Author Topic: Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!  (Read 300 times)

xairbusdriver

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Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!
« on: February 07, 2018, 02:13:39 AM »
How 'bout those "X" men!!!! The SpaceX ones!!! Assuming the Tesla's top being down means no rain for a while. Hope the used WC for the reporting, I understand they delayed the launch so they could install WC 3ßeta... [tup]

Absolutely incredible launch test! Amazing twin landings back at the Cape with the two boosters arriving within split seconds of each other!

Blicj11

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Re: Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 03:37:45 AM »
Private enterprise doing it faster, better and a billion dollars cheaper than the government? Yes, sir! Nicely done Elon.
Blick


elagache

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It works but it ain't no Saturn V (Re: Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!)
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 01:11:01 AM »
Dear X-Air, Blick, and WeatherCat space technology observers,

Private enterprise doing it faster, better and a billion dollars cheaper than the government? Yes, sir! Nicely done Elon.

Okay it has worked - once.  However, taking 3 boosters and strapping them together is hardly a leap in technology.  On the contrary it is a risky move.  Instead of 9 engines having to work flawlessly, this system requires 27 engines all to work flawlessly.  Any failure and the boosters and payload are likely to be lost.  The Russians learned this the hard way on their N1 booster project.  They had problems getting all the rocket motors to run together flawlessly.

In contrast, the Saturn V a completely new rocket that was unable to reuse a lot of technology.  Still Wernher von Braun and his engineers managed to build a rocket that never failed.  Space-X cannot make that boast.  Elon does think very highly of himself, but perhaps he should be more realistic about what he has accomplished and what compromises he has made in order to achieve it.  At the moment he doesn't have a booster worthy of getting us back to the Moon - never-mind Mars.

Cheers, Edouard

xairbusdriver

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Re: Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 02:11:10 AM »
OK, the trio has only worked once, but the 9 engine Falcon has worked very successfully. And the two “boosters” were making their second trip. Several others have done the same. No government first stage ever did that. That has been the first big goal of SpaceX.

The main goal of any system of transportation is reliability. Seems SpaceX has had a better record of designing, building, and very importantly, reusing their system than any other group, including governments with extremely deep pockets. There’s nothing like putting ones money on the line to bring economy to a project. I’ve not seen such dedicated and enthusiastic employees since Saturn. Similar commercial groups now have a very high bar to reach much less cross.

I give the team and their leader all the applause they are due, but they aren’t yet finished in their journey. ;)

elagache

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Unknown territory. (Re: Waiting on Starman's Wx reports!)
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 01:17:12 AM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat armchair rocket scientists,

The main goal of any system of transportation is reliability. Seems SpaceX has had a better record of designing, building, and very importantly, reusing their system than any other group, including governments with extremely deep pockets. There’s nothing like putting ones money on the line to bring economy to a project. I’ve not seen such dedicated and enthusiastic employees since Saturn. Similar commercial groups now have a very high bar to reach much less cross.

I give the team and their leader all the applause they are due, but they aren’t yet finished in their journey. ;)

Okay point well taken, but they are exploring territory that hasn't been tested much by previous technology and the one exception isn't entirely reassuring.  There is an important reason why the Saturn V was so reliable.  Every launch was a brand new vehicle.  The first reusable vehicle had failures and those failures cost the lives of astronauts.  Paradoxically, for reasons I cannot fathom, the part airplane and part spacecraft feature of the Space Shuttle was blamed to some extent.  I think instead a significant part of the blame for both the Challenger and Columbia disasters were due to underestimating the wear and tear associated with reusing these components.

Space-X finds itself doing something that seems prudent.  The Falcon 9 uses 9 of Space-X own Merlin rocket engines.  Instead of developing a new engine, Space-X is continuing to refine an proven design.  The drawback is 2-fold.  As I noted in my previous post, clustering a lot of engines instead of using fewer more powerful engines like in the Saturn V is risky.  The second drawback is that the Merlin wasn't designed for repeated reuse.  Of course the engineers will have tried to adapt it to for longevity.  However, NASA engineers tried to do exactly the same thing with the Space Shuttle.  It is extremely difficult to imagine all the possible failure modes and design for them.  NASA wasn't able to - will Space-X avoid worn out equipment failing in some way the didn't anticipate?

Space-X and the Space Shuttle share something else that ominous - both were under enormous pressure to keep costs down.  The original design for the Space Shuttle called for a Titanium skin.  That would have eliminated the heat tiles that failed - dooming Columbia.   According to this Wikipedia article the development of the Falcon 9 was only 1/12 what a traditional NASA project would have cost.  Now everybody wants to save money, but at what cost?  I've already pointed out some trade-offs in this heavy lift design that NASA rejected in the Saturn program.  What other trade-off are present that only engineers could understand?  At present, the Falcon 9 has a 96% success rate.  The Space Shuttle had over a 98% success rate.  If we assume that Space-X maintains their launch reliability, it stands to reason that astronauts would be at least as much at a potential risk of harm as they might have been using the Space Shuttle.  Is that acceptable?

In the United States we applaud success, but turns with vicious cruelty toward failure.  Nobody knows what would have happened had the Space Shuttle as originally proposed had been built instead of the desperately scaled down version.  Rocket science is the ultimate example of "playing with fire."  Enthusiasm is no guarantee of infallibility and the engineers at Space-X should never forget they are building machines upon whom lives will eventually depend.  That's what their boss had demanded.  Is Elon Musk ready to accept the responsibility for death's of astronauts?  If is isn't, then he shouldn't be the CEO of Space-X.

Such are the cold harsh realities of rocket science. . . . . .

Edouard