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Comment Re:History? (Score 1) 43

See above. The SRBs didn't so much land as hit the ocean at highway speeds, bob around in corrosive saltwater, have to be fished out, taken back, fully disassembled, recast, fully assembled, with a large fraction of the parts replaced.

If you want the airplane equivalent, it would be as if every plane flight, instead of landing, crashed into a mucky swamp and banged the plane up badly, ruining half the parts, and the whole airplane had to be broken down, large chunks of the plane replaced, and oh, instead of using jet fuel you have to open up the fuel tank, break it into pieces, and mould a non-extinguishable propellant into place before reassembling it.

This is, needless to say, not the model SpaceX is going for.

Comment Re:Reusable - like the shuttle? (Score 1) 43

In addition to the corrections to your post concerning the tiles, the Shuttle orbiter was basically a second stage (at best, a 1.5 stage). A significant minority of the dry mass of the system. The SRBs were also "recovered", but A) they landed in saltwater, B) "landing" is being generous, they hit *hard*, C) solid rockets aren't just a "refill and reuse", you have to disassemble and recast. The net result is that reuse didn't really save any money on the SRBs.

The Shuttle's TPS was a big maintenance problem (not an issue for Falcon). The SSMEs were also pretty high maintenance. Shuttle had to build a whole huge ET each launch. And NASA has such huge amount of heavy infrastructure overhead.

It's hard to say how well reuse of Falcons will go at this point. But it should at the very least fare far better than the Shuttle system.

It's also worth noting that Falcon is only the start of SpaceX's plans. While they've learned what to do and what not to do from the Shuttle program, they want their experience with F9 and FH to influence their design of ITS and its support infrastructure.

Comment Re:History? (Score 1) 43

The SRBs fell, uncontrolled, into the ocean and were re-filled with firecracker stuff. It was always only marginally economical to reuse them. In contrast, the Falcon 9 is a liquid fueled rocket with on-board avionics, which soft-lands in a usable state. Its engine has been tested after landing, without any refurbishment at all.

The new goal is to turn around a booster and re-fly it in 24 hours.

Comment Re:Reusable - like the shuttle? (Score 1) 43

But they skimped on the maintenance, allowing tiles to get loose.

The problems with tiles were not due to deferred maintenance. They were engineering problems with the adhesives, etc.

It also took a lot of work to refurbish the engines on the Shuttle. They had to be completely removed from the craft after each and every mission, disassembled, and a lot of parts replaced.

Comment Re:Just wait for Falcon Heavy (Score 1) 43

Actually, the next milestone is rapid reuse :) Tweet from Musk this evening:

Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours.

SpaceX has a backlog. It'll be nice to see if they can really up their launch rate and clear it all out.

Comment Re:Some people (Score 3, Insightful) 43

I'd be the first to encourage people to innovate. But you're painting your portrayal of politicians with a rather wide brush. While we have some deplorable examples of politicians, we also have some who made a major positive contribution to the world.

Then we can talk about lawyers. You might not like them, but the alternative to using them is that we duke everything out or have shooting feuds to settle our disputes.

Comment Re:You may not like this (Score 1) 387

No, this is not promoting race hatred, it's an explanation of the political differences between two parties and what they mean to the little people.

It's not only the Blacks who are having their chains forged right now. Loss of privacy, loss of social safety-nets, loss of ecological protection (so that people who breathe bad air or drink polluted water get sick all of the time), each one of those is a link in a chain.

Comment Re:As someone who grew up disadvantaged (Score 1) 387

Uhm... okay, so care to explain to me how you know all the kids at the library are rich?

It's the designer sneakers, iPhones, and the glow of good nutrition and medical care.

Go out on the street and see what you can tell about the people who walk by from what they wear and the appearance of nutrition and medical care. It's pretty easy.

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 387

Allowing states to block issuance of lifeline broadband to the poor influences how they vote, whether they get jobs, and many other aspects of their lives.

Some providers just got ordered to disconnect their poor customers and let those customers wait for the states to provide them another way to connect - or more likely for the states to not provide them a way to connect.

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