Private companies take the space industry by attack

Hi,
today I want to talk about how private companies like SpaceX ,which I already talked about few times and Blue Origin for example, influence the space industry.


For many years there was NASA and only NASA. Now these days you could have noticed that SpaceX appeared, self-funded company with priority of making space cheap. Same interest has also Blue Origin, space company founded by Jeff Bezos, the owner and CEO of Amazon. (billionare as well as Elon Musk of SpaceX)

These two guys and others are aiming for cheap space which is something that NASA was never able to do. After Apollo 11 they wanted to start to use reusable rockets but it never went to perfection. The primary goal of 25 dollars per pound on the orbit of Earth, changed more into something like 25,000 dollars per one pound.

Now NASA wants to make Space Launch System and Orion capsule to get us to Mars. Noble goal it is. There is one “minor” problem. Look at NASA budget over years:

The peak is when we were trying to get to Moon

Right now NASA has about 0.5% of federal budget compared to 4.5 that got us to Moon. Estimates are that the whole Space Launch System (SLS), which is basically huge rocket, will cost in the matters of tens of billions of dollars (this is just development, see later for launch price)! (0.5% is something like 19 billions of dollars).

The thing is that there are other players, like SpaceX who can do this much easily. SLS will be using boosters RS-25 that are from 70s and throw them away after every launch while we have New Shepard of the company Blue Origin that has already been used 5 times over!

From what I have read from Phil Plait and others, SLS will probably be one huge fail. Already now it is behind schedule for its first unmanned launch, not talking about the approximation of mission to Mars (something like 2030-40) where as SpaceX is investing huge amount of money to Falcon Heavy that should be able to carry over time enough stuff to build a base on Mars. Falcon H. payload capacity is over one third of SLS though it should be able to fly several times for the same price as SLS. (I found that it would be able to make more than 5 flights for the same price on the Low Earth Orbit, thats some difference!)

The thing is that NASA is underfunded and right now it even spends money on something that may not ever be working while there are smaller players but with clear and cheaper mission.

Mind you that SpaceX is planning to design Interplanetary Transport System and Blue Origin’s New Armstrong (they are working on New Glenn right now which is one of these huge rockets anyway).

From what I have understood, the key in the future of space exploration is reusability.

Dragallur

Check out these pages for more info: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6)

Btw. NASA does not plan to use SLS more than 3 time per year because otherwise they would have to build up huge facilities. Also the first version of SLS will have payload capacity of almost half the one that I counted in this post. They will have to change it a bit and add some things over time to get to the final capacity.

Space NEWS #4

Hi,
last time in Space NEWS I was writing about SLS, the Space Launch System. Today I will add some more stuff because NASA finished simulations of booster separation.


So first, those boosters are those things you can see on the right. They are Two Space Shuttle SRBs on the Crawler transporter.jpgthe first part of rocket to be used up when its launched. The problem is that something can happen when they are separeted from the rest of rocket (the separation must be precise so it wont move with the rest of the rocket).

There had to be about 22,000 different simulations to see if everything is ok. Those simulations were made by the supercomputer Pleiadas (like the constellation). Each simulation took about 200 hours and together with some other simulations it took 12.7 million hours Simulating SLS Booster Separationto complete it (there were also overflow more precise simulations. Each of them took 20,000 hours and there was almost 400 of them). Omg really? On the left is one of those simulations. The violet, red and orange thing is the shockwave. On the end you can see the separation of boosters.

Dragallur
EDIT: Those 12.7 million hours were divided between 400 Intel Xeon Nodes, otherwise it would take over half a million days to complete it.

Pictures from: https://www.nasa.gov/ames/image-feature/simulation-sls-booster-separation AND “Two Space Shuttle SRBs on the Crawler transporter” by Photo credit: NASA/Ben Cooper – http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49261. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_Space_Shuttle_SRBs_on_the_Crawler_transporter.jpg#/media/File:Two_Space_Shuttle_SRBs_on_the_Crawler_transporter.jpg

Space NEWS #3

Hi,
today I am bringing third space news. This time I will talk about journey to mars and especially SLS the Space Launch System.


Ok it is planned. What? The journey to Mars. But sorry guys I can not tell you exactly when, actually noone know but it is planned by NASA to about 2030. Damn so far away, anyway I am looking forward to see faces of those none believers of moon landing when we will land on Mars.

So there is lot of stuff scientists have to do. There are many issues that need to be solved, and yes right we dont know how fast we can solve them.
But today I want to mention the SLS. Because Saturn V which was the rocket that took us to the Moon is not strong enough and not modern enough we need something better which will be lighter, faster, with more space for stuff to carry and still not too large.
The main problem with older rockets was that more than 90% of the weight was fuel which is not something that NASA wants to repeat, rather they are working on some new technologies.
For example almost one year ago in December NASA tested Orion spacecraft which will on top of SLS carry astronauts to Mars some day. Orion orbited succesfully Earth two times.
Lot of stuff is happening around journey to mars so I will try to update on this topic.

Dragallur
Picture thanks to NASA.
PS: hope those guys in wordpress will return the function “link to existing content” because right now it is pretty anoying to find every post I want to link to on my blog