Author Topic: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars  (Read 25171 times)

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Offline German_EE

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Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« on: July 14, 2018, 06:57:20 pm »
The attitude of the company and the people who work there. I'm a space geek, I've always been a space geek and the thought of a man or woman walking on Mars is enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. NASA are however too cautious, the two shuttle failures have beaten the spirit out of the organization and now they only want to take the tiniest of baby steps. They might, maybe, make it to Mars by 2030 but it's more likely that they will piss away their time in low Earth orbit.

SpaceX are however different. Not only are they willing to make mistakes they treat those mistakes as part of the engineering process and then they try again, and again, and again until things start to work. This is what NASA did in the 1950's and 1960's until they ended up with Armstrong's 'one small step'. What's prompted this little piece? Someone sent me a link to the SpaceX Youtube channel where there are lots of cool rocket launches, and there's THIS!



The day commercial space flight becomes a reality I want them to show this as part of the pre-flight video  :-DD

If you want the main Youtube channel it's here https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel/videos?disable_polymer=1

Now get your ass to Mars!!
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

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Online jpanhalt

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 07:09:57 pm »
Don't forget the enormous fallout from the Apollo 1 fire.  The military (remember Vanguard?) and NASA aren't allowed to make mistakes as our media blame it on the government.  Media don't understand risk.   SpaceX has had plenty of failures, but none got the media and Congressional attention of any of the failures mentioned.  When private enterprise has a failure, it is reported and forgotten. 

American exploration and innovation has generally been led by entrepreneurs.  NASA is the exception.  I am glad to see the private sector leading again.
 

Offline chris_leyson

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 07:39:30 pm »
I don't think NASA have a big enough budget, they have to rely on Soyuz to get astronauts to the space station. SpaceX have a manned test flight of the Dragon 2 capsule late 2018 or early 2019. Boeing Starliner was scheduled for a manned test flight later this year but that is on hold. SpaceX are improving their technology all the time, they'll get more satellite launches and they even have the European Space Agency looking into reusable hardware.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 07:42:33 pm by chris_leyson »
 

Offline German_EE

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 07:42:18 pm »
Oh, I haven't forgotten Apollo 1, or the three men who died. However, after the fire there was a detailed investigation and then they carried on at full steam eager to beat the goal set by President Kennedy. It's a testiment to Grissom, White and Chaffee that they made it with five months to spare.

Want to see another tribute? Watch CSI. William Petersen is also a space geek and he named his character, Gil Grissom, as a tribute to the Command Module pilot.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Warren Buffett
 

Offline ttelectronic

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 07:43:56 pm »
Unless there is a significant leap in tech, I don't think either will get there any time soon with humans.
 

Offline Eka

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2018, 12:12:05 am »
Unless there is a significant leap in tech, I don't think either will get there any time soon with humans.
The tech is there, or at least only a development budget away. It's been there for ages, and has been steadily improving. Just nobody has bothered to try to pay for it until now. Elon Musk has the will to do it and has figured out how to make launch vehicles massively cheaper so he can afford to do it with the profits from a satellite launch service. Yeah, there is a lot that still needs to be designed, but a lot of that is already being worked on. Musk isn't just building reusable rockets, electric cars, and tunnel building machines just because they are neat. They all fit into the picture and are needed for a Mars colony. Decades ago a fleet of Saturn Vs could have been built, the transport ships could have been designed, the mars landers could have been made, and habitats built, but the will of the people wasn't behind it. Musk doesn't have to listen to the will of the people, not even shareholders. Just his own will. Notice that SpaceX is controlled by him, not shareholders. The profits can remain dedicated to the task.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2018, 01:06:40 am »
Unless there is a significant leap in tech, I don't think either will get there any time soon with humans.

Depends on what your goal is.
Zubrin's Mars Direct style concept will get you to Mars in no time with minimal fuss.
I'm guessing it wouldn't be hard to find someone willing to go on the trip knowing they will almost certainly die there if they make it. But that's not good PR.
I'm sure SpaceX could send a human to Mars one-way within a few years if that was the only concern, but it's not, so it won't happen within the next decade, maybe two.

Remember, for all of Space-X triumphs, they still haven't flown a single human to low earth orbit, this stuff takes time, and Space-X still want to do it "by the book" so to speak.
 
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2018, 01:39:00 am »
American exploration and innovation has generally been led by entrepreneurs.  NASA is the exception.  I am glad to see the private sector leading again.

It's a kind of funny, almost machiavellian twist of words to call "private sector enterpreneur" a company that's designed solely to suck public money by the millions^W billions, to do for a profit the job the NASA ought to be doing instead, isn't it?
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Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2018, 01:48:00 am »
American exploration and innovation has generally been led by entrepreneurs.  NASA is the exception.  I am glad to see the private sector leading again.

It's a kind of funny, almost machiavellian twist of words to call "private sector enterpreneur" a company that's designed solely to suck public money by the millions^W billions, to do for a profit the job the NASA ought to be doing instead, isn't it?
Company which is preventing ULA from uncontrollably sucking taxpayer money by being very competitive. FYI NASA never built it's own rockets. Not to say most Spacex launches are commercial/foreign government.
 
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Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2018, 01:54:40 am »
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2018, 02:04:00 am »
With such expenses you'll never send anything meaningful to Mars.
Quote
During the joint Senate-NASA presentation in September 2011, it was stated that the SLS program had a projected development cost of $18 billion through 2017, with $10 billion for the SLS rocket, $6 billion for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and $2 billion for upgrades to the launch pad and other facilities at Kennedy Space Center.[19] These costs and schedule were considered optimistic in an independent 2011 cost assessment report by Booz Allen Hamilton for NASA.[90] An unofficial 2011 NASA document estimated the cost of the program through 2025 to total at least $41bn for four 95 t launches (1 uncrewed, 3 crewed),[2][3] with the 130 t version ready no earlier than 2030.[91]

The Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) estimated unit costs for Block 0 at $1.6bn and Block 1 at $1.86bn in 2010.[92] However, since these estimates were made the Block 0 SLS vehicle was dropped in late 2011, and the design was not completed.[93] The Space Review estimated the cost per launch at $5 billion, depending on the rate of launches.[94][95] NASA announced in 2013 that the European Space Agency will build the Orion Service Module.[96]
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2018, 02:19:18 am »
Imagine Von Braun, back in the day, calling on the phone like this: "Hi Musk, I have no clue man, how long will it take you to invent some moon rockets for me? I need them asap!" Imagine that? Of course NASA can subcontract subassemblies, bolts and nuts, but subcontract the whole damn thing that's their job to do? How come? Why?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 01:49:41 pm by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline Eka

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2018, 03:18:24 am »
Of course NASA can subcontract subassemblies, bolts and nuts, but subcontract the whole damn thing that's their task to do? How come? Why?
NASA's hands were tied by a bunch of special interest groups setting the parameters they could work by. Additionally part of the goal was to develop the technologies in a way that they could also be of greater use to the nation. Yes, it was a huge new technology development effort and technology transfer to industry. In some cases industry just needed deep pockets to pursue a project that they otherwise couldn't see the profit in doing. Take a look at the history of the IC. As a nation we gained a huge advantage from it. Also NASA needed to keep their best engineers working on the big design issues, not solving production headaches.
 
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Offline coldfiremc

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2018, 04:55:11 am »
Soviets taken humans and dogs outside, with less budget, techology and time than spaceX. Some of their designs still are in use (Soyuz, Energia rockets).
Nasa never developed nothing completely "inside", always was contract-driven. So State owned v/s private in United states, is quite nonsense. NASA served as a coordinator and financial support for many technological developments carried by universities, private companies, from US and another countries. Without it, probably some technologies never reached commercial/industrial grade.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 05:07:30 am by coldfiremc »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2018, 05:03:50 am »
One of my mentors was particularly strong on motivation/organization of teams.  One of his catch phrases was that before you can do anything "yougottawanna".  NASA used to "wanna".  Now they don't know what they "wanna" and every four or eight years the politicians change their direction for them.  Musk and SpaceX definately "wanna".
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2018, 06:53:08 am »
SpaceX are however different. Not only are they willing to make mistakes they treat those mistakes as part of the engineering process and then they try again, and again, and again until things start to work.
[...]
Now get your ass to Mars!!

Any chance that the "make mistakes, then try again and again" paradigm would change once human pilots and passengers get involved?  :-\
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2018, 07:18:00 am »
The goal of NASA's manned program was to beat the Soviets, and now to allocate pork. The whole thing about being pioneers in space was just propaganda to justify the expense. NASA's manned program is just a waste of time, compared to the robotic and other missions which are excellent. No US president will ever allocate NASA the funds required to put humans on Mars, nor to "go back" to the Moon. NASA have no interest or skill in reducing the cost of access to space, which is the only way it will get done.

Since SpaceX was set up with the express purpose of putting humans on Mars, and doing it by reducing cost, they will likely achieve it. NASA aren't even in the race - they might end up buying rockets or seats from SpaceX. There might be a "NASA mission to mars", but it will be a NASA badge on a private ship.

Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 

Offline Eka

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2018, 07:33:03 am »
SpaceX are however different. Not only are they willing to make mistakes they treat those mistakes as part of the engineering process and then they try again, and again, and again until things start to work.
[...]
Now get your ass to Mars!!

Any chance that the "make mistakes, then try again and again" paradigm would change once human pilots and passengers get involved?  :-\
I seam to recall SpaceX already has a payload on the way to Mars. I expect many more before any human goes. They seam to be doing their testing before humans are part of the equation.
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2018, 07:44:04 am »
US Presidents can propose budgets, make requests, and threaten vetos, but in the end it's still Congress that actually allocates funds to NASA.

Which of course is hundreds of people with political agendas that have trouble getting on the same page even within the groups that are theoretically on the same side of issues.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2018, 09:52:31 am »
Soviets taken humans and dogs outside, with less budget, techology and time than spaceX. Some of their designs still are in use (Soyuz, Energia rockets).
Energia is not in use for decades. It was used to launch Buran spacecraft. As making it with lower budget, it's certainly not true when compared with Spacex. Also currently Soyuz and Proton are more expensive than Falcon.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2018, 10:33:37 am »
SpaceX are however different. Not only are they willing to make mistakes they treat those mistakes as part of the engineering process and then they try again, and again, and again until things start to work.
[...]
Now get your ass to Mars!!

Any chance that the "make mistakes, then try again and again" paradigm would change once human pilots and passengers get involved?  :-\
FWIW there was not a single human death and only 2 failures of Falcon 9 (the cause was found and fixed). You can't count landing attempt failures as launch failures. They were additional landing test missions after launch already happened. Since they got it right, every landing was successful except center booster of Falcon heavy (test mission and quiet different from F9 booster). Nobody else got the landing right, Blue Origin don't really count as it's not something that can place any payload into orbit. Spacex tests everything as much as possible, including firing engines on fully assembled rocket unlike anyone else. They try to not use anything non testable before use. For this reason they don't use pyro separation like others but hydraulic instead. Also unlike anyone else they take used rocket apart and inspect it, thus are able to find issues which others can't. Space shuttle was the most dangerous manned space vehicle. Both catastrophes were caused by already known problems which were not fixed and continued to use as is. Particularly solid booster seal issues and thermal tile issues.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 10:38:10 am by wraper »
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2018, 11:20:05 am »
SpaceX are however different. Not only are they willing to make mistakes they treat those mistakes as part of the engineering process and then they try again, and again, and again until things start to work.
[...]
Now get your ass to Mars!!

Any chance that the "make mistakes, then try again and again" paradigm would change once human pilots and passengers get involved?  :-\

Yep, and this will be the huge test, when someone dies in a Space-X mission (it's probably inevitable).
And let's hope that Space-X is profitable, because if it's run like Tesla, then the wheels might eventually fall off the billy cart just because of that. Although I suspect NASA and hence the government won't let that happen.
Musk isn't that rich that he can fund Mars mission on his own, the company has to fund all this mars stuff through the profitable missions.
No bucks, no buck rogers.
So if/when a human accident happens, that will put a huge halt to things for a long time at the very least. There won't be any "beat the ruskies" 60's era go-fever to help it.
 
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Online EEVblog

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2018, 11:23:33 am »
US Presidents can propose budgets, make requests, and threaten vetos, but in the end it's still Congress that actually allocates funds to NASA.
Which of course is hundreds of people with political agendas that have trouble getting on the same page even within the groups that are theoretically on the same side of issues.

And the only way they all get on the "same page" is money in their pockets, from the campaign donors. It's the way the US system works.
Musk might have to pony up huge $ to congressmen in order to grease the wheels.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2018, 11:26:16 am »
Also unlike anyone else they take used rocket apart and inspect it, thus are able to find issues which others can't. Space shuttle was the most dangerous manned space vehicle. Both catastrophes were caused by already known problems which were not fixed and continued to use as is.

And if you think Space-X aren't eventually going to get over-confident and get complacent and/or get pressured to meet schedules, then I've got a moon rock to sell you. It'll happen, just wait...
 
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Offline wraper

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Re: Why SpaceX Are Going to Beat NASA to Mars
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2018, 11:47:59 am »
Also unlike anyone else they take used rocket apart and inspect it, thus are able to find issues which others can't. Space shuttle was the most dangerous manned space vehicle. Both catastrophes were caused by already known problems which were not fixed and continued to use as is.

And if you think Space-X aren't eventually going to get over-confident and get complacent and/or get pressured to meet schedules, then I've got a moon rock to sell you. It'll happen, just wait...
SRB O-ring failure was known for 9 years and still not fixed.
 


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