gimee gimee. me want.
SpaceX has confirmed the successful test of its SuperDraco rocket engine, which will form the backbone of safety and landing systems for its Dragon spacecraft. The SuperDraco system is an upgrade to the existing Draco propulsion system used to maneuver the Dragon spacecraft in orbit. Each SuprerDraco engine is capable of 15, …
Friday 3rd February 2012 03:47 GMT Yet Another Anonymous coward
Friday 3rd February 2012 03:59 GMT Robert Heffernan
Not bad for a mere 9 months development. Taken an existing internally design engine, revamped and beefed it up, fabricated and tested it. Not only does it make a perfect emergency escape engine but it's dual purposed to land on other bodies in the solar system.
There is NO WAY that NASA could ever achieve this level of productivity, and I doubt a publicly owned company could do it for the same price.
So long as SpaceX stays a privately owned company, it's on a winner, it will be the first to land boots on Mars and I get the feeling it'll be Elon's wife wearing them.
*Coat: Nah! Space Suit!
Friday 3rd February 2012 18:23 GMT Yet Another Anonymous coward
Almost everything about SpaceX engineering ability is impressive.
It reminds you of the sort of stuff Lockheed skunkworks used to do in the old days.
There is a great interview with one of their engineers where he says: the trouble is that all the systems are designed for multiple cheap reuse for when we are eventually running like an airline - if we could just do good-enough for now the progress would be much more impressive.
It already seems pretty impressive by the standards of any government space agency !
Friday 3rd February 2012 05:05 GMT Kharkov
Friday 3rd February 2012 05:22 GMT jungle_jim
Friday 3rd February 2012 07:31 GMT GitMeMyShootinIrons
Friday 3rd February 2012 08:49 GMT Big Al
This is the sort of drive and determination needed if space exploration/exploitation is to move forward at more than a snail's pace.
All such projects are of course inherently dangerous - there will inevitably be setbacks and even deaths for the private sector, just as there have been for government agencies. When they happen, we must not let these be used as an excuse to stifle this kind of work.
Friday 3rd February 2012 09:16 GMT Michael H.F. Wilkinson
A round of applause for SpaceX, please!
Brilliant stuff. These guys are putting the excitement back in space research and space travel. It really reminds me of the heady Apollo days, when I sat glued to the (black and white) TV for every launch. At age seven I badgered my parents to let me see the first lunar landing (they allowed it, bless them!, and yes, I am that old).
Now let's go to Mars. SpaceX is the odds-on favourite in my books.
Friday 3rd February 2012 10:43 GMT annodomini2
As much as I love the idea of the achievement of getting to Mars.
Getting back to the Moon is a more probable near term goal.
Once on the moon and the colony is self sustaining, it becomes much easier to get to Mars.
I'm guessing as you watch the moon landing's, you want to see Mars in your lifetime?
Friday 3rd February 2012 15:43 GMT Michael H.F. Wilkinson
I aten't dead!!.
I will be happy if they first go to the moon. That will supply plenty of cool things to look forward to, and no, I wont be saying things like:
"Call that a moon rocket? When I was a kid they made proper moon rocket, none of this luxury stuff with 64 bit computers and touch screens, why when I was small we had 8 bits, and we were happy with that!
Grumble, mutter, ....
Friday 3rd February 2012 22:24 GMT John Brown (no body)
I was 6 when the moon landing happened. My parents woke us up to watch it live on TV and said "do you want to see the men on the moon?"
Being on 6, I immediately looked out of the window!
Yes, to so many other commentards, SpaceX has brought back the wonders and excitement of the early days of NASA.
Maybe Elon Musk has Dan Randolph as a role model? (See Ben Bova, Grand Tour books)
Friday 3rd February 2012 09:28 GMT Phil Atkin
Friday 3rd February 2012 09:48 GMT Crisp
Friday 3rd February 2012 13:02 GMT Matthew 17
Friday 3rd February 2012 14:23 GMT mhenriday
Friday 3rd February 2012 15:32 GMT Stevie
Everyone here *does* understand that NASA doesn't make the stuff it uses, but bids it out to...private industry, don't they?
Yes, the Apollo 1 Command Module, the SRBs and the ceramic tiles and glue used to hold 'em on were all manufactured by private companies.
Private companies funded by taxpayer dollars, available in unbelievable amounts.
Which I see people here calling to be given to SPACE X.
If SPACE X needs cash, let 'em raise it the private industry way - by getting private investors to pony up.
The problem with NASA isn't that it is a government agency, it is that it doesn't have the freedom to pay top dollar to the people it wants to. You get what you pay for. In the case of the space shuttle, pork-barrel projects that prioritize jobs in states rather than adhering to the design goals.
Anyway, talk of landings on other worlds is pointless. The only use the public can be made to see for space is to park stuff that makes the internet, GPS and TV work.
Friday 3rd February 2012 16:33 GMT darkmage0707077
SpaceX's constant development and continuous success is the reason I was able to get over the sense of loss from the Space Shuttles' retirement so quickly, and they're currently one of my leading (and few) sources of hope that my country hasn't gone COMPLETELY into the jack-boot strapping cesspit that the government and corporations are pushing us towards with enthusiasm.
I seriously wish them best speed and best luck, and I plan to buy a ring-side seat for the day that they finally launch for Mars.
Friday 3rd February 2012 21:35 GMT DryBones
If I might provide a bit of context, I suggest everyone look up "hypergolic propellant" on your informational site of choice. Go on, I'll wait.
Done? Good. The engine responds fast and is throttleable as these are big versions of the RCS thrusters that satellites and second stages use. There is however, a risk. They are putting 8 hypergolic engines around the bit where the people go. If there is a leak, toxic vapors will escape. If there are two leaks, there will be an explosion.
I sincerely hope that this system works perfectly, every time. Because if it does not, or they do not have sufficient failsafing, people are going to die.
Monday 6th February 2012 15:09 GMT Francis Boyle
If there is a leak
and toxic vapours manage to reach the crew I think the crew might already have had problems - like not being able to breathe in the vacuum of space. And yes, if there are two leaks there could be an explosion. If I were designing the system I would separate the tanks for the component fuels. And since the SpaceX people are smart I suspect they have come up with something even better.
Hypergolic engines are a tried and proven reliable technology, widely used without problems (the Apollo Lunar module main engine was hypergolic for a start). I'd certainly rather have eight of these things around me than a singe rocket above me as in conventional launch escape systems (or nothing as was the case with the shuttle).
This is impressive stuff - if they keep it up the Martian Alliance may have to consider breaking cover.