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SpaceX's Falcon 9 Successfully Reaches Orbit

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the now-to-build-a-moon-base dept.

ISS 282

terrymaster69 writes "After an aborted launch attempt last week, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon9 rocket Tuesday at 3:44 am EST. SpaceX's founder Elon Musk tweeted: 'Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back :)' The Dragon capsule is scheduled to dock with the ISS on May 25th."

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282 comments

Congratulations (5, Insightful)

AikonMGB (1013995) | about 2 years ago | (#40075165)

Congratulations, SpaceX; this is a turning point in our space age =)

Re:Congratulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075199)

Congratulations indeed.

)I do, however, reserve the right to take that back; for up to six months...)

Re:Congratulations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075393)

Congratulations indeed.

)I do, however, reserve the right to take that back; for up to six months...)

stupid spearchucker nigger. make up your mind.

Re:Congratulations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075317)

Congrads indeed... finally we are at the point where NASA was in the 1960's!

Re:Congratulations (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075549)

Congrads indeed... finally we are at the point where NASA was in the 1960's!

And leaps and bounds above where we were yesterday. You fail to factor cost into your evaluation. In the 1960's low earth orbit was about developing the science to make it possible. Today, it's about developing the engineering to make it practical.

Re:Congratulations (3, Interesting)

Spritzer (950539) | about 2 years ago | (#40075363)

Having been a small part of this I can say that it's a VERY exciting moment. This is a giant leap toward the future of manned space flight, and everyone involved should be extremely proud of their efforts.

Re:Congratulations (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40075577)

Am I the only one who doesn't see this as a positive thing? Privatization will only provide an excuse to cut the NASA budget even more. And NASA is already outsourced to the gills as it is. And it could set the stage for the government bailing on space research and exploration altogether (and no private company is going to pick up the slack on projects with no profit behind them).

So it could be a "turning point" in the space age alright. It could be the end of it.

Re:Congratulations (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075595)

NASA launches are already done by Boeing. Why would a different vendor change anything?

This means NASA will get more launches for their budget, if they get anymore cuts they have to have SpaceX just to survive.

Re:Congratulations (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40075955)

Am I the only one who doesn't see this as a positive thing? Privatization will only provide an excuse to cut the NASA budget even more. And NASA is already outsourced to the gills as it is. And it could set the stage for the government bailing on space research and exploration altogether (and no private company is going to pick up the slack on projects with no profit behind them).

How is the ability to get to space cheaper and more efficiently a bad thing? For NASA or anyone else. There is zero reason to "slash" NASA's budget because of this: they are already working closely with SpaceX anyways, and will be commissioning them to launch flights. NASA runs the experiments and bigger scientific projects, like Mars rover missions and whatnot. The ability for them to get their projects into space cheaper can only be a good thing.

Really, if the government wanted to bail on space research they already could have. The DoD already has its rockets, the EU and Russia have theirs, really research is the only reason NASA exists anyways and is why they have existed for 20 years or so. This only helps that, by making the cost-to-orbit cheaper.

It is a very positive step (2)

Shivetya (243324) | about 2 years ago | (#40076059)

because it is no longer the exclusive domain of government. While government focused efforts can be very good at times it can also hold back progress as well.

Re:Congratulations (5, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | about 2 years ago | (#40076115)

You're right. A whole bunch of pork-barrel Republicans also see this as negative. I remember the sarcastic comments Republican congressmen made last test flight when they said, "congratulations to Space-X for doing what NASA did 50 years ago." Such ironic comments given Republicans' supposed private enterprise leanings, but easy to understand when you realize that NASA funding traditionally hasn't been about exciting science so much as a means of funneling large amounts of corporate welfare back into the home states of congressmen.

And really if you look back on the last 30 years of the space age, a lot has been accomplished by NASA. But almost all of the exciting science did not involve NASA's crown jewel space flight vehicles such as the Shuttle or Saturn 5 at all, but rather remote probes to the outer solar system, Mercury, Mars, Venus, and of course Earth, almost all launched on privately-made (though some designed with NASA's help) rockets like the Atlas, Delta, and so forth. Hubble is the one example I can I think of a scientific triumph that involved the Space Shuttle. Though with the money spent on the shuttle flights to fix and upgrade Hubble, I think they could have built and launched a couple of hubbles. I also think the Space Station is a success, and really was the purpose for which the Shuttle was built. However design by committee to do too many other things poorly means the Shuttle and the Space Station have cost orders of magnitude more than they should have. Had NASA developed a heavy lift rocket along the lines of the Saturn 5 I think the space station could have been lifted and built much more cheaply, and we probably would not have had a gap in manned flight that we now have.

The Space Shuttle was a fantastic vehicle, and a historic one, but it didn't do any of what it was designed to do that well, at least as far as economics go. Now that the program has ended and we can look back on it, we can safely say that from a program goals and outcomes point of view, the Shuttle was a costly lesson.

As for private rockets, as the other poster said, all rockets have always been developed under contract with NASA by private companies. As was said, Boeing has built a lot of rockets used to launch satellites over the years. The difference here is that NASA is only contracting the end result with Space-X (rocket launches). They did not have a hand in the rocket's design. This is a good thing I think. Space-X is still being held to NASA's strict standards for testing and reliability, but they aren't influenced by pork-barrel spending requirements, or being forced to design it a certain way (say with a solid rocket first stage). This is a very good thing and I hope it starts to spell the end of using NASA by Congress as simply a means of funneling tax dollars to specific subcontractors in specific states. Another real difference here is that Space-X is among the first companies thinking to build man-rated rockets, and feeling like they can do it economically and for less cost than the Russians, and certainly several orders of magnitude cheaper and more efficiently than NASA's own post-shuttle designs.

That's one way to look at it (5, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | about 2 years ago | (#40076287)

Another way to look at it is that once manned space flight is a reality for private firms, the resulting complications that arise from conflicting interests will result in NASA being re-engineered at least in part as a law enforcement agency. And, once that happens, they will be in a veritable arms race with private concerns. That will drive all sorts of new research and development.

Welcome back to Space, America! (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075175)

Yeah, it's still a little while until we get people up there in one of those things, but it's gonna happen. We're back, baby! Congrats to the Space X team!

Re:Welcome back to Space, America! (0, Flamebait)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40075601)

We're back, baby!

No offense, but we're not even back to 1969.

Re:Welcome back to Space, America! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075651)

But we are doing better than we were since then. The Shuttle was a huge step backwards, it took this long to recover from it.

Re:Welcome back to Space, America! (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075665)

Bullshit. In the 20th century, the American Government put rockets into space. In the 21st century, Americans will put rocket into space. Granted, SpaceX's first client happens to to be the government. But there will be other clients as well. Then, eventually, we'll have companies show up who's first client isn't the government. That's a whole new world.

Re:Welcome back to Space, America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40076243)

Pretty sure ULA has been doing this excact same thing with EELVs for decades.

Re:Welcome back to Space, America! (3, Insightful)

blueturffan (867705) | about 2 years ago | (#40076335)

We're back, baby!

No offense, but we're not even back to 1969.

No offense, but we haven't been back to 1969 since 1972.

More info and video (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#40075203)

SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station [space.com]

And don't forget the Space Launch System (SLS) [wikipedia.org] , which is the next iteration of (government operated) US human spaceflight.

Re:More info and video (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075273)

By next iteration you mean next pork barrel spending project?

That thing is designed for only one purpose, to keep the shuttle parts suppliers in business.

Humans will be flown on Falcon 9s and possibly Falcon XXs before the SLS even manages to go over budget.

Re:More info and video (3, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#40075387)

If SpaceX delivers successfully on its manned spaceflight capability, I don't think anyone who actually cares about US manned spaceflight will be disappointed.

The fact that spaceflight has matured to the point that a private enterprise like SpaceX can now conduct this level of mission is a wonderful thing, but that doesn't obviate the need for government-supported and -operated space capabilities. The private sector isn't the only solution. They can apply what we've learned but do not have the same motivations of government space programs, which have resulted in nearly immeasurable advances and payoffs much closer to home.

The government acquisition and contracting system is far from perfect, but NASA, United Space Alliance [unitedspacealliance.com] , and United Launch Alliance [ulalaunch.com] are no slouches. ULA has success after success [youtube.com] and knows how to reliably get research and military payloads to space. The fact that SpaceX is now in the mix is only a good thing. During this morning's press conference everyone involved from NASA to SpaceX was all smiles.

Re:More info and video (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075513)

The space shuttle was a flying dump truck. The most awesomest dump truck ever, but still a dump truck. Falcon 9 is a flying dump truck. Just as there's no reason in the current age for the government to produce dump trucks, we're reaching the point where there's no reason for the government to produce a low-earth orbit vehicle.

Going to Mars, exploring asteroids, and other new ventures should now get NASA's focus. Those require the development of new ideas and science, and don't have a clear viable business plan to support private development of a turnkey solution.

Re:More info and video (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075537)

Going to Mars can be flown by private ventures. Sure NASA should focus on how to survive once we get there, but they do not need to build the rocket to get there.

Re:More info and video (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#40075705)

Going to Mars can be flown by private ventures.

In theory, anything can be done by provate ventures. That doesn't make it true in practice. Getting to Mars is still difficult and unreliable, and generally uses different, purpose built systems each time. Doubly so as new ion/plasma based propulsion methods are being developed. That's still well ni the realm of basic (i.e. government funded) research.

Re:More info and video (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075747)

Researching those should be done by government research. Right now though, Falcon XX could be built and make it there.

Re:More info and video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075899)

Making it there isn't the hard part; it's making it back that's the real "gotcha".

Not all private ventures are for-proft (-1, Flamebait)

brokeninside (34168) | about 2 years ago | (#40076307)

Between the Mormons and the Catholics, I think there will be plenty of motivation for the sort of deep space exploration that for-profit concerns may not be interested in.

sideways shuttle = odd (1)

fritsd (924429) | about 2 years ago | (#40076465)

The space shuttle was a flying dump truck.

You don't say.
Dutch cartoonist Jos Collignon was right: picture of space shuttle [prisonplanet.com] .

I always wondered why the thing had to be strapped *SIDEWAYS* to its fueltank and booster rockets.

Re:More info and video (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075519)

I don't believe the private sector is the only solution. I do know however that the SLS is as ill advised as the Shuttle program. It only exists to keep ATK and the rest of that bunch in business. Right now government space programs only motivation seems to be to keep their friends employed.

ULA/USA AKA Boeing has a history of charging ass loads of money and sucking off the government teat, I think you mean. These are the entrenched players that hopefully SpaceX will shake up.

Re:More info and video (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075569)

If you're familiar with Elon Musk, he really does have very similar ambitions to NASA's stated mission. Hell, he even goes further -- he wants to retire on Mars. SpaceX is a tool for turning mankind into a multiplanetary species.

That said, I do agree that we have a need for government involvement in the space program -- trying new things, like manned deep space missions, better propulsion systems, docking with asteroids, and so forth -- not wasting their team increasing payload size to LEO.

Re:More info and video (4, Informative)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 2 years ago | (#40076501)

Funny Elon Musk quote: "I think it'd be cool to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Just, hopefully, not at the point of impact."

It's near the end of this video. [youtube.com]

Re:More info and video (5, Insightful)

Nebulious (1241096) | about 2 years ago | (#40075345)

SLS is joke. It's a rocket designed by congress. The design is intended to keep as many existing Space Shuttle Factories open as possible. The new components it does need get their contracts delivered right to the usual industry giants on a silver platter.

Re:More info and video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075527)

Easy test for government funded launchers: is at least the upper stage propelled by a nuclear thermal engine? No? Then politics has overridden engineering in its design.

Re:More info and video (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075547)

Why is that not also the measure for private launchers?

While I would love to see NASA get back into the Nuclear rocket game, your measure seems a bit unfair.

Re:More info and video (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#40075553)

So do you think the United States should divest itself of government-operated space launch capability? Should the lessons learned, capabilities gained, infrastructure created, and accomplishments of the last over-30 years be abandoned because the legislative, acquisition, and contracting landscape for government space operations isn't perfect? The "industry giants" in government space operations became "giants" for a reason.

SpaceX has shown that private enterprise has a place alongside government, but SpaceX isn't doesn't operate in a vacuum (pun intended!). Every launch on the SpaceX manifest through 2017 [spacex.com] is happening via a US government launch complex, and for good reason. Just because existing space contractors benefit from SLS, it doesn't automatically follow that it's the "wrong way" to do things.

Space exploration is a key asset which serves to invigorate the national spirit [al.com] , and government and private enterprise both have a significant place in the future of US space operations.

Re:More info and video (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075627)

We don't have any now. They current space launch folks are all Boeing. They current industry giants got that way by doing well 40 years ago and now can charge any price they want. Mind you then price not a concern as we were racing the Russians to the Moon. Boeing is still trying to live in the cost is no object world as far as launches go.

Re:More info and video (3, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | about 2 years ago | (#40076295)

There's a big difference between government-operated and government-produced, and it's the latter that GP was probably talking about.

It's one thing for the government to purchase launch services or to operate/maintain a launch site (parallels would be government hiring UPS to move some packages, or maintaining the airport). But the government (and especially congress) doesn't need to be making technical design decisions, like what the vehicle will look like, what engines it will use, and so on. The directive that SLS will use Shuttle-derived hardware is a blatant political bone to the existing companies, dictating sub-optimal equipment and configurations so as to keep those companies happy instead of finding a better solution freed of the constraints of said Shuttle-derived hardware (read: SRBs, VAB, crawlers, etc.).

Re:More info and video (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#40076457)

Every launch on the SpaceX manifest through 2017 [spacex.com] is happening via a US government launch complex, and for good reason.

The good reason being that it's illegal to launch anywhere else in the USA?

Note to North Korea... (5, Funny)

biometrizilla (1999728) | about 2 years ago | (#40075219)

"Now THAT's how you put a satellite into orbit!", signed Elon Musk.

Re:Note to North Korea... (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40075763)

On the first spacewalk, slyly plant a North Korean flag on some random american satellite, with the Korean for "BOOSH, BITCHES!". Wait a few months and watch NASA flip their shit trying to figure out how the North Koreans did it.

Ref: "giant load off his back" (4, Funny)

Cragen (697038) | about 2 years ago | (#40075281)

Oh, NO! That "giant load off his back" means he's experiencing weightlessness which means he stowed away on the capssule! Abort! Abort! (Grats!)

Re:Ref: "giant load off his back" (5, Funny)

Vulch (221502) | about 2 years ago | (#40075823)

It's rumoured that several items on the countdown checklist involve confirming the actual whereabouts of Elon Musk...

Welcome back to space? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075323)

I guess we lost the heavy lift, no space elevator yet, no deep space missions, no way a average man to get to space yet, but the chineese, indians, and north koreans and russians have the ability to go there. We are cutting support to education, research and Development. Guess america is doing the spiral to obscurity. It's funny how history is repeating itself.

Re:Welcome back to space? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40075589)

The North Koreans cannot even get a satellite into LEO, what makes you think they have a man rated launcher?

The Space elevator needs technology not yet invented, deep space missions are being planned.
None of those other nations have a way for the average man to go either. Falcon 9 lifts half of what the shuttle was rated for to LEO, Falcon Heavy will toss twice as much as the shuttle to LEO.

Re:Welcome back to space? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#40075733)

The North Koreans cannot even get a satellite into LEO, what makes you think they have a man rated launcher?

Er, NK already have a man-rated launcher. Well, it's man-rated given the value put on life in NK at any rate.

Re:Welcome back to space? (4, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40076129)

It might meet their safety rating, but it does not even make it to LEO. If you want to launch people into the Sea of Japan, it would be cheaper to use a catapult.

Re:Welcome back to space? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40076279)

NASA plans a deep space mission, and Congress immediately cuts its budget.

We could have already had a full blown colony on the moon if we haddn't gone 'quick & dirty' with Apollo. A lot of the Gemini missions, particularly those involving Skylab, were equally applicable to building a construction shack/outpost in NEO as they were to get the expertise needed for the Apollo LEM docking once the ascent stage got off the moon. We could have had dozens of missions to the moon with durations of weeks not hours, but to do it right meant we would have lost the race to the moon. The only way to make it in time was to 'Plan B' it with Apollo. Problem was, when Apollo was done, there was nothing to come after it, and no logical 'next step'.

Re:Welcome back to space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075713)

Considering its proven the US over spends on education, a cut in education is simply not likely to hurt anything.

The real problem isn't education spending, but broken programs like no child left behind which effectively prevents teachers from teaching. Not to mention a general lack of cultural interest in things like science, math, and physics. And it doesn't help that US companies are working hard to out source these jobs to foreign countries.

No, a reduction in education spending is actually sane. Hell, in my own state, Texas, we literally waste tens of millions every year on stupid shit we simply don't need, on duplicate facilities and staff. All so they can then justify a larger budget and higher salaries.

The problem with America's education system has little to nothing to do with spending.

USA rocks (3, Informative)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | about 2 years ago | (#40075337)

I love America (even though I am not American). Few countries *even have* a space-reaching rocket, while in the US multiple *private companies* have it.

Re:USA rocks (5, Interesting)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075441)

Well, come on over, then. We need more people with a can-do attitude. Visa applications are avaialble at your local embassy...

For those who don't know, Elon Musk was born in South Africa, and left to avoid Military Service in the 80's (which propped up the Apartheid government). He came over here, built paypal into a powerhouse (thorugh a merger, he didn't found it), founded Tesla motors, and he built a rocketship. Hell yeah.

Re:USA rocks (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40075775)

For those who don't know, Elon Musk was born in South Africa, and left to avoid Military Service in the 80's (which propped up the Apartheid government). He came over here, built paypal into a powerhouse (thorugh a merger, he didn't found it), founded Tesla motors, and he built a rocketship. Hell yeah.

Oh yeah? Well this morning, I played the Torchlight 2 beta and got an Engineer all the way to Level 12! And then I'm going to the dentist in an hour!

Man, fuck those guys that put my life into perspective. ):

Re:USA rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40076153)

Yep, in an international market you want all the smart educated people with a can do attitude on your side! Oddly we still make students that come here for an education promise to go home once that education is complete!

Re:RSA rocks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075497)

Thanks to a South African entrepreneur.

Re:RSA rocks (5, Insightful)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 2 years ago | (#40075565)

Thanks to a South African entrepreneur.

Which is just fine by us. We're supposed to be a melting pot. It only makes the case stronger with immigrants succeed so well in the U.S.

Re:RSA rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075567)

That had to move to the US to make something of himself.

Good on him and good for the US.

Disclaimer: I'm from Germany.

Re:RSA rocks (2, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40075587)

And the attitudes and opportunities to bring him here. He was an American all along, it just took him a while to realize it.

Re:RSA rocks (5, Interesting)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 2 years ago | (#40075935)

> Thanks to a South African entrepreneur

No, thanks to an AMERICAN. He immigrated here, accepted citizenship and is now an American. I welcome people like him. If he ever shows up at my doorstep, I'm grilling burgers for him -- anyway he likes. :)

Re:RSA rocks (2)

b0bby (201198) | about 2 years ago | (#40076257)

> Thanks to a South African entrepreneur

No, thanks to an AMERICAN. He immigrated here, accepted citizenship and is now an American.

That really is a big difference between the US & a lot of other countries - you can truly become an American, no matter where you're from. It's not just words, people really do accept immigrants (despite the anti immigrant rhetoric which is so much in the news) in a way that I haven't seen in say, France or the UK. Third generation immigrants still don't seem to be a part of French society; third generation Americans almost always are completely assimilated. When my wife became a citizen, it was pretty moving to see the other people at the ceremony from all over the world being welcomed. It wasn't just typical bureaucratic form filling, it really was an open armed welcome, complete with video welcome from the president.

plus 2, Tro77) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075353)

con7irming The significantly they are Come LOCATING #GNAA,

3:44 am EDT not EST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075381)

The two articles say "EDT". Next time try copy-pasting instead of retyping, it's more reliable.

Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (4, Interesting)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 2 years ago | (#40075431)

It may be possible to certify the man rating of the Dragon spacecraft before the Falcon launch rocket. So the Dragon may be able to return astronaughts to earth FROM the ISS before it is used to bring them up there (since no ride on the rocket would be required if the Dragon is sent up empty).

Re:Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075481)

The question is, whenever it's be mroe safe than old fashioned Russian way of doing it?(though probably much cheaper...)

Re:Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075503)

I am tired...
The question is, whenever it will be safer, than old fashioned Russian way of doing it?(though probably it will be much cheaper...)

Re:Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075667)

"astronaughts"??? WHERE did you learn to spell it like that?

Re:Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40076043)

Sounds like the title of a Three Stooges movie. Hmm, I wonder what new ways they could figure out to abuse each other in microgravity...

Re:Man rating of Dragon and Falcon (4, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40075853)

That's an interesting idea, but there is no need for it. Once a Soyuz is up, it doesn't cost any more to get down. Even the custom-fitted Soyuz seat is needed for the ride up. One of the rules on ISS is that every crew member has to have a seat on an escape vehicle, so the Soyuz that they rode up on stays docked. Even crew that was brought up on Shuttle and left behind on ISS had a Soyuz seat ready, because the shuttle took someone else back to free up that seat. And there's no other way up right now, so everybody has a Soyuz seat ready.

On the other hand, this will mean that we will now have a decent downmass capability. Soyuz had very limited downmass, and theoretically you could put cargo return capability on a Progress, but nobody did it, because it was cheaper to just let the "trash" burn up. Now they can afford to return stuff that wasn't worth returning before, allowing more reuse and analysis of what had to be classified as "trash" before.

In the end, the one thing the Shuttle could do that Crew Dragon or Falcon Heavy won't ever be able to do is return full-size modules. It will only be able to return what you can stuff through the hatch, but that's not too bad of a limitation.

IPO (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40075445)

1) screw the FB IPO thats a pump and dump scheme of the largest scale. I want to buy shares in spacex, they're actually doing something interesting, valuable, and apparently profitable. Which is probably why they're staying out of the stock market (the old saying, bad money always drives out good money...)

2) I wanted to ask for a spacex tee shirt for fathers day, but all I can find is a couple IP violators, people ripping off newswire photographers, that kind of product. Their might be "real" shirts out there... where? I would think a tastefully done black tee shirt sold directly by spacex to wealthy /.ers could be a significant funding source for their operation. Well, honestly all it would probably pay for is free donuts and coffee on Friday, but I'd feel cool contributing to that too.

Re:IPO (2)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 2 years ago | (#40075623)

Their might be "real" shirts out there... where? I would think a tastefully done black tee shirt sold directly by spacex to wealthy /.ers could be a significant funding source for their operation.

I couldn't find anything and I doubt there is anything yet. I sent SpaceX an e-mail so maybe they'll decide to get something setup. I'm pretty sure it would be real easy to do and only take a day or so.

Re:IPO (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 years ago | (#40075757)

I doubt that SpaceX has time to think about general public PR beyond the obligatory webpage and social network presence.

Who knows, maybe they would be open to outsourcing it to a company that already sells merchandise to geeks? Try mailing your favorite geek stuff supplier and ask if they can get SpaceX stuff.

Re:IPO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40075681)

"spacex, they're actually doing something interesting, valuable, and apparently profitable."

Please explain how using government money to send Tang and Cheez Wiz barely out of the Earth's atmosphere is valuable or interesting? It's the same boring crap since decades. Nothing but a cargo cult for crazed, delusional sci-fi fans.

T-shirt (2)

Corf (145778) | about 2 years ago | (#40075791)

A google search for spacex shirt leads to thespaceshop.com in the second hit, from which one click leads to their entire selection of Spacex merch: http://www.thespaceshop.com/spacex.html [thespaceshop.com] . They look pretty legit to me.

good grief, it's a joke... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#40076213)

I woulda bought one, but they don't take paypal.

BTW, that's the KSC online shop, not directly from SpaceX, WTF?

Re:IPO (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40075893)

You didn't google for "spacex merchandise"? http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2012/04/spacex-swag.html [blogspot.com] (which is also a pretty good blog about KSC stuff, with lots of photos to give you a serious nerd boner) I suspect that JSC Houston probably has a visitor complex with merchandise too.

Re:IPO (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 2 years ago | (#40076065)

I agree. If I were an investor in stock market, SpaceX would be an investment much more interesting (and perhaps even profitable!) than Facebook.

I still remember the time when stock exchanges served for you to become a partner in companies that you found interesting, not the current casino.

Re:IPO (1)

cmdr_klarg (629569) | about 2 years ago | (#40076259)

I wanted to ask for a spacex tee shirt for fathers day, but all I can find is a couple IP violators, people ripping off newswire photographers, that kind of product. Their might be "real" shirts out there... where? I would think a tastefully done black tee shirt sold directly by spacex to wealthy /.ers could be a significant funding source for their operation. Well, honestly all it would probably pay for is free donuts and coffee on Friday, but I'd feel cool contributing to that too.

Here you go:

http://www.thespaceshop.com/spacex.html [thespaceshop.com]

Enjoy!

Seemed very slow (2)

k2backhoe (1092067) | about 2 years ago | (#40075469)

In the video it seemed to take 60 seconds to reach 225 m/s, or around 3.5 m/s/s. That's only 1/3 G!! Did the takeoff seem slow to others? Even manned rockets accelerate a lot faster than that! What's wrong with my analysis or their rocket?

Re:Seemed very slow (1)

macshome (818789) | about 2 years ago | (#40075693)

The Shuttle only pulled up to around 3G on launch as well via a combination of throttling down and course changes.

Re:Seemed very slow (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#40075725)

I didn't look at your analysis, but ten minutes from launch to spacecraft separation seems fast enough to me. Faster means more fuel and stronger (heavier) rockets and spacecraft. Why go faster, especially if you are trying to become a low-cost leader?

Re:Seemed very slow (1)

k2backhoe (1092067) | about 2 years ago | (#40076121)

With rockets, faster acceleration means LESS total fuel to orbit, not more (assuming you can just use the same fuel either faster or more slowly). The shorter time you are fighting the 1G, the less total fuel you use up. Imagine takeoff to orbit at 1.01G (1G earth, .01G motion). instead of 2G. You take forever to achieve orbit and the first 1G is wasted all that time. The only advantage I see is (as you say) lighter engines and structure. Still seems low compared to any other rocket I have ever seen.

Re:Seemed very slow (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#40075765)

Gravity works even after take-off. Thrust at lift-off is a bit less than 1.3 times the weight.

0.3g is left, so long as the rocket is flying vertically, which it does, at first.

Re:Seemed very slow (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#40076117)

Acceleration is slowest right after launch, because that's when you have greatest mass. It is also when you most have to content with atmospheric drag. As you get higher, you've burnt off a lot of propellant mass, you're past maxQ, acceleration increases. Listen to some of the other time-velocity marks in the video, and you'll see this bears out.

Absolutely inspirational (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#40075761)

Makes me feel motivated, seeing what a small team of super-talented people with high standards, working their guts out, can achieve.

A great example for all of us.

SpaceX could get us to mars. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40075995)

A mars ship could be launched as modules that are connected in space. and Space X already has a heavy lift plan to do just that.

Re:SpaceX could get us to mars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40076323)

You mean like the one Constellation had?

Awesome but... (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 2 years ago | (#40076265)

Why does it take three friggin' days to dock with the ISS? I never quite understood why it takes so long to do that sort of thing? Seems to me that orbital mechanics is well understood and computer processing speeds are fast enough to handle navigation with maneuvering thrusters.

current human space travel 2% fatality rate (3, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#40076365)

The real soul searching will happen when the first private astronauts or passengers die. Note this fatality rate is comparable early airplane travel and climbing Mount Everest.

Re:current human space travel 2% fatality rate (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about 2 years ago | (#40076435)

The real soul searching will happen when the first private astronauts or passengers die. Note this fatality rate is comparable early airplane travel and climbing Mount Everest.

Airplan travel fatality rate is a LOT lower than 2%.

Insurance? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 years ago | (#40076407)

Seeing that Falcon 9 is a private vehicle does it need to carry comp and collision? What about uninsured driver? PIP? And is LEO 'no fault'?

(I ask only partly in jest)

10% of SpaceX employees NASA alums (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#40076415)

According to a NPR piece last week. These are mostly rocket scientist who really want to work on space, but pushed out of or escaped from a shrinking NASA.

In some sense a bit of continuity with the old wisdom is a good thing as long as it doesnt stiffle new ways of doing things.
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