SpaceX, the private rocket firm helmed and in large part bankrolled by famous nerdwealth biz kingpin Elon Musk, has announced that its first attempt to send one of its Dragon capsules to the International Space Station will be further delayed. The Dragon capsule with 'Draco' rockets in action. Credit: SpaceX Breathes fire - but …
Given how much is at stake for ULA I wonder how at risk Spacex are from sabotage. It would only take dragon to prang the ISS to kill private commercial spaceflight dead.
Would like to think its not a risk but worse has been done for less gain.
Worries about pranging the ISS are one of the reasons the Dragon will not be allowed to dock with the ISS in the "normal" way.
What I believe the idea is that the Dragon on a trajectory which would miss the ISS but take it very close. The ISS will use its robot arm to grab the Dragon as it goes very very slowly past, then manipulate it into docking.
Bit of a mindless thumbs-down there. Unless I'm missing something?
I found Ridley's post to be pretty interesting and makes a lot of sense, unless of course it's untrue. Any comment from our faceless downvoter?
"the first time a private company had ever achieved such a feat (the orbital flight and return, that is, not the cheese)."
So which other private companies (other than satellite TV providers) has sent cheese into space and back?
They don't actually _do_ anything so is it in sponsorship/tourism/etc?
They have received at least some money from NASA. They have also started taking orders for launches & possibly have received some up-front money for these.
Launching satellites and delivering supplies to the ISS isn't doing anything?
They may not have run many commercial missions yet, but they have a fat NASA contract and a queue a mile long of customers willing to put down deposits on a launch slot.
.... is this still about the cheese ?
> Honestly this stuff isn't rocket science.
Yes, it is.
That's pretty much SpaceX's entire business...
But everyone knows rocket science is easy...
they don't even need relativity to send spacecraft to the outer reaches of the heliosphere!
Sending cheese to the moon (space) is a bit like sending coals to Newcastle.
Fromagerie to the stars?
Will the ISS environmental systems withstand some of France's more smelly cheeses? Some I've smelt would surely prang the ISS!
Cheese in space, it has to be Wallace and Gromit.
"So which other private companies (other than satellite TV providers) has sent cheese into space and back?"
Why, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, of course.
Silly boy. They went to the moon to *get* the cheese, so they didn't take any cheese into space with them. Don't make me set Feathers McGraw on you...
Docking with the ISS? That sounds a little risky to me, considering the amount of trial work leading up to such a venture in the past. Have safety checks been by-passed here?
"...he'd be happy to open up his books by making preparations for an IPO..."
That would be the worst thing SpaceX could do at this juncture...
I think one of the reasons that access to space is currently so expensive is because we rely too much on big, behemoth-esque, publicly-traded aerospace companies with inefficient labour structures, and whose shareholders demand cushy dividend payments. This forces an emphasis on market performance as opposed to engineering performance, with contracts written so governments are forced to pay millions (perhaps even billions) in contract cancellation fees when projects are cancelled before reaching their goals. All of these things combine to drive up the cost/unit mass to climb the gravity well.
The only way to make access to space affordable to the masses is to allow open-market competition, and to encourage companies to make engineering investments that deliver "keep-it-simple-stupid-we've-already-built-it-and-proven-it-works" products for sale.
Taking SpaceX into the realm of publicly traded companies is most definitely a very bad idea, especially with Mars set firmly in Elon Musk's sights.
Publicly traded companies are run by board members who try to pad their wallets as much as possible, and shareholders scream for returns and dividends. Staying private means you can invest all your profits back into R&D, which in a business built around spaceflight is an EXTREMELY important thing. The more money you pump back to shareholders is less money spent developing the next engine or flight control system, or whatever.
And if SpaceX want's to be the first to set boots on Mars (which at this point in time, SpaceX has my bet that they WILL be the first), then once again, being private means you can build the thing, paid for by what isn't being used for R&D or what might be handed over to shareholders.
My hat is off to Elon for building the company to where it is, but it needs to stay the way it is or risk becoming a target for a hostile takeover and being absorbed by one of the existing overweight overly bureaucratic space industry incumbents.
*Flame: Nice looking engine test there!
No IP? How about half & half?
SpaceX, as Elon Musk's baby, is all about the R & D and pursuing Elon Musks vision of cheap, affordable access-to-orbit and space in general.
A public company would, as Robert says above, be all about chasing the profit in the short-term, even if that meant greatly slowing R&D for the future.
How about Elon Musk setting up a Falcon 9 launch-provider company for satellites? IPO THAT and have them buy Falcon 9's (at good prices) from SpaceX. The Falcon 9 is cheaper than just about anything else and can do more LEO satellites so there's money to be made there. Have it written into the contract that if they make a profit on each launch of a Falcon 9 bigger than 120% the cost of buying it from SpaceX then SpaceX can compete with them (and undercut them) and offer launch services directly.
Extra money for Elon & SpaceX, lower prices charged for access to LEO. Win-win.