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* Posts by Kharkov

274 posts • joined 16 Sep 2011

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Kharkov
Unhappy

A Great Man Has Left The Stage...

RIP Robin, you'll be sadly missed...

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Warm, perhaps ALIEN LIFE-bearing water gushers FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Kharkov
Angel

Spot the Outer Planets Fuel Station of the Future...

Plentiful water, significant temperature difference & a key location on the edge of the Outer System?

Future colony & fuel depot... Called it!

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Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket

Kharkov
Facepalm

Is anyone surprised?

So NASA is building a massively expensive rocket and has been told that, due to the massive costs, they are highly likely to fall behind schedule?

I'm shocked, shocked! I tell you.

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

Kharkov

One Giant Leap... Downward?

Well that's a step toward The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress except...

Growing enough food on the Moon to support a large population is still going to be the factor that limits the number of people that can live on the Moon.

That said, the Moon is a great place to do science, research & engineering studies and one day some manufacturing but I doubt we'll ever see a large autonomous population living there permanently.

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Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet

Kharkov
Megaphone

This Makes Me Want To Shout (In 72 Point!)

So, the US aren't the secret powers behind the scenes?

Well why don't the Swedes do their initial interview in London? It doesn't smell of CIA involvement, oh deary me, no.

And Assange would get a fair trial in the US too.

Wow, I got through all that without vomiting! Yay Me

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Kudos SpaceX! Well done on getting your bird away and it looks like a successful deployment of the satellites.

As for the landing of the first stage, as long as they had control of the 1st stage all the way down, and the stress on the 1st stage wasn't excessive, who cares if it popped a gasket after it landed and then fell over?

If they had full control on the way down (without undue stress on the stage) then I think SpaceX should declare victory and move on to a land landing (Wow, that sounds weird!) with their next launch. August, isn't it?

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Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

Kharkov
Trollface

Quote: '...quickie sex in national monuments, art museums and VIP motorcades...' Unquote

Forgive me for this but the first thought to go through my mind was...

All these places usually offer Wi-Fi so... to discourage illicit nookie on their (very public) premises, might they have their Wi-Fi set up to... switch off the contraceptive implant?

That'll dampen their amour...

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European Space Agency demos MARS LANDINGS BY DRONE

Kharkov
Happy

Progress!

Well it's nice to see ESA developing the control systems for an eventual Mars landing system... but I'm curious.

Is the software/control system used in the Curiousity landing proprietry information? Why are different agencies (apparently) rediscovering the wheel? Why not share the software/hardware? Yes, you run the risk of the Russians/Chinese/Evildoers Inc getting their hands on it but why worry? Without a fairly big rocket to get your package to Mars, it's not exactly critical information is it?

Now we need to do the same thing again, this time with rockets...

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Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

Kharkov
Facepalm

Heavy sigh...

Right, let's do this. The various Senators & Congressmen on the space-related committees want...

to keep highly-trained people in their districts employed, happy, and voting for them.

money to keep flowing to their States/Congressional Districts.

And that's it. Forget a 'grand vision for the future of the American Space Program', forget actually doing anything useful or building anything useful so the US gets this boondoggle.

A very, very expensive rocket, paid for out of NASA's budget and so severely cutting the actual science that NASA could do, which will fly infrequently - once per year is the current plan - with no program that it can serve, no purpose that it can efficiently fulfill.

While the private sector (yes, SpaceX, who didn't see that coming?) is due to introduce a rocket that will carry roughly 75% of SLS's initial payload for less than 150 million dollars, just over 10 times cheaper than the 1.6 BILLION dollars a pop SLS.

And the new President in 2016 (or more likely his/her staff) will look at the costs (high), the flight rate (infrequent) and the benefits (few) and will probably cancel the whole thing. But those jobs building something not-very-useful-and-horribly-expensive have to be saved so...

Design something else, start to build something else, cancel it later. All money down the toilet but hey, the politicians will still have their jobs so that's a good thing, right?

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NASA pulls FLYING SAUCER out of Pacific ocean

Kharkov
Headmaster

Er, El Reg?

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/06/ldsd-rocket-powered-saucer-landing-technology/

The test was succesful, yes, demonstrating the desired deceleration, but after the test, the LDSD was supposed to deploy a parachute so that the LDSD could be recovered but the chute got tangled and the LDSD landed a bit faster than intended.

All that said, it's a very good sign. If we're going to put big stuff down on Mars, we'll need LDSD technology.

Anyone want to start a bet (or poll)? Will we see an LDSD used on Mars, launched by a FH, an Atlas V, or SLS?

My money's on FH...

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US Supreme Court: Duh, obviously cops need a warrant to search mobes

Kharkov
Big Brother

Technology needs to catch up to the law...

If the State is going to treat its citizens as criminals (or potential criminals) then people will eventually get around to protecting themselves by...

Installing a 'panic button' on their electronic devices (I'm thinking mostly smartphones). The moment you get nabbed, or have to pass through a checkpoint where your device can be taken, copied & read, you press the button & your phone deletes (after backing up to a secure cloud location) leaving the State with... nothing.

Will this be used by criminals? Yes. Will it be used by vastly larger numbers of citizens who do not want the State to have access to their private data? Yes.

Yes, the State will adapt to this, and the citizens, through technology, will adapt to that and so on...

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Higgs boson even MORE likely to actually be Higgs boson - boffins

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Me sad now...

So... they've (come close to) nailed down a standard Higgs Boson and will devote more study to it. Great, good for them, Science advances, England endures etc.

Can anyone weigh in on the chances that manipulation of the Higgs Boson in some fashion will allow us to alter or change an objects mass?

After all, if there are no flying cars, as seen on the Mass Effect series of games, in the future then I for one won't go.

I won't, I won't, I won't [Begin Tantrum]

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Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Kharkov
Go

If you build it, they will come...

@ Unlicensed Dremal

Nice point. Elon/SpaceX can't do it all, true... but...

He can do a few FH launches taking a stockpile of food & water, a store of liquid hydrogen, a powerplant (probably nuclear or nuclear-type), a methane production box (turning small amounts of hydrogen, adding large amounts of Carbon Dioxide to get a lot of methane & oxygen) & a methane-fueled rover & probably a habitat module and, of course, an Earth-Return vehicle, all of this ala Mars Direct.

Then he can follow this with a crew (4 people?) in a zero-g habitat/lander. They can live in the already-arrived habitat and stay on Mars for 2 years or so.

Will that be a colony? No.

It will get an awful lot of attention and will start a lot of people working on getting to Mars, dreaming about Mars, hoping to one day go to Mars. The money is likely to follow thereafter.

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Kharkov
Boffin

Re: M'arse

Quote: The reasons NASA aren't concentrating on this are quite logical. They want to run zero-G experiments, and gauge the effects of zero-G on station inhabitants. Unquote

Bob Zubrin tells a story about way back when high-performance piston-engine (propellers) aircraft were reaching high altitude and the pilots were blacking out due to oxygen deprivation and bad things happened after that. Naturally the brass wanted this to stop - planes are expensive after all and it takes a while to train new pilots - so they turned to medical scientists who wanted to study they effects of oxygen deprivation so while they did get data, planes continued to be lost until the brass lost patience and turned to aviation engineers who just added a bottle of compressed oxygen, masks and a tube to connect the two.

Voila! No more lost planes.

Zubrin goes on to compare this to NASA's current approach to zero-g issues. Some G is better than zero-G so why not make some? Because NASA scientists are busy getting data on zero-G issues. In effect, reducing expensively trained human beings to lab rats so the medical scientists can study bone demineralisation, muscle atrophy etc.

Far better, says Zubrin, to give them some G (Tethers seem to be Zubrin's favourite method) and so significantly reduce the harmful effects. Personally, I'd rather take the engineering approach than the medical approach, especially if I was going to spend a year in space - six months going, six months coming back - plus almost two years (or more) in Mars' .32g environment.

Large rotating space stations? Nice but they'll be a bugger to build, and really, really, ree-ally expensive until we get some kind of mining, refining, smelting & shaping going on in space so stuff doesn't have to be lifted from Earth.

Building a station in Mars orbit and then going down? Check the energy figures, it's cheaper to go to Mars and land and build your industrial infrastructure there and then go up than it is to build in orbit and then go down.

Finally, Bigelow ISN'T making space stations. He has some tech that might, one day, be used to make cheap stations but, as far as I know, he isn't scheduled to put a Bigelow station up any time within the next six years - yes, I've heard about the Bigelow module for ISS, I said Bigelow station.

Oh, and Branson doesn't have a spaceship, he has a sub-orbital plaything that will, if he ever gets it going, give people a few minutes of zero-G.

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Kharkov
Boffin

Re: That about wraps it up for SpaceX

Read Bob Zubrin's The Case For Mars. He talks about making methane from a small amount of hydrogen feedstock, brought from Earth initially until a supply (water) is found on Mars, and Carbon Dioxide, from Mars' atmosphere, plus oxygen to fuel any Mars rovers.

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Kharkov
Holmes

Re: Float? More like Sink!

Oh, R&D will never be 'done', I agree, but once they have the big, difficult-to-do stuff (like getting off this planet at a low cost while taking as much mass as possible with you) out of the way, everything else that they're likely to do (like a Mars-orbit-to-surface-&-then-back-to-orbit craft) is much, much simpler.

Given that there'll likely be people living on Mars in the (probably) late 2020's, they, or their backers/supporters back on Earth will likely pay SpaceX to do Mars-related stuff like that.

A publically-owned (read: mostly owned by corporations who WANT a dividend each year) SpaceX is bound to be a more conservative, charge-as-much-as-we-can-for-as-many-launches-as-we-can-do-per-year beast, true but they're not likely to charge so much that they won't fill their roster so they'll STILL be putting a lot of stuff into orbit.

And a new company trying to outdo SpaceX? I wouldn't mind an even-cheaper company arising, and to be honest, I don't think Elon Musk would either. Just look at what he's done with Tesla.

Come to think of it, what are the odds that SpaceX's proprietary technology gets 'outed' in some manner prior to the IPO...

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Kharkov
Angel

Re: What Mister Musk needs...

An upvote, sir, for the delightful image of...

Chocolate-cookie-fueled cars!

Yes, one day I'll be telling my wife, "No, no, these are for the car, I promise!"

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Kharkov
Pirate

Re: That about wraps it up for SpaceX

Ok, first: Getting to orbit & you're (Yes, I'm a grammar nazi) halfway to anywhere? I agree.

Now, SpaceX is currently charging way, way less than anyone else in the launch business. Gwynne Shotwell, of SpaceX, has stated that, starting next year (I think that's what she said), they plan to ramp up production and start getting 10 to 20 (or more) birds away EACH YEAR - that's 2 per month, almost.

Why are you assuming that SpaceX prices will go up? They're already lower than anyone else and they're likely to come down even more as the flight rate goes up and reusability kicks in. SpaceX will likely dominate the market up to the early 2020's.

SIDENOTE: I think Skylon will be serious competition but that's a rant for another time.

SpaceX will send, probably, a small amount of stuff to Mars on a Falcon-Heavy-launched mission and later, an MCT-launched mission but that's just to demonstrate that it can be done.

Post-Mars-Mission-1, Elon will probably have a press conference saying, "We put X kilograms on the surface of Mars for Y dollars per kilogram and we can do Z missions to Mars a year. Now who wants to go to Mars or send stuff there?"

And, having built it, they will come... paying money. And SpaceX will likely get even richer...

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Kharkov
Happy

Re: Float? More like Sink!

Actually, (and remember that Elon's talking about going public AFTER the R&D is done) once the R&D is done - something investors hate spending money on unless there's a guaranteed return (something rare with R & D) - then SpaceX will have...

A light-to-medium-payload rocket (Falcon 9) which already undercuts the market by a significant degree, not to mention the probably significant cost reduction of getting your first stage back along with possibly getting your 2nd stage back.

A medium-to-heavy-payload rocket (Falcon Heavy) which will lift a lot more payload than any other rocket currently operating for a lower $ per Kg. Note: Since the 1st stages will return and FH has 3 of them, then that 128 million dollar price tag will probably come down to less than the current price of a F9.

A heavy-to-super-heavy-payload rocket (MCT) which will, if it works (not guaranteed, but IMHO, I think it will work) be taking humanity to Mars, and probably for a LOT less than the only alternative, SLS.

So, a dominant tech position, much, much lower prices, and an almost-certain dominant market position (does anyone think ULA will still be operating 10 years from now?).

So SpaceX will suffer as a public company... Yeah, I see how you got there.

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Car titans WON'T STEAL our tech, says Musk: DAMNIT, I'll GIVE IT to 'em

Kharkov
Angel

Wow!

Ok, first, way to go, Elon! That is an act of dedication to getting more electric cars out there. Tesla could keep making electric cars, more and more each year and gradually fill the market with electric cars, keeping a majority holding of the market but it would take years.

So he's doing this to get more car companies to make electric cars - ballsy!

Second, he's going to annoy some of his financial backers who only think short-term - risky!

But remember, Elon is about to build a gigafactory for batteries. With that kind of lead then demand for his batteries will shoot up.

All in all, he's avoiding the conservative, well-traveled path that most businesses follow and may well do what Elon has always tried to do - change the way things are done to a better, faster, cheaper way.

Kudos!

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US MARTIAN FLYING SAUCER tests above Hawaii: postponed

Kharkov
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Could be worse

Too mean, sir, too mean. (We need a finger-wagging icon)

Funny though...

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New development in 'stadium-sized' FLYING SAUCER orb invasion

Kharkov
Childcatcher

Re: flight cancelled

Now, now, let's not be cruel. His brother ISN'T dead, no, not at all.

He's just living on the playmonaut farm, where he can run and play and ride rockets to his heart's content. Shame that Colin can't visit of course, but maybe he can join him there, one day. One day...

Always be kind to your playmonauts, folks.

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Flying saucer with 'stadium-sized' orb to INVADE Earth's skies

Kharkov
Trollface

Re: 'a "balloon-like" pressure vessel...

Wow, so Hollywood's going to sue NASA for copyright infringement. Nice.

"Your honour, the defendants plainly made a real aerobraking device which clearly infringed on the entirely fictional aerobraking device we used in our film, 2010. We call out for justice... and a hundred million, squillion bazillion dollars. Thank you, m'lud."

Don't laugh, there's a Hollywood lawyer writing up his brief as we speak...

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Google to plonk tentacles on 'unwired' world with $1bn launch of 180-satellite fleet

Kharkov
Headmaster

Er, maths calling...

Ok, 1 billion dollars - cool.

180 satellites - nice.

The one divided by the other... hang on, hang on... a hair over 5.5 million dollars per satellite.

Hmm. unless you can launch at least 10 of these things on ONE launcher (and yes, I'm assuming a Falcon 9 'cos ULA prices? Don't bother.) then no-one's going to take your money. I'm not an expert but I doubt that 10 or more of these things could reach their intended orbits from only one launcher.

We need a pedantic math nazi icon...

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NASA agonizes over plan for Mars rock sample return mission

Kharkov
Holmes

Re: We need a broader survey of Mars

Or people walking around (in suits). That'd do it too. Of course, once you've got people there then you've got...

Well, pretty much everything really...

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Kharkov
WTF?

Re: Add this to the bill

First, the chances of a Martian lifeform being able to flourish on Earth, and even outcompete native Earth flora & fauna, to the point that humans won't be able to contain it, are somewhere...

...let's say laughable, hilarious, mathematically disharmonious. You're more likely to get hit (repeatedly) by lightning while crossing the street while winning several lotteries and being run down by a baby zebra in the middle of Times Square, New York City.

Sheesh!

On a more constructive note, further planning will reveal if NASA is ready to approach Mars in a 'live-off-the-land' approach, long-favoured by Zubrin himself, or if they'll go with the 'take-a-lot-to-get-a-little-back' approach. A small amount of liquid hydrogen, once taken to Mars, could be turned into much greater amounts of methane & oxygen which would be fuel to get your sample(s) home.

This is set for the mid-2020's, right? I wonder if a private-sector (SpaceX) Mars sample-return mission will have happened before then? Probably...

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SpaceX touts latest gear: new module, rocket demo

Kharkov
Holmes

Re: Bright future for SpaceX

'NASA & the Pentagon can start new endeavors'

Remember that, back in the early nineties, when Bush Snr made his call for a renewed push into space, NASA responded by coming up with plans for space stations, propellent depots, orbital assembly platforms, lunar bases & a somewhat-flawed Mars plan... All of which was costed at 450 billion dollars. Congress, needless to say, didn't fund any of it.

A powerful argument could be made that, if a similar call is made in 2016, NASA would come up with a similar plan, costing even more than last time, only to be blocked by Congress.

Personally, I think it more likely that the early 2020's will see a private space station with a Mars mission in the mid 2020's similarly privately funded.

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Kharkov
FAIL

Re: We ARE living in the future!

SpaceX is standing on the shoulders of giants? True, that. Is there a reason to keep skilled, trained, experienced workers on the payroll? Absolutely yes, I'm right with you on that.

My point is that these much-needed skills are being used to... build something horribly expensive, that's just like what's gone before, only bigger and is, to add insult to injury, highly likely to be cancelled by the new President in 2016. Maybe NASA will be allowed to get EM-1 off the ground but funding something so very, very expensive when the private sector will have something with about 75% of the performance for one-tenth the cost is just not on.

Those skilled workers should be doing something that the private sector ISN'T doing (A shuttle Mark II?) and if they can't, then at least stop paying them from NASA's extremely limited budget. Don't hold NASA responsible for them, just let it put that 3 billion dollars a year into more probes/landers/orbiters etc.

Also, it looks like ULA/Boeing/LM et al are planning to ride their current business model all the way down to the ground. Highly reliable (you can complain about cost but there's not much that can match their track record) one-time-usage rockets for very large sums of money, lather, rinse & repeat until the Government finally gets around to switching to a (much) cheaper supplier.

At which point, it seems, the upper management/directors/executives will step back into positions at Boeing/Lockeed Martin and the workers on the factory floor will get their pink slips. And the reason I think this? SpaceX has consistently told the world about their very low prices, they have consistently demonstrated an intention to do things that will lower their costs even more. ULA's public comments say nothing about cheaper rockets in the future, nothing about new rockets in the future. In fact, just about everything they say boils down to, 'We're reliable so stick with us.'

Dinosaurs, watching the incoming asteroid, telling each other that there's still time to party...

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Kharkov
Gimp

We ARE living in the future!

Well, it's ANOTHER step forward for SpaceX. Kudos!

So let's see... designed a rocket starting with a clean sheet of paper... for 300 million dollars, wasn't it? designed a reusable capsule starting with a clean sheet of paper... for 300 million dollars again, wasn't it? built rockets that match the performance of most versions of the Atlas V & Delta IV Heavy for... four times less money, wasn't it? have a heavy lift rocket soon to enter service that will STILL cost less than ULA's Atlas V 552 and lift more besides? making their rockets (the first stage now and the second stage later) reusable thus lowering the cost of access to space even further? have a crew-carrying capsule coming on-line soon which will be capable of reuse and landing on, well, land. Is there anyone else in the world who have done that or are doing that now?

Some people are SpaceX fans but for the life of me, I can't understand why...

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Voters pick luminous tech spacesuit as NASA's off-world fashion statement

Kharkov

Laser focused on a path to Mars?

Sorry, what? NASA is a laser focused on getting to Mars? Bob Zubrin put forward the 'Mars Direct' plan nearly 20 years ago and NASA... did nothing. NASA is currently building a heavy-lifter (badly but don't get me ranting on that) and has no, absolutely no, plans to send stuff to Mars with it. The official NASA plan as part of the SEI back in the 90's had its voyagers spending most of their time (a year & a half) in Martian orbit with about a month on the ground.

No, NASA isn't 'laser focused' on getting to Mars

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Privateers race to capture forgotten NASA space probe using crowdsourced cash

Kharkov
Pirate

Calling Elon? He's busy fighting ULA

Elon Musk held a press conference on Friday 25th April where he accused (or pointed out, depending on how you look at it) ULA of ridiculously overcharging the DOD for their launches and how odd it was that the more-expensive service provider got the lions share of the next wave of launches. Expect fur to (gradually) fly over the next few months.

So now that Elon's starting a PR war with ULA, I don't think he'll have time to spare for this.

Shame really...

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Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery

Kharkov
Pirate

Re: Which is the next milestone

So when does SpaceX get to dock with the ISS on its own, without help from the arm?

When the capsule has a human being onboard of course, that way they've got someone to blame if there's an 'oops' moment.

More seriously, it'll be when DragonRider (Dragon Mk II) flies... In about three to four years.

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Kharkov
Angel

Re: No trash

Yes, kudos to SpaceX for getting Dragon to ISS but major praise for controlling the descent of the 1st stage. Yes, the weather was poor and the recovery ships were out of position but that was history being made, right there. I just wish that there was video of the first stage coming down out of the sky - the clouds might have made it even more photogenic - and then hovering over the waves for a second or two before landing (!) on the waves.

The Jesus-impression would have lasted a fraction of a second and, if it weren't obscured by steam, would have made for a killer picture. I just wish that some website, somewhere, had details of the descent of the 1st stage. Elon hasn't said much on his Twitter feed about it.

And no on to a land recovery!

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Elon Musk plans GIGAFACTORY to feed his thirsty Tesla motors

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Re: Danger Will Robinson

One of the reasons that SpaceX is able to offer rockets much, much cheaper than say, ULA, is that Elon had SpaceX bring in-house all those processes that were large cost generators so that, once in-house, they could be controlled and costs lowered. They've had great success at that - $60 million to put approx 5 metric tonnes in LEO, as opposed to ULA's around $300 to $350 million dollars for the same service - and it makes great sense for Tesla to bring in-house such a critical element as batteries, which for electic cars are kind of important.

No-one seriously denies that electric-powered methods of transportation are the wave of the future so I'd bet on Elon making the new battery factory work.

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Private space truck ready for ISS trip as soon as NEXT WEEK

Kharkov
Devil

Re: 1.6 vs 1.9?

More money for less? Put that down to US Government Contracts. Got more & better lobbyists? Then you get more money for a worse product/service.

I'd put it down to Orbital calculating how much money they'd need to be able to produce the level of return they need to satisfy their investors and pitching it to NASA. NASA, needing & wanting to get multiple launch providers going (and to do better prices than ULA - not hard, really), would cough up.

SpaceX, doing a MUCH cheaper (and better IMHO) rocket, didn't need to pitch it so high. Still, while Elon isn't in the business just for the money, I'm sure that some of his investors have done the sums and are quietly slapping their foreheads.

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Meet NASA's Valkyrie: A SILKY BUSTY ROBO-MINX that'll save your life

Kharkov
Unhappy

Re: Innovation if I've ever seen one

If there's a possibility of me getting 'pounded' by a nearly-2-metre-tall robot then I'm voting no, even if it is in soft fabrics...

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SpaceX Falcon 9 reaches MONEY RING with successful launch

Kharkov
Happy

Re: Hyperloop

While Elon did draw attention to the possibilities of future transport, I personally don't think he had much impact.

As John Oliver (Daily Show) said while lampooning Elon, 'Hey, someone should go off & cure cancer! I'd do it myself but I'm more of an ideas man." Elon drew attention to the possibilities and then added that he wasn't going to put any of his time & money into it which caused the whole thing to fall a bit flat.

Still, given the man has his hands full with Tesla & SpaceX, perhaps it's best that he doesn't divide his attention any more.

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Kharkov
Headmaster

Re: How about a little perspective here?

@ A Non e-mouse

Just nitpicking here but Falcon Heavy, according to Wikipedia, can put 53,000kg to LEO & 21,200kg to GTO.

@ John Smith 19

Politics is driving SLS, true, but there'll be a new president (guaranteed) in the White House in 2016. There is, in my opinion, a real possibility of the new team looking at SLS and the arguements for keeping workers employed, and Falcon Heavy, particularly if there have been a couple of successful launches (or more) by then, and deciding that they can save money by a: using FH and b: having those workers design & build something that ISN'T being done (cheaper) by the Private Sector.

And even if not, there MAY be a new president in 2020, certainly by 2024, and the comparison will look even worse then.

ULA has an outstanding record for launch success but they're expensive. With every successful SpaceX launch, the rationale for buying (expensive) launches from them is whittled down. It won't be in the next five years but after that, ULA may find itself getting remarkably few orders...

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Kharkov
Happy

How about a little perspective here?

First of all, Kudos SpaceX.

You got your bird away after a few delays - better safe than sorry - and Falcon 9 has added another string to its bow by putting up a bird destined for GEO. SpaceX continues to undercut the market - who else does launches for less than 60 million? - and, if they can ramp up production then they can really dominate the market in the future - sell those ULA shares now, folks, while they're still worth something.

But...

"SpaceX can now move forward with its plans to commercialize spaceflight and fill the launch gap which has been left by NASA as it looks to develop its next-generation Space Launch System."

Next Generation? SLS is a very, very, very expensive rocket that has a high risk of being cancelled before its first flight and, after SpaceX gets their (first stage only) reusable F9 flying & of course their Falcon Heavy going uphill too, is bound to be cancelled after the the first or second flight.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy 125 million dollars

SLS 1.6 billion dollars or 10 billion dollars or 18 billion dollars

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SCRUBBED: Technical oopsies halt SpaceX's bid for the Money Ring

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Here's hoping...

I wish we could get a few details about the launch. For example, how much fuel, in actual quantity and burn-time, will be left in the 1st stage after that 3-minute initial burn. It'd be good to know how much it takes to get the first stage down again in one piece.

Still, it's better to have the launch cancelled and re-scheduled than have it launch & fail. Here's hoping that the next scheduled launch goes off without a hitch.

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Boffins baffled after Sun fails to fry satellites

Kharkov
Stop

Re. field buildup

Well Larry Niven will appreciate that theory. After all, he wrote a rather famous short story 'Inconstant Moon' about a major solar event that fried one half of the Earth.

It's a good scare story - one of Niven's best short stories, in fact - but (and no, I'm not a scientist) I really don't think that we'll see an energy output of '50 megatons per square kilometer'. We MAY get more solar storms and bigger ones but let's not go overboard here...

Either that or start gathering supplies...

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NASA probecraft to FLY the SKIES of MARS - IF it can make its launch window

Kharkov
Happy

Let SpaceX launch it!

First of all, well done NASA for (not quite yet as I type this) getting their orbiter away! Bravo, we need more such from NASA but let's consider...

The wikipedia page for MAVEN has its cost at 'less than US$485 million' with another 'approximately $187 million' for launch on an Atlas V 401.

Given the financial pressures NASA is under, I'd think that it won't be too much longer before SpaceX is doing all of NASA's launches. 55 million to launch 2,454kg works out MUCH better than ULA's 'approximately $187 million'.

Heck, launch it as a secondary payload - it's less than half the approximately 6,500kg payload of an F9R - or paired with a commercial payload going to LEO and NASA might get an even better price...

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Budget decay kills NASA plutonium drive project

Kharkov
Facepalm

Re: Obama strikes again

Obama's doing his best to eliminate it? I vote moron for this guy. It's Congress/the Senate who allocate spending priorities & NASA's just got to make do. I'd like to see SLS dumped and the money freed up used for a whole series of probes/orbiters/landers for Mars, the Jovian moons, Saturn & its moons and, given the long lead time due to distance, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto & the Kuiper belt & Oort cloud.

Don't hold your breath though...

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Boffin says astronauts could hitch to Jupiter on passing asteroids

Kharkov
Thumb Up

As usual, Kim Stanley Robinson got there first...

In Kim Stanley Robinsons's Mars Trilogy, she had reasonably large ships on a permanent Mars-Earth course, slingshotting around each to get onto a course to take them back to the other, slingshotting around again and so on.

You want to do Earth-Jupiter? Fine, but you'd need to work out the needed course (not impossible) and then change the asteroid's speed & course (probably expensive in fuel and rather complicated to organise).

Afterwards, hollow out the inside to give a safe place for people (Jupiter has STRONG radiation fields) with shuttles (think of Ian M. Banks's Superlifters in his Culture novels) to decelerate down to Jupiter/Earth orbit speeds and then run to catch (probably) the next asteroid as it passes days, weeks or months later.

Personally, I'd much rather have a lot of living room in an asteroid than be cramped into a volume-restricted shuttle zipping off to... wherever.

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ZOMBIE apocalypse! The 'LIVING DEAD' are HERE – Fox News confirmed it

Kharkov
Facepalm

Progress!

First they got the day right and then they proclaimed a zombie apocalypse...

Well done Fox! That's the closest you've ever come to 2 correct stories in a row!

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Could Doctor Who really bump into human space dwellers?

Kharkov
Headmaster

Time on Mars...

Read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy. A Mars day is longer than an Earth day...

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US red-tape will drain boffins' brains into China, says crypto-guru Shamir

Kharkov
Joke

Eh, think of it as an intelligence test...

So the US has ranks of excessive red-tape & paranoia?

They should make that work for them! Each Expo/show should advertise that 'only the smartest come to OUR show!'

And now, if they can't come, they just weren't smart enough...

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NASA Juno probe HOWLS past Earth - and goes into HIBERNATION

Kharkov
Pint

A beer to send it on its way...

And a warning, it's gaining speed from us so we're losing speed and so dooming ourselves to spiral into the sun, oh noes!

Can someone get off the Earth & give it a bit of a push so we get our speed back?

NOTE: It was a coin tossup between beer & troll - the beer won...

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You put up with CRAPPY iOS 7. You can put up with Obamacare too, says prez

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Re: Smartphone users have more choices.

BMW prices? That's debatable but at least people are going to get the service they need when they need it.

To use your metaphor, people in the past would pay for their phone every month and then, when they had to make a call, were likely to be kicked off the service...

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Beat this, cloud giants! Musk rocket flings 1TB hard drive into SPAAACE

Kharkov
Angel

So it's running into technical limitations then?

Ok, a GB/sec isn't enough, especially when you're moving large quantities of data?

You're limited by the number of people uploading/downloading from the satellite?

If you don't get all your data up(down)loaded then you have to wait for (probably longer than) 90 minutes?

Meh, the technology is improving quickly enough so those issues won't kill the idea. Seriously, before 2020, you'll see a fairly small satellite that can upload/download/store data at impressive rates on multiple channels and crossload that data to the next bird (one of a swarm of cheaply built & cheaply launched satellites) so that up(down)loading can continue.

One satellite is an infrequent (ie, annoying) service provider. Several dozen are an invisible (and probably profitable) service that, once it starts, will be taken for granted, no-one will dream of going back to the old way.

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