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SpaceX or Trump Space Initiative to Mars

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tompkin    153

Every time  I come to this forum I have to say that I'm a complete novice.

I was just wondering what everyone who follows this stuff thinks about Trumps announcement that NASA would send a manned mission to mars eventually. I personally don't believe it. I think SpaceX has the momentum. Perhaps we could put a permanent station on the moon or something like that. I once read that was one of China's goals but I just can't see NASA attempting a man Mars mission.

What does everyone else think?

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DocM    16,535

I think that NASA will send smaller cargo shipments, 20+ tonnes, to Mars on SLS if it survives. Smaller loads, 10+ tonnes, on Falcon Heavy, New Glenn (3 stage) and Vulcan-ACES.

 

Crews and large cargoes will go on SpaceX's ITS and New Armstrong. They're going to be beasts, and SpaceX's ITS Spaceship is going to be something to behold.

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tompkin    153

This was just my idea, but I understand that SpaceX is going to take 2 civilians around the moon next year. I think it would be a PR coup for them if they took a woman who is a teacher in honor of Christa McCulluf (sp) who died years ago on the "Teacher in Space" flight. That's just an idea.

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DocM    16,535

Christa McAuliffe, Norse-Irish but her maiden name was Corrigan - straight Irish.

 

We haven't a clue who the passengers are other than they're paying commercial customers. SpaceX, NASA etc. had no input on who is going. This is a million mile taxi ride.

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

NASA has been pushed towards a mars mission for some time now, with reduced funding, it is the main reason for the SLS to be built. I dont believe the increased funding will speed things up too much, maybe a couple years. SLS wont be ready in full configuration(Block 2) until maybe 2030, so maybe 2025 if the funding continues and they push hard.

 

However with the current outlook im not sure if the current government will make it past 4 years, even if they make 8 years that is still a few years short.

 

SpaceX is also going to have a hard time depending on government spending and actions. However the government is not their only source of income, of the government money dries up they may find that their time line moves right.

 

Currently im hoping that China starts upping their Moon Expenditure, which will cause some unrest and money towards beating them this will help with SpaceX and Blue Origin. 

 

All in all, think NASA will end up using SpaceX and maybe Blue Origin to build a moon base for them, while trying to push for Mars, however i dont know if they will ever get there without a combination of all 3 providers.

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SALSN    54
6 hours ago, tompkin said:

This was just my idea, but I understand that SpaceX is going to take 2 civilians around the moon next year. I think it would be a PR coup for them if they took a woman who is a teacher in honor of Christa McCulluf (sp) who died years ago on the "Teacher in Space" flight. That's just an idea.

The passengers are paying themselves, and I highly doubt a teacher could afford that, otherwise my mother has really been holding out on me :-P

My predictions with regard to NASA going to Mars, is that they will end up being part of the SpaceX mission, paying SpaceX to take NASA astronauts with them. Which in my book would be a win/win, so fingers crossed.

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DocM    16,535
8 hours ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

NASA has been pushed towards a mars mission for some time now, with reduced funding, it is the main reason for the SLS to be built. I dont believe the increased funding will speed things up too much, maybe a couple years. SLS wont be ready in full configuration(Block 2) until maybe 2030, so maybe 2025 if the funding continues and they push hard.

 

However with the current outlook im not sure if the current government will make it past 4 years, even if they make 8 years that is still a few years short.

SLS will be lucky to survive after it's first couple of flights, if that long. Too expensive to fly at up too $5 billion a launch once you count payloads.

 

8 hours ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

SpaceX is also going to have a hard time depending on government spending and actions. However the government is not their only source of income, of the government money dries up they may find that their time line moves right.

SpaceX would like NASA participation, and there are things in the works starting with the Red Dragon which is connected to the ITS program in many ways.  As far as income for ITS and early Mars missions goes, that's going to be multifaceted;

 

Initial ITS development will be the R&D money transferred from Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy after Block 5 comes out later this year + launch revenues - somewhere north of $300 million a year.  That gets a prototype Spaceship doing hops, leaps and higher test flights under its own steam.

 

By about 2019 the "CommX" internet satellite constellation starts behind launched, which is a joint project with Google. The WSJ estimated its revenues at $10-30 billion a year once fully deployed, and it'll be SpaceX developed, launched and operated (likely by a joint venture.) SpaceX's share could pay for a lot of ITS & Mars development.

 

8 hours ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

Currently im hoping that China starts upping their Moon expenditure, which will cause some unrest and money towards beating them this will help with SpaceX and Blue Origin. 

They've so far eschewed SpaceX style propulsive landings because it's inefficient and costly to develop, favoring chutes and airbag landings.

 

The problem with this is that it won't scale well to medium and large class launchers, as SpaceX discovered early on. This adds 5+ years to their reusability progress, having to relearn the experience of others, and slows their becoming competitive with SpaceX and Blue. 

 

There is an alternative; ditching the tank and recovering the engines and engine bay for reuse. This has been proposed for Vulcan, with it parachuting down and being caught by a chopper.

 

This is possible, perhaps using a drone helicopter, but IMO the more elegant way is the European idea of having lightweight, deployable winglets which sprout from the engine bay and 2 small turbojets, flying it back to land like drone.  Still iffy for a superheavy launcher though.

 

8 hours ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

All in all, think NASA will end up using SpaceX and maybe Blue Origin to build a moon base for them, while trying to push for Mars, however i dont know if they will ever get there without a combination of all 3 providers.

Such a cislunar teamup is deep into development.  NASA and the ISS partners are deep into planning an exploration gateway space station in a high rectilinear orbit around the Moon. This orbit gives it 24/7 sun for power and uninterrupted comms, both to Earth and to missions beyond.

 

Commercial logistics are a big part of the plan in order to keep the build and operating costs low. There's a big meeting this summer where key decisions like finalizing the orbit etc. are to be made. One item is that Russia would prefer easier lunar surface operations than a high orbit provides, but that may be manageable by placing a propellant depot & small habitat in low lunar orbit as a "truck stop."

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