SpaceX launches two men up above us a bit

I’ve just been watching the launch of the SpaceX/NASA manned rocket that is the first time people have been launched into Earth orbit from the US since the shuttle programme ended in 2011.

After a few minutes the rocket, minor the largest stage that had successfully landed off the coast of Ireland, was orbiting Earth at 200 km and travelling at 27,000 kilometres an hour.

The capsule is now heading on a 19 hour trip to the Space Station.

“This is a historical day”. “A day for the history books”. “America is back”.

This is a big achievement. Any successful launch of people into Earth orbit is a big achievement.

But it shows how much rocket and expense is required to get a couple of people floating around our own planet. There are plans to get back to the moon again by 2024. There is talk of getting manned missions to Mars some time in the future.

And this is fifty years on from the original moon missions.

I happened to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time a couple of nights ago. That was from the 60s, before the first successful moon missions. It had large moon bases, and huge spacecraft travelling to Jupiter in 2001. But we are still nowhere near this.

It’s a big deal getting a small capsule just up above us a bit. They (US and Russia) gradually built up the Space station, but that’s only in Earth orbit.

It takes about 3 days to travel to the moon.

It takes 6-8 months to travel to Mars.

Fifty, seventy years after Mount Everest was first climbed there are lines of people queuing up to get to the top of the mountain each year,

The US had their original space flight missions, followed fairly quickly by their Apollo moon missions that began in 1961, made it with men to the moon in July 1969, and then continued with five more successful missions until 1972.

The Space Shuttle programme began in 1982 and continued until 2011, but that was only for earth orbit missions and the Space Station.

So this new phase, fifty years after the moon landing, is just a new beginning of significant but relatively modest space flight achievement.

Minor space flight seems to be almost at the limits of our technology and human ability. What has been done is marvellous, but by today’s standards quite modest.

Space flight science looks like mostly remaining fiction.

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19 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  31st May 2020

    Might have to figure out how to cope with vireses first.

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  31st May 2020

    Over one billion dollars to get the last Space Shuttle into orbit. $86 million for this launch. Thank God or good fortune for entrepreneurs and dreamers. Notice the flat screens, and lack of dials, knobs and levers?

    Reply
  3. Duker

     /  31st May 2020

    Meanwhile over at SpaceX test facility in Texas, a rocket prototype exploded on the launch pad today

    As for the costs The US government gave SpaceX and Boeing $6.8 bill for development
    of new space launchers, the first of which was launched today. Boeings launch will be next year.
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/sep/16/nasa-boeing-spacex-contracts-manned-flights
    Essentially they are doing all the work under government contract at huge cost

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  31st May 2020

      You aren’t a socialist by any chance, Duker? How many times did the Colonel fail with his finger licken fried chicken franchise before us bros made it a success?🤨

      Chicken Little folk beget Chicken Little results.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  31st May 2020

        Good on him for having a better way than the previous rocket builders.
        However it was still done with $3 bill or so of taxpayers money not the goodness of his own heart and wallet.
        the cheapest way is still from using Russian/socialist rocket engines that remained far more advanced than the american ones.
        But as I showed the US ones are socialist as well

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  31st May 2020

          “the cheapest way is still from using Russian/socialist rocket engines that remained far more advanced than the american ones.

          The word ‘advanced’ means something different to your attempted use of it in this context.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  1st June 2020

            Why would the US even use another nations rocket motors ( RD-180) when they have multiple US rocket motors available
            Atlas V Russian RD180 for takeoff stage
            Delta IV US RS68 for takeoff
            Simple answer is that its more efficient, as all rocket motors are of ‘simple design’
            It would be pointless to discuss the detail as it would be way above your understanding as even things you claim some knowledge its only superficial.
            eg book in front of me now has weight of Bismarck armour piercing shell is 800kg, the actual weight of explosive inside is 18.8kg, a tiny amount 2.3% as I had previously said

            Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  31st May 2020

      The initial motivation was to remove their dependence on Russian rockets. Seems Boeing got more money but is slower to deliver? (Also severely hit by the virus.)

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  31st May 2020

        Those Ruskis know how to build rockets like tanks

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  31st May 2020

          The Russian Nazi rocket scientists were better than the American Nazi rocket scientists..

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  31st May 2020

            Operation Paperclip didn’t trump Operation Ruskies.🦾

            Reply
  4. Corky

     /  31st May 2020

    I think it was a government CONTRACT.

    Quote:

    ”It means Musk, who has invested a sizeable chunk of his estimated $9.5bn personal fortune in the development of space technology, will play a key role in returning manned spaceflight to US soil for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in July 2011.”

    You haven’t accounted for ‘black budget craft,’ rumoured to be operational. That is truly socialism. There is no congressional oversight on behalf of the American people

    Reply
  5. Pink David

     /  31st May 2020

    “Space flight science looks like mostly remaining fiction.’

    This is a serious misreading of it. We have all the technology needed for space flight in the solar system. The simple truth is it’s not really worth it. The cost of doing it is massive, and there is very little return for it.

    Given the choices we have, we find it better to spend the most on things like Instagram instead.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  1st June 2020

      We (or those who follow us) will end up doing it anyway. Someone will try to build a moonbase, & a manned trip to Mars won’t be far away. Solar system remote vehicle exploration will continue. Imo.

      What’s doable in the way of any kind of exploration humans just do.

      Absent any more breakthrough exploitable physics & technology, manned space travel, or any kind of remote space vehicle exploration, beyond the solar system currently looks most unlikely.

      Reply
  6. Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  1st June 2020

      Seems to be a rather strained definition of “commercially built”.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  1st June 2020

        Corporate & Wall Street welfare thrives over there too, by the look of it.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  1st June 2020

          Always has. Big Govt has to spend its money somewhere.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  1st June 2020

            And they make sure they spend it on them, while often railing against the government spending it on helping poor folk. Arty’s right. It’s all completely fked up over there.

            Reply

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