[FPSPACE] Elon Musk Wants the Military to Let SpaceX Launch Satellites

Michael K. Heney mike at heney.net
Sun Jun 1 22:39:31 EDT 2014


Quoting David Portree <dsfportree at hotmail.com>:

> Chris:
> Boeing has had some troubles, too.
> Just a few things that set off alarm bells for me on Friday.
> If this is Dragon V2, and then it's dramatically different from  
> Dragon V1, which is a fairly basic capsule shape that splashes down  
> at sea (they'd like to land it on land, but there exist few areas  
> big enough and empty enough in the continental US given its  
> footprint). Does previous experience with V1 even apply? If not,  
> then SpaceX can claim precious little lead on Sierra Nevada or Boeing.
> To me it looks about like the jump we made from Mercury to Gemini.  
> No one would claim the latter had flown before the Gemini test  
> flights.
> And this: Musk claims V2 will be able to land like a helicopter  
> anywhere. But space systems aren't like that. Not until they are  
> well proven, in any case. One lands where one can safely land - for  
> the people on the ground if nothing else - if one has a bad day.   
> And where does the propellant for these amazing landing feats go? Is  
> SuperDraco an anti-gravity device? Never mind about all that picky  
> stuff like plane changes.
> And where was all the stuff that makes spacecraft cluttered inside?  
> Necessary stuff, like oxygen hoses? Does Musk envision air pills?  
> And what's with the silvery interior - that's going to be a real  
> pain if the Sun shines in a porthole. And that insubstantial little  
> hatch?
> Basically, what we saw unveiled was not Dragon V2, but rather a  
> low-fidelity mockup designed mainly to glitter. Plus a movie  
> starring the mockup. I say that, based on Elon's extravaganza, we  
> really know nothing substantial about V2.
> The mockups I've seen come out of Sierra Nevada (which, foolishly,  
> is working on a lifting-body design functionally more complex than  
> either SpaceX V1 or Boeing CST-100) and Boeing (which has built  
> piloted spaceflight hardware and seen it flown) look like real  
> spacecraft that could work. This thing looked like a space  
> playhouse. You know, the kind you might order from Walmart.
> So we can't go around saying SpaceX has flown a prototype in space,  
> unless the real V2 resembles V1 more than does this mockup. In which  
> case, the V2 we saw is a lie.
> Why would that be? Is SpaceX struggling so that they really don't  
> have much to show off? The fact that they are flying rockets behind  
> schedule with persistent technical issues and getting really tetchy  
> about contracts awarded to other companies - companies more  
> qualified than they are, surely they realize that - might mean  
> something. As might charging NASA more than commercial customers -  
> using NASA funds to underwrite those commercial launches to undercut  
> the competition. (This was reported in AV WEEK.)
> AV WEEK also reported that they have to fly lots of payloads - more  
> than are likely to exist - to make their business model work. And  
> pump out rocket engines like donuts.
> Which brings me back to the whole thing about SpaceX transparency  
> and all the Hollywood stuff which impresses a depressingly large  
> number of people. If Musk had pulled Thor's Hammer out from under a  
> seat in Dragon V2, would they have believed it was real? Or would  
> they have thought about it a bit, and wondered about the claim?
> David S. F. Portree
> author and stuff
> Email:
> dsfportree at hotmail.com
> dportree at usgs.gov
> Profile:
> http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/people/david-portree
> Blogs:
> http://www.wired.com/category/beyondapollo/
> http://theportreelibrary.blogspot.com/
> http://altairvi.blogspot.com/
>> Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2014 19:38:41 -0400
>> From: clj at panix.com
>> To: fpspace at friends-partners.org
>> Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Elon Musk Wants the Military to Let SpaceX  
>> Launch	Satellites
>> On 6/1/2014 5:17 PM, David Portree wrote:
>> > Meanwhile, Boeing and Sierra Nevada are trotting out plausible
>> > spacecraft without the big show.
>> And where do they stand?  Do you think they're ahead of SpaceX?  Neither
>> has flown a prototype into space, neither has brought payloads back to
>> earth.  Sierra Nevada made a big show of their "successful" (their word)
>> glide test, but refused to show the prototype being destroyed on
>> touchdown; why don't you show the same outrage you do toward SpaceX?
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