SpaceX Super Heavy and Starship updates


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DocM

New thread for the BFR booster and the BFS spaceship now renamed -

 

Super Heavy and Starship

 

Thread 1.... (Interplanetary Transport System)

 

Updated CGI pending.

 

FAA application for test flights pending.

 

FCC application for test flights...

 

Description of tests (duration: 24 months)

 


>
Description of Research Project

SpaceX is looking to fly and operate a Research and Development (R&D) Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle at its South Texas location. The vehicle will take off, ascend vertically to a low altitude, and then descend back to its original landing spot. While the vehicle is in the air, it is important to have communications with the vehicle for two main reasons:

1. Downlink: SpaceX can view the data in real‐time and ensure that all parameters remain nominal.

2. Uplink: If there is an anomaly, SpaceX needs the ability to command the vehicle into a safe state (as a backup to its onboard safety systems).

Thus, to ensure both a safe and useful test, it is important for SpaceX to maintain a bidirectional RF link between the control center and the vehicle.

SpaceX wishes to use the same transmitters on the VTVL vehicle that it uses on its other vehicles. The
major difference is that the ERP is reduced on this vehicle by two orders of magnitude. This transmitter
has been demonstrated to be very safe and reliable under both flight and test conditions and the regulatory agencies involved (both FAA and FCC) are familiar with the hardware and frequencies.

The tests themselves are divided into low‐altitude and higher‐altitude tests. The low‐altitude tests stay below 500 meters in altitude and last approximately 100 seconds. These tests will be run approximately three times per week during the initial portion of the program. The higher‐altitude tests can go as high as 5 km and will occur approximately once per week. These tests last approximately 6 minutes.

Please note that SpaceX is also applying for an experimental permit from the FAA in order to gain permission to run these VTVL tests.
>

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Draggendrop

Starship...the craft formerly known as BFR/BFS....formerly known as ITS....an improvement of a  derivative of Falcon XXX...OK. I'll stop...I like "Starship".

 

Off topic...

Coincident name release during the period of which Elon would have just found out about the "Congressional via NASA Safety Blitz"

 

The same time frame as a decision was made to go with the 250 Million loan as opposed to the availability of 750 Million.

 

This could also be taken as Elon being a bit ticked off and whispering "hold my beer"...as he quietly prepares to get the show on the road at an accelerated pace, garner some extra sci- fi fans (tech junkies)...while putting the pile driver on top of the mess called SLS/Orion via  "media frog in boiling water". 

 

Once this puppy starts the higher altitude testing...this is going to be a "media darling" ...

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DocM

Part of Musk's AXIOS HBO interview, 

 

"We've recently made a number of breakthroughs that I, that I am, just really fired up about."

 

Says his odds of going are about 70%.

 

 

 

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DocM

Musk mentioned "recent breakthroughs" to AXIOS HBO and that he was stoked, so appatently he wasn't kidding ☺

Think I need a strong drink....

 

 

 

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Draggendrop

From above...

 

Quote

Contour remains approx same, but fundamental materials change to airframe, tanks & heatshield

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1066825927257030656

 

then later...

 

Quote

Used to live in Silicon Valley, now I live in Silicone Valley

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1066913829597003776

 

Heatshield...silicone impregnated...SpaceX CIRCA, XIRCA, etc..breakthrough which also allows tankage design change...Mmmmmm....

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DocM

The silicon-silicone reference can also be a commonly used malaprop about breast  implants.

 

LA = California's Silicone Valley

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Draggendrop

yes....but that would be like tweeting the sky is blue.

 

Think ceramics and TBC's (thermal barrier coatings) which besides reduction in wear,  are also used for heat "reflection" to increase thermal dynamic efficiencies. This has been in use for many decades in turbines, engine liners, bulk industrial coatings and particularly ICE chamber coatings. You may have a small engine in your garage or a marine engine that was produced with these compounds. 

 

There are various combinations of materials used to further a trait, such as heat reflection, increased wear (ablation), dissimilar metallic contact and stress reduction.

 

One example is Nikasil (nickel silicon carbide matrix) which is still used in high performance engines...even formula 1.

 

When one googles the end users of these materials...guess where a lot of the HQ's and manufacturing is.... California is the worlds 5th largest economy centered in......

 

😎

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DocM

Musk liked this new PhysOrg article about interesting alloy tricks, then bells went off....

 

 

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-strength-ductility-high-entropy-alloy-oxygen.html

 

Quote

Enhanced strength and ductility in a high-entropy alloy via ordered oxygen complexes

 

Oxygen is an abundant element that can form undesired impurities or ceramic phases in metallic materials, while doping the element on metal can render substrates brittle. 
>
>
In a new study, materials scientists Zhinfeng Lei and co-workers observed that unlike in traditional interstitial strengthening, such ordered interstitial complexes could form high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with unprecedented enhancement in strength and ductility in compositionally complex solid solutions. When the scientists doped a model TiZrHfNb HEA with 2.0 atomic percent (2 at%) oxygen, they observed substantially enhanced tensile strength and ductility, breaking a longstanding conflict on strength and ductility trade-off.
>
>
The authors recommend application of such ordered interstitial strengthening mechanisms to a wider range of other alloy material classes for improved strength-ductility and strain-hardening during the development of advanced materials.
>


 

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Unobscured Vision

This is exactly what I suspected.

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Draggendrop

So many combinations and testing over the years. The draw back has always been costs for consumer consumption......but for large project corporate use...different cost/benefit structure.

 

I am sure that SpaceX has a top notch "materials" group always on the prowl...

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DocM

They've already created two new single crystal alloys for the Raptor engine, which apparently don't burn in a hot oxygen rich environment. Also several improved versions of the SIRCA and PICA heat shields, with an improved version of TUFROC (>3,600°F) in development..

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Draggendrop

 

 

 

 

Here is one of the big changes...

during a twitter conversation...

 

while talking about the grid fins in Pauline Acalin's twitter image...above ^ ...

 

 

 

 

 

counter intuitive regarding strength and mass...design and/or manufacturing process...

 

I feel a lot better knowing of a re-use when dealing with metal. Composite has it's uses, but I would rather not push Murphy's Law...

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DocM

Follow up,

 

 

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Draggendrop

the conversation continues...

 

 

ninja'd...was posting this over on NSF..partially ninja'd there too...I am old and slow...

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Draggendrop
On 11/26/2018 at 11:12 AM, Draggendrop said:

yes....but that would be like tweeting the sky is blue.

 

Think ceramics and TBC's (thermal barrier coatings) which besides reduction in wear,  are also used for heat "reflection" to increase thermal dynamic efficiencies. This has been in use for many decades in turbines, engine liners, bulk industrial coatings and particularly ICE chamber coatings. You may have a small engine in your garage or a marine engine that was produced with these compounds. 

 

There are various combinations of materials used to further a trait, such as heat reflection, increased wear (ablation), dissimilar metallic contact and stress reduction.

 

One example is Nikasil (nickel silicon carbide matrix) which is still used in high performance engines...even formula 1.

 

When one googles the end users of these materials...guess where a lot of the HQ's and manufacturing is.... California is the worlds 5th largest economy centered in......

 

😎

This is weird quoting yourself....but the implication of TBC's with a silicon attribute, has possibly made an appearance now...

 

If so, it will be one tough unit...can't wait for the details....

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Draggendrop

Will have to wait for confirmation, but my guess will be a hardened alloy, possibly of a new process...that is readily available. This could possibly be used with a TBC coating, which are well understood and widely used in industry.

 

I would not venture toward a new doping process for metals. Doping processes are notoriously finicky...very hard to control consistency over large area's and requires very expensive equipment.

 

When taking the massive size of the booster and ship into consideration, there has just not been enough time to reliably reproduce large scale doping based upon a recent process discovery.

 

It takes many years to prove viability of a process for commercial use. A process may be better than another but cost benefits drives manufacturing.

 

If I were to wager, it would be to keep it simple with available products and processes....new alloy that they have been investigating along with a purpose coating...cost is paramount for self funded R & D.

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Draggendrop

more twitter...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision

I'm fairly interested to see what they've got in store for all of us. Any guesses (educated or otherwise) that we could make are likely going to be off by a wide margin now; aka "all bets are off now".

 

I'm going to do the "wait and see", like everyone else. ;) 

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Draggendrop
10 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

I'm fairly interested to see what they've got in store for all of us. Any guesses (educated or otherwise) that we could make are likely going to be off by a wide margin now; aka "all bets are off now".

 

I'm going to do the "wait and see", like everyone else. ;) 

Actually, for me, this brings it into a more realistic venture with what is available today.

 

She's going to be roughly what we saw...heavy metal now...beef up the strenght, lessen the upmass...test and then iterate later.

 

She needs to fly now to eventually take care of the 2 network groups...F9 realistically can not do it herself...too many launches.

 

This is actually the best I have felt about the whole project...I can eye ball it now. Need to get rid of the "wonder inventions outlook"...deal in reality...that engineering.

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Unobscured Vision

I agree with you. Test with what's "here and now", then "improve iteratively" like SpaceX has done with Falcon 9. And what's been accomplished with the Falcon 9 has been nothing short of magnificent. :yes: 

 

Small, incremental steps, sorting out large technical problems in more manageable sizes will get a project where it needs to be. Might take more time, yes -- but the end result WILL justify it.

 

I agree with this new approach. Instead of one massive leap (or the attempted leap) forward, SpaceX will take the "smart approach". I believe it'll prove to be the correct approach. (Y) 

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Draggendrop

There had to have been a plan B...or a metal substitute for composite.

 

Composite is fine...just not for every damn thing.

 

For the stress that this will incur...repeatedly...one has to use common sense.

 

Materials that are available now. Processes that are available now. The combination of the former two that is cost effective and accomplishes end goals for now.

 

Dump the up mass for now...fly and iterate as you go...NASA is not involved...they can do what they want, when they want.

 

Remember the "better battery discoveries", the ones that never make it to production, but sound great. Materials science is not immune to this disease.

 

There are vast combinations of alloys available, as well as coatings and treatment processes to enhance variables.

 

Prime directive...launch and iterate...they have no choice now since Starlink must be up rather quickly, in launch terms, and in vast numbers. There is a lot of money riding on this.

 

There will be a few different opinions, I am sticking to sound R & D practice...no magic. A high quality metal alloy with an additive/treatment is the quicker way forward at this time...it is better understood under duress.

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Unobscured Vision

Yep to all of the above. :yes: 

 

And there's nothing that says there won't be some "nearly-unimaginable, so-dumb-it-just-might-work-and-really-does composite material that some tertiary Materials Engineer comes up with that was a complete a**-pull out of nowhere" that ends up changing the whole game down the road, either. SpaceX would be in a position to make use of it iteratively, in a non-disruptive way; able to test while they're doing Mars & Lunar Ops. :) 

 

R&D can run parallel to "making money", in other words. Once Starlink, SolarCity, Tesla, the Gigafactories and Elon's other ventures are all changing the world in their own ways (and making money hand-over-fist ... AND THEY WILL ....), SpaceX will be changing THE SOLAR SYSTEM. :D 

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