem a bit out there to me.
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:22 AM #419
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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I'm not saying SpaceX isn't there technologically or logically. What I'm saying is that the concepts demonstrated today weren't as fleshed out as I'd hope for the amount of hype they've gotten, and that's why it's a bit disappointing to me when there are much more developed projects out there to make it to Mars. Just my personal observation as somebody in the sciences.
I guess I don't see what these other "more developed projects" are.

Nobody else so much as has a lift rocket under construction. (Space X is test firing boosters already)

Almost all the other CONCEPTS I know of require vertical land/launch ability, something only Space X is actually doing.
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:34 AM #420
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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I guess I don't see what these other "more developed projects" are.

Nobody else so much as has a lift rocket under construction. (Space X is test firing boosters already)

Almost all the other CONCEPTS I know of require vertical land/launch ability, something only Space X is actually doing.
Read up on the Space Launch System (SLS). While I admit it isn't nearly as advanced or economical as SpaceX's goals, it is much closer to reality as the orbital rocket for Mars missions. Of course, it's developing at the speed of government, so SpaceX may catch up.

I think you read some of your own meaning into my criticisms though. I only have an issue with how the public reacted when SpaceX demonstrated something that they are far from ready to do.
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:08 AM #421
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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Read up on the Space Launch System (SLS). While I admit it isn't nearly as advanced or economical as SpaceX's goals, it is much closer to reality as the orbital rocket for Mars missions. Of course, it's developing at the speed of government, so SpaceX may catch up.

I think you read some of your own meaning into my criticisms though. I only have an issue with how the public reacted when SpaceX demonstrated something that they are far from ready to do.
I see the vid as nothing different than when NASA pitches an idea to the public.

The SLS looks interesting, I see that it has been eating billions every year, yet they are actually welding the rocket together.

I am even more interested in the "Block 2" version with a 130 ton (Or better payload)



It will be very interesting to see how Space X compares/competes. I think the vertical land/launch system is a major advancement. I also see quick turn around on launch vehicles being important as it reduces costs and overhead.



IMHO Space X is on to something with the multi vehicle Earth orbit rendezvous.

I think the key to Mars is to go big though. Why send an explorer when you can do so VERY much more with only 2-3x more budget.

Build a dedicated transit craft in orbit, if your going to do that why not build it big enough to spin to make artificial grav and shield crew from radiation.

Why not go to Mars with a "space station" that can be parked in orbit and a pair of Vertical land/takeoff craft shuttle back and forth from it.

IMHO we shouldn't just "visit" Mars. We should colonize it. The cost/reward vs an exploratory mission would be huge.



However I think the lead up to a Mars Colony mission should be a wet run of the system on the Moon.

The Lunar Colony could manufacture the fuel to get to Mars or anywhere else in the solar system. (Lifting fuel is the biggest cost you pay to leave LEO)

Plans to park an asteroid in orbit around the moon have been tossed around along with turning that rock into a station. You may also find it interesting that for at least the last 200 years we have had two moons. This second moon could be guided into orbit around Luna with less work and time than other asteroids.

So tech goods from Earth get assembled in lunar orbit, fuel to get to Mars is manufactured on the Moon, the transit vehicle takes everything needed to manufacture fuel on Mars.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:38 AM #422
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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Space X isn't doing anything that hasn't been proposed that the Saturn V couldn't do (with regard to putting large cargo into LEO)

The "lifting" ability is over 50 years old. How much better could the "tech" be made after 50 years of advancement?
This is a very valid question, the answer to which is actually 'not much' if you stick to chemical energy sources.

The only way to overcome it is using multipe stages, which is exactly what the saturn 5 did and space X is doing at the moment. A single stage chemical rocket could not even make it into a stable orbit.

Space X is trying to re-use the first stage, which in my opinion is silly. Just save the weight for the fuel for landing and scrap the first stage after it hits the ocean. At the moment little an actually be done with the recovered first stages, space X has never flown a 'refurbished' one even as a test.

As far as the mission to mars goes: what you need is a system to launch the largest single piece required into orbit. After that you can bring up additional pieces and fuels using as many launches as required. I'm not sure how large the final vehicle bound for mars would be, but it's feasible to launch it in several sections and complete assembly in orbit.

What space X recently presented involves a rocket much larger than a saturn V - possible but a very very expensive endeavour.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:46 AM #423
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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This is a very valid question, the answer to which is actually 'not much' if you stick to chemical energy sources.

The only way to overcome it is using multipe stages, which is exactly what the saturn 5 did and space X is doing at the moment. A single stage chemical rocket could not even make it into a stable orbit.

Space X is trying to re-use the first stage, which in my opinion is silly. Just save the weight for the fuel for landing and scrap the first stage after it hits the ocean. At the moment little an actually be done with the recovered first stages, space X has never flown a 'refurbished' one even as a test.

As far as the mission to mars goes: what you need is a system to launch the largest single piece required into orbit. After that you can bring up additional pieces and fuels using as many launches as required. I'm not sure how large the final vehicle bound for mars would be, but it's feasible to launch it in several sections and complete assembly in orbit.

What space X recently presented involves a rocket much larger than a saturn V - possible but a very very expensive endeavour.
Space X plans to re-use one of the 4 recovered rockets that they've got, sometime this fall.

If you have a rocket design that only requires a service and fuel to operate it will drive costs down.

There is much more time and resources in building the rocket than there is in the fuel.

It's the same reason that no other disposable transportation vehicles exist. It's wasteful.
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:36 AM #424
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Talking Re: Space Discussion Thread

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If the automation we see today is any indication, automation will sap away jobs, but will not change society's view that people should occupy most of their time with work. Labor is a way of keeping people busy and unable to contemplate things such as rebelling or demanding changes to the status quo. Until there is a suitable distraction created to occupy peoples' time, there will always be an emphasis on work and labor, even if there are no jobs to be had.
The limiting factor is not distraction, etc. its economic.

Ore, parts, fabrication, use energy to obtain/produce.

The "business" of the future, therefore, will be more likely to involve who OWNS the machines that do it all.

Your income will simply be derived the same way it always has been, but the nature of the business will be more related to owning the machines.

Just use the automation you are already familiar with as a guide.

Friends who specialized in maintaining huge mainframe computers with vacuum tubes and magnetic reels, etc, lost their jobs, but millions of programming jobs were created.

Oddly, computers suck at programming, go figure.

As new technologies replace the old ones, the lost jobs are lamented, but, new ones tend to be created. Its the obsolete WORKERS who are in the most trouble...but the new kids on the block are fresh blood....and, currently, the programmers are paying the SS $ for the vacuum tube changers' retirements.

If a company can afford to buy the super duper state of the art machine that does everything the workers used to...OK, those guys are on the street.

Sometimes, a bunch of guys working manually can outperform the machines that replaced them, and, sometimes they can't.

If starting a business, a car wash for example, you can pay perhaps millions for the franchise that means no workers needed...and make payments on that capital expenditure...but reap the cash flow with no payroll costs.

Or, pay a bunch of guys minimum wage with rags and hoses to wash the cars, with a few grand capital outlay....and have no payments on a large capital expenditure, but, have a payroll to cover.

Etc.

Full automation is expensive, so, not ideal for a start up.

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Old 09-29-2016, 06:49 AM #425
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

I was just thinking about this & would like to see what you all think. When we do send the first human to establish a potential colony on another planet what would happen if we still have major problems on Earth like we are seeing today? Think about it. If Earthlings would need to give up some of their money in order to ensure survival of the humans we've sent what would happen to us? Poverty is already a big issue here, and I think it would be wiser to first worry about this home before we try and do something, which one done, cannot be undone easily!

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:32 AM #426
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

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I was just thinking about this & would like to see what you all think. When we do send the first human to establish a potential colony on another planet what would happen if we still have major problems on Earth like we are seeing today? Think about it. If Earthlings would need to give up some of their money in order to ensure survival of the humans we've sent what would happen to us? Poverty is already a big issue here, and I think it would be wiser to first worry about this home before we try and do something, which one done, cannot be undone easily!

-Alex
I have heard variations on that idea.

My opinion is this.

Living in space is the ultimate in resource management. You want as close to a "closed loop" system as possible so you don't need to bring as much with you. This leads to better recycling practices.

When you "land" on something "rock, moon, planet" you suddenly have material to add to your "closed loop" even if all it is, is silica, you can use as a basis for cement type building material.

Finally you want the ultimate in small scale manufacturing equipment. You need a machine that can at least make copies of all its own parts.



The "trickle down" of this is ALL the tech used in space is MUCH MUCH cheaper to duplicate on Earth. This leads to 3rd world countries that can manufacture silicon chips. Or replace a broken part by simply placing the glued together broken part in a 3D scanner and uploading it to anything from a 3D printer to a multi axis CNC.

For example, go on E-Bay and look at the market for custom #D printed parts for Nerf guns. That is in your bedroom, direct to consumer, manufacturing economics.

That is directly related to that same tech (3D printing) being developed for use in space.



Eventually access to space will be as reachable for the average Joe as airline tickets between major hubs are today (with similar cost*, a space elevator or a launch loop could do this).

Basically at that point you would see the massive space habitats from sci fi books, and you could look out from your back porch across your lawn and over the trees and see Saturn rise over the haze of Titans atmosphere from your chunk of orbital automated farmland.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:56 PM #427
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Talking Re: Space Discussion Thread

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I was just thinking about this & would like to see what you all think. When we do send the first human to establish a potential colony on another planet what would happen if we still have major problems on Earth like we are seeing today? Think about it. If Earthlings would need to give up some of their money in order to ensure survival of the humans we've sent what would happen to us? Poverty is already a big issue here, and I think it would be wiser to first worry about this home before we try and do something, which one done, cannot be undone easily!

-Alex
I suppose it would be analogous to the first colonists crossing the Atlantic to colonize America.

Some colonies failed, some succeeded.

Its a false dichotomy to assert that if we did not go into space, the poor would have more money...as those in poverty did not chip in for the trip, and the sources of money to fund the trips was not otherwise designated to help a poor person.

The benefits reaped from earlier explorations and colonization lead to overall improvements in mankind's lot.

The technologies developed to allow independence on mars, etc, can be applied to the poverty stricken, the same way water treatment options, solar power options, etc, trickled down from US space programs to Rwanda, etc.


To me, the primary, long term benefit, of colonizing other planets, is to reduce the odds of mankind being wiped out because of only being on ONE planet.

We need to leave the solar system eventually anyway...our sun has an expiration date.

We don't know about ALL the technology we will need to colonize other star systems, survive long space travel, or even propel us on those voyages.

By learning as much as we can, as soon as we can, we increase the chances that if we find an earth ending asteroid on the way, etc, we have time to respond.

The more time we spend, now, learning about space travel/survival, the better our chances of not going extinct.

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Old 09-30-2016, 12:25 AM #428
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

Cool video!



-Alex
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:46 AM #429
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
Space X plans to re-use one of the 4 recovered rockets that they've got, sometime this fall.

If you have a rocket design that only requires a service and fuel to operate it will drive costs down.

There is much more time and resources in building the rocket than there is in the fuel.

It's the same reason that no other disposable transportation vehicles exist. It's wasteful.
It's not that simple really. The problem is that all weight used in a rocket is load directly deducted from the payload. Or in other terms requires the thing to be that much larger for a given payload with an amplification factor since it takes fuel to carry fuel up.

The falcon 9FT rocket weighs 549 tonnes at launch, of which 23 tonnes can be delivered to LEO. It is a two stage design, with the first stage being around 400 tons heave, and the second about 100. The vast majority of all that mass is fuel and oxygen.

They already gave up on re-using the second stage.

But even for the first stage: If making it re-usable also makes it 10% heavier it would have to be twice as large to carry the exact same second stage to the same altitude and speed.

Rockets also compare poorly to any other vehicle: you use them for a couple of minutes under normal operation. Nothing compares to that, not even fighter jets that usually don't clock that many operational hours to begin with.

Something like an F16 has to be overhauled after 400 hours of use, which could be a few 100 missions. For a typical passenger airplane a C-check (large maintenance) would be normal every 2 years or so. The work on a landed rocket would at least be comparable to a C-check, probably more like a D-check for an airplane.

Having to do one every flight would be like flying around with a 777 and doing a 2 week C-check after every flight: silly.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:09 AM #430
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

It's simply the law of diminishing returns vs design cost.

If you save enough with a reusable rocket to pay for the added fuel and build cost, then it works.

The fact that they abandoned using a reusable second stage at least shows me they are not locked to the concept if it doesn't work.



The Falcon 9 works and is the cheapest way to get something into space. The real question is, how scalable is the concept/tech?
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Last edited by AaronT; 09-30-2016 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 10-01-2016, 01:57 AM #431
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

I suppose it remains to be seen. Space X is essentially a commercial operation so I suppose they will choose the most economic method. It might take some time to prove if refurbishing landed stages is cheaper than building them from scratch, including the huge loss of potential payload caused by a more robust design and fuel required for a soft landing.

Rocket technology typically scales very well as long as you can practically build it.

Basically if you double a rocket in size (in all dimensions) it will be able to carry 8 times more fuel and oxidizer, but only have 4 times the surface area. The latter is important because many things scale with the surface area, like the outer hull but also fuel and oxygen tanks.

Scaling up basically improves the dry/dead weight to fuel+oxidizer weight ratio making it more efficient.

Another way of shedding dead weight is using multiple stages, though using more stages is costly. Perhaps we will see 3 or 4 stage designs at some point.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:21 AM #432
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Default Re: Space Discussion Thread

Well it's very clear that we cannot attempt space exploration until we find other means of propulsion. Chemical rockets just simply won't cut it to get to Alpha Centauri, much less the other side of the universe

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