Random Comments


#503

That’s the thing. Just by saving money for NASA in the long run SpaceX kinda is helping fund NASA.

Except, of course, the money that congress needs to spend on the SLS and other un-needed rocket projects. That money can’t be saved by using SpaceX rockets instead, because the point isn’t science, rocket technology, or manned missions… the point is pork for districts.

Scott, do you know where the NASA headquarters are?


#504

Meanwhile, live from Van Allen Belt:


#505

@Apreche and @Churba you seem to be hung up on the car. They do it for basically every rocket.


#506

Pretty sure NASA HQ is in Houston. As in Houston we have a problem?

The point is that the success of SpaceX is going to be used as more evidence that a public space program i.e: NASA, is ineffective and worthless. They will cut its funding even more, or even eliminate it with the argument that private companies are doing a better job. They are, of course, only doing a better job because they actually have money.

If SpaceX fails, then they can’t use this argument.

You might say well, it is true. SpaceX did succeed. Maybe they are right. I’m not even denying that. It very well could be that with equal money, some for profit company will be better at developing aerospace technology than a public organization like NASA would be.

This is a distraction from the main point. No matter how good they are at it, we can not allow power and control over space to be under private control of a select few individuals. Responsibility and benefit must be equally shared by all humanity. Even having NASA control it, which is just one country, is slightly distasteful. This is why we have things like the ISS.

And this is why even if SpaceX puts a living human on fucking Titan or even Uranus, I still wouldn’t applaud them. Go forth for the benefit of all humanity, not for the benefit of a rich asshole.


#507

Swing and a miss.

It seems like you’re operating under a lot of misconceptions about how NASA works.


#508

Ehh… sure. The arguments don’t particularly depend on that on both sides though…


#509

None of those misconceptions or lack of knowledge have any effect on the central point.

SpaceX’s endgame is Weyland Yutani. That’s what private companies in space gets you. Even though I don’t even like Star Trek, I can safely say that Star Trek is the future we want. Not Alien. I’m not going to cheer for that shit. I will also accept 2001, even with the problematic AI.


#510

Er, not really? Mostly just because it’s an ego stroke for an already egotistical silicon valley billionaire, and he could have done something far more useful with it, so I’m not so keen on jerking him off for launching the second electric car to go into space. I have no particular problem with using a car for deadweight in a test launch.


#511

I think you’re wrong here, but what is your central point?

Anyway, here’s what would NASA do with infinite cash: buy stuff from private companies.

NASA gets, and has always gotten, everything from private contractors. The shuttles. Saturn V. Hubble. JWST. Apollo LEM. Redstone rocket. Everything.

@Churba, you mean he could have done something more useful with the rocket, or the car?


#512

That’s fine. The computer I’m using now is made by private companies, but they aren’t in control of how it is used. They didn’t put a Lockheed/Martin flag on the moon, but you can sure as fuck bet that Elon Musk would put a SpaceX flag wherever the fuck he can.


#513

More useful than the car, not with the rocket. I mean, if you’re going to launch your shitty rich people toy into space, why not launch, say, a more comprehensive instrument package and gather some valuable scientific data? Weight is weight(though I’m pretty sure it’s a little more stripped down than advertised, for example, in some photos you can see it’s missing rotors, and judging by how Teslas go together, likely some major driveline components), and if you’re already determined to launch something more expensive than just some scrap metal, why not make it expensive AND useful? I’m pretty sure we could do with some interesting data, more than we could use an orbiting billboard for his car company.

Also, on a more philosophical level, I’m not exactly liking the idea of launching what amounts to an advertising billboard into space, that just seems like kind of a shitty move on the whole.


#514

I’m not sure what kinda data someone’s gonna gather from a test flight that doesn’t even hit orbit. I mean we’ve launched hundreds of rockets. I imagine any data collection done on a simple 4 minute flight that’s only in space proper for like 30 seconds is gonna amount to “yep, that’s space”. If he was launching past Jupiter I’m sure there wouldn’t be a car in the rocket.


#515

Uh, I think you’re mistaken there - the Roadster will be jettisoned into a high elliptical orbit, intended to continuously loop around mars and earth, and is expected to continuously orbit until long after we’re all dead, or until it’s forcefully de-orbited. Launch, six hour cruise, then another burn for payload deployment, then on back to earth for the Falcon upon successful release. Assuming they’ve done the math right, they’re looking for something in the order of a few thousand to a million years worth of orbiting time.


#516

If what you say is true then I’m mistaken, I thought when I saw “Of course I still love you” that Musk’s car that he generally drives around in had landed.

According to the boilerplate wiki " February 6, 2018, SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster was used as a dummy payload on the maiden launch of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket."

That really kinda goes with your idea that he’s just wanking to all this.


#517

I was slightly mistaken, just in a unforseen sort of way - it is meant to make that orbit, but it turns out they’ve overshot somewhat, and are making a somewhat broader orbit, passing through the asteroid belt, and closer to Jupiter before it returns. It cuts their lifetime to more likely a few decades at most, rather than anything much longer term, especially due to interference from Jupiter - don’t ask me precisely how that works out, if it’s not already clear I’m just regurgitating - but I do have an image of the current expected orbit trajectory.


#518

The core boost stage diddn’t even land. The car in the meantime is sending back amazing footage of Earth.

I’m totally fine with Space X launching a car into some fuckoff crazy orbit, because even if we give NASA fuckloads of money and charters to do stuff, it’s currently just another Govt Organization with lots of bullshit in the way of doing much useful. No disrespect to the organization’s talent. But as far as it goes, NASA is never going to be the one sending its rockets with its people to do the important missions anymore.

If anything it will be the US Air Force doing that in the name of the actual USA.

Look, I rather sadly work for a defense contractor that builds and sells nuclear submarines to the US NAVY.

I’ve worked for an aerospace company that sold components to both private industry for commercial use, govt agencies such as NASA, contractors that put said components into orders for agencies such as NASA and the US Air Force, (among others) and before I left we were working to supply Space X.

Knowing what little I know of all of it, I reluctantly think we’re better off entrusting the future of R&D and tech to private industry, pursuing self-appointed missions that are motivated, largely, by profit. NASA has legacy that in many ways stifles the pursuit of exploration. They will never get their old-school “exploration” mentality back.

We need companies willing to get people literally killed in pursuit of the unkown. We need people who aren’t the best of the best in the govt, who are civilians who applied for a dangerous job like any other dangerous job, willing to get shot into deep space and probably never return. NASA can’t and won’t do that. They won’t fly crew on a ship that hasn’t flown X hours, passed Y tests, and been through however many levels of paperwork and bullshit. If we want space to open up we need people flying on mass-produced commercial ships that fly daily.

I think we need everything that has to do with space to succeed as much as possible. We need Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, we need SpaceX and we need NASA. We need China and Russia doing their very best to try and utterly humiliate the American space program. We need competition and we need redundancy and we need inspiration.

That red stupid sports car in space is not Niel Armstrong on the moon. But it is a thing that exists now, and it is inspiring. For my entire childhood the keys to space have been in the hands of the slow, elite, apathetic govt. What purpose, other than for ultimate political and military gain, was the entire Space Race? Now we have proof that other people can go out there, send a design object beyond LEO, actually broadcast back live, high resolution images with good lenses, and give people a taste of the awe we were to have felt when people first saw the Big Blue Marble photo from Apollo 8. You can see the ad in it, or the wasted opportunity to launch something ‘useful’ (which, is more R&D time and cost to assume than just taking something out of the owner’s driveway and strapping it to a frame with a few expensive cameras)

Altruistic as the Moon landings seem, the minute the Govt felt the actual job of stomping a mudhole in the Soviet space program was done, we cancelled everything. We got stuck with Skylab. We could have sent some poor souls to go die on a Venus flyby mission, or used Saturn V rockets to send things to Mars or beyond. But no, we got stuck with the Space Shuttle. NASA still lost people on the Space Shuttles, and instead of going “well, fuckit sometimes people die when you strap them to controlled explosives” we instead felt it was a tragedy that needed to require more cauition.

Pretty sure if private companies were pursuing it outside of NASA, they would have built one Space Shuttle, realized it would be a money hole, or dangerous, and moved on.

Here’s what NASA needs to do. It needs to become the FAA of space. It needs to have authority over who does what in space as long as it’s related to US launches and/or missions. It can organize and coordinate missions and it can set competitions to do research. But it doesn’t fund the projects or dictate the hardware.

NASA should basically run with the idea of maintaining the ISS and other US Govt assets it does need to have in space, and contract out private companies to actually build the rockets, train the crews, handle mission control, fly the missions etc. NASA personnel would be passengers, the science team, etc.

NASA says “we need some scientists out at the Earth/Moon L2 point in 5 years” Whoever is willing to get them a space station and a ride at the right price and conditions could be the one to run that show.

NASA, and before that NACA, were indeed pioneers in researching the wonderful world of flight. They weren’t the only ones, but were responsible for a lot. But as NACA largely was there to provide some guidelines and research to the aviation pioneers who actually dared to risk life and limb and fortune over crazy flying machines, some of which were used for war, others for great good, many simply for corporate gain; NASA cannot be expected to lead the way. They should simply be a body that provides guidance and information and coordination to all who dare explore the final frontier.


#519

Well, considering the stories about safety standards at Tesla, they’re willing to get people literally killed to make cars, and that’s pretty fucking known, I can’t imagine what they’d do in pursuit of the unknown.


#520

I’m all for OSHA, and improving safety in that way. There will be standards. The Aerospace industry already has many standards. Plenty of people died flying stuff despite all of it. But it has been getting better over time. We don’t need the FAA leading the charge in aircraft safety in order for Boeing to try and make the 787 a better aircraft.

When I design my airplane I can look at FAR 23 and it is a very comprehensive standard, developed from many years of experience. But many aircraft have advanced far beyond those requirements. And in many cases aviation advancement in the commercial market is insanely behind what is done in other markets because of the requirement to adhere to certain standards or approved design details.

And SpaceX/Tesla/Whatever isn’t free of sins. I’d be just as happy if some other company comes along and does better. But I’m not going to wish either company an ounce of failure it hasn’t earned.


#521

The 3DS is the ultimate Nintendo Preservation Console. With custom firmware and a collection of ROMs it can play home consoles from SNES and earlier (excluding a couple games like Mario RPG) and every single portable console other than Switch.


#522

You are so wrong about how NASA works that you’re not even wrong anymore. If you don’t know the issues with the number of headquarters that NASA has, there’s not even any reason to continue a conversation with you.