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Old 05-22-2012, 09:25 AM   #1
The Spaceman
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Huzzah! This site is worth checking out; they've got some really cool photos, videos, and simulations of their existing and planned LEO launch systems:

SpaceX - Updates
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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This is a very exciting development. Imagine the competition between them and Virgin Galactic. I think we'll see more advances in the next ten years than we saw in 30 years from NASA.

But I hope NASA is still around for robotic exploration missions.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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This is a very exciting development. Imagine the competition between them and Virgin Galactic. I think we'll see more advances in the next ten years than we saw in 30 years from NASA.

But I hope NASA is still around for robotic exploration missions.
I hear NASA's wanting to develop this thing called a "Space Shutter" or something like that - it's a Rocket that's Reusable, and will cost a gajillion-brazillion-dollars less to operate than the old, wasteful method of putting a tiny capsule atop a giant metal tube filled with fuel, like these corporations.

I eagerly await the completion of their Current Mission in Araby, so they can get-started on this important Project.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
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This is a very exciting development. Imagine the competition between them and Virgin Galactic. I think we'll see more advances in the next ten years than we saw in 30 years from NASA.

But I hope NASA is still around for robotic exploration missions.
The plan as I understand it is to hand off LEO (Low Earth Orbit) stuff to private enterprise, and keep deep-space stuff (including Moonbase Gingrich, Mission to Mars, etc.) with NASA.

In defense of NASA, their accomplishments and the groundwork they laid are what will make possible the success of Space-X and others. For example, the Merlin engines Space-X built are based on the NASA FASTRAC design.

IMO, there will always be a payoff from not for profit, pure R&D work from government funded organizations like NASA.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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IMO, there will always be a payoff from not for profit, pure R&D work from government funded organizations like NASA.
Agreed. I can't see a profit motive in pure exploration, like robotic planetary probes. But the stuff they've discovered is invaluable. It's too bad we couldn't have been doing more of that and less of the glorified TV repairman work of the Space Shuttle.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:46 AM   #6
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Having worked on the Shuttle project and seen firsthand just what a technical tour de force it was, it's hard for me not to be biased about it. If the Shuttle program had achieved it's intended goal of "Multi-Flow" processing and weekly launches, the story would have been a lot different. Coulda shoulda woulda...

Re-usability is the key to cost-effective access to space. Here are Space-X's plans for that:
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation - Video Gallery
They basically want to recover their rocket segments with a combination of parachutes and powered landings.

That's a cool concept, but I'm pretty confident the ultimate ground to LEO solution will be something akin to the Shuttle; call it a "spaceplane." NASA was technically in space with the X-15 back in the 50's. The X-15 Rocket Plane Being able to fly back to the ground is simply the right way to do it. I'll bet the farm that right now the Air Force has a classified winged vehicle that's capable of sub-orbital spaceflight, if not orbital.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:11 AM   #7
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Not if they're using Merlins to power them. They were an excellent engine in their day and the coolest sounding I/C engine ever made but even the Photo Recce version Mossie had a ceiling of less than 40k. I don't know how they expect to break atmo with that..
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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Not if they're using Merlins to power them. They were an excellent engine in their day and the coolest sounding I/C engine ever made but even the Photo Recce version Mossie had a ceiling of less than 40k. I don't know how they expect to break atmo with that..
You're right, they won't with an air-breather. But a Pulse Detonation Wave engine has a hypersonic air mode good to 180,000 ft., and is switchable to rocket mode for non-atmospheric operation.

BTW: if you happened to have seen Battlefield LA, the alien craft were using PDW engines. The thrust looks like a series of explosions... because it is.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:40 PM   #9
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You're right, they won't with an air-breather. But a Pulse Detonation Wave engine has a hypersonic air mode good to 180,000 ft., and is switchable to rocket mode for non-atmospheric operation.

BTW: if you happened to have seen Battlefield LA, the alien craft were using PDW engines. The thrust looks like a series of explosions... because it is.
I tried to watch that movie but it was so friggin' stupid I stuck forks in my eyeballs instead.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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I tried to watch that movie but it was so friggin' stupid I stuck forks in my eyeballs instead.
Meh, I liked it. I wanted patriotic Marines vs alien baddies dumb fun, irony-free, and I got it.
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