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Elon Musk continues his quest to be a major player in space

Elon Musk isn’t content with shaking up the automotive world (be it with unleashing highly-regarded electric vehicles onto the market or causing dealerships to quake in their boots); he’s also looking to conquer space as well.
 
Just a few days after launching a Dragon capsule into orbit via a reusable Falcon 9 rocket to hookup with the International Space Station (for the fourth time), Musk filed a formal protest against the United States Air Force for what he saw as a monopolization of government rocket launches via the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
 
This week, Musk is looking to advance his effort with space exploration even further with the second flight of the Falcon 9-R (F9R) reusable rocket. During yesterday’s test flight, the F9R launched to a height of 3,280 feet, hovered in place, then performed a controlled landing back to earth.
 
It’s worth noting that in this early stage of development, the landing legs of the F9R are permanently fixed to the bottom of the rocket during all phases of the flight. However, it is hoped that as development progresses, the landing legs will stowed at launch and only extend as the F9R makes its “final approach.”
 
You can watch the video below:
 
 
In slightly related news, Musk made it clear that he wants SpaceX to handle all of NASA’s human “ferry” missions to and from the ISS instead of the U.S. having to rely on Russia. After NASA’s decision to break most ties with Russia on space-related missions, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin joked that NASA should simply use a large trampoline to reach the ISS.
 
Never one to back down from a challenge, Musk tweeted:


 
Game on, boys!

Sources: SpaceX, Elon Musk, BusinessWeek



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Wow.
By spamreader1 on 5/2/2014 11:06:24 AM , Rating: 3
I love his twitter response.




RE: Wow.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/2/2014 11:07:59 AM , Rating: 5
I don't know where Elon Musk ends and Tony Stark begins...


RE: Wow.
By BRB29 on 5/2/2014 11:56:47 AM , Rating: 5
Elon can't fly in a suit....yet


RE: Wow.
By bug77 on 5/2/2014 1:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
Was Tony's suit known to the public from the very beginning?


RE: Wow.
By FaaR on 5/2/2014 1:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Also does not have propensity for public drunkenness and womanizing - that I know of, anyway... :P


RE: Wow.
By BladeVenom on 5/2/2014 6:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
He needs to work on that. :)


RE: Wow.
By Jeffk464 on 5/2/2014 6:54:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Also does not have propensity for public drunkenness and womanizing


Have you seen his new wife?


RE: Wow.
By kattanna on 5/2/2014 11:19:53 AM , Rating: 1
well.. if congress doesnt follow up and increase the budget for space, specifically for the dragon capsule..then the russian is right.. all we will have is a trampoline.


RE: Wow.
By CharonPDX on 5/2/2014 12:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's the beauty of the Dragon - it isn't government funded! Yes, SpaceX is accepting government money to ensure that it is being developed to specs NASA is okay with; but Musk has committed to creating it even if NASA doesn't use it.

Previous updates claimed it would be ready to launch manned missions by 2014 without going through NASA's process; but they are making a point of going through NASA's process so that it will be able to be used to go to ISS. That has delayed the craft.

It wouldn't surprise me if the May 29 "Dragon 2" announcement was that they have a non-NASA-process-approved flight version ready to go. That if NASA would be willing to speed up their approval process, they could launch to ISS immediately.


RE: Wow.
By Jeffk464 on 5/2/2014 6:57:23 PM , Rating: 3
Also I think he is doing well getting contracts for commercial launches. I think Space X would survive at this point even without government contracts.


RE: Wow.
By sorry dog on 5/3/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wow.
By teldar on 5/3/2014 7:37:08 PM , Rating: 3
You need to learn the difference between funded and having them as a customer. I don't believe there are government appropriations for spaceX.


RE: Wow.
By Bubbacub on 5/5/2014 5:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a big fan of space x, but they would still be at the design phase of falcon 1 without government support.

They got access to a lot of confidential NASA design info and work from TRW in the design of the merlin engine - hundreds of millions of costs worth of research and development for free.

The 1.6 billion from COTS is space x's main revenue stream and it certainly was appropriated in a similar way to how lockmart and Boeing get their cash (e.g. they both competed for the f35 and lockmart won - they now get to sell the f35 round the world).

Now that they have received a few billion from the government they now have a product that works commercially.

This is good government spending - money given in open competition to the best product - which then goes on to generate lots more revenue for the country (in tax). Its a bit disengenous to say that this has been done without government support.


RE: Wow.
By Mint on 5/4/2014 12:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Below I accidentally made a comment posted for you. Here it is again:
quote:
Certainly NASA is our largest customer and our most important customer, but if you look at our launch manifest we have over thirty Falcon 9 missions under contract, thirteen of those are with NASA, so effectively we've got about 40% or so of our business with the government. Let's say you made pencils, well, about 40% of your business would be with the government. That's not an unreasonable number.


RE: Wow.
By MZperX on 5/2/2014 12:15:22 PM , Rating: 5
Me too. I can't wait to see the crewed Dragon capsule flying. If we were smart we'd put that option on the front burner and tell the Russkies to pound sand. Sadly though we probably won't do it... makes too much sense. :-/


RE: Wow.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wow.
By tayb on 5/2/2014 2:37:03 PM , Rating: 5
We can always count on Reclaimer to open his mouth and take a dump on the keyboard then find his way to the "Post Comment" button.


RE: Wow.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/2/2014 2:46:41 PM , Rating: 5
It may have only went 3000 feet, but it lands as well, what rocket do you know that does that? There are none except his. And he has put stuff into space as well, Russia isn't the only one.


RE: Wow.
By Mint on 5/4/2014 12:56:41 PM , Rating: 3
Even more impressive is the recent CRS-3 mission. They got Dragon into space to resupply the ISS, as expected, but also got the first stage also was able to make a soft landing on water.

Unfortunately it got shredded by stormy seas, but they got a lot of data showing that it hit water vertically near zero velocity . That's a HUGE first for a rocket used to launch something into space, and it paves the way for a controlled landing on land within a year.

Before SpaceX it used to cost $10,000+/kg to get stuff into space. They're already disrupting the market by offering $4000/kg with the Falcon 9 v1.1. If they can pull off rocket reuse? It could be down near $1000/kg in a few years.

This is an incredible advance in transportation cost. To put it into perspective, imagine if a company started leasing cars for zero down, $50/mo.


RE: Wow.
By delphinus100 on 5/2/2014 3:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Except Russia can put things into Space. Musk's new rocket went a measly 3,000 feet.


Understand, F9R is for the development of technology to make reusable the first stage of Musk's rocket that already puts things into space...


RE: Wow.
By cruisin3style on 5/2/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wow.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wow.
By thesaxophonist on 5/2/2014 8:15:29 PM , Rating: 5
Haven't seen you launching any satellites. In any case, who the hell cares what he says? The company is doing something awesome here, and that is what's important. Not Twitter.


RE: Wow.
By twhittet on 5/3/2014 12:19:35 AM , Rating: 5
I'd take him over Reclaimer any day. One of them is a self-aggrandizing jerk who builds revolutionary rockets, and the other is just a plain jerk with nothing better to do than make an ass out himself 100 times a day on Anandtech.

I bet if Reclaimer spent the time he spends on here on something useful, he could change the world too! Instead he just brings it down.....


RE: Wow.
By cruisin3style on 5/3/2014 12:16:39 AM , Rating: 3
i would like you to remember what you just posted and go back and re-read some of your posts old posts

the effect should be like looking in an ironic mirror


RE: Wow.
By retrospooty on 5/2/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wow.
By kypd275 on 5/3/2014 12:39:37 AM , Rating: 3
You realize posts like this that only shows how petty and vindictive you are, and how little facts matter to you.

This is a test for the F9R's landing capability, it's got nothing to do with the Dragon/Falcon, which can, have, and are continuing to pu t things into space.

You couldn't have put a larger foot in your own mouth if you tried.


RE: Wow.
By flyingpants1 on 5/4/2014 8:01:10 AM , Rating: 1
So you have some weird personal issue with Musk. That explains a lot.

You're posting in a thread about one of the biggest breakthroughs in rocket technology.. to personally attack the CEO because you don't like his attitude. One day you should seriously re-evaluate your thought process.

Life is not a popularity contest. You should be thankful for this; look at your comment ratings.


RE: Wow.
By Jeffk464 on 5/2/2014 7:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
It still seems to me using a flyable parachute for part of the descent would save a ton of fuel weight. Kind of like NASA's canceled plan for the space station emergency escape capsule.


RE: Wow.
By Bubbacub on 5/3/2014 2:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
A parachute that could slow down a falcon 9r first stage would weigh much more than the small amount of fuel to run one engine at low throttle.

Add the development costs and it's a no brainer to use retro rocket propulsion as 95% of the hard development work was done in designing the rocket to take off.


RE: Wow.
By Mint on 5/3/2014 12:51:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Certainly NASA is our largest customer and our most important customer, but if you look at our launch manifest we have over thirty Falcon 9 missions under contract, thirteen of those are with NASA, so effectively we've got about 40% or so of our business with the government. Let's say you made pencils, well, about 40% of your business would be with the government. That's not an unreasonable number.


RE: Wow.
By Arkive on 5/5/2014 10:36:50 AM , Rating: 2
I have a hard time believing a drag chute would weigh more than the fuel required to slow down the rocket for the entire time it's descending. Remember, we're talking about a chute to slow the craft down a little, not slow it down enough to land softly without any reverse thrust.


RE: Wow.
By Mint on 5/7/2014 6:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
At first, I was also confused by the lack of a drag chute in the way you mentioned.

But remember how much heat and stress the space shuttle endured on reentry from orbital speeds. It was basically using its wing like parachute, and had to use very expensive ceramics to get the job done.

I think there's no choice but to slow down the rocket stage before it gets back into the atmosphere where a parachute would work, because otherwise the rocket engines would get damaged. Once reentry is successful, terminal velocity is slow enough that parachutes really don't save you much fuel.


RE: Wow.
By delphinus100 on 5/4/2014 5:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It still seems to me using a flyable parachute for part of the descent would save a ton of fuel weight...


Not so much if your aim is to turn the thing around and fly again as soon as possible, just like commercial aircraft. I could see some value in a small drogue chute to help stabilize and insure a tail down attitude, but I could easily be wrong about even that. Obviously Musk's engineers think so.

quote:
Kind of like NASA's canceled plan for the space station emergency escape capsule.


If you're referring to NASA's X-38...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_X-38

...it was a lifting body, not a ballistic capsule. But being purely a rescue system, turnaround-to-reflight time was not an issue (this would matter for DreamChaser, another lifting body), and lifting bodies tend to land pretty 'hot' compared to most winged vehicles. X-38's parafoil could get it to the ground almost anywhere, with little forward motion. Most any good, open spot would suffice. There's no necessity to wait for a descent window to an airfield that could handle it, and that's also important for a craft that only has to get a few people (including possible injured) down from orbit, ASAP.


Elon Musk...
By Hoeser on 5/2/2014 11:10:46 AM , Rating: 5
Clearly better than me at Kerbal Space Program.




RE: Elon Musk...
By thesaxophonist on 5/2/2014 8:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
Trade secret: they use MechJeb.


Awesome...
By Arkive on 5/2/2014 11:37:24 AM , Rating: 3
Between fighting the uncompeted launch contract to ULA, to the Tesla car, to the launch/reusability capabilities SpaceX continues to demonstrate...I have a hard time finding a better candidate for Time Magazine Person of the Year.




RE: Awesome...
By tayb on 5/2/2014 12:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
Take a look at what Hugh Herr is doing with Bionic limbs. It is truly one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. There is a Ted Talk he did recently. He is my pick.


RE: Awesome...
By Theguynextdoor on 5/4/2014 2:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
I saw that recently (the TED talks). Truly amazing stuff. But I will have to disagree. Yes, he is doing something absolutely amazing for the human race. But it's still a very small handful of people being helped and an even smaller amount of those people will change the world or help it make it truly better.

What Musk with SpaceX and Tesla is doing is helping the entire population almost. He's pushing the envelope of technology much faster then it was. The dreams he will inspire, the overall effect is much much larger.


mmmm
By Fidget on 5/2/2014 2:02:35 PM , Rating: 3
I could go for some BBQ cow slightly seared with rocket fuel




By masamasa on 5/4/2014 3:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
Unintelligent...

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin joked that NASA should simply use a large trampoline to reach the ISS

Followed by intelligent...

Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on w @NASA. No trampoline needed.

Russia would be better served spending their time trying to control their hooligan-like population in the Ukraine.




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