Something Big Coming from SpaceX?

31 Mar , 2011 by Video

OK, SpaceX, you’ve got us intrigued. This video released today by SpaceX says something “big” is coming on April 5, 2011. No embargoes, either!

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fergiej
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fergiej
March 31, 2011 5:39 PM

Looks like they are going to introduce the Falcon Heavy. Gonna be a beast of a rocket, but I thought it wasn’t going to be ready for at least 3 or 4 more years. Hm, maybe Elon’s getting an itchy trigger finger!

joed293
Member
joed293
March 31, 2011 5:58 PM

No wonder all the ex-NASAs are defecting, or think of moving to SpaceX, their progress has accelerated far faster than NASA ever did!

lotusface
Member
lotusface
April 1, 2011 3:52 PM

That is inaccurate. NASA had to invent and test everything they did in order to get to the moon, all subsequent space travel technology rests on the shoulders of those early days. SpaceX cannot be compared to the early NASA achievements. They used slide rules to engineer near perfection; Musk can use supercomputers to model out most of the issues NASA had to build and test to solve. Your claim is malinformed. Show some pride in the greater accomplishments that our nation has achieved.

wjwbudro
Member
wjwbudro
April 1, 2011 4:47 PM

Here here lotusface, well said.

wjwbudro
Member
wjwbudro
April 1, 2011 4:53 PM

Oh no, I hope this slips by our dear HSBC.

trueman832
Member
trueman832
March 31, 2011 6:01 PM

From the graphic in the last seconds of the video, showing 3 sets of Falcon 9 motors, it must be the Falcon 9 Heavy. Are they prepping one for a test flight? A mock up? It’s something big alright, but Dragon is launched on a vanilla Falcon 9 so it must be unrelated to the next Dragon capsule test. Or maybe they’re just selling Elon’s space cheese… MMmmmmm… space cheese.

trueman832
Member
trueman832
March 31, 2011 6:02 PM

… on second thought, the “FH” probably does stand for “Falcon Heavy” and not “Space Cheese”. Phooey.

gopher65
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gopher65
March 31, 2011 6:49 PM

Awesomegrin. I was wondering when this was coming.

high_school_astronomer
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high_school_astronomer
March 31, 2011 6:49 PM

It must be the Falcon Heavy. They showed a silouette that exactly matches it at 0:27.

TalGreywolf
Member
TalGreywolf
March 31, 2011 7:58 PM

It could be either the Falcon 9 Heavy, or it could be the Falcon X Heavy, similar to a Delta IV. In any case, look out ULA and ESA, there may be a new player in town that’s going to shake up the business.

TerryG
Member
March 31, 2011 8:22 PM

http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php does list a F9H demo flight for 2012 from Vandenberg AFB, California, but by all means SpaceX should work the impending event marketing.

The F9H will really set the space cat amongst the space pigeons.

TalGreywolf
Member
TalGreywolf
March 31, 2011 8:34 PM

That’s an understatement if SpaceX does unveil the F9H or even the Falcon XX Heavy. Considering that Ariane had that abort today on the pad yesterday (30 March) there’s going to be a lot of interest in seeing if SpaceX can produce a working heavy lift vehicle.

Life is about to get interesting post-Shuttle.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
April 1, 2011 5:31 PM

“Considering that Ariane had that abort today on the pad yesterday…”

With 51 or 52 successful launches in a row, I’d say the system is pretty reliable. I’d say that Space X has a lot to catch up to do.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
March 31, 2011 10:10 PM
Thanks, interesting, I didn’t know about SpaceX conceptual plans: “By mid-August, the SpaceX CEO Elon Musk clarified that while the Merlin 2 engine architecture was a key element of any effort SpaceX would make toward their objective of “super-heavy lift” launch vehicles—and that SpaceX indeed did want to “move toward super heavy lift”—the specific potential design configurations of the particular launch vehicles shown by Markusic at the propulsion conference were merely conceptual “brainstorming ideas”, just a “bunch of ideas for discussion.”[49]” [Wp] But presumably from the silhouette and feasible technology “FH” stands for the 9 engine core 1st gen F9H, perhaps best shown here, as the Falcon X/XX series use a future Merlin 2 engine for 3-6 engines/core.… Read more »
Eric E
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Eric E
March 31, 2011 8:38 PM

To the moon!

Slugsie
Member
April 1, 2011 1:02 PM

The phrase ‘Fraction of the cost’ always bothers me. 999/1000’s is a fraction, but not exactly one you go out of your way to pursue to save money.

Anyway, anything that brings greater access to space is a good thing.

gopher65
Member
gopher65
April 1, 2011 1:49 PM

In the case of the F9H it’s suppose to be more like 50-75% of competition. Realistically I’d go more with the top end of that estimate, but even so, that’s still an incredible improvement over the Delta 4 Heavy and the (currently not even as existent as the F9H) Atlas 5 HLV.

shinace
Member
shinace
April 1, 2011 2:16 PM

April fool’s!

Hopefully we don’t wait around for nothing

lotusface
Member
lotusface
April 1, 2011 3:57 PM

Most certainly FH is for Falcon heavy, but the Dragon reference throws me a bit. Is SpaceX also engineering a capsule? I would imagine that the retention and advanced state of the Orion capsule program would indicate that it is intended to be fully developed. Would it not be wise for the Orion capsule to be the intended payload of the civilian space vehicle companies?

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 1, 2011 10:48 PM

I’m not sure what you mean by “also”. Musk, whose original incentive was manned missions, has designed the Dragon so that it can be upgraded to a manned capsule for really long missions in a few years for a moderate sum. That is no secret, and has been on the table several years now.

Actually, it is keeping the Orion for “ISS rescue” and then skunking it for missions that may have been wiser waiting – it will cost more and take longer time, for lesser capability (fewer men, shorter times, less safety margins – according to the respective specs).

Gripen
Member
Gripen
April 1, 2011 9:43 PM

Nice

xrayexplorer
Member
xrayexplorer
April 4, 2011 1:16 PM
I do agree that NASA paved the way for what we have today and are still using the fruits of those efforts. There is no questioning that. However, the crowning acheivement of those efforts was the Saturn V. It also had multiple ways that it could be upgraded with newer engines and stretched stages as the technology was developed along the way. This is similar to the way the Spitfire was continually developed to meet the demands of faster and more agile Axis fighters. For me personally to give NASA a lot of credit for what is being developed now , beyond what NASA has acheived in the last few decades I would have to had seen NASA… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
April 4, 2011 1:37 PM

“Rocket technology has not changed much since the early sixties…”

WHere have you been all these years. What about the development of Ariane 5?Technologically, this rocket is miles ahead or older rocket technology. They have had 51 or 52 launches in a row without a hiccup. Saturn V is an absolute dinosaur left in the past, and it should stay as a historical milestone and not something among the best of current rocket technology.
Your words here are mostly poor distorted recollection of history — given up because there was no use, after the Apollo program has finished, for such a large rocket.

xrayexplorer
Member
xrayexplorer
April 4, 2011 2:59 PM
Ariane V. Ok then. I agree that is has a great record. So does the Atlas and Delta rockets both from the sixties and continually developed to stretch their potential. This was part of my point. Engine technology as far as the combusiton cycle is concerned still uses the same fuels and oxidizers. There have not bee many adoptions of new fuels in the past 40 years other than some minor mixture differences in binding agents etc. in solid rocket boosters. As far as best current technology, does the Airaane V have engines that are far more efficient? Well, if you count 8-10% more than the late 60’s, then I guess so but the LOX/O2 H class engines… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
April 4, 2011 3:19 PM

Fair enough. You make some good point here.
I think you find that the advancement in rocketry is substantial; not in the sense of the basic design but in the telemetry, costs and general fuel efficiency.
One of the better advances was the solid rocket boosters from the shuttle, which have also ben adopted in other systems. Reusability is a key component of the advancement, whose options are still not fully explored.
The last component of rocket design is its impact environmentally — something that wasn’t envisaged in the Saturn 5 era.
Quite appreciates your moderate response, here.
Cheers.

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