Airlock

SpaceX: Current missions and future plans. (Renamed thread.)

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6 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

I have a little more faith in NASA's flight record that in SpaceX's.

So far NASA has killed substantially more astronauts than SpaceX has (just sayin'). :wink:

Clearly their risk estimates might not be as good as one might think.

6 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Cutting corners in sourcing, experimenting new procedures on the customer's dime, employing junior staff, blowing stuff up to see if it works... I admire SpaceX, but I'm not confident at this stage with man-rating the way they work.

D2 is meeting presumably the same standards as Orion is, right? Part of my Orion references here is that I'm sort of surprised that even in the much delayed, and very slow SLS progress they still have EM-2 crewed as the first time they fly an all-up Orion.

6 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

They haven't even proven they can do a Mercury program and they want to do Apollo 8 next year.

Yeah, I'd rather see them accomplish a few goals before adding new ones, no question.

6 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

They currently have their plate full with: Reusable F9, Fly Falcon Heavy, Reuse F9, Fly Dragon 2, Reuse Dragon2, Internet constellation, DoD Raptor US, RedDragon, ITS, Mars colonies, and now the Moon. As I said above, they need to stop adding goalposts and strike a few actual goals, without blowing up customer's payloads. A little less conversation, a little more action.

This X 1000. LOL.

 

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1 hour ago, tater said:

They currently have their plate full with: Reusable F9, Fly Falcon Heavy, Reuse F9, Fly Dragon 2, Reuse Dragon2, Internet constellation, DoD Raptor US, RedDragon, ITS, Mars colonies, and now the Moon. As I said above, they need to stop adding goalposts and strike a few actual goals, without blowing up customer's payloads. A little less conversation, a little more action.

In SpaceX's defense, most of those things are overlapping.  In addition, there are limits on how fast they can do things that are not based on the abilities of SpaceX's engineers.  They are limited to how fast they can launch by how fast they can fix launch pads from normal flights, test rockets, get all the politics out of the way for a launch, etc.  Might as well plan and work on other things that can be done mostly internal (like making new vehicles) while they are waiting for other things to be done.  It is possible for a group to work on multiple things simultaneously. 

Also, everyone has failures early in their history.

Edited by ment18

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1 hour ago, tater said:

So far NASA has killed substantially more astronauts than SpaceX

Well, at least NASA has astronauts.

1 hour ago, tater said:

Yeah, I'd rather see them accomplish a few goals before adding new ones, no question.

Agreed. I think they are being to ambitious right now.

 

So will the people be fliying by themselves for this moon flight? Or will there be an astronaut with them.

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24 minutes ago, ment18 said:

In SpaceX's defense, most of those things are overlapping.  In addition, there are limits on how fast they can do things that are not based on the abilities of SpaceX's engineers.  They are limited to how fast they can launch by how fast they can fix launch pads from normal flights, test rockets, get all the politics out of the way for a launch, etc.  Might as well plan and work on other things that can be done mostly internal (like making new vehicles) while they are waiting for other things to be done.  It is possible for a group to work on multiple things simultaneously. 

Also, everyone has failures early in their history.

You quoted me, but that was Nibb31's comment, not mine.

How limited they are is not an issue, if you are trying for a goal, and you set a date, you cannot then complain that the limitations you already knew about before are holding you back.

22 minutes ago, munlander1 said:

Well, at least NASA has astronauts.

It was sort of a joke, hence the wink. That's what a wink is for.

On the serious side, NASA's risk aversion is laudable, but clearly they fall victim to the same problems as anyone else.

Quote

So will the people be fliying by themselves for this moon flight? Or will there be an astronaut with them.

They ARE astronauts. Requiring someone to flip switches is an anachronism, IMO. This mission has no components that require human beings to do anything other than go along for the ride.

Manned spaceflight is a stunt. Always has been, and will be for the indefinite future. If the goal was "science," they'd send a probe, and this statement has been true a while, and gets more true every year as automation improves.

If this was a flight to ISS, and a human was required to dock (vs berthing, with the human on ISS), then you might require someone that they have vetted for docking skill to avoid harm to ISS. For this flight, Newton is doing the steering.

Edited by tater
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15 minutes ago, tater said:

It was sort of a joke, hence the wink. That's what a wink is for.

Oh, missed that. Sorry:blush:

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2 minutes ago, munlander1 said:

So will the people be fliying by themselves for this moon flight? Or will there be an astronaut with them.

The article I saw was that the capsule would be autonomous with the passengers trained for some emergency situations.

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3 hours ago, Kryten said:

There's currently no such thing as FAA crew-rating, only NASA standards. The FAA are only currently allowed to make regulations for the safety of uninvolved persons, not vehicle passengers.


This is something worth emphasizing - WRT to space vehicles, FAA is (currently) charged with protecting public safety and has no authority over mission assurance.   This schism is deliberate, as theory is (was) that the nascent commercial launch industry would be killed in it's cradle if subjected to 'normal' regulatory oversight.  It's also based on the presumption that private spaceflight participants are willing and informed as to the risks.

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I have to say that while I remain skeptical about the ability of SpaceX to do this in anything like the stated timeframe, it's awesome that this is a real conversation, and there is a nonzero chance of them actually achieving it.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Manned spaceflight is a stunt. Always has been, and will be for the indefinite future. If the goal was "science," they'd send a probe, and this statement has been true a while, and gets more true every year as automation improves.

Sailing around the world was a stunt. Flying an airplane was a stunt. Visiting the poles was a stunt. Climbing Mt. Everest was a stunt. 3/4 of those have developed into more than just stunts. Perhaps space travel will also.

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10 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

They currently have their plate full with: Reusable F9, Fly Falcon Heavy, Reuse F9, Fly Dragon 2, Reuse Dragon2, Internet constellation, DoD Raptor US, RedDragon, ITS, Mars colonies, and now the Moon.

This Moon shot (supposedly) has paying customers lined up. For which of those other goalposts is that the case? Dragon 2 to the ISS for commercial crew? I can see letting the ITS slide indefinitely, but not a project where Musk has sat in a conference room and shaken the hands of two billionaires and promised them a safe journey Soon™.

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42 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Sailing around the world was a stunt. Flying an airplane was a stunt. Visiting the poles was a stunt. Climbing Mt. Everest was a stunt. 3/4 of those have developed into more than just stunts. Perhaps space travel will also.

They are all stunts, but I only see one developing into more. Sailing was not developed to sail around the world as a stunt (say solo world sailing), sailing around the world was a result of developing sailing as reliable transportation---people sailed to get places, not "because it was there." Visiting the Poles is pretty much a stunt with little application, but the methodologies to do so already existed, anyway. Native peoples of Canada and Alaska could have just walked there (or brought dogs), but clearly none found it necessary. It took men of leisure with nothing better to do to bother. The people that live in those conditions 365 days a year, every year didn't see the need to do what they were doing anyway at some arbitrary point on the globe :wink: . Climbing? Ditto. People with excess money and time. Flying an aircraft at all did develop past the stunt phase, but it was always envisioned as some sort of transportation to get someplace. 

The trouble with spaceflight is that there is no "someplace" for human beings to go unless we build it from scratch. At some point in the distant future, perhaps we build ourselves destinations, but it doesn't map to any Earth transportation at all, since here on Earth, human beings can simply step off the boat and prosper. Remember that most places "discovered" during the age of sail had people already living there for thousands of years, and with lower tech tools than the sailors. This is why colonization analogies to the age of exploration fail utterly, IMHO. Even though this touches on ITS, it's certainly heading off topic, though.

My stunt comment was really in response to the idea that somehow these "tourists" are not in fact "astronauts." Are mission specialists who are not pilots astronauts? Is "astronaut" only conferred upon people who work for a government agency, or people who have certain training? Would someone trained minimally for spaceflgith who is, say a physician be called an astronaut if his suit patch says "NASA," but somehow not an astronaut if his suit patch says "Blue Origin," or "SpaceX?"

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33 minutes ago, tater said:

My stunt comment was really in response to the idea that somehow these "tourists" are not in fact "astronauts." Are mission specialists who are not pilots astronauts? Is "astronaut" only conferred upon people who work for a government agency, or people who have certain training? Would someone trained minimally for spaceflgith who is, say a physician be called an astronaut if his suit patch says "NASA," but somehow not an astronaut if his suit patch says "Blue Origin," or "SpaceX?"

A tourist in a cruise is not a sailor, the people working in it are, a passenger in a ferry is still just a passenger.

Why would be different with the astronauts? If you are working you are an astronaut, if you are making tourism, you are a space tourist, if you are a passenger you are "only" a passenger.

PD: At least in Spanish makes sense this way

Edited by kunok

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30 minutes ago, tater said:

They are all stunts, but I only see one developing into more. Sailing was not developed to sail around the world as a stunt (say solo world sailing), sailing around the world was a result of developing sailing as reliable transportation---people sailed to get places, not "because it was there." Visiting the Poles is pretty much a stunt with little application, but the methodologies to do so already existed, anyway. Native peoples of Canada and Alaska could have just walked there (or brought dogs), but clearly none found it necessary. It took men of leisure with nothing better to do to bother. The people that live in those conditions 365 days a year, every year didn't see the need to do what they were doing anyway at some arbitrary point on the globe :wink: . Climbing? Ditto. People with excess money and time. Flying an aircraft at all did develop past the stunt phase, but it was always envisioned as some sort of transportation to get someplace. 

The trouble with spaceflight is that there is no "someplace" for human beings to go unless we build it from scratch. At some point in the distant future, perhaps we build ourselves destinations, but it doesn't map to any Earth transportation at all, since here on Earth, human beings can simply step off the boat and prosper. Remember that most places "discovered" during the age of sail had people already living there for thousands of years, and with lower tech tools than the sailors. This is why colonization analogies to the age of exploration fail utterly, IMHO. Even though this touches on ITS, it's certainly heading off topic, though.

My stunt comment was really in response to the idea that somehow these "tourists" are not in fact "astronauts." Are mission specialists who are not pilots astronauts? Is "astronaut" only conferred upon people who work for a government agency, or people who have certain training? Would someone trained minimally for spaceflgith who is, say a physician be called an astronaut if his suit patch says "NASA," but somehow not an astronaut if his suit patch says "Blue Origin," or "SpaceX?"

We're getting off-topic, but clearly Magellan's stunt was about opening up trade and exploration routes. We now send cargo all over the ocean. It's no longer a stunt. Antarctic research is also not a stunt. And no, I do not believe the Wright Brothers envisioned flying as a means of transportation. Not at first, anyway. Their first practical sales were to the military for observation platforms.

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11 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

I have a little more faith in NASA's flight record that in SpaceX's.

Cutting corners in sourcing, experimenting new procedures on the customer's dime, employing junior staff, blowing stuff up to see if it works... I admire SpaceX, but I'm not confident at this stage with man-rating the way they work.

They haven't even proven they can do a Mercury program and they want to do Apollo 8 next year.

They currently have their plate full with: Reusable F9, Fly Falcon Heavy, Reuse F9, Fly Dragon 2, Reuse Dragon2, Internet constellation, DoD Raptor US, RedDragon, ITS, Mars colonies, and now the Moon. As I said above, they need to stop adding goalposts and strike a few actual goals, without blowing up customer's payloads. A little less conversation, a little more action.

Eh, I think they just suffer from opposite problems.

SpaceX moves rapidly, taking on new goals and hastily modifying things to work better. Every rocket is prototyping some new technology that can make the next ones better, and every mission is a clear step toward one or several future milestones. Usually, it works. Sometimes, like CRS-7 and AMOS-6, it doesn't.

NASA takes things slowly, with extensive flight rules that say what they can and cannot do. They're slow to innovate, which makes things more consistently reliable, but sometimes that same approach makes them slow to respond to a looming problem. Usually, it works. Sometimes, like Challenger and Columbia, it doesn't.

But to your other point, yeah, I agree. They need to slow down and start finishing their projects before moving on to the next ones.

...

On a related topic, I'm starting to get more concerned that this moonshot will widen the rift between SpaceX and NASA. SpaceX is already seen as the rock stars of the space industry, making rapid progress and doing stuff that wouldn't be out of place in a sci-fi movie, while NASA takes its time and works on a rocket/spacecraft duo that's quickly becoming a lemon. If SLS ends up being cancelled, justified or not, right as SpaceX does another Apollo 8, it would be a huge PR blow for NASA.

Worst-case scenario, NASA could actually drop SpaceX and hope the upstarts will just go away. So now SpaceX is dead, ULA tears up the Vulcan because it's no longer needed to be competitive, and we're right back where we started. (Well, there's still Blue Origin, but they don't have anywhere near the star power SpaceX does.)

Edited by Mitchz95

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11 minutes ago, kunok said:

A tourist in a cruise is not a sailor, the people working in it are, a passenger in a ferry is still just a passenger.

Why would be different with the astronauts? If you are working you are an astronaut, if you are making tourism, you are a space tourist, if you are a passenger you are "only" a passenger.

PD: At least in Spanish makes sense this way

The difference is that a sailor is actually steering the ship. Spacecraft are automated. If you are a passenger on Soyuz going to ISS and back, what makes you an "astronaut" other than being in space? Only one of the 3 docks the craft after all, the others are merely passengers, right?

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The term "astronaut" currently refers to anyone who flies over the Karman line. That's fine with me.

7 minutes ago, tater said:

The difference is that a sailor is actually steering the ship. Spacecraft are automated. If you are a passenger on Soyuz going to ISS and back, what makes you an "astronaut" other than being in space? Only one of the 3 docks the craft after all, the others are merely passengers, right?

<pedantic>Actually, that makes you a cosmonaut.</pedantic>

Semantics like this are a bit pointless.

 

Edited by Nibb31
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16 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

We're getting off-topic, but clearly Magellan's stunt was about opening up trade and exploration routes. We now send cargo all over the ocean. It's no longer a stunt. Antarctic research is also not a stunt. And no, I do not believe the Wright Brothers envisioned flying as a means of transportation. Not at first, anyway. Their first practical sales were to the military for observation platforms.

The sea as a highway for trade was established long, long before Magellan. Antarctic research is research. It;s cheaper to send people to someplace on Earth than to, say, Mars, so people get used for that. Not analogous to space. A customer for an aircraft is a customer, and like I said, aircraft is the only one I agree with.

2 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

The term "astronaut" currently refers to anyone who flies over the Karman line. That's fine with me. Semantics like this are a bit pointless.

Yeah, that's really my point as well. "Tourist" is sort of derogatory in this particular case (it's pretty risky, it's not like going to a resort).

2 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

<pedantic>Actually, that makes you a cosmonaut.</pedantic>

LOL.

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Well now here goes a cynical note about SpaceX loosing their place as the rock star

Spoiler

If SpaceX looses it's place about being the coolest option out there because it starts loosing the "competition" in them own "cool" goals, they will also lose their source of "cheap and willing to do extra hours" workers, and that would be a big problem for the company.

I don't think it will happen tho.

 

2 minutes ago, tater said:

The difference is that a sailor is actually steering the ship. Spacecraft are automated. If you are a passenger on Soyuz going to ISS and back, what makes you an "astronaut" other than being in space? Only one of the 3 docks the craft after all, the others are merely passengers, right?

For me not only the ones steering the ship are sailors. The scientists in a boat researching fish or whatever in the ocean are also sailors, the fishers that doesn't nothing in the navigation of the boat, the workers in a cruise, etc.

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The legal term for the FAA, under whose jurisdiction this flight is to take place, is "spaceflight participant". There you go. Argument settled. Can we move on ?

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So apparently SpaceX wants to get some peeps around the Moon? Am i dumb for thinking its just s bit over the top for next year?

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2 minutes ago, NSEP said:

So apparently SpaceX wants to get some peeps around the Moon? Am i dumb for thinking its just s bit over the top for next year?

See above, there's been discussion on this for about 4 pages now

Edited by Steel

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10 minutes ago, Steel said:

See above, there's been discussion on this for about 4 pages now

Ok gonna take a look.

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Scott Manley just made a video on this:

 

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1 hour ago, Mitchz95 said:

On a related topic, I'm starting to get more concerned that this moonshot will widen the rift between SpaceX and NASA. SpaceX is already seen as the rock stars of the space industry, making rapid progress and doing stuff that wouldn't be out of place in a sci-fi movie, while NASA takes its time and works on a rocket/spacecraft duo that's quickly becoming a lemon. If SLS ends up being cancelled, justified or not, right as SpaceX does another Apollo 8, it would be a huge PR blow for NASA.

Worst-case scenario, NASA could actually drop SpaceX and hope the upstarts will just go away. So now SpaceX is dead, ULA tears up the Vulcan because it's no longer needed to be competitive, and we're right back where we started. (Well, there's still Blue Origin, but they don't have anywhere near the star power SpaceX does.)

Don't fall for the tricks of SpaceX's PR department: They want to be seen as the rock stars, while in fact there are lot of companies out there doing this kind of stuff. The only difference is that SpaceX has the funding, and for the funding they need the PR stunts.

SpaceX won't enter lunar orbit, as did Apollo 8 or Orion will. But still, it will a PR blow for NASA.

But also remember that SpaceX needs NASA, due to the billions of dollars NASA already pumped and still will pump into SpaceX. Without NASA, Musk would still play with toy rockets instead of real rockets. With that background, it is also no wonder that, according to Scott Manley, SpaceX is offering NASA the two seats on this lunar flight, forcing the two billionaires to a later flight, if NASA is willing to pay. This clearly shows who has the most money, and that is not the two billionaires.

NASA won't drop SpaceX, even if it would mean that it would lose a "competitor", since that would mean that they lose their chance of a pure American access to the ISS and, let's not forget, SpaceX is responsible for 5000 jobs in the space industry, so the Senate wouldn't tolerate such a behavior from NASA. So NASA might decide to not fund ITS, in order to keep SpaceX away from the big milestones, but they won't drop the support for SpaceX's LEO operations.

So don't wonder, if, during the coverage of that Moon mission, SpaceX is constantly thanking NASA for their support, even if NASAs biggest contribution would be the communication links.

Edited by Tullius

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Wonder if there is a betting pool on how many months (10s of months?) Elon's 2018 goal is off by?

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