Another case of capitalism killing science.
An Ars Technica article on Falcon 9 reliability puts some more concrete numbers on my earlier question.
They’ve done 111 successful flights in a row. I said I’d fly on the Crew Dragon after 100 successful flights. The 111 number is for all Falcon 9 launches, not for the crew version, but that kind of reliability of the delivery method makes me more confident in the overall system.
Dragon has had 23 missions, Crew Dragon has flown 7 missions. In all those, only one capsule was lost, though it survived the rocket exploding and could have landed under parachutes if it had been programmed to do so.
With that safety record, I think I’d be comfortable flying on Crew Dragon mission 50, revised down from my earlier minimum of Crew mission 100.
Of course, my previous caveats still apply: the count resets at the first major incident, and the minimum streak of successes also doubles.
This kind of launcher makes so much more sense for any other place than planet earth. Earth has too much gravity and too much atmosphere. And what we want to launch is too delicate.
But for launching mined raw materials off the surface of the moon? This would be perfect! No need for propellant, solid payloads, could probably launch directly into an orbit to be collected by a waiting spaceship that would never need to land on the moon to pick up its cargo.