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  #21  
Old 02-06-2018, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
SpaceX vs Blue Origin

SpaceX
1st to space
1st to orbit
1st to reuse booster that did more than a bunny hop
1st to stick a landing from a "real flight"
1st to stick multiple landings (today)
1st to launch, orbit, and recover pressurized cabin
1st to deliver meaningful cargo
1st to orbit a car (Only NASA has done that one!)
1st to produce 5 million lbs of thrust
1st to have 27 +1 nominal engines kicking booty

Blue Origin
1st to stick a landing (by about a month, from a dinky bunny hop)
1st to reuse booster (from a bunny hop)


There is no space race between the two at this point. B.O. has a lot of catching up to do. Blue Origin fanboys will claim they aren't behind because they just have different goals, but SpaceX already has the heavy lift capability to launch hardware for either company's goals.
"Fanboydom" is stupid. Far too many talented people, in government and in business--people who *could* make space more accessible and useful to societal needs--have little or no interest in space exploitation or exploration, and:

We are incredibly lucky to have not one, but two, highly successful, forward-looking entrepreneurs who are both intensely interested in bringing the dreams of the pioneers of astronautics (Tsiolkovsky and Goddard looked forward to eventual planetary colonies, space colonies, and interstellar migration, as did later visionaries such as Gerard O'Neall) to fruition, and we are even luckier that they are both here at the same time. Not only do Bezos and Musk serve as "back-ups" to each other, but the business and personal rivalries between them increase both of their efforts to advance the state of the astronautical art. Neither Edison nor Westinghouse would have achieved as much as they did in so short a time (and in other fields, such as jet engines) without the competition of the other.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2018, 11:04 PM
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Another Falcon Heavy update: I just heard--from Elon Musk himself, on the hourly ABC radio news--that the Falcon Heavy's center core booster hit the water, not the drone ship.
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
SpaceX vs Blue Origin

SpaceX
1st to space
1st to orbit
1st to reuse booster that did more than a bunny hop
1st to stick a landing from a "real flight"
1st to stick multiple landings (today)
1st to launch, orbit, and recover pressurized cabin
1st to deliver meaningful cargo
1st to orbit a car (Only NASA has done that one!)
1st to produce 5 million lbs of thrust
1st to have 27 +1 nominal engines kicking booty

Blue Origin
1st to stick a landing (by about a month, from a dinky bunny hop)
1st to reuse booster (from a bunny hop)


There is no space race between the two at this point. B.O. has a lot of catching up to do. Blue Origin fanboys will claim they aren't behind because they just have different goals, but SpaceX already has the heavy lift capability to launch hardware for either company's goals.


Yep... I like the *ideas* Blue Origin has, and their reusable suborbital tourist hop stuff looks intriguing, but that's not where the real future lies... SpaceX is on the cutting edge of what a "real" high frequency/high reusability low cost space infrastructure will look like...

*IF* Blue Origin gets "New Glenn" built and working, it'll just be playing catch-up with SpaceX. It'll be good to see, but sorta "BTDT", though the more at the party, the merrier.

Speaking of "catching", Elon talked in his press conference about their payload fairing recovery and reuse plans. He touched on the fact that recovering payload fairings is more difficult than they originally anticipated (what about space travel *ISN'T*???) because turns out that when you deploy parachutes or parasails or whatever to recovery a big bulky thing like a payload fairing half, turn out the airflow off the big bulky payload fairing creates all kinds of turbulence and eddies that mess with the 'chutes, twisting them up every which way. He thinks they have that problem "in the fix" stage and are anticipating recovering payload fairings intact by the end of the year. They are also building a new drone ship, as he described it, essentially "a gigantic catcher's mitt on pontoons" (or a barge, can't recall). He said that basically it was going to be deployed in the fairing recovery zone and was capable of sufficient speed and maneuverability to "run under and catch" the fairings under the parachutes before they splashed down into salt water. He said that also this same ship could be used to "catch" Dragon capsules before they hit the water, if NASA so chose... Not dunking capsules in salt water should help with reusability considerably I would think... (That should provide some interesting fodder for scale competition enthusiasts-- I could see SpaceX scale models spitting their split nose cone "fairings" at apogee and then "catcher's mitt" equipped RC vehicles maneuvering under them to 'catch' them before touchdown under chute for "mission points"...

Anyway, he also talked some about the "BFR" plans... Saw a thing on YouTube talking about BFR as a potential "trans-atmospheric vehicle" capable of launching on ballistic paths across continents or halfway around the world with flight times in minutes to an hour or two, from liftoff to touchdown-- board a SpaceX "BFR" in Florida or New York and land in Tokyo less than two hours later. Course that's a LONG way down the road, but they ARE thinking "in the right direction". Trans-Atmospheric Vehicle (TAV) travel would sidestep the problems plaguing intercontinental supersonic airliners entirely, and would fulfill a military desire to be able to land a group of soldiers anywhere on the planet within about 90 minutes of a launch... I could see the capability development being (in part) funded by the military to develop such a system.

SpaceX is basically making everybody else look like they're "standing still". Yes, Falcon Heavy is years overdue, but they've learned a LOT along the way. Elon said in his conference that the Heavy Project was nearly scrapped on several different occasions, because it was REMARKABLY more difficult than they first anticipated... and that it was ALL paid for and developed on THEIR OWN DIME, to the tune of about $500 million dollars. (Which is STILL a FAR, FAR CRY from just the *cost overruns* on NASA's scrapped systems like Ares I and Ares V, among MANY MANY others...) Falcon Heavy basically makes SLS "block 1" redundant... the only "real advantage" of SLS is the larger payload bay... but if they get their "BFR" concept to fruition, it will make even SLS "block 2" obsolete... As it is Falcon Heavy can lift as much cargo mass as SLS block 1, and SLS block 2 will take YEARS more development and many billions of dollars for new advanced boosters and ascent stages, plus a new "in space propulsion stage".

With a hydrogen-burning upper stage, Falcon Heavy could easily put SLS in the shade. Figure in the fact that SLS hardware is all designed to be used in "expendable" mode (it's SRB's will impact the ocean and sink, as will its SSME/RS-25's...) and the fact that SLS *WILL* be "breathtakingly expensive" and it's easy to see that SLS is basically redundant... Elon said that Falcon Heavy *could* perform a return to the surface of the Moon with a refueling in orbit, and 3 Falcon Heavy launches can orbit the same mass as a Saturn V. IF they can get operations up to feasible rates, such an approach would be much better and more affordable than SLS. Land landings or barge landings of complete first stages make most of these other recovery schemes like "jettisonable engine pods captured in midair under parachute by special recovery helicopters or aircraft" look rather antiquated... Let alone dropping stuff into the ocean under parachute-- I got the shivers when the view of the double booster landing at CCAFS was on my TV and I hooped and hollered, and nearly shouted, "THAT is how you should recover boosters, NASA!!! Not drop firecracker pipes into the drink and drag them back to shore with boats!" (Granted SRB "recovery and reuse" was innovative and cool in it's day-- BACK IN 1981!!! But heck that's been THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO!!!-- NASA *could* and *should* have developed liquid fly-back boosters DECADES ago for shuttle!! (even if they had to use "winged" boosters to do it, as "return to land, hover and land upright" boosters weren't possible for lack of technology before now). I can't help thinking, though-- if SpaceX, an INDEPENDENT COMPANY, has managed to develop and perfect this stuff, *WHY* couldn't NASA, with it's "bottomless money supply" (compared to an independent company like SpaceX) and cutting edge scientists, engineers, facilities, and access to technology?? Just goes to demonstrate the advantages of a "business" versus a "bureaucracy"...

I have to give Blue Origin credit... their work on the BE-4 methane burning engine is good... we need options and BE-4 brings another workhorse to the table. That's always a good thing.

Truly amazing times we live in... OL J R
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  #24  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tbzep
BTW, that exhaust plume was beautiful. There's nothing more cool than a kerosene-LOX flame twice as long at the booster, with the flame tip dancing about and just a hint of black whispy smoke to mark the ascent. No nasty SRB's to dirty things up.



YEP!!! No spewing aluminum oxide "fallout" everywhere and contaminating everything with perchlorates...

Gotta love that 6,000 degree blue flame at the end of it too... like the old Saturn V liftoffs...

Wonder if they had any pad cameras going?? THAT would be something to see!!!

Later! OL J R
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  #25  
Old 02-07-2018, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
Yeah that was friggin' AMAZING... just literally amazing... almost like what I imagine the first moon landing would have been like (had I been born to see it).

Still awaiting word on the core booster... the feed from the ship cut off about time of landing. The second stage successfully inserted the Tesla roadster and "Starman", a dummy wearing the new SpaceX flight pressure suits the astronauts will wear when launching on manned Dragon capsules, into LEO. Also aboard was a Tesla "pocket car" model of the roadster with a tiny Starman passenger as an "Easter egg" and also a "space ark" specially designed long term data storage unit designed to preserve human knowledge and culture permanently in deep space.

Later! OL J R


Plus there was "DON'T PANIC!" in large friendly letters on the monitor, and a towel in the glove compartment.
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  #26  
Old 02-07-2018, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
Yeah watched part of the livestream press conference... he said it ran out of fuel and hit hard, might have done some damage to the landing ship. He also said that it was the boosters they REALLY wanted back, because they're equipped with the fancy new titanium grid fins-- if he had to pick a part of the rocket to blow up, it would have been the core.

Later! OL J R


It didn't run out of fuel, but of the igniter fluid to relight the engines (on liftoff of F9, you see a green flash at ignition; that's the stuff -- hypergolic?). They only had enough to light one engine, and it hit at about 300kmh about 150m off the ship, but the resulting explosion damaged two of the drone ship's engines.

Elon also said if they have good enough footage of the destruction, they'll add it to the blooper video.
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  #27  
Old 02-07-2018, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
YEP!!! No spewing aluminum oxide "fallout" everywhere and contaminating everything with perchlorates...

Gotta love that 6,000 degree blue flame at the end of it too... like the old Saturn V liftoffs...

Wonder if they had any pad cameras going?? THAT would be something to see!!!

Later! OL J R


This is the only one I've seen so far (attachment)
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  #28  
Old 02-07-2018, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
It didn't run out of fuel, but of the igniter fluid to relight the engines (on liftoff of F9, you see a green flash at ignition; that's the stuff -- hypergolic?). They only had enough to light one engine, and it hit at about 300kmh about 150m off the ship, but the resulting explosion damaged two of the drone ship's engines.
They use a mixture of TEA-TEB (triethylaluminum and triethylboron [also called triethylborane]), which ignites spontaneously on contact with the LOX. This is actually even better news, because (just as the inadequate hydraulic fluid supply for the grid fins was fixed by simply using a larger reservoir) they only need to use a larger TEA-TEB reservoir (and probably not much bigger) to fix the landing burn engine ignition problem. This is a fleabite of a problem compared to what had worried them--that the vehicle might buckle at Max Q or shake itself apart (they don't have the facilities to conduct a full-duration--with throttling--static firing at McGregor, Texas [plus imagine the cows' terror at *that*! :-) ], and Pad 39A doesn't have a big enough supply of sound-suppression water to protect itself and the vehicle for that long).
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  #29  
Old 02-07-2018, 03:59 AM
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This is the only one I've seen so far (attachment)
Looking at that closeup picture makes me wonder what the acoustic lethality radius is for the Falcon 9. (That level of sound can easily kill anyone who's close enough, and it can even--through vibrational friction--burn the hair on furry animals, especially tiny ones like mice, who can't get away fast enough.) Martin Caidin (the flight surgeon, space writer, and science fiction author whose novel "Cyborg" became "The Six Million Dollar Man" on TV) had two close "sonic brushes" with rockets:

Before the last Titan I launch at the Cape, he and a young USAF fellow (an officer, if memory serves) hid in bushes 1,000 feet or less from the launch pad, in order to get a better view and to experience the sound more intensely. The launch was successful, but they both got far more than they'd bargained for, because--as he reported in one of his books--the sound generated an excruciating pain (he wrote that it felt like being continuously stabbed in both ears with ice picks!), and covering his ears with his hands made no difference. They both collapsed to the ground in agony, and they were soon caught by a security patrol as they tried to crawl away, being unable to walk after having their bodies "internally beaten" by the overwhelming sound, and:

The second incident occurred over Launch Complex 17 on a night with a low overcast, when he flew his light plane--with a reporter friend aboard--directly over the active pad (either 17A or 17B) just as a Thor-Delta rocket nearly hit his plane (or vice-versa...). He wrote that the roar--and a golden light illuminating the cloud layer--quickly became deafening and blinding, respectively, and that the airplane buzzed and rattled as if it might shake to pieces. Suddenly the rising rocket passed less than a hundred feet away, and for an instant it was plainly visible despite the murk, so bright was the glare. When they landed, his terrified passenger, and the seat he was sitting on, were soiled. (Caidin claimed that he was lost and accidentally flew over the launch pad, but the late Arthur P. Smith [curator of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and head of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society], who was also a former Pan Am pilot and a friend of Caidin's, said, with a chuckle--when I related that incident to him--that Caidin was an excellent navigator and pilot, and that he *wasn't* lost that night... :-) )
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  #30  
Old 02-07-2018, 09:13 AM
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It still hit the target.

Heh, when watching live shot and the drone ship went from a clear view to suddenly all clouded up with nothing on the pad, I figured something bad just happened. ;-)
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