Elon Musk: The Colonisation of Mars

SpaceX finishes the year with(out) a bang.

'SpaceX launched a clandestine U.S. spy satellite into space for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Saturday (Dec. 19) , marking its 26th rocket of the year.

'The mysterious payload, called NROL-108, lifted off from Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT) , during a planned three hour launch window.

'A used two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carried the spy satellite aloft, as part of a government mission called NROL-108, marking SpaceX's 26th launch of 2020, a new record for the company. Approximately nine minutes after liftoff, the booster's first stage produced some dramatic sonic booms as it made its way back to terra firma, touching down at SpaceX's Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) at the nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.'


 
And starts 2021 in style.

'A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on a record 8th flight to send a new fleet of the company's Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Wednesday (Jan.20) and then nailed a landing at sea.

'The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the historic Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT) carrying 60 new Starlink satellites for SpaceX's growing constellation in orbit. The launch came after two days of delay due to poor weather in the recovery zone and the need for extra pre-flight checks.

'Approximately 9 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9's first stage returned to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX's drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean in a smooth touchdown. The massive ship, "Just Read the Instructions," is one of two in the company’s fleet of recovery vessels that catch falling boosters and return them to port.'


 
And another record attained, plus it knocks the street-shitters off the top peg.

'A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 143 satellites into orbit on a jam-packed rideshare mission Sunday, setting a new world record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket.

'The mission, dubbed Transporter-1, carried 10 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink internet network, and more than 130 satellites for a variety of customers including Planet, which operates a constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, and ICEYE, which develops small radar satellites for tracking hazardous ice.

'The previous record for the most satellites sent to space in one trip was held by PSLV, an Indian rocket, that carried 104 satellites in a 2017 launch.'


 
And another record attained, plus it knocks the street-shitters off the top peg.

'A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 143 satellites into orbit on a jam-packed rideshare mission Sunday, setting a new world record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket.

'The mission, dubbed Transporter-1, carried 10 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink internet network, and more than 130 satellites for a variety of customers including Planet, which operates a constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, and ICEYE, which develops small radar satellites for tracking hazardous ice.

'The previous record for the most satellites sent to space in one trip was held by PSLV, an Indian rocket, that carried 104 satellites in a 2017 launch.'


Sending shit in to space is a metaphor. It wouldn't be cost effective to use re-entry as a sewage disposal method.
 
SpaceX continues to set records with its reusable launch vehicles.

'Under perfectly clear skies, a SpaceX Falcon 9 took to the skies over Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, taking another batch of 60 Starlink satellites to orbit.

'Liftoff for the Starlink 18 mission took place at 1:19 a.m. EST (06:19 UTC) Feb. 4, 2021. Making this rocket go was Falcon 9 first stage core B1060, which was being used for the fifth time, ultimately successfully landing on the company’s autonomous drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” off the coast of the Carolinas.

'B1060 was previously used only 27 days ago as part of the Turksat-5A mission, setting a record turnaround time for launch, land, refurbish and relaunch. This refurbishment and re-flight time is only half that of what the space shuttle required, which during its time was the standard for reusable vehicles.

'SpaceX used twin fairing recovery ships, known as “GO Ms. Tree” and “GO Ms. Chief,” that were waiting in the launch recovery area to recover the rockets payload fairings for future reuse. While they did not catch them in the ships’ massive nets, they will likely be scooped out of the water following their gentle guided parachute landing. SpaceX is currently the only company reusing its rocket fairings, saving up to $5 million per launch.

'This launch leapfrogged another Starlink mission, Starlink 17, which was originally scheduled to liftoff just 4 hours after this flight from nearby Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. However, that launch was delayed by at least a day in order to allow for extra pre-flight checks.

'Had these two flights occurred as scheduled, the twin Starlink launches would have set a modern-era record for Florida’s Eastern Range support and turnaround. Not since NASA’s Gemini program of the 1960s have two rockets launched from Cape Canaveral in the same day.'


 

beer

Old-Salt
I like this austically screeching, propeller headed, mad scientist type on YouTube, called Thunderfoot. He seems to spend a lot of time debunking many of Musks projects. Take a peek:
 
Elon Musk's insurance premiums must be going up as fast as his launchers. It seems like a new 1950s jet age of experimentation, where weekly crashes and the loss of test pilots was common place. At least with SpaceX, the human cost is only in ego.

'The SpaceX company has managed to land one of its Starship prototypes at the end of a high-altitude test flight.

'Serial Number 10 (SN10) touched down in Boca Chica, Texas - in contrast to its predecessors SN8 and SN9, which crashed into the ground. But that wasn't the end of the story. The next-generation space vehicle put down heavily on its extended legs. A fire then developed around its base and eight minutes later SN10 blew itself apart on the landing pad.

'Nonetheless, SpaceX will be hugely encouraged by the test and the fact that the prototype successfully executed its in-flight manoeuvres and managed to make a reasonably soft landing. These milestones will give the company confidence as it moves forward with the ambitious concept.'


 
Elon Musk's insurance premiums must be going up as fast as his launchers.

Nope, it's the delight of rapid design iterations - "move fast and break things". He's flown five prototypes in half the time it's taking Boeing to complete ground tests of a single SLS; and looking at the differences between the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, it's not as if extra time results in higher quality output.

The important thing is that everyone else (except perhaps the Russians) treats spacecraft as unique objects, lovingly hand-tooled by generations of master craftsmen. He's been working on creating a production line, and it looks more like a shipyard than a cleanroom...

Note that SN8/SN9 were so successful, even with the *KERBOOM*, that they scrapped SN12-14. SN11 is almost ready for its flight, and SN15 has a bunch of design changes that they want to trial.

 
Last edited:
Nope, it's the delight of rapid design iterations - "move fast and break things". He's flown five prototypes in half the time it's taking Boeing to complete ground tests of a single SLS; and looking at the differences between the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, it's not as if extra time results in higher quality output.

The important thing is that everyone else (except perhaps the Russians) treats spacecraft as unique objects, lovingly hand-tooled by generations of master craftsmen. He's been working on creating a production line, and it looks more like a shipyard than a cleanroom...

Note that SN8/SN9 were so successful, even with the *KERBOOM*, that they scrapped SN12-14. SN11 is almost ready for its flight, and SN15 has a bunch of design changes that they want to trial.


Yep, better to fail quickly and be able to learn from the mistake rather than spend all your resources on something exquisite that then fails exquisitely when you eventually get to test it, especially when there's minimal risk to life.
 
Except Exeter, they are not that keen.
Out of curiosity - was the resulting damage to the surrounding area less than you'd expect, or more? I was trying to figure out whether the ATO would be congratulated on the results of "1000kg of HE goes *BANG*, no-one dies", or getting the p!ss ripped out of them because the ungrateful locals were annoyed at (only) getting an RSJ through their roof...
 
Out of curiosity - was the resulting damage to the surrounding area less than you'd expect, or more? I was trying to figure out whether the ATO would be congratulated on the results, or getting the p!ss ripped out of them...
It is about what I would expect. The is a lot of debate on EOD groups whether it was the right method given its location.
 
Another SpaceX learning experience, another 'glorious failure'. Is he secretly British?

'SpaceX chief Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that the latest prototype of the company’s Starship rocket series had crashed, after the video feed of its test flight cut out.

“At least the crater is in the right place!” he joked, in acknowledging the fourth failed test of the prototype.

“Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today,” he added. The rocket, SN11, launched from the company’s south Texas facility around 1300 GMT (12am Wednesday AEDT) and began its ascent to 10 kilometres, experiencing some video glitches.

'It was descending to the surface when the feed was lost once again. “We lost the clock at T plus five minutes, 49 seconds,” said announcer John Insprucker, meaning the amount of time that had passed after lift-off. “Looks like we’ve had another exciting test of Starship Number 11,” he added, dryly. SN11 is the 11th prototype of Starship, which SpaceX hopes will one day be able to fly crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. It was the fourth to conduct a test flight attempting to return to the ground for a soft vertical landing.

'SN8 and SN9, which launched in December and February respectively, crash landed and exploded, while SN10 successfully landed then blew up a few minutes later during its test on March 3. Despite the previous failures, analysts say SpaceX is gathering valuable data that will help it to accelerate its development timeline.

'Eventually, SpaceX plans to combine the Starship spaceship with a Super Heavy rocket, creating a fully reusable system. This final version will stand 120 metres tall and will be able to carry 100 metric tonnes into Earth orbit — the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed.'


 
Fortunately, no unintended fireworks to mark the 100th launch on 7 April.

'A Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Wednesday with another batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites, achieving success on SpaceX’s 100th mission to launch from Florida’s Space Coast and clearing the way for liftoff of a NASA crew mission to the International Space Station later this month.

'The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 launcher lifted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:34:18 p.m. EDT (1634:18 GMT) Wednesday and headed northeast over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.

'The mission Wednesday was the first daytime rocket launch from Florida’s Space Coast since Jan. 24, ended a string of late night and predawn blastoffs in recent months.

'After breaking the sound barrier and rocketing through the stratosphere, the Falcon 9 shut down its nine kerosene-fueled first stage engines about two-and-a-half minutes into the mission. Moments later, the first stage detached from the Falcon 9’s second stage, which ignited a single Merlin powerplant to continue climbing into space.

'The first stage, meanwhile, arced downrange on a ballistic trajectory before re-entering the atmosphere and descending to a pinpoint landing on SpaceX’s drone ship named “Of Course I Still Love You” floating in the Atlantic about 400 miles (630 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral.

'The touchdown marked the end of the booster’s seventh trip to space and back since this first stage — tail number B1058 — debuted with a mission last May that carried NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken into orbit on the first piloted test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.'


 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
It will be interesting trying to live on Mars.

There is virtually no atmosphere because gravity is too low to keep gases captured - Martian gravity is 0.375 (3/8 )that of Earth i.e. only about twice that of the moon. The atmosphere is thin and consists of ~97% CO2 plus a bit of Nitrogen and Argon. Average surface temperature is -63°C.

Therefore:

Will need a sealed biosphere which will also need to be well insulated and heated hence think a nuclear submarine type life support system generating oxygen. CO2 is poisonous to humans (hypercapnia) at >1% by volume. Narcosis and increased heart rate and blood pressure at ~3%, loss of consciousness at 5% and death at ~8% (also depends on length of exposure).

Oxygen will need to be generated from CO2 or water (ice) which is very energy intensive and anyone staying for an extended period will lose bone mass and muscle tone and will struggle to return to earth gravity. Even more so if you assume several years journey in micro-gravity for the trip.

Plants will grow much slower than on earth because the amount of sunlight reaching Mars is just over 50% of that at the earth's surface. Solar power will need much larger arrays (at least twice the size) etc etc.

And then there is water. Scientists have postulated that there is a lot of water on Mars, but there is no liquid water or water vapour and all water is in the form of ice below the surface although this has not been proven.

The technical challenge will be difficult and, as I mentioned before, it's a one way ticket if you're going to stay there for an extended period.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads

Top