41 comments posted · 5 followers · following 0

132 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: How ... · 0 replies · 0 points

Starship should be able to carry about 50 passengers to Mars, but a lot more in its point to point ballistic shuttle service, more likely around 200-250 in its current configuration (I'm currently working on the design in blender for a VR exhibit for the International Spaceflight Museum, a simple version of which is currently on display in Second Life at the SL16th Birthday exposition). A lot hinges upon the reliability of the planned TPS that uses stainless steel skin with evaporative cooling, as well as the reliability of the new Raptor engine design. SpaceX has pretty much proven that tail down landing operations are relatively easy to do reliably in anything other than rough seas or thin fuel margins.
If a Starship can get in 100 launches, thats useful for the Mars route, but for reliable ballistic use, they really need to get 1000 flights out of one airframe with phase inspections every 50-100 flights.
Anyways, assuming an airframe/engines cost of 50 million, at most, given plans for long term mass production, the amortized capital cost per flight should be around 1 million, and assuming the above study's per flight energy cost of $43k per seat, which should come to a fuel cost per flight of around 10 million. Even adding the capital cost onto the ticket, should be around 55-60k, then you have all the operations overhead to deal with: ground crew, flight crew, maintenance, management and administration, a 100k ticket price is perfectly reasonable.
Note that Concorde never lacked for customers, it only lacked for available routes it was allowed to fly by regulatory restrictions.

139 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: The ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I see that Senator Cruz is now talking about the possible future threat of space piracy, which I have discussed here.

152 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: A Sp... · 0 replies · +1 points

I agree with this article, it is consistent with my own writing here last year. I like how it plans for future mission expansion as the solar system is developed.

231 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: The ... · 1 reply · +2 points

Secondly, as SpaceX is clearly showing, reusability is the more important goal. There is nothing wrong with creating a multi-stage RLV, nothing technically impossible. The now many times repeated recovery of SpaceX first stages is proving that, what the author and his droogs in the OldSpace nomenklatura have denied for decades for the sake of preserving their cost plus contracting, ammunition based business model of expendable vehicle rent seeking at the public trough of the taxpayer.
You can very easily make a two stage, reusable, LOX/Kerosene based RLV, and even make it a HTOL vehicle to enable airline-like flight operations. Isp is not the be-all, end-all of reducing launch costs or achieving reusable vehicles. Nor is this vehicle DARPA is proposing a SSLV, it clearly is a first stage vehicle intended to put an upper stage into an orbital injection trajectory only.

231 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: The ... · 2 replies · +5 points

a) its a damp squib, not a damp squid. Squids like being damp...
b) Sorry but your listing Kerosene/LOX as 250 seconds is fallacious. SpaceX Merlin 1D engines run just shy of 350 secs Isp.
c) The real problem with achieving reusable rockets is that engineers have been fixated on gravimetric Isp and not volumetric Isp. Aerodynamic losses are a much bigger factor, so fat hydrogen tanks impose an aerodynamic load that largely neutralizes, and in many cases, penalizes, hydrogen fuelled launch vehicles. This is why the Saturn V was kerosene/LOX on its first stage, else it would have been three times larger, and more expensive as a result by a similar ratio.
Going by volumetric Isp, it is clear that methane, MCH, kerosene, and more interesting fuels like cyclopropane and methylacetylene have much better performance because they are denser by far and thus what they save in smaller launch vehicle size (and thus lower lv dry mass as well) MORE than makes up for their gravimetric Isp being lower than hydrogen, because by volumetric comparison, hydrogen sucks!

241 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: Is &... · 1 reply · +1 points

It is inherently backwards to assume that the existing launch market is the market for ULCATS. Disruptive innovation succeeds because it creates markets where there were none, it democratizes access to markets, and leverages early adopters to capitalize lower costs for consumers. The government and OldSpace have continually failed in their mandates to jump start this process in space travel, largely due to paranoia about ballistic missile proliferation, protectionism, as well as rent seeking oligopolies trying to protect their cost-plus-contracting carve outs.

381 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: MOL&... · 1 reply · 0 points

This article says that Eastman Kodak created the camera control system, but this is inaccurate, as that was an ITEK contract, which my father was the engineer for. The ITEK system was repurposed on Skylab years later.

397 weeks ago @ The Space Review: essa... - The Space Review: Deci... · 3 replies · +11 points

Is it just me, or did Boeing's Elbon sound like a complete idiot trying to diss SpaceX's incremental build/test/fly philosophy?

460 weeks ago @ Center for a Stateless... - A (Brief) People's His... · 0 replies · +1 points

Sorry but this 'short history' is markedly one sided. It leaves out, for instance, the fact that the "ruling elites" in the US congress repeatedly cited the problem of Klansmen attacking freed slaves as a justification for the 14th amendment, to ensure that blacks could exercise their right to keep and bear arms, to defend themselves and their families against Klan terrorism.

522 weeks ago @ Big Government - Occupy Wall Street Rap... · 0 replies · +7 points

Obviously society made him that way. It is the 1%'s fault.... LOL rite...