Space Tourism … and Much More
Pretty much went as expected. F9/Dragon will be be deprecated by replacement vehicle. Simplified the BFS structure to be cylindrical with delta wing vs the tri-sided structure. Fourth leg added, which makes everyone happy about landing dynamics. And lastly the windows got a “limited restructuring”
All those rumors about the composite tank failing below design limit seem to be wrong. Shotwell and Musk sandbagging a little there, which is nice to see. Cleary the tank didn’t fail at the seam and they aren’t backing away from BFR in composite.
Raptor is going much better than even I had expected. They really seemed to have dialed in a design earlier with a lot of good modeling to have this kind of success on the test stand.
Basically, Musk has only one speed, bet the farm every time around. In that way he takes a page from the Cortés playbook. By burning the F9/Dragon ship, the SpaceX team will not have option to retreat from this challenge. And that alone should scare anyone who doesn’t have a reusable system in the flesh by the mid to late 2020s.
“In that way he takes a page from the Cortés playbook. By burning the F9/Dragon ship, the SpaceX team will not have option to retreat from this challenge. And that alone should scare anyone who doesn’t have a reusable system in the flesh by the mid to late 2020s.”
From Cortez and a lot of other playbooks. Musk is forcing his people’s culture to stick out their necks, because allowing anyone to settle back and get comfortable now is what will allow the infiltration of SpaceX by the culture of the Cost+ Congressional Contractor’s Club (CCCC). As long as his people do not remove themselves from that temptation by becoming the first operators of fully reusable rocketships, then the aerospace culture developed by Congress between 1947 and 2007 will always be waiting in the wings to “give guidance” that will make SpaceX like themselves, right up to the day the CCCC are dead. Once they are first, then the CCCC are not in a position to give guidance to anyone!
Speaking of operators, it will be interesting to see what the BFR as Ballistic Earth Transport idea does to the MTCR and ITAR situation. The idea that SpaceX cannot sell a BFR Ballistic Earth Transport to anyone outside the US will make that harder to do economically. Among other things, landing rights for SpaceX at Shanghai might be refused if Musk does not sell BETs to a Chinese entity. Singapore wouldn’t refuse, and Sydney wouldn’t refuse but China will find an operator not beholden to the Politburo moving people in and out of their largest and richest city to be a big frog to swallow.
Musk wouldn’t play. So much the worse for China.
Damn, they sure make those 1st stage landings look easy.