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SpaceX Successfully Tested Draco Thruster

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the to-infinity-and-beyond dept.

Space 88

dj writes "The propulsion division of SpaceX has performed another important test. After the test of the Falcon 9's first stage Merlin engines, the smallest engine of the SpaceX family, Draco, has been put to test. During the test, the thruster fired for ten minutes, paused for ten minutes, and then was restarted for an additional minute. The test was performed on a new vacuum test stand built by SpaceX, and put into operation in March 2008 at the SpaceX Test Facility outside McGregor, Texas."

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Lamest Article Ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26072571)

To get the first psot on.

Draco Thruster (2, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26072681)

That'd be a Nimbus 2001.

Re:Draco Thruster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26072779)

I was thinking more like "Harry Potter", wink wink, nudge nudge.

Re:Draco Thruster (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26072945)

That'd be a Nimbus 2001.

I don't know, but surely he [wikipedia.org] is behind all this.

This Spacex will REALLY Draco your Thruster Testes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26072777)

I buy my saline kits from Chase Union Ltd in Movi, Michigan. The cost of a 1000 cc bag of sterile saline, drip tubing, sterile wipes (to wipe down your sac and all around) and catheter needle is with shipping around $25.
You can call them at +01 (248) 348-8191 and ask for item "MF 100" a scrotal inflation kit.

To do the saline, take the bag of saline and put in a microwave for about 5.5 minutes at low heat to warm to a bit above body temperature;about 100 degrees or so. Unwrap the outer plastic packaging and put the saline bag aside. Unwrap the drip tubing which comes with the kit and move the clamping system down toward the end opposite the vial type thing and CLOSE IT SHUT. Take the larger end of the drip tubing and uncap the protective cap........open the warmed bag of saline and remove the clear cap. Insert the drip tubing nozzle into the saline bag opening. Find a curtain rod, pot rack (which i have and use in the kitchen) shower rod or something elevated above you. Hang the bag of saline with the tubing attached and shut off. THEN VERY IMPORTANT. SQUEEZE SOME OF THE SALINE INTO THE VIAL ABOUT HALF WAY -THEN OPEN THE CLAMPING DEVICE AND BLEED ALL AIR OUT OF THE TUBING. YEAH YOU LOOSE A LITTLE BIT OF SALINE BUT THIS IS A MUST. YOU DON'T WANT ANY AIR OR AIR BUBBLES IN THE DRIP TUBING! REPLACE THE CAP ON THE WORKING END OF THE TUBING.

Before hand, while the bag of saline is warming either take a hot shower, or fill a basin or kitchen sink with very warm water sit in it for 4-7 minutes. The idea is to warm your ballsac skin up and let it get loose and hang.

When you have finished warming your sac, and you have the bag of saline (BLED FROM AIR), you are ready to grow.

With your sac still very warm use the wipes provided with the kit to wipe down your cock and ballsac. By the way, you will want an adjustable leather cock ring , nylon rope, or other type of removable cock/ball ring to wrap around cock and ballsac after inserting the catheter needle.

With you sac still warm and wiped down with antiseptics, sit in a chair with a towel underneath. Open the catheter needle don't get pansy here but with one hand, take the catheter needle and the teflon sheath that covers it and WITH THE OTHER HAND TAKE YOUR BALLSAC MOVING YOUR COCK OUT OF THE WAY AND DECIDE ON THE LOCATION OF THE INTENDED CATHETER NEEDLE. YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON THE AREA EITHER TO THE LEFT OR RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR BALLSAC AND UP CLOSE TO WHERE THE COCK CONNECTS. YOU PLACE THE CATHETER NEEDLE RIGHT BELOW THE COCK OR A LITTLE LOWER BUT TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER OF THE DARKER SKIN DIVIDING SKIN WHICH IS IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SAC.

DON'T GET SQUEEMISH BECAUSE THIS DOES NOT HURT. BUT INSERT THE CATHETER STRAIGHT DOWN CAUTIOUSLY INTO YOUR SAC. MOVE YOUR TESTICLE ASIDE YOU ARE GOING TO GO INTO THE BALLSAC CAVITY NOT THE TESTICLE.

YOU WILL EXPERIENCE A PRICK SENSATION,THEN A POP SENSATION AS THE CATHETER NEEDLE PIERCES THE MUSCLE TISSUE OF THE SCROTUM.

KEEP PUSHING THE CATHETER NEEDLE IN. IF IT GOES IN AND YOU FEEL FROM THE OTHER/OPPOSITE SIDE OF YOUR BALLSAC THAT THE NEEDLE IS THERE, THEN STOP.

Pull out the needle itself leaving the teflon sheath inserted into you sac. Tie yourself (cock and balls) off with some sort of removable cock ring or rope or robe tie or whatever.

Sit down, don' t plan to move around too much for the next 30 minutes - hour. Have your beers/soft drinks or whatever already out of the fridge. You will want to stay idle and focused while you do this.

While sitting, and close to the hanging bag of saline and the drip tubing, remove the protective cover of the end of the drip tubing, connect the drip tubing to the catheter sheath in you sac. THEN START ADJUSTING THE CLAMPING DEVICE OPEN TO ALLOW SALINE DRIPPING TO APPEAR IN THE VIAL UP BY THE BAG OF SALINE. ADJUST FOR AN EVEN DRIP DRIP DRIP FLOW AND NOT A STEADY STREAM OF SALINE.

If the saline doesn't drip at first, try pulling the catheter sheath out a bit until you at first experience a small burning sensation;it goes away almost immediately.
Work on the sheath depth and the clamp until you get a good flow of saline going into your sac.

Don't move around too much......or be cognizant of how much you move around while the saline drips into and starts to bloat out your sac. You can always shut off the flow of saline with the clamp, disconnect and move around take a p, whatever......
If you disconnect, take the small stopper thing that is still attached to the needle and plug the teflon sheath to prevent leakage.

I like to use liquid vitamin E on my sac while it stretching and expanding;you should / can put oil or handcream on your sac while it is expanding. The sac is very stretchable but to expand up to 18-20 inches within an hour or so stresses the tissues,so things need to be lubricated somewhat..

GO SLOWLY.DON'T TRY TO REACH A MAX THE FIRST TIME. GO WITH WHAT YOUR BODY/SAC IS FEELING THEN STOP.

When you have finished doing the amount of saline you want to, feel comfortable with, can accept, close off the saline bag with the clamp, and disconnect.

Over filling/stress of the sac can cause osmosis leaking/sweating.. Do an amount of saline at first that is comfortable and not stressfull/hurting by all means. I have over done before and.you don't want to walk around with your sac dripping water out of it.and the after results cause chapping etc which takes a few days to peel and recover from.

Some of the saline is going to migrate into your cock. Your cock girth is going to become much larger than you have ever experienced.

AFTER YOU DISCONNECT FROM THE SALINE BAG, SIT AND WITH "SUPER GLUE", YES SUPER GLUE ON HAND, WITHDRAW THE CATHETER SHEATH.
AND WITH A TOWEL, PLACE SOME PRESSURE OVER THE HOLE THE NEEDLE CREATED......YOU MAY HAVE SOME BLOOD OR BLOOD MIXED WITH SALINE TRYING TO EXIT YOUR SAC! THEREFORE THE TOWELS

DON'T WORRY KEEP PRESSURE OVER AND DOWN ONTO THE HOLE FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO LET THINGS REST AND ANY BLOOD COAGULATE.

REMOVE THE "PRESSURE" TOWEL AND WITH SUPER GLUE, PLACE A FEW DROPS ON THE HOLE TO HOPEFULLY SEAL IT UP QUICKLY. KEEP THE COCK RING OR EQUIVALENT ON DURING THIS AND CONTINE TO LUBE YOUR SAC.

IF ALL IS GOING VERY WELL, IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES, YOUR SAC AND THE HOLE IS SEALED AND YOU ARE DONE.

IF ALL THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL, YOU MIGHT NOT GET A GOOD SEAL THE FIRST TIME JUST PEAL OFF THE SUPER GLUE RESIDUE AND START OVER.

At first your sac will be very tight,but over the next few hours or over night, keeping the cock ring on less tightly or without a cock ring your sac will relax and begin to stretch.

The saline will take a couple of days or more to absorb into you body. That is okay,Saline is sterile water adjusted to normal body PH.

Enjoy it, flaunt it if you are inclined, watch the perm stretch and sac tissue growth that happens over time.

You will need to p a little more often than regular as the saline absorbs into your body, but just enjoy the weight and feel of what is between your legs.

I hope this helps....If your nuts and sac are normally pretty big or even small and you want more, this will blow you away with the results.

Take care

"Thruster" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26072807)

Sounds gay, much like most slashdot readers.

Small Thruster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26072827)

My, what a tiny thruster you have, and oh what stamina!

Why? (0, Redundant)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26072911)

I understand that these engines will be used for SpaceX's 'Dragon' vechicle, which is intended to serve as a small crew capsule, an escape pod from the ISS, as well as an up-down cargo vehicle.

Although I understand the need for a small on-orbit engine such as Draco, I don't quite understand the point of the 'Dragon' craft, given that we already have Soyuz, which has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be a safe, reliable vehicle. The ESA are also working on a more modern capsule design that seems to mimic the capabilities of the 'Dragon' to a T.

So, then..... why are they working on this? As I understand it, their launch system is already lucrative enough as it is. Why go reinventing the wheel?

That all said, I'm sure they've got something up their sleeve.... SpaceX seem to be doing NASA's job better than NASA these days.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26072965)

Given the current roller coaster that is diplomatic relations with Russia do you really want to be reliant on Soyuz? Also the ESA capsule although successfully tested for cargo is still vaporware as far as manned spaceflight is concerned as I believe they haven't decided if they are going to go down that road yet. With the shuttle being retired the Dragon Capsule looks like a good stopgap.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073031)

>SpaceX seem to be doing NASA's job better than NASA these
>days.

Really? How many telescopes does SpaceX have in orbit? How many active probes does SpaceX have orbiting other planet, or on them for that matter? How many satellites has SpaceX put into orbit this year? SpaceX is doing some amazing stuff, but to pretend that they are ahead of NASA is just plain daft.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073301)

Really? How many telescopes does SpaceX have in orbit? How many active probes does SpaceX have orbiting other planet, or on them for that matter? How many satellites has SpaceX put into orbit this year? SpaceX is doing some amazing stuff, but to pretend that they are ahead of NASA is just plain daft.

You're missing the point (which, for the record was mindlessly obvious). SpaceX, in their area of specialisation (ie propulsion/cargo delivery) are showing a whole lot more progress than NASA. All too easy to purposely misinterpret to get on your soapbox.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073395)

And you seem to have invented a point that didn't exist. 'Doing NASA's job better than NASA' and then saying 'SpaceX, in their area of specialisation' is a contradiction in terms. While its impressive stuff as you say for them, they are certainly not on par with NASA and are not 'Doing NASA's job better'.

Any more room on that soapbox?

Re:Why? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26074913)

And you seem to have invented a point that didn't exist.

It's the ones disagree with the OP who are inventing points. The OP said nothing about telescopes and so on. It's unclear what exactly he meant, but why not ask before inventing straw men in order to stand on your soapbox?

Re:Why? (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26085383)

I never made the original contention, I just read the post and interpreted it how it was obviously meant to be interpreted, rather than the way that makes it easy to poke holes in what the person is saying. Easy to perceive gross generalisation in what the original poster said - but also obvious that it wasn't the poster's point. Don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time being constructive, than arguing semantics.

Re:Why? (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093665)

Easy to perceive gross generalization in what the original poster said - but also obvious that it wasn't the poster's point. Don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time being constructive, than arguing semantics.

You may be on the wrong site, this is slashdot.

Re:Why? (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073423)

>SpaceX, in their area of specialisation (ie propulsion/cargo
> delivery) are showing a whole lot more progress than NASA.

Are they? They are progressing rapidly, but are they progressing more rapidly than NASA did during its first six years? Are they ahead of where NASA was in 1963? Don't forget that much of the research and development that SpaceX is using to build their rockets was originally done by NASA. SpaceX is an impressive company, and I hope that they do well, but to claim that they are showing more progress than NASA is simply wrong.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073703)

The question isn't whether or not SpaceX progressed more rapidly than NASA did over 40 years ago (with a real federal budget). The question is whether or not SpaceX is ahead of NASA right now. NASA hasn't truly developed a new propulsion device to get the Shuttle into orbit, nor have they designed a replacement for the Shuttle. A craft, may I remind you, that has been having technical difficulties of late and caused more deaths than the original lunar capsule.

SpaceX really is our only hope to continue manned space flight in the foreseeable future ('our' meaning the US). They are definitely ahead of NASA who hasn't even gone past the theory stage as far as we know, and even that seems optimistic.

Oh and remember, the Ares I is a expendable lifter like the Falcon 9. You can't compare it to the Draco as its not intended for manned use. NASA just flat out can't compete currently with this kind of thruster development, and they are going to have to rely on it unless Russia (who seems to have some animosity for America still and the Cold War is still fresh in both nation's eyes) gets buddy-buddy with us since the Shuttle is being retired!

Re:Why? (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26077007)

The question isn't whether or not SpaceX progressed more rapidly than NASA did over 40 years ago (with a real federal budget). The question is whether or not SpaceX is ahead of NASA right now. NASA hasn't truly developed a new propulsion device to get the Shuttle into orbit, nor have they designed a replacement for the Shuttle. A craft, may I remind you, that has been having technical difficulties of late and caused more deaths than the original lunar capsule.

SpaceX really is our only hope to continue manned space flight in the foreseeable future ('our' meaning the US). They are definitely ahead of NASA who hasn't even gone past the theory stage as far as we know, and even that seems optimistic.

Which is why they aren't going to develop a new rocket to get the shuttle in space, nor will they develop a similar craft. The Delta-IV Heavy and other products in the pipeline already allow similarly-sized or larger payloads, and we'll be sending astronauts up separately in Orion, which is far beyond the theory stage at this point. That, or my coworkers at a major subcontractor on the project are lying to us.

Oh and remember, the Ares I is a expendable lifter like the Falcon 9. You can't compare it to the Draco as its not intended for manned use. NASA just flat out can't compete currently with this kind of thruster development, and they are going to have to rely on it unless Russia (who seems to have some animosity for America still and the Cold War is still fresh in both nation's eyes) gets buddy-buddy with us since the Shuttle is being retired!

That first bit doesn't make a lick of sense, so I'll ignore it. The Falcon 9 and the Ares I are both scheduled for their first test flights in 2009. SpaceX has successfully tested their Draco thrusters, NASA has successfully tested their Launch Abort System, and the main propulsion system for Orion is heritage stuff. How is this not competing? It should also be noted that only the Falcon 9 Heavy has a comparable payload capacity, and that does not have a scheduled maiden launch. The only place where SpaceX is supposedly ahead is not in thruster development; the Dragon capsule is scheduled for it's first flight in 2009 as well, while Orion's isn't scheduled until 2014. Dragon has passed its critical design review, so it'll be interesting to watch but in this industry slipping schedules and cost creep are not uncommon...especially when astronauts' lives are at stake.

The point is that NASA and its contractors do a hell of a lot more than the public thinks they do, they just don't trumpet their successes as loudly. Not that it's a bad thing of course; anything to get people excited about space again, since the general public stopped caring about NASA 30 years ago.

Re:Why? (1)

Karrde45 (772180) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087039)

The Falcon 9 and the Ares I are both scheduled for their first test flights in 2009.

It's a bit misleading to state that the Ares I-x is the first flight of the Ares I. It's a test flight of the first stage, and it's not even a full length first stage. The true dates to compare are the dates that people fly on both rockets. For NASA, the stated goal is 2015. Elon Musk has stated that he could do it by 2012 if COTS-D was funded. Even allowing for the fact that SpaceX generally takes longer than Elon originally estimates, Falcon 9/Dragon could debut at the same time that Ares I/Orion does, at a fraction of the cost and manpower.

Re:Why? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26077431)

A craft, may I remind you, that has been having technical difficulties of late and caused more deaths than the original lunar capsule.

This is more than slightly misleading. We flew Apollo no more than 15 times, with a total of 45 men. The shuttle has flown rather more than 100 times, with rather more than 600 men. Yes, on shuttle disaster kills more than one Apollo disaster. But Apollo managed one disaster with only fifteen launches, shuttle took 100 launches to get to two disasters.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073717)

I don't think NASA of 2008 is ahead of where NASA was in 1963. Sad.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26074475)

It is popular to bash NASA nowadays, but do you have anything to back it up?

No Apollo-like mission in 30+ years (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26075361)

One only needs to look at the lack of anything like Apollo in 30+ years.

Re:No Apollo-like mission in 30+ years (1)

kayditty (641006) | more than 5 years ago | (#26075743)

there are still Apollo missions running, I think. but, yeah, I get what you mean.

Can not compare (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076567)

the NASA of today is actually doing a lot of leg work for putting us on the moon for a long duration mission. Back in the 60's, we got there and back, but had we put up a base, it would have cost a fortune. Now, our costs should be less, due to the ISS. While I grant you that we have some MAJOR screw ups with the shuttle and the ISS, it has taught us what it will take to stay alive for a LONG time in space. One of the biggest issues with the ISS for me is that the did not put the centerfuge unit up there. We really need to know what it will take to survive a trip to mars or anywhere in this solar system. Even now, we have no idea what will happen to us on the moon. We just know HOW to survive on the moon.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26076273)

One only has to use Google to find out how badly defunct Nasa has become...

NASA will delay the launch of the next-generation Mars rover two years due to technical difficulties and cost overruns.

NASA will delay the launch of the next-generation Space Craft three years due to technical difficulties and cost overruns.

Shall I keep going or can we admit Nasa was great but greatness has been lost to much sadness.

Re:Why? (1)

Swiper (1336263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087435)

Why is everything measured on getting people up into space? The Mars missions have accomplished a lot more scientifically with less budget and it all gets ignored - What about the Voyager deep space probes etc.....? Getting people up there does have a certain "wow" factor, but I would say managing to remote control probes/vehicles over millions of km is much more impressive and efficient. People need so many support systems that swallow up useful payload, and don't really end up doing more than a machine could, it's just a waste

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076627)

To compare SpaceX and NASA is silly. NASA does not built rockets. Boing and McDonald Douglas built rockets. NASA buys those rockets from contractors. What SpaceX is hoping to do is become a contractor and sell rockets to NASA.

This is not unique to NASA. The US Air Force does not build airplanes either and the Army does not build rifles.

Re:Why? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087491)

NASA does not built rockets.

Ares I and V are counterexamples. Keep in mind that everyone of significant size contracts out work. Even SpaceX contracts out around 10% of their work.

Re:Why? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076845)

Oh, how many shuttles have they launched? How many people ahve they put on the space station?

Don't confuse repeating what has already done with new equipment.
SpaceX is cool, but it's not yet in the same league as NASA.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073409)

To say they are doing a better job than NASA is *not* the same as saying they are *ahead* of NASA. One describes the derivative, the other a position.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073421)

>> Really? How many telescopes does SpaceX have in orbit? How many active probes >> does SpaceX have orbiting other planet, or on them for that matter? How many >> satellites has SpaceX put into orbit this year?

Why are you comparing SpaceX, approximately 5 years old IIRC, to NASA, a defunct agency so bound up in red tape thatâ(TM)s over 40 years old. If you want to compare do it apples to apples, not apples to oranges. What did Nasa do in its first 5 years?

Don't get me wrong, I think what nasa has done is nothing short of brilliant. Yet believe we had the potential and have lost our way some how. We could have, and should have, had a short term lunar base, and possibly even a Martian one by now. I don't agree with the way some business are doing things but I do agree that if we want any future in space its going to have to go commercial and transcend all boundaries of countries, race, and religion.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073617)

>Why are you comparing SpaceX, approximately 5 years old IIRC,
>to NASA, a defunct agency so bound up in red tape thatÃ(TM)s
>over 40 years old. If you want to compare do it apples to apples,
>not apples to oranges. What did Nasa do in its first 5 years?

Almost all of the Mercury programme occurred during NASA's first five years. The problem with NASA now is not that they are a "defunct agency", but that they are badly underfunded for the mandate that they have been given. Admittedly, the VSE is highly unrealistic, but if that is the path that the US wants to follow then the US needs to be prepared to fund it. Expecting NASA to push the boundaries of manned space flight and then not being willing to put up the funds to do so is a recipe for failure.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

soldeed (765559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26074987)

Space X was founded in june of 2002. Just six years later, starting from a clean sheet of paper and producing most all of the rocket themselves; structures, engines, avionics, falcon 1 successfully reached orbit. The falcon 9 is being prepared to fly next year, as is the dragon seven crew/cargo spacecraft. Could NASA or any of it's contractors do the same in as short a time? Look how long the Orion spacecraft is taking. Can't beat their prices either, at around 7 million, a ride on a falcon 1 is an excellent bargain! Don't deny their props, Space X is accomplishing astounding feats for such a young company.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

celtic_hackr (579828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26075839)

Well, to be fair to NASA, SpaceX doesn't have to deal with a gargantuan bureaucracy, Congress, and the President in order to get approval to do anything or even get money and then wait for contractors to build something. Also, it should be noted that some of the people of SpaceX come from the very contractors that NASA relies upon, and so have the hands on experience and contacts to make it work.

It's really kind of a DUH conclusion. A small lightweight unencumbered company can out-perform a gigantic bureaucratic behemoth.

Gee, go figure!

Or

Q: Who would have ever guessed?
A: Any sane half-wit or better.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076735)

Space X was founded in june of 2002. Just six years later, starting from a clean sheet of paper and producing most all of the rocket themselves; structures, engines, avionics, falcon 1 successfully reached orbit. The falcon 9 is being prepared to fly next year, as is the dragon seven crew/cargo spacecraft. Could NASA or any of it's contractors do the same in as short a time?

NASA was founded in July 1958. John Glenn orbited the Earth in February 1962. Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon in July 1969.

Re:Why? (1)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26078609)

Well, Space X had somewhat of an advantage compared to when NASA was founded. When NASA was founded no one had gone to the moon and thus had to research how to do it. Space X's main dilemma was to reproduce existing technology in a more cost friendly form, however that requires much less research then figuring out how to go to the moon.

Now I agree that Space X is doing a great job, and I think that in the realm they are specializing in, they do it better then NASA. However I think this is because that is all they do. NASA isn't specialized in just that one field. They have to manage many different fields from mars rovers, to satellites, and other such things. With that comes the inevitable problem that always happens when organizations get larger and larger, they get a lot slower. Now in this case I personally think that they're slow because they have a lot of retarded managers, which can happen in large companies more so than smaller ones.

The real question is if Space X had been founded with the same type of money it has now, but with the knowledge that NASA had when it first started, could it have gotten this far? My bet is no. NASA paved the way for stuff like this, but I think it is clear that NASA is no longer a viable entity for paving the road to space anymore. NASA does some neat experiments, and the rovers did a great job...but I think anything as large as a shuttle/manned space mission is out of their league in its current form.

Re:Why? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087455)

Before that NASA was NACA [wikipedia.org] and were established in 1915.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26089389)

Bzzzt, wrong. The military developed the boosters in the late 40s and early fifties. NASA took already existing ICBMs and man-rated them for those early Mercury shots, so yeah, SpaceX is kicking butt from scratch, which NASA did not do.

Re:Why? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076873)

Could they? yes they could, if it was a priority.

I wouldn't call their feats 'astounding'. If it was 1970, sure.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26079213)

Space X was founded in june of 2002. Just six years later, starting from a clean sheet of paper and producing most all of the rocket themselves; structures, engines, avionics, falcon 1 successfully reached orbit. The falcon 9 is being prepared to fly next year, as is the dragon seven crew/cargo spacecraft. Could NASA or any of it's contractors do the same in as short a time? Look how long the Orion spacecraft is taking. Can't beat their prices either, at around 7 million, a ride on a falcon 1 is an excellent bargain! Don't deny their props, Space X is accomplishing astounding feats for such a young company.

Didn't we start from scratch and put a man on the moon in that time frame?

Re:Why? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26079355)

You mean they are doing things faster now than NASA did 50 years ago? I can't imagine the fact that they have access to technology thats 50 years more advanced, most of which BECAUSE of NASA has anything to do with it.

I'd also like to point out, NASA put a man in orbit 6 years after founding, and on the moon in 11. When you actually compare things logically, SpaceX really isn't that impressive. Considering things like video game consoles get put on export control lists because they have so much processing power they could easily perform the task of getting a rocket or missile to a target in real time, I think its rather ignorant to pretend that SpaceX is really breaking new ground. They are just doing the same crap NASA did 50 years ago, with the benifit of being able to look at most of NASAs research, mistakes, and successes.

SpaceX is the cheap chinese knock-off of NASA, its not impressive, its expected, and in my opinion, they are doing a damn shitty job of it considering what they have to work with. 'Rocket Science' really isn't that complicated, we know the formulas now, and we know they are VALID and work.

I suppose you think the Compaq was bad ass for cloning the PC and obviously was far better at making computers since they could recreate the PC in a shorter period of time ... not that they were making a copy had anything to do with it.

Re:Why? (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26080343)

I don't know why everyone is getting so excited about private spaceflight as if it's a new thing. Arianespace [arianespace.com] have been around since 1980 [wikipedia.org] and have pretty much cornered the market in satellite launches.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082453)

Space X stands on the shoulders of giants. Not sinful, we all do, but please lets keep their achievements in perspective.

Re:Why? (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26081087)

huh? whatever happened to Orbital [orbital.com] as a stopgap. Did they get too expensive?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073051)

So, then..... why are they working on this? As I understand it, their launch system is already lucrative enough as it is. Why go reinventing the wheel?

First, neither Soyuz or ATV are a US solution. Second, neither are a commercial sector solution.

Re:Why? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073111)

Easy!

First of all - because they can!

Second, because they see a market with good potential for making even more money...

Dragon and Soyuz may look the same, but the difference in technology is over 30 years old.

It's like asking why Corvette C7 is being build, when a Corvette '67 did the job as well...

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073235)

Choice is always good. Aside from that, SpaceX' stuff is all entirely privately funded and designed themselves, and as such doesn't have the same kind of legal snarls that using governmental technology would have: it is, if you like, a clean room reimplementation of space technology. (They are the only space company to build their launch vehicles, in their own factory, from scratch --- engines, tankage, the lot.)

Also, the Dragon is likely to be (a) cheaper and (b) here on time, when compared to the ESA or Ares capsule (assuming the Ares capsule's not going to be cancelled). And Soyuz, despite being really nice technology, is politically a bit uncomfortable, so it's always worth having a backup.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073495)

Hopefully the people at SpaceX are listening to the world around them and taking any and all comers for IDEA's. Sometimes you have to bet the wind to win the race.

I found a link one day, and I'll let you judge its worthyness, and feel that it has a lot of good idea's. I'm not an aerodynamic engineer so no clue if they would ever work but the concept is nice.

http://www.spacefuture.com/vehicles/designs.shtml

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073863)

Exciting as it is, we don't know if it will actually be (a) cheaper and (b) here on time. That is just based on "Oh, private!"

Re:Why? (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073357)

Soyuz cannot stay in orbit very long. Six months I think, but they are working on extending it. On top of than comes of the problems of relying on an other nation, and what to do if Soyuz has problems.

About NASA, remember that when they test a small thruster, it doesn't make the news. It seems only their failures and problems are deems newsworthy.

Re:Why? (1)

aeson25 (1314667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26074619)

I think it's important to note that this is a step towards developing a team that will replace NASA for commercial space travel. NASA was created as an organization to explore the furthest reaches of space. To orbit when we were on the ground, to reach the moon, when we were orbiting. In the past there was no one to fill in the gaps where they had already tread so they stayed there. Often at a loss. But now that's what SpaceX is doing. Its a Commercial Agency running space missions rather than a government agency like ESA or the Russian Space Agency or whatever it's called. It's all about transferring the ability to the private sector to allow the government to extend further outward. And it's not reinventing the wheel, the Soyuz family of design is based on something that over 30 years old with some updates. Sometimes that works (like how NASA is going back to Apollo-like modules http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(spacecraft)#Design [wikipedia.org] ), but sometimes a complete overhaul leads to some great innovations.

Re:Why? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076087)

hehehehe.
First, these thrusters are used to control the dragon.

Although I understand the need for a small on-orbit engine such as Draco, I don't quite understand the point of the 'Dragon' craft, given that we already have Soyuz, which has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be a safe, reliable vehicle. The ESA are also working on a more modern capsule design that seems to mimic the capabilities of the 'Dragon' to a T.
  1. The Soyuz holds only 3.
  2. the Soyuz still has its issues as was seen recently.
  3. ESA is still debating exactly WHAT they want to build. Some want a mini-shuttle. Others want a h-20. Other want to convert ATV into just this.

The dragon will be taking cargo up in 2010. It will carry 7 ppl up/down by end of 2011 (bigelow wants that). SpaceX will be making money by servicing ISS, bigelow, and heading for the moon by 2015.

Also, (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076279)

SpaceX is looking to put into orbit 7 ppl for less than what Russia will take 2. I would say that is a pretty good deal.

Re:Why? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26086817)

So, then..... why are they working on this? As I understand it, their launch system is already lucrative enough as it is. Why go reinventing the wheel?

The same reason Airbus and Boeing make similar aircraft. Because they want to be the one to sell it to you.

A question for you. Why shouldn't they be working on this? Because someone else currently does? Really?

Great (2)

Gauntt (1419065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26072943)

to see some good news coming out of the space sector.

Re:Great (1)

arelas (1336019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073329)

But which sector?

Re:Great (3, Funny)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073637)

That would be sector zed-zed-nine plural-zed alpha.

Re:Great (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26078997)

I really wish I had mod points for that post, hesiod.

Interesting SpaceX article (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073311)

http://www.thefabricator.com/FabStories/FabStories_Article.cfm?ID=2045 [thefabricator.com]

Goes into significant detail of why SpaceX is really revolutionizing the launch business.

You Have To Be Joking... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073545)

These idiots who can't manage to reliably get a vehicle into space/orbit more than, what, 20-25 percent of the time?

Something that NASA and the Russians were doing back in the late 1950s with massively more primitive technology?

Hell, these idiots at SpaceX could have just fucking copied the proven and reliable and cheap existing launch tech. No one is going to be dumb enough to trust their payload with these incompetent clowns.

Re:You Have To Be Joking... (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073709)

cheap existing launch tech

You have a definition of cheap I have never before encountered...

Dumbass Owns Himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26074201)

Way to make a fool of yourself...

Before running your mouth off next time dimwit get someone smarter to help you look up the launch costs per mass for existing US,Russian, and EU vehicles compared to this company.

Not only are they not competitive, their launch reliability is a complete joke.

Re:Dumbass Owns Himself (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26080265)

You did not say "comparatively cheap." "Cheap" means any dork can go buy some parts and launch himself into space.

And you work for who? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076217)

Seriously, idiots like you were running off you mouth screaming that SpaceX did not have a successful launch. Now that they have one, you continue to run off the mouth. SpaceX is just getting started. They have shown that they are launching at a fraction of the price of l-mart and ESA. In addition, they are competitive with Russia and China who keeps it low by fixing their money against the dollar. the company is just getting started, and yet, you (and several others here) will continue to bash them in hopes that they do not win contracts. Yet, they are the BEST bet for NASA to continue. Obama is going to make massive cuts in gov to pay for reagan's and W's monster deficits and horrible economy. NASA will take it in the shorts (which is sad considering that they really do not use that much). BUT, the cuts are coming. SpaceX, Scaled Composites will most likely be putting men in LEO before Orion does.

Re:You Have To Be Joking... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087433)

Hell, these idiots at SpaceX could have just fucking copied the proven and reliable and cheap existing launch tech.

There's no existing reliable and cheap launch vehicles at this time.

Re:Interesting SpaceX article (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076879)

I read it thoroughly - and there's no support for the claim that SpaceX is revolutionizing the launch business. Their assembly method is only different in semantics from that used by the Usual Suspects.

Re:Interesting SpaceX article (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26081809)

Hehe, you really don't know what you're talking about.

I love Slashdot.

Re:Interesting SpaceX article (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26084261)

Yeah, I do know what I'm talking about.

Re:Interesting SpaceX article (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26087171)

Your post doesn't indicate that you know what you're talking about. From the article:

As an alternative, "you can do a really simple structure: a welded tank of rolled aluminum--super-simple, super-inexpensive. There is some mass inefficiency there, but your labor inputs are much lower, and overall you draw the costs down significantly."

SpaceX has a corporate structure that, according to sources, supports collaboration and efficient decision-making. A designer with an idea can walk over to the manufacturing engineer, talk about it, and then go to the floor to see if it will work.

Thompson added that this couldn't happen without another unorthodox strategy: in-house manufacturing. [...] So the company, mostly an assembler in 2002, since has brought 90 percent of its manufacturing, including almost all of its metal fabrication, in-house.

Manufacturing responsibility is organized so that engineers and manufacturers can work together.

Much of the rest of manufacturing falls under the company's machine shop, which reports to its own VP.

Thompson came from McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), and Ringuette came from Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power, now owned by Pratt & Whitney. Neither said they've reported to a boss quite like Elon Musk.

"I meet with Elon regularly," Ringuette said. "He's an intense person."

But he does promote an atmosphere of collaboration. A video tour of the engineering facility on SpaceX's Web site, for instance, shows Musk, in a polo shirt and jeans, walking through the company offices, only there are no offices--just an expanse of low-walled cubicles.

"That's my office over there," he said, pointing to a cube area in the corner. "We try to minimize the number of offices we have. Doors limit communication. Everyone at the company, with the exception of those in HR and finance, are in cubes, including the vice presidents."

The VPs include Thompson and Ringuette, and both said they appreciate the lack of bureaucracy.

As Ringuette explained, "When I need to buy a new machine, I describe it to Elon, he either agrees or disagrees, and that's the end of it. It's very helpful, because it keeps me focused on finding the right tools for the job. Nothing is more complicated than it needs to be."

The Falcon 9 will be able to haul 22,000 pounds. The market for such payloads is huge, sources said, and to meet demand SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 a month.

That's right--a rocket a month. And the company seems well on its way.

"This year SpaceX will make more rocket engines than the rest of U.S. production combined," Musk said during the same Webcast. "Next year we'll make more rocket engines than any country in the world."

I think I've given enough examples. The last quote is particularly important because it describes the revolutionary part of SpaceX. Nobody else will be making gear in the quantities that SpaceX is planning to make. As I see it, the key problem in any space activity is cost of reliable access to space. And the key to cheap, reliable access to space is frequent launch. SpaceX is the only organization, private or government currently in existence that is approaching this problem so aggressively.

bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1, Troll)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26073387)

Space shuttles, cheap orbiters, SpaceX ... all these are mere clockwork toys compared to the might of the Saturn V SI-C first stage and its five F-1 engines. Wernher von Braun out-rices you [today.com] . Real astronauts fly to the moon. They find [wikipedia.org] leftover bits decades later and think they're asteroids! You can't tell me these SpaceX girly men are going to do anything this goddamn indefatigably cool.

"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun.

Re:bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1)

wipeMyButt (1411817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26075789)

Sound like someone is a little obsessed with size and thrust...

Rather than take this in the obvious direction I'll assume what you're trying to say is that muscle cars and big-engined oversized SUVs are the way of the future. Quick, we should call Detroit and let them know we've discovered a way out of their financial mess.

Oh, wait...

Re:bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076969)

IF those cars go to the moon, then you are right.

You need Saturn V thrust to get to get a person to the moon and back in a reasonable time. It has nothing to do with obsession of size and thrust and everything to do about Physics.

Note, no one is recommending using a Saturn V to get us to the space station. THAT would be like getting a SUV to go to the corner market.

Oh, and American Muscle Cars sell pretty well, that's not the problem, the problem is management.

Re:bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1)

wipeMyButt (1411817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26077209)

to the moon and back in a reasonable time

If we're going serious with this... I'd agree with the "to" part. The "back" part, however, had little-to-nothing to do with the Saturn V since the first 2 stages were purely to drive the payload into orbit and 3rd stage was to get it in lunar orbit. By the time of the return journey there was nothing left of the Saturn.

Beyond that, roughly 90% of the mass of each of the first 2 stages was fuel, which, in my mind, makes an argument for either an alternate fuel source to cut down on the overall mass of the launch vehicle rather or to split the journey into two distinct phases, rather than argue for the need for the massive thrust of the Saturn V.

I believe one of the mission types NASA is researching is to undertake a moon mission in two stages. The first stage, carried out in two parts is to get both a lunar vehicle and a crew to the ISS which then becomes a staging platform to begin a second journey to the moon. This would eliminate the need for a single massive launch vehicle capable of propelling a manned module all the way to the moon.

moderation of the year (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26081111)

How the hell did that get "informative", "troll"?

Re:bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26084529)

Space shuttles, cheap orbiters, SpaceX ... all these are mere clockwork toys compared to the might of the Saturn V SI-C first stage and its five F-1 engines.

Actually, SpaceX currently has under-development an engine equivalent to the Saturn's F-1 -- internally they're calling it the "BFE" (or Big "Falcon" Engine). Unlike the F-1, it'll actually be economical. They haven't made official announcements yet, but Musk has given every indication that he's working his way up to building Saturn V-class (and possibly larger) rockets.

Re:bah, silly little riceboy rockets (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26084651)

Real rockets for real men! *joy*

Big "Falcon" engine ... I bet.

How do u fire in a vaccum chamber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26073419)

so how exactly do u fire a rocket in a vacuum chamber... wouldn't it instantly overheat and pressurise the chamber?

Re:How do u fire in a vaccum chamber (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26074587)

Interestingly enough, you can just use the rocket exhaust to keep the chamber at vacuum using a properly shaped duct. Or just use really big pumps... but this kind of thing is done quite a bit.

Everybody dance now! (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#26074765)

Did anyone else read that as:

"SpaceX Successfully Tested Disco Thruster"?

Re:Everybody dance now! (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076527)

"SpaceX Successfully Tested Disco Thruster"?

Only if you were planning to go to Funkytown [wikipedia.org] !

Re:Everybody dance now! (1)

grimw (1253370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26085115)

Did anyone else read that as: "SpaceX Successfully Tested Disco Thruster"?

No.

Has anyone thought along the lines of REUSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26076547)

We have how many tanks for the shuttle launch. Do we have tools to use in space, I would like to think so, why not launch the tanks into a high orbit. I'm not a spatial engineer but it seems to me if you can weld metal here can't you wield it in space?

Build a friggin space station/dock/ something. Letâ(TM)s get off this bloody planet and stop thinking of "reusable" launch vehicles. Shuttles, or some form thereof, are great for earth to space and back again but we need "space" vehicles.

Our ocean going vessels donâ(TM)t come back on land once completed and put to sea, well except for repairs in a dry dock, why canâ(TM)t we get past this concept and realize space is just a big ocean.

Re:Has anyone thought along the lines of REUSE (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076713)

Yes, a lot of ppl have. America's spacelab WAS a saturn V. The costs of retro-fitting in space has been looked at, and at this time, it is cheaper to launch it mostly built. Look at what has happened with ISS. And as to realizing that space is a big ocean, it is. And we are at about the equivalent of early 1500. How long did it take for nations to go back to America once Columbus had been there and back. LONG TIME.

first poVst (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26076803)

Ar3 She had taken AN OPERATING SYSTEM

New vacuum test stand? (1)

iteyoidar (972700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26076865)

Does this have anything to do with their third test flight where they apparently didn't take into account residual thrust in a vacuum [slashdot.org] , or is it something different?

Re:New vacuum test stand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082651)

It's a little bit different. That happened on a major revision to an engine that had already successfully flown before (the engine had successfully flown, not the entire rocket, that is). That Merlin engine also operates primarily within the atmosphere, finishing off at high altitude.

That engine is too big for this test stand (something like 1000 times more flow to keep vacuumed out of the chamber). This engine is a little 90 pound thrust manuevering engine intended to handle orientation of the Dragon capsule, manuever it around to dock with the ISS, and de-orbit it at the end of the mission.

They are building, I believe, a larger vacuum test stand for the vacuum version of the Merlin engine that will propel the second stage of the Falcon 9. Aside from performance (efficiency, thrust in a vacuum, etc), it will also need to test cooling of the extended nozzle, which can't be regeneratively cooled like the first stage version of the Merlin.

The Untold Story (1)

rfengineer (927289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26081521)

My brother-in-law works in the McGregor area and tells me that SpaceX had informed local government when the test was to take place. Local government, well... being local government, failed to properly inform the populace of McGregor. When they test fired the engine (at night), it lite up the sky like daylight for about 20 miles around, while creating the noise typical of a rocket launch (in other words over 150 dB). This apparently caught the attention of most of the populace, who thought WWIII had landed in their backyard. It made the evening news in Waco (about 20 miles east of McGregor). FYI_1: the SpaceX test platform is located about two miles southwest of McGregor. Google Earth has high quality images. FYI_2: SpaceX has taken over the old Rocketdyne solid rocket propulsion development plant in McGregor. The history is Philips Petroleum -> North American Aviation Rocketdyne -> Rockwell Rocketdyne -> Hercules -> Alliant Techsystems -> closure and for sale -> SpaceX. There may have been something before SpaceX.
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