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Found 13 results

  1. Speaking of Elon Musk tweets, this seemed to have passed by completely unnoticed:
  2. For the first time a SpaceX project on Lego Ideas is about to finally hit 10,000 supporters. At which time it will go in front of a Lego review board to be green-lighted. Elon Musk will also have to give it his blessing. It only has a few hundred supporters to go. Check out the updates tab to see the upgrades (including the FH Block 5). The creator is a STEM teacher who built the set to inspire his students. Let's support him and get him the rest of the way!
  3. I was very busy for the past few months. Never got my dieselpunk SSTOs into orbit. My news feeds are now filled with SpaceX stuff after the Falcon Heavy launch, and now the successful fairing recovery test. Who knew, a great big rocket fairing could float like a leaf in the wind? Anyway, I asked for a joke commission about SpaceX and Tesla on Mars a few decades from now... and this arrived in my mailbox today:
  4. I created this challenge yesterday: And I just managed to complete it. I didn't score all the possible points, but I did successfully complete my main goal, which was propulsively landing all three booster cores within the same save. It's very challenging. The trick is to use a highly lofted initial burn, followed by a flat boostback on the first booster, an even-more-lofted boostback on the second booster, and a high-apogee downrange loft on the core. If timed properly, each booster can be landed before the following booster drops out. I suppose it doesn't look very Tesla-esque, but oh well. It can do about 50 mph, so we'll just chalk that up to it being a little on the old side. Corners ridiculously well, though, thanks to the low center of gravity. It survived this jump, surprisingly, though I believe it lost a headlight. Then came time to mate to the rocket! It's a big rocket. I could have made it smaller with Tweakscale, but didn't want to use mods. The Roadster takes its rightful place. The three cores are virtually identical, except for the fairings up top. Not shown: nine Vectors, thrust-limited to 92% (because Falcon Heavy will launch Elon's Tesla at 92% of its max thrust), with 100% gimbal on the core engine and 75% gimbal on the circle of engines. Time to head to the pad! Sitting pretty. Ignition before clamp release. Each of the 12 landing legs are an aligned pair of landing struts covered by elevons (with control authority turned off), keyed to the gear action group. "Check ignition "And may God's love be with you..." Starting a very, very mild turn at 100 m/s. Going to have a very lofted trajectory. At around Mach 1, I used an action group to cut thrust on all but the core's center engine. It's not perfect; the real Falcon Heavy will throttle all nine engines down to the minimum throttle together, but I couldn't be QUITE that perfect. Up, up, and away! I would have liked to use a reskin but oh well. Cutting all engine thrust to around 65% at 500 m/s to help loft the trajectory a bit more. Coming up on staging. The goal will be to separate and flip the first booster for boostback as soon as possible after apoapsis exceeds 70 km; that's when I know I'll be able to switch back and forth without problems. Am I correct that the navball automatically switches from Surface to Orbit as soon as your apogee exceeds 70 km? I suppose I'll have to test that another time. Anyway, it was the indicator I used. MECO and stage sep! Action groups are your friend. Leaving the core engine firing until I clear the two side boosters. I would have liked to have a single RCS thruster set to "fore by throttle" connected to a single monoprop tank, just to aid in separation, but there's no good way to do it. The core engine will fire until I am 2.5 km out of range, which should give me a bit of a loft. Using the engines to help with the flip on the first booster. The trick here is to get as flat a boostback as possible, but still keep my apoapse over 70 km so I'll be able to switch to the other booster in the brief window of time that I'm officially out of the atmosphere. All right, this boostback is almost done. Waiting to be able to switch back to the other booster... This one takes a much more lofted boostback burn, because I need a bit of hang time. I will only have a few seconds after I land the first booster before the second one would unload. Lofted boostback on the second booster, complete. Rapidly switched back to the core; I'd already crossed apoapse so I really have to gun these engines to get back onto a good trajectory. After getting my core to the desired trajectory, it was back to the first booster...with just seconds to spare. Already dropping like a rock. Used action groups to turn off the ring of outside engines but manually reactivated two of them for the three-engine burns to come. The first booster has a very gentle entry and doesn't need an entry burn. Landing burn starts pretty high, though. These engines are still limited to 92% thrust. I would have liked to come down closer to the beach, but I'll take what I can get. Booster is transonic. I'd toyed with using the airbrakes for control, but it never really worked right so I just made them fixed. Made sure to switch to radial-out at the right time; otherwise you end up going haywire at landing. Opening up those elevons and lowering the legs. Legs down; final approach. Throttling for landing. Dropping throttle lower. This will be a perfect hoverslam. And down! Still wobbly, but safe. And again, with seconds to spare, I switch to the next booster core. This time I'm already in re-entry while I'm switching my engines back on. Despite a higher-energy entry (given the more lofted boostback), I didn't need an entry burn on this one either. Starting the landing burn at roughly the same altitude; drag is the great equalizer here. Subsonic. Should have good fuel reserves. Still firing full-throttle. Legs down early this time...not really possible in real life, due to drag on the legs, but the drag from my airbrakes is so much higher than leg drag here that it doesn't matter. Less slam, more hover. I had enough fuel to counter gravity losses; my real concern was getting down fast enough to get back to the core before it hit the atmosphere. Made it! Couldn't resist a glamour shot with this core here and the other one in the distance. I really should have used Tweakscale to bump up the authority on the RCS thrusters, but I wanted to do it pure-stock. Uh oh; the core (and upper stage) have already dropped out of the atmosphere. This is going to be REALLY tight. Glad I didn't blow that fairing earlier. Boosting the upper stage free as soon as possible. I'm going to let the upper stage burn on its own while I switch back to the core. The engine will continue to fire until there is 2.5 km between the two vehicles; then the engine firing sequence is unloaded even though the vehicle persists on its trajectory. With luck, this will be just enough to get out of the atmosphere, but not so much that I waste all my fuel. Back to the core, switching to my three recovery engines. On this one, I'm DEFINITELY going to need an entry burn. (Spoiler: I tried without one, and most of the engines survive but all the airbrakes burn up.) "This is Ground Control to Major Tom "You've really made the grade" Thankfully it doesn't take a very long entry burn, though. Coming down in a mountainous region is going to be REALLY tricky. Deploying legs early to help me slow down, even though again this is NOT SpaceX kosher. Missed most of the landing burn, but here's the very last bit. A good deal of hovering and translation here to find a flat enough landing spot. Yikes! ....but I made it, didn't I. Now to see what happened to the upper stage! Hah! Still in the atmosphere, but with an exoatmospheric apoapsis. I'll go ahead and blow the fairing, though there's not much to see on the dark side. Should be a piece of cake from here on out. Getting ready to circularize. Stable orbit achieved! There she is! Roadster perched atop the upper stage. Now for the exit burn. POW. Five gees is a bit much for the real-life Tesla, but autostrut is our friend here. Pushing out of the system. And there we go! Hohmann transfer above Dunian orbit! Finally, the money shot. "Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom?" "Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles "I'm feeling very still "And I think my spaceship knows which way to go"
  5. Can we talk about how amazing this is, and how Elon is single handedly going to push humanity into a new era?
  6. In much the same spirit of @Bottle Rocketeer 500's rather-popular "Doing It Orion Style" challenge, I decided to put together a similar challenge featuring sequential missions, building up from the launch of the Falcon 1 through the present and beyond. But, since Elon also owns Tesla, some steps in the challenge will include building all-electric vehicles to match the Model X, the Model S, and the Model 3. To add variety to the challenge, I'm also going to include planned-but-never-flown configurations like Falcon 1e and Falcon 5. For each mission, I'll do my best to provide a set of mission requirements which are specific enough to make it interesting and challenging but not so specific as to make it arbitrary or time-consuming. Missions are optional; you can choose a single one, skip around, or do them all one by one in sequence. Possible missions (I won't do all these but it's a sampling of possibilities based on demand): Falcon 1 Falcon 1e Tesla Roadster Falcon 5 Falcon 5R Falcon Air Tesla Model S Falcon 9v1.0 Dragon 1 Falcon 9v1.0 Dragon 1 + comsat, engine-out Falcon 9v1.1 Cargo (polar, soft splashdown) Falcon 9v1.1 Cargo to KTO Falcon 9R Dragon (soft splashdown) Falcon 9R Cargo to Kerbin Escape (soft splashdown) Tesla Model X Dragon 2 launch abort test Falcon 9R Dragon (ASDS attempt) Falcon 9 FT Cargo (RTLS landing) Falcon 9 FT Cargo GTO (ASDS attempt) Falcon 9 FT Dragon (ASDS landing) Falcon 9 FT expendable (fairing recovery) Falcon 9 FT with X-47B Tesla Model 3 Falcon Heavy Demo Falcon 9 Block 5 with Dragon 2 Dragon 2 max-Q abort Falcon Heavy Constellation Falcon 9 Crew Falcon Heavy: Grey Dragon Falcon Heavy: Red Dragon If there's some interest, I'll get started on the requirements for the first few missions! General rules: Tweakscale is allowed Readout mods are allowed Piloting mods are not allowed Unbreakable Joints and No Crash Damage are allowed for propulsive landing attempts Part mods which alter tankage ratios or engine performance are not allowed No reaction control wheels are allowed You must use the same engine for all first stages, so plan accordingly. The engine you choose will start with low thrust and be uprated over time. Scoring is based on lowest LV dry mass. EDIT: Missions below!
  7. Seeing Elon Musk's proposal for his Inter Planetary Transport makes one wonder, is he a kerbal?
  8. Wow, Elon Musk wants to go to Mars! Wow, he made a rocket plan that can go there! The ITS. Oh boy. Where do I start. Elon Musk is a pretty genius buisnessman. But he's not a scientist, or engineer. Neither am I. And for SpaceX, that's been a pretty good thing. The Falcon 9's relative simplicity and lack of (yes, it's not innovative- everything on the rocket has been done before, fight me) innovation has cut costs to unprecedented levels. The ITS I've been wanting to make this thread for a while. But now that SpaceX fanboyism has probably cooled down, maybe people will actually listen to my concerns. There are 2 big problems that automatically stick out when I see this rocket. 1. NO ABORT SYSTEM Yes, it has a 2nd stage that 'can' be used as an abort stage, but that's a horrible idea. The 2nd stage is the stage that has to do the MOST IMPORTANT burns in the mission. The ones for landing, for example, that can't be aborted. It has to fire multiple times and do course adjustments. It's already under massive stress from constant re-firing. Worse, it's vulnerable ITSELF to failure. Remember that one time when the Helium tank in the 2nd stage blew? Thus, if the 2nd stage fails, you're screwed. No one else uses the 2nd stage for an abort system, because the entire point of an abort system is to be separate from the rest of the rocket system. There's also the fact that it may not have enough thrust in a pad explosion to get out quickly. 2. Too tall for landing. It's height-to-width ratio is comparable to the F9 1st stage (WHEN THE LEGS ARE SPREAD OUT), more than anything else that lands today. That is fine for an unmanned system, worse case scenario, you're going to lose a stage. But something that's fairly unstable in design is not a good idea when landing with humans on another body. Even Mars One uses landers that have a height-to-width ratio similar to Soyuz. NASA's Altair and DRM Mars are much wider when their legs are spread than they are tall- meaning they have a natural stability. Also, the ITS is top-heavy on that final Mars landing- its propellant tanks are empty 3. (BONUS !(lol)) The Heat Shield As we all know, this is a major issue. Sure, the Shuttle survived 4 times when it reentered from Earth's atmosphere when it's shield was holed up- but it failed that one time. It was a pretty unlucky hit, that foam strike. And you're going to be in deep space for at least 12 months, minimum. A strike of some sorts is an inevitability... And that shield needs to be used 3 times during a mission- none of which can be aborted. You could fix this with a covering, but that one covers the first 6 months TO Mars. What about the final aerobrake to Earth? It's more dangerous than anything else, since Earth's atmosphere is so much more dense, and it's coming it at MUCH faster speeds than Columbia in 2003. A hole that might have not been a big issue for the Shuttle could become a major failure point for the ITS on that essential final brake. And no, the ITS probably does not have the fuel to propulsively enter Earth Orbit. I'm not sure how much the aerobraking in Mars lowers the landing Delta-V, but I can safely assume the amount needed is MUCH lower than that needed to Enter Earth Orbit. And the engines probably aren't good heat shields at these sorts of speeds. Their cone shapes concentrate plasma at their tops. The dust storms probably aren't a big deal though, thankfully, due to the dust's low energy. And that doesn't account for the fact it's carrying 100 PEOPLE. If a mars Landing fails, and all the crew die, compared to the 7-man Shuttle disasters, that's a SPACE GENOCIDE. The Public would lose trust in commerical space, and Congress would probably nationalize all US Space operations. All of Elon Musk's work to build SpaceX is now in vain. Not only that, anyone trying to do the same is now MASSIVELY HAMPERED. Every time one proposes a commercial Mars landing, people will turn to the ITS disaster, in the same way people turn to Hindenburg with Airships. Thus, everyone loses. Let's remember the story of the Turtle and the Hare here. We aren't going to win by simply 'jump-stepping' to Mars. It's not the year 1700. People send people to space with the full expectation they will return. If they don't... well. Look at the history of NASA's plans being demolished by Challenger, Columbia, and Apollo 1. For the record, the Shuttle was supposed to fly until 2030 until Columbia.
  9. From: http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2475237/elon-musk-outlines-plans-for-mars-base-alpha "Musk also admitted to being a big fan of PC game Kerbal Space Program, which simulates the challenges of space travel, requiring real-world astrophysical calculations in order to succeed. "Kerbal Space Program!" Musk exclaimed when asked if he had heard of it. "Kerbal is awesome!" He added."
  10. In a recent twitter Musk wrote: " it makes sense to apply ground delta qual to rocket w toughest entry conditions." referring to 09-24 http://history.nasa.gov/SP-287/ch3.htm http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Supporting_Technologies/DeltaQualificationTestofAerojetHydrazineThrustersforUseonCentaurduringtheLROandLCROSSMissions20095481.pdf Note pages 10 and 11. Specifically, these should be performance tests of the engines to see how they perform after going through some aging proceedure (such as maybe landing on a barg after a reentry and 5 g slow down). This may be done for several reasons. 1. How has increase launch thrust affected the longevity of the motor. 2. How has reentry from 8800 kmh affected the longevity of the motor. 3. How as the back burn at such high decelerations affected the performance and longevity of the motor. [Add any other reasons to the list]
  11. "SpaceX’s Elon Musk is optimistic that 2016 will hold more landings, and fewer explosions,tweeting, “My best guess for 2016: !70% landing success rate (so still a few more RUDs to go), then hopefully improving to ~90% in 2017.” Rocket explosions are discretely referred to as Rapid Unscheduled Disassemblies, or RUDs, in the industry." http://gizmodo.com/check-out-the-wreckage-of-spacexs-almost-landed-rocket-1753894327
  12. HI all, Wanted to share with you all an article that outlines the potential impact of SpaceX's recent achievement in re-usability, and how it could enable fast internet everywhere due to much lower costs of rocketry into LEO. http://www.degeneratestalk.com/posts/2015/12/22/fast-internet-everywhere-is-now-possible-thanks-to-spacex