SpaceX - The Quest For Mars


Split from the Tesla thread.

Musk’s SpaceX just recovered in a powered landing the first stage of an orbital insertion rockets first stage. That’s 9 of the 10 engines and about 70% the cost of the launch that is normally ditched in the ocean as scrap.

The significance of this is hard to underestimate. Space is regarded as 100 km above the Earth but this rocket reached 200km and was traveling at Mack 7. It then turned around and returned to the pad a few Km from its launch site. It’s mind blowing. Once they work out what gets damaged during launch and can design it not to break on launch. Effectively the rocket just needs refuelled and it’s good to go again. The fuel is only 3% the cost of the launch.

This will drop the cost of getting to space by a factor of 100!


Are you sure they didn’t just run a take off video in reverse? Would have been loads cheaper. :smiley:


Musk claims that it costs $16 million to manufacture the Falcon 9, but only $200,000 to fuel.
It would most likely be possible to produce more Falcon 9 rockets for less than $16m.

There is no way anyone else can compete with this, a Delta IV Heavy is sold for nearly $400 million, in 2015, ULA stated that a low-end Atlas V sells for about $164 million, the rocket is not reusable.


It’s mind blowing what he just did.

This is how the rocket that takes the first humans back to Earth from Mars will land on the red planet ready to be fueled.

For a really good primer on SpaceX read this blog post: … -mars.html


What type of payload can it launch ?
Is human cargo too heavy ?


ULA is virtually a jobs for the boys public service monster. Expensive and non innovative. They buy their 1960’s desigened and built rocket engines from Russian Cold War stockpiles.

This congress is trying to keep the gravy train going by getting the ban on importing them after Russia’s annexation of Crimea lifted to keep the monster going. … mport.html

They don’t like upstart SpaceX which designs and manufacture everything including the engines in Hawthorne California because he doesn’t give cushy jobs for the boys nor has close ties to the military and exmiliatry.

So the US military for the most part is happy to pay a vastly more expensive organisation that is reliant on Russian engines to get its kit into space rather than use an all American made rocket that’s way way cheaper. Gombeenism is rife everywhere.


The Dragon 2 capsule is due to launch on top of a Falcon 9 (same as that one) up to 7 astronauts in 2017 under a NASA contract and they have booked 2 a year there after.

But Musk is planning a Falcon heavy version the will lift twice the weight of the space shuttle with a full cargo bay in advance of his MCT rocket (Mars Colonial Transporter) that is rhumored to be able to lift over 100 passengers in one go.


An incredible achievement that is a real game changer. Now it must be said only one part of the rocket comes back, but I"m guessing this is the most expensive and technically challenging bit to manufacture.
Also it’s not Musk that did this alone but the engineers and team who work at SpaceX. However Musk seems to know how to get the right people on the job, raise the finances and keep people motivated, so he does deserve a lot of credit seeing his vision coming to fruition. Behind it all are the very deep pockets of American investors.


Yes it’s a team effort but he is the driver and has the vision.

The 1st stage is the most expensive part buy they also plan to recover the 2nd stage booster and eventually the faring to make it fully reusable.

Can you tell I have a man crush on him?


They don’t plan on recovering the second stage, its possible but not worth it with the Falcon9

The have started work on the engine for the Mars rocket which will make the Saturn V look small :open_mouth:

Musk said he will show the Mars plans early next year


about 13 tonnes to LEO or 4.8 to GTO

Human missions in 2017 when the Dragon V2 is finished, but in theory they could do manned missions now if they wanted, next summer they could use the Falcon Heavy demo flight to send a manned Dragon around the Moon and back


No argument here about the ULA, just used it as a price comparison to show how much more efficient this will be.

The ULA plan to launch a rocket called the Vulcan which will have a reusable engine.
The grand plan is to jettison the engine and…wait for it… catch the jettisoned engine with a helicopter :open_mouth: .
I can’t frigging wait.


Well it might work TBF, the ESA have similar plans, which again might work but they should just copy SpaceX

People are a bit harsh on ULA for using Russian engines, at the time the deal made sense, excellent engines at a great price and the US government also wanted them to buy from the Russians

Also the RD-180 is not the same as the NK-33 which is the cold war leftover engine

In the end ULA will probably end up being owned by Bezos


I guess the point is that Musk’s vision is much grander.

He is aiming to build reusable rockets that can land on and be reused on any solar system body. Catching a jettisoned engine in a helicopter might work but it won’t help you land on the Moon or Mars never mind take off again.

Musk’s vision is to get one million people on Mars and have two way traffics between the planets. He is disrupting the market for satellite launches and Gov resulply of the ISS to pay for it while he develops the tech to do so.

It’s an amazing vision. Amazing tech at a time when the best brains in software are working out how to get you to like, click and share cat videos.


It’s the vision of a child at play and I hope it works as it appears tone working in one way or another.

Some say the secret space program is already there. Some say they already have lifter tech beyond what the public are aware of and even space x is scratching at. All those military black budgets are spent on something right!?

I wonder will he rub up against it and iOS he ruffling feathers. I hope so! I won’t derail the thread but you can google it, plenty out there. Real or unreal.

BTW has Musk plans to even go to the moon to perfect his systems? I’m not being facetious I would have thought it a bridging and building point for longer more daring missions, but confidence can get you very far and ego further once you have the money. It reminds me of the raging brilliance of Howard Hughes. I also believe he spent much of his time actually doing secret government work and the rumours of his reclusive nature acted a as good cover story. I digress… I look forward to further updates.


I’m just bumping this:

For a really good primer on SpaceX read this blog post: … -mars.html


No doubt the US has plenty of secret aircraft, but it ain’t got a big assed falcon rocket hiding anywhere that can park itself that’s for sure!


He has little or no interest in going to the Moon, people think going to the Moon somehow helps with reaching Mars, but in reality its just a distraction

If people want to pay him to send people/cargo to the Moon he has no problem with that, its all just profit that can be spent on his Mars plans

I expect that thats what will happen, his Mars rocket the BFR will make travel to the Moon and all kinds of other things possible


You can never be certain that’s for sure. [ if you will, from military patrons.*Hubbles * (


Launched by shuttle, though, iirc.

Edit: the functioning equivalents in the nineties.