Ocean of Storms: A Timeline of A Scientific America

Yes, originally; hence why they had a massive environmental review preceding the launch to update that authorisation to Starship.
I know, but that review was obviously flawed (as we have seen when that thing launched)
so it makes sense to go for another area when they're trying to launch at their own pace.
Yes but Boca Chica will never give them that. In Florida it´s the Air- and Shipping traffic, in Boca it´s things like Road closures. They should look further for another space port.
My understanding is that Alpaca was equal to, or lesser, than the National Team's new lander in many technical aspects. However, I'm not certain of that, so anyone feel free to correct me.
But I'm not sure what you're saying about the National Team's offer being more expensive than Alpaca, that has never been the case afaik.
Wasn´t it something around 2,5 billion for Alpaca? compared to the 3 that BO ist getting now? And Yes: The new Lander ist much better then the first one, but still: Alpaca would be more standfest, because it´s center of mass lays lower, and it can be launched on SLS together with a Crew, which is a good point. Incase of refueling they could launch a tanker with Vulcan, Falcon Heavy, Starship, Ariane 6, Falcon Heavy etc.... so there is a number of redundant laucher options for a refueling tanker. I don´t know about the payloads of both landers yet, but when it goes to: We have to land there on time, then Alpaca and it´s deployment and refueling plans seem to be the way safer bet, because it´s based on much more techn that´s already in service or will be in service in the foreseable future. The only technical plus-point in can see at the moment is the the Blue Origin lander can have way more ground clearence for the engines.
Now SpaceX is building and installing systems for which they have no clearance, no permissions and have been denied and opposed (mostly because SpaceX has never submitted any plans or even outlines for the work or addressing the requirements and regulations already in place) by the organizations that have the power to deny them launch clearance even if the FAA does so. Ya this disaster is going to be something to see.
Exactly this is a perfect examply why i am not a real fan of SpaceX, they are going great things, they keep the US and us Europeans on the ISS, but then they do such things.... again and again: I just say: "Oh we have a court order to stop everything on Boca Chica, let´s stack up Starship on the next day", "We should way until the reviews are done? Nope, let´s rebuild and modify our facilitys without asking for permissions".... they do that again and again and again.
Starship has issues on almost every level being economically as well as technically questionable. What we need is a Model 271/DC-2/3 equivalent to LEO not a 747. We technically have that with the Falcon's already and arguably a fully reusable Falcon would have been a better idea but Musk is obsessed with Mars (and the Mars Direct architecture) so that's why he's going with Starship.
I can second that mostly. But i see some need for the B 747-sized launcher, but it will never find enough customers besides Mars missions to justify it as the big next thing for SpaceX. Humanity needs fully reusable replacements for things like the Delta IV, Atlas V, Falcon 9 etc. Just because we don´t have much use for a super sized Starship. There will be a need for that thing to build interplanetary ships and Stations etc. But when those Stations are build, the need for such capabilitys will go down drastically. That´s my thought. I don´t think that Mars alone will be enough justification for Starship and the Tanker infrastructure.
Understand that while current ISS operations "depend" on SpaceX cooperation that such 'cooperation' does not ensure that SpaceX will not be fined and restricted if they continue to defy Federal authority, regulation and common sense. There are other options on the table at this point and there will be more options as time goes on.
Oh i think they will get some pushback soon, the destruction at Boca Chica can´t be ignored anymore. Personally i think that life could become a lot harder for that company once Dream Chaser takes flight to take on some Cargo flights and to boost up the ISS. Once that thing flies, i guess that there will be a lot more funding to fast track the crewed version of that thing and then SpaceX´s sole reign about human spaceflight from the US will be over. When they decommission the ISS as planned, then we have more then 6 years to cover and i think that SpaceX will lose it´s basic monopoly before that time is up. I hope for it, just so that they can be pushed back into their place before something really bad happens.
 
Last edited:
Wasn´t it something around 2,5 billion for Alpaca?
Nope. the Option A HLS selection document says:

"For Factor 2, SpaceX’s Total Evaluated Price of $2,941,394,557 was the lowest among the offerors by a wide margin. Blue Origin’s Total Evaluated Price was significantly higher than this, followed by Dynetics’ Total Evaluated Price, which was significantly higher than Blue Origin’s."
In the leadup to the second award, I saw it noted about the initial selection:
"NASA had planned to choose two companies at that time, but Congress appropriated only enough money for one. SpaceX was the low bidder by far: $2.9 billion compared to $6 billion for Blue Origin and $8.5-9 billion for Dynetics."
My understanding is Dynetics bid price was about the same this time around, and while Blue's estimated total spending is still about $6-7b, they're covering more than half of it themselves to leave the bill to NASA at $3.4b or so. Dynetics can't cover can't cover anything like a similar fraction of their more expensive proposal.
 
I know, but that review was obviously flawed (as we have seen when that thing launched)

Pretty much was going to happen as I noted they went there to avoid regulation and oversight. Since the FAA is tasked by Congress to oversee commercial space flight they 'technically' have the final say but considering the laundry list of other Federal agencies that are curranty lined up opposing new launches that may change significantly.

Yes but Boca Chica will never give them that. In Florida it´s the Air- and Shipping traffic, in Boca it´s things like Road closures. They should look further for another space port.

Boca Chica is about blowing things up and crashing the without consequences, not launch cadence or development. They went there to get away from regulation and oversight but stepped into a huge pile of agencies and organizations that are perfectly willing to fight back if the FAA does not. Big mistake.

And they can't find another site really, their only realistic options are to pressure the FAA to intervene and over-rule any opposition, (arguable given organizations such as the Army Corps of Engineer's literally are responsible for the ground they are sitting on for example) or to move to the Cape while actually showing NASA they will abide by and follow regulations and rules. "Sunk cost" fallacy says they will most likely just try and tough it out in Boca Chica till something really bad happens or they meet enough opposition that finally forces them to close shop and move to the Cape. (It's interesting to note that the ACoE has already denied them expansion permission and the use of their "water-cooled plate" due to SpaceX not being willing to actually submit plans for either for review)

Wasn´t it something around 2,5 billion for Alpaca? compared to the 3 that BO ist getting now?

Alpaca's price was considered unreasonable given the issues with the design. IIRC National Team's lander was the highest priced of the three original offers but Alpaca was not far behind. SpaceX's initial offering was about half the National bid but was reduced before the decision to allow it to come in (just) under the actual authorization by Congress.

And Yes: The new Lander isn't much better then the first one, but still: Alpaca would be more standfest, because it´s center of mass lays lower, and it can be launched on SLS together with a Crew, which is a good point.

Actually as it stands Alpaca would have needed a second SLS launch which was a problem. SLS in it's current configuration can only carry Orion OR another payload, not both. I also like Alpaca but as it stand their design doesn't close yet.

Incase of refueling they could launch a tanker with Vulcan, Falcon Heavy, Starship, Ariane 6, Falcon Heavy etc.... so there is a number of redundant launcher options for a refueling tanker.

Refueling isn't a proven technology yet, (something SpaceX is being paid to show btw) so as it stands it would have to be launched with propellant which limits it's launcher options. All the landers are supposed to be able to refuel at the Gateway but that assumes several pre-requisites such as proving automated refueling and propellant transfer technologies and of course the existence of the Gateway for them to be based out of.

I don´t know about the payloads of both landers yet, but when it goes to: We have to land there on time, then Alpaca and it´s deployment and refueling plans seem to be the way safer bet, because it´s based on much more tech that´s already in service or will be in service in the foreseeable future. The only technical plus-point in can see at the moment is the the Blue Origin lander can have way more ground clearance for the engines.

Not sure what you mean here as most of the National lander is pretty straight forward as well. The BE3 is still being used which at this point is a proven engine, (much more so than Raptor really) and the engines are mounted on the bottom of the lander? Nobody has shown cryogenic refueling as of yet neither with methane or liquid hydrogen so that still has to be 'shown' not to be show stopper. (Unlikely but always possible)

Exactly this is a perfect example why i am not a real fan of SpaceX, they are going great things, they keep the US and us Europeans on the ISS, but then they do such things.... again and again: I just say: "Oh we have a court order to stop everything on Boca Chica, let´s stack up Starship on the next day", "We should way until the reviews are done? Nope, let´s rebuild and modify our facilities without asking for permissions".... they do that again and again and again.

Well till someone actually stops them they are going to continue to work, but I'll note that while they are building up they are no longer expanding BECAUSE "someone" put their foot down. (ACoE actually) Now as you say they have done great things, (btw we have a thread that might interest you: "WI: Falcon Heavy to Mars" :) ) but they have been doing pretty much the opposite of everything they've done before during this 'development' (and I use the word loosely) project with the results (or lack thereof) we've seen so far. The results are a general wearing away of the built up goodwill and confidence they had come into this with. (Not that a lot of the 'fans' are going to admit it though)

I can second that mostly. But i see some need for the B 747 und the launchers, but it will never find enough customers besides Mars missions to justify it as the big next thing for SpaceX. Humanity needs fully reusable replacements for things like the Delta IV, Atlas V, Falcon 9 etc. Just because we don´t have much use for a super sized Starship. There will be a need for that thing to build interplanetary ships and Stations etc. But when those Stations are build, the need for such capabilities will go down drastically. That´s my thought. I don´t think that Mars alone will be enough justification for Starship and the Tanker infrastructure.

I go over this in the above thread but this is all pretty much based around Musk's obsession and fixation on doing "Mars Direct" type architecture though wildly blown out of proportion. (100mt to Mars is rather ridiculous given the basic "Mars Direct" never pushed over 40-ishMT due to EDL concerns with THAT much payload to the surface)
Musk is counting on "100+mt to LEO" to move Starship forward with the tanker and propellant transfer allowing Mars to be opened but the basic premise assumes that (firstly) the Starship/Superheavy will be so cheap no other launch system can compete. And the premise behind that assumption is painfully questionable to say the least, let alone the follow up assumption of the market being flexible and quick enough to ensure Starship has plenty of payloads to work with to make that all happen.

Oh i think they will get some pushback soon, the destruction at Boca Chica can´t be ignored anymore. Personally i think that life could become a lot harder for that company once Dream Chaser takes flight to take on some Cargo flights and to boost up the ISS. Once that thing flies, i guess that there will be a lot more funding to fast track the crewed version of that thing and then SpaceX´s sole reign about human spaceflight from the US will be over. When they decommission the ISS as planned, then we have more then 6 years to cover and i think that SpaceX will lose it´s basic monopoly before that time is up. I hope for it, just so that they can be pushed back into their place before something really bad happens.

SpaceX (and especially Musk :) ) is "ignoring" all that just find thank you very much... Part of the lawsuit(s) is based on SpaceX's failure to follow through on terms and agreements they made prior to opening Boca Chica or the test program itself which is going to be hard to fight since SpaceX DID make those agreements and knew what they were getting into. I'd agree on Dream Chaser as any competition is always a good thing and SpaceX needs that right now I think.
The ISS decommission is still set (currently) for 2031 but that's likely to be pushed back again I'm betting since Congress still wants to keep it. (As I understand it part of getting it designated a "National Laboratory" by Congress entails a commitment to continued use and support until such time as a replacement is in hand or Congress withdraws the designation) We'll see if we have a commercial replacement or supporting station by that point I suppose.

Part of the 'draw' of these alternate timelines is getting more (and deeper) commercial and general pubic interest in space as a destination and use which is how you actually open up a frontier. People have to feel a personal 'connection' to the frontier and it has be more than 'niche' number of people which is the main issue with space OTL. There is a lot of 'general' interest but not a lot of specific interest especially of the kind that can generate political and public support for actual exploitation and expansion of space activities. And far to many "space advocates" assume that the interest they know about and see is a refection of a similar interest in the 'general' public when it's not. Hence you get unrealistic assumptions based on false data which build up false 'hopes' rather than solid planning with the actual data. You get plans based on the idea that all it takes is "one" detail, (a greenhouse on Mars, a Presidential "plan" or such things) to happen and everything will 'explode' forward when it actually takes a lot of background work, attention to details and building up infrastructure and interest to really make things happen.

Nobody really wants to do the down-and-dirty work they just want to do something 'simple' and easy.

Randy
 
Actually as it stands Alpaca would have needed a second SLS launch which was a problem. SLS in it's current configuration can only carry Orion OR another payload, not both. I also like Alpaca but as it stand their design doesn't close yet.
First: I meant "is", not isn´t in my comment (sorry), they did a big upgrade.

And regarding to SLS: That´s true, but in 2027 when Artemis 5 should fly, they will have an upgraded SLS, at least the Block IB-version, so this problem shouldn´t be in existence by then.... IF SLS is allowed to survive that long.... and if Artemis isn´t scrubbed at all by then ( I am not so shure about Congress regarding to that.... loosing the moon again would be basically the dumbest spaceflight decision since spaceflight exists)
Not sure what you mean here as most of the National lander is pretty straight forward as well.
Ah sorry, my brain XD I shouldn´t be writing such things while beeing in a full passenger train. I mannaged to mixup that lander and Lunar Starship.. sorry, my mistake.
Now as you say they have done great things, (btw we have a thread that might interest you: "WI: Falcon Heavy to Mars" :) ) but they have been doing pretty much the opposite of everything they've done before during this 'development' (and I use the word loosely) project with the results (or lack thereof) we've seen so far. The results are a general wearing away of the built up goodwill and confidence they had come into this with. (Not that a lot of the 'fans' are going to admit it though)
Exactly.... there was a lot of good will, but they lost a lot of that. I was never fully confident in SpaceX, just because my feeling from the start was: They are moving toooo fast forward until a point where they basically had to be forced to stop altering their Falcon 9´s further and further before they got the go ahead for crew rating them.
and: Thanks for the link :)
I go over this in the above thread but this is all pretty much based around Musk's obsession and fixation on doing "Mars Direct" type architecture though wildly blown out of proportion. (100mt to Mars is rather ridiculous given the basic "Mars Direct" never pushed over 40-ishMT due to EDL concerns with THAT much payload to the surface)
Yeah i know that.... i have read Zubrins Book and a book about an alternative mission design by Buzz Aldrin.
And the premise behind that assumption is painfully questionable to say the least, let alone the follow up assumption of the market being flexible and quick enough to ensure Starship has plenty of payloads to work with to make that all happen.
Personally i am thinking that SpaceX is moving into a pretty risky area with that launcher... it´s NOT so shure that they will NOT be the victims of the same difficulties that the Space Shuttles had: To expensive, to unflexible, to big for most missions.
The ISS decommission is still set (currently) for 2031 but that's likely to be pushed back again I'm betting since Congress still wants to keep it. (As I understand it part of getting it designated a "National Laboratory" by Congress entails a commitment to continued use and support until such time as a replacement is in hand or Congress withdraws the designation) We'll see if we have a commercial replacement or supporting station by that point I suppose.
I am thinking that too and i think that our ESA, and JAXA and other partners won´t mind such an extension either. That station maybe old but it´s still the best thing we have gotten out of human spaceflight yet. That station should be kept in service at least until a reliable commercial space station can take over the science projects, probably with some national build modules from all over the world.
And i don´t have much hope that Lunar Gateway will be the nice ISS replacement as which it is tried to be sold sometimes. I don´t care about that thing: Crewing all year round is extremely expensive.... if we like to have a large follow up facility for the ISS, it needs to be in LEO, not flying around another celestial body.

So... there will be a lot of business left for both Dream Chaser Versions and (If they don´t let that broken thing finally go (What i really hope)) Starliner.
Hence you get unrealistic assumptions based on false data which build up false 'hopes' rather than solid planning with the actual data. You get plans based on the idea that all it takes is "one" detail, (a greenhouse on Mars, a Presidential "plan" or such things) to happen and everything will 'explode' forward when it actually takes a lot of background work, attention to details and building up infrastructure and interest to really make things happen.

Exactly. We need space politicians who like to be specific when they move forward with proposals..... but they still need to be able to explain those proposals in a manner that move their collegues towards voting in favor of those detailed plans.
 
Last edited:
First: I meant "is", not isn´t in my comment (sorry), they did a big upgrade.

And regarding to SLS: That´s true, but in 2027 when Artemis 5 should fly, they will have an upgraded SLS, at least the Block IB-version, so this problem shouldn´t be in existence by then.... IF SLS is allowed to survive that long.... and if Artemis isn´t scrubbed at all by then ( I am not so sure about Congress regarding to that.... loosing the moon again would be basically the dumbest spaceflight decision since spaceflight exists)

Have you "met" Congress? :D

These are essentially the same folks, (in spirit if not reality for the most part) who rejected a Republican Presidents Lunar and Mars plans and then turned around and insisted that NASA should only go to the Moon when a Democratic President said we'd "been there, done that" :) They only agreed to go back to the Moon (and have been short-changing it ever since) because we had to do "something" with the SLS they insisted on building.
Now if they can kill "commercial space" (and as you said that'd be pretty hard at this point) then they can 'justify' realigning SLS to ISS support but that's highly unlikely at this point in time.

Part of the issue with upgrading SLS is the same one as always, Congress doesn't want it upgraded and have slow-leaked funding away from such an upgrade.

Ah sorry, my brain XD I shouldn´t be writing such things while being in a full passenger train. I managed to mix-up that lander and Lunar Starship.. sorry, my mistake.

One heck of a mix up :D
And LS has issues in that SpaceX hasn't developed the "landing engines" as of yet, (despite the Air Force essentially paying them to do so back in 2016/2017) so we'll see where the 'design' goes from here. (I've heard they showed off a "prototype" but can't find anything on it as of yet, the only thing I've seen is a non-representative "simulator" computer program)

Exactly.... there was a lot of good will, but they lost a lot of that. I was never fully confident in SpaceX, just because my feeling from the start was: They are moving too fast forward until a point where they basically had to be forced to stop altering their Falcon 9´s further and further before they got the go ahead for crew rating them.
and: Thanks for the link :)

Well to be honest Falcon can use a better upper stage as a viable upgrade but with Starship they are not interested in moving ahead with Falcon development. The "ToughSF" blogspot has an entry for a concept of a "Small Falcon Starship" to make the Falcon a fully reusable vehicle AND address the actual market. It's gained no real interest of course :) Really something as simple as more efficient upper stage propellant (methalox likely given the way they are moving but there are others that could be used) would give them back their current 15% lost payload and likely enough to make an reusable upper stage viable but again not the direction they (Musk really) want to go.
As I noted above the Air Force paid SpaceX to develop an "upper-stage" Raptor back in 2016, (the contract was modified in 2017 to include development of a Raptor that could be used for EELV flights as well) to be finished in 2018 but no work from anyone on what happened. My guess would be that SpaceX took the money and said it couldn't be done and that was that. (Given that the Space Force has given SpaceX a contract to "develop technologies for point-to-point cargo delivery" I suspect the same tactics will be used to drain that source too)
And you're welcome, feel free to comment :)

Yeah i know that.... i have read Zubrin's Book and a book about an alternative mission design by Buzz Aldrin.

I own Zubrin's book and have read several of his other works and frankly as he never address' the actual problem and does not seem to understand why infrastructure in necessary (or wanted) I've become vocally opposed to the basic concept. Great for a government "flags-and-footprints" series of missions but it does not have the staying power he claims it would. Aldrin's was the cyclers IIRC, (which Zubrin and Musk hate btw) which make some sense in context but have issues themselves.

The biggest issue is that I don't see any "one" destination as having the effects they want them to have. I'm pretty much one who advocates "go everywhere or stay home" rather than being enamored with any single destination.

Personally i am thinking that SpaceX is moving into a pretty risky area with that launcher... it´s NOT so sure that they will NOT be the victims of the same difficulties that the Space Shuttles had: To expensive, to inflexible, to big for most missions.

But I have been assured by fans (who can't provide any actual numbers because none of this actually exists yet) that the price will be so cheap they can afford to fly a Starship to deliver a single cubesat into orbit on a flight if they have to. Surely you're not saying they might be 'wrong' in some way? :)

I am thinking that too and i think that our ESA, and JAXA and other partners won´t mind such an extension either. That station maybe old but it´s still the best thing we have gotten out of human spaceflight yet. That station should be kept in service at least until a reliable commercial space station can take over the science projects, probably with some national build modules from all over the world.

Really we need more than one "station" as they have different uses and utility. Microgravity experiments would benefit from a dedicated station as would commercial opportunities and tourism flights. And really that could be supported by Falcon 9/Dragon and Falcon Heavy but again that's not the way SpaceX wants to go...

And i don´t have much hope that Lunar Gateway will be the nice ISS replacement as which it is tried to be sold sometimes. I don´t care about that thing: Crewing all year round is extremely expensive.... if we like to have a large follow up facility for the ISS, it needs to be in LEO, not flying around another celestial body.

I think that idea is to use Lunar Gateway HARDWARE as a basis for commercial LEO operations not the Lunar Gateway itself :)
Axiom is basing their commercial station concept on a Shuttle era "Multi-Purpose Modular Logistics" (see "Future Use") module so it's not like the 'tech' isn't available.

So... there will be a lot of business left for both Dream Chaser Versions and (If they don´t don´t let that broken thing finally go (What i really hope)) Starliner.

Me I'd like to see a couple more options but I agree Starliner is not likely going to be one of them at this point. I kinda hope that Blue Origin goes back to working on their Biconic capsule idea myself. Kind of like to see something like "PLAME" get a chance to shine instead of just assuming rocket lift :)

Exactly. We need space politicians who like to be specific when they move forward with proposals..... but they still need to be able to explain those proposals in a manner that move their colleagues towards voting in favor of those detailed plans.

Actually it's very much NOT "politicians" I'm talking about it's the regular "space advocates" that tend to latch onto these unrealistic concepts and push them as "simple-and-easy" fixes. "Mars Direct" was always aimed at getting political support for a Mars mission by assuming politicians could be 'bought' with a cheap enough mission architecture. Never mind they institutionally opposed going to letting NASA go to Mars, "Mars Direct" generated a lot of public interest but little political support. The closest it got was when Griffin tried to make it official NASA policy and got shot down due to it not supporting the ISS. (Yes Congress wanted a "Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle" just not Ares-V :) )

What's needed is space advocates willing and able to go with realistic plans and expectations that can get political and pubic support, willing to admit that Apollo was a glorious aberration and not a refection of public and political will towards space and that to GET there "again" (actually for the first time :) ) we need to put in the hard work and effort to make it all relevant and workable. But that's hard work so... :)

Randy
 
These are essentially the same folks, (in spirit if not reality for the most part) who rejected a Republican Presidents Lunar and Mars plans and then turned around and insisted that NASA should only go to the Moon when a Democratic President said we'd "been there, done that" :) They only agreed to go back to the Moon (and have been short-changing it ever since) because we had to do "something" with the SLS they insisted on building.
Now if they can kill "commercial space" (and as you said that'd be pretty hard at this point) then they can 'justify' realigning SLS to ISS support but that's highly unlikely at this point in time.

Part of the issue with upgrading SLS is the same one as always, Congress doesn't want it upgraded and have slow-leaked funding away from such an upgrade.
Sadly i know all of that chaos, despite the fact that half of it was done before i was even 10 years old.
Congress doesn´t wants SLS to get it´s full potential, but they don´t like it scrapped either... at least unless they get another great idea to follow it up (Another launcher that can be used to drain funding to their Boeing friends for a decade before it even flies). Its just idiotic chaos that dumps billions of dollars away again and again.... oh and basically every time they force a big change on NASA´s plans, the ESA goes with it and changes it´s plans to make them fit into the new perspective of the future. I am pretty shure we would have our own crewed capsules for some years if we wouldn´t let the US Congress have such a high power over our european project... but i am not really angry about that anymore. I will try moving to the US in a few years anyways and i am identifying myself much more with NASA then ESA.
One heck of a mix up :D
And LS has issues in that SpaceX hasn't developed the "landing engines" as of yet, (despite the Air Force essentially paying them to do so back in 2016/2017) so we'll see where the 'design' goes from here.
Yes, big mix up :( sorry for that.
And yeah: Seems like we are again in the well known land of Elon time regarding to that..... on a project which can´t take any occasions of that. Artemis has to work out before China lands on the moon.
I own Zubrin's book and have read several of his other works and frankly as he never address' the actual problem and does not seem to understand why infrastructure in necessary (or wanted) I've become vocally opposed to the basic concept. Great for a government "flags-and-footprints" series of missions but it does not have the staying power he claims it would. Aldrin's was the cyclers IIRC, (which Zubrin and Musk hate btw) which make some sense in context but have issues themselves.
Yeah both ideas seem to be pretty flawed. Both of them have good basic ideas, but in the end i think that none of these concepts are worthy to be used for more then a Kerbal Space Program playthrew. But i found it interesting to read and compare both books and they are a nice base to figure out some stuff i am writing in a book i am working on.
The biggest issue is that I don't see any "one" destination as having the effects they want them to have. I'm pretty much one who advocates "go everywhere or stay home" rather than being enamored with any single destination.
I second that, we need an infrastructure that´s useable for multiple destinations, a modular system that can be easily modified with either more fuel or more cargo, based on deltaV requirements of the missions.
As I noted above the Air Force paid SpaceX to develop an "upper-stage" Raptor back in 2016, (the contract was modified in 2017 to include development of a Raptor that could be used for EELV flights as well) to be finished in 2018 but no work from anyone on what happened. My guess would be that SpaceX took the money and said it couldn't be done and that was that. (Given that the Space Force has given SpaceX a contract to "develop technologies for point-to-point cargo delivery" I suspect the same tactics will be used to drain that source too)
Yeah... they are beginning to get kind of the same ethics regarding to contracts that we already know from the old space companys..... another thing i don´t like regarding to SpaceX.
But I have been assured by fans (who can't provide any actual numbers because none of this actually exists yet) that the price will be so cheap they can afford to fly a Starship to deliver a single cubesat into orbit on a flight if they have to. Surely you're not saying they might be 'wrong' in some way? :)
Oh i am a suspicious person, as long as i don´t see official statements (and launch contracts) which are able to show off the real market potential and the real flexibility of that thing, i don´t give into the hype. It was the same for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Both are great because they have partial reusability, but none of those is an ideal launcher when it goes to most beyond earth orbit missions. They are just behind the flexibility and some of the payload capability´s of the Atlas V-family.
Really we need more than one "station" as they have different uses and utility. Microgravity experiments would benefit from a dedicated station as would commercial opportunities and tourism flights. And really that could be supported by Falcon 9/Dragon and Falcon Heavy but again that's not the way SpaceX wants to go...
I agree, i think that for a lot of experiments it would be the best way to go to build some men tended free flyers and regarding to the last sentence: I think that the customers will have a bit say in that. I am pretty shure that SpaceX would even restart Dragon production if they would get so many contracts that the livetime of the existing capsules comes to an end before the contracts get fullfilled. But even if they wouldn´t do that: There will be at least the crewed version of Dream Chaser, launched of Vulcan or Ariane 6, or New Glenn (I don´t really think this will happen any time...... )
I think that idea is to use Lunar Gateway HARDWARE as a basis for commercial LEO operations not the Lunar Gateway itself :)
Axiom is basing their commercial station concept on a Shuttle era "Multi-Purpose Modular Logistics" (see "Future Use") module so it's not like the 'tech' isn't available.
Yeah i am thinking about something like that. It´s a good and safe way to go and those modules for Axiom are built by people who have a lot of experience. That´s a safe way to go.
I kinda hope that Blue Origin goes back to working on their Biconic capsule idea myself.
Sorry to say that but: PLEASE NO MORE BLUE ORIGIN. I hope they are pushing everything they have into the lander construction..... dumping the shit show that New Glenn is would probably the best way. Let them concentrate on the one contract they have gotten that really needs to work out on time. I think that even ESA would be more capable and faster to design a crewed, reentry capable, vehicle by themselfs in a faster manner then those guys. I am really glad that they "only" have to fly in a vacuum with the contracted Lunar Lander.
The closest it got was when Griffin tried to make it official NASA policy and got shot down due to it not supporting the ISS. (Yes Congress wanted a "Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle" just not Ares-V :) )
Yes, just to bad.. and: I think that launcher concept that was modified into the SLS would have been way better then the thing that flies now.. i think they called it "Jupiter" (?).... and i would really have loved to see Ares-V fly in reality, but hey: instead i can use it at least in KSP.
What's needed is space advocates willing and able to go with realistic plans and expectations that can get political and pubic support, willing to admit that Apollo was a glorious aberration and not a refection of public and political will towards space and that to GET there "again" (actually for the first time :) ) we need to put in the hard work and effort to make it all relevant and workable. But that's hard work so... :)
I agree, and that need A LOT of work. But there are already people out there working in the right direction. "Everyday Astronaut" is a great example of a person who is doing great at getting people to become fascinated by spaceflight, not only on the absoulte surface, but on a deeper level. And this fascination will hopefully start to generate influence on politics. When Apollo flew, there were people like Walter Chronkite and now there are Tim Dodd, Scott Manley, the Angry Astronaut etc. We are in a great time when it goes to activating the wider public for spaceflight.
 
Last edited:
Sorry to say that but: PLEASE NO MORE BLUE ORIGIN. I hope they are pushing everything they have into the lander construction..... dumping the shit show that New Glenn is would probably the best way. Let them concentrate on the one contract they have gotten that really needs to work out on time.
New Glenn is the LV for the lander and the propellant for it in all my understanding, so cancelling New Glenn, (which they're not doing anyway) would only make the lander...harder. In much the same way removing the engine from your car doesn't make it lighter and thus faster.
 
Last edited:
New Glenn is the LV for the lander and the propellant for it in all my understanding, so cancelling New Glenn, (which they're not doing anyway) would only make the lander...harder. In much the same way removing the engine from your car doesn't make it lighter and thus faster.

Well, technically down-hill, once ... :)

As I understand it they are also baselining the Vulcan being able to launch the lander as well and they do provide the engines for it :)

If they have a methalox upper stage the New Glenn should be more capable than the Falcon family as well.

Randy
 
New Glenn is the LV for the lander and the propellant for it in all my understanding, so cancelling New Glenn, (which they're not doing anyway) would only make the lander...harder. In much the same way removing the engine from your car doesn't make it lighter and thus faster.
Yeah... let´s say my mind is trying to ignore that fact....
As I understand it they are also baselining the Vulcan being able to launch the lander as well and they do provide the engines for it :)
That´s what i am thinking is the way better option. At least the safer one. Vulcan WILL fly soon, just because the survival of ULA hangs on that thing while Blue Origin can basically survive as long as it´s billionare owner likes to finance it... and at the moment he doesn´t seem to care about really flying something to orbit...
 
Sadly i know all of that chaos, despite the fact that half of it was done before i was even 10 years old.

Sure, as it my hips acting up was not making me feel old enough YOU have to rub it in ;)

Congress doesn´t wants SLS to get it´s full potential, but they don´t like it scrapped either... at least unless they get another great idea to follow it up (Another launcher that can be used to drain funding to their Boeing friends for a decade before it even flies).

To be honest LM is in there too along with a majority of the old Shuttle contractors to some extent. Which was arguably the whole point anyway :)

It's just idiotic chaos that dumps billions of dollars away again and again.... oh an basically every time they force a big change on NASA´s plans, the ESA goes with it and changes it´s plans to make them fit into the new perspective of the future. I am pretty sure we would have our own crewed capsules for some years if we wouldn´t let the US Congress have such a high power over our European project... but i am not really angry about that anymore. I will try moving to the US in a few years anyways and i am identifying myself much more with NASA then ESA.

The issue is the ESA has never managed to really articulate a "need" for their own capsule. On the other hand (as noted over in the other thread :) ) that does not mean they lack in imagination or capability. It's a toss up if they want to spend the money and effort when they don't really have a pressing need at the moment. (Hence one of the reasons they looked at Dream Chaser :) )

Yes, big mix up :( sorry for that.
And yeah: Seems like we are again in the well known land of Elon time regarding to that..... on a project which can´t take any occasions of that. Artemis has to work out before China lands on the moon.

Eh, mistakes happen. (Just ask Elon ;) ) {sorry/not-sorry}

Artemis is likely to work before the early 2030s at the very least and China needs quite a few pieces in place to really go to the Moon but them getting there ahead of use would be a kick in the pants. Good-way or Bad-way would depend on a lot of factors :)

Yeah both ideas seem to be pretty flawed. Both of them have good basic ideas, but in the end i think that none of these concepts are worthy to be used for more then a Kerbal Space Program playthrough. But i found it interesting to read and compare both books and they are a nice base to figure out some stuff i am writing in a book i am working on.

Oh I was highly impressed initially with the concepts, (especially "Mars Direct) but then as I read up on them I realized how much the basic assumptions were flawed and misleading. Sure, MD is a great plan for getting the government to do a Mars mission, which is exactly what it was always intended to be, but it's not so much a good 'plan' for longer term, sustainable Mars missions and especially those outside of government funding and support. Similarly the cyclers have to have a major commitment from 'somebody' (and again it's implied that's the government) to get them up and running and keep them supported but they are again rather limited as to destinations and throughput. (Honestly my preference is a concept called the "Spacecoach" as I can see that being a going commercial concept but that's likely just me :) )

Gotta cut this short so will address the rest later :)

Randy
 
As I understand it they are also baselining the Vulcan being able to launch the lander as well and they do provide the engines for it :)
I....don't think that's true at all, actually? It's larger than any fairing Vulcan has right now. They talked about Vulcan as an option on the design they were considering back in 2017, but that was a dramatically smaller vehicle.
 
Sure, as it my hips acting up was not making me feel old enough YOU have to rub it in ;)
Sorry :D
The issue is the ESA has never managed to really articulate a "need" for their own capsule. On the other hand (as noted over in the other thread :) ) that does not mean they lack in imagination or capability. It's a toss up if they want to spend the money and effort when they don't really have a pressing need at the moment. (Hence one of the reasons they looked at Dream Chaser :) )
Oh i see a need: ESA has a need for independent capabilitys. As good as the cooperation with NASA works out: cooperation can be something that bites them in the but.... we have just seen that last year when the Ukraine invasion killed off the planned Exomars launch of the Rosalind Franklin Rover... all because we thougt it´s a nice idea to let russia build the lander and launch that thing into space.
Artemis is likely to work before the early 2030s at the very least and China needs quite a few pieces in place to really go to the Moon but them getting there ahead of use would be a kick in the pants. Good-way or Bad-way would depend on a lot of factors :)
Yes they need to do a lot, but when i look on their space program i see that they have hit basically every targeted deadline for their missions yet and they have the most recent experience in softlanding something on the lunar surface. So: i really hope that Artemis brings down some people before 2029... be it on Starship or the new National Team lander or whatever: Just bring some people and at least some precursor modules for a long term base down there and bring those people back to our own planet.
Sure, MD is a great plan for getting the government to do a Mars mission, which is exactly what it was always intended to be, but it's not so much a good 'plan' for longer term, sustainable Mars missions and especially those outside of government funding and support. Similarly the cyclers have to have a major commitment from 'somebody' (and again it's implied that's the government) to get them up and running and keep them supported but they are again rather limited as to destinations and throughput. (Honestly my preference is a concept called the "Spacecoach" as I can see that being a going commercial concept but that's likely just me :) )
Yeah MD isn´t well thought threw. I pack that in the same drawer as the Mars One concept / Scam.... great on first look, but pretty dump as soon as you look under the surface.
 
Last edited:
Oh i see a need: ESA has a need for independent capabilitys. As good as the cooperation with NASA works out: cooperation can be something that bites them in the but.... we have just seen that last year when the Ukraine invasion killed off the planned Exomars launch of the Rosalind Franklin Rover... all because we thougt it´s a nice idea to let russia build the lander and launch that thing into space.
ESA's issue, fundamentally, is that Europe doesn't value space the way the US or Russia do. Here's a table of national space agency budget vs GDP I put together, which is kind of an interesting metric of how much a polity values human spaceflight & exploration compared to their industrial power. Data from a few sources, but any errors my own. This doesn't capture all space spending by countries associated with this, and for some countries this budget may capture some non-space spending. For instance, the US spends money on space not through NASA, obviously, through things like Bezos' investments in Blue, or Starlink generating revenue for SpaceX, or the DoD spending money on their own satellites and launches. However, by the same mark, at least a little bit of NASA's spending goes to aviation stuff like the X-59 Quiet SST demonstrator which isn't spaceflight related. Similarly, this doesn't capture French, German, or other EU spending on Ariane or defense missions that doesn't go through ESA.

Even with all these caveats, I think broadly the point holds: the EU spends under half as much on space per dollar of GDP as the US or Russia, a bit lower than India or China, very comparable to Japan though a bit higher, and well more than Canada (which I threw on the list mostly just because I still have fond feelings about writing Morning of the Maple Leaf). The absolute amount of work China gets done is larger than the EU by a greater factor, thanks to higher purchasing power of labor and such per dollar, but I'd argue this captures the sense that China's not...really investing a lot of emotional effort in their space program the way the US or Russia did in the space race and still do even as they're announcing their own lunar missions. If ESA had the same budget per GDP as NASA gets in the US, they'd have a budget more than twice their actual budget, which would make having their own crew vehicles and maybe their own entirely separate stations (or doing something like declaring they were going to the moon, and if others want to join they're welcome to instead of just asking NASA if they can tag along if NASA goes). If Japan had the same budget per GDP as the US, they'd approach the level of spending of ESA in real life, and would probably have many more flagship-class probes of their own, more serious discussion of their own crew capabilities, and maybe a bit more active astronaut corps and LV history.


GDP (trillion USD)Space Budget (billion USD)Space Budget/GDP * 1000
Russia1.7791.921.08
US23.3223.31.00
India3.1761.60.50
China17.738.90.50
ESA16.77.470.45
Japan4.9411.950.39
Canada1.9880.4910.25

EDIT: original version of this post had the table values wrong for Japan, converting incorrectly from yen to USD resulted in a budget of $0.827b, not $1.95b as is apparently correct for JAXA (source article, note that the headline $4.14 billion includes defense space spending).
 
Last edited:
Well, I leave home for a few days and look what happens.

I signed in to share the link with some people. I look down and I'm seeing a spirited discussion on commercial launchers, environmental studies and a graph about BUDGETS of all things!

I had to double check myself. For a moment, I thought I was looking at the thread for Eyes Turned Skywards.

Always nice to see a good discussion amongst my readers.

I'd love to be able to offer insights on these stirring debates, but a rich knowledge of technical detail is borderline anathema to the spirit of OoS (just kidding!).

At any rate, I wanted to share a quick story and a couple of images with you.

About 15 years ago, my mother collected these little ceramic cows from Hallmark. They had all kinds of them. I gave her one for Christmas one year and (of course) I picked out the astronaut one.
YxMA8C1.png

You can imagine my surprise when, on my trip to Houston, I encountered a 10-foot-tall version in the Houston airport.
aCn3QoA.png

It's a small world, but a real big cow!

ucBvW6C.png
 
Well it's not cheap or quick if you do it right at any rate :) And no there's a limited set of choices especially as you get higher in power and possibly consequences.
Building launch sites will become a challenge in my timeline, "Reach for the Skies." Granted, the challenges are different in 1879 than in the 21st century, but good sites are always going to be few and far between.
 
I....don't think that's true at all, actually? It's larger than any fairing Vulcan has right now. They talked about Vulcan as an option on the design they were considering back in 2017, but that was a dramatically smaller vehicle.

I'd have sworn I'd seen it mentioned but can't find it off hand. In context it was my understanding that the current lander is actually smaller diameter than the original Blue Moon lander but taller due to placing the tankage above the crew compartment. But as actual dimensions seem hard to come by in a quick search I very well could be all wrong :)

Thanks

Randy
 
Well, I leave home for a few days and look what happens.

We use the excuse we were out of updates so felt we needed to 'fill the air' ;)

I signed in to share the link with some people. I look down and I'm seeing a spirited discussion on commercial launchers, environmental studies and a graph about BUDGETS of all things!

Well now that you're back we've had to delay the in-depth discussion on "practical" "Brass Bikini" space suites that was planned for this weekend... darn...

I had to double check myself. For a moment, I thought I was looking at the thread for Eyes Turned Skywards.

Also a place where the "Brass Bikini" discussion got set aside... Weird how that keep happening :)

Always nice to see a good discussion amongst my readers.

I'd love to be able to offer insights on these stirring debates, but a rich knowledge of technical detail is borderline anathema to the spirit of OoS (just kidding!).

Hey YOU played it close to ASB territory with the subtitle "A Timeline of a Scientific America" :)

At any rate, I wanted to share a quick story and a couple of images with you.

About 15 years ago, my mother collected these little ceramic cows from Hallmark. They had all kinds of them. I gave her one for Christmas one year and (of course) I picked out the astronaut one.
YxMA8C1.png

You can imagine my surprise when, on my trip to Houston, I encountered a 10-foot-tall version in the Houston airport.
aCn3QoA.png

It's a small world, but a real big cow!

ucBvW6C.png

Neat!

Randy
 
I second that, we need an infrastructure that´s useable for multiple destinations, a modular system that can be easily modified with either more fuel or more cargo, based on deltaV requirements of the missions.

Part of the reason we an OTL version of "Skydock" and propellant depots and probably transfer stations to go from "Ground-To-Orbit" vehicles to deep space ones. I mean I get the draw of the 'simplicity' of a single vehicle but as can be seen in the current "design" (and I use the word loosely, very loosely) for Starship the needed systems and required parts make for very big, very complex and very expensive systems. There's a reason FedEx does not use a 747 or semi-truck to deliver a package to your doorstep and why they package and ship modular containers as much as possible. And the deliberate attempt to avoid "infrastructure" development and use has lead to some pretty expensive an unsustainable architecture that could easily be avoided. Especially when it's clear the technologies need to be developed anyway.

Yeah... they are beginning to get kind of the same ethics regarding to contracts that we already know from the old space company's.. another thing i don´t like regarding to SpaceX.

Eh, that's really unavoidable given the cost of doing business in space. Your major customer is pretty much always going to be a government (at least until space industrialization really takes off) who are going to be providing the bulk of your service and contracts. You really want those open-ended and 'vague' contracts if you can get them. SpaceX was dependent on NASA money from the start and both NASA and SpaceX credit early NASA grants with being what made the company able to be viable early on. Blue Origin needed a DoD contract early on to get over the initial 'hump' in spending and most other companies ("New" space or "Old") depend on government contracts for a good chunk of their money. The myth of 'self financing' is just that and I will admit that Musk was at least honest in one statement about how you become a millionaire in the Space business... You start out a billionaire :)

Oh i am a suspicious person, as long as i don´t see official statements (and launch contracts) which are able to show off the real market potential and the real flexibility of that thing, i don´t give into the hype. It was the same for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Both are great because they have partly reusability, but none of those is an ideal launcher when it goes to most beyond earth orbit missions. They are just behind the flexibility and some of the payload capability´s of the Atlas V-family.

Hey according to the fans Starship will be profitable THIS year! (The response comment was along the lines of "Yes, for scrap metal dealers" but I digress :) )

There's an arguable "need" for a "ideal" launcher but really at this point "better" can be easily seen as the enemy of "good enough" being a good point. Falcon loses about 15% of it's payload to cover reusability for the first stage and this only gets worse for upper stage reuse. So how reusable should the upper stage be? Obviously SpaceX sees the price point being cheaper to expend at this point but as I've noted this has a lot to do with the low performance of the Falcon second stage propellants. (Rough BoTE figures show you at least get the 15% back with something like methalox a lot more with hyrdolox but you also have to figure the design costs and such into it. Methalox will 'fit' into the existing airframe of the second stage, hydrolox requires a significant stretch or much wider stage to be built)
Then there's questions of configuration, landing methods etc.

Now if there was infrastructure on-orbit to use "expended" stages or a way to turn an upper stage into a tug or something that's also a significant bump in efficiency.

I agree, i think that for a lot of experiments it would be the best way to go to build some men tended free flyers and regarding to the last sentence: I think that the customers will have a bit say in that. I am pretty sure that SpaceX would even restart Dragon production if they would get so many contracts that the lifetime of the existing capsules comes to an end before the contracts get lost. But even if they wouldn´t do that: There will be at least the crewed version of Dream Chaser, launched of Vulcan or Ariane 6, or New Glenn (I don´t really think this will happen any time...... )

SpaceX did kind of offer an option for a "DragonLab" capsule but it wasn't big enough for most possible users and Musk wasn't willing to make modifications to accommodate. (Understandable as he was looking for way to 'reuse' the original Dragon 1 capsules that NASA had designated "single-use" at the time) Getting industry to really drill down on what exactly they need is tough since most possible customers are not really sure at this point anyway. Really the market is there if you can articulate a capability that the can cover what the customers THINK they want and what they end up REALLY wanting, which is no easy task.

Yeah i am thinking about something like that. It´s a good and safe way to go and those modules for Axiom are built by people who have a lot of experience. That´s a safe way to go.

It's a safe and conservative way to go to be sure, me I'm still holding out for more experimentation with inflatable technology. Then again I'm a "TransHab" fan from way back :)

Sorry to say that but: PLEASE NO MORE BLUE ORIGIN. I hope they are pushing everything they have into the lander construction..... dumping the shit show that New Glenn is would probably the best way. Let them concentrate on the one contract they have gotten that really needs to work out on time. I think that even ESA would be more capable and faster to design a crewed, reentry capable, vehicle by themselfs in a faster manner then those guys. I am really glad that they "only" have to fly in a vacuum with the contracted Lunar Lander.

Not going to happen, Blue Origin is just as committed as SpaceX. My biggest fear is they've given up on first stage reuse as they sold their landing ship and New Glenn is a bit big for barge landing. (Since "Project Jarvis" has been pretty much put on hold second stage reuse looks to be right out as well) In general by the looks of it New Glenn may actually fly (successfully :) ) before Starship does which would be nice. (Vulcan almost certainly will)

I'd love to see the ESA jump into the ring but as e of pi noted there's a lot working against that. (Too bad because I loved "Project Moonlight" and ARES or Advanced Reusable European Spacecraft IIRC :) ) my gut tells me if they do anything it's likely to buy a couple of Dream Chasers or more likely at least flights on them.

Yes, just to bad.. and: I think that launcher concept that was modified into the SLS would have been way better then the thing that flies now.. i think they called it "Jupiter" (?).... and i would really have loved to see Ares-V fly in reality, but hey: instead i can use it at least in KSP.

Jupiter had the issue of being not what NASA management or Congress wanted and Ares V had the stigma of being obviously and loudly aimed at being an official "Mars Direct" launch system with all the inborn Congressional opposition that implied. SLS (as the derogatory name of "Senate Launch System" implies) was design that Congress could use to limit NASA ambitions and reach so that's what we got.

I agree, and that need A LOT of work. But there are already people out there working in the right direction. "Everyday Astronaut" is a great example of a person who is doing great at getting people to become fascinated by spaceflight, not only on the absolute surface, but on a deeper level. And this fascination will hopefully start to generate influence on politics. When Apollo flew, there were people like Walter Cronkite and now there are Tim Dodd, Scott Manley, the Angry Astronaut etc. We are in a great time when it goes to activating the wider public for spaceflight.

The problem with the examples is how many of them have gravitated towards and latched onto SpaceX and Starship as THE only means of moving forward so they use their platforms to attack anything that is not Starship and anyone who disagrees with the almighty Musk. This of course entails touting the "Musk Plan" as the only viable plan, (despite there being no such "plan" existing) and all other possible destinations or suggestions as being heresy of the highest order. Now some have backed off the rhetoric (like Scott) and others have entertained other ideas (like Angry) but they still mostly insist that only certain methods and means are "worth" pursing and more often than not still fixate on certain goals and aspects to the exclusion of all else. And that's still a problem because they are NOT getting to a deeper level and mor often than not are still very much only addressing very shallow level issues and not ones that are drawing in outside interest.

I was on the sidelines when Angry managed to live up to his chosen name when confronted on his ideas of how "ready" extraterrestrial buildering technology was. He blew a gasket over the simple suggestion of why not use that technology to build in some remote part of the Earth, (suggested was use it to build a base camp on Mount Everest) as being a waste of time and money. The obvious counter argument being it would be less costly and have an immediate use than trying to do so on the Moon or Mars and failing. And it points out the major flaw with most of these kind of advocates in that they ignore prerequisite and precursor uses that don't address an immediate and clear "purpose" at the destination when such could demonstrate and show utility here on Earth to a wider audience. It also illustrated a tendency to assume that all the "problems" have been solved by new technology or work when it quite obviously hasn't.
Space suit design, interior design, (because despite what the advocates and fans would like to think your 'colonists' will be spending the majority of their lives let alone time in the "great indoors" and not outside) automated precursor work, (has anyone yet built a house by complete automation or teleoperation? no, not really) automated resource extraction and processing (again no, we've come close in some areas but not fully) and a thousand other details that need to be addressed and are not super-exciting or even super interesting but have to be done.

I'm an old L5-er and one of the things that organization concentrated on was the minutia and background that going into space to live and work actually required. Likely that came from the organizers being actual "homesteaders" here on Earth with all the self sufficiency and careful planning that requires. Part of the problem is that everyone wants things to happen "now" because after all we've been going into space for over half a century so we want to compare it to other such endeavors of exploration such as sea travel or air travel. (Especially the latter despite the very clear differences) But this is vastly different and we've yet to see similar progress in capability simply because we only 'dabble' in space flight and exploration because it's a very niche effort. And it will remain so until there is vastly more support and 'buy-in' from the larger population and political structure. So yes we have to convince a LOT more people to care and get interested and doing that over and over again at only very shallow levels lead invariably to a significant loss of interest and support over time as the overhyped promises fail to materialize and gritty details that were overlooked to make it all more exciting and interesting come to the fore. I've watched it happen multiple times now and the only constant is you end up with essentially two groups at the end of each 'wave". One that buckles down and keep trucking along looking for and working on those pesky details but will always be small and dedicated because it's just not that exciting or awe inspiring and those that will always be looking for and grabbing the "next big thing" that can make a solid splash and bring in people for a while but can't sustain the momentum because they end up having no real plan or sustainability so that their size ebbs and flows with general interest. The latter gets more attention but the former tend to get more actual work done. The problem is the two rarely get along and even more rarely manage to actually work together for any length of time.

Randy
 
Not going to happen, Blue Origin is just as committed as SpaceX. My biggest fear is they've given up on first stage reuse as they sold their landing ship and New Glenn is a bit big for barge landing. (Since "Project Jarvis" has been pretty much put on hold second stage reuse looks to be right out as well) In general by the looks of it New Glenn may actually fly (successfully :) ) before Starship does which would be nice. (Vulcan almost certainly will)
Blue Origin's definitely still doing first stage reuse, New Glenn's expensive enough that' not doing so isn't on the table at all. AIUI, they switched to a barge:


Meanwhile, Jarvis isn't on pause, it's visibly progressing, there was a new tank (complete with what looks like a header tank) moved out from their assembly facilities for the project at the Cape recently. (If you look, the article this is from also had images caught of New Glenn first and second stage tanks in their cleaning & test buildings for qualification or possibly even flight hardware.)

DSC_5898-wmarked.jpeg
 
Blue Origin's definitely still doing first stage reuse, New Glenn's expensive enough that' not doing so isn't on the table at all. AIUI, they switched to a barge:

Good to hear, though the New Glenn first stage is taller and wider than the Falcon which was a concern. Locking it down in any kind of rough see it going to be tricky.

Meanwhile, Jarvis isn't on pause, it's visibly progressing, there was a new tank (complete with what looks like a header tank) moved out from their assembly facilities for the project at the Cape recently.

Also good news as last I'd heard they still had not decided on a recovery method and not much else.

(and glad to see the test articles progressing well and maybe flight hardware being built)

Randy
 
Top