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09 February 2018

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A.Pols

Interesting that the Falcon series is using numerous small engines. This was something the Soviets did very early on with mixed results due to problems getting them all synchronized. But it looks that Musk's boffins have worked that out.

John Minnerath

I think we'll see it in a few years or less.
They'll have to do a few more flights of the Falcon Heavy to refine the systems.
After the loss of the center booster on the first FH they no doubt are going to work on the self recovery systems.
After the FH rocket is proven dependable there's no reason not to go bigger.

hans

Every time I see Mr. Musk hit another one outta the park I think maybe, just maybe, the universe has smiled on us.

b

The Big F*cking Rocket still has no engine. The first test flight for the Raptor engine is planned not before 2020. It is a quite ambitious new design and there are serious doubts that the promised parameters can be met.

Meanwhile Musk should try to send something useful towards Mars. Fifty years ago NASA put a car on the moon and drove it around! Sending some miniature model car into an asteroid belt instead of where it was supposed to go (Mars) may be good marketing but is not very useful.

One also wonders about the current re-usability claims Musk makes. I seriously admire the ability to have the boosters land again. Really neat.
But their turbopumps are not reusable. These are the most expensive parts in the Merlin engines. The heat shield is ablative and must be replaced too and one wonders how the nozzles look after a flight (likely bad).

Re-usability has been Musk's marketing argument for his rockets. His factory plans though are for mass production of new engines (400 p.a.) and missiles (40 p.a.). That does not really fit the re-useable claims.

The Space Shuttle has show that the "re-usability" argument can turn out to be very expensive. One time use ships (Sojus) may in the end be the cheaper solution.

Lyttenburgh

I'd really, REALLY like to see their scematics for such uber-fast space drive:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/961083704230674438

Because right now its altitude is getting perigee:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DVl-WGMWAAAgtqL.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DVl-YXvW0AE99UX.jpg

Lyttenburgh

http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=43205#TOP
^Watch on-line for "star"-Tesla's inevitable fall

They had NASA specialists, state funding, decades of past experience in the space sphere in order to do something, which both the USSR and USA had been doing for the kast 50-60 years... I smell some kind of financial scam.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree.

Manned exploration of Solar System will require nuclear-fission-powered space vessels.

For extra-solar exploration, one must look into a refinement of the techniques and designs first explored 70 years ago in Project Orion as well as fission-power.

Cheap disposable chemical rockets could reduce the cost of assembling such space vessels in Earth orbit. If one looks at the history of automobiles or personal computers, one sees the effect of mass consumption on unit price.

You are not going to go into space by using the same principles as what Chinese were using 500 years ago.

Lars

I have met quite a few of the early space pioneers and they were very inventive and took a lot of risks. Eventually NASA became more bureaucratic and the focus shifted elsewhere. Elon Musk brings some of that what drove the early gang that had a lot of successes and I think that will be beneficial for the space program.

I would not bet against Elon Musk. He has already accomplished a lot and in new areas. It is good that others are entering the competition, which will drive future development. It may result in NASA being just a landlord, for awhile. Unless they can get divorced from the political winds in Washington, DC.

turcopolier

Lyttenburgh

You would fit right in as a general in the US armed forces. Group think and big organizations are the way to go, right? pl

Lyttenburgh

Mmmm. No. Just I despise fraudsters and con artists. Like Musk.

Mike C

b-

I seriously think you should broaden your perspective on what is "useful." I don't know a way to compute the number of future engineers that will trace their interest in STEM and spaceflight to this stunt, I will bet that it is significant. I remind you also, this was a test flight of an unproven system. They were never going to fly a customer payload, and neither were they going to fly "to Mars." You simply misunderstood. The roadster was supposed to get boosted to an aphelion near Mars' orbit, and they overshot by a bit.

Lyttenburgh-

Being skeptical is admirable, it is important to know when and how to be skeptical. Copy-pasted the important part straight from JPL's HORIZONS interface:

After orbiting the Earth for 6 hours, a third-stage burn-to-depletion was
completed at approximately 02:30 UTC Feb 7, placing the dummy payload in
a heliocentric orbit having a perihelion of 0.99 au and aphelion ~1.7 au.

PAYLOAD MASS:
~1250 Kg

TRAJECTORY:
This trajectory is based on JPL solution #5, a fit to 128 ground-based
optical astrometric measurements spanning 2018 Feb 8.2 to 9.5.

:end

The roadster is not in Earth orbit anymore, and it is not coming home in the foreseeable future.

Apenultimate

I read some professor (English maybe?) who measures the lives of near-Earth asteroids and who has a good understanding of the orbital mechanics of the inner solar system.

He basically said regarding the Tesla Roadster, if we're talking hundreds of years, it'll be in the exact same orbit around the sun it is now. If we're talking thousands of years, it'll be in nearly the same orbit that it is now. By the time we reach 1 million years, one of two things will happen to it (assuming nobody messes with it in the meantime, of course).

Either it'll fall into the Sun, or the gravity of Jupiter will destabilize its orbit and it'll be flung out of the solar system. By a million years from now, one of those two things should have happened.

I still think, if humans are still around, 100,000 years from now when the Tesla has been forgotten, some person coming across it in space and thinking "WTF?!?"

Lyttenburgh

"Being skeptical is admirable, it is important to know when and how to be skeptical. "

Right! My reasons for being sceptical are:

- In his capacity of TESLA'S CEO Musk earned $99.7 million... of which only $46 000 were his salary, the rest are various bonuses. Meanwhile, according to their own financial records, the net loss of the TESLA in 2017 was c. $2 billion.

- Following the launch, the *payload* was given the USSPACECOM Satellite Catalog Number of 43205. with a description of "Tesla Roadster/Falcon SH" along with the COSPAR International Designator of 2018-017A. You can track it here:

http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=43205#TOP

Currently, its perigee of 184 km and apogee of 6950 km. Honestly, maybe I'm mistaken (then - correct me please) but this does not look like the rosy picture advertised by Musk and his followers. The thing is falling.

- The whole expensive stunt was PR action, to make the people forget the real failure just a few weeks ago, when Falcon 9 failed to deliver all too real useful payload.

- If you are totally okay with a shady character using your, US taxpayer's, money, NASA facilities and the specialists in order to lanch a bloody car into space... and earn even more money, which might very well be spent on something like anti-zombie "famethrowers" - then, yeah! Nothing is wrong here! Just profanation of the space sphere!

Mike C

Lyttenburgh-

I did correct you. What do you think the "128 ground-based optical astrometric measurements" refer to?

I'm not an accountant. Musk took SpaceX from paper to landing multiple rocket stages and reusing some of those within 16 years. NASA had the DC-X in the mid 90's which was beginning to demonstrate some of that capability, and junked it in favor of the VentureStar. The VentureStar was cancelled. The Constellation program that came after that was cancelled. I wish them all the best with SLS.

Keep your eye on the ball.

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