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38 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Yes, but that's because the original 1903 prototype was barely capable of flight and also was damaged in a crash. It literally took them years to convince anyone that they really did have a working airplane. By 1906 or 1907 they had built improved models that were impressive enough that basically anyone who saw them realized the Wrights were not scammers, and that finally got the US Army to commission them to build some planes for the Army. But the Army was the first customer -- the first commercial airplanes sold were "military airplanes".

I agree, this corresponds with my own knowledge on the subject.

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Let me add: sometimes you need to set really big goals for your teams to accomplish more than they thought possible...

Even if you don't quite achieve the end state of the lofty goal - you might have 'intermittent progress' that makes you the industry leader. 

That is not failure. 

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When SpaceX first started, they absolutely needed revenue to stay alive. Musk's personal wealth is now enough to sustain them in addition to sales for a decent period of time.

They are currently doing something like 4 crew flights per year @~$50M/seat, so ~$800M+ in revenue from that alone. Cargo is now $228M/flight, and they do 2 of those per year? That's another $456M. HLS is $2.9B for 2 flights. Unsure on milestone requirements and payments for Dragon XL for Gateway. Then they also have 40% of the Space Force launches locked down (60% for ULA). Suffice it to say they are pretty safely at >$2B/yr or more for a while, just with government contracts. Musk said in that recent video (audio?) I posted or at least commented on that the marginal cost of a Starship/Super Heavy launch was currently $50M-$100M. Once those start testing we have some idea of burn rate on hardware. Some of that offset by Starlink 2 satellites being flown (possibly on the test flight).

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5 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Yes, but that's because the original 1903 prototype was barely capable of flight and also was damaged in a crash. It literally took them years to convince anyone that they really did have a working airplane. By 1906 or 1907 they had built improved models that were impressive enough that basically anyone who saw them realized the Wrights were not scammers, and that finally got the US Army to commission them to build some planes for the Army. But the Army was the first customer -- the first commercial airplanes sold were "military airplanes".

This is what my point was. Aircraft were in-house experimental vehicles for a long time, so it makes sense potential customers don't really think that much about Starship as a potential launch vehicle right now.

4 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Let me add: sometimes you need to set really big goals for your teams to accomplish more than they thought possible...

Even if you don't quite achieve the end state of the lofty goal - you might have 'intermittent progress' that makes you the industry leader. 

That is not failure. 

This can backfire though. If your focus is just a mundane goal, the only objective becomes meeting that goal, regardless of anything else.

The USSR set "goals" for its various state enterprises, cooperatives, etc., and they were met- quotas were fulfilled- but at a cost of poor quality control and much corruption.

That's not to say that SpaceX will have those issues, but lofty goals =/= progress all the time.

Also somewhat related, "lofty timelines" does also not equate to progress. The Communist Party declared that Korolev's OKB-1 was to land a man on the Moon in September 1968... after being given the go ahead in 1964. Rather Musk-like with his Starship test flight in July 2021 if you ask me. But the Soviets obviously failed with such a tactic, and it would be unwise for Musk to rely solely on such methods too (which I am sure he doesn't, but just wanted to point out).

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On 8/16/2022 at 11:20 PM, tater said:

My bold. That guy doesn't get it. It is not made to make money. Making money (however done) is to colonize Mars. People are still getting this wrong. The launch market might well develop into big business, but it's chump change until some paradigm shift (asteroid mining?).

The thing is, Mars is really, really expensive. They need to make money to pay for Mars, and if they run out of money operating Starship as a white elephant then they're not gonna be able to make that hapen. I have my own doubts about how sincere Musk is with those plans, but even if he's totally being honest about how engaged he is, even as the richest person in the world he can't afford to be operating a superheavy launch vehicle and developing the rest of the program without making money. It's really important that everything is as economical as possible, including launch - so there's a really strong incentive there to make the thing pay for itself. Starship does need to make money if it's gonna be an effective vehicle for those plans.

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2 hours ago, RyanRising said:

The thing is, Mars is really, really expensive. They need to make money to pay for Mars, and if they run out of money operating Starship as a white elephant then they're not gonna be able to make that hapen. I have my own doubts about how sincere Musk is with those plans, but even if he's totally being honest about how engaged he is, even as the richest person in the world he can't afford to be operating a superheavy launch vehicle and developing the rest of the program without making money. It's really important that everything is as economical as possible, including launch - so there's a really strong incentive there to make the thing pay for itself. Starship does need to make money if it's gonna be an effective vehicle for those plans.

So, I have a slightly different take, though it's little less cynical (perhaps more so.) A lot of our clients are high-level financial people, and I like to think I pay some kind of attention to the warped realities of money at the global investment/national gdp/monetary policy level. This is a broad statement, but there is a point at which money, to some degree, ceases to be "real". Its not a normal, concrete thing like it is for retail-level people like you and I where a 500$ car repair or oil  or medical bill is non-negotiable or effects our life or is worth considering. Once you're on multiple corporate boards and you've got an army of people and computers moving money around a billion here or there is not like a physical, static thing, but an elastic bargaining tool to be leveraged against weaker parties to extract maximum ROI over a period of time.  Inflating a stock price with a tweet or interview answer moves way more money than actually selling a product or service. There's also a weirdly high level of non-analytical bravado involved. Even with all those lawyers and accountants and analysts there's no real accountability and the future remains an unknown factor, so there's broad leeway for irrational behavior and downright crazy decisions (see the twitter debacle). If you don't believe me look no further than the 2008 financial crisis. Many, many, insanely wealthy and powerful people are perfectly clueless about the markets they're moving. 

When Elon bets that there's a crazy huge pile of money that might get invested in colonizing another planet he's not crazy. People very well might do that, either driven by the mystique and hype or a genuine sense of adventure and challenge. That doesn't mean the whole thing might not go busto when people realize that living in Antarctica is actually way, way more appealing or that preventing people from dying within a few years of cancer makes the entire enterprise infeasible. It may very well be like crypto, a shiny object for exuberant, overprivileged young people to dump their parents money into before it collapses. It wont matter much for the principle investors who cashed out long before the bubble burst. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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I could not find any specifications for the Superbird-9 regarding mass or size, but according to Ars Technica:

Quote

It seems likely that Superbird-9 could be launched by a Falcon 9 or at least a Falcon Heavy, so perhaps SpaceX gave the Japanese company a discount for being a first mover.

Com sats are pretty big, but it seems unlikely that JSAT and Airbus contracted something in 2021 that could not be transported by any commercial rocket.

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Just now, CBase said:

I could not find any specifications for the Superbird-9 regarding mass or size, but according to Ars Technica:

Com sats are pretty big, but it seems unlikely that JSAT and Airbus contracted something in 2021 that could not be transported by any commercial rocket.

To be fair there's three 7+ meters diameter rockets coming out in the next couple years (plus SLS, but that doesn't really matter), so it would make sense to start developing satellite buses that make use of that

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5 minutes ago, Beccab said:

To be fair there's three 7+ meters diameter rockets coming out in the next couple years (plus SLS, but that doesn't really matter), so it would make sense to start developing satellite buses that make use of that

Develop by Airbus: For sure !

Contract by JSAT with delivery in 2024 at a time when not any of them had even a prototype ? I doubt it.

JSAT is not a venture founded silicon valley company where it is normal to bet millions on optimistic proposals. I wouldn't even be surprised if SX used FH as insurance to meet the customers timeline if starship is not yet ready.

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