Company planning biggest rocket since man on moon

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http://www.rdmag.com/News/2011/04/Company-planning-biggest-rocket-since-man-on-moon /
WASHINGTON (AP) A high-tech entrepreneur unveiled plans Tuesday to
launch the world's most powerful rocket since man went to the moon.
Space Exploration Technology has already sent the first private rocket and capsule into Earth's orbit as a commercial venture. It is now planning a rocket that could lift twice as much cargo into orbit as the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle.
The first launch is slotted for 2013 from California with follow-up launches from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Space X's new rocket called Falcon Heavy is big enough to send cargo or even people out of Earth's orbit to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Only the long retired Saturn V rocket that sent men to the moon was bigger.
"This is a rocket of truly huge scale," said Space X president Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal and manufactures electric sports cars.
The Falcon Heavy could put 117,000 pounds into the same orbit as the International Space Station. The space shuttle hauls about 54,000 pounds into orbit. The old Saturn V could carry more than 400,000 pounds of cargo.
The old Soviet Union had a giant moon rocket bigger than the Falcon Heavy, but it failed in all four launch attempts. Another Soviet rocket, also bigger than Falcon Heavy and designed to launch its version of the space shuttle, had one successful flight more than 20 years ago.
While the new Space X rocket is designed initially for cargo, it satisfies NASA's current safety requirements for carrying humans and after several launches could carry people too, Musk said. He has said that if NASA does buys rides on commercial rockets, he would be able to fly astronauts to the space station in his smaller Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule within three years.
Potential customers for the new larger rocket are NASA, the military, other governments and satellite makers.
Musk said Falcon Heavy will be far cheaper than government or private rockets. Launches are about $100 million each. He said the Air Force pays two older more established aerospace firms about $435 million for each of its launches. Over its 40 year design history, the space shuttle program has cost about $1.5 billion per launch, according to a study by the University of Colorado and an Associated Press analysis of NASA budgets.
Musk, who has a contract to supply the space station with cargo using the smaller Falcon 9, said his pricing is more fixed than traditional aerospace firms. He joked: "We believe in everyday low prices."
To get costs that low, Musk said he needs to launch about four Falcon Heavy rockets a year but plans on launching about 10. He doesn't have a paying customer for his first launch, but is in negotiations with NASA and other customers for flights after his company proves the new rocket flies.
"It would be great if it works, if it's safe," said Henry Lambright, a professor of public policy and space scholar at Syracuse University. "I don't want to come across as skeptical, but I am."
Lambright said companies have often made big claims about private space without doing much. But, he added, Musk has some credibility because of his successful Falcon 9.
If Musk's plans work, it will give President Barack Obama's space policy a needed boost, Lambright said. Obama has been battling some in Congress over his plans to use more private space companies, like Space X, for getting people to orbit with NASA concentrating on missions to send astronauts to new places, such as nearby asteroids.
Several companies are vying to launch private rockets that could replace the shuttle. NASA is now paying Russia to send astronauts to and from the space station on Soyuz spacecraft. Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert at American University, said of Musk: "If he's not in the lead, he's well positioned for the finish."
McCurdy said NASA's space shuttle was a technological marvel, but had a bad business model and wasn't cost effective. He said Musk, who is using his own money in his privately held firm, has incentive to be more financially savvy.
Announcement from SpaceX
SOURCE: The Associated Press
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Have we discussed this?
http://www.rdmag.com/News/2011/04/Company-planning-biggest-rocket-since-man-on-moon /
WASHINGTON (AP) A high-tech entrepreneur unveiled plans Tuesday to launch the world's most powerful rocket since man went to the moon.
Space Exploration Technology has already sent the first private rocket and capsule into Earth's orbit as a commercial venture. It is now planning a rocket that could lift twice as much cargo into orbit as the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle.
The first launch is slotted for 2013 from California with follow-up launches from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Space X's new rocket called Falcon Heavy is big enough to send cargo or even people out of Earth's orbit to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Only the long retired Saturn V rocket that sent men to the moon was bigger.
"This is a rocket of truly huge scale," said Space X president Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal and manufactures electric sports cars.
The Falcon Heavy could put 117,000 pounds into the same orbit as the International Space Station. The space shuttle hauls about 54,000 pounds into orbit. The old Saturn V could carry more than 400,000 pounds of cargo.
The old Soviet Union had a giant moon rocket bigger than the Falcon Heavy, but it failed in all four launch attempts. Another Soviet rocket, also bigger than Falcon Heavy and designed to launch its version of the space shuttle, had one successful flight more than 20 years ago.
While the new Space X rocket is designed initially for cargo, it satisfies NASA's current safety requirements for carrying humans and after several launches could carry people too, Musk said. He has said that if NASA does buys rides on commercial rockets, he would be able to fly astronauts to the space station in his smaller Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule within three years.
Potential customers for the new larger rocket are NASA, the military, other governments and satellite makers.
Musk said Falcon Heavy will be far cheaper than government or private rockets. Launches are about $100 million each. He said the Air Force pays two older more established aerospace firms about $435 million for each of its launches. Over its 40 year design history, the space shuttle program has cost about $1.5 billion per launch, according to a study by the University of Colorado and an Associated Press analysis of NASA budgets.
Musk, who has a contract to supply the space station with cargo using the smaller Falcon 9, said his pricing is more fixed than traditional aerospace firms. He joked: "We believe in everyday low prices."
To get costs that low, Musk said he needs to launch about four Falcon Heavy rockets a year but plans on launching about 10. He doesn't have a paying customer for his first launch, but is in negotiations with NASA and other customers for flights after his company proves the new rocket flies.
"It would be great if it works, if it's safe," said Henry Lambright, a professor of public policy and space scholar at Syracuse University. "I don't want to come across as skeptical, but I am."
Lambright said companies have often made big claims about private space without doing much. But, he added, Musk has some credibility because of his successful Falcon 9.
If Musk's plans work, it will give President Barack Obama's space policy a needed boost, Lambright said. Obama has been battling some in Congress over his plans to use more private space companies, like Space X, for getting people to orbit with NASA concentrating on missions to send astronauts to new places, such as nearby asteroids.
Several companies are vying to launch private rockets that could replace the shuttle. NASA is now paying Russia to send astronauts to and from the space station on Soyuz spacecraft. Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert at American University, said of Musk: "If he's not in the lead, he's well positioned for the finish."
McCurdy said NASA's space shuttle was a technological marvel, but had a bad business model and wasn't cost effective. He said Musk, who is using his own money in his privately held firm, has incentive to be more financially savvy.
Announcement from SpaceX
SOURCE: The Associated Press ****************
My mom worked at NASA on the shuttle designs back in the '60s and '70s, the technology was very cool but there was no consideration for cost/lb of payload. A lot of the lifting body technology dates back to the '50s. The program wasn't supposed to last as long as it did, it was supposed to lead into more-better science. The Russians used steel and LOX/kerosene for a cost per pound of payload that was 1/100th that of the shuttle. I STILL don't have my promised atomic powered flying car!
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That's very cool. What did your mom do there? While the Shuttle was very ineffecient, I always thought that NASA missed out on a huge advertising deal when I saw a show about the turnaround procedures for the Shuttle, and they showed them spraying each and every tile with Scotchguard.
I remember hearing an interview with a NASA guy about 20 years ago asking why we couldn't just build another Saturn V to go back to the moon. He basically said that there's nobody left who knows how, and that all or most of the tooling was gone.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Tom...We don't agree on most things political, but if you want to join me in a class action against Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, I'm up for it. I want my flying car, my gyrocopter and my jet pack.
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That's very cool. What did your mom do there? While the Shuttle was very ineffecient, I always thought that NASA missed out on a huge advertising deal when I saw a show about the turnaround procedures for the Shuttle, and they showed them spraying each and every tile with Scotchguard.
I remember hearing an interview with a NASA guy about 20 years ago asking why we couldn't just build another Saturn V to go back to the moon. He basically said that there's nobody left who knows how, and that all or most of the tooling was gone.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Tom...We don't agree on most things political, but if you want to join me in a class action against Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, I'm up for it. I want my flying car, my gyrocopter and my jet pack. ************
Mom was a mathematician, her department checked all the equations for other departments. She did get me a sample shuttle tile. It's like Styrofoam, very light and fragile, but you can heat it with an oxy/atc torch and grab it with your hand and it's cool. She never did get me a sample of solid propellant....bitch!
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On 4/11/2011 5:04 PM, Tom Gardner wrote:

My grandfather was a research mechanic at Lewis Research Center in Ohio. The six oldest of us grandsons all wore one of his five year NASA pins on our lapel when we carried his casket last year. That and my wedding ring are the only two pieces of jewelry I own that I care about.
He was with NASA from the very beginning and retired in 1980/81. I remember wandering around the lab (with him) just amazed by the open canisters of liquid nitrogen boiling away and nobody paying them any more mind or taking anymore care than they would about a hot cup of coffee.
Funny thing is even with the inside track and getting to visit in the labs a few times I learned more at the visitor's center from the public exhibits. Some of it was pretty lame, but it was geared more towards my knowledge and education at the time.
I remember his biggest gripe was that they would get some new "geniuses" in the lab, and they would repeat a lot of the same old experiments. Since the previous batch of eggheads had moved on the only ones there to tell them they were repeating themselves were the mechanics like my grandfather who got to setup the same experiments for the new guys that he had done two or three times before, and heaven forbid they should listen to a guy who had already done the experiment if he didn't have atleast a doctorate. LOL. He might have been the one to coin the phrase, "Its not rocket surgery."
Getting back on topic. I always wondered why we didn't steal the skin technology of the soviet space plane for the shuttle. Seems I recall hearing horror stories about all the individually fitted tiles on the shuttle from the very first launch.
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Yeah. They kept falling off. <g> I was reporting on the machining and assembly of those things at the time -- machineable ceramics were a hot topic in those days, if you'll forgive the pun. They eventually got something to stick. I forget how that all went.
--
Ed Huntress



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Small world, mom was at Lewis too! It's about a mile from the old family house in Fairview Park. Did you get to see the "hole" for zero-G testing? On the west side of the center, bordering the Rocky River Valley, they have a shaft going down 1,000'...I think it's that deep, that they would drop stuff and test in free-fall. I remember wanting to spit down the hole but mom wouldn't let me.
I remember going to many, many lectures at the visitor's center. That was probably the biggest impetus for me to become an engineer. It was an exciting time back then!
IIRC the biggest problem with the tiles was finding an adhesive that would work. I still have my tile and I treasure it!
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Never saw the hole. Might have been cool though.

Yeah, I have a few pieces of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, but they aren't on my list of treasures though. A buddy of mine who was a security guard on the wreckage sent me some before they were told they couldn't do it.
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Tom Gardner wrote:

That's because those of us that poured that shit into the cases were taking the leftovers home to light our BBQ grills . Not really , but your mom stood no chance at all of getting her hands on propellant . They watched it pretty close , the formula was a secret back then . Might still be , but I can't remember now just what was in it .
--
Snag
Learning keeps
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wrote in message

That was OK, I had a fleet of Estes rockets, many of which I attached cameras, critters and warheads to. Back then those motors were $.25 each and I would scrounge pop bottles, mow lawns and such and wait by the window for the UPS truck to bring my goodies.
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wrote in message

And if you don't mind throw away rockets at a fraction of the cost of NASA's throw away rockets you could make awesome fireworks with cardboard engine holders and the old (stiffer than now) paper towel tubes with cardboard fins glued on. The hardest part was scrounging up nose cones, and if you filled a semi plastic ball with fireballs cut a hole for the retro charge, and used lots of package tape you didn't need one. Not that ME or any of MY friends ever did that since fireworks were illegal in Arizona when I was a kid. We did launch lots of rockets that had spontaneous failures at maximum altitude though.
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Not really so secret. I got lucky enough to meet and become good aquaintances with the guy who originally formulated the SRB package. He is not well now - very advanced in age - but lives in Utah, and still sells the surplus chemicals that Morton Thiokol rejected on QC issues. He has tons and tons of the stuff, and lots of amateur rocketeers get their chems from him.
It's basically ammonium perchlorate, HTPB (or now CTPB) rubber, aluminum, iron oxide, and carbon, cured (then, at least) by an isocyanate curative.
I still have a few "kits" of the stuff.
LLoyd
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On Tue, 12 Apr 2011 09:26:59 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:>

Lloyd, if you're talking about John R, he died a little over a year ago. http://www.rocketryplanet.com/content/view/3155/29 /
The stuff in the space shuttle uses PBAN and an epoxy curing agent rather than HTPB and isocyanate. Since it's a man-rated vehicle they never changed the older technology. -- Best -- Terry
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Oops! I didn't know. I'm not a "rocketry guy", I'm in the fireworks business. We didn't get the news. I did know he was in bad health, but the last time I talked with him was when I bought a drum of AP from him about three years ago.
That's a real loss. John Rahkonen was a gem, and never failed to give a guy whatever he knew to get him to the next stage (so to speak<G>).
FWIW, and maybe his memory was failing, he told me (and gave me the approximate formula) for what he claimed was the original SRB package. He told me it had been changed, and cited CTPB... But he was a long way past that project, and maybe he forgot... he was in his late 70's, I think, when I got aquainted with him.
I'm really sorry to hear he passed. He was a really nice fellow who helped anyone who called.
LLoyd
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Tom, it's not hard to make (almost) the exact propellant used in the space shuttle. I do it in my lab; I'm sure a lot of guys do it in their garages. Ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) is less hazardous than blackpowder, smokeless, and/or most fireworks. It generally takes a flame to light APCP---a spark won't do it---and once it's lit it burns about like a road flare.
It's about 16% powdered aluminum, 69+% ammonium perchlorate, a fraction of a percent of red iron oxide, 2% epoxy curing agent (DER331 works), and 12% PBAN (polybutadiene acrylic acid acrylonitrile). Chemicals can be obtained from Firefox.
It took ten years and about three-quarters of a million dollars in legal costs but APCP was removed by court order from BATFE's "orange book" (list of exp**sives) a couple years ago.
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Terry wrote:

Who was it who first said, "Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should be aisles in the local store, not a government bureaucracy."
Apologies for the paraphrase. :-)
Thanks, Rich
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rangerssuck wrote:

There isn't anybody left who knows how to read a print and bend tin??????
Thanks, Rich
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Rich Grise wrote:

For Pete Sakes, Rich, there was a lot more to a Saturn V than that!
--

Richard Lamb
http://www.home.earthlink.net/~cavelamb
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For sure, that's true, but the other question still nags... how many good engineers do you see rising from our education system.
If they are good, want to bet whether or not they're American-born or "exchange students" here on a student visa?
LLoyd
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On Tue, 12 Apr 2011 09:43:03 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

If engineers had a bright future and adequate pay (relative to other professions requiring similar ability and commitment) there would be NO problem attracting sufficient quantities of bright young folks.
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