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back to article SpaceX 'Dragon V2' ROCKET PODULE can hover-land on Earth - or MARS

Elon Musk has unveiled the manned rocket he hopes will win his upstart rocket startup SpaceX the contract to ferry ‘nauts to and from the International Space Station – and set humanity on the path to Martian colonisation. Youtube Video Musk lived up to the Tony Stark comparisons with a glitzy ceremony to literally unveil the …

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Hooray!

Well done Hank Scorpio Elon Musk

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Re: Hooray!

Seriously, awesome reveal.

Maybe after this, Musk should consider adopting a large white Persian cat.

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Re: Hooray!

No need...

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/192701084932907009

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Re: Hooray!

""Seriously, awesome reveal."

No, there was no awe there. There was a standard, managed by marketing, reveal of a new product.

The show was just a bit "samey" on a par with a new car launch except the presenter/host is obviously an amateur at that sort of thing. Stilted presentation and he kept making weird noises obviously forgetting the mic was on.

On the other hand, the actual product is very impressive and I can't wait to see it fly (and land!!)

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But how ?

But how does the falling curtain at the ceremony work? Where did it go?

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Re: Hooray!

@ John Brown

Ah, my lad, where you not just a boy in shorts in the 1960's? If you where, life has made you cynical, if not, the magic you missed.

Truly as a young boy, I remember sitting in the barbers in front of a black and white fuzzy portable thing and the only reason I would accept the trip was the TV was their.

Musk has brought back the magic, the dreams and the vision, all those years ago it took super powers on the brink of nuclear war.

I like the cut of his jib :-)

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Re: But how ?

Two big Hoovers either side of the Dragon sucked them up!

I had to do a re-take :)

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Re: But how ?

Heh heh, you bet I did one too, immediately... inquiring minds and all that...

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Thumb Up

SPACE!!!

Hurrah!

Elon Musk for world president, I say!

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Re: SPACE!!!

World president? Are you crazy? We have already enough problems with the US president.

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Alert

Re: SPACE!!!

"We have already enough problems with the US president."

- and the next one is...? Hilary or Jeb. Please No.

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Re: SPACE!!!

Jeb Bush, don't think so. Karl Rove is dead.

Jeb Kerman, on the other hand, would make a perfect partner in Government for Elon Musk...

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Marketing challenge

No doubt the SpaceX people have worked through all of the connotations of calling a rocket the 'V2'.

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JDX
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Re: Marketing challenge

Probably not something of issue in the US since they were rather too far away to be in range :)

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Re: Marketing challenge

not to mention spiriting nazi rocket scientists back stateside after the war.

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Re: Marketing challenge

SpaceX aren't calling it the V2, they're calling it Dragon V2. As in, version 2. Most reporters, including the Reg, seem to be shortening it to just V2.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Marketing challenge

Not to mention the fact that the Russian's spirited their OWN Nazi rocket scientists away as well, only they spent more of their time in a Gulag like enviroment.

The US Army Air Corp was alot more accomodating of their "guests" needs.

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Re: Marketing challenge

"Most reporters, including the Reg, seem to be shortening it to just V2"

At least no one seems to be calling it two point oh.

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Re: Marketing challenge

"not to mention spiriting nazi rocket scientists back stateside after the war."

Not just the scientists. They took 300 rail cars of parts stateside as well. In any case, the Vergeltungswaffe 2 was designated V-2, not V2, so I don't think the name should cause anyone to confuse a modern spacecraft with a 70 year old ballistic missile.

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Funding challenge sorted

"Musk announced that the V2 can transport up to seven ‘nauts.. You will be able to land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter,”

Or 4 Space Marines with their equipment. Once the trademarks are resolved. Impressive bit of technology though.

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Re: Funding challenge sorted

Closer to being a Dreadclaw I think.

Although they aren't that 'accurate' in canon... just mental psycho-crazy AIs.

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V2 taxicab

Part of Hailo now too?

Sssh. Keep that under your hat.

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lander legs and fuel

If this was explained in the vid, I apologize. Crappy work connection this morning wouldn't let me view it.

The lander legs extend from the bottom, i.e. "through" the heat shield (assuming a fixed, reusable, Shuttle-style shield). Given that we have seen the results of imperfections or small holes in that type of surface (Shuttle Columbia), would it not have been better to have the legs extend from the SIDES of the craft and leave the bottom an unbroken surface?

Also, are the "lander rockets" going to fire almost all of the way down? That's an awful lot of fuel. Seems like it would be simpler to use parachutes most of the way then the rockets in the last minute or two for decelleration to soft landing on the legs.

Regardless, though, REALLY excited to see this. Anything that advances our human spaceflight options is good news.

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Re: lander legs and fuel

The video didn't really talk about the landing legs, so I don't know.

You won't need to fire the engines all the way down though. The atmosphere will be slowing the spacecraft down as it thickens, while the capsule plummets towards the ground. It then fires up the engines for a test run. If the computer or drivers don't like the looks of this, it turns them back off again, and deploys parachutes. I presume it'll normally come down by the coast, so it can do an emergency water landing by parachute if required, and only manoeuvre over land once it's proved the engines are working.

If everything's fine, then it turns the engines on for a bit more slow-downeyness. Given that it's the opposite of an aerodynamic shape, terminal velocity in the lower atmosphere isn't going to be very fast, So I'd imagine it will slow itself down from stupid speeds, and then idle the jets for a bit while falling, before doing the final braking at very low level.

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Facepalm

Re: lander legs and fuel

Erm. where do you think the Shuttle's landing gear extended from? As well as the large (18") pipes to the external tank, which were covered by doors too. Intentional holes can actually be engineered to not be a problem.

And no, the rockets don't fire all the way down, just a bit at the end, just like the Lunar Module landing on the Moon.

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Nice

Looks just like ice lollies I used to get as a kid

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Pint

Any chance...

.. we could get that nice Mr Musk to develope a 'B' Ark?

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It's empty!

If that were the set for a sci-fi film you'd be laughed at -- not nearly enough in the way of switches, lights and buttons.

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Re: It's empty!

"If that were the set for a sci-fi film you'd be laughed at -- not nearly enough in the way of switches, lights and buttons."

Not only that, but not nearly enough pointless and meaningless switches, lights and buttons -- at least, for a 1950s "B" sci-fi filck.

Actually, the instrumentation in Dragon V2 looks more like the instrument panels in the spacecraft in Kubrick's 2001 -- lots of video panels displaying multiple types of engineering and flight data, and which look as if they have an actual function and purpose.

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Re: It's empty!

'Oh, cut the bleeding heart crap will ya? We've all got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking, beeping and flashing - they're flashing and they're beeping. I can't stand it anymore! They're blinking and beeping and flashing! Why doesn't somebody pull the plug?'

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Re: It's empty!

Fantastic. I wonder how many here got your UFO quote. That was and still is a favorite show of mine and the episode you quote from was a Mind Bender (Pun intended).

http://www.tv.com/shows/ufo/mindbender-76174/

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Re: It's empty!

Occasionally I do some sci fi 3D modeling and I've often heard the same complaint. "Not enough greeble!"

To which I reply, "That is SO last century, grandpa!"

Here is Spaceship One's cockpit.

Notice the lack of clutter.

Here's the Space Shuttle cockpit.

Amazing what a difference 18 years make. (from shuttle's first test flight to Spaceship One's first maiden flight)

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Re: It's empty!

Actually, you should have gotten a pic of the Shuttle cockpit before the MEDS overhaul, back when it had all the analog steam gauges,

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Re: It's empty!

..steam gauges and magnetic core memory. Early NVRAM. It was functional. The interior of the Dragon does look rather sparse, presumably because the passengers can't really do much during ascent & descent to fly the pod? But hopefully this will make turning the space station into a waystation for a manned Moon or Mars base easier.

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Re: It's empty!

As much as I appreciate the clean design, I can't help but wonder what exactly is one supposed to use to stabilize a capsule potentially spinning wildly out of control, as in that Agena incident way back...? Yes I saw that space-mouse thingy in the centre, but it doesn't look like something you can control a spacecraft with in conditions that make even moving one's arm rather hard...

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Re: It's empty!

Seems to me that nowadays that's the kind of task best suited to a computer, not a bloke with a joystick. If the computer fails you're kinda up the creek anyway; it's not like you're going to take manual control and pilot it down yourself.

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Re: It's empty!

That's as maybe, but the Space Shuttle cockpit -- which you show in its last iteration before the fleet was decommissioned -- looks waaaayyy cooler. Reminds me a lot of this.

Just for comparison, here's STS-1 crewmen Young and Crippen in the Columbia cockpit, circa 1981. There's two small computer displays, and the rest is all "traditional" gauges, readouts, and classic "8-ball" displays, bearing a closer resemblance to the old Apollo CM panels than the later "glass cockpit" the Shuttles were flying in the last years before they were retired.

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Re: It's empty!

"...If the computer fails you're kinda up the creek anyway; it's not like you're going to take manual control and pilot it down yourself..."

Uhhmmm... y'mean, the way Neil Armstrong seized control and steered the LM clear of a boulder field that the computer was steering them into on the way down to Tranquillity?

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"My heart would be a fireball...!"

Is it just me or does the Dragon V2, in orbital configuration, look like the front end of the old Fireball XL5?

I think it's the fins.

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Pint

Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

Er. That's quite uncanny. Good spot, that man.

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Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

Everything's better with fins!

It's so long ago, that I'd forgotten what Fireball XL5 looked like. Even though I still remember all the words of the theme tune {Ahem! Best keep quiet about that. - Ed]. But it isn't just you.

Not only does the orbital module thingy have fins, but it also has that clever solar panel on the side. So you don't need the complication of moveable arms to deploy them, which sometimes fail - as well as carrying the weight on the capsule when it lands.

Now the next trick I'm hoping for, is for SpaceX to start re-using those as well. Little bolt together modules which form SpaceX's very own space station. Although it'll probably then turn out that he's been working on a vast orbital laser, and will launch his inevitale global domination attempt from his new space platform. But I can forgive him for that, if I get to go to space first.

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Happy

Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

MIke Flugennock,

I'm thinking of changing the upvote I gave you to a downvote. Since reading your excellent spot, I've been unable to stop the Fireball XL5 theme going through my head. Plus occasionally bursting into song. I'm going to be singing it all weekend! In my best 50s rock'n'roll voice.

I suppose I do wish I were a spaceman. Although I don't care so much about being the fastest guy alive. Just one of them will do fine. I'll make sure I keep some antacids around, in case my heart does become a fireball though.

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Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

Everything's better with fins!

Obviously. But they are still severely lacking in the 'lasers' department. Then we can just slap the shark-teeth decal on the nose-cone and call it a day...

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Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

Same here, man. That theme was stuck in my head for days afterwards.

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That's a seriously sexy command pod. Jeb will be jealous.

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Anonymous Coward

Helicopters

"You will be able to land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter"

How long before Top Gear attempt to land one on a skoda? With the retro-rockets, that could be interesting! Mr Clarkson, would you mind driving this skoda...

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Devil

"... with an improved heat shield..."

"... with an improved heat shield capable of withstanding large metal objects it may run over in its path."

That's better. :-)

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Happy

"It lands like a proper 21st Century spacecraft should. Cue the music!"

[Thunderbirds theme starts]

Also geeky kudos points for the "carbon composite over-wrapped titanium spheres" that make up the fuel system. Were I a sci-fi script writer, I'd be busily stealing that sentence now. Also perhaps a product designer for over-priced mobile phones. "We laugh at Apple's mere liquid metal"...

Lovely, shiny spaceship.

Why isn't there a Nobel Prize for Space-loveliness?

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"space-loveliness"

"Why isn't there a Nobel Prize for Space-loveliness?"

Yeah, seriously... and they should give one to the guys who designed the Gemini C/SM. Apollo was a real pimp-ass ride for sure, but it didn't have the special kind of "cool" that the Gemini had. Even the cockpit looked cool, a real "pilot's spacecraft", as its crews called it. It may not have been the best thing to spend two weeks in but, man, what a sweet cockpit. We have the Gemini IV CM at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum here in DC, and I always like to stop and check it out every time I'm there.

Also, needless to say, a Nobel for Space Loveliness has to go to the Space Shuttle designers -- and perhaps the X15, too, if you're one of those picky types who consider it a "spacecraft".

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Only a beellion?

They need a billion dollars to get this thing going? Are they crazy? You could buy half a basketball team for that.

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