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  1. #101
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    My wife has a plug in Starhopper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    The Starship will sit on top of the Superheavy?
    That's the plan when all parts are operational. Starship can operate on its own during early tests. Hopper will fly only on its own. It is an inexpensive test vehicle that does early risky tests that could fail without costing too much. The first Starship will initially fly on its own for extended tests but will later fly as the upper stage of Superheavy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    When free of the Earth's atmosphere (or thereabouts) they'll separate, the Superheavy will return to Earth and land vertically.
    Yes. Superheavy will operate quite similar to the first stage of Falcon 9 now. Send Starship off and return after a few minutes. It is planned to always RTLS (return to launch site), never land downrange on a ship like many Falcon 9 first stages do. It costs some capability but allows fast reflight. The plan fur Superheavy is to not only return to the launch site but to actually land directly on the launch mount. Aiming for ability to launch several times a day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    The Starship will go on to Mars, also landing Vertically?
    Yes, after refueling in orbit. Maybe 5-6 launches to refill the tanks. From Mars it will fly back and land on Earth to refly later. That requires a factory on Mars to produce over 1000t of propellant.
    "don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence"

  3. #103
    Thailand Expat Luigi's Avatar
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    Amazing stuff indeed. Thanks TO.


    Can you give us a rough estimate of when these developments should happen, ending with the first flight to Mars? (Q1 2020, for example)

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    first flight to Mars
    First manned 2024.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    rough estimate of when these developments should happen, ending with the first flight to Mars?
    Suborbital hops beginning maybe next month with the hopper.

    What I am waiting for: Hopefully April/May a new presentation with updated capabilities of their ship. Probably updated schedule for their Mars plans too.

    Mid of this year, completion of the first full capability Starship, the second stage. Suborbital testflights beginning soon after.

    About end of this year, early next year completion of the first stage, the SuperHeavy, flights beginning with suborbital hops soon after.

    If all goes well, 2020 first full orbital flight. Elon Musk said likelihood 60% for 2020, rapidly increasing.

    Not earlier than 2023 a space tourist flight. Loop around the moon with Japanese entrepreneur Yuzaku Maezawa and about 8 artists he plans to invite. Very likely an unmanned testflight around the moon ahead of this. The mission plan indicates that Starship with such a low payload mass can do it without refueling in orbit. Price not known but said to be substantial, helps with financing development. Guesses in the range of $300-500 million. Still miniscule compared to any NASA efforts of a much smaller scale.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DearMoon_project

    The Mars plans are

    In 2022 sending 2 cargo ships to Mars . Transporting equipment for the propellant factory and equipment to dig for water. They can send people only once they have established availability of water for propellant production at the landing site. Planned capacity at least 100t for each cargo ship. Compared to NASA capability of landing no more than ~1t max on Mars, the weight of the Curiosity rover being just below that.

    In 2024, arriving 2025, 2 more cargo ships and 2 manned ships. Establish propellant production and a return flight 2 years later. This would be the beginning of a permanent base. People on Mars would return after arrival of more people in 2026/2027. Initially the Starship used to get there would be the habitat.Number of people on the initial flights was not given but is estimated by fans in the range of 10-12 people on each ship.

    The whole timeline is explicitly aspirational and likely to slip somewhat. But Elon Musk is increasingly optimistic that it won't slip by much.

  6. #106
    Thailand Expat Luigi's Avatar
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    Fantastic, cheers.


    One last question, I read, and think I posted about a 17 year old girl that may be the first person on Mars, and is inline with all the training and tests etc.

    How far are SpaceX into the selection procedure for the Mars astronauts (are they called astronauts?) that are planned to leave in 2024 and live on Mars for 2 years?

    Are they doing tests? Have they chosen people to be part of the astronaut program, or is there any SpaceX time-frame given for that aspect?


    Thanks again.

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    There is no way they will be capable to send 100T to Mars by 2024, Elton Musk is obsviously smoking too much and believe his own bullshit

    total pipe dream,

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    There is no way they will be capable to send 100T to Mars by 2024
    You are expressing the dwindling hope of the SLS crowd at NASA and Boeing. They are getting increasingly desperate. You can know that by seeing the discussions they have with increasing harebrained arguments why SLS is still needed.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    How far are SpaceX into the selection procedure for the Mars astronauts (are they called astronauts?) that are planned to leave in 2024 and live on Mars for 2 years?

    Are they doing tests? Have they chosen people to be part of the astronaut program, or is there any SpaceX time-frame given for that aspect?
    There is nothing from SpaceX on the subject except a few general remarks that designs for the equipment needed is advancing well. I believe they will send people from the teams that have designed the equipment. For most of the jobs the NASA type science astronauts are not well suited IMO. They may hire an ex NASA astronaut or two to help with training and probably go along. Much will depend on if and when NASA would get on board with the plans. NASA astronauts on the ISS are trained for months on every move they will have to make for their work on the ISS and when they are doing it 20-100 people on the ground look over their shoulder and tell them what to do next. This is not how a Mars crew will have to operate.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    You are expressing the dwindling hope of the SLS crowd at NASA and Boeing. They are getting increasingly desperate. You can know that by seeing the discussions they have with increasing harebrained arguments why SLS is still needed.
    you seriously can't contemplate the feasibility of that project in such a short time span, with sophisticated equipment being shipped off and assuming a 100% success rate

    Question: what's the annual tonnage being send up there between ESA, China and all private US enterprises ? 15T ? 30T ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    you seriously can't contemplate the feasibility of that project in such a short time span, with sophisticated equipment being shipped off and assuming a 100% success rate
    During the test phase an accident or two may happen. After that better than 1 in 100 and increasing. Being able to land the spacecraft allows to find weak spots and correct them before they cause mission failures. Starship has the advantage of a quite large number of engines and it will be able to complete the mission with at least one, mostly two engines out. It is 7 engines on the upper stage and 31 engines on the first stage.

    SpaceX Raptor is the most advanced engine ever built by a wide margin. Even better than the russian engines which up to now were superior to US made engines. The russia made RD-180 is the workhorse of US ULA and launches most of the US military hardware. Designed during the final years of the Soviet Union US industry was not able to match it until SpaceX.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Question: what's the annual tonnage being send up there between ESA, China and all private US enterprises ? 15T ? 30T ?
    I don't have any statistics on it. But I can make a very rough guess. Average payload may be anywhere between 3 and 8t. At 100 launches total a year that would be 300 to 800t.

  12. #112
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    Great stuff...Thanks once more, TO...

    I thought we lived in a special time when the moon was the place to be...From horse and buggy to early flight and then the giant leap for mankind...

    But this excitement is incredible...Way into the future, a family will be able to buy a station-wagon model to flit around whatever home they happen to live near/on...

  13. #113
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    Indeed. The leap in technology was so great, that the first man to fly, could have met the first man to walk on the moon.

    Once a break through is made, the speed of development could be astounding, especially in this coming age of AI.

    The big one will be the mastery of space-time manipulation. Possibly a few hundred years away.

  14. #114
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    Today Elon Musk announced that the first production run Raptor engines have arrived at their test facility in McGregor, Texas. The picture shows it being mounted to the test stand. So we can hope that it can be fired soon. They need three of them tested and delivered to their launch site Boca Chica, Brownsville right at the border to mexico to fly the Hopper.



    The upper engine in the pic is the new Raptor engine. Below for comparison is an early version of their Merlin engine. A newer Merlin, the Merlin 1D, is is powering their Falcon rockets. They have run test versions of components since 2014 and subscale full engines since 2016.

    Methane burning Raptor is bigger than Merlin but 3 times more powerful. It will have a record breaking thrust/weight ratio. It is the most advanced rocket engine ever. Beating even the best russian engines.

    They planned to have 7 of those engines at the upper stage, the Starship. 31 engines on the first stage, called Super Heavy. But it seems the Raptor engine comes out with more thrust than they expected. The first stage may need less engines for that reason.

    To speed up development they will use this engine on both the first and second stage. Later separate versions will be developed, with higher thrust on the first stage and higher vacuuum efficiency on the second stage. This will increase overall system efficiency by a lot. But the initial version will fly the Dear Moon mission contracted by japanese entrepreneur Yuzaku Maezawa. This is a mission where Yuzaku Maezawa plans to invite a group of different artists to join him in a flight around the moon.
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  15. #115
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    Another comparison. The also new BE-4 engine developed by Blue Origin. The company owned and financed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. He funds Blue Origin presently with $1 billion a year.



    This is a test version. BE-4 is a lot bigger than Raptor but only slightly more thrust. To be fair, Raptor is near the maximum possible with chemical engines while BE-4 has a lot of development potential.

    For size comparison you see the people pushing the cart with the BE-4 engines. If you look closely there is a man standing behind the Raptor engine as well, at the right of the picture. You see his legs and the helmet he wears so he is taller than the engine is wide.
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  16. #116
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    Also recently another information given by Elon Musk. As important as is the engine. It was announced that the Ship will be made of stainless steel and will have a cooling system using methane. So far all reentry vehicles had a heat shield to protect them from reentry heat. SpaceShuttle heat shield was reusable but had to be checked and repaired after every flight at huge cost and time spent. Starship depends on its ability to refly quickly and at low or no refurbishment cost. They aim for up to 10 flights a day. The SpaceX PicaX heat shield in theory could stand quite a large number of reentries but it is vulnerable to water. Dragon uses it and after dropping into the ocean the heat shield needs to be discarded. Even land landing as for Starship would not help that much. A strong rain will probably also make it unusable.

    So SpaceX had to come up with a novel concept. Starship will not have any heat shield. But in the areas exposed to reentry heating it will have a double hull with the two skins separated by stringers. The outer skin has many very small holes, barely if at all visible to the naked eye from very close distance. The space between the inner and outer skin will be filled with methane. The methane gets hot and evaporates through the skin. Basically Starship will be sweating. The methane will transport some heat away but even more importantly it wil form a skin around the ship that keeps the hot air away, similar to burning off material of ablative heatshields used on capsules. If they can get this to work Starship can do thousands of reentries without refurbishment. Maybe occasionally repolishing the mirror polished steel surface. That would be similar in servicing cost as occasional repainting of airplanes.

    There have been similar concepts for hypersonic fighter jets but the method has never been used operational and never been used for reentry from space. Coming back from LEO will have a speed of 8km/s, coming back from the moon about 11km/s and coming back from Mars in the range of 13 to 14 km/s. The energy that needs to be dispersed goes with the square of the speed. So 14km/s will have 3 times the energy of a LEO reentry. That energy needs to be handled without destroying the spacecraft or killing the people inside.

    This is IMO the most critical part of development. A quite unproven technology that needs to work reliably.

  17. #117
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    Some fun facts about heat during vehicle reentry. One can easily think the heat produced when the ship or capsule hits the atmosphere comes from friction between the vehicle and the atmosphere. But that is fortunately not true. What really happens is the vehicle compresses the atmosphere ahead of it and the air heats up through compression. Like the pump gets warm when you pump up your bicycle tire. It is so much heat that the air becomes a plasma. The ship is moving so fast at that time relative to the air that the vast amount of heated air just slips around the vehicle and does not reach it.

    I have gathered some numbers from space forums during the last few days. Don't take the precise values as gospel but it is correct as a general concept. It is calculations by knowledgeable fans, no more no less. They come to the conclusion that about 99.5% of the energy just blows away in the atmosphere. So the vehicle has to deal with only 0.5% of the total energy. Much more and it would become a blob of molten metal.

    The heat shield takes away 80% of that and only 0.1% actually reaches the skin. Part of that is soaked up by the hull, part of it is radiated away. Only this effect makes reentry from orbit at those incredible speeds possible at all.

  18. #118
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    TO thanks for taking the time to post this. Gotta say we are lucky enough to have more detail now than probably any time previously under NASA. That engine being pushed is a real juxtaposition between tech and mandraulic power.

    Regards the use of Methane, clearly a volatile gas which needs oxygen to react so presumably as long as they can ensure the gas remains isolated all is good so they must be confident of their ability to contain this liquid through the extremes of expansion and contraction - obviously but it seems to add another potential catastrophic complication.
    Bsnub: After I sleep this off I will post otherwise you fucking sad sack lying fuck. It will no be the first time you go caught in a lie will it? Since you ratted me off to admin for falsely reposting your picure. Dumbass twink.

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    Methane needs to be separate from the oxygen but that is not different than with any other fuel. Methane has never been used in rocket engines but that is mostly because the companies building rockets and the organization NASA are absolutely incredibly conservative. Nothing is even considered that has not been used before. Which means they are stuck mostly with what was used in the Saturn V. That is kerosene, in a space grade quality called RP-1 and hydrogen.

    At the time of Saturn V methane or LNG was not commonly available and very little known about handling. Today we use it for heating our houses and running cars and power plants. So knowledge is availabe for handling small and very large amounts of it. Also methane/LNG is very cheap. Good if you need huge amounts of it for a huge rocket. Though propellant is still only a very small part of the total cost.

    Another advantage of methane is that it is liquid at a very similar temperature as LOX - liquid oxygen. Having them in tanks very close to each other does not require huge amounts of insulation. If you use RP-1, you need to insulate or the RP-1 would freeze. If you use hydrogen you need even more insulation or else the hydrogen boils off. Hydrogen is liquid only at extreme temperatures near absolute zero.

    SpaceX is the first company that wants to carry a lot of this fuel all the way to the moon or to Mars. Very hard to impossible with both RP-1 and hydrogen. All rockets so far have used it only on launch and a short time later to send the spacecraft off to the moon or to the planets. Propellant needed for landing or other maneuvers away from earth uses hypergolic propellants. Those can be stored in space and are easy to use but they are way less efficient and they need different engines. That is a large part of why it is so hard to land large payloads on the moon or on Mars. Switching to methane makes it possible to transport that efficient propellant all the way to the moon or Mars and use the same big efficient main engines for landing and launching from there.

    This makes a huge step up in payloads possible. NASA has landed the Curiosity rover on Mars which is below 1t of mass and is the limit of what NASA is able to do. They are working on improvements but had only failures yet and even if successful it may get the max mass landed on Mars up to 3, maybe 5t. Not enough for manned missions. Getting people off Mars needs much bigger vehicles. Starship of SpaceX with methane will be able to land 100t payload, not included the ship, soon upgraded to 150t. This payload allows operations way beyond what NASA is even considering. Having that much mass available makes it also a lot easier to keep a crew alive and get them off Mars for return to Earth. NASA needs to optimize every bit of equipment, saving every bit of mass at huge cost.

  20. #120
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    TO thanks, perhap I was misreading but I though earlier you said it would be used as cooling, Re-entry? inside a Stainless shell which is a departure from inert heat shield mediums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    TO thanks, perhap I was misreading but I though earlier you said it would be used as cooling, Re-entry? inside a Stainless shell which is a departure from inert heat shield mediums.

    Probably I misread your post. Yes, they use methane for that too. Methane between two skins of Starship. Some of it sweating out once it gets hot through very small openings. It won't burn with the atmosphere, it can't. That's because the gas is plasma, all the molecules are already broken down and it is too hot for the atoms to react with each other. The methane may burn once it is way behind the vehicle and cooled. I am looking forward to seeing them reenter. I wonder if there will be a tail of burning methane.

    There are still a lot of unclear things. Elon Musk has been spilling details since early december in tweets. But there are still plenty of questions open.

    How much thrust do the Raptor engines have at this stage? There will be improvements over time, when they get confident to increase pressure inside the combustion chamber. Initially probably 250 bar pressure, less than the russian RD-180 which is somewhere in the range of 270-280. The plan for Raptor is to get pressure up to 300 bar which is insanely high.

    What is the payload to LEO? Probably 100t or a bit better initially. Later 150t or a bit more.

    What is the time table for their first Mars mission? Notional it always was 2022 unmanned and 2024 manned but that is highly ambitious.

    What time will Starship fly orbital? He mentioned they are working for 2020.

    What time will Starship be available for commercial launches? Maybe 2021 which again is an unsanely fast schedule.

  22. #122
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    Certainly quite a bit of new ground being broken, the first time in years it feels like real boundaries are being pushed again.

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    Cheers for the update, TO...

  24. #124
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    Good stuff!

  25. #125
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    He can't build a fucking car and he's sending people to Mars.

    Suuureeeee

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