SpaceX BFR will beat SLS rocket to orbit so cancel SLS now

If SpaceX hits its timeline for SpaceX BFR development with sub-orbital hops in late 2019 and orbital flights in 2020 they will beat the Boeing Space Launch System (SLS) into space.

The SpaceX BFR will be completely reusable and will lift 100 tons of payload into space.

The NASA auditor has just produced a report which indicates the first test flight of the first version of the SLS will likely slip badly from June 2020. I think the first test flight slips to at least 2021 for sure and could easily go to 2022 or even 2023.

This will mean that at the end of the 2021 SLS contract, Boeing will have used up another $8.9 billion for a total of nearly $21 billion and will not have test flown for the first time. It will likely mean at that point in 2021, SpaceX would have a vastly superior SpaceX BFR having made multiple orbital test flights.

95 thoughts on “SpaceX BFR will beat SLS rocket to orbit so cancel SLS now”

  1. FH, not BFR. BFR will make Falcon heavy look like a toy. I’ll miss the triple landings (which wasn’t a success on FH), but BFR will be good for 2 landings each time.

    Reply
  2. FH not BFR. BFR will make Falcon heavy look like a toy. I’ll miss the triple landings (which wasn’t a success on FH) but BFR will be good for 2 landings each time.

    Reply
  3. You talk as though the SLS is a proven system. It may be based off proven technology from the past but it is no more proven than the BFR is. Neither have flown. As for safer, look what happened the Soyuz rocket today. Proven systems fail. These things are powerful beyond belief and things are going to break. I love space flight and tech in general and the old way isn’t always the best way. NASA needs to stop throwing money at Boeing and these other massively blotted companies. Look what they did with the crew capsule development. Gave Spacex 2.6 billion to develop Dragon and Boeing got 4.2 Billion CST-100. They both do the same job. Why would they give Boeing so much more? Is the capsule better? I’d say no. It is only for low earth orbits and has a life of 60 hours free flight. Dragons life is a full week and is trans-lunar . I’d say the Dragon capsule has better specs and it cost us tax payers way less money and if we used Spacex and their F9 launch system it would cost way less to. Maybe then Boeing, Lockheed and these other big companies would start to do things more efficiently and economical or get out of the way so better companies can step in.

    Reply
  4. You talk as though the SLS is a proven system. It may be based off proven technology from the past but it is no more proven than the BFR is. Neither have flown. As for safer look what happened the Soyuz rocket today. Proven systems fail. These things are powerful beyond belief and things are going to break. I love space flight and tech in general and the old way isn’t always the best way. NASA needs to stop throwing money at Boeing and these other massively blotted companies. Look what they did with the crew capsule development. Gave Spacex 2.6 billion to develop Dragon and Boeing got 4.2 Billion CST-100. They both do the same job. Why would they give Boeing so much more? Is the capsule better? I’d say no. It is only for low earth orbits and has a life of 60 hours free flight. Dragons life is a full week and is trans-lunar . I’d say the Dragon capsule has better specs and it cost us tax payers way less money and if we used Spacex and their F9 launch system it would cost way less to. Maybe then Boeing Lockheed and these other big companies would start to do things more efficiently and economical or get out of the way so better companies can step in.

    Reply
  5. Once Trump’s re-election is over and done with, he might have more flexibility in canceling SLS and dealing with the fallout of that – especially if the US economy continues to soar. Some compare Trump to “Reagan on steroids” – so consider this as Trump’s PATCO move on steroids – just part of more downsizing of big govt. Instead of those jobs being devoted to building a useless SLS, they could instead be devoted to engineering the infrastructure that BFR could transport to Low-Earth Orbit or the Moon — or maybe even Mars. Trump would get to crow about negotiating a bargain deal with SpaceX and saving all that taxpayer money, and meanwhile BFR would have a full flight manifest to provide ROI on its development costs and funding future flights to Mars.

    Reply
  6. Once Trump’s re-election is over and done with he might have more flexibility in canceling SLS and dealing with the fallout of that – especially if the US economy continues to soar. Some compare Trump to Reagan on steroids”” – so consider this as Trump’s PATCO move on steroids – just part of more downsizing of big govt. Instead of those jobs being devoted to building a useless SLS”” they could instead be devoted to engineering the infrastructure that BFR could transport to Low-Earth Orbit or the Moon — or maybe even Mars. Trump would get to crow about negotiating a bargain deal with SpaceX and saving all that taxpayer money”” and meanwhile BFR would have a full flight manifest to provide ROI on its development costs and funding future flights to Mars.”””

    Reply
  7. Pence is a big space enthusiast – he was the main voice in convincing Trump to establish the National Space Council. Pence’s newfound enthusiasm is obviously prompted by the new breakthroughs achieved by SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc – they represent a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight. Pence would be the better target for SpaceX & Blue Origin to lobby, because he has Trump’s ear on the space stuff. Pence is also known as an able facilitator of Trump’s agenda with Congress, working behind the scenes to push for it.

    Reply
  8. Pence is a big space enthusiast – he was the main voice in convincing Trump to establish the National Space Council. Pence’s newfound enthusiasm is obviously prompted by the new breakthroughs achieved by SpaceX Blue Origin etc – they represent a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight. Pence would be the better target for SpaceX & Blue Origin to lobby because he has Trump’s ear on the space stuff. Pence is also known as an able facilitator of Trump’s agenda with Congress working behind the scenes to push for it.

    Reply
  9. The site is the former SouthWest Marine shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the BFR stages, they have to travel by boat to their launch sites, and therefore have to be built near the water. The shipyard is nearly a century old, and already had buildings and utilities. SpaceX leased it from the port early this year, and threw up a big tent structure to start working under. They have already made prototype tank sections there. Eventually they will build a permanent hangar-style building there for stage assembly. Note that engines and other smaller parts of the BFR will be made in Hawthorne (the original SpaceX factory), which is about 12 miles away. It is mainly the big tanks and body sections that need to be made at the port, and then final assembly of the stages.

    Reply
  10. The site is the former SouthWest Marine shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the BFR stages they have to travel by boat to their launch sites and therefore have to be built near the water. The shipyard is nearly a century old and already had buildings and utilities. SpaceX leased it from the port early this year and threw up a big tent structure to start working under. They have already made prototype tank sections there.Eventually they will build a permanent hangar-style building there for stage assembly. Note that engines and other smaller parts of the BFR will be made in Hawthorne (the original SpaceX factory) which is about 12 miles away. It is mainly the big tanks and body sections that need to be made at the port and then final assembly of the stages.

    Reply
  11. I’m as avid a follower of SpaceX as you could find, but let’s get some realism into this discussion, hey? SpaceX will slip, too. What they are trying to do with BFR is just an enormous challenge. The only reason that Government auditors haven’t crawled all over their plans pointing out likely schedule slippages is it’s a private effort, not Government funded. Elon Musk is at the top of my list of people whom I admire, but even he admits that his timelines are ‘aspirational.’ If everything goes perfectly well, results *could* be achieved on his timelines. Possibly. But let’s be honest, things don’t work perfectly well on huge projects like BFR. BFR today amounts to a piece of the shell of the BFS, a rocket engine test article, and a tiny workforce that has not yet been augmented by the engineers who are still working on human-rated Falcon 9/Dragon flights, which won’t begin until 2019. SLS is actually farther along than BFR, right at this moment. They have more hardware to show for their effort and expense. I am *not* arguing that SLS should continue to be funded. It’s ridiculous what that thing will cost – after development costs, which will likely be at least four times what BFR is likely to cost, launches will cost an added *billion dollars per*. BFR launches *should* cost less than Falcon 9 launches – which is to say, less than $60 million (that’s not the price to customers, but the cost to SpaceX, approximately). SLS exists because of Congress. It’s public-funded pork, and badly managed pork at that. By all means, cancel it – if we can. It’s very difficult to kill pork, but it’s surely the right thing to do. But don’t justify that decision by citing Elon Musk’s timelines. The truth is, BFR is a risky undertaking, it’s delicately-funded (might need a lot more), and it’s a huge, huge departure from anything humans have ever tried to engineer and produce before. It’ll be amazing if it actually flies. SpaceX has done amazing things before, of co

    Reply
  12. I’m as avid a follower of SpaceX as you could find but let’s get some realism into this discussion hey?SpaceX will slip too. What they are trying to do with BFR is just an enormous challenge. The only reason that Government auditors haven’t crawled all over their plans pointing out likely schedule slippages is it’s a private effort not Government funded.Elon Musk is at the top of my list of people whom I admire but even he admits that his timelines are ‘aspirational.’ If everything goes perfectly well results *could* be achieved on his timelines. Possibly. But let’s be honest things don’t work perfectly well on huge projects like BFR.BFR today amounts to a piece of the shell of the BFS a rocket engine test article and a tiny workforce that has not yet been augmented by the engineers who are still working on human-rated Falcon 9/Dragon flights which won’t begin until 2019.SLS is actually farther along than BFR right at this moment. They have more hardware to show for their effort and expense.I am *not* arguing that SLS should continue to be funded. It’s ridiculous what that thing will cost – after development costs which will likely be at least four times what BFR is likely to cost launches will cost an added *billion dollars per*. BFR launches *should* cost less than Falcon 9 launches – which is to say less than $60 million (that’s not the price to customers but the cost to SpaceX approximately).SLS exists because of Congress. It’s public-funded pork and badly managed pork at that. By all means cancel it – if we can. It’s very difficult to kill pork but it’s surely the right thing to do.But don’t justify that decision by citing Elon Musk’s timelines. The truth is BFR is a risky undertaking it’s delicately-funded (might need a lot more) and it’s a huge huge departure from anything humans have ever tried to engineer and produce before. It’ll be amazing if it actually flies. SpaceX has done amazing things be

    Reply
  13. because the BFR has already flown, with the boosters recovered and are currently being prepped for a second flight. The only question at this point is SX’s newest engine designs for the BFR and whether they will increase possible max payload, even if those don’t pan out the BFR can still fly as is.

    Reply
  14. because the BFR has already flown with the boosters recovered and are currently being prepped for a second flight. The only question at this point is SX’s newest engine designs for the BFR and whether they will increase possible max payload even if those don’t pan out the BFR can still fly as is.

    Reply
  15. My understanding is that this is as much a problem with NASAs involvement as Boeing. Likely more NASA’s fault than not. I think SpaceX is on the record as saying that they did not want NASA funding for BFR because of the delays that inevitably result from their involvement when they provide the cash. In other words NASA bureaucracy = delays and budget creep.

    Reply
  16. My understanding is that this is as much a problem with NASAs involvement as Boeing. Likely more NASA’s fault than not. I think SpaceX is on the record as saying that they did not want NASA funding for BFR because of the delays that inevitably result from their involvement when they provide the cash. In other words NASA bureaucracy = delays and budget creep.

    Reply
  17. They only need to talk about this on Fox News and Trump will follow suite. They need to say how the american people desperately need a big manly to step up to congress and cancel SLS.

    Reply
  18. They only need to talk about this on Fox News and Trump will follow suite. They need to say how the american people desperately need a big manly to step up to congress and cancel SLS.

    Reply
  19. Because BFR is not dependent on another rocket’s design being “frozen”, which is the only reason FH was delayed that long. ” Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  20. Because BFR is not dependent on another rocket’s design being frozen”””” which is the only reason FH was delayed that long.”””” Is the ground even broken there yet? “””” “””

    Reply
  21. How do you know BFR won’t be delayed 6 years like FH? SpaceX was supposed to build a BFR factory in San Pedro. Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  22. How do you know BFR won’t be delayed 6 years like FH? SpaceX was supposed to build a BFR factory in San Pedro. Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  23. it definetly makes sense to cancel the SLS right now… but i think that will not happen… the earliest point when the NASA might think about is the end of 2019 when SpaceX shows successful hopping tests of its BFS… but SpaceX itself could also do more to get some money from NASA or ESA… they could “sell” some BFR/BFS vehicles to both to co-finance the development of the BFR… i think about selling 2 vehicles to NASA and 2 to ESA… for about 1 Billion Dollars each… so SpaceX can easy collect 4 Billion Cash for development… for NASA and for ESA that’s not much money splitted about the next 5 years or so… ESA gets an possible alternative for its ARIANE6 Launcher and NASA gets an alternative for its SLS

    Reply
  24. it definetly makes sense to cancel the SLS right now… but i think that will not happen… the earliest point when the NASA might think about is the end of 2019 when SpaceX shows successful hopping tests of its BFS… but SpaceX itself could also do more to get some money from NASA or ESA… they could sell”” some BFR/BFS vehicles to both to co-finance the development of the BFR… i think about selling 2 vehicles to NASA and 2 to ESA… for about 1 Billion Dollars each… so SpaceX can easy collect 4 Billion Cash for development… for NASA and for ESA that’s not much money splitted about the next 5 years or so…ESA gets an possible alternative for its ARIANE6 Launcherand NASA gets an alternative for its SLS”””

    Reply
  25. They really do need to cancel the SLS. It’s essentially a Space Shuttle main engine refitted to go on the bottom of the tank. With a pod on top instead of the the Shuttle. Yet it will cost 100 billion to develop what they already have. A big cash grab by Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  26. They really do need to cancel the SLS. It’s essentially a Space Shuttle main engine refitted to go on the bottom of the tank. With a pod on top instead of the the Shuttle. Yet it will cost 100 billion to develop what they already have. A big cash grab by Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  27. heres the thing this boondoogle isnt due to any partisanship in congress.. its the type of thing both sides of the aisle have been great at greenlighting because its more about jobs than actually accomplishing anything.. its ridiculous what is being wasted when the deal should be canceled as should all ESA spacecraft too and money be spent on actual research in space or new space telescopes or other research vessels for space that the private sector isnt likely to finance on its own

    Reply
  28. heres the thing this boondoogle isnt due to any partisanship in congress.. its the type of thing both sides of the aisle have been great at greenlighting because its more about jobs than actually accomplishing anything.. its ridiculous what is being wasted when the deal should be canceled as should all ESA spacecraft too and money be spent on actual research in space or new space telescopes or other research vessels for space that the private sector isnt likely to finance on its own

    Reply
  29. Him and the majority of Congressional Republicans secretly hate each other because they cause each other all kinds of PR nightmares they have to deal with. They’re not about to risk their districts (more like outright sacrifice their jobs) for Trump. He may be their president, but he’s only got so much political capital and a lot of it is predicated upon the ability to help them get re-elected. If he shits all over their re-election bids by killing thousands of SLS jobs in their districts, he loses that leverage. Using the leverage you speak of in the way you speak of using it, sacrifices it.

    Reply
  30. Him and the majority of Congressional Republicans secretly hate each other because they cause each other all kinds of PR nightmares they have to deal with. They’re not about to risk their districts (more like outright sacrifice their jobs) for Trump. He may be their president but he’s only got so much political capital and a lot of it is predicated upon the ability to help them get re-elected. If he shits all over their re-election bids by killing thousands of SLS jobs in their districts he loses that leverage. Using the leverage you speak of in the way you speak of using it sacrifices it.

    Reply
  31. SLS may be embedded snugly with pandering Congressmen – yet Trump is a president with audacity and chutzpah. If anyone can go against Congressional lobbies to cancel SLS, it would be him. If SpaceX could lobby Trump directly – specifically pointing out the ridiculous waste it represents – then maybe they tempt Trump into canceling it. I’m sure Trump would waste no time in crowing about the monetary savings achieved from the cancellation.

    Reply
  32. SLS may be embedded snugly with pandering Congressmen – yet Trump is a president with audacity and chutzpah. If anyone can go against Congressional lobbies to cancel SLS it would be him. If SpaceX could lobby Trump directly – specifically pointing out the ridiculous waste it represents – then maybe they tempt Trump into canceling it. I’m sure Trump would waste no time in crowing about the monetary savings achieved from the cancellation.

    Reply
  33. FH, not BFR. BFR will make Falcon heavy look like a toy. I’ll miss the triple landings (which wasn’t a success on FH), but BFR will be good for 2 landings each time.

    Reply
  34. FH not BFR. BFR will make Falcon heavy look like a toy. I’ll miss the triple landings (which wasn’t a success on FH) but BFR will be good for 2 landings each time.

    Reply
  35. You talk as though the SLS is a proven system. It may be based off proven technology from the past but it is no more proven than the BFR is. Neither have flown. As for safer, look what happened the Soyuz rocket today. Proven systems fail. These things are powerful beyond belief and things are going to break. I love space flight and tech in general and the old way isn’t always the best way. NASA needs to stop throwing money at Boeing and these other massively blotted companies. Look what they did with the crew capsule development. Gave Spacex 2.6 billion to develop Dragon and Boeing got 4.2 Billion CST-100. They both do the same job. Why would they give Boeing so much more? Is the capsule better? I’d say no. It is only for low earth orbits and has a life of 60 hours free flight. Dragons life is a full week and is trans-lunar . I’d say the Dragon capsule has better specs and it cost us tax payers way less money and if we used Spacex and their F9 launch system it would cost way less to. Maybe then Boeing, Lockheed and these other big companies would start to do things more efficiently and economical or get out of the way so better companies can step in.

    Reply
  36. You talk as though the SLS is a proven system. It may be based off proven technology from the past but it is no more proven than the BFR is. Neither have flown. As for safer look what happened the Soyuz rocket today. Proven systems fail. These things are powerful beyond belief and things are going to break. I love space flight and tech in general and the old way isn’t always the best way. NASA needs to stop throwing money at Boeing and these other massively blotted companies. Look what they did with the crew capsule development. Gave Spacex 2.6 billion to develop Dragon and Boeing got 4.2 Billion CST-100. They both do the same job. Why would they give Boeing so much more? Is the capsule better? I’d say no. It is only for low earth orbits and has a life of 60 hours free flight. Dragons life is a full week and is trans-lunar . I’d say the Dragon capsule has better specs and it cost us tax payers way less money and if we used Spacex and their F9 launch system it would cost way less to. Maybe then Boeing Lockheed and these other big companies would start to do things more efficiently and economical or get out of the way so better companies can step in.

    Reply
  37. Once Trump’s re-election is over and done with, he might have more flexibility in canceling SLS and dealing with the fallout of that – especially if the US economy continues to soar. Some compare Trump to “Reagan on steroids” – so consider this as Trump’s PATCO move on steroids – just part of more downsizing of big govt. Instead of those jobs being devoted to building a useless SLS, they could instead be devoted to engineering the infrastructure that BFR could transport to Low-Earth Orbit or the Moon — or maybe even Mars. Trump would get to crow about negotiating a bargain deal with SpaceX and saving all that taxpayer money, and meanwhile BFR would have a full flight manifest to provide ROI on its development costs and funding future flights to Mars.

    Reply
  38. Once Trump’s re-election is over and done with he might have more flexibility in canceling SLS and dealing with the fallout of that – especially if the US economy continues to soar. Some compare Trump to Reagan on steroids”” – so consider this as Trump’s PATCO move on steroids – just part of more downsizing of big govt. Instead of those jobs being devoted to building a useless SLS”” they could instead be devoted to engineering the infrastructure that BFR could transport to Low-Earth Orbit or the Moon — or maybe even Mars. Trump would get to crow about negotiating a bargain deal with SpaceX and saving all that taxpayer money”” and meanwhile BFR would have a full flight manifest to provide ROI on its development costs and funding future flights to Mars.”””

    Reply
  39. Pence is a big space enthusiast – he was the main voice in convincing Trump to establish the National Space Council. Pence’s newfound enthusiasm is obviously prompted by the new breakthroughs achieved by SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc – they represent a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight. Pence would be the better target for SpaceX & Blue Origin to lobby, because he has Trump’s ear on the space stuff. Pence is also known as an able facilitator of Trump’s agenda with Congress, working behind the scenes to push for it.

    Reply
  40. Pence is a big space enthusiast – he was the main voice in convincing Trump to establish the National Space Council. Pence’s newfound enthusiasm is obviously prompted by the new breakthroughs achieved by SpaceX Blue Origin etc – they represent a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight. Pence would be the better target for SpaceX & Blue Origin to lobby because he has Trump’s ear on the space stuff. Pence is also known as an able facilitator of Trump’s agenda with Congress working behind the scenes to push for it.

    Reply
  41. The site is the former SouthWest Marine shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the BFR stages, they have to travel by boat to their launch sites, and therefore have to be built near the water. The shipyard is nearly a century old, and already had buildings and utilities. SpaceX leased it from the port early this year, and threw up a big tent structure to start working under. They have already made prototype tank sections there. Eventually they will build a permanent hangar-style building there for stage assembly. Note that engines and other smaller parts of the BFR will be made in Hawthorne (the original SpaceX factory), which is about 12 miles away. It is mainly the big tanks and body sections that need to be made at the port, and then final assembly of the stages.

    Reply
  42. The site is the former SouthWest Marine shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the BFR stages they have to travel by boat to their launch sites and therefore have to be built near the water. The shipyard is nearly a century old and already had buildings and utilities. SpaceX leased it from the port early this year and threw up a big tent structure to start working under. They have already made prototype tank sections there.Eventually they will build a permanent hangar-style building there for stage assembly. Note that engines and other smaller parts of the BFR will be made in Hawthorne (the original SpaceX factory) which is about 12 miles away. It is mainly the big tanks and body sections that need to be made at the port and then final assembly of the stages.

    Reply
  43. I’m as avid a follower of SpaceX as you could find, but let’s get some realism into this discussion, hey? SpaceX will slip, too. What they are trying to do with BFR is just an enormous challenge. The only reason that Government auditors haven’t crawled all over their plans pointing out likely schedule slippages is it’s a private effort, not Government funded. Elon Musk is at the top of my list of people whom I admire, but even he admits that his timelines are ‘aspirational.’ If everything goes perfectly well, results *could* be achieved on his timelines. Possibly. But let’s be honest, things don’t work perfectly well on huge projects like BFR. BFR today amounts to a piece of the shell of the BFS, a rocket engine test article, and a tiny workforce that has not yet been augmented by the engineers who are still working on human-rated Falcon 9/Dragon flights, which won’t begin until 2019. SLS is actually farther along than BFR, right at this moment. They have more hardware to show for their effort and expense. I am *not* arguing that SLS should continue to be funded. It’s ridiculous what that thing will cost – after development costs, which will likely be at least four times what BFR is likely to cost, launches will cost an added *billion dollars per*. BFR launches *should* cost less than Falcon 9 launches – which is to say, less than $60 million (that’s not the price to customers, but the cost to SpaceX, approximately). SLS exists because of Congress. It’s public-funded pork, and badly managed pork at that. By all means, cancel it – if we can. It’s very difficult to kill pork, but it’s surely the right thing to do. But don’t justify that decision by citing Elon Musk’s timelines. The truth is, BFR is a risky undertaking, it’s delicately-funded (might need a lot more), and it’s a huge, huge departure from anything humans have ever tried to engineer and produce before. It’ll be amazing if it actually flies. SpaceX has done amazing things before, of co

    Reply
  44. I’m as avid a follower of SpaceX as you could find but let’s get some realism into this discussion hey?SpaceX will slip too. What they are trying to do with BFR is just an enormous challenge. The only reason that Government auditors haven’t crawled all over their plans pointing out likely schedule slippages is it’s a private effort not Government funded.Elon Musk is at the top of my list of people whom I admire but even he admits that his timelines are ‘aspirational.’ If everything goes perfectly well results *could* be achieved on his timelines. Possibly. But let’s be honest things don’t work perfectly well on huge projects like BFR.BFR today amounts to a piece of the shell of the BFS a rocket engine test article and a tiny workforce that has not yet been augmented by the engineers who are still working on human-rated Falcon 9/Dragon flights which won’t begin until 2019.SLS is actually farther along than BFR right at this moment. They have more hardware to show for their effort and expense.I am *not* arguing that SLS should continue to be funded. It’s ridiculous what that thing will cost – after development costs which will likely be at least four times what BFR is likely to cost launches will cost an added *billion dollars per*. BFR launches *should* cost less than Falcon 9 launches – which is to say less than $60 million (that’s not the price to customers but the cost to SpaceX approximately).SLS exists because of Congress. It’s public-funded pork and badly managed pork at that. By all means cancel it – if we can. It’s very difficult to kill pork but it’s surely the right thing to do.But don’t justify that decision by citing Elon Musk’s timelines. The truth is BFR is a risky undertaking it’s delicately-funded (might need a lot more) and it’s a huge huge departure from anything humans have ever tried to engineer and produce before. It’ll be amazing if it actually flies. SpaceX has done amazing things be

    Reply
  45. because the BFR has already flown, with the boosters recovered and are currently being prepped for a second flight. The only question at this point is SX’s newest engine designs for the BFR and whether they will increase possible max payload, even if those don’t pan out the BFR can still fly as is.

    Reply
  46. because the BFR has already flown with the boosters recovered and are currently being prepped for a second flight. The only question at this point is SX’s newest engine designs for the BFR and whether they will increase possible max payload even if those don’t pan out the BFR can still fly as is.

    Reply
  47. My understanding is that this is as much a problem with NASAs involvement as Boeing. Likely more NASA’s fault than not. I think SpaceX is on the record as saying that they did not want NASA funding for BFR because of the delays that inevitably result from their involvement when they provide the cash. In other words NASA bureaucracy = delays and budget creep.

    Reply
  48. My understanding is that this is as much a problem with NASAs involvement as Boeing. Likely more NASA’s fault than not. I think SpaceX is on the record as saying that they did not want NASA funding for BFR because of the delays that inevitably result from their involvement when they provide the cash. In other words NASA bureaucracy = delays and budget creep.

    Reply
  49. They only need to talk about this on Fox News and Trump will follow suite. They need to say how the american people desperately need a big manly to step up to congress and cancel SLS.

    Reply
  50. They only need to talk about this on Fox News and Trump will follow suite. They need to say how the american people desperately need a big manly to step up to congress and cancel SLS.

    Reply
  51. Because BFR is not dependent on another rocket’s design being “frozen”, which is the only reason FH was delayed that long. ” Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  52. Because BFR is not dependent on another rocket’s design being frozen”””” which is the only reason FH was delayed that long.”””” Is the ground even broken there yet? “””” “””

    Reply
  53. How do you know BFR won’t be delayed 6 years like FH? SpaceX was supposed to build a BFR factory in San Pedro. Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  54. How do you know BFR won’t be delayed 6 years like FH? SpaceX was supposed to build a BFR factory in San Pedro. Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  55. it definetly makes sense to cancel the SLS right now… but i think that will not happen… the earliest point when the NASA might think about is the end of 2019 when SpaceX shows successful hopping tests of its BFS… but SpaceX itself could also do more to get some money from NASA or ESA… they could “sell” some BFR/BFS vehicles to both to co-finance the development of the BFR… i think about selling 2 vehicles to NASA and 2 to ESA… for about 1 Billion Dollars each… so SpaceX can easy collect 4 Billion Cash for development… for NASA and for ESA that’s not much money splitted about the next 5 years or so… ESA gets an possible alternative for its ARIANE6 Launcher and NASA gets an alternative for its SLS

    Reply
  56. it definetly makes sense to cancel the SLS right now… but i think that will not happen… the earliest point when the NASA might think about is the end of 2019 when SpaceX shows successful hopping tests of its BFS… but SpaceX itself could also do more to get some money from NASA or ESA… they could sell”” some BFR/BFS vehicles to both to co-finance the development of the BFR… i think about selling 2 vehicles to NASA and 2 to ESA… for about 1 Billion Dollars each… so SpaceX can easy collect 4 Billion Cash for development… for NASA and for ESA that’s not much money splitted about the next 5 years or so…ESA gets an possible alternative for its ARIANE6 Launcherand NASA gets an alternative for its SLS”””

    Reply
  57. You talk as though the SLS is a proven system. It may be based off proven technology from the past but it is no more proven than the BFR is. Neither have flown. As for safer, look what happened the Soyuz rocket today. Proven systems fail. These things are powerful beyond belief and things are going to break. I love space flight and tech in general and the old way isn’t always the best way. NASA needs to stop throwing money at Boeing and these other massively blotted companies. Look what they did with the crew capsule development. Gave Spacex 2.6 billion to develop Dragon and Boeing got 4.2 Billion CST-100. They both do the same job. Why would they give Boeing so much more? Is the capsule better? I’d say no. It is only for low earth orbits and has a life of 60 hours free flight. Dragons life is a full week and is trans-lunar . I’d say the Dragon capsule has better specs and it cost us tax payers way less money and if we used Spacex and their F9 launch system it would cost way less to. Maybe then Boeing, Lockheed and these other big companies would start to do things more efficiently and economical or get out of the way so better companies can step in.

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  58. They really do need to cancel the SLS. It’s essentially a Space Shuttle main engine refitted to go on the bottom of the tank. With a pod on top instead of the the Shuttle. Yet it will cost 100 billion to develop what they already have. A big cash grab by Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  59. They really do need to cancel the SLS. It’s essentially a Space Shuttle main engine refitted to go on the bottom of the tank. With a pod on top instead of the the Shuttle. Yet it will cost 100 billion to develop what they already have. A big cash grab by Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  60. Once Trump’s re-election is over and done with, he might have more flexibility in canceling SLS and dealing with the fallout of that – especially if the US economy continues to soar. Some compare Trump to “Reagan on steroids” – so consider this as Trump’s PATCO move on steroids – just part of more downsizing of big govt. Instead of those jobs being devoted to building a useless SLS, they could instead be devoted to engineering the infrastructure that BFR could transport to Low-Earth Orbit or the Moon — or maybe even Mars. Trump would get to crow about negotiating a bargain deal with SpaceX and saving all that taxpayer money, and meanwhile BFR would have a full flight manifest to provide ROI on its development costs and funding future flights to Mars.

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  61. Pence is a big space enthusiast – he was the main voice in convincing Trump to establish the National Space Council. Pence’s newfound enthusiasm is obviously prompted by the new breakthroughs achieved by SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc – they represent a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight. Pence would be the better target for SpaceX & Blue Origin to lobby, because he has Trump’s ear on the space stuff. Pence is also known as an able facilitator of Trump’s agenda with Congress, working behind the scenes to push for it.

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  62. heres the thing this boondoogle isnt due to any partisanship in congress.. its the type of thing both sides of the aisle have been great at greenlighting because its more about jobs than actually accomplishing anything.. its ridiculous what is being wasted when the deal should be canceled as should all ESA spacecraft too and money be spent on actual research in space or new space telescopes or other research vessels for space that the private sector isnt likely to finance on its own

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  63. heres the thing this boondoogle isnt due to any partisanship in congress.. its the type of thing both sides of the aisle have been great at greenlighting because its more about jobs than actually accomplishing anything.. its ridiculous what is being wasted when the deal should be canceled as should all ESA spacecraft too and money be spent on actual research in space or new space telescopes or other research vessels for space that the private sector isnt likely to finance on its own

    Reply
  64. The site is the former SouthWest Marine shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the BFR stages, they have to travel by boat to their launch sites, and therefore have to be built near the water. The shipyard is nearly a century old, and already had buildings and utilities. SpaceX leased it from the port early this year, and threw up a big tent structure to start working under. They have already made prototype tank sections there.

    Eventually they will build a permanent hangar-style building there for stage assembly. Note that engines and other smaller parts of the BFR will be made in Hawthorne (the original SpaceX factory), which is about 12 miles away. It is mainly the big tanks and body sections that need to be made at the port, and then final assembly of the stages.

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  65. I’m as avid a follower of SpaceX as you could find, but let’s get some realism into this discussion, hey?

    SpaceX will slip, too. What they are trying to do with BFR is just an enormous challenge. The only reason that Government auditors haven’t crawled all over their plans pointing out likely schedule slippages is it’s a private effort, not Government funded.

    Elon Musk is at the top of my list of people whom I admire, but even he admits that his timelines are ‘aspirational.’ If everything goes perfectly well, results *could* be achieved on his timelines. Possibly. But let’s be honest, things don’t work perfectly well on huge projects like BFR.

    BFR today amounts to a piece of the shell of the BFS, a rocket engine test article, and a tiny workforce that has not yet been augmented by the engineers who are still working on human-rated Falcon 9/Dragon flights, which won’t begin until 2019.

    SLS is actually farther along than BFR, right at this moment. They have more hardware to show for their effort and expense.

    I am *not* arguing that SLS should continue to be funded. It’s ridiculous what that thing will cost – after development costs, which will likely be at least four times what BFR is likely to cost, launches will cost an added *billion dollars per*. BFR launches *should* cost less than Falcon 9 launches – which is to say, less than $60 million (that’s not the price to customers, but the cost to SpaceX, approximately).

    SLS exists because of Congress. It’s public-funded pork, and badly managed pork at that. By all means, cancel it – if we can. It’s very difficult to kill pork, but it’s surely the right thing to do.

    But don’t justify that decision by citing Elon Musk’s timelines. The truth is, BFR is a risky undertaking, it’s delicately-funded (might need a lot more), and it’s a huge, huge departure from anything humans have ever tried to engineer and produce before. It’ll be amazing if it actually flies. SpaceX has done amazing things before, of course, so it’s certainly not hopeless. But it’s not a sure thing, either. There’s a chance BFR may never cross the finish line.

    The best reasons to kill SLS are:

    1) It’s way too costly to bother with it.
    2) It’s not a reusable system – it’s old tech, basically.
    3) All of the missions envisioned for it exclude actually landing on anything.
    4) The Falcon Heavy, already available, can launch about 2/3rds of the cargo for about a tenth of the launch costs – not counting development costs.

    Those are sufficiently compelling reasons. We don’t need to count on BFR being on schedule to make this argument.

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  66. because the BFR has already flown, with the boosters recovered and are currently being prepped for a second flight. The only question at this point is SX’s newest engine designs for the BFR and whether they will increase possible max payload, even if those don’t pan out the BFR can still fly as is.

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  67. Him and the majority of Congressional Republicans secretly hate each other because they cause each other all kinds of PR nightmares they have to deal with. They’re not about to risk their districts (more like outright sacrifice their jobs) for Trump. He may be their president, but he’s only got so much political capital and a lot of it is predicated upon the ability to help them get re-elected. If he shits all over their re-election bids by killing thousands of SLS jobs in their districts, he loses that leverage. Using the leverage you speak of in the way you speak of using it, sacrifices it.

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  68. Him and the majority of Congressional Republicans secretly hate each other because they cause each other all kinds of PR nightmares they have to deal with. They’re not about to risk their districts (more like outright sacrifice their jobs) for Trump. He may be their president but he’s only got so much political capital and a lot of it is predicated upon the ability to help them get re-elected. If he shits all over their re-election bids by killing thousands of SLS jobs in their districts he loses that leverage. Using the leverage you speak of in the way you speak of using it sacrifices it.

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  69. My understanding is that this is as much a problem with NASAs involvement as Boeing. Likely more NASA’s fault than not. I think SpaceX is on the record as saying that they did not want NASA funding for BFR because of the delays that inevitably result from their involvement when they provide the cash. In other words NASA bureaucracy = delays and budget creep.

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  70. SLS may be embedded snugly with pandering Congressmen – yet Trump is a president with audacity and chutzpah. If anyone can go against Congressional lobbies to cancel SLS, it would be him. If SpaceX could lobby Trump directly – specifically pointing out the ridiculous waste it represents – then maybe they tempt Trump into canceling it. I’m sure Trump would waste no time in crowing about the monetary savings achieved from the cancellation.

    Reply
  71. SLS may be embedded snugly with pandering Congressmen – yet Trump is a president with audacity and chutzpah. If anyone can go against Congressional lobbies to cancel SLS it would be him. If SpaceX could lobby Trump directly – specifically pointing out the ridiculous waste it represents – then maybe they tempt Trump into canceling it. I’m sure Trump would waste no time in crowing about the monetary savings achieved from the cancellation.

    Reply
  72. They only need to talk about this on Fox News and Trump will follow suite. They need to say how the american people desperately need a big manly to step up to congress and cancel SLS.

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  73. Because BFR is not dependent on another rocket’s design being “frozen”, which is the only reason FH was delayed that long.

    ” Is the ground even broken there yet? ” <-- Since they are building BFR flight structure for flight testing now, I'd say the question is moot.

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  74. How do you know BFR won’t be delayed 6 years like FH? SpaceX was supposed to build a BFR factory in San Pedro. Is the ground even broken there yet?

    Reply
  75. it definetly makes sense to cancel the SLS right now… but i think that will not happen…
    the earliest point when the NASA might think about is the end of 2019 when SpaceX shows successful hopping tests of its BFS…
    but SpaceX itself could also do more to get some money from NASA or ESA…
    they could “sell” some BFR/BFS vehicles to both to co-finance the development of the BFR… i think about selling 2 vehicles to NASA and 2 to ESA… for about 1 Billion Dollars each… so SpaceX can easy collect 4 Billion Cash for development…
    for NASA and for ESA that’s not much money splitted about the next 5 years or so…
    ESA gets an possible alternative for its ARIANE6 Launcher
    and NASA gets an alternative for its SLS

    Reply
  76. They really do need to cancel the SLS. It’s essentially a Space Shuttle main engine refitted to go on the bottom of the tank. With a pod on top instead of the the Shuttle. Yet it will cost 100 billion to develop what they already have. A big cash grab by Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  77. heres the thing this boondoogle isnt due to any partisanship in congress.. its the type of thing both sides of the aisle have been great at greenlighting because its more about jobs than actually accomplishing anything.. its ridiculous what is being wasted when the deal should be canceled as should all ESA spacecraft too and money be spent on actual research in space or new space telescopes or other research vessels for space that the private sector isnt likely to finance on its own

    Reply
  78. Him and the majority of Congressional Republicans secretly hate each other because they cause each other all kinds of PR nightmares they have to deal with. They’re not about to risk their districts (more like outright sacrifice their jobs) for Trump. He may be their president, but he’s only got so much political capital and a lot of it is predicated upon the ability to help them get re-elected. If he shits all over their re-election bids by killing thousands of SLS jobs in their districts, he loses that leverage. Using the leverage you speak of in the way you speak of using it, sacrifices it.

    Reply
  79. SLS may be embedded snugly with pandering Congressmen – yet Trump is a president with audacity and chutzpah. If anyone can go against Congressional lobbies to cancel SLS, it would be him. If SpaceX could lobby Trump directly – specifically pointing out the ridiculous waste it represents – then maybe they tempt Trump into canceling it. I’m sure Trump would waste no time in crowing about the monetary savings achieved from the cancellation.

    Reply

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