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What went up, Musk come down again: SpaceX to blast sat into orbit with used rocket

Tom 7 Silver badge

This really is rocket science

and we are going into places people have avoided for obvious reasons. I hope it works but its interesting times for SpaceX and it could take a few iterations before it starts to pay off.

Queasy Rider

it'll be a major kick in the nuts

I read that as "it'll be a major kick in the Musks."

John Smith 19 Gold badge

But as always the real question is not how clever is it.

It's how much does it lower the price to put 1 Kg in LEO.

Because if it doesn't change that by much (IE 90%, not 10%) it will change little or nothing.

Some say without a major cut in price per Kg Mars won't happen either.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: But as always the real question is not how clever is it.

"Some say without a major cut in price per Kg Mars won't happen either."

As I think has been mentioned further up, Musks end-game is to launch, land, refuel, launch. If that works out, something in the direction of a 90% saving or at least something north of 50% anyway, should be achievable.


Collection of low cost cube-sats instead

Doesn't it make more sense for SpaceX to try a launch with a previously used rocket and have a cheaper, more disposable payload?

A bunch of school cubesats, for example.

They eat the cost of the launch, but now you have PROOF that your PL (previously launched) rockets work, and you can start hauling in multiple requests at the lower price.

You end up with quantity making up the money, and if something DOES go wrong your customer isn't out millions for a destroyed satellite.

And in the meantime they get to look like the good guys, providing a free launch for academia.

(I'm assuming the reason they didn't do this is due to an accountant somewhere)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Collection of low cost cube-sats instead

I would agree, and like the idea of cubesats etc that are cheap enough to bring the technology within reach of far more research - except for the space debris issue ... Maybe each launch could also take a large Hoover, bring some junk back when it lands ;)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Collection of low cost cube-sats instead

"Maybe each launch could also take a large Hoover, bring some junk back when it lands"

[Not high enough, not fast enough] to be worth a damn - the first stage is in a ballistic trajectory (and not even an intercontinental one). Anything that's at the levels it reaches will be out of orbit in a matter of days anyway.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Collection of low cost cube-sats instead

Cubesats go up as a secondary payload where the primary payload is paying nearly all of the launch bill. 100 cubesats launched on a $50m rocket makes the launch cost $500,000ea. That's a tidy sum of money for a high school or college group to find funding for and 100 cubesats is a lot to flush out on one launch.


Minimal Refurbishment - According to Elon

I'm interested as to where that quote of "extensive refurbishment" came from. I believe Elon Musk said that minimal refurbishment was required, so has that changed? From what he has said in the past I believe Elon would regard that as a failure if true.

Here's one relevant quote I found today:

SpaceX engineers transported the flown rocket stage from its landing zone at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station a few miles north to the Falcon 9’s Complex 40 launch pad for a brief engine firing in January, less than a month after its Dec. 21 flight for Orbcomm.

“Getting that stage back and taking a look at it, it was extraordinary how great it looked,” Shotwell said. “In fact, we didn’t refurbish it at all. We took a look at it and we inspected it (before moving it to the launch pad).”

Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

stoked to see this happen

I for one will be watching this livestreamed hoping for success.

Next to petition Musk to dress up a booster Flash Gordon style.

Alistair Silver badge

Re: stoked to see this happen

wait... what?

I read that as dress up a flasher in Gordon style.


<only appropriate icon, temporary mind bleach>

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: stoked to see this happen

The fist Space Shuttle external tank was painted white, but the mass of the paint was significant which is why subsequent launches had ETs with just a protective primer coat. Every gram counts in the rocket business.

A K Stiles Silver badge

Launch delayed...

The Echostar 23 launch scrubbed 05:34UTC due to wind speed - hopefully Thursday launch window now...

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Launch delayed...

And now successful. Still amazed by the fact we can do stuff like this, and get the pictures of it effectively in real-time. Beers or whatever their preferences are all round. I'll even let them off for the presenter's "super-awesome" description of launching a first stage the old fashioned way, sans-recovery.


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