SpaceX says 'reusable rocket' could help colonize Mars
First off I think this will be an amazing achievment if they can pull it off but more importantly I think this and the space port and other companies like Virgin Galactic prove that we have the government doing too much and the private industry can do things more efficiently. NASA has become an overpriced bore. The failure to have a replacement for the shuttle ready is an embaressment. Time for NASA to be a research facility and contract out to companies that will make good use of funds. They can get private companies to build thier satellites and launch them and then NASA can conduct their experiments.
The US company SpaceX is working on the first-ever reusable rocket to launch to space and back, with the goal of one day helping humans colonize [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/mars/"]Mars,[/URL] founder [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/Elon+Musk/"][COLOR=#000000]Elon Musk[/COLOR][/URL] said Thursday. The vehicle would be a reusable version of the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX used to propel its Dragon space capsule to low [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/Earth/"][COLOR=#000000]Earth[/COLOR][/URL]-orbit on a test mission last year. Its first cargo trip to the [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/International+Space+Station/"]International Space Station[/URL] is set for January.
Being able to reuse the rocket would save tens of millions of dollars and would bring the notion of making trips to visit or even live on other planets, namely Mars, closer to reality, Musk told reporters at the [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/National+Press+Club/"]National Press Club.[/URL]
"A fully and rapidly reusable system is fully required for life to become multi-planetary, for us to establish life on Mars," Musk said. "If planes were not reusable, very few people would fly."
Currently, a Falcon rocket costs between 50-60 million dollars to build and launch, with fuel and oxygen costs making up just 200,000 dollars. Then, it is lost forever as it burns up on re-entry into [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/Earth/"][COLOR=#000000]Earth's[/COLOR][/URL] atmosphere.
If engineers could reuse a rocket, that would bring the capital cost of a launch way down and "allow for about a 100 fold reduction in launch costs," he said.
Musk, an Internet entrepreneur who founded PayPal and has used his billions in earnings to start the electric car company [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/Tesla+Motors/"][COLOR=#000000]Tesla Motors[/COLOR][/URL] and SpaceX, said others have tried and failed to figure out how to craft a reusable launch system.
"In the last 12 months I have come to the conclusion that it can be solved," he said.
"We are going to try to do it. We have a design that on paper, doing the calculations, doing the simulations, it does work."
The rocket would take off as normal, then separate into its upper and lower stages. The column-like lower portion would make its way back to [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/Earth/"][COLOR=#000000]Earth[/COLOR][/URL] and hover back down to land upright, in the same position from which it took off.
No wings are needed to steer it back to launch pad, he said.
An animation is at [url]http://www.spacex.com/npc-luncheon-elon-musk.php[/url].
In the near term, the technology could be used to launch satellites and take cargo and crew to the [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/ISS/"][COLOR=#000000]ISS,[/COLOR][/URL] which is presently serviced only by Russia since the US space shuttle fleet retired in July.
[URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/NASA/"][COLOR=#000000]NASA[/COLOR][/URL] has said it hopes commercial companies will be able to have a substitute spacecraft ready to fly people to the [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/ISS/"][COLOR=#000000]ISS[/COLOR][/URL] by 2015, and while several companies are competing to be the first, SpaceX is the only one that has successfully test launched its unmanned Dragon capsule to orbit and back.
The effort to build a reusable rocket "is a parallel effort... it is not impacting our sending of cargo to the [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/space+station/"]space station,[/URL]" Musk said.
In fact, it would be just about ready to go except for the fact that SpaceX and [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/NASA/"][COLOR=#000000]NASA[/COLOR][/URL] agree it needs to have some sort of way for its occupants to eject in case something goes wrong.
So a project to build escape thrusters into the sidewalls of the spacecraft is expected to take two to three years, Musk said. After that, the Reusable Falcon 9 rocket may be ready for prime time.
"I think this is pretty exciting and I think everyone in [URL="http://topics.breitbart.com/America/"][COLOR=#000000]America[/COLOR][/URL] and arguably the rest of the world should be pretty fired up about what we are doing," Musk said.
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[QUOTE=Trades;4166452] more importantly I think this and the space port and other companies like Virgin Galactic prove that we have the government doing too much and the private industry can do things more efficiently. [/QUOTE]
I've read interview with a space expert who was conservative, tea party type who also says that this Obama policy of privatizing space transport is the 1 thing he agrees with... Obama got it 100% right... and if the GOP wins the WH in 2012 or 2016 they don't want this policy thrown away.
[QUOTE=Trades;4166542]Over 9% of the country is unemployed. I bet there are a lot of shovel ready projects on Mars, and the moon for that matter.[B] Just look at all the potholes on the moon that need to be filled in[/B].[/QUOTE]
Local 587 - Moon Shovelers, IFL-CIO (Intergalactic Federation of Labor-Congress of Interstellar Organizations)
[QUOTE=Trades;4166542]Over 9% of the country is unemployed. I bet there are a lot of shovel ready projects on Mars, and the moon for that matter. Just look at all the potholes on the moon that need to be filled in.[/QUOTE]
Maybe we could just build a really long bridge to Mars
The unusual isolation experiment, called Mars 500, is designed to probe humankind's ability to undertake long-distance space travel even though a manned mission to the Red Planet remains years away.
Participants will not experience weightlessness or the higher radiation levels associated with such travel but organisers say the experience will nonetheless be authentic.
The crew, made up of three Russians, a Chinese man, a Frenchman and an Italian, will spend 520 days locked up in a "spaceship" forged from metal tubing in Russia's Moscow-based Institute for Biomedical Problems.
Their task is to conduct dozens of experiments and simulate a flight to and from Mars, as well as a landing and a series of 'spacewalks' on the Red Planet.
Participants are not professional astronauts but volunteers who were chosen because they had specific medical and technical skills.
They will earn the equivalent of about £70,000 each.
The biggest challenge will be loneliness. They will only be able to contact loved ones over the internet which will often only function with a forty minute delay. They will also, of course, be deprived of the company of the opposite sex.
The mission commander, Alexei Sitev, said he only got married a few weeks ago and admitted it was going to be "difficult."
Organisers say they chose an all male crew to avoid conflict. A similar but shorter experiment in 1999 was marred when a Russian participant tried to forcibly kiss a Canadian female crew member.
"It is better if the crew is of the same gender and can focus on fulfilling their professional tasks rather than competing for the attention of one or two women," Yuri Karash, a space expert, told Russian media.
"Nobody has cancelled basic instinct."
The experiment can be tracked at [URL="http://www.google.com/mars500"]www.google.com/mars500[/URL]
[QUOTE=bitonti;4166463]I've read interview with a space expert who was conservative, tea party type who also says that this Obama policy of privatizing space transport is the 1 thing he agrees with... Obama got it 100% right...
Agreed, private companies are the future of space transport/exploration if Nasa's main mission nowadays is to make Muslims feel good about themselves.....