Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Tribble » 2018-02-10 03:58pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-10 03:05pm
Comrade has a point. What other purpose, than showing other men how big his balls are, did it serve Musk tossing out a toy for rich idiots and wannbe rich idiots?

The same question could be asked of the entire Falcon X project, as America's already demonstrated they no longer pretend they care about space exploration, once it no longer serves as propaganda, and only keep NASSA around to serve as fodder for willfully ignorant conspiracy ravings.

All is vanity.
Well you could categorize the entire exploration of space as "who has the biggest dick".

Apart from communications and military purposes, what actual value is there to going into space, apart from showing off that you can?

Should we really be spending on things like the James Webb telescope or sending probes to Pluto when there are billions living in poverty, right now? Should we be talking about colonization when we can't even run the planet we're already on without screwing it up?

Space exploration could be seen as little more than a massive vanity science project.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Tribble » 2018-02-10 04:21pm

K. A. Pital wrote: I think I had something similar in my signature for a few years.
Hmm, on second thought my first one was too narrow, this is how you should end every post:

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-02-10 05:03pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-02-10 03:58pm
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-10 03:05pm
Comrade has a point. What other purpose, than showing other men how big his balls are, did it serve Musk tossing out a toy for rich idiots and wannbe rich idiots?
...
Well you could categorize the entire exploration of space as "who has the biggest dick".
...

Space exploration could be seen as little more than a massive vanity science project.
TRR wrote: Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that even deeply flawed people, or deeply flawed systems, can produce good results on occasion. And that when said good result is to produce something that's necessary to humanity's long-term future, I am hesitant to reject it out of hand.
Part of a point that I'm making about space exploration is that Musk is bringing low safety standards, corner-cutting and lack of oversight to a field where previously redundance and safety were paramount (and where or when they weren't, we had e.g. the Space Shuttle program with 2 craft and many lives lost).

So it's not just him making heavy rockets but him now dictating what space exploration would look like: how would rockets be built, etc.

Kind of like a "Uber" in space exploration, his tactics are price war, use of loopholes in regulation and government collusion - if not outright subsidization - to get the "desired result".

I don't question the goals - but the means.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2018-02-11 12:33am

Useless junk is the normal payload for test flights. Musk sticking his car inside instead at least generated some lovely pictures and video.

He apparently did reach out to NASA to see if they wanted to put something on it. They declined. It's a pity, because a free flight even with a 50% failure rate would be worth it.

Edit: What loopholes has Musk exploited in space regulations or labor laws for SpaceX? He's got a launch license for this flight and followed every rule.

As for "price wars", heaven forbid the previously oligopolistic US rocket industry have to compete and lower their launch prices. They can console themselves with that multi-billion dollar/year contract for SLS.
Last edited by Guardsman Bass on 2018-02-11 12:40am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-02-11 12:36am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-10 03:05pm
What other purpose, than showing other men how big his balls are, did it serve Musk tossing out a toy for rich idiots and wannbe rich idiots?
It was a test flight. Test flights are where you're not sure if the whole system works without trying to run the whole system. Test flights usually have something like a chunk of concrete of the right weight bolted to the top instead of an expensive somebody-else's-payload. What it wasn't was "tossing out a toy" for a stunt. I suppose it could be called a stunt, but it had a valuable purpose, making sure a complete Falcon Heavy stack could place a certain mass into a desired orbit.

Looking back to other heavy launchers, the Saturn V had one all-up test, plus I think individual stages were also tested. The next Saturn V flight, the first manned one, was Apollo 8 which went round the Moon. The Soviet N-1 had several test flights, all of which failed. I don't remember about the more recent Delta or Titan lines, but I do remember there was at least one Ariane V test.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-02-11 04:23am

Guardsman Bass wrote:
2018-02-11 12:33am
Edit: What loopholes has Musk exploited in space regulations or labor laws for SpaceX? He's got a launch license for this flight and followed every rule.

As for "price wars", heaven forbid the previously oligopolistic US rocket industry have to compete and lower their launch prices. They can console themselves with that multi-billion dollar/year contract for SLS.
[url=http://bgr.com/2015/01/01/what-is-elon-musk-like-to-work-for/ wrote:Article[/url]]An anonymous SpaceX engineer took to Quora recently to tell the world what it’s really like working for Musk
...
“Elon’s version of reality is highly skewed,” the engineer writes. “It’s much like Steve Jobs’s ‘reality distortion field’ except Elon isn’t great at public speaking. If you believe that a task should take a year then Elon wants it done in a week. He won’t hesitate to throw out six months of work because it’s not pretty enough or it’s not ‘badass’ enough. But in so doing he doesn’t change the schedule.”

The engineer also says that Musk doesn’t seem to care if employees have any lives outside of work and one time he told the entire office that “not enough of you are working on Saturdays.”
If that's the culture you should encourage in a field which builds space transport vehicles that may, one day, carry human beings into space, I wish you luck.

But when people start dying, you will mark my words.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by TimothyC » 2018-02-11 08:27am

SpottedKitty wrote:
2018-02-11 12:36am
Looking back to other heavy launchers, the Saturn V had one all-up test, plus I think individual stages were also tested. The next Saturn V flight, the first manned one, was Apollo 8 which went round the Moon. The Soviet N-1 had several test flights, all of which failed. I don't remember about the more recent Delta or Titan lines, but I do remember there was at least one Ariane V test.
Saturn V actually had two all up tests (Apollo 4 and 6). The last two demo payloads that I can remember were the ones on Delta III flight 3 (after the first two flights were failures) which was a marginal success (orbit was lower than planned), and perhaps more relevant, The first Delta IV Heavy launch which carried a six metric tonne block of aluminum.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Broomstick » 2018-02-11 09:44am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-10 03:05pm
The same question could be asked of the entire Falcon X project, as America's already demonstrated they no longer pretend they care about space exploration, once it no longer serves as propaganda, and only keep NASSA around to serve as fodder for willfully ignorant conspiracy ravings.
NASA is not just a space agency. It's the National Aeronautics and Space Agency. It serves a large but largely unknown vital role in aviation with both research and safety that is on-going and far from trivial. It's just not as sexy to discuss de-icing or the ASRS database as it is to talk about Moon shots and Mars, even if such programs are important and save lives. In other words, it actually serves a useful function.

And don't mistake the US government for the American population, or a subset of it. Space is still very important to a segment of the US, but just as governments really didn't invent reliable cross-oceanic travel, private concerns did, further work and travel in space is either going to be done by private industry or not at all. The problem is that space is so damn expensive, and there doesn't seem to be anything one can go out and harvest for profit out there. And yes, I used the "p-word" - no government, no company, can afford to throw money into space indefinitely without some actual return on the effort. No economic system can afford to bleed treasure indefinitely. Given the cost of space, only billionaires are going to be able to fund those efforts.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Broomstick » 2018-02-11 10:00am

Tribble wrote:
2018-02-10 03:58pm
Apart from communications and military purposes, what actual value is there to going into space, apart from showing off that you can?
Weather forecasting.

The entire modern industry of weather forecasting and much real-time reporting is built upon satellites.

That industry has greatly increased safety for transportation and for people in storm affected areas. It's why death tolls from even major disaster storms has dropped significantly over the past 50 years - we can see things coming far in advance to evacuation large populations. It extends all the way down to such mundane concerns as the store I work for being able to schedule increased deliveries of groceries in the 48 hours before a storm to accommodate all the panic buying, and not have our delivery guys on the road during the storm.

We use this technology so much, so often, we've become oblivious to the face it's high technology, space, and very recent in history.

Also GPS has revolutionized navigation on both a large and small scale which, along with communication, has changed both travel and shipping from large to small scales.
Should we really be spending on things like the James Webb telescope or sending probes to Pluto when there are billions living in poverty, right now?
Yes - because we also need to pursue knowledge, and frankly quite a few people find such projects inspiring. It's not enough to merely exist, you need something to live for. The poverty problems in the world have more to do with distribution of resources than lack of resources (at least up until now). Space projects cost money, but there's plenty of other money out there to take one poverty, what's missing is a lack of will to do so.
Should we be talking about colonization when we can't even run the planet we're already on without screwing it up?
Yes, because solving the problems of living in a hostile environment can help us clean up our mistakes back home.
Space exploration could be seen as little more than a massive vanity science project.
Manned space travel could be described as this - except for the "managing biological environments long term" part, but finding ways to make drinking water from urine isn't sexy enough for ads. UNmanned space travel in the form of satellites has actually been useful.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2018-02-11 02:39pm

Robotic exploration is absolutely valuable. Going beyond the specific purposes that Broomstick pointed out, in general it's always good to remember that humanity exists on a tiny speck within a much vaster universe. We should be putting good resources into understanding that, both for beneficial purposes, for cultural enrichment, and because as the dinosaurs found out what you don't know about space can still kill you.

Of course, it helps that the amount of resources required are so relatively small compared to the US budget that we don't really have to make a hard choice between social spending and space spending. The US spends more on farm subsidies (mostly to agro-business) than NASA - I think we can afford space exploration.

Crewed exploration is a tougher proposition. Unless we can get the costs down, it's really not defensible from a scientific standpoint. Sure, the scientific gains from a crewed exploration to Mars or the Moon could absolutely dwarf that of a robotic probe's, but they'll also cost much, much more as things stand now.

There's an interesting letter along these lines between one of NASA's engineers and a nun doing humanitarian aid in Africa dating back to the 1970s touching on this.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-02-13 04:38pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-02-11 04:23am
Guardsman Bass wrote:
2018-02-11 12:33am
Edit: What loopholes has Musk exploited in space regulations or labor laws for SpaceX? He's got a launch license for this flight and followed every rule.

As for "price wars", heaven forbid the previously oligopolistic US rocket industry have to compete and lower their launch prices. They can console themselves with that multi-billion dollar/year contract for SLS.
[url=http://bgr.com/2015/01/01/what-is-elon-musk-like-to-work-for/ wrote:Article[/url]]An anonymous SpaceX engineer took to Quora recently to tell the world what it’s really like working for Musk
...
“Elon’s version of reality is highly skewed,” the engineer writes. “It’s much like Steve Jobs’s ‘reality distortion field’ except Elon isn’t great at public speaking. If you believe that a task should take a year then Elon wants it done in a week. He won’t hesitate to throw out six months of work because it’s not pretty enough or it’s not ‘badass’ enough. But in so doing he doesn’t change the schedule.”

The engineer also says that Musk doesn’t seem to care if employees have any lives outside of work and one time he told the entire office that “not enough of you are working on Saturdays.”
If that's the culture you should encourage in a field which builds space transport vehicles that may, one day, carry human beings into space, I wish you luck.

But when people start dying, you will mark my words.
Wouldn't there be much more launch failures if SpaceX treated their engineers like that? So far Falcon 9 has 2 failures which for relatively new rocket isn't bad. And those failures were caused by new type of lightweight carbon fiber helium tanks submerged in super cold liquid oxygen to hold more helium. Essentialy they were pushing the edge and something exploded. That happens to everyone in rocket engineering. It was not some kind of dumb mistake like accelerometers istalled upside down causing Proton rocket to nosedive into the ground or NASA confusing measurement units resulting in Mars probe making new crater.

We will have to wait till Falcon has 100 or more flights to eavaluate long term reliability, but so far it looks good.

If they constantly underpaid and overworked their engineers they would have engineers regulary leaving for different companies. I bet Blue Origin and ULA would gladly take those engineers with actual hands on expierance with reusable rockets.

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-13 07:06pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-02-11 04:23am
Guardsman Bass wrote:
2018-02-11 12:33am
Edit: What loopholes has Musk exploited in space regulations or labor laws for SpaceX? He's got a launch license for this flight and followed every rule.

As for "price wars", heaven forbid the previously oligopolistic US rocket industry have to compete and lower their launch prices. They can console themselves with that multi-billion dollar/year contract for SLS.
[url=http://bgr.com/2015/01/01/what-is-elon-musk-like-to-work-for/ wrote:Article[/url]]An anonymous SpaceX engineer took to Quora recently to tell the world what it’s really like working for Musk
...
“Elon’s version of reality is highly skewed,” the engineer writes. “It’s much like Steve Jobs’s ‘reality distortion field’ except Elon isn’t great at public speaking. If you believe that a task should take a year then Elon wants it done in a week. He won’t hesitate to throw out six months of work because it’s not pretty enough or it’s not ‘badass’ enough. But in so doing he doesn’t change the schedule.”

The engineer also says that Musk doesn’t seem to care if employees have any lives outside of work and one time he told the entire office that “not enough of you are working on Saturdays.”
If that's the culture you should encourage in a field which builds space transport vehicles that may, one day, carry human beings into space, I wish you luck.

But when people start dying, you will mark my words.
That's... pretty vague. I'm not seeing anything there that would be a violation of labor laws under normal circumstances.

But yes, cutting corners on experimental space tech. intended for manned flight, if true, is a really bad idea.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by GuppyShark » 2018-02-13 07:28pm

$4m settlement:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/15/elon-mu ... t-pay.html
In 2014, a handful of former employees claiming unfair compensation brought suits against SpaceX that California courts joined into one class action lawsuit. The company agreed to settle in August 2016 and finalized a settlement for about $4 million in May, according to Inverse. Although one of the litigants sought to block the settlement, he lost.

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-14 05:23pm

Hmm. Yeah, that doesn't reflect well on Musk.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by MKSheppard » 2018-02-14 07:38pm

Except Elon Musk is getting shit done [tm] on a fraction of the budget and timescales of Big Space [tm].
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-14 10:42pm

If he has to work people like slaves to do it and gets away with it purely because of his personality cult, that's not such a big consolation. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with having a clever asshole with a personality cult dominating your space program, y'know?
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by TimothyC » 2018-02-15 02:26am

One thing to keep in mind (It came up in the recent twitter back and forth between various people including Musk and ULA CEO Tory Bruno, is that for very high energy applications (such as a direct to Jupiter flight requiring a characteristic energy of 80 km2/s2), the largest Atlas V (the 551 with a single core and five solid boosters) and the Delta IV Heavy outperform Falcon Heavy due to the hydrolox upper stages used by the not-Falcon rockets (1.1 metric tonnes for Falcon Heavy expendable, 1.6 for Atlas V, and 2.5 for Delta IV Heavy). It's a serious hit for large science payloads. Furthermore, while SpaceX has built a nice launch cadence, and is starting to get a nice run of successes, ULA can point to the fact that they have never lost a payload and they deliver on time - critical things for US National Security Space (NSS) missions and outer planet missions.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-02-18 11:10am

TimothyC wrote:
2018-02-15 02:26am
One thing to keep in mind (It came up in the recent twitter back and forth between various people including Musk and ULA CEO Tory Bruno, is that for very high energy applications (such as a direct to Jupiter flight requiring a characteristic energy of 80 km2/s2), the largest Atlas V (the 551 with a single core and five solid boosters) and the Delta IV Heavy outperform Falcon Heavy due to the hydrolox upper stages used by the not-Falcon rockets (1.1 metric tonnes for Falcon Heavy expendable, 1.6 for Atlas V, and 2.5 for Delta IV Heavy). It's a serious hit for large science payloads. Furthermore, while SpaceX has built a nice launch cadence, and is starting to get a nice run of successes, ULA can point to the fact that they have never lost a payload and they deliver on time - critical things for US National Security Space (NSS) missions and outer planet missions.
Spacex Falcon Heavy specs claim 3.5 tons to Pluto which would indicate a lot more to Jupiter. Something doesn't add up.
Anyway large science payloads to outer planets are very rare. Most of the money in the launch business are LEO and GEO satellite launches. If some of the proposed satellite broadband internet networks take off then cheap rockets are essential to launch hundreds or thousands of internet satellites. If my rocket is 95% reliable while yours are over 99 % reliable, but costs more than twice as much my rocket wins when launching cheapish mass produced payloads that are easily replaceable in case of occasional launch failure.

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2018-02-18 12:49pm

I'll second Sky Captain - Falcon Heavy is aimed more at the satellite launch business (assuming it has a decent run before Musk abandons it for the BFR).

It could be used for interplanetary missions, if it was used to assemble modules in orbit, refuel them, and then launch the assembled spacecraft into deep space. At some point orbital assembly might be necessary for big interplanetary missions (robotic and human) - the cancelled Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter mission involved assembling modules in Low Earth Orbit before launching them. It's more expensive, but also gives your mission a lot more leeway on mass and fuel than if you have to fit everything into a single payload.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by TimothyC » 2018-02-18 01:48pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2018-02-18 11:10am
Spacex Falcon Heavy specs claim 3.5 tons to Pluto which would indicate a lot more to Jupiter. Something doesn't add up.
Anyway large science payloads to outer planets are very rare. Most of the money in the launch business are LEO and GEO satellite launches. If some of the proposed satellite broadband internet networks take off then cheap rockets are essential to launch hundreds or thousands of internet satellites. If my rocket is 95% reliable while yours are over 99 % reliable, but costs more than twice as much my rocket wins when launching cheapish mass produced payloads that are easily replaceable in case of occasional launch failure.
Musk stated that the current figures used by NASA are for a block 1, and that the block 5 which they are about to fly will offer better performance. Seeing as how we never heard of a block 1 (maybe the Falcon 9 1.0, but it was never called that), the margin is unknown. The other fact is that ULA has not a 99% reliability, but 100%, and launches on time - right now the SpaceX backlog is big enough that they can't get a new payload manifested until mid 2019 at the earliest (based on the limited info that has leaked out, combined with how far behind they are on some of the launches). Right now, you can order an Atlas V flight from ULA for delivery in early third quarter of this year.

Yes, ULA (and ArianeSpace) need to get their costs down if they are going to compete in the commercial space, but right now at least, they have some breathing room. ULA plans on using it to work on BLEO architecture and engine reuse on Vulcan while ESA/ArianeSpace are off in their own little world partnering with Japan on a subscale demonstrator with a long projected time before it gets anywhere.
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-18 07:07pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-02-10 03:58pm
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-10 03:05pm
Comrade has a point. What other purpose, than showing other men how big his balls are, did it serve Musk tossing out a toy for rich idiots and wannbe rich idiots?

The same question could be asked of the entire Falcon X project, as America's already demonstrated they no longer pretend they care about space exploration, once it no longer serves as propaganda, and only keep NASSA around to serve as fodder for willfully ignorant conspiracy ravings.

All is vanity.
Well you could categorize the entire exploration of space as "who has the biggest dick".

Apart from communications and military purposes, what actual value is there to going into space, apart from showing off that you can?

Should we really be spending on things like the James Webb telescope or sending probes to Pluto when there are billions living in poverty, right now? Should we be talking about colonization when we can't even run the planet we're already on without screwing it up?

Space exploration could be seen as little more than a massive vanity science project.
Well, you just listed three practical uses for space exploration. The communications one cannot be understated, in particular. Do you have even the slightest idea how much of the modern world depends on satellite communications?

As to the old arguments that we should "fix Earth's problems first"... the two are not mutually exclusive. Space travel takes up a tiny portion of the Federal budget, and it leads directly and indirectly to numerous valuable technological advances, as well as scientific knowledge which is directly applicable to solving Earth's problems (for a start, the environmental movement has benefited tremendously from space research- but it doesn't stop environmentalists from using these tired, trite old arguments to try to shut down space funding).

You might as well ask "Why spend money on scientific research at all?"

Of course, this doesn't necessarily justify the need for a heavy-lift launch vehicle like Falcon X. But I can tell you we'll be damn glad we have one when and if we ever detect a large asteroid headed our way.

Plus, honestly, I'd much rather have the military/industrial complex building space rockets than nuclear ICBMs.

Yeah, Musk's choice of payload was showing off, but to act like that somehow devalues the importance of space research altogether is absurd.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

Sky Captain
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-02-19 01:48pm

TimothyC wrote:
2018-02-18 01:48pm
Sky Captain wrote:
2018-02-18 11:10am
Spacex Falcon Heavy specs claim 3.5 tons to Pluto which would indicate a lot more to Jupiter. Something doesn't add up.
Anyway large science payloads to outer planets are very rare. Most of the money in the launch business are LEO and GEO satellite launches. If some of the proposed satellite broadband internet networks take off then cheap rockets are essential to launch hundreds or thousands of internet satellites. If my rocket is 95% reliable while yours are over 99 % reliable, but costs more than twice as much my rocket wins when launching cheapish mass produced payloads that are easily replaceable in case of occasional launch failure.
Musk stated that the current figures used by NASA are for a block 1, and that the block 5 which they are about to fly will offer better performance. Seeing as how we never heard of a block 1 (maybe the Falcon 9 1.0, but it was never called that), the margin is unknown. The other fact is that ULA has not a 99% reliability, but 100%, and launches on time - right now the SpaceX backlog is big enough that they can't get a new payload manifested until mid 2019 at the earliest (based on the limited info that has leaked out, combined with how far behind they are on some of the launches). Right now, you can order an Atlas V flight from ULA for delivery in early third quarter of this year.
I guess if Atlas V sold for Falcon 9 price it would have similar backlog. At least for few years ULA still will be launch provider of choice for expensive difficult to replace and time critical payloads. Although it seems that USAF and US spy agencies have certified Falcon 9 to launch billion dollar spy sats so reliability issue shouldn't be something unsolvable.
What Falcon 9 really did it out competed Russian Proton rocket. Proton launch numbers have dropped by factor of 2 in recent years.

Now with reusable first stage SpaceX should be able to really ramp up their launch numbers because only second stage has to be built new. With Block 5 upgrades first stage should be good for 5 - 10 launches.

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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-02-19 10:03pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2018-02-19 01:48pm
because only second stage has to be built new.
Has anyone come across speculation SpaceX might be working on soft-landing the second stage? Or would it cost too much in terms of fuel that has to be set aside for the landing?
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by TimothyC » 2018-02-19 10:20pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2018-02-19 01:48pm
Although it seems that USAF and US spy agencies have certified Falcon 9 to launch billion dollar spy sats so reliability issue shouldn't be something unsolvable.
While they have received authorization to bid on some National Security launches, they can't bid on all of them right now because using the existing fairings (and yes, SpaceX is working on new ones) they can't fit the Category B and C payloads for the Defense Department (these are the payloads that require 5 meter internal fairing space, while the existing ones are about 4.6 meters. Yes, SpaceX is working on Fairing 2.0, but that change will take additional certification, and even then they will also have to validate the payload attachment for DoD's Polar 2 orbit, which requires 37.5klbs to a polar orbit. Falcon Heavy can probably deliver that without issue, but they attachment fitting isn't rated for more than about 24klbs.

In short, with the existing block buys and planned orders (including NASA's commercial resupply and commercial crew flights), ULA probably has 5-7 years to position themselves against SpaceX. The question is if they can or not in that timeframe.
SpottedKitty wrote:
2018-02-19 10:03pm
Has anyone come across speculation SpaceX might be working on soft-landing the second stage? Or would it cost too much in terms of fuel that has to be set aside for the landing?
Musk has said that they considered it, and dropped it in favor of BFR development (they only have so many entry and landing engineers). Adding reuse to the second stage would probably be a 2-3 metric ton hit on payload. Not a major one for LEO payloads where they tend to be volume limited not mass limited, but fatal on Falcon 9's GTO missions. Falcon Heavy probably has the margin to support the reusable second stage, but they don't see a pressing need to bring the prices down by doing so.
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TimothyC
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Re: Falcon heavy launch livestream LIVE NOW

Post by TimothyC » 2018-02-19 11:18pm

After window edit: Something else to keep in mind is that some payloads (both government and commercial) require what is called 'vertical integration', ie stacking the payload atop the rocket when the rocket is already vertical. This allows for a simplified structural analysis, and less massive adapter hardware as the payload attachment is only subjected to loads on launch, not on vehicle erection. SpaceX (and the Russian Proton & Soyuz) use horizontal integration - which results in a simpler ground support environment, but a more complex vehicle/payload interface. SpaceX claims they will develop the systems needed for vertical integration when they need to so that they can bid on contracts, but we don't know when that will be.
"I believe in the future. It is wonderful because it stands on what has been achieved." - Sergei Korolev

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