Nextbigfuture – Musk predicted that instead of flying into space a handful of times per year as we do now, humans would eventually be able to fly to space multiples times per day. “I think 20 years for thousands of flights,” Musk said in response to a question about increasing annual launch rates. “And I think we could probably get to the hundreds-of-flights level in 12 to 15 years.” Elon Musk describing upgrades to the ship that could allow Dragons to fly up to 10 times without significant refurbishment. Musk doesn’t want SpaceX to simply become an orbital taxi service, however. His dreams are far grander: to transform the way in which space exploration is conducted, opening up the final frontier to widespread and affordable use. Musk’s vision doesn’t end in Earth orbit but rather stretches all the way to the frozen deserts of Mars. The key is reusability. Musk said the crewed Dragon is designed to land softly back on Earth and be rapidly turned around for another flight — possibly on the same day.
Dragon V2 in the crew configuration it can take 7 passengers and I think something around, if you really cram stuff in, around a ton of pressurized cargo and 2-3 tons of unpressurized cargo. The Tesla S can take 7 passenger as well. Spacex is aiming for 10 flights without any significant refurbishment for the Dragon v2. The thing that will have to be refurbished is the main heat shield. Further improved heat shield [later versions of PICA-X] would mean Spacex could aim for 100 reusable flights. Heat Shield Material started with NASA PICA and Spacex has improved it Three Times. PICA-X v3 is capable of about a kilowatt per square cm, with is a crazy amount, and sustain that for quite a while, in fact is really [limited?] not by the recession rate, but by the conduction of the heat to the back the tile and then potentially damaging the heat shield support structure. PICA-X v3 can take 5000 degrees F and double the kinetic energy of mach 25 re-entry.
Think of the heat shield like a brake pad. The better that material technology is the more uses it can go through. Just like a brake pad on a car eventually it has to be replaced.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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