Saw this on Reddit, so the first hops are happening next week? pic.twitter.com/Qt5wSrw2Ih— Viv 🍜 (@flcnhvy) March 17, 2019
Hopefully. Always many issues integrating engine & stage. First hops will lift off, but only barely.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2019
First (really short) hops with one engine. Suborbital flights with three.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2019
SOURCES- Elon Musk Twitter, cowboy Day Twitter, Viv@flcnhvy Twitter, Pictures from Spadre.com Written By Brian Wang,
“Elon Musk: SpaceX hopes to launch ‘Test Hopper’ — a prototype for a giant Mars rocket ship — for the first time this week” Updated story. ‘Launch’ is a bit strong. https://t.co/OrBbdhrR18 via @businessinsider— Cowboy Dan (@CowboyDanPaasch) March 18, 2019
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.
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6 thoughts on “SpaceX Test Firing Integrated Raptor Engine This Week”
To be specific the Vacuum Engine(s).
If SpaceX is willing to spare one Starship (upper stage) on a permanent basis perhaps a nuclear rocket and shielding could be substituted for one or more of the Merlin engines. The object would be a “proof of concept” for high performance nuclear propulsion. It could act as a shuttle between LEO and the Moon. It would never land on Earth but the Moon and Mars would be definite possibilities. If the “proof of concept” program is successful a truly SSTO vehicle would finally be practical.
I guess that this was partly an effect of the rockets getting bigger, more expensive, and manned (or able to be manned in the public mind).
You can treat a loss as a data point when you are doing small, cheap stuff that doesn’t endanger any life. Once they are big, expensive things that are (or could be, the public, and especially the press, aren’t good at distinguishing those concepts) carrying humans then a loss is a tragedy.
Another example is airships. During the 1920s and 1930s there were two types of aircraft being developed. Airships and aeroplanes. And airships had several advantages over the opposition. But airships are (as the name implies), like ships. They are big, they are expensive, and they have dozens of crew on board. The loss of an airship was a national, if not international, tragedy. Meanwhile the loss of an aeroplane might make the local paper, they were small, relatively cheap and had at most one or two people on board (1920s-30s remember).
And there were just too many airship losses for people to keep pushing forward with them. They lost a LOT more aeroplanes, but it was airships that made headlines and had royal commissions and affected resulting military budget requests. So the airship projects were one by one abandoned or scaled back to irrelevancy. I’ve seen an estimate (sadly with no details or references) that only one or two fewer airship losses could have seen their development continue.
Good. SpaceX needs rockets that can throttle engines low enough, that a single engine can land without the “slam”. Landing like that is just asking for trouble, and eliminating that will be a real risk reduction. For instance, if there is something wrong with the Barge, it’s easy to delay landing for a few seconds, or make corrections at the last second. Rocket was will be minimized too, which will be a big deal with the BFR booster. If hopper can hover, presumable both stages of the BFR will be able to.
Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember the 1960s, when there were advancements in aerospace at least every year. Obvious strategies were used to push the boundaries, and a destroyed vehicle was not considered a awful failure(except for loss of life), if important lessons were learned. Then the deep state took over NASA, and it went to hell. If you are afraid to “fail”, you simply can’t evolve a design quickly, or even worse test new concepts.
It displays the absurdity of financing technological development via government, if it’s only a for profit company that can risk new technologies. It can do it on the cheap too.
If the idiot politicians are going to spend money for space vehicles, it needs to be X-prize style, by small steps.
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