Elon Updates Plans for SpaceX on Moon and Mars by Mid 2020s with New 'BFR'

SpaceX BFR ships envisioned on Mars over the coming years. Credit: SpaceX

Elon Musk presented an update on progress SpaceX is making with plans for missions to Mars at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia on Sep 29, 2017, giving insight on the company’s ambitious vision to build a foundation and infrastructure for colonizing the Red Planet beginning in the next decade.

SpaceX’s ever evolving concept for reaching Mars aims to launch the first pair of cargo missions in 2022, followed by the first crew missions in 2024 (along with more cargo flights), taking advantage of every window of opportunity where the orbits of both Earth and Mars align in such a way to allow for trips to and from in a reasonable amount of time, which occurs about every 26 months.

Launching these missions would be the BFR (you can interpret that yourself), an updated version of the rocket and spacecraft they plan to phase out their Falcon 9s and Dragons with; the idea being to serve interests anywhere from Earth to the moon and to Mars, and further, all with one evolvable and reusable vehicle (or variants of)

A concept of the SpaceX BFR ship at the ISS, gives a good perspective of the size of the spacecraft. Credit: SpaceX

The mammoth 9m (30 ft) diameter rocket would be powered by 31 SpaceX Raptor engines, producing a liftoff thrust of 5400 tons to launch the full 4400 ton rocket and spaceship.

“In fully reusable configuration, without any orbital refueling, we expect to have a payload capability of 150 tons to LEO, compared to about 30 for Falcon Heavy” said Musk.

Together, the booster and ship would measure 106m (348 ft) in length.

The ship is essentially designed based off a Falcon 9 second stage and Dragon crew capsule combined into a single vehicle, according to Musk, and can be configured for a variety of missions with six engines at rear, propellent tanks in middle, and payload bay and crew areas in front.

The SES-10 satellite hitching a ride to orbit on SpaceX’s first reused Falcon-9, which also landed successfully minutes later on the company’s offshore autonomous drone ship. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

The payload bay is actually 8 stories tall, you can fit a whole stack of Falcon 1 rockets in the payload bay,” said Musk.

A Delta Wing with a split flap for pitch and roll control is now designed into the ship too, to expand its envelope and make it capable of landing on Mars, the Moon, Earth, or most anywhere else in the solar system. Heavy payload or no payload, thick atmosphere, thin atmosphere or virtually none, SpaceX wants one spaceship that can handle flying in all conditions.

A crew of 80-100 could fly and live comfortably on the large vehicle to and from Mars, with room for storage, galley and solar storm shelter, and even considerably more people can fly if being crammed together on the trip is not a concern.

Watch Musk’s full presentation at IAC 2017 above

BFR ships will also be capable of automated rendezvous in-flight refueling, utilizing the same mating interface they use with the rocket at liftoff to, instead, exchange fuel in space.

At some point one has to wonder how to pay for any of this, but Musk believes SpaceX can build the foundation with already existing multi-billion dollar NASA CRS and CCP contracts and a growing manifest of private customers.

Eventually, Musk hopes BFR services to the moon would also help fund the overall program and reaching Mars, building a “moon base Alpha” as a stepping stone before making the journeys across millions of miles.

Missions to Mars would depend on the capability of producing propellant on Mars as well, utilizing the planet’s CO2 atmosphere and H2O water ice (watch the above video for more details).

A trip departing Mars could reach Earth with one tank of fuel too, as long as the payload stays under 20-50 tons, according to Musk.

Concept of SpaceX BFR Moon Base. Credit: SPaceX

These goals seem unlikely in such a short span of time, especially since SpaceX has yet to fly a single Falcon Heavy or crew to date, but their goals are based in reality, and the company is proving they can meet such goals, such as having already landed 16 rockets in a row after launching payloads for NASA and others, when critics said for years they couldn’t.

They spoke too soon, as SpaceX is now deep in ULA’s territory, having started launching missions for USAF and NRO, keepers of the nation’s most secretive and classified satellites.

Earlier this year, two paying customers bought the first lunar orbit trip atop the Falcon Heavy for an undisclosed amount of money, expected to launch after the rocket has established itself as a safe and dependable operational booster.

Musk’s vision for the BFR also makes it useful on Earth too, potentially providing travel services from point A to point B on Earth in 30 minutes to an hour, tops.

Watch above, I’m sure folks in the airline industry raised their eyebrows to this video…

Musk says work building BFR ship will begin within the next year.

Falcon Heavy is expected to make its inaugural launch from KSC pad 39A late this year or early next, along with the return of regular ops to nearby SLC-40 on Cape Canaveral AFS, and the first crew missions to the ISS for NASA on Falcon 9s and Dragons from KSC 39A.

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87 comments to Elon Updates Plans for SpaceX on Moon and Mars by Mid 2020s with New ‘BFR’

  • TomPerkins

    With respect, a typo: ” They spoke to soon ” should ~ be They spoke too soon ~.

    Astonishing there’s no comments about this yet. If these are metric tons and the cost per launch is less than an F9 — 1 dollar less ;^). That puts the cost to LEO for this at $188/lb to LEO.

    Somehow I feel certain Gary Church and all his sockpupets are in the same rubber room gagged with their arms in the sleeves that tie int he back rocking to and fro wishing they could hug their knees.

    • …puts the cost to LEO for this at $188/lb to LEO

      A mixed bag for the Moon Miners, on the one hand BFR would enable the space agencies and the private sector to actually build a lunar ice mine before the sun goes red giant, on the other hand -BFR goes a long toward making such a mine pointless and uneconomical. At least in the near to mid-term. In the long run, I think SpaceX & BO’s vehicles will enable all sorts of interesting & unexpected economic activity in space, with lots of H20 needed by all. Unless – – you’re some career government academic who’s never written a paycheck or worked a single day in the public sector for your entire life, and you think the only conceivable manned space program involves sending hideously overpriced government rockets to the place your wrote your theses about.

      Said career government academic will continue to get a salary from the Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration until he retires, regardless of what happens in the space business, while his two most vociferous followers will be rocking to and fro wishing they could hug their knees.

      But ya know what, the sockpupets WILL get a temporary reprieve from time to time, Falcons will blow-up, Dragon capsules will fail, sh*^ will happen, because failure IS an option -that’s how progress is made.

    • James

      Forget about silly straw person attacks against a “career government academic” because a far worse nightmare and super enormous “failure” for all of you ‘Mars Colonies Soon with weak chemical rockets cult folks’ is that business guy Jeff Bezos and those Blue Origin folks and their aim of having their reusable New Shepard, New Glenn, and New Armstrong launchers help to enable a serious and useful Moon Base and a whole lot more than narrow thinking and nonscientific Mars Colonies Soon cult attack dogs can imagine.

      “New Glenn is 23 feet (7 meters) in diameter. That will make it just 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) narrower than the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage.

      And, “The two-stage version will be 270 feet (82.3 meters) tall while the three-stage variant will be 313 feet (95.4 meters) tall – just 50 feet (15.2 meters) short of the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket and 8 feet (2.4 meters) short of the Block 1 SLS’ height.”

      “’Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,’ Bezos said. ‘It won’t be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.’”

      From: ‘Blue Origin reveals New Glenn launch vehicle plans’ By Bart Leahy 9/12/2016
      At: http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/blue-origin/blue-origin-reveals-new-glenn-launch-vehicle-plans/#mKJq2rEM382rDfre.99

      “Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/;[4] né Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is an American technology and retail entrepreneur, investor, computer scientist, and philanthropist,[5] best known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, the world’s largest online shopping retailer.[6] The company began as an Internet merchant of books and expanded to a wide variety of products and services, most recently video streaming and audio streaming. Amazon.com is currently the world’s largest Internet sales company on the World Wide Web,[7] as well as the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services, which is available through its Amazon Web Services arm.[8]”

      And, “He indicated that his ambitions in space are not location dependent—Mars, Lunar, asteroidal, etc.—’we want to go everywhere, [requiring significantly lower launch costs.] Our number-one opponent is gravity. … The vision for Blue is pretty simple. We want to see millions of people living and working in space.'”

      And, “In June 2016, Bezos reiterated his long term goal to see nearly all heavy-industry manufacturing factories in space as part of a wide-ranging, but rare, interview.[44] In September 2016, he added that he hoped to colonize the solar system.[45] Recently, Bezos also revealed that he was selling about $1 billion in Amazon stock a year to finance his Blue Origin rocket company.[46]”

      From: ‘Jeff Bezos’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bezos#Criticism

      Yikes! This Jeff Bezos space guy isn’t a Mars Colonies Soon cult follower! He actually spends lots of his own money on various launchers and a Lunar lander and even wants to help NASA’s SLS and international Orion missions build a permanent base on the Moon! Oh no!

      The Mars Colonies Soon cult attack dogs may howl and snarl until long after the cows come to live on our first of many large O’Neill cylinders and start producing the best milk in the Solar System, but all that nasty attack dog howling and teeth grinding noise on the Home Planet probably won’t make a bit of difference to Jeff Bezos, those smart folks at Blue Origin, and all those happy O’Neill cylinder cows!

      • “…I think SpaceX & BO’s vehicles will enable all sorts of interesting..”

        BO is common acronym for Blue Origin you nitwit. (not to mention BO’s LVs use chemical propellants -CH4 what else- so I guess Bezos is just another cult member)

        “”weak chemical rockets cult folks’ is that business guy Jeff Bezos and those Blue Origin folks and their aim of having their reusable New Shepard, New Glenn, and New Armstrong””

        • James

          “BO’s LVs use chemical propellants -CH4 what else” – se jones

          Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable suborbital launch vehicle doesn’t burn “CH4”, it burns H2.

          “The BE-3 (Blue Engine 3) is a LH2/LOX rocket engine developed by Blue Origin.[1]”

          And, “The engine began development in the early 2010s, and completed acceptance testing in early 2015. The engine is being used on the Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital rocket, for which test flights began in 2015.”

          And, “For Blue Origin’s future orbital launch vehicle they are developing a variant of the BE-3 for use in upper stages. As of November 2015, the engine was projected to have a vacuum thrust of 670 kilonewtons (150,000 lbf).[15] An extendable nozzle for BE-3U is under development in early 2016.[13]”

          And:
          “The performance of the sea-level version of the BE-3 include:
          Thrust: 490 kilonewtons (110,000 lbf) at full power[9][2]
          Throttle reduction capability: 89 kilonewtons (20,000 lbf)[8]”

          From: ‘BE-3’ Wikipedia
          At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

          “The optional third stage will use a single BE-3U vacuum optimized rocket engine, and use hydrogen/oxygen as propellant.”

          From: ‘New Glenn’ Wikipedia
          At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Glenn

          • New Shepard is essentially a reusable sounding rocket, not a “launch vehicle” in the same vein as BFR, New Glen and New Armstrong.

            The context of this comment chain is clearly around the SpaceX BFR, a launch vehicle (LV), but annoying clowns like you & Gary never can grasp the concept of “context” in a technical discussion. The English language is limited, so in science and engineering communication, context is everything because there aren’t enough words to go around and long, strung-out descriptions are tedious and time consuming. Tedious and time consuming -kinda like your endless copy & paste posts.

            Context -I’d urge you to try it sometime, but that would be p*&^#@ into the wind.

        • James

          “The context of this comment chain is clearly around the SpaceX BFR” – se jones

          se jones, “context” is one of many things you fail to grasp because apparently you cannot read.

          The hyrolox BE-3U vacuum optimized rocket engine is going to be used for the third stage of the very large and capable New Glenn launcher which will compete with the Mini BFR.

          If one didn’t have your limited reading comprehension and nonscientific and ignorant prejudice against hydrolox, one might understand the context and consider the idea that the same hydrolox BE-3U vacuum optimized rocket engine may play a similar third stage role in the New Armstrong which may be even much bigger than, and compete with, the Mini BFR.

          With the commercial New Armstrong and New Glenn probably both having or maybe even sharing a common high Isp hydrolox rocket engine powered third stage, there probably would be zip reason for Congress to waste any taxpayer money for subsidizing the low Isp CH4 and LOX rocket engine for the upper stage of the two stage Mini BFR.

          Yep, with Heavy Lift Vehicles such as the SLS, New Glenn, New Armstrong, Next Generation Launcher, and Vulcan all having super efficient and high Isp hydrolox rocket engines for their second or third stages, maybe Congress and investors won’t see any need at all for the two stage Mini BFR with its upper stage powered by low Isp CH4 and LOX rocket engines.

          Who knows, if there is no real commercial or government need for the Mini BFR, with its upper stage powered by low Isp CH4 and LOX rocket engines, the President or Congress might even nicely, or not so nicely, ask SpaceX to return America’s massive and needed Launch Pad 39A ASAP!

          Wow! That certainly would be quite some large launch vehicle super efficient and high Isp hydrolox rocket engine upper stage “context”, wouldn’t it?

          Again, for the benefit of all the nonscientific folks like se jones who cannot seem to understand that a high Isp hydrolox rocket engine is sometimes much more useful for a large commercial launcher’s second or third stage than a much lower Isp rocket engine that burns CH4 and LOX:

          “The optional third stage will use a single BE-3U vacuum optimized rocket engine, and use hydrogen/oxygen as propellant.”

          From: ‘New Glenn’ Wikipedia
          At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Glenn

    • I sure hate making minor errors like that, thx Tom (fixed).

      • Mike
    • James

      TomPerkins and se jones –

      Foolishly snarl, whine, curse, wail, hurl insults, call folks names, and grind your teeth down all you want, but the fact remains that Jeff Bezos isn’t a narrow thinking ‘Ignore the Moon and build Mars Colonies Soon with weak chemical rockets’ cult follower!

      Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin want the whole Solar System. Nuclear power is needed to efficiently get to and to mine and use the resourses of the whole Solar System.

      We humans have been using various forms of nuclear power in space for many decades and that use needs to safely, carefully, and efficiently grow much larger.

      “Nuclear reactions release about a million times as much energy, weight for weight, as chemical reactions.”

      And, “An exhaust jet of some material – a working fluid – has to be expelled; the only difference is that its energy of motion will now be derived from nuclear, and not from chemical, reactions.”

      From: ‘The Promise of Space’ Page 229 By Arthur C. Clarke 1968

      The Moon has rich deposits of thorium that can be used to make U-233.

      Lunar made U-233 will power nuclear reactors for electricity and be used to power nuclear thermal rocket engines and various types of super efficient and ultra high Isp nuclear pulse propulsion systems that will be safely used far away from the Earth in Lunar orbit and in deep space.

      The gateway Moon and its many resources, including water and thorium, are critical enablers for folks who want the whole Solar System.

      “Not one to be left out, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is also making plans to go to the Moon, just like fellow space magnate Elon Musk. Bezos’ plan, uncovered by The Washington Post via a draft proposal presented to NASA and Trump’s administration, outlines Blue Origin’s plan to create a cargo spacecraft destined for the Moon that would help it ferry supplies, experiments and even people to Earth’s largest natural satellite by around July 2020.”

      And, “Bezos has a pretty keen grasp of terrestrial shipping via Amazon, so it makes sense that he would envision providing similar services at a lunar scale. The CEO told the Washington Post that he believes it’s time for the U.S. to not only make its way back to the Moon – but also to stick around this time, with the goal of establishing a ‘permanently inhabited lunar settlement.'”

      From: ‘Jeff Bezos wants Blue Origin to be the Amazon of the Moon’
      By Darrell Etherington March 3, 2017
      At: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/03/jeff-bezos-wants-blue-origin-to-be-the-amazon-of-the-moon/

      • TomPerkins

        Hi Gary,

        Both Bezos and Musk are both doing what is required to make access to space and space settlement become commonly thought of as possible and plausible, which is lowering the cost of getting there. Bezos achievements in that regard are entirely theoretical, as he has flown no payloads. Musk is the one making concrete gains in that area, and those gains apply to whole solar system whether you can see that or not. If Musk only wants to settle Mars, there is no reason whatsoever for you to have a problem with that. There is also no reason to wait for nuclear thermal rockets. We can and should start going now the the technology we have at hand, precisely because it is good enough.

        There is no foolishly snarling, whining, cursing, wailing, hurling insults, or calling folks names, and grinding your teeth to that. It’s just a truth you for some reason will not acknowledge.

        If NTRs are developed, fine. If they are not, that’s also fine.

        • James

          “There is no foolishly snarling, whining, cursing, wailing, hurling insults, or calling folks names, and grinding your teeth to that. It’s just a truth you for some reason will not acknowledge.” – TomPerkins

          “you nitwit” – se jones See his above post October 1, 2017 at 3:49 pm.
          “That sound you hear is the sound of Mars Society members grinding their teeth” – se jones See his post below October 1, 2017 at 1:35 am.

          I’m not Gary. I support Gary’s position that a Base on the Moon is the needed enabler to gaining economical and quick access to the rest of the Solar System. Lots of other folks think the same thing and they are not all named Gary.

          Gary also supports Orion nuclear pulse propulsion and so do I.

          Folks around the world can understand how Lunar thorium and powerful and super high Isp Orion nuclear pulse propulsion systems can provide enormous delta-v capabilities for spaceships and should be a huge space transportation game changer and enable the efficient mining of asteroids.

          Note:

          “The fission powered Orion could even achieve three to five percent the speed of light, though a more advanced design using fusion might achieve eight to ten percent the speed of light.”

          And, “A ten-meter Orion ship could get a crew of eight men from Earth to Mars orbit and back in 150 days (chemical missions would require 300–450 days round trip at best) in a vehicle weighing just under 1,000 tons with a 100-ton payload. The SEOB, with a payload capability of 5,000 tons, was akin to the ‘Advanced Interplanetary Orion’ design developed later during Project Orion, which had a gross mass of 10,000 tons and could take 5,300 tons to the same Mars orbit.”

          From: ‘Starfleet was closer than you think’
          By Major Brent Ziarnick and Lt. Col. Peter Garretson 3/16/2015
          At: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2714/1

          The 8.4 meter diameter evolved SLS could launch into LEO all the heavy 130 ton, or even 150 ton, pieces of 1,000 ton “ten-meter Orion ship”.

          Then we would need to assemble the pieces of the 1,000 ton Orion spaceship at the International Space Station.

          After that assembling task was done, we would move our reusable 1,000 ton Orion spaceship into a high Lunar orbit with chemical or ion rocket engines and then load its propulsion devices with Lunar made U-233 and add some thick effective Galactic Cosmic Radiation shielding to the Orion’s habitat.

          Then we could start going on lots of quick roundtrip missions from Lunar orbit to Mars and back to Lunar orbit that would only take “150 days” while hauling “100-ton” payloads. That would be much quicker, less risky, and more economically useful than super high risk and slow Mini BFR Mars missions that always require hauling into LEO loads of CH4 and LOX to power weak chemical rocket engines. The Orion’s minimal amount of U-233 fuel would come from the Moon.

          Use a Mars based Mini BFR as a Mars ‘hop spacecraft’ and as a space shuttle to service large Orion nuclear pulse spacecraft.

          Use an International Space Station based Mini BFR as a space tug and for space shuttle missions to service large Orion nuclear pulse spacecraft that are in a high orbit around the Moon.

          Much larger and much faster Orion nuclear pulse spaceships could also eventually be built on the Moon and based in Lunar orbit and used to mine asteroids.

          “It’s just a truth you for some reason will not acknowledge.”

          • TomPerkins

            Hi Gary,

            ” There is no foolishly snarling, whining, cursing, wailing, hurling insults, or calling folks names, and grinding your teeth to that. It’s just a truth you for some reason will not acknowledge. ”

            That’s true. I am not Se Jones. Why bring him up? And you’re not Gary Church , don’t make me laugh. If A = B, they are the same thing.

            Not one other thing you wrote changes the fact chemical rockets are cheap enough and work well enough, that we should spend any time waiting on NTRs.

            Other than your “wall of meaningless text” posting/trolling style, you have nothing to add to that.

            • James

              “I am not Se Jones. Why bring him up? And you’re not Gary Church , don’t make me laugh. If A = B, they are the same thing.” – TomPerkins

              By that crazy logic you must be Se Jones!

              • TomPerkins

                No, I don’t write anything like Se Jones.

                But you do write very much like Gary Church. Almost identically.

                For example, your reply below.

          • James

            The “wall of meaningless text” exists in all the Internet sites filled with all the endless super big and false claims made about the now business and technologically obsolete and orphaned Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2.

            American taxpayers paid for and are paying for much of the costs of developing that ‘bait and switch’ obsolete space technology con game created by our former President’s ‘political friend’.

            The robust, reliable, and capable Ares I would have been a much better investment for the taxpayers.

            Mini BFR = Maxi Big Foolish Rip-off.

            • TomPerkins

              No, I don’t write anything like Se Jones.

              But you do write very much like Gary Church. Almost identically.

              For example, your reply below.

            • TomPerkins

              Arg, replies in the wrong place. @%^$*#!

              There is nothing new or advanced about hydrolox fueled rockets. The Falcons are not obsolete in the slightest, precisely because they avoid the use of hydrogen. High Isp is the pursuit of a hobby rocketeer, because the point of the Isp in the launch business is deltaV/lb/$. Isp is a means to that end, not the end itself.

              Hydrogen is an uneconomic fuel to use because its extreme cold makes keeping it liquefied for storage problematic, and its very large specific volume plus cold means it has large heavy tanks that must be insulated, and the large volumes being less compact are more difficult to build to the sustain thrust from the motors when in a vehicle.

              Musk had no political assistance whatsoever in building SpaceX, unless you count the government finally following the law as being assistance.

              Not being any more reusable than the SLS, the Ares I was a ripoff as much as the SLS still is.

              • James

                “The Falcons are not obsolete in the slightest, precisely because they avoid the use of hydrogen.” – TomPerkins

                Wrong. Look at the real world.

                SpaceX is in a technological dead end and the evidence of needed extremely rapid change is clear and obvious.

                The hydrolox BE-3U vacuum optimized BE-3 rocket engine is probably going to be used for the third stages of Blue Origin’s upcoming partially reusable commercial New Glenn and New Armstrong launchers.

                “For Blue Origin’s future orbital launch vehicle they are developing a variant of the BE-3 for use in upper stages.”

                From: ‘BE-3’ Wikipedia
                At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

                The hydrolox BE-3U rocket engine, or other high performance Hydrolox rocket engines, will be used on the upper stages for various other new large launchers being built by other companies.

                High delta-v performance and high Isp hydrolox rocket engine powered stages are useful for developing the Moon and its resources precisely because their propellant tanks can be resupplied with propellants made from Lunar H2O.

                Like it or not, we humans are going to the Moon to build a permanent resource mining base there.

                Even Mr. Elon Musk needs to do Lunar surface missions.

                Mr. Elon Musk also needs a super reliable, carefully flight tested, and reusable hydrolox rocket engine ASAP, and he might not have too many choices.

                Maybe he’ll buy hydrolox BE-3U rocket engines from Blue Origin. That could be a very smart choice.

                The Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 are obsolete and abandoned products in a business, technological, and political sense and Mr. Elon Musk is cancelling their production at some date that may be several years prior to 2022.

                Apparently, his space products can’t be improved and built while he is trying to design and build the Mini BFR. He wants to only focus on building the Mini BFR.

                His Mini BFR plan may set a relatively close phase out date for his current space projects if he is going to get the Mini-BFR fully designed, built, tested, and launched by 2022.

                If Mr. Elon Musk doesn’t launch his Mini BFR by 2022, his competition in the form of Blue Origin’s New Glenn and New Armstrong, NASA’s SLS, Northrop Grumman Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launcher, and ULA’s Vulcan may already be launching with second or third stages powered by high Isp Hydrolox rocket engines capable of supporting or doing high delta-v Lunar missions.

                Mr. Elon Musk may still be launching previously built and stored ‘old’ Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2s in 2022 and in 2023, but SpaceX apparently won’t be building new ones and may have to quit trying improve, or even build, his current products relatively soon to focus all of SpaceX’s efforts on the Mini BFR launch of 2022.

                “Musk says work building BFR ship will begin within the next year.”
                – Mike Killian from the above article.

                “SpaceX’s ever evolving concept for reaching Mars aims to launch the first pair of cargo missions in 2022, followed by the first crew missions in 2024 (along with more cargo flights), taking advantage of every window of opportunity where the orbits of both Earth and Mars align in such a way to allow for trips to and from in a reasonable amount of time, which occurs about every 26 months.” – Mike Killian from the above article.

                Mr. Elon Musk is juggling too many space projects and too little time, and he probably cannot afford to maintain the development and building of the technologically obsolete Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 and thus those space projects are in the long or short process of being completely cancelled or phased out so SpaceX can focus on quickly developing the Mini BFR.

                “Falcon Heavy, we hardly knew ye.”

                And, “‘Some of our customers are conservative, and they want to see BFR fly several times before they’re comfortable launching on it,’ Musk said. ‘So what we plan to do is to build ahead and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable — if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, because we’ll have a bunch in stock. But all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR.'”

                From: “SpaceX to Phase Out Everything But Its Mars-Colonizing ‘BFR’ Rocket”
                By Mike Wall September 30, 2017
                At: https://www.space.com/38323-spacex-phasing-out-rockets-for-mars-bfr-spaceship.html

                Note that liquid propellant launchers and spacecraft stored for years may not be as reliable as freshly produced liquid propellant launchers and spacecraft.

                • TomPerkins

                  All of that word salad to say what could have been said 1/5th as many. Your English language skills are atrocious.

                  With 10 uses out of Block 5 before refurbishment and concomitantly low operating costs, why should they improve on Falcons when the BFR is the improvement over them?

                  Why do you keep on pretending I don’t want people to go to the Moon? I am consistently stating the cost of access to LEO must be lowered. That is the goal.

                  ” Note that liquid propellant launchers and spacecraft stored for years may not be as reliable as freshly produced liquid propellant launchers and spacecraft. ”

                  Showing you are unaware of how SpaceX does things, which was already self-evident.

              • James

                “Not being any more reusable than the SLS, the Ares I was a ripoff as much as the SLS still is.” – TomPerkins

                Wrong.

                The Ares I had a large hydrolox J-2X powered second stage that could have eventually been routinely resupplied with hydrolox in space and reused as a large Earth Orbit Departure Stage or Lunar Orbit Departure Stage.

                “Unlike the Space Shuttle Main Engine, which was designed to start on the ground, the J-2X was designed from inception to be started in both mid-air and in near-vacuum. This air-start capability was critical, especially in the original J-2 engine used on the Saturn V’s S-IVB stage, to propel the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.”

                From: ‘Ares I’ Wikipedia
                At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ares_I#J-2X_engines

                The initial test mission of the Ares I-X had a reusable first stage.

                “The first stage was found floating upright, as is typical of expended Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters. However, recovery divers noted buckling of the lower portion.[28][29] Reports also note an apparent fracture of the booster’s forward segment casing and a fractured bracket that held an actuator, part of the SRM’s nozzle vectoring system.[29] A NASA memo states that engineers believe that the lower segment buckled when the first stage landed at a much higher speed than designed as a result of one of three main parachutes failing to deploy, as well as the failure of a second main parachute to remain deployed.”

                From: ‘Ares I-X’ Wikipedia
                At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ares_I-X

                The Ares I had the potential to be fully reusable and quite useful for decades, whereas your much beloved Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 that are in the process of being cancelled will quite soon be ancient history that few folks will even bother to think about.

                Reusable hydrolox second or third stages are going to be quite useful in Cislunar Space and on the Moon.

                The Ares I isn’t really gone and may soon reappear in a super upgraded form as Northrop Grumman Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launcher with the option for a super large and reusable hydrolox upper stage.

                The Moon and Cislunar Space missions need the high delta-v transportation options offered by reusable hydrolox rocket engine powered upper stages that can be resupplied with Lunar made hydrolox.

                The Moon has H2O and it will be mined and hydrolox propellant will be made and sold in Cislunar Space.

                SpaceX is going to the Moon.

                Get used to it.

                Learn something new instead of simply often repeating obsolete Mars Colonies Soon cult garbage.

                Perhaps you should go count the large launchers with hydrolox upper stages.

                Or you could just continue to do foolish and ignorant attacks on various launchers that you really don’t understand.

                • TomPerkins

                  ” the initial test mission of the Ares I-X had a reusable first stage. ”

                  No it didn’t, they never even started it. It was as re-usable as the re-usable STS vehicles never built.

                  ” SpaceX is going to the Moon. ”

                  And to Mars, get used to it. On their own timetable without say so from you. Get used to that. On Methalox rockets, get used to that.

  • Chris

    Bigger than SLS, capable of throwing more mass to the moon while being reusable. Sounds like a “hobby rocket” to me….ha!

    • James

      Long ago the Russians built a large and reusable spaceship with wings called the Buran and a super heavy lift launcher to lift it into space known as the Energiya. If or when the Russians need or want fully reusable launchers and spaceships, they certainly know how to build them.

      “Energia (Russian: Энергия, Energiya, “Energy”) was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift partially recoverable launch system for a variety of payloads including the Buran spacecraft.”

      And, “The rocket had the capacity to place about 100 tonnes in Low Earth orbit, up to 20 tonnes to geostationary orbit and up to 32 tonnes to a translunar trajectory.[1]”

      And, “The legacy of Energia/Buran project manifests itself most visibly in form of the RD-170 family of rocket engines, and the Zenit launcher, with the first stage roughly the same as one of the Energia first-stage boosters.”

      And, “The four strap-on liquid-fuel boosters, which burned kerosene and liquid oxygen, were the basis of the Zenit rocket which used the same engines. The engine is the four combustion chamber RD-170. Its derivative, the RD-171, is still used on the Zenit rocket. A half-sized derivative of the engine, the two-chamber RD-180, powers Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V rocket, while the single-chamber derivative, the RD-191, has been used to launch the Korean Naro-1 (as a reduced-thrust variant named the RD-151) and the Russian Angara rocket.[10]”

      And, “In August 2016, plans were announced to develop a super heavy-lift launch vehicle from existing Energia components instead of pushing the less-powerful Angara A5V project.[11][12] This would allow Russia to launch missions towards establishing a permanent Moon base with simpler logistics, launching just one or two 80–160-ton super-heavy rockets instead of four 40-ton Angara A5Vs implying quick-sequence launches and multiple in-orbit rendez-vous.[11]”

      From: ‘Energia’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia

      It is possible that the 160 ton LEO payload capability of Russia’s upcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle, based on the powerful and efficient RD-170, could sometimes be more useful than the 150 ton LEO payload of Mr. Musk’s proposed Mini BFR.

      Russia might even eventually upgrade its super launcher to have an over 200 ton payload to LEO capability.

      If Russia’s upcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle was launched from Guiana Space Centre near the equator, the payload to GTO would be increased significantly. Currently, Russia’s Soyuz-2 rockets are launched from the Guiana Space Centre.

      To say that the zigzagging American human spaceflight program has been erratic, highly politicized, and poorly managed is a gross understatement.

      Europe wants and needs a Moon Village and Lunar resources.

      If America is going to continue to often ignore European space expectations and needs, it is logical and reasonable for Europe to find a capable and more reliable human spaceflight partner, or partners, in addition to America.

      If Europe wants to guarantee its large payloads access to GTO and needed human spaceflight missions to build the Moon Village and mine the extremely useful Lunar water and thorium, it could eventually invite Russia to build a super large commercial launch pad, for Russia’s upcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle, at the Guiana Space Centre.

      Such a commercial and super large launch pad might be designed to be dual use. It could also be used by Europe’s proposed future reusable methane and liquid oxygen powered launcher that will be used after the upcoming Ariane 6 is retired.

      Note:

      “The Guiana Space Centre or, more commonly, Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) is a French and European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana.”

      And, ”As a result of these phenomena, similarly sized Proton and Ariane 5 rockets can send similar payloads to LEO. However, the Proton, launched from high latitudes in Russia, can only send 6,270kgs to GTO while a Kourou-launched Ariane 5 can send more than 10,000kgs to GTO. [9][10]“

      From: ‘Guiana Space Centre’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guiana_Space_Centre#ELS_.2F_Soyuz_at_CSG

      Currently, the Russians are the folks taking everyone to the International Space Station, and if SpaceX eventually starts doing such human spaceflights, it is quite unlikely that SpaceX’s costs per seat are going to dramatically drop to be similar to airline costs for a first-class seat on a flight going half way around the world.

      Despite many major political and economic changes and challenges, the Russians have played the LEO human spaceflight geopolitical game longer and better than anyone else in the world because they can still fly international crews to LEO in their own spacecraft that are launched by their own rockets. America cannot. China is headed in the direction of eventually flying international crews to LEO and to the Moon.

      Russia’s super heavy-lift launch vehicle and mining Lunar water and thorium could eventually enable the Home Planet to build and fuel with Lunar made U-233 various types of large and super high Isp Orion nuclear pulse spaceships that would be home based in orbit around the Moon and able to help humans to efficiently divert or destroy incoming NEOs and mine the diverse and extensive resources of asteroids and the hundreds or thousands of dwarf planets beyond Pluto.

      Time will tell.

  • James

    “What’s more, Musk says the ticket price for an intercontinental rocket ride would cost about the same as a commercial airline ticket. As amazing as that development sounds, there are reasons to be skeptical that rockets will ferry people around the planet for so little money anytime soon, said John Logsdon, who is professor emeritus at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a faculty member at the university’s Space Policy Institute.”It is a very attractive prospect, but I think extremely unrealistic in any relevant time frame,” Logsdon told CNBC in an interview.”

    And, “Passengers on a spacecraft are subject to forces that are as much as five times the force of gravity as they accelerate into space, then are in microgravity or zero gravity for the duration of the flight. They get hit with the G-force again on landing, he said.’The idea that a typical airline passenger would be able to go through the experience just doesn’t compute,’ he said. ‘Musk calls all of this ‘aspirational,’ which is a nice code word for more than likely not achievable.'”

    From: “Space expert: Musk’s plan to fly people from NY to Shanghai in 39 minutes ‘extremely unrealistic'” By Robert Ferris September 30, 2017
    At: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/space-expert-musk-apos-plan-165607839.html

    “Still, it remains to be seen just how many people would be willing to save a day’s travel by being transported in this way. Musk has a word for us doubters, though: conservative. ‘Some of our customers are conservative, and they want to see the BFR fly several times before they’re comfortable launching [on it],” he said during his talk.'”

    “Elon Musk’s latest crazy idea? Rocket-based travel. On Earth”
    By Luke Dormehl October 1, 2017
    At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-latest-crazy-idea-180851189.html

    • TomPerkins

      Logsdon screwed that up pretty good. Passengers are subjected to G forces relative to throttle setting, not necessarily 5g.

      And “Space Experts” have rarely been more wrong than when saying SpaceX can’t make something work.

      • James

        Perhaps Mr. John Logsdon was far too gentle in his comments.

        “Rockets have a tendency to not get launched in adverse weather conditions, which would give any commercial passenger service a set of dilemmas about (1) when to move folks to the rocket (2) how reliable the schedule could be. And, of course, they aren’t especially safe compared to the remarkable record of commercial aviation. Before SpaceX talked about carrying people, it was quite self-deprecating about its tendency to blow up rockets. To produce a trustworthy aviation-style service, SpaceX will likely need to improve safety a thousandfold, perhaps orders of magnitude more than that.”

        From: “It’s Gonna Be A Long, Long Time Before ‘Rocket Man’ Musk Can Shrink The Planet”
        By Mark Rogowsky 9/30/2017
        At: https://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2017/09/30/elon-musk-the-real-rocket-man-wants-to-shrink-the-planet/#26ef62531ce7

        “There have been more successes than failures, but still, the current rate in which Musk’s rockets explode is unacceptable for any commercial standpoint. A dramatic increase in passenger safety would be needed before anyone would feel safe enough stepping on board a SpaceX rocket.”

        And, “Cost is another huge hurdle. Musk claimed these rocket trips would be as inexpensive as commercial air travel. But that assumes a level of scale that is particularly hard to fathom. A recent study by the US Air Force found that reusable rockets were good for about 100 flights, while commercial airplanes could stay in operation for up to 10,000 flights.”

        And, “As such, Musk’s point-to-point rockets are ‘probably going to be 10 times the cost per-seat,’ said Charles Miller, president of NexGen Space LLC. ‘He may be 1-in-10,000 [for] loss of vehicle, but it’s nowhere near the 3-and-10 million reliability of airlines.’

        From: “Elon Musk’s idea for commercial rocket travel on Earth would be a logistical nightmare” By Andrew J. Hawkins 9/29/2017
        At: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/29/16385026/elon-musk-spacex-rocket-transportation-point-to-point

        Perhaps Mr. Elon Musk is going to have to prove a “1-in-10,000 [for] loss of vehicle” and prove a “3-and-10 million reliability of airlines” for his Mini BFR.

        Yep, maybe lots of space policy and rocket experts have been way too gentle in their public comments about all the Mini BFR plans of Mr. Elon Musk, a ‘political friend’ of our former lost in space President who apparently thought a Moon Base was a Republican idea.

        • TomPerkins

          ” Perhaps Mr. John Logsdon was far too gentle in his comments. ”

          Which still leaves him abjectly wrong about what he was wrong about.

          There is no evidentiary excuse to believe the Falcons are not very reliable rockets. All vehicles in their beginning are unreliable, then they become reliable and then they show how. Pretending the Falcons are not moving well along that curve is sticking your head in the sand.

          The Air Force study has no relevance when the boosters will be designed to a 1000 before refurbishment standard and the vehicles what might carry passengers can be built to a like standard. Remember wear occurs with stress and any point-to-point Earthly transports will see far less stress than orbital counterparts.

          Some current air routes take 27 hours at minimum. A rocket can do it in 30 to 45 minutes. People will gladly pay 10 fold even if the cost is that high, to say a day of their lives. Reliability is not a non-issue, but if you recall the airliner which lost it’s whole low pressure fan a few days ago, it’s is a matter of engineering to be tolerant of even drastic faults.

          Again with insistence that politics gave SpaceX success. There is a very wisely passed law which says the government must not compete with commercial providers of space launch services. The government started following that law finally, and SpaceX befitted from the obedience to law. Would it had been in time for Beal.

          • James

            Quit believing some of the utter nonsense claims Mr. Elon Musk sometimes spouts.

            He is the King of Government Subsidies for a good reason. He could sell ice at the South Pole and snake oil to Martian snakes swimming in an ocean of snake oil.

            Trying to answer questions about the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 concerning if they are or are not very reliable space systems is not relevant because they are in the process of being cancelled and they soon will be history and may not even have the chance to fully demonstrate if they are somewhat reliable.

            Yes, Mr. Andrew Beal and the good folks at Beal Aerospace would probably enjoy some real success in actually building a large commercial launcher now instead of the government nonsense and roadblocks those folks experienced when they tried to do it back in 1997.

            Note that Congress passes and changes lots of laws all the time. Nothing Congress does is really written on stone.

    • Chris

      As Tom said, if you are not actually going to orbit you can afford to trade some gravity loss against comfort. In any case, a 45 minute prezo and you decided to explode your quote pants on the last 4 minutes concerning the least pressing application. Typical.

  • “…building a “moon base Alpha” as a stepping stone before making the journey across millions of miles.”

    That sound you hear is the sound of Mars Society members grinding their teeth whenever they see this misleading bromide bandied about. Yeah, perhaps Lunar missions could provide some financial “stepping stones” to Musk’s Mars efforts, but unfortunately most of the public (and too many space cadets) take the “stepping stone” cliché literally.

    The SpaceX Mars mission model was inspired by, and retains the key aspects of Bob Zubrin’s Mars Direct plan; #1, if you want to go to Mars, go to Mars, don’t justify endless NASA center projects for giant atomic electric spaceships and fuel depots on the moon. #2, rendezvous mission elements on the surface Mars, then make your return propellants ON Mars, don’t drag them millions of miles through space from earth/moon.

    • James

      Lots of folks have various spaceflight plans and maybe the Mars Society needs to quit grinding their teeth and snarling like attack dogs whenever anyone expresses a viewpoint that is contrary to the endless off the wall noise about Mars Colonies Soon with super high risk, costly, weak, and inefficient chemical powered spaceships.

      The Europeans have their international Moon Village and Lunar resource mining plans and are doing some serious and useful launch vehicle cost reduction work to help enable that Moon Base that Mr. Elon Musk now says we should have before we head off to Mars.

      “Unlike previous Ariane rockets which are assembled and fueled vertically before being transported to the launchpad, the Ariane 6 main stages will be assembled horizontally at the new integration hall in Les Mureaux and then transported to French Guiana, where they will be erected and integrated with boosters and payload.[29] The horizontal assembly process was inspired by the Russian tradition for Soyuz and Proton launchers — which was more recently applied to the American Delta IV and Falcon 9 boosters[30] — with a stated goal of halving production costs.[31]”

      And, “The industrial production process was completely overhauled, allowing synchronized workflow between several European production sites moving at a monthly cadence, which would enable 12 launches per year, doubling Ariane 5’s yearly capacity.[29] To further lower the price, Ariane 6 engines will use 3D printed components.[32] The Ariane 6 will be the first large rocket to utilise a laser ignition system which has been developed by Austrias Carinthian research center (CTR) and previously deployed in automotive and turbine engines.”

      And concerning their Prometheus engine, “This engine would have about the same thrust as the Vulcain 2 currently powering Ariane 5, but would burn methane instead of liquid hydrogen. Charmeau was non-committal about whether Prometheus (still only in the first few months of development) could be used as an expendable replacement for the Vulcain 2 in Ariane 6, or whether it was tied to the re-usable Adeline design, saying only that ‘We are cautious, and we prefer to speak when are sure of what we announce. … But certainly this engine could very well fit with the first stage of Ariane 6 one day’.[3]”

      And, “In 2017 the Prometheus engine project was revealed to have the aim of reducing the engine unit cost from the €10m of the Vulcain2 to €1m and allowing the engine to be reused up to five times.[37]”

      From: ‘Ariane 6’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_6

      Yikes! Those Europeans headed for the Moon Village and mining Lunar resources want to drop rocket engine costs to 10% of what they are currently paying!

      Cost reduction for cargo and human flights to build a permanent Moon Village and mine the Moon’s many useful resources, including water and thorium, seems to be the name of the newly recognized geopolitical game.

      “The asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to contain 1.7×1019 kg of nickel–iron, which could supply the world production requirement for several million years. A small portion of the extracted material would also be precious metals.”

      From: ‘Asteroid mining’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining#Ongoing_and_planned

      Yep, for all those folks who want to go on two or three or four year missions to mine asteroids, starting off in a Lunar orbit with a fully loaded, ultra high Isp, powerful, and reusable Orion Lunar U-233 powered nuclear pulse spaceship with robust and redundant life support systems, thick and effective Lunar Galactic Cosmic Radiation shielding material, and a useful artificial gravity system is probably a much more efficient, doable, and fundable asteroid mining plan than starting off from LEO or the Earth’s surface with small, super risky, and fragile spaceships with minimal life support systems, no artificial gravity system, minimal or effectively zero Galactic Cosmic Radiation shielding, and powered by low Isp and weak chemical rocket engines.

      • “…enable that Moon Base that Mr. Elon Musk now says we should have before we head off to Mars.”

        NO he does not. Mush showed how the BFR may be used for Lunar missions, but the Mars transport architecture is unchanged from its original Mars Direct model.

        If any government or commercial entities want to buy BFR service to the moon, spend $billions on the infrastructure to mine Lunar ice (yeah tap tap tap tap…gag) or regolith* for O2/H2O/(CH4?) -then have at it! If this entity can ship the H20/propellant to where it is needed for less-than the cost of launching it from earth on BFR/New Glen, more power to them, the future is bright.

        *Note: I do not include Lunar radionuclides, as the fuel (fuel not propellant) for a Nuclear Salt Water Rocket (NSWR) engine can be launched from earth on an existing medium LV, while meeting DOE safety standards. This is assuming the NSWR is needed to fight invading alien hordes or deflect some rouge planet headed our way. Hey…could happen.

        • James

          “With all those issues, what got lost in the shuffle was Musk’s apparent interest in—or at least support of—a lunar base. ‘If you want to get the public really fired up, I think we’ve got to have a base on the Moon,’ he said at the end of a long answer about educating the public about the ISS. That triggered applause from the audience that packed a hotel ballroom for the event. ‘And then going beyond that,’ he added, ‘getting people to Mars.’

          ‘Having some permanent presence on another heavenly body: a Moon base, and then getting people to Mars and beyond,’ he said. ‘That’s the continuance of the dream of Apollo.'”

          From: ‘The Moon is a harsh milestone’ By Jeff Foust July 24, 2017
          At: http://thespacereview.com/article/3292/1

          Yep, Elon Musk clearly prioritized building the Moon Base prior to going to Mars.

          All the ‘ignore the Moon and its useful resources such as water and thorium and build Mars Colonies Soon with high risk, costly, weak, and low Isp chemical rockets’ cult supporters are still in angry denial.

          Such is life.

      • James

        “to fight invading alien hordes or deflect some rouge planet headed our way. Hey…could happen.” – se jones

        Given America’s obvious history of zigzagging human spaceflight capabilities and the ‘lost in space’ politics led by former President Obama, Mr. Elon Musk, and various other Lunar resource ignorant Presidents and business and political leaders, it seems quite likely that Russia, India, China, Europe, Japan, and some other large nations will want their own launch systems and Lunar mission capable spacecraft to ensure their own ongoing and reliable access to critical Lunar resources.

        Lunar thorium is needed to make U-233 on the Moon for various types of efficient and highly capable nuclear pulse propulsion systems for powerful NEO defense system spaceships owned by various nations and based in Lunar orbit.

        Similar nuclear pulse spaceships could be used by companies and nations for extensive asteroid mining and to demonstrate a nation’s high technology space capabilities and economic, geopolitical, and technological leadership on Earth and in the rest of the Solar System.

        If the weak chemical powered and low Isp Mini BFR with a quite limited delta-v capability becomes a money sucking launch system, Mr. Elon Musk might just decide to cancel it and put his money into electric cars or tunnel digging machines or whatever he thinks might make money. He probably lacks the consistent and extensive launcher reliability history and experience needed to become a trusted and critical part of any nation’s national NEO defense strategy.

        “REP. STEWART: … are we technologically capable of launching something that could intercept [an asteroid]? … DR. A’HEARN: No. If we had spacecraft plans on the books already, that would take a year … I mean a typical small mission … takes four years from approval to start to launch …”
        — Rep. Chris Stewart (R,UT) and Dr. Michael F. A’Hearn, 10 April 2013, United States Congress

        From: ‘Asteroid impact avoidance’ Wikipedia

        Currently, we are grossly unprepared for serious NEO deflection or destruction tasks.

        Concerning building rapid, in-depth, and effective NEO defense systems, China and Russia are also motivated by their own history and most likely would not want to rely on any individual or nation that has a demonstrated tendency to cancel launcher systems and Lunar programs based on flimsy excuses or super foolish political partisan games.

        “The Ch’ing-yang event of 1490 (also Ch’ing-yang, Chi-ing-yang or Chíing-yang meteor shower) is a presumed meteor shower or air burst in Qìngyáng (Ch’ing-Yang, simplified Chinese: 庆阳; traditional Chinese: 慶陽) in March or April 1490.[1][2] The area was in the district of Shaanxi (陕西, now part of Gansu 甘肃 Province).”

        And, “At least three surviving Chinese historical records describe a shower during which “stones fell like rain”, killing more than 10,000 people. At least one report of the event is found in the official History of the Ming Dynasty, and other journal records which describe the event are also generally considered reliable.”

        And, “Stones fell like rain in the Ch’ing-yang district. The larger ones were 4 to 5 catties (斤, about 1.5 kg), and the smaller ones were 2 to 3 catties (about 1 kg). Numerous stones rained in Ch’ing-yang. Their sizes were all different. The larger ones were like goose’s eggs and the smaller ones were like water-chestnuts. More than 10,000 people were struck dead. All of the people in the city fled to other places.”

        From: ‘1490 Ch’ing-yang event’ Wikipedia
        At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1490_Ch%27ing-yang_event

        “In order to cope with the potential threat of the near-Earth objects, we don’t just need ground-based telescopes to form a monitoring and warning system, but also space probes to conduct close investigations of the asteroids,” Ji said.

        “China’s exploration will help scientists understand the features of the near-Earth objects, and seek effective measures to deal with the possibility of a collision, Ji added.”

        From: ‘Riding an asteroid: China’s next goal in space’ Xinhua 2017-03-01
        At: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-03/01/content_28385969.htm

        • James

          Despite decades of talk, we are not prepared to deflect of destroy oncoming NEOs.

          “A huge fireball lit up the sky over southwestern China Wednesday when a meteoroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burst into flames.”

          And, “NASA data put the velocity of the fireball at 14.6 kilometers per second, generating impact energy equivalent to 540 tons of TNT as it blazed across the night sky near the border with Myanmar.”

          And, “According to NASA’s data tables, the last fireball event of a similar size fell in June, when a fireball that generated the equivalent of 520 tons of TNT when it entered the atmosphere at a point off the coast of eastern Russia.”

          From: “Watch: Huge Celestial Fireball Appears in Night Sky as Superboldie Meteorite Explodes Over China’ By Josh Lowe 10/6/2017
          At: http://www.newsweek.com/china-meteor-fireball-679405

  • Pedro Gonzalez

    “aims to launch the first pair of cargo missions in 2022, followed by the first crew missions in 2024 (along with more cargo flights)”

    Each mission to Mars requires four tanker flights to refuel the second stage. So this plan requires about 30 launches of the BFR.

    “… we expect to have a payload capability of 150 tons to LEO, compared to about 30 for Falcon Heavy.”

    Falcon Heavy is widely stated to have a LEO capability of about 60 tons.

    “A crew of 80-100 could fly and live comfortably …”

    The pressurized volume is roughly the same as the ISS; so picture ten people in each ISS module for months at a time.

    Funding plan is sketchy. SpaceX has a manifest of about 70 launches producing about $10 billion in revenue. Say that there’s 20% profit (wildly optimistic). That leaves $2 billion to build the BFRs and infrastructure.

    “Hello? Uncle Sugar?

    • James

      Pedro Gonzalez –

      “Uncle Sugar” now needs an international Moon Base and access to valuable Lunar resources such as water and thorium.

      Why?

      Lunar thorium can be turned into Lunar U-233 which can power nuclear reactors for spaceships and mining colonies and various types of super efficient, cost effective, and extremely powerful, capable, and rugged Orion nuclear pulse propulsion spaceships launched from Lunar orbit to do cost effective asteroid mining.

      “6 Psyche is one of the ten most massive asteroids in the asteroid belt. It is over 200 km (120 mi) in diameter and contains a little less than 1% of the mass of the entire asteroid belt. It is thought to be the exposed iron core of a protoplanet.[3] It is the most massive metallic M-type asteroid.”

      And, “Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA Psyche mission, estimated that if the 200-kilometre-wide body could somehow be transported back to our planet the iron alone would be worth US $10,000 quadrillion.[27]”

      From: ‘16 Psyche’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16_Psyche

      In comparison to the above noted “US $10,000 quadrillion” of one of thousands of asteroids, Mars is a long-term and super costly fixer-upper planetary project that may take a very long time to start making money.

      With access to the rich deposits of Lunar thorium, asteroid resources could obviously be mined much sooner and with a lot more profit than would be the business case of doing anything major on Mars.

      In short:

      If you have access to the Moon’s rich deposits of thorium and use that thorium to make U-233 nuclear fuel on the Moon, then the many potentially extremely valuable resources of the asteroids can be efficiently mined by large and robust reusable Orion nuclear pulse spaceships that use U-233 as a fuel and can safely and routinely haul super large amounts of those mined asteroid resources back to a high Moon orbit at a low cost.

      Hence:

      “Uncle Sugar” and a whole lot of other big players and wannabe players now need an international Moon Base and access to Lunar water and thorium.

    • TomPerkins

      ” Each mission to Mars requires four tanker flights to refuel the second stage. So this plan requires about 30 launches of the BFR. ”

      No, it requires five. Return fuel is made on Mars by the equipment carried by the first uncrewed vessels.

      FH carries approximately 30 reusable, apparently. The expendable capacity is 64metric. I presume the greater loss of max capacity is caused by the need for enough fuel in the center core to return he core booster.

      ” SpaceX has a manifest of about 70 launches producing about $10 billion in revenue. ” <– That would be about $1.4bn in profit to go by announced numbers. When all four pads are running at their expected run rates, SpaceX can launch 116 per tear, about half of which would be to loft their internet satellite constellation, which if they launch the backhaul birds first will earn revenue immediately. Probably 1bn people willing and able to pay $10/month for limited service and another 1bn able and willing to pay $100/month for current 4G. If they are up first they’ll make bank.

  • James

    “If they are up first they’ll make bank.” – TomPerkins

    There are lots of other launcher and satellite folks on the Home Planet. And international political expectations and the satellite business conditions may change.

    Why?

    Some of the super nationalist politics and policies in many countries, that has been set off and fed by the profits of globalization going excessively to the international elites, may eventually politically interfere with and limit the growth of, or even severely restrict, grand international satellite communication networks set up by various American high tech companies that are suspected of having a history of working closely with and helping the CIA, NSA, and NRO that have a documented habit of spying on everyone, including Americans.

    Lots of other satellite and launcher folks around the world don’t need to make huge amounts of money for the enormous ‘Mars Colonies Soon’ money black hole.

    Lots of other countries can build just as cheap, or perhaps cheaper, reusable and non-reusable launchers.

    Some countries will offer lots of overt and covert subsidies to their launcher and satellite companies.

    Several other nations and groups of nations can and will build and maintain large satellite communication networks that make profits and provide high technology jobs for their own people.

    Other than perhaps some possible secret political, CIA, NSA, NRO, or other government connections or contracts or subsidies, Mr. Elon Musk doesn’t seem to have any real or special advantages over his competition.

    If Mr. Elon Musk really wants to make massive amounts of money for Mars colonies, he’ll be trying hard to build Orion nuclear pulse asteroid mining spaceships in LEO, move them to a high Lunar orbit with chemical or ion rocket engines, and load them up with Lunar made U-233 in their nuclear pulse propulsion devices and in their nuclear reactors that produce electric power.

    Then he’ll add some food supplies, Lunar water, and thick and effective Lunar Galactic Cosmic Radiation shielding material.

    Load the SpaceX crews and off those rugged, powerful, and highly efficient Orion nuclear pulse mining spaceships would fly as they head out to mine asteroids, haul valuable resources back to a high Lunar orbit, and make some real money for developing various Martian mines, industries, and colonies.

  • Former ISS Commander Terry Virts has an excellent editorial up on arsTECHNICA, the link is below.
    (there are also some hilarious James/Gary Church parody replies)

    Commander Virts reviews why this “Deep Space Gateway” thing is pointless pork, and he succinctly points out the main problem with SLS.

    SLS is so painful for guys like me, we actively lobbied for this rocket. But NASA chose to ignore the directives of the Shuttle accident review boards and make the SLS man-rated. The man (sorry -human) rating is adding $billions and $billions, plus a decade of wasted time to the program, when the simple Shuttle derived heavy cargo LV we wanted would have been flying years ago. What a sorry mess.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/op-ed-the-deep-space-gateway-would-shackle-human-exploration-not-enable-it/

    • James

      Evolved versions of the excellently designed SLS could eventually haul 150 tons to LEO or maybe even well over 200 tons to LEO. There doesn’t seem to be any “simple Shuttle derived heavy cargo LV” that could have such an enormous payload growth capability.

      However:

      “Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Dynetics proposed a liquid-fueled booster named “Pyrios”.[56] The booster would use two F-1B engines which together would deliver a maximum thrust of 16,000 kN (3,600,000 lbf) total, and be able to continuously throttle down to a minimum of 12,000 kN (2,600,000 lbf).

      And, “Estimates in 2012 indicated that the Pyrios booster could increase Block 2 low-Earth orbit payload to 150 t, 20 t more than the baseline.”

      From: ‘Space Launch System’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System

      If the Pyrios boosters or Dark Knight SRBs evolve to much larger sizes, then the SLS payload to LEO capability can be significantly increased.

      From Apollo 13 we learned that a Lunar Lander and its capabilities and resources can sometimes be a useful lifeboat in case of a spaceflight accident.

      All spaceflights have significant risks and accidents will happen. Spaceflights are much more risky than commercial airplane flights and any claims to the contrary are quite silly no matter who make them.

      Excellent spacecraft, launcher, and mission designs and robust backup options are what can help to minimize risk and enable a crew to survive when there is an eventual accident.

      A 150 to 200 ton payload of a large Lander, Orion, large Orion Service Module, and Earth Orbit Departure stage is not unreasonable especially since our anti-human spaceflight former President rented out, or perhaps permanently gave away, the enormous Launch Pad 39A to his good ‘political friend’ and thus eliminated our SLS dual launch mission capabilities and our SLS and International Orion Launch On Need rescue capabilities and increased our Orion SLS Lunar mission risks.

      Minimizing human spaceflight risk is a critical responsibility for NASA mission planning and for programs Congress is willing to fund.

      Now that the Mini BFR only has a 150 ton LEO payload capability, other launchers with equal or greater LEO payload capabilities will often be attacked by the confused and unhappy ‘ignore the Moon and its resources’ cult supporters.

      SpaceX is apparently planning on becoming a one trick pony.

      “A Delta Wing with a split flap for pitch and roll control is now designed into the ship too, to expand its envelope and make it capable of landing on Mars, the Moon, Earth, or most anywhere else in the solar system. Heavy payload or no payload, thick atmosphere, thin atmosphere or virtually none, SpaceX wants one spaceship that can handle flying in all conditions.” – Mike Killian In the above article.

      Note also:

      “Falcon Heavy, we hardly knew ye.”

      And, “SpaceX plans to eventually phase out the big rocket, which has yet to fly, as well as the Falcon 9 booster and Dragon capsule to concentrate on the Mars-colonizing BFR system, company founder and CEO Elon Musk announced Friday (Sept. 29).”

      From: “SpaceX to Phase Out Everything But Its Mars-Colonizing ‘BFR’ Rocket”
      By Mike Wall September 30, 2017
      At: https://www.space.com/38323-spacex-phasing-out-rockets-for-mars-bfr-spaceship.html

      If such is the case, then human rating the Mini BFR is also necessary.

      Apparently, the urgent but not very logical task of some ‘ignore the Moon and its resources’ cult supporters is to loudly criticize the human rating of the SLS and International Orion Cislunar Transportation System while strongly supporting the human rating of the similar LEO payload capability Mini BFR that is supposedly going to Mars and everywhere else in our Solar System.

      • Chris

        “Evolved versions of the excellently designed SLS could eventually haul 150 tons to LEO or maybe even well over 200 tons to LEO. There doesn’t seem to be any “simple Shuttle derived heavy cargo LV” that could have such an enormous payload growth capability.”

        1) How do you know it is excellently designed?
        2) These upgrades have no funding (And would have to compete for funds against funding for missions on SLS in the first place (Which is hard to come by)
        3) The system would be expendable, therefore extremely cost unattractive to a fully RLV that can throw a 150 tons.

        If this vehicle is built and performs at stated levels SLS will be abandoned at any lift capability, full stop.

        • James

          Chris –

          “1) How do you know it is excellently designed?”

          a) Because the SLS and International Orion Cislunar Space Transportation System hasn’t been cancelled despite the best efforts of the former President to kill it.

          b) Because the SLS and International Orion Cislunar Space Transportation System has broad technological, financial, and political support and is designed to do risk minimized Lunar missions and represent all Americans and maybe even all the folks on the Home Planet.

          c) I have paid attention to space related technology for about 55 years.

          d) I have paid close attention to Internet news items about some of the wonderful folks that were involved with the initial revival of previous similar NASA HLV designs and the evolution of the Direct Launchers that led directly to the SLS.

          e) In the past I asked questions and got technically and politically wise replies from the super hard-working and smart Direct Team members who eventually technically and politically supported the current Direct/SLS launcher.

          “2) These upgrades have no funding (And would have to compete for funds against funding for missions on SLS in the first place (Which is hard to come by)”

          a) The Mini BFR has no real funded missions and since it is subject to the same real financial, technical, political, and Elon Musk whimsical or other cancellation constraints as the now business and technologically obsolete, orphaned, and already in the cancellation process of the heavily taxpayer subsidized Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2.

          b) Congress is unlikely to support with lots more subsidies anything SpaceX or Elon Musk related after they fully understand all the national security, subsidy, financial, and launch ramifications of Elon Musk ‘pulling the development plug’ or initiating the full technological cancellation process for the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2.

          c) If the SLS asnd International Orion in their infancy survived the many technical and dirty political and Internet attacks of an anti-human spaceflight President and his friends who controlled Congress, there is an excellent chance that the SLS and International Orion Cislunar Space Transportation System designs and systems are strong and robust enough to efficiently do Lunar missions for decades and have many diplomatically and commercially useful missions.

          d) Strong technological and political support from many American states and nations across the world, including in Europe, will ensure the ongoing the funding and evolution of the SLS and International Orion and the diverse international Lunar missions they will fly for many decades to come.

          “3) The system would be expendable, therefore extremely cost unattractive to a fully RLV that can throw a 150 tons.”

          a) Fully reusable systems cut 40 to 50% of their potential LEO payload capacity and add many risks to already very risky missions.

          b) Fully reusable large launch systems are more expensive or hard to financially justify if you cannot use them at least 10 times per year. Who is going to pay for 10 Mini-BFR payloads and launches per year?

          c) Important payloads cost more than launchers and have other not so obvious issues. Large and important payloads need absolute reliability because replacing them due to a launch failure is sometimes difficult, physically or fiscally unlikely, or politically impossible.

          d) If Americans and international crew members are flying into, or in, space and die due to a launcher, spacecraft, or mission design failure, there is a good chance the launcher or spacecraft or mission planning system will face a major international technical and political review that only the most robust and carefully designed, built, and launched rocket or spacecraft could survive to fly many more missions in the following decades.

          e) When airline companies have a major accident they often end up getting into financial trouble or bought or fail. SpaceX has had two major Falcon 9 failures with the loss of their costly payloads.

          “If this vehicle is built and performs at stated levels SLS will be abandoned at any lift capability, full stop.”

          a) Launcher costs are dropping even without partial or full reusability. Why anyone would expect the manufacturing, technology, and management advancements leading to those dropping launch costs to not be applicable to the SLS and yet be only applicable to launchers in the process of being cancelled such as the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy makes zero sense in the real world.

          b) Rocket reusability that adds risk and limits or constrains costly payloads may not be considered useful for many costly and heavy payloads headed to the Moon’s surface.

          c) Rocket reusability can sometimes be quite useful and sometimes for maximum launcher payloads will be useless or even a risk issue or huge performance constraint.

          d) Solid rocket boosters, first stages, or launchers may be much more reliable than more complex and fragile reusable liquid rockets. Solid rocket launchers are more robust than liquid propellant launchers. Solid rocket launchers may have far fewer costly weather and technical launch holds and delays for time critical fast response national security satellite payloads than would be the case for a large and complex reusable liquid launcher with similar capabilities.

          e) The large satellite marketplace seems to be heading to ever more powerful and capable and smaller satellites. Who in the commercial world really needs the satellite payload capabilities of frequent flights on two or three Mini-BFRs? A reusable liquid rocket that is not flown regularly and closely and carefully maintained probably grows old quickly and less reliable as time passes. Reliability is important for launchers and time does roll on even if a launcher does nothing but mostly sit on a launch pad near an ocean year after year.

          f) Government space policy goals and money in America and around the world are super important for large launchers. Clearly, Russia and Blue Origin respect the SLS and International Orion Cislunar Space Transportation System and want to work together with NASA on Lunar missions that use these excellent diplomatic and commercial tools.

          g) A critical issue is, “Where are we humans going?” The answer is the Moon. Why? There are lots of good reasons, such as mining resources like water and thorium, that unfortunately some folks dislike or try hard to ignore because they want their ‘Mars Colonies Soon’ fantasies. The SLS and International Orion were designed, and Congress and taxpayers paid for them, to be able to do risk minimized international Lunar missions and that is what they will do.

          h) The Moon and its resources and Cislunar Space in general have many critical national security realities and implications that require super reliable and risk minimized space access for international, civilian, military, and spy system missions where launch cost is not the main driving force.

          i) The super high risk Mars Colonies Soon and huge money-making needs and priorities of Mr. Elon Musk, his political disdain for the current Republican administration, and his broad cancellation of space systems that Congress heavily subsidized with money and in various other ways does not seem to indicate he is going to be considered a reliable, long-term, and consistent launch provider for various critical government missions that require funding from, and the broad bipartisan support of, Congress.

          j) The American government subsidized Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 are in the process of being completely cancelled and represent tons of taxpayer money and far too much of NASA’s costly time burned by Mr. Elon Musk to honor his money-making Mars Colony Soon fantasies.

          k) The robust, reliable, and very powerful Ares I launcher could have been used by America for decades and would have been a much better investment for the taxpayers than burning eight years of NASA’s costly time and tons of taxpayer money in honor of Mars Colony Soon foolishness and Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Dragon 2 memories and fantasies.

          l) More and more folks in Congress may simply decide they don’t want to finance anymore of Mr. Elon Musk’s bait and switch Mars Colonies Soon fantasy con games:

          m) More and more media and Internet folks are starting to understand:

          Mini BFR = Maxi Big Foolish Rip-off.

          Time will tell.

          • Chris

            Remind me to never get stuck in an elevator with you. I got half way through and you didn’t really answer anything and included bogus stats to boot. Still holding on beyond hope that expendable systems have a long term future….sad.

          • James

            Show me actual numbers where SpaceX cut their orbital costs to around the world airline flight levels…

            Didn’t happen. Nonetheless everyone was able to reduce their prices to LEO. Where will the bottom of those prices be? Who knows?

            Partially reusable and non-reusable launchers are still roughly at the same price level.

            “‘It wasn’t that long ago when we were charging $100 million for a commercial launch,’ Pysher said. ‘Today, we are somewhere with numbers that start with 5s and 6s so we are talking about a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the launch price.’”

            And, “’We are frequently asked what type of technology are we implementing for our launch vehicles to get the price down to $25 million per launch,’ Pysher said. ‘My answer is ‘none.’ The only way to achieve that is to have a shared launch and then also developing satellites that perhaps don’t have the 15-year life span anymore. Maybe a five-year life span.’”

            And “Shotwell agreed: ‘To get to $30 million per launch, you may get there with reusability but you for sure get there by dividing $60 million by two.’”

            From: ‘Big launch companies predict doom for upcoming smallsat launchers’
            By Tereza Pultarova September 13, 2017
            At: http://spacenews.com/big-launch-companies-predict-doom-for-upcoming-smallsat-launchers/

            Ms. Shotwell’s comment “you may get there with reusability” certainly doesn’t sound like a strong endorsement for the ‘partial reusability = super cheap access to LEO’ theory that is endlessly repeated.

            Yep, “Remind me to never get stuck in an elevator with you” because if I hear the cheap access to space silliness coming from another goofy Mars Colonies Soon cult follower I just might barf.

            Mr. Elon Musk is trying hard to get to the Moon because that is where the space traffic is headed and you want to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

            Mr. Elon Musk is soon phasing out all the cool space stuff you thought was going to Mars and going to earn him tons of money precisely because it isn’t making him enough money or maybe zip or negative amounts of money and he needs to be able get his shrinking BFR to the Moon or his space business is maybe going to end up as costly occasional LEO flights with his BFR.

            Wake up and smell the Lunar coffee.

            Help Mr. Elon Musk develop a real money making BFR Lunar mission business case and ask him to keep his vague and poorly thought out super orbital airplane BFR thoughts a secret for a decade or two.

            • TomPerkins

              ” Show me actual numbers where SpaceX cut their orbital costs to around the world airline flight levels… Didn’t happen ”

              No one said it already happened.

              ” Partially reusable and non-reusable launchers are still roughly at the same price level. ”

              No, they are not. The best expendable launchers are still 3 to 5 times the cost of the mostly usable F9. The rest of the expendable launchers have a drastically lower reliability.

              ” “Shotwell agreed: ‘To get to $30 million per launch, you may get there with reusability but you for sure get there by dividing $60 million by two.’” ”

              The statement had nothing to with the likelihood of lowering launch costs further by fully re-usable vehicles like the BFR, because it referred to launching on an F9.

              ” Wake up and smell the Lunar coffee. ”

              There is no lunar coffee. There is the fact the cost of access to space will continue to fall, and Musk can got anywhere he likes including Mars with a settlement.

          • James

            “If you want to have more control over the price structure of your product, that drives you towards the higher degree of vertical integration,” Bruno said. “Producing more of the content of the rocket, more of the components in house.”

            And, “SpaceX’s Shotwell commented: “We started this way from the beginning, we found that the aerospace supply chain had too long time lines, very expensive components so we ended up producing most of the rocket components in house, we ended up taking in much more of the rocket than we originally expected.”

            From: ‘Big launch companies predict doom for upcoming smallsat launchers’
            By Tereza Pultarova September 13, 2017
            At: http://spacenews.com/big-launch-companies-predict-doom-for-upcoming-smallsat-launchers/

            Vertical integration and technological inovation can go a long way to reducing the costs of getting payloads to LEO and the Moon.

            Currently, partial reusability isn’t doing too well and the partially reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are being phased out and the replacement product is still not fully designed perhaps because Mr. Elon Musk is confused about how to make money doing Lunar missions with his Mini BFR.

            For real mission flexibility he needs to be able to get his Mini BFR upper stage refilled with hydrolox propellant in LEO, in low Lunar orbit, and on the Moon’s surface.

            If his ego makes him stay with CH4 and LOX, his Lunar cargo hauling mission costs will zoom unless he can get someone to sell him Lunar ISRU CH4.

            Hauling propellant to the Moon’s surface is a 1960s technology.

            If everyone else is using the high Isp hydrolox, then it is at least initially going to be the most widely available propellant combination available in Cislunar Space.

            Time will tell.

            • TomPerkins

              ” Currently, partial reusability isn’t doing too well and the partially reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are being phased out and the replacement product is still not fully designed perhaps because Mr. Elon Musk is confused about how to make money doing Lunar missions with his Mini BFR. ”

              Partial re-usability in the F9 dominates the market, having the lowest cost to the customer for any rocket in it’s size class and most smaller payloads. It’s doing very well. He already knows how to make money with the BFR–at this size it can replace the Falcon9 and SLS economically. There is no reason for anything but carbon to be taken to the moon so the BFR can be refueled there, and that only until a CC asteroid is brought to lunar orbit. Hydrolox keeps all it’s drawback on the Moon as it does everywhere else–too bulky, too cold.

              Again, high Isp is not an end in itself, the point is dV/lb/$.

              • john hare

                A few simplified numbers for those new to the Isp vs cost debate. Isp is the number of seconds a rocket engine can produce a kilogram of thrust on a kilogram of propellant. Hydrogen and oxygen engines are roughly 460 seconds while kerosene and oxygen engines are roughly 350 seconds in vacuum conditions. Exhaust velocity is Isp times gee of 9.81 to give about 4,500 meters per second for the hydrogen engine against about 3,400 seconds for the kerosene option.

                A typical two stage launcher might require 6,000 meters per second from each stage in order to hit GEO transfer orbit. The rocket equation gives a mass ratio of 3.8 for the hydrogen stage and 5.83 for the kerosene stage. This means that out of every initial ton, 737 kilograms of hydrogen/oxygen is required for one while 830 kilograms of kerosene/oxygen is required for the other.

                The hydrogen Isp argument is that 263 kilograms per launched ton is much higher than 170 kilograms per launched ton, so hydrogen wins hands down. Then the technical differences are applied. Hydrogen engines have a normal thrust to weight in the 75 range and require about a 1.5 thrust/weight ratio to avoid excess gravity losses so the engine would be 20 kilograms of each ton launched. Hydrogen/oxygen at preferred ratios has a density of .31 so the 737 kilograms requires 2.38 cubic meters of tanks at roughly 20 kilograms per cubic meter for a weight of 47.6 kilograms. With tank and engine massing 67.6 kilograms, the hydrogen based stage has 195.4 kilograms of mass that is not engine, tanks or propellant.

                The kerosene cost side of the discussion has engines that hit 150 thrust/weight ratios but can operate with lower initial thrust/weight as they burn off more propellant early so engine mass can be 9 kilograms per ton launched. Kerosene/oxygen at preferred ratios has a density of 1.0 and so requires 0.87 cubic meters of tank per ton launched for a tank mass of 16.6 kilograms. With 25.6 kilograms of tank and engine, the kerosene based launcher has a 144.4 kilograms of mass that is not engines, tanks or propellant.

                The Isp proponents will point to the 195 kilograms per ton launched versus 144 kilograms per ton launched and claim a clear victory. The cost proponents will point to the expense items of 25.6 kilograms of engine and tank versus 67.6 and claim a clear victory. It requires scaling the kerosene based stage mass up by 1.35 to hit the same payload number as the hydrogen stage which still leaves 35 kilograms of hardware against 67.6. It is also often noted how much harder it is to work with hydrogen than kerosene. These are close but rough numbers to give other people an idea of the basis for the arguments here. On other forums we often get a lot more technical and precise than this.

                Now you can go back to the regularly scheduled flaming.

                • TomPerkins

                  ” Again, high Isp is not an end in itself, the point is dV/lb/$. ” <– Me.

                  ” It requires scaling the kerosene based stage mass up by 1.35 to hit the same payload number as the hydrogen stage which still leaves 35 kilograms of hardware against 67.6. It is also often noted how much harder it is to work with hydrogen than kerosene. ” <– John Hare

                  Thank you for in sum proving my point.

                  • john hare

                    Shame I had to use so many lines to explain something that should be quite obvious to the interested parties that have been in the game a while. I enjoy converging on solutions far more than arguing about them.

                    • TomPerkins

                      I prefer that as well, however, as long as there are people whose livelihood–election, paycheck–or emotional stability depend on it not being understood…we have to have the argument.

                  • James

                    For large launchers, rocket engineers in America and other countries are repeatedly “converging” again and again on hydrolox for second or third stages and apparently sometimes for even up coming first stages such as on NASA’s new SLS, Japan’s new H3 Launch Vehiclethe, Europe’s new Ariane 6, and the reusable and winged Boeing XS-1.

                    As various new and old launchers begin to eventually be made largely out of graphene, there is no reason their first and second stages, and perhaps even their third stages, cannot sometimes have wings and wheels or skids added to them and glide to a relatively gentle horizontal landing on Earth in the same manner as the Space Shuttles, Buran, X-15, Bell X-2, Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, and Boeing’s up coming and reusable XS-1.

                    Even the Mini BFR is now reportedly gaining some wings.

                    A launcher’s reusable features such as wings and wheels cut significantly into its payload to LEO capabilities and so those features may be removed for specific missions that require the launch of the heaviest possible payload.

                    Graphene is super strong, super lightweight, and has a high melting point.

                    “At 6000 K (the sun’s surface having an effective temperature of 5,777 K)[91] graphene melts into an agglomeration of loosely coupled doubled bonded chains, before becoming a gas.[92]”

                    From: ‘Graphene’ Wikipedia
                    At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene

                    • Tommy the pain

                      And the people that are paying for their own are converging on methane first stages and some even for second stages.

                    • James

                      “And the people that are paying for their own are converging on methane first stages and some even for second stages.”
                      – Tommy the pain

                      Wrong. SpaceX is not “paying for their own”.

                      Mr. Elon Musk is the King of Government Subsidies and has become quite rich through various direct and indirect government subsidies and lots of folks understand that idea even if you don’t.

                      “SpaceX, among Musk’s other companies, is only competitive and inexpensive because of government subsidies. That is why Musk’s condemnation of government subsidies is the height of irony. Musk’s businesses have received a staggering $4.9 billion in government subsidies.”

                      And, “Space industry is the future, but that future doesn’t have to come at the expense of common sense. To earn the moniker ‘private,’ space companies must remain so, prudently refraining from robbing American taxpayers in order to develop rockets capable of deep space exploration.”

                      From: ‘SpaceX Wants You To Pay For It To Explore Deep Space When It Can’t Even Explore Shallow Space’
                      By Mitchell Gunter September 20, 2017
                      At: http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/20/spacex-wants-pay-explore-deep-space-cant-even-explore-shallow-space/

                      Without the technical base created and maintained at a high cost by NASA and our military, and the technical, financial, and other extremely costly help NASA and our military has ‘given’ to SpaceX, the company SpaceX as it is today would not exist.

                      Without the extensive political ‘help’ of our previous human spaceflight, Moon Base, and Lunar resources hating and highly partisan President, SpaceX probably would not even exist.

                    • Tommy the pain

                      Musk isn’t a very good king of subsidies compared to the $30B plus for the unflying SLS.

                    • TomPerkins

                      @ James, Yes, SpaceX is paying for their own.

                      SpaceX receives no federal subsidies, and has to my knowledge received exactly 1 tax break of $20mn from TX in return for SpaceX locating a facility there. Not much of a subsidy.

                      ” SpaceX Wants You To Pay For It To Explore Deep Space When It Can’t Even Explore Shallow Space ” Even if that sentence were true, it is far more true of ULA, who want far more money to do far less.

                    • James

                      Tom Perkins –

                      ”SpaceX Wants You To Pay For It To Explore Deep Space When It Can’t Even Explore Shallow Space” is an honest and blunt title.

                      “Space Exploration Technologies, Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $33,660,254 other transaction agreement for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. This agreement implements Section 1604 of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of the Russian-supplied RD-180 engine to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches. An other transaction agreement was used in lieu of a standard procurement contract in order to leverage on-going investment by industry in rocket propulsion systems. This other transaction agreement requires shared cost investment with SpaceX for the development of a prototype of the Raptor engine for the upper stage of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.”

                      And, “The work is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2018. Air Force fiscal 2015 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $33,660,254 are being obligated at the time of award. SpaceX is contributing $67,320,506 at the time of award. The total potential government investment, including all options, is $61,392,710. The total potential investment by SpaceX, including all options, is $122,785,419.”

                      From: ‘CONTRACTS AIR FORCE’ 1/13/2016
                      At: https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/642983/

                      The taxpayer is supposed to pay $61,392,710 for the engine development of the new Raptor upper stage engine which is supposed to be used for the overly complex Falcon 9 and the super complex Rube Goldberg Falcon Heavy. However, both launchers are in the process of being cancelled by SpaceX.

                      In fact, the Raptor rocket engine is supposedly going to power the Mini BFR which is currently supposedly in the design or redesign process.

                      This is a classic bait and switch dirty business deal.

                      The Mini BFR is another overly complex launcher and may be part of a scam of the taxpayers’ money that could, like the Falcon Heavy, start to be cancelled before it even launches for the first time.

                      Confused ‘Mars Colonies Soon with weak chemical rockets’ cult members will believe anything they are told because unfortunately they lack critical thinking skills and endlessly repeat obvious nonsense snake oil ‘sales talk’ from Mr. Elon Musk.

                      You may be a happy sucker for our former President using the government to support with taxpayers’ money, and the Air Force’s and NASA’s valuable and costly time and resources, the ‘Mars Colonies Soon with chemical rocket’ cult nonsense using obsolete rockets and spacecraft from Mr. Elon Musk, but please don’t expect the rest of the world to be as foolishly gullible as yourself.

                    • TomPerkins

                      @James

                      Hoe can it be a subsidy if they don’t get paid if they don’t make the Air Force happy? So few words to explode so much word salad.

                    • James

                      Please provide some evidence that SpaceX was not paid.

                    • Tommy the pain

                      Please provide some evidence that you know the difference between pay for performance and subsidies.

                      I’ll help you out. Pay for performance means pay for something that works, EELV, Antaries, Dragon etc.

                      Subsidy is paying for things that don’t work. X33, original fastrac, SLS etc.

                    • James

                      “Subsidy is paying for things that don’t work.” – Tommy the pain

                      By that useful definition it is clear that everyone should within a few years accept that the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, new Raptor rocket engine powered upper stage for the Falcon 9, and the Dragon and Dragon 2 are only memories and excellent examples of huge subsidies paid to SpaceX for things SpaceX cancelled and thus “don’t work” any longer for those taxpayers who helped to pay for them.

                      The Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, new Raptor rocket engine powered upper stage for the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon and Dragon 2 were and are apparently just temporary ‘tools’ for SpaceX to get lots of government overt and covert subsidies for selling Mars Colonies Soon fantasies and to get experience and rocket technology and some more ‘wonderful’ taxpayer funding for developing the new Raptor rocket engine to power the Mini BFR.

                      Lots of folks in Congress will eventually see the SpaceX cancelled Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, new Raptor rocket engine powered upper stage for the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon and Dragon 2 for what they will have become:

                      SpaceX “things that don’t work” anymore but were useful for getting lots of overt and covert government subsidies for the cancelled parts of a classic bait and switch con game.

                • Tracy the Troll

                  John,
                  If you said it already I apologize…Where does super chilling the LOX fit into this explanation?

                  • john hare

                    It allows more Lox in the tanks and more pressure out of a pump than normal. A 5% increase in density due to chilling would allow 5% more LOX in the same tank and a 5% increase in thrust from the same size turbopump. It also suppresses cavitation in the pump which is a major win on reliability and pump wear. Once you get it to work of course.

                    • Tracy the Troll

                      John,
                      Would this SuperChill of LOX even at 5% have a big impact on payload size?

                    • john hare

                      I’m not really current on all the effects of super chilling. From pump theory, I can see a 5% increase in pressure and mass flow through an impeller assuming it can handle the additional stress. would lead to ability to increase GLOW by 5%. With the slight increase in mass ratio it would seem that payload could increase by 6-7%, but this is a guess. I haven’t even kept up with how much effect they are getting now though I seem to recall that it was more than 5%. I suspect the cavitation suppression is more important over all as it leads to the ability to run the pumps faster and with less damage. That gives more power per chamber with less maintenance.

                      There is too much speculation in the last paragraph to base discussion on. It remains that even a 5% payload increase from the same equipment is significant when prices are in the many hundreds to few thousands of dollars per pound.

          • James

            Note:

            Risk is the big issue for human spaceflight, not launch costs.

            “Since spaceflight began, there have been fewer than 5,500 launches into orbit, and only about 300 of those have carried astronauts. These endeavors have always been risky. Indeed, the failure rate for space launches over the past five decades has hovered around 8 percent.”

            From: ‘Wax Fuel Gives Hybrid Rockets More Oomph’ By Brian J. Cantwell 11/5/2014
            At: https://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/wax-fuel-gives-hybrid-rockets-more-oomph

            • TomPerkins

              ” Risk is the big issue for human spaceflight, not launch costs. ”

              No, launch costs are the big issue. If you avoid high launch costs by re-usability, you have high launch rates and the opportunity to have the experience to engineer high reliability. Lower costs reduce risk.

            • James

              “Lower costs reduce risk.’- TomPerkins

              Mr. Elon Musk has reduced spaceflight risk by planning on cancelling his current spacecraft and two overly complex launchers. That is a pretty strong argument that Mr. Musk’s re-usability and Mars noise is great at nothing in particular other than getting lots of government subsidies and helping his ‘friend’ the former President cancel our previous American and international plans to put humans back on the Moon to mine Lunar resources.

              Helping a former President to politically destroy a national and international Lunar space program with soon to be cancelled SpaceX launchers and spacecraft was a great way earn Mr. Elon Musk and that former President the reputation of smelling a lot like skunks.

              Maybe the Mini BFR will also be eventually cancelled.

              Why?

              “However, no plan for space exploration is exempt from Grissom’s Law, which was attributed to Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom in ‘The Right Stuff,’ Tom Wolfe’s novel about the early space effort: ‘No bucks, no Buck Rogers.'”

              From: ‘NASA could go back to the future and revive moon base plans from a decade ago’ By Alan Boyle 10/6/2017
              At: https://www.geekwire.com/2017/nasa-go-back-future-revive-moon-base-plans-decade-ago/

              • TomPerkins

                The only reason the F9 and FH will be obsoleted is because they are obsolete once the BFR is operational. It gas far more capacity than either with less cost. There is nothing overly complex about either of the three vehicles, each is the minimum complexity to use cryogenic propellants to launch payloads with partially or fully reusable launchers. There is no evidence you have presented anything is political about any of them, except of course that their existence indicts the funding for the useless SLS. Ares I was canceled because it was far more expensive than is tolerable for what it could do, the same reason the SLS will be cancelled. The BFR can and will be funded from SpaceX’s own resources, they can earn the money for it just by underbidding all other launch providers for competitively launched payloads in it first years. (they can earn $960mn/year from the current market). That market will grow as satellite internet constellations are launched and they have a far lower cost than any other such service provider.

                If NASA revives any moon base plans, it can best fund those by cancelling the useless SLS and using the money to pay SpaceX to lift their payloads to the Moon.

                • James

                  “The BFR can and will be funded from SpaceX’s own resources” – Tom Perkins

                  Wrong.

                  Obviously, you never read anything that gets in your way of spouting the SpaceX snake oil sales pitch.

                  “Space Exploration Technologies, Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $33,660,254 other transaction agreement for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. This agreement implements Section 1604 of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of the Russian-supplied RD-180 engine to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches. An other transaction agreement was used in lieu of a standard procurement contract in order to leverage on-going investment by industry in rocket propulsion systems. This other transaction agreement requires shared cost investment with SpaceX for the development of a prototype of the Raptor engine for the upper stage of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.”

                  And, “The work is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2018. Air Force fiscal 2015 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $33,660,254 are being obligated at the time of award. SpaceX is contributing $67,320,506 at the time of award. The total potential government investment, including all options, is $61,392,710. The total potential investment by SpaceX, including all options, is $122,785,419.”

                  From: ‘CONTRACTS AIR FORCE’ 1/13/2016
                  At: https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/642983/

                  The taxpayer is supposed to pay $61,392,710 for the engine development of the new Raptor upper stage engine which is supposed to be used for the overly complex Falcon 9 and the super complex Rube Goldberg Falcon Heavy. However, strangely enough, both launchers are in the process of being cancelled by SpaceX.

                  Note again:

                  “This other transaction agreement requires shared cost investment with SpaceX for the development of a prototype of the Raptor engine for the upper stage of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.”

                  In fact, the Raptor rocket engine is supposedly going to power the Mini BFR which is currently supposedly in the design or redesign process.

                  The above “transaction agreement” may or may not have some legal loopholes, but SpaceX is using it in a classic bait and switch dirty business deal.

                  The Mini BFR is another overly complex launcher and may be part of a scam of the taxpayers’ money that could, like the Falcon Heavy, start to be cancelled before it even launches for the first time.

                  Signing a contract that you’re going to do something with federal taxpayer money and then cancelling that project and doing something else with the taxpayers’ money might raise lots of fun legal questions.

                  Yep, helping a former President to politically destroy a national and international Lunar space program with soon to be cancelled SpaceX launchers and spacecraft was a great way earn Mr. Elon Musk lots of overt and covert government subsidies and to now give him and the former President the reputation of smelling a lot like not very trustworthy political skunks.

                  If you look at the Orion and SLS Cislunar Transportation System, you can see the emergency abort system.

                  Oddly enough, the ‘Mars Fantasy Colonies Soon’ cult’s sales folks never seem to have anything to say about having such a basic safety feature as an emergency abort system on the Mini BFR.

                • James

                  Note on another indirect and extremely valuable and critical NASA subsidy to SpaceX:

                  “Fastrac or alternatively MC-1 engine was a pump-fed liquid rocket engine developed by NASA for use on small inexpensive, expendable rockets. Fastrac uses RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellants in a gas-generator power cycle.”

                  And, “Engine system development testing of the MC-1 began in 1997 [4] and continued until the Fastrac program was cancelled 2001,[5] 48 tests were conducted on three engines using three separate test stands.[6]”

                  And, “The engine never flew, but with NASA’s cooperation much of the MC-1 design and technology was adopted by the private corporation SpaceX for its Merlin 1A engine[7]

                  From: ‘Fastrac (rocket engine)’ Wikipedia
                  At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fastrac_(rocket_engine)

                  • Tommy the pain

                    I we your point. SpaceX went dumpster diving for their initial pump concept. Then they reduced to practice something NASA couldn’t get working. And that’s a subsidy. Then the years of steady improvements meant nothing because the initial design came out of the NASA dumpster. Rube Goldberg would be so proud of your command of the English language.

              • Elon Musk political contributions [public records required by law]

                Date Amount Recipient

                Elon Musk 03/31/17 $33,900.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 06/04/13 $32,400.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 04/15/11 $30,800.00 DNC Services Corp (D)
                Elon Musk 04/29/10 $30,400.00 DNC Services Corp (D)
                Elon Musk 03/19/10 $25,400.00 Dem Senatorial Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 03/24/06 $25,000.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 02/27/07 $25,000.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 09/29/14 $22,400.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 03/28/09 $10,000.00 GOP Congressional Cmte (R)
                Elon Musk 03/31/17 $5,700.00 GOP Congressional Cmte ®
                Elon Musk 03/08/13 $5,200.00 Graham, Lindsey (R)
                Elon Musk 09/22/05 $5,000.00 SecureUS (D)
                Elon Musk 09/26/06 $5,000.00 Eureka PAC (R)
                Elon Musk 01/30/09 $5,000.00 Dem Senatorial Campaign Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 08/26/09 $5,000.00 DNC Services Corp (D)
                Elon Musk 01/19/10 $5,000.00 Dem Senatorial Campaign Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 02/15/11 $5,000.00 Majority Cmte PAC (R)
                Elon Musk 03/31/17 $5,000.00 Majority Cmte PAC (R)
                Elon Musk 08/28/13 $4,800.00 Reclaim America PAC (R)
                Elon Musk 06/04/14 $4,800.00 Dem Senatorial Campaign Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 03/31/17 $2,700.00 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                Elon Musk 03/31/17 $2,700.00 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                Elon Musk 03/08/13 $2,600.00 Graham, Lindsey (R)
                Elon Musk 06/30/13 $2,600.00 Ruppersberger, Dutch (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/13 $2,600.00 Ruppersberger, Dutch (D)
                Elon Musk 09/24/13 $2,600.00 Booker, Cory (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/14 $2,600.00 Walsh, John (D)
                Elon Musk 09/29/14 $2,600.00 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                Elon Musk 04/14/11 $2,500.00 Nelson, Ben (D)
                Elon Musk 04/15/11 $2,500.00 Obama, Barack (D) 4/15/2010 KSC speech
                Elon Musk 06/22/11 $2,500.00 Fattah, Chaka (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/11 $2,500.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 06/30/11 $2,500.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 09/12/11 $2,500.00 Rubio, Marco (R)
                Elon Musk 09/12/11 $2,500.00 Rubio, Marco (R)
                Elon Musk 10/01/11 $2,500.00 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                Elon Musk 10/01/11 $2,500.00 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                Elon Musk 06/25/09 $2,400.00 Dorgan, Byron L (D)
                Elon Musk 08/21/09 $2,400.00 Reid, Harry (D)
                Elon Musk 02/23/10 $2,400.00 Mikulski, Barbara A (D)
                Elon Musk 04/05/10 $2,400.00 Eshoo, Anna (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/10 $2,400.00 Melancon, Charles (D)
                Elon Musk 06/18/07 $2,300.00 Harman, Jane (D)
                Elon Musk 06/29/07 $2,300.00 Pryor, Mark (D)
                Elon Musk 06/29/07 $2,300.00 Pryor, Mark (D)
                Elon Musk 09/17/07 $2,300.00 Polis, Jared (D)
                Elon Musk 09/17/07 $2,300.00 Polis, Jared (D)
                Elon Musk 09/20/07 $2,300.00 Boxer, Barbara (D)
                Elon Musk 09/26/07 $2,300.00 Nelson, Bill (D)
                Elon Musk 05/22/08 $2,300.00 Vitter, David (R)
                Elon Musk 05/01/15 $2,300.00 Clinton, Hillary (D)
                Elon Musk 06/19/09 $2,200.00 Harman, Jane (D)
                Elon Musk 10/18/06 $2,100.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 06/23/03 $2,000.00 Bush, George W (1/14/2004 VSE speech)
                Elon Musk 07/11/03 $2,000.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 12/31/03 $2,000.00 Clark, Wesley (D)
                Elon Musk 03/25/04 $2,000.00 Kerry, John (D)
                Elon Musk 05/31/05 $2,000.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 09/05/08 $2,000.00 Schiff, Adam (D)
                Elon Musk 10/05/10 $2,000.00 Bingaman, Jeff (D)
                Elon Musk 06/15/09 $1,700.00 Boxer, Barbara (D)
                Elon Musk 07/02/14 $1,400.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 07/09/04 $1,000.00 Smith, Gordon H (R)
                Elon Musk 10/06/04 $1,000.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 06/22/05 $1,000.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/06 $1,000.00 Stabenow, Debbie (D)
                Elon Musk 01/16/07 $1,000.00 Skelton, Ike (D)
                Elon Musk 03/19/07 $1,000.00 Dem Senatorial Campaign Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 03/29/07 $1,000.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 05/31/07 $1,000.00 Sanchez, Loretta (D)
                Elon Musk 11/30/07 $1,000.00 Dem Congressional Campaign Cmte (D)
                Elon Musk 02/22/08 $1,000.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 02/28/09 $1,000.00 Dem Senate Campaign (D)
                Elon Musk 02/24/10 $1,000.00 Inouye, Daniel K (D)
                Elon Musk 09/30/10 $1,000.00 Schultz, Debbie (D)
                Elon Musk 09/30/10 $1,000.00 Leahy, Patrick (D)
                Elon Musk 09/30/10 $1,000.00 Schiff, Adam (D)
                Elon Musk 10/01/10 $1,000.00 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                Elon Musk 10/03/10 $1,000.00 Whitehouse, Sheldon (D)
                Elon Musk 10/05/10 $1,000.00 Hoeven, John (R)
                Elon Musk 10/06/10 $1,000.00 Thornberry, Mac (R)
                Elon Musk 10/13/10 $1,000.00 Calvert, Ken (R)
                Elon Musk 10/15/10 $1,000.00 Bennet, Michael F (D)
                Elon Musk 03/28/11 $1,000.00 Brown, Scott (R)
                Elon Musk 03/31/11 $1,000.00 Cantwell, Maria (D)
                Elon Musk 06/30/11 $1,000.00 Cantwell, Maria (D)
                Elon Musk 08/24/11 $1,000.00 Future Leaders PAC (R)
                Elon Musk 09/20/07 $700.00 Boxer, Barbara (D)
                Elon Musk 03/31/08 $500.00 Solis, Hilda L (D)
                Elon Musk 09/20/10 $500.00 Hall, Ralph M (R)
                Elon Musk 06/30/07 $250.00 Edwards, Chet (D)
                Elon Musk 06/18/07 $200.00 Harman, Jane (D)
                Elon Musk 08/18/11 $200.00 Nelson, Bill (D)

                • From GuideStar public records
                  Absolute proof that Elon Musk bought the president of the USA and destroyed the nation’s space program for $2,500, one year after Obama put VSE out of its misery. Somehow.
                  Six months after Elon gave Bush $2000, Bush launched the Vision For Space Exploration. God, what a conspiracy! Musk is running the show, how outrageous.

                  Elon Musk 04/14/11 $2,500 Nelson, Ben (D)
                  Elon Musk 04/15/11 $2,500 Obama, Barack (D) 4/15/2010 KSC speech
                  Elon Musk 06/22/11 $2,500 Fattah, Chaka (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/30/11 $2,500 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                  Elon Musk 06/30/11 $2,500 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)
                  Elon Musk 09/12/11 $2,500 Rubio, Marco (R)
                  Elon Musk 09/12/11 $2,500 Rubio, Marco (R)
                  Elon Musk 10/01/11 $2,500 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                  Elon Musk 10/01/11 $2,500 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
                  Elon Musk 06/25/09 $2,400 Dorgan, Byron L (D)
                  Elon Musk 08/21/09 $2,400 Reid, Harry (D)
                  Elon Musk 02/23/10 $2,400 Mikulski, Barbara A (D)
                  Elon Musk 04/05/10 $2,400 Eshoo, Anna (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/30/10 $2,400 Melancon, Charles (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/18/07 $2,300 Harman, Jane (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/29/07 $2,300 Pryor, Mark (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/29/07 $2,300 Pryor, Mark (D)
                  Elon Musk 09/17/07 $2,300 Polis, Jared (D)
                  Elon Musk 09/17/07 $2,300 Polis, Jared (D)
                  Elon Musk 09/20/07 $2,300 Boxer, Barbara (D)
                  Elon Musk 09/26/07 $2,300 Nelson, Bill (D)
                  Elon Musk 05/22/08 $2,300 Vitter, David (R)
                  Elon Musk 05/01/15 $2,300 Clinton, Hillary (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/19/09 $2,200 Harman, Jane (D)
                  Elon Musk 10/18/06 $2,100 Edwards, Chet (D)
                  Elon Musk 06/23/03 $2,000 Bush, George W 1/14/2004 VSE speech
                  Elon Musk 07/11/03 $2,000 Rohrabacher, Dana (R)

                  • Tracy the Troll

                    se jones,

                    Yes its true Musk has bribed all of the officials with rather large sums of $2,500, … Otherwise known as Ted Kennedy’s weekly bar tab…But in another issue you have claimed that artificial gravity is not worth the cost..But …With all of the health issues for astronauts that are being released by the press recently and how so bad the radiation is…. Wouldn’t artificial gravity help at least something on the health side? What is so difficult about rotating a spacecraft?

    • James

      If Mr. Elon Musk is serious about building colonies on Mars, after we build the Moon Base that he now supports, and taking his Mini BFR on many other voyages across the rest of our enormous Solar System, he’ll eventually start talking publicly about the need for using Lunar thorium derived U-233 for nuclear reactors to make electric power and various nuclear thermal and nuclear pulse rocket propulsion systems.

      NASA wants a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) propulsion option for the SLS and has carefully studied the even much higher Isp nuclear pulse propulsion option in the past for the Saturn V. Both types of nuclear propulsion are quite doable and useful in different ways.

      “An additional beyond-LEO engine for interplanetary travel from Earth orbit to Mars orbit, and back, is being studied as of 2013 at Marshall Space Flight Center with a focus on nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) engines.[73] In historical ground testing, NTRs proved to be at least twice as efficient as the most advanced chemical engines, allowing quicker transfer time and increased cargo capacity.”

      And, “The shorter flight duration, estimated at 3–4 months with NTR engines,[74] compared to 6–9 months using chemical engines,[75] would reduce crew exposure to potentially harmful and difficult to shield cosmic rays.[76][77][78][79] NTR engines, such as the Pewee of Project Rover, were selected in the Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRA).[77][80][81][82]”

      And, “In 2017 NASA continued research and development on NTRs, designing for space applications with civilian approved materials.[83]”

      From: ‘Space Launch System’ Wikipedia
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System

      NASA engineers and scientists understand many of the highly efficient and powerful nuclear electric power and nuclear thermal and pulse propulsion options and can help Mr. Elon Musk sort it all out for his new Mini-BFR and his trips to Mars and “most anywhere else in the solar system”.

  • Tracy the Troll

    Tom Perkins and Se Jones
    I have two questions please….
    #1 Does the BFR have the ability to deliver earth travelers from city to city across the planet without large scale g-force issues. That is… Could it be as comfortable a ride as airflight…which can be horrifying when experiencing clear sky turbulence?

    #2 Are there required breakthroughs needed to build BFR or does Musk have the pieces?

    #3 Would we expect that BFR will have to go through a “RUD” phase?

    • TomPerkins

      1) There is no inherent reason the peak Gs would be higher than 3, and no reason it cannot start at 1.25~1.5 and ramp quickly to that peak. There is no reason it cannot ramp down gently to 0 for the ballistic coast phase.

      2) No, all the technological concepts are reduced to practice* for other aerospace vehicular systems. They have not been integrated all in the same vehicle, but there are no plausible showstoppers to doing so. *If they can avoid the use of a metallic tank liner they avoid several tons of weight, but that is not a big issue on a vehicle with such large capacity.

      3) Yes, they will lose several and I expect at least the second iteration will have much of it’s capacity for payload occupied by data acquisition equipment to permit them to evaluate life cycle stresses fully. The first they may well over build and equally instrument, retiring* it after the first flight lets them trim the overbuilding of the second to a more “production” weight. *Retiring to a museum, most likely.

  • James

    “Pence, chairing the first meeting of the Council since its reestablishment by an executive order in June, specifically instructed NASA to develop plans for human missions to the moon that will serve as a step toward later expeditions to Mars.”

    And, “Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, also offered support for development of a lunar facility of some kind. ‘Now is the time for swift and bold action. A permanent presence on the moon and American boots on the surface of Mars are not impossible, and they are not long-term goals,’ she said.”

    From: ‘National Space Council calls for human return to the moon’ By Jeff Foust 10/5/2017
    At: http://spacenews.com/national-space-council-calls-for-human-return-to-the-moon/

    Great! The Moon is where we are going next.

    Mining Lunar H2O and making hydrolox should be a high priority for many good reasons.

    Making Lunar U-233 from the rich deposits of the Moon’s thorium should also be a priority.

    The Mini BFR may eventually have a Lunar mission variant with a hydrolox upper stage.

    If there eventually is a Mini BFR with a hydrolox upper stage, the Mini BFR’s upper stage could be used for many of the needed ‘hop missions’, or point to point trips, across the Moon.

    A Mini BFR with a hydrolox upper stage variant used as a Lunar Lander could also be a big help in getting various supper heavy pieces of mining equipment to the Lunar surface.

    A Mini BFR hydrolox upper stage variant might also eventually be useful for launching large satellites directly into geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO).

    Lunar made hydrolox might start being moved to GEO fairly quickly by a Mini BFR upper stage hydrolox powered variant that is used as a Lunar based tanker spacecraft.

    There are lots of good possibilities for a Mini BFR hydrolox upper stage variant that could enable the efficient mining of Lunar resources.

    There might be lots and lots of H2O on Phobos and Mars. That could eventually be quite useful.

    Time will tell.

    • James

      “Pence’s call to return to the moon was the official declaration of a much-discussed goal of the Trump administration. Its nominee to take over NASA has advocated returning to the moon. And NASA has said it would solicit proposals from industry to develop landers that could take cargo and experiments to the lunar surface by as soon as next year.”

      From: ‘Why the Trump administration wants to return to the moon in partnership with industry’
      By Christian Davenport 10/5/2017
      At: The Washington Post

      “Pence gave assignments to the Council members, with a 45-day deadline, as follows:

      NASA is to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with international and commercial partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”

      From: ‘Council Meeting Signals High Level Administration Interest in Space’
      By Marcia Smith 10/5/2017
      At: https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/council-meeting-signals-high-level-administration-interest-in-space/#.Wdb-Fhcad9g.twitter

      Yep, a hydrolox Mini BFR upper stage variant as a large Lunar, Mars, Deimos, Phobos, 16 Psyche, Vesta, and Ceres Lander sure could be useful! It could also be useful for Landing on those 69 moons of Jupiter and lots of other more distant places that are far “across the solar system”.

    • James

      Maybe, if the Mini-BFR actually gets built, a variant could use the hydrolox Blue Moon Lander as a third stage.

      Note:

      “Today Alexander said the Blue Moon lunar lander would be optimized to fly on NASA’s Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket that’s due for its first test flight in 2019. When paired with the SLS, Blue Moon could deliver more than 5 tons of cargo to the lunar surface. Smaller payloads could be delivered using New Glenn or other rockets.”

      And, “‘Just pick the launch vehicle and go,’ Alexander said.”

      And, “Alexander said that the lander would use a version of Blue Origin’s hydrogen-fueled BE-3 engine that’s optimized for in-space operation, and that Blue Origin has already made “significant investments” in the technologies needed for the Blue Moon program.”

      From: ‘Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin makes its pitch to Congress for delivering cargo to the moon’
      By Alan Boyle on 9/7/2017
      At: https://www.geekwire.com/2017/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-makes-pitch-congress-delivering-cargo-moon/

    • James

      Yep, NASA and its commercial and international partners want that useful Lunar water!

      “The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot about the results from the first meeting of the National Space Council on Thursday:”

      And, “The vice president also announced a call for renewed U.S. leadership in space – with a recommendation to the president that NASA help lead and shape the way forward. Specifically, NASA has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”

      And, “Among new areas, we will work with industry and the international community on robotic lunar landers that explore the nature of the Moon and its resources, such as water.”

      From: ‘NASA Statement on National Space Council Policy for Future American Leadership in Space’ 10/5/2017
      At: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nasa-statement-on-national-space-council-policy-for-future-american-leadership-in-space-300531952.html

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