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!
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.
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.
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 .
I can’t frigging wait.
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.