Skylon

SpaceX Discussion Thread

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4 hours ago, RCgothic said:

If a flight is only 20 minutes and it involves anything close to a full g or greater, there won't be any bathrooms. In the first instance, the trip isn't long enough for them to be necessary and in the second it won't be safe for people to move about the cabin.

This is true for during the flight, the only issue will be holds (for any reason, at either end).

Say a wayward plane or boat near the launch or landing facility. The passenger access gantry will have to be the lounge, and it will need bathrooms. If there is a hold, then people can exit to the bathroom as required.

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4 hours ago, RCgothic said:

If a flight is only 20 minutes and it involves anything close to a full g or greater, there won't be any bathrooms. In the first instance, the trip isn't long enough for them to be necessary and in the second it won't be safe for people to move about the cabin.

By the time they finished reading the instruction of the space toilet they will already be at their destination.

0G-toilet.jpg

Also, i wonder if they are also giving out pressure suits for these people. And if so, they might want to include diapers in their suits, just in case someone realizes that they are flying inside of an ICBM going at mach 25 that lands.

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5 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Why not?
Quoting the yesterday @DDE post in another thread:

*snip*

 

Spoiler

Exactly! If they can stack their starlink satellites like card board boxes I'm sure they can pack their passengers that way too!

 

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It has to be shirtsleeve, or it's a non-starter.

I wonder if fitness would matter. No one has ever sent the morbidly obese into space, but having had to sit next to a few on planes, I cannot imagine them coping with their mass at X g terribly well.

 

 

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48 minutes ago, NSEP said:

ICBM going at mach 25 that lands.

"1000, as all seats would be “coach” & no toilets, pilot area or food galley needed. "

 

That would be an ICBM that could MIRV Tsar Bombas, then....

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On 6/25/2019 at 4:25 PM, Xd the great said:

Never heard of such a mode. I think there is a threshold for speed and heading during recovery attempt. If something goes wrong, they don't abort. The continue to send the booster on its "I want to dive" trajectory

Had they have a runaway attempt, the "How not to land an orbital class booster" might be a little less 4th of July.

I wonder if the diverting away from crashing into the barge mode is something new?

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I just don’t see how they could get 1000 customers per flight for that beast. But with less passengers, just put them in their own parachute pod and eject them as it flies over their destination. Then it could serve many locations with one nonstop flight. 

Okay, I’m not being serious, but it’s crazy enough for Elon to run with it...

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7 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

I just don’t see how they could get 1000 customers per flight for that beast. But with less passengers, just put them in their own parachute pod and eject them as it flies over their destination. Then it could serve many locations with one nonstop flight. 

Okay, I’m not being serious, but it’s crazy enough for Elon to run with it...

I just do not see this being a thing at all. I cannot imagine this being comfortable and for safety reasons launch and landing sites would have to be so far out of the cities that you'll have to travel quite a ways to your final destination. I can also imagine the costs for this being quite prohibitive so this'll probably be an elite thing. And finally there are the environmental concerns.

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16 minutes ago, StarStreak2109 said:

I just do not see this being a thing at all.

I'm certainly skeptical, myself. That said...

16 minutes ago, StarStreak2109 said:

I cannot imagine this being comfortable and for safety reasons launch and landing sites would have to be so far out of the cities that you'll have to travel quite a ways to your final destination.

The g-loading is perhaps 3 g. This is amusement park level stuff, and not even the extreme end of that. As for the sites, it would be several km out to sea, likely, and yeah, the boat ride to the facility would likely exceed travel time. Still, not really all that far. LZ-1 and LZ-2 for Falcon 9 are only 10km from Port Canaveral where people are. Under 4 from the AF base. That's not really far.

16 minutes ago, StarStreak2109 said:

I can also imagine the costs for this being quite prohibitive so this'll probably be an elite thing. And finally there are the environmental concerns.

It very expressly won't. Gwynne Shotwell said that the cost would be slightly more than premium economy on airlines now for the same flight. So an antipodal flight might be a little over $2000 (kayak says NYC-Sydney is Premium Econ is a low of just under $1500, to more typical costs ~$2000).

We now know that the engines are ridiculously cheap, and we've always assumed the large cost of a rocket is the engines (hence providers like ULA working on recovering the expensive engines for Vulcan). We now know Raptors cost ~$200,000 each. Starship has 7, so 1.4M$ in engines, amortized over flights, plus vehicle cost. Seems entirely plausible that it could make money, assuming it was safe enough to merit people choosing it (the far bigger issue, IMHO). Not even actual/predicted safety, but people's perception of safety. That's the long pole I think.

Also, while 1000 seats can make the math work, 1000 seats is a lot of seats to distant destinations (like 2-3 normal airliners worth), so the possible routes are fairly limited to places with loads of travel between them, where any perceived risk would be worth the short travel time (even assuming the actual risk is the same).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, StarStreak2109 said:

I can also imagine the costs for this being quite prohibitive so this'll probably be an elite thing.

AFAIK a single Falcon 9 is cheaper than an airliner. Not only that but they (Elon on Twitter?) said that the Starship might be even cheaper to build. The last time I checked metholox was comparable in price to RP-1+Oxygen.

That being said I'm skeptical too but at the same time I would like to fly on one of these one day.

1 hour ago, tater said:

We now know Raptors cost ~$200,000 each.

That's not bad. There are cars pricier than that.

Btw:

D9xZJR-XkAE3dB9?format=jpg&name=small

Edited by Wjolcz

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2 hours ago, StarStreak2109 said:

for safety reasons launch and landing sites would have to be so far out of the cities that you'll have to travel quite a ways to your final destination.

 

2 hours ago, tater said:

Still, not really all that far. LZ-1 and LZ-2 for Falcon 9 are only 10km from Port Canaveral where people are. Under 4 from the AF base. That's not really far.

Convenient, then, that Musk also has at his disposal a company that builds high-speed subterranean transit systems and a company that makes high-speed autonomous electric vehicles. :wink:

Take your Tesla from home right to the basement of the launch tower (saving all the infrastructure to support enormous parking garages), then send it on its merry way. Carp about standing in line for security forever. Not even Musk could solve this one Then a quick up-n-down, and catch a robotaxi from the basement of the destination pad right to your hotel. :D

2 hours ago, tater said:

Also, while 1000 seats can make the math work, 1000 seats is a lot of seats to distant destinations (like 2-3 normal airliners worth), so the possible routes are fairly limited to places with loads of travel between them, where any perceived risk would be worth the short travel time (even assuming the actual risk is the same).

Well, they could split the load with cargo, which is also common today. Or perhaps bring a resurgence of the hub-and-spoke system, even if that Starship only saves you 10 hours off a 15 hour trip, that’s still pretty dang significant. 

4 hours ago, tater said:

wonder if fitness would matter. No one has ever sent the morbidly obese into space, but having had to sit next to a few on planes, I cannot imagine them coping with their mass at X g terribly well.

 

As a fat-S, I can personally attest that 3g for a few minutes while on your back is no more uncomfortable than for a lighter person...<_<

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2 hours ago, tater said:

We now know Raptors cost ~$200,000 each

Not yet. Maybe in the future.

 

2 hours ago, tater said:

Also, while 1000 seats can make the math work, 1000 seats is a lot of seats to distant destinations (like 2-3 normal airliners worth), so the possible routes are fairly limited to places with loads of travel between them, where any perceived risk would be worth the short travel time (even assuming the actual risk is the same).

No tech is 100% safe. If an accident happens, there will be no survivors. 1000 bodies for SpaceX to answer for. This will end their P2P business very quickly.

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There are so many problems with the "point to point" idea that it's laughable. Anyone taking this seriously has no idea how the transportation system really works.

  1. How do you make connecting flights to smaller destinations? Or to trains?
  2. How do they evacuate those 1000 people in under 90 seconds with half the exits blocked (the current rule for airliners)?
  3. How much of a price premium do they think people will actually pay for this?
  4. Do they expect to get some kind of an exemption to the anti-trust rules that currently prohibit airplane manufacturers from also being airlines? If not, who will be operating these rockets?
  5. Space-X has zero experience in the maze of international treaties and regulations that govern flying airplanes from one country to another. Do they think that will not apply to them?

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23 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

How do you make connecting flights to smaller destinations? Or to trains?

I just explained speculated on this. 

25 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

How much of a price premium do they think people will actually pay for this?

This was also mentioned upthread, somewhere between business and premium economy. 

25 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Do they expect to get some kind of an exemption to the anti-trust rules that currently prohibit airplane manufacturers from also being airlines? If not, who will be operating these rockets?

Just for comparison, Tesla has been making great inroads dealing with the same kind of restrictions about car makers and car dealerships. 

26 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Space-X has zero experience in the maze of international treaties and regulations that govern flying airplanes from one country to another. Do they think that will not apply to them?

They do, however, have quite a bit of experience navigating ITAR regulations and govt secrecy requirements. I think they know. 

I was dismissive until Shotwell got onboard and said, “yes, we’re really doing this.” That tells me they’re serious and they actually do have people busy thinking up solutions to these problems. First, Starship needs to be a success. None of this matters if that doesn’t work. But if it does, it’s going to be actually paradigm-changing. 

Commercial spaceflight in general is a big hot mess right now, and all parties involved are scrambling to rethink the rules. 

And it wasn’t that long ago that landing a booster on its tail and re-using it, multi-thousand satellite constellations, and autonomous cars all seemed laughable too. 

The world is changing. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mikegarrison said:

There are so many problems with the "point to point" idea that it's laughable. Anyone taking this seriously has no idea how the transportation system really works.

I don't take it very seriously, I was posting what they have said about it.

I don't think they have ever suggested making connecting flights, it would be "point to point" where the number of such points is pretty small (basically coastal cities to other, pretty far away coastal cities, also given whatever large number per vehicle is required to make the math work, you'd need a pretty popular route). Getting to one of those points is your own problem.

1 hour ago, mikegarrison said:

Do they expect to get some kind of an exemption to the anti-trust rules that currently prohibit airplane manufacturers from also being airlines? If not, who will be operating these rockets?

Yeah, this is pretty huge.

 

1 hour ago, mikegarrison said:

Space-X has zero experience in the maze of international treaties and regulations that govern flying airplanes from one country to another. Do they think that will not apply to them?

Maybe the legal aspect is terra incognito for "not airplanes?" (no idea, just spitballing)

(ie: laws that govern traffic below 50-100 miles (sovereignty, etc) in no way apply to spacecraft since Sputnik---I suppose at whatever altitude the craft is actually in sovereign airspace it starts becoming air travel depending how they have defined it legally... again, I have no idea, it's an interesting thing to discuss, though I'll believe rocket travel when I see it)

Edited by tater

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Even the fact that we are considering rocket travel as a slight possibility rather than a fantasy speaks volumes about the technological progression we have had in the spaceflight industry in the recent years.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

(ie: laws that govern traffic below 50-100 miles (sovereignty, etc) in no way apply to spacecraft since Sputnik---I suppose at whatever altitude the craft is actually in sovereign airspace it starts becoming air travel depending how they have defined it legally... again, I have no idea, it's an interesting thing to discuss, though I'll believe rocket travel when I see it)

I didn't mean airspace. I'm talking about rules like cabotage. Typically countries aren't terribly keen on giving carriers from other countries access to their country unless the other country also allows reciprocal access. In other words, why expect China would allow an American country to have an exclusive monopoly on sub-orbital flights between the US and China? Especially if that then eats into the traffic that would otherwise be flying on Chinese airlines?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

This was also mentioned upthread, somewhere between business and premium economy. 

Just for comparison, Tesla has been making great inroads dealing with the same kind of restrictions about car makers and car dealerships. 

1) There is no way this will cost "somewhere between business and premium economy". Elon's been smoking too much weed.

2) Tesla has actually had a bunch of trouble with that, and it's nowhere near as difficult to deal with. Laws restricting manufacturers from owning car dealerships are a state-by-state thing, while laws preventing aerospace manufacturers from providing transportation service in the US have been in place at the federal level for more than 80 years. Other countries either have similar laws or else simply have government-owned airlines and manufacturers.

I also don't think Space-X has anywhere near the experience with ITAR and EAR rules that companies like Boeing or United Technologies have. But even so, that's not even what I'm talking about. Getting an airplane or an engine certified for operation in the US is difficult, but then you have to deal with an entirely different layer of regulatory complexity when you try to get it legal to operate in all the other countries that it will visit. Space-X has never had to deal with any of that. They launch from only the US, and they land either in the US or in international water.

Right now Space-X launches only over water, but how do they fly to cities that are not on a coast? They are obviously going to need to work out the regulatory rules for launching and landing over inhabited land, and they would need to do it for every country involved.

(And I noticed you skipped over my question about just how you evacuate 1000 people from a burning, smoke-filled Starship in under 90 seconds.)

Edited by mikegarrison

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What about international waters?

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1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Even the fact that we are considering rocket travel as a slight possibility rather than a fantasy speaks volumes about the technological progression we have had in the spaceflight industry in the recent years.

Yes, I'll agree.

1 minute ago, Wjolcz said:

What about international waters?

You are going to make every spaceport 200 miles off the coast?

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2 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Right now Space-X launches only over water, but how do they fly to cities that are not on a coast?

They probably won't. Unless Hyperloop is a thing.

3 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

And I noticed you skipped over my question about just how you evacuate 1000 people from a burning, smoke-filled Starship in under 90 seconds.

Doesn't this depend a lot on how the vessel is built? You really can't see into the future, can you?

2 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

You are going to make every spaceport 200 miles off the coast?

Who said every spaceport has to be that far? Only the ones which weren't approved by the nearby country/state.

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2 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

I just explained speculated on (connecting flights).

Wait, you think people will allow Musk to own not only the rocket factory, but also to own the rockets, to fly the rockets, and to own and operate the transit that connects the spaceport to the city?

I have one word for you: "anti-trust".

Besides, the point I was really talking about is that the current transportation system assumes you can go from one flight to another flight to another flight (hub and spoke). People have shown a preference (and willingness to pay for) more point-to-point transit, but that doesn't help the Space-X idea at all, because they are only talking about hub-to-hub travel here. I've personally flown on trips where I flew in to Heathrow, took a bus to Gatwick, and then flew out from there to another destination. That's a PITA. Connecting to an airport from a spaceport seems like it would be worse, or at least no better.

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8 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

There is no way this will cost "somewhere between business and premium economy".

My friend, that is pure supposition. If Starship works, this becomes entirely plausible. 

10 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Tesla has actually had a bunch of trouble with that, and it's nowhere near as difficult to deal with. 

Yet since they not only still exist, but have like the 11th best-selling car in the country, they have obviously been making progress with dealing with such regulations. Plus...

13 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

also don't think Space-X has anywhere near the experience with ITAR and EAR rules that companies like Boeing or United Technologies have.

Give ‘em another 10 or 15 years, which is likely how long it’ll take before Starship is remotely ready for P2P. They’re learning quickly. And those rules are likely to see drastic change in the next decade. 

 

15 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

And I noticed you skipped over my question about just how you evacuate 1000 people from a burning, smoke-filled Starship in under 90 seconds.

I don’t have all the answers, Starship’s design is far from finalized as far as that goes. But that doesn’t mean the answer doesn’t exist, it just means I don’t have it. 

You seem to want all the answers and then some written down in stone right now. Why are you so resistant to even consider the possibility? I totally acknowledge this may never be a thing, but I’ve seen enough amazing stuff out of this outfit, and New Space in general, over the last few years that I’ll at least give them the benefit of the doubt, at least until there’s some concrete reason to think otherwise. 

6 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Connecting to an airport from a spaceport seems like it would be worse, or at least no better.

You missed the part where I said “shaving 10 hours off...” :wink: A time savings of that magnitude might just make people a little more willing to rekajigger their travel plans across the world. 

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Posted (edited)

I think you might be surprised about how willing people will be to trade 10 hours on an airplane (where, if they are in business/first class they can be actually pretty comfortable) with several hours going through security and customs, getting their luggage, changing modes of transportation, going through security again, etc. (Of course, people said the same thing about transatlantic liners.)

Ideally the spaceport itself would probably be some kind of secured facility with a dedicated high speed connection to a part of the nearest airport that is already in the international/secure zone. So they clear customs only once, can just walk directly to any connecting flight without another trip through security, etc.

None of this is outright impossible, and I suppose in the 1950s people would have scoffed at air travel completely replacing ships by the 1980s. But I still think this whole thing is a (literal) pipe dream. For now, anyway.

A 747 flying from LAX to Sydney probably has about $500,000 of ticket revenue. So let's say $1M revenue for a Starship that holds roughly twice as many people. Is the cost of a Starship flight less than $1M?

Edited by mikegarrison

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7 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

eject them as it flies over their destination. Then it could serve many locations with one nonstop flight. 

Similar to a multiple warhead ICBM ^_^ 

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