back to article Big Falcon explosion as SpaceX successfully demos Crew Dragon abort systems

SpaceX looks set to shove a pair of astronauts into its Crew Dragon capsule following a successful demonstration of abort systems over the weekend. After a postponement due to weather, the sacrificial Falcon 9 finally left the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A at 15:30 UTC on Sunday 19 January. Approximately a minute …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Causality

    "Approximately a minute and a half into the flight the engines of the booster were shut down as planned to trigger the abort."

    Pretty sure that the command to shut down the engines is part of the abort sequence, not the trigger.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Causality

      Normally yes, but in this case the engine shutdown was indeed commanded to trigger the abort (The capsule should detect the sudden deceleration before the MECO is expected and initiate the abort automatically)

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Causality

        I expect this was done with a modification so that the normal systems would catch the "unexpected" event, thus demonstrating the ability to function in a REAL emergency.

        Or at least, that's how _I_ would set it up... [you need to simulate the actual abort trigger condition after all]

        When I was in the Navy we simulated trigger signals like this all of the time, for the reactor safety shutdown systems, to make sure they were working [but of course it did not have to have a real catastrophic failure to do it - it was just routine maintenance, with the simulation stuff built in].

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Causality

      I guess this time it was the trigger - it could happen without being part of a abort sequence - if for any reason the engines shut down the capsule must initiate the abort sequence as it means something went wrong, and it has to do it before the system enters the wrong attitude for a safe separation. Probably that was the simplest and safer way to test the abort system.

      Also I believe the capsule must be able to separate even if the engines can't be shut down because of an issue, and moreover is something goes wrong at lower altitudes - say only part of the engines shutdown and orbit can't be achieved - it could be better to separate the capsule and keep the remaining engines running bringing the stage to a safer altitude/area for rapid unscheduled disassembly instead of having it blowing up full of fuel closer to the launch complex and the capsule.

      I guess the system has different abort modes depending on the phase of launch and issues found.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Causality

        Frankly, every scenario should be tested at least once anyway, just to make sure things are working as expected.

        1. Kurgan

          Re: Causality

          Consider that when there are astronauts on board, the abort can be executed by them. So if something goes wrong and the abort system does not initiate the abort, then the people aboard can. Unless there is a sudden explosion before the capsule can escape.

        2. GBE

          Re: Causality

          Frankly, every scenario should be tested at least once anyway, just to make sure things are working as expected.

          There are an unlimited number of possible scenarios, so that's just not possible.

      2. alegr

        Re: Causality

        Without the capsule and trunk, the rocket loses stability in the atmosphere and will pitch and break.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Causality

          Without the capsule and trunk, the rocket loses stability in the atmosphere and will pitch and break.

          Are you sure? Given the Tesla's penchant for veering off course and hitting things that a blind rat could see a million miles away, I thought losing stability and pitching and breaking was normal for Musk's odorous crapware?

          (Still not convinced this was a test of the abort system, but something else that went wrong with the surprising benefit of showing the abort system at least sometimes works as planned - perhaps the rocket thought it saw a firetruck and needed to hit it?? Some lens flare causing a flashing red spot for the optical sensor to detect??)

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: Causality

            Doesn't really matter what you're convinced about, does it.

            Perhaps cut backon the drugs...? You seem to be suffering long-term Musk-related paranoia.

          2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            Re: Causality

            >"Still not convinced this was a test of the abort system, but something else that went wrong with the surprising benefit of showing the abort system" ...

            Yes, Elon made good use of an undocumented Tesla feature. After the unscheduled failure, he drove his Tesla at exactly 88mph in a lightning storm to go back in time and change the mission plan to "just a test!".

            Definitely a cunning stunt.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "Without the capsule and trunk, the rocket loses stability"

          Sure, Falcon first stage loses all stability on its return trip to land after separation, and pitches and breaks.... or Shuttle boosters too after separation.

          Without attitude control it will pitch and break, with attitude control working it won't - unless the forces are beyond what the design can stand,

  2. petur
    Mushroom

    "Boeing and NASA have opted not to put the Starliner through a SpaceX-style abort demonstration. Handy, because the beleaguered aviation giant's rockets are very much a single-use affair."

    Does that matter, given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?

    (well yes, SpaceX had a used rocket, but still, rocket lost is rocket lost)

    (yay for the fitting icon)

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      WTF?

      Yes it very much DOES matter

      They have absolutely no clue whether the system would work - on paper (or in a sim) doesn't count, or have you forgotten MAX?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Yes it very much DOES matter

        He clearly means the "because the beleaguered aviation giant's rockets are very much a single-use affair." bit as not being relevant. SpaceX destroyed a rocket (albeit a used first stage, so less value lost as it had already fattened their bankaccount)

        And I agree, it doesn't matter Boeings rocket is single use.

      2. petur

        Re: Yes it very much DOES matter

        Not sure where you got the idea I was defending Boeing, but thanks for the downvote

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: Yes it very much DOES matter

          I didn't downvote you.

          But the intent of your comment is very unclear.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Yes it very much DOES matter

        exactly, I would prefer a _REAL_ test even if it is expensive. SpaceX saved money by using a rocket that already had a few launches under its belt [read: 'old reliable'] which is their model for cost efficiency, and therefore a REALLY GOOD test.

      4. HildyJ Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Yes it very much DOES matter

        The assumption is that Boeing is great at having equipment blow up so it doesn't need to be tested.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

      Exactly for that reason. Boeing would have to use a new rocket which will get destroyed at its own expenses. SpaceX could use a rocket that already paid for itself flying three-four times, IIRC.

      Anyway the new Boeing core business looks to have become "self-certifications and skipping tests to save on costs".

      But is NASA going to select a single system, or use both and have to train astronauts on both? We also have seen how Boeing training is made...

      1. Vulch

        Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

        They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one.

        1. Stuart 22

          Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

          "They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one."

          I suspect that's the problem of having a monopoly supplier who can charge what they want and deliver when they can be bothered. NASA have been there before.

          The trick is to have competition but not driving the one that gets behind into cutting corners (as with the A320Neo and 737 Max). The answer, at least in part, is to have very heavy hands-on regulation/supervision. Hopefully NASA will go against their master's doctrine on this.

          1. phuzz Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

            "I suspect that's the problem of having a monopoly supplier who can charge what they want and deliver when they can be bothered."

            I get the theory, but in theory NASA should be able to go to Boeing and say "we can get the same service from SpaceX for less money, so drop your prices or we'll go elsewhere".

            However, NASA are paying Boeing more per-astronaut than they're paying SpaceX for commercial-crew, and yet they don't seem to have told Boeing to fuck right off yet.

            It's almost as if NASA has become just a distribution system for moving US taxes into the pockets of big corporations...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: NASA are paying Boeing more per-astronaut than they're paying SpaceX f

              It seems to me that it is not impossible that NASA would like a choice of crew-capable options; even if perhaps only until one of them demonstrates a sufficiently proven reliability.

              1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

                Re: NASA are paying Boeing more per-astronaut than they're paying SpaceX f

                The abort system appears to be a mandated NASA safety test to show that in the event of a first stage failure the astronauts with be parachuted down safely. Yet, not only do Boeing avoid the slight problemette of failing to even achieve the the orbit and thus establish a safe docking procedure (apparently most of the bits worked ok) but they also get to avoid wasting money on the abort test because, presumable, most of the bits will work ok ...

                So it's costing double for the Boeing launches, they have completed neither of the basic crew safety tests and still everything is 'ok' according to NASA.

                I fail to understand. One major blip in manned spaceflight could set the whole programme back years and a proven technical misjudgement resulting in accident or death could threaten the very existence of NASA. Yet, whilst standing in the shadow of Challenger, NASA are still willing to take technical risks simply to save a third party's money and and some time ... The difference compared to Challenger is that they do have flight proven, viable alternatives and they could continue to operate whilst waiting for Boeing to complete their tests. The question therefore is why are NASA forging ahead with the untested Boeing programme, unless it's money talking? ... sorry perhaps I just answered my own question ...

                1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: NASA are paying Boeing more per-astronaut than they're paying SpaceX f

                  >why are NASA forging ahead with the untested Boeing programme,

                  NASA funding relies on senators and congress critters who believe the Earth is flat and G*D lives just above the clouds. But they also believe Boeing have a plant in their region

              2. bombastic bob Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: NASA are paying Boeing more per-astronaut than they're paying SpaceX f

                I would also expect that later down the road, as more companies get involved into space, that NASA will make it possible for OTHERS to qualify, using the standards set with Boeing and SpaceX.

                There's [apparently] a government expense, though, in qualifying the candidates, so for now, there are two... and then once we have suppliers, others get into the game.

                I suppose Virgin's hybrid attempt might be a possibility at some point.

                Imagine 100 years ago when airlines were first forming. I expect it's a bit like that. Only thing is that the cost for entering the new private sector space race is considerably higher than "just get yourself a big biplane and learn to fly it".

            2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

              It was long said that 90% of the Shuttle's payload was pork barrels.

            3. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

              when you buy things with tax money, it goes into the pockets of the corporate investors and employees.

              Why is _THIS_ a problem? Better to buy "something" (in this case, rockets) than just HAND IT OUT TO PEOPLE WHO WILL DEMAND MORE AND MORE AND MORE...

            4. YetAnotherBob

              Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

              Historically, that is called the "Military-Industrial Complex". It was a thing that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about. When the same small groups always deal with each other, and the players change sides sometimes, well, things happen that might not be strictly legal or even vaguely ethical.

              Rocket purchase by US Government agencies is like that.

              Space X is an outsider to the Good Ole Boy system at NASA and the Military. They compete on cost, which is why they run the largest single percentage of non-governmental launches worldwide.

              That said, don't expect to see many changes in NASA's way of doing things. NASA has always been a "Cost is no bother" shop. That is understandable, as their actual mandate is to advance the technology. Maybe it's time to pass off the ISS to the Military. They generally do these things with only a hundred percent cost overrun.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

            "The trick is to have competition but not driving the one that gets behind into cutting corners"

            Having a member of the maker's board or their CEO on every flight would be a good way of ensuring that didn't happen.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Angel

              Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

              "The trick is to have competition but not driving the one that gets behind into cutting corners"

              Having a member of the maker's board or their CEO on every flight would be a good way of ensuring that didn't happen.

              Given some of the board members and CEO's I've come across, I'm pretty sure that'd guarantee the most critical part possible was 'not quite up to spec'.

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one.

          In that case, Boeing should still be required to demo their launch abort system at some point before carrying people. No matter how much that costs them. If Boeing's rockets are single use, that's Boeing's problem, not NASA's.

          Wanna carry NASA 'nauts? Show a working LAS first.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one.

            In that case, Boeing should still be required to demo their launch abort system at some point before carrying people. No matter how much that costs them. If Boeing's rockets are single use, that's Boeing's problem, not NASA's.

            Yup, fair's fair. Whatever else I might say about Musk/SpaceX, his firm has demonstrated a working abort system that appears to work very well (assuming the acceleration is within the scope of human survivability which I have no doubt it is).

            And SpaceX did this at their own cost, using a method they themselves developed (again, well done and clearly successful) which reduced the costs to them.

            Boeing cannot claim "to hard" because we already know it can be done, and should the claim "to pricey" then they should be told that it's a minimum requirement for product approval. Not a theroetical test as Boeing should know well enough by now that stuff working on paper often fails in unexpected ways in practice (that's why we test things). (I've also seen stuff that on paper cannot possibly work at all can actually work quite well and reliably in practice - eg fitting car tyres to the rear wheel on bikes (aka "Darkside"))

          2. YetAnotherBob

            Re: They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one.

            "Boeing should still be required to demo their launch abort system at some point before carrying people."

            Actually Boeing already did. Contrary to what a previous poster stated, last month, the Boeing test did infact achieve orbit and then de-orbit safely. It just turned out to b the wrong orbit, so they never got near to the ISS. Actual docking with the ISS has not been done by Boeing yet. SpaceX has done that one.

            But going to the ISS is still too limiting. For actual advancement in this space effort, there needs to be more destinations. Maybe a moon base. Hmmm. Dragon was originally designed to be able to take up to seven men to orbit, or with some extra equipment to reach orbit of the Moon. Falcon Heavy (FH) was intended to give that much lift capability. The FH has more lift capability than the market can currently use more than once or twice a year.

      2. Christoph Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

        "Anyway the new Boeing core business looks to have become "self-certifications and skipping tests to save on costs"."

        Because that worked so well for Hubble.

    3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      > Does that matter, given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?

      Yes it matters as reusabilty reduces the booster cost-per-launch. A lower cost-per-launch make it economically possible to throw one away for the sake of this test. It also meant they have an inventory of boosters available for such a test. If every new launch required a new Falcon, SpaceX likely would have performed a less thorough Boeing-like test.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Yes it matters as reusabilty reduces the booster cost-per-launch.

        We're not talking the back brake on a 4yo's tricycle here.

        The crew of any rocket tend to reflect a massive investment in training, health care and so on. More than that is the human cost of the lives put at risk.

        If you're building a vehicle to carry people you add in methods to protect those people. If your vehicle is untested because you're not willing to spend the necessary funds, don't be upset if someone else is unwilling to buy it.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    "Congratulations to the @NASA and @SpaceX team for a successful In-Flight Abort Test! This critical test puts us on the cusp of once again launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. Spacecraft recovery operations are underway."

    Funded by a ex South Africain, naturalised Canadian with private money... and eventually to be paid for by American TaxPayers...

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      So? What is your point?

      The astronauts are Americans, the rockets are built at SpaceX in the US of A by American citizens (a requirement to work at SpaceX is that you have a US citizenship afaik) and the launch will happen from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida, which, last I checked and to the grief of many is still part of the USA.

      Seems accurate enough. (Go far enough back and the majority of people in the US are immigrants)

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        (Go far enough back and the majority of people in the US are immigrants)

        Go back 17,000 years and all the people in the US are immigrants!

        1. Annihilator

          Even 1,700 would be an over-sized number of years.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            I think you might need a lens with a wider field of view.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          go back 100,000 years and we're all from Africa!

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        "So? What is your point".

        The point is simple, NASA want's to take a lot of credit for doing the American thing on American Soil etc whilst in fact it's simply not the whole story... Give credit to all that are included in the project, not just those on home soil because it suits the mediatisation of America...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Using immigrants to design rockets is NASA's version the American thing. Who do you think was critical in getting US astronauts to the moon?

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        NASA did better when its rocket scientists wee nazis

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          wee Nazis

          Did the bigger ones get away?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Didn't see the typo till the edit had closed.

            But it does suggest a post-Brexit cartoon series along the lines of Oor'Willie where the Bash St kids root out foreigners under the patriotic leadership of Lord Rees-Snooty

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Coat

            wee Nazis

            Did the bigger ones get away?

            PMSL!

          3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            No, he was referring to the forgotten Scotish Nazis that pioneered the steam rockets.

          4. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            Nazi Leprechauns. Yes, it's a thing.

          5. TeraTelnet

            To South America, presumably.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          "Helen Keen's It Is Rocket Science"

          "…Series that takes a comic but scientifically-accurate look at the science and history of space exploration. With Helen Keen, Peter Serafinowicz and Susy Kane…"

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z5hrv

          ...2 weeks left to listen at the time of posting this

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Thumb Up

            An upvote for Helen Keen. That show is excellent. And there weren't half some loonies in early rocketry. Satanists, Nazis big explosions...

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Oh well, most of the '60s rockets were designed by naturalized German engineers...

      1. OssianScotland Silver badge
        Mushroom

        And an obvious plug for Tom Lehrer:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEJ9HrZq7Ro

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        I thought they put the rocket centre in Alabama so the Nazis wouldn't have to "naturalize" too much.

  4. Hubert Cumberdale
    Happy

    And here's that video in full...

    ...in case you're interested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu5Ydz34oVc

    Pretty cool.

  5. Anonymous John

    ISS crews

    "Since the US shoved its Shuttles into museums, only Russia's Roscosmos has the ability to take 'nauts to the ISS."

    That was always the case as the Shuttle couldn't stay in orbit for six months to serve as a lifeboat. All it ever did was take up an occasional single crewmember and bring another back during an assembly mission.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: ISS crews

      ...and launch the Hubble ST, and then be host to what was, IIRC, then the longest ever space-walk in the mission that corrected the problem with the optics.

      To be fair to the shuttle program, the ISS came around failry late on in its lifetime, so it's not exactly fair to judge its success based on the criteria that it should service the ISS in a certain way. The shuttle program started in the 1970s, a good couple of decades before anyone started putting together the ISS...

      A lot of the real problem with the shuttle stem from the US military's insistence that it should be "dual-use", and able to abruptly assume a different orbit to the one that was originally planned, which placed quite a few limitations on its design (but did lead to the development of the military X-37B instead, essentially making these requirements redundant)

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: ISS crews

        The ISS couldn't have been built without it, as nothing else had the payload capacity for the bigger modules.

        Equally, the ISS couldn't have been done without the Soyuz, because the USA didn't have anything that could reliably serve as a lifeboat.

        It's truly a marvellous international achievement.

      2. Anonymous John

        Re: ISS crews

        I wasn't suggesting that the Shuttle wasn't essential to build the ISS, but NASA only took advantage of servicing missions to swap single crewmembers, and this was rare. Crews need lifeboats, and Shuttles were totally unsuited for the purpose. Even if they were, keeping a Shuttle and its crew in orbit for six months wouldn't make any sense.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: ISS crews

      "All it ever did was..."

      It also hauled most of the ISS components into orbit.

      And provided altitude boost while docked (combating atmospheric drag which is still a thing in LEO).

      And fresh water (a by-product of an on-board system) before they had the orbital wee-recycler.

      It was actually quite a useful beast, even if it did have certain limitations.

  6. John70

    Another Test

    Will there be another test where there is an Unexpected Rapid Expansion of the Fuel Tanks to see if the capsule can escape that?

    1. Hopalong

      Re: Another Test

      No, this was the only in-flight Abort test.

      One piece of info gleamed by someone single framing through the video stream was that the Dragon must of reacted within 80ms of the lost of thrust and initiated the abort. They worked out that the time from the start of the exhaust plume starting to reduce to the time the Dragon parted company was 180ms and it takes about 100ms to pressurise the abort system tanks and activate the super draco's

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Another Test

      The most dangerous and difficult one would be probably if the explosion happens on the launch pad with the capsule at zero m/s. Just, it's a bit expensive and dangerous test to attempt.

      1. jaywin

        Re: Another Test

        They did a pad abort test a couple of years back (2015 apparently, doesn't seem that long) - https://youtu.be/1_FXVjf46T8

        1. AdamT

          Re: Another Test

          I recall someone superimposed that ground-level abort test video onto the one where the Falcon 9 exploded during a static test (the one where the so-called "Facebook" satellite got destroyed). Maybe not very scientifically accurate but did seem to suggest that the capsule abort was sufficient to get clear, presuming that it triggered sufficiently quickly...

          1. Hopalong

            Re: Another Test

            Also, when CRS-7 failed (Over pressurization event in the 2nd stage), the Dragon survived the event and if they could have told it to pop it's 'chutes it would have landed safely. But, alas, the flight system was in the wrong mode (launch mode).

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "They did a pad abort test a couple of years back"

          Yes, but without blowing up the rocket, and see it the capsule can escape in time <G>

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Another Test

      I did see in another article (Guardian?) that Musk stated in the event of a sudden increase of fuel consumption (i.e. all of it in a millisecond), it would still have the oomph to escape that.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Another Test

        Nice euphemism, "sudden increase in fuel consumption". Is that like an "rapid neutron flux enhancement", but on a smaller scale?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Another Test

          Instantaneous external fuel consumption event

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: rapid neutron flux enhancement

          What you also have to watch out for is the kind of rapid *antineutrino* flux enhancement of the scale that would be detectable from, oh, about 160000 light years away [1], but where you happen to be very much closer than that...

          ... although any rocket that could manage that would indeed be a pretty impressive one!

          [1] E.g. SN1987A, which is of course my very favourite supernova ever :-)

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Dear Mr. Bridenstine,

    I'd not crow too much about achieving manned orbital capability. NASA already had that for 5 decades before they lost it down the back of the sofa.

    It's great that it's happening, it's great that it's done with all the latest engineering and technology improvements. It's fantastic that SpaceX will be doing it with rockets that can land and be reused. But please don't act like it's a whole new innovation when it's something that should never have been "lost" in the first place.

    On the other hand, if NASA hadn't lost the capability and had something on hand to take over from the shuttle, how might that system have evolved over the last 10 or so years? Would SpaceX exist? Or Blue Origin? We might still wondering if reusable space craft were possible. Now that I've put it into words, maybe cancelling shuttle with no ready replacement was the kickstart that was needed to get where we are today.

  8. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    Balance of priorities?

    While one set of folks advocates eliminating domestic gas cookers to "save the planet", another works assiduously towards making "space transport" a commonplace, despite it probably being the most energy inefficient system one could think up.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Balance of priorities?

      While one set of folks advocates eliminating domestic gas cookers to "save the planet", another works assiduously towards making "space transport" a commonplace, despite it probably being the most energy inefficient system one could think up.

      One of the interesting things with the "gas cooker" guff is that they are quite efficient and better still, could be modified to burn "bio gas" which many of us can make from the kitchen scraps we throw in the rubbish tip each year. Using gas cookers in this way (and using the leftovers material for compost instead of land fill) would go a hell of a long way towards helping reduce our dependence on 'fossil fuels" an help the planet overall.

      Somehow our priorities are so badly fucked up it's scary. Look at the people on the side of the "climate alarmists" who are also very excited about Starlink/SpaceX etc (and also have to have the latest shiny gadget, new cars/latest fashion clothes etc etc etc wastefulness).

      What the hell happened to our education system to mess the "Western" societies up so much? :(

      [Where's that "despairing for humanity" icon I asked for a while back?]

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Balance of priorities?

        It isn't just gas cookers, gas central heating will have to give up fossil fuel as well.

        Bio gas added to the system is a start but the big fix is to move to full synthetic fuel & gas made by sucking CO2 out of the air and the H2 from water, all powered by nuclear1.

        I've said it before, replacing all the UK fossil fuel burning installation2 with electric in the next 30 years can't be done with anything less than the government ordering us to rip & replace everything at home while they also spend half a trillion of our money building the generation & distribution capacity.

        In then next 30 years we can replace fossil like for like with synthetic hydrocarbon gas & fuels (same half trillion cost) and then spend the next century moving everything that burns the stuff to pure electric. That also neatly avoids hitting the mid 22ndC. with the entire countries infrastructure due a makeover at the same time.

        And if we in the UK do all of that, thats 1% of the world population fully carbon neutral in 2050.

        1It would be about 1 new Nuke plant being started every year, with the first half dozen next to the current oil refineries to power the carbon extraction systems that will also need to be built. On the upside building that many plants might well bring the cost down to under £10Bn. a pop.

        2air+land+sea vehicles, countless industrial manufacturing processes plus the recently spotted (by non techies) heating & cooking use.

        I

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Balance of priorities?

          PS. The "We must do something now" has to include "without making a bigger FUBAR that hits us in 100 years"

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Balance of priorities?

            PS. The "We must do something now" has to include "without making a bigger FUBAR that hits us in 100 years"

            I'll respond to both your posts with a simple comment.

            I very much like the way you think!

            Ok, as a gardener-type I still feel the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is a bit low (hence why so many greenhouse owners pump CO2 into them!) but there are ways to overcome that.

            But replacing fossil generation is not an easy task, and replacing the gas heating with electric will require a massive investment in infrastructure. It's not just electric cars requiring power, it's now electric heaters as well were the grid didn't have them previously. The demand will escalate considerably to achieve this and that means a lot more than a few 'grid batteries" dotted about the place. Means new cables, new switchgear, maybe even new substations. A 1,000,000 gallon tank will run dry if the incoming water is less than the outgoing water.

            So many people don't seem to grasp the amount of resources needed to make the desired changes, and the cost to us and the environment if we get this wrong. And with some of the demanded changes - there is very much that is "wrong" :(

  9. Kiwi Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Is it just me or...

    Is there a lot of PedoMusk's crap that seems to end up giving off large amounts of flame?

    I mean you have this (and congrats on a successful planned destruction of one of your vehicles for one instead of the usual unplanned all-aboard-dead deal), many Tesla's, the wasteful starlink sats that will plague our skies and, with a short life-span (IIRC roughly 5 years, can't find the stats), will soon burn up in the atmosphere contributing to high-level "climate change" gasses while also converting valuable resources to ash. Ash which the rest of us will eventually breath.

    And that's before we get into the horrors of the personal tracking Starlink could be used for.. [1]

    About time someone brought an end to this please? The Musky Pedoguy and his empire are starting to make chump look safe!

    [1] No google, dumbphone only which I often leave at home, dedicated GPS unit, as much advertising/tracking blocked as I can. Yes I do use a tablet but it's GPS chip is 'off' most of the time and the antenna disconnected, and it's run through PiHole+OpenVPN to help limit any chances of tracking on there, plus the 'identities' used there aren't my normal ones. So no, I don't carry android etc tracking stuff with me and don't use their tracking tools (except gmail for expected spam sites anyway, so who cares if they get deliberately fake info)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me or...

      "will soon burn up in the atmosphere contributing to high-level "climate change" gasses while also converting valuable resources to ash. Ash which the rest of us will eventually breath."

      WTF are you wittering about? High level climate change gases for sats burning up on re-entry? The amount, if any, is negligible. And ash? Are you serious? Any one single active volcanic eruption will emit many, many orders of magnitude more of both ash and climate changing gases in a single day of activity than the entire human space program has ever done.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Is it just me or...

        And ash? Are you serious? Any one single active volcanic eruption will emit many, many orders of magnitude more of both ash and climate changing gases in a single day of activity than the entire human space program has ever done.

        But... But I thought volcanic ash was neglible compared to what man does, and just starting your car emits many times more CO2 than every volcano in the history of mankind?

        I've tried to make the same point here and elsewhere in the past about volcanoes (with reference to other things) and been pilloried.

        And aren't we all supposed to be doing urgent things to save the planet because if we don't make drastic changes in the next few years all our greenhouses will get pissed off and run away or something?

        Isn't air travel considered one of the worst polluters because the exhaust gases are emitted so (relatively) high into the atmosphere?

        Aren't we supposed to be conserving resources and recycling used stuff rather than finding some dump somewhere to put them in?

        If I dump my old lithium battery in the nearest convenient place to me it's bad, but if Musk does it it's somehow good "because Space!"? My little bit of ash and smoke gets more concentrated but over a small area, his gets dispersed but over a large area?

        Just trying to learn the rules here about when it is really really bad to recycle, really really good to dump toxic waste into our atmosphere and so on. Or is it just PedoMusk gets away with it because of who he is, one rule for him and different rules for the rest of us?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me or...

      "And that's before we get into the horrors of the personal tracking Starlink could be used for.. [1]"

      You think people will be walking around with a sat dish on their heads so they can access Starlink on the move?

      "The system will not compete with the Iridium satellite constellation, which is designed to link directly to handsets. Instead, it will be linked to flat user terminals the size of a pizza box, which will have phased array antennas and track the satellites. The terminals can be mounted anywhere, as long as they can see the sky"

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Is it just me or...

        You think people will be walking around with a sat dish on their heads so they can access Starlink on the move?

        ISTR one of the "benefits" of it was to bring communications to remote areas where it'd be hard to carry stuff in and out. Like Starlink mentions on their website, "With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable." [emphasis mine]. Quote from starlink.com, not Wikipedia.

        Certainly, the intention is that the user's are able to easily carry their equipment in and out, and it's convenient to use. That said, doing some reading suggests it was another firm looking to build a space-based 5g-like network (I say "like" because IIRC the 5G radio levels are quite low and have a max usable range of hundreds of metres at most, maybe 1 or 2 km under extreme ideal conditions). I may be conflating the two, or recalling someone else's thoughts on what Starlink would do rather than what it is planned to do.There have been many times where people have started things with one set of published plans and moved to another set of plans later once the public has accepted things (whether the change was their original intention or not). Sometimes the change of plans is beneficial to most, sometimes not.

        And just bear in mind that not that long ago ago your cell phone came with a shoulder strap so you could carry it whereas nowadays you have a hell of a lot of computing power in a very small device.

        It's easier to stop yourself falling off a cliff when you're still a few feet from the edge than it is to stop yourself when you're already in freefall.

    3. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Is it just me or...

      Yay! Finally tipped the 2,000 downvotes! Even better, did it just before 10,000 up! Thanks guys for helping me reach that goal. It's been many years coming.

      I did kinda push it at the end - got sick of waiting really, and I knew these posts would help carry me over that goal.

      Next goal, to get to 3k down before 15k up.

      (just hope no one switches their downs to ups as that'd screw up the day's celebrations! --> Speaking of which, y'all have one on me! :) )

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