And pricing information: http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities
(edit: added pricing info which might be helpful)
> SpaceX offers open and fixed pricing for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch services. Modest discounts are available, for contractually committed, multi-launch purchases. SpaceX can also offer crew transportation services to commercial customers seeking to transport astronauts to alternate LEO destinations.
With such big ticket items, I wouldn't have imagined there is a price list available. I would think these things are negotiated over expensive dinners. You almost expect to see a "Buy Now" button on the page.
Assuming that that wasn't tongue in cheek...
Their target audience is "people who want to launch something into orbit". They don't need a call to action, they already have a rather well-defined need.
> I would think these things are negotiated over expensive dinners.
That sort of shit is exactly what Musk has been complaining about every time he talks about how fucked-up the existing space delivery industry is.
Think of it this way: You don't negotiate the price of delivery for something you're gonna ship via FedEx over a dinner.
One of the goals of SpaceX is to make the space delivery industry as much like every other delivery industry as is humanly possible.
And I am completely on board with the open pricing model. It's incredible and probably makes their competitors very nervous.
What Space-X doesn't give you is a firm launch date. Spaceflight Now listed today's launch as "Delayed from Aug. 13, Sept. 2, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, March 20 and March 29. [March 16]" This is Space-X's biggest problem. They're about a year behind on their launch manifest. They don't even put dates on future launches any more. Customers don't like this; some have switched to Arianespace or ULA or Russia for their satellite launches.
Space-X is trying to catch up. Next launch date is April 28th, and there are two launches a month scheduled for the next few months. First Falcon Heavy launch is scheduled for November, but that may slip.
Now we need to figure out when an Amazon rocket with a BE-4 will launch (it needs a couple of BE-4s to get enough delta V to insert stuff into low earth orbit)
Perhaps space is the "next big thing" that everyone was wondering about?
When we will be able to generate value by being in space. Asteroid mining, for example, would make space travel expand a lot.
I'm expecting to see Teslas on Mars before I die.
This causes errors to accumulate and they must be corrected with rocket burns with the payload satellite or space craft.
15 km may seem like quite far off, but it doesn't take a big rocket burn to correct.
This is widely believed, but not true. Here's a nice example of a small model rocket with active guidance. It's launched at a 45 degree angle and then corrects to vertical. After beginning descent, it pops a parachute and lands safely. Built by a 13 year old girl.
For rockets above a certain size, you have to start talking to FAA air traffic control, and they're going to insist that you operate in some unpopulated area.
But that's not about whether it has guidance technology.
My favorite was when you'd get a false start, enough to get you off the launch rod and flop onto the ground right as the main motor took off. We called those land sharks.
> Musk: Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.
His current wife also recently decided to announce a divorce. At least he is on a big winning streak with his businesses this time.
Do you remember how the managed to do that?
Edit: Not unfair to assume that it was motivated by anti-competitive interests before any real concern about possible effects on their pad.
Here is a link to the technical webcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh8V0COrrzE
This is SpaceX's first ISS cargo mission since their last attempt last summer, which ended in an explosion and loss of all cargo. They will also be attempting a barge landing of the first stage, which they have not yet successfully completed. They will likely stream the landing attempt, but live video is no guarantee as there is usually too much interference.
That adds to 11 dimensions of control. And their flight computer nailed it, without even zeroing one at a time! Only roll rate around the axis of the rocket was zeroed well before touchdown. Impressive!
The number of degrees you have to take car of is 6: X, Y, Z, yaw, pitch, and roll.
Sure you do. Landing too fast in any of the three directions won't do.
gimbal is very intuitive, you just write down three angles: pitch, roll, and yaw.
to imagine the objects rotation when I give you the three angles, you just apply them one after the other.
however, there is an issue. When the object's rotation is large enough that say, roll becomes 90, suddenly pitch and yaw correspond to the same 'thing '. which means one axis of rotation can no longer be realized.
in practice this can be seen with physical gimbals (three concentric rings, one per axis) or in numerical gimbal representation, where values might end up being unworkable.
quaternions eliminate this problem by using four values instead of three (quater, quattro, quad bike - the prefix stands for 4)
3 values are the components of a 3d vector, and the 4th is how much rotation to apply around it.
The above post argue that this 4th value seems like an extra degree of freedom, it isnt. it simply is a matter of representation if coded correctly.
Here's a way to start thinking about this. Consider the 1D case, stopping a car with the goal of being at zero speed at a specified point. 2 goals, one controlled input. This is an under actuated problem. Setting a constant deceleration is not enough to do this. However, if you have a deceleration start time and a deceleration value after that point, you now have two variables, and can solve for zero speed at the desired point. This is essentially what Space-X is doing in the vertical direction.
They have limited ability to throttle the main engines (off, or 70% to 100%), and I suspect that in the final landing phase, they use that range to keep the vertical component constant while doing any horizontal positioning. The main engines gimbal; they don't have to change attitude for minor horizontal adjustments. So the simple approach is to get the attitude stabilized on approach, and the landing vertical. Their successful landings look like that. Their unsuccessful ones show non-vertical attitudes as the control system tries to make big horizontal adjustments.
The ocean landing is much more technically difficult, but it gives them the ability to use those extra percentage points of fuel on payload.
Also, primary Dragon deployment appears successful as well.
Absolutely surreal footage, a 25 storey rocket just drifts into shot at a crazy angle and plants itself.
But otherwise: that was really fantastic.
It's actually quite a sweet display of patriotism. I sound more negative than I mean to be. Perhaps it was just funny to realize that the context I'm most familiar with the sound of that chant is from reporting on the current campaign.
Way to go, anyone at SpaceX who's reading this.
 I probably wouldn't think much of a USA chant during a Facebook or Google product launch. While these companies do plenty of wonderful things, I view space travel as several tiers of importance higher.
1: Granted, that had some key foreign influence.
America gets bashed non-stop about pretty much everything, no matter what choices it makes or what direction it goes. The criticism is overwhelming sometimes, I get sick of browsing many sites like Reddit for example because of the extremely common US bashing. Quite frankly, I'll take the cheers and USA chants on this one.
In this context it didn't phase me at all (I am a US citizen though...), but at a Google press event, it would be really unsettling.
I don't know, but the point is that I can see where you are coming from. I think that the "USA" thing has become "normalized" to me because of other things in the media (sports, wartime, etc...) that it doesn't phase me, but changing the wording makes it pretty clear.
In a indirect way it did, (standing on the shoulders of giants, heritage of the people working there, etc,) however, unlike the other companies you mentioned, SpaceX only hires American citizens (because of government contracts and ITAR.) So it's basically an all-American effort.
I don't work directly with anyone like this but I know SpaceX has a few, not sure of the exact number, employees who are neither citizens nor permanent residents.
From what I've heard the process of getting a non-US person ITAR cleared is extremely costly, both in time and money and is thus used very sparingly.
There are quite a few foreign born American citizens working at SpaceX, myself included. You may find this shocking, but seeing as English wasn't our first language, some of us even have foreign accents.
I don't consider them, or myself, any less American.
Patriotism can have a hugely different emotional response depending on where you live. It can connote “home!” or “remember, we have weaponized drones hovering above your head”.
Imagine this video feed was from Iran, and ended in a patriotic arabic chant. Would you think, “it is good to see that they are Iranian and proud”?
It is not about being offended. It is about political undertone and tacit military implications.
(That said, I am proud, as a fellow human, of what was accomplished. Also, I live in a country pretty solidly allied with the US.)
This is almost a universally good thing, and having pride that your country was able to do it isn't a bad thing to me! I would fully expect another nations company to be chanting their nation's name, and I would probably join along with them if I were there!
It's a celebration, not a contest.
(side note, I was born and raised in the US, so my view might be tainted by that)
What space X did landing in the middle of the ocean on a tiny little platform, was nothing short of genius.
(That doesn't mean it was particularly funny, though)
Also, it would probably be worse to have official communication policy restricting what people could chant on livestreams.
Yes, it does. The country has a lot to do with it. Particularly our values, culture, etc. that enabled this to be possible here and nowhere else.
So is this: now make a list of all the other meaningful space programs and their budgets, it's a really short list. ESA is soon going to have a mere 1/4 the budget of NASA. The rest of the world outside of Russia and China should really be stepping up their space game.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
- Antrix Corporation
- COSMOS international
- Eurockot Launch Services
- International Launch Services
- ISC Kosmotras
- Sea Launch
Yeah, really. Has a single one of them launched a rocket and then successfully landed it? No. That's why you're here, talking about Space X and AMERICA.
This is a peacetime effort that is likely to improve all of mankind. If you want to criticize the celebratory reaction to killing someone then I will probably agree with you. This is something else. Pride in one's nation and it's achievements is not inherently shameful.
Do you believe that nationalistic displays are never appropriate? Why is it ok to celebrate your nation during World Cup but not after a significant technological achievement in peacetime?
At the same time I think most Europeans realize this doesn't apply in the US, yet many people's initial reaction would be one of (mild) discomfort. As a European living in the US (and loving the country and the people) I'm still often equal parts amazed and amused by the flag waving and USA chanting.
For many Europeans the American attitude towards the country and the flag looks a bit like a fetish. It's a piece of the Earth within a man-made line on a map, a piece of fabric designed by some guys. The important things are of course what this symbols stand for, freedom, the American dream, going to the Moon, helping to end World War II. But then again this is also only half of the truth or do you also think of slavery, racism or the millions of victims in US (supported) wars when you look at an US flag?
Similarly the obsession with the constitution looks a bit strange from here. »I can have guns, it's good to have guns, it's in the constitution!« It is just a piece of paper, a set of laws. Some guys thought that those would make good rules to run a society and so they wrote them down. But maybe they were wrong in some regards, a constitution is no eternal God-given truth.
It really makes a difference where you grow up and to what ideas you are exposed. For the better or the worse.
Here in the USA we seldom wave state flags or chant the names of states. Maybe in Texas I could see that happening. I do recommend being the Texas of Europe.
That tends to be the opposite goal of those nationalistic flag-wavers.
As much as i despise patriotic displays, i still think they can offer great value as a lesser evil when even more dangerous group pride identities (e.g. religious or ethnic radicalization) are just waiting to fill the gap for those in need. Not only the american, but also the french or british group identities are much more accessible than for example german (much of national identity defined by difficult relationship with history, newcomers don't share that heritage) or belgian (much of national identity defined by being of either flemish or wallonian ethnicity, newcomers are neither).
We frown upon these things not because of what happened, we frown upon them because of what we don't want to happen again. The past might be long gone, but the future is always right around the corner.
Not yet anyway.
Fly a German flag from a pole in your front yard. Really! People here in the USA do it sometimes. (or go European, or both if you want to treat Germany like Americans treat states)
Find something good in the news and celebrate it. I checked the news today. OK, maybe today isn't a great day for Germany, because the best I found was this:
Uh, well, it's something. Celebrate it. Germany! Germany! Germany!
Be sure to also check the French and Russian news in case a bit of Schadenfreude is called for. When you find something suitable, wave your flag and say: Germany! Germany! Germany!
Osama Bin Laden doesn't deserve any civil person's remorse. He helped orchestrate the murder of 3000 civilians. Give no pause to people who have absolutely no respect for the civilized world and cannot be reasoned with. The world will not have peace as long as religious extremists exist. Osama Bin Laden's existence would have only brought more senseless violence.
My first thought is, then what if people around the world started to care about spaceflight to the same degree they pay attention to the World Cup? But considering the broad geopolitical implications tied up in spaceflight and ballistic missile technology, this does become weird and problematic in just a few steps, doesn't it? Hopefully, from here on out, all of the jingoism will just be noise, and all of the major wars will be, at worst, cold.
The chanting seems a bit over the top, especially for a private company mission to serve the International Space Station.
This makes me always see the advancement of SpaceX advancement of humanity, not just a single country.
But judging from the U-S-A chanting, not everyone at SpaceX thinks this way.
I'm pretty unpatriotic, but I still recognize that people can be patriotic and aim for the advancement of all humanity.
I can certainly understand how those from other countries, particularly Europe, might view the USA chants as over the top nationalism, but I think it's a stretch to assume that those taking part in it somehow view today’s accomplishments as solely the purview of Americans.
I was born in Eastern Europe and while I immigrated to the US at an early age, I have at times felt uncomfortable by the more visible aspects of American patriotism. Since it was brought up in a post above, I found the widespread celebrations of UBL’s death to be distasteful and jingoistic, and this is coming from someone who has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq multiple times. I too feel that it can, in certain contexts, come off as overly nationalistic. Context is, as usual, important though, and in this context I view the SpaceX USA chants as pretty harmless.
I also find the insinuation that the employees taking part in these chants are guilty of nationalistic fervor to be insulting. There are many employees here, myself included, who didn’t have the good grace to be born in the US but have nonetheless adopted America as our homes and are now allowed to work on some of the coolest space launch vehicles in existence. The fact that some might express themselves in this manner doesn’t bother me, even if it isn’t something I would do myself. I for one don’t partake in the USA chants, although this arguably has as much to do with my relatively low key personality as it does with a conscious choice to refrain from outward shows of patriotism. I’m the kind of person that would politely clap at a touchdown or slam dunk rather than yell and cheer. One of my supervisors however, a Canadian citizen and US permanent resident, has a much more boisterous personality than I do and always joins in these chants. I know one or two Brits here who do as well.
It’s also important to understand the atmosphere during these launches. SpaceX isn’t exactly the easiest place to work, I just finished a 58 hour work week ending in a 12 hour shift before launch, I was not alone in this regard. People are tired, stressed, and somewhat on edge. While the live feed featuring the employees may look staged or choreographed, I can assure you that their reactions aren’t. The moments after a successful launch are an incredible relief and you can feel the energy in the building. The excitement is infectious and if that boils over into chants of U-S-A then so be it.
I’m also not sure what could be done to prevent this from happening. Again, those from other countries might view these chants as strange, but they really are very innocuous here in the US. I don’t see it as overly nationalistic, but again, context is key. Even as someone who doesn’t actively take part in them, if we got word from above that these chants were no longer allowed or discouraged, I would be extraordinarily pissed. Employees are already sacrificing a lot for this mission, they don’t need their spontaneous celebrations micromanaged.
SpaceX is an American company, located within the borders of the US, staffed largely by US citizens or permanent residents, funded largely(exclusively?) by US taxpayers, investors and companies, relying primarily on a US educated workforce, and 60 years of American led R&D in space technology. If all of that culminates in a successful launch and first stage recovery on a freakin’ ship in the middle of the ocean, I for one, can certainly excuse the USA chants.
I hope that my post doesn't come across as overly defensive or sensitive, it has been a long week and I certainly may be guilty of being overly emotional, but it’s always somewhat disheartening to see a thread relating to a successful SpaceX mission turn into an admonishment of perceived American nationalism.
Maybe we should get one, but for now, that's it.
Also, I liked the running commentary between the various reporters. It almost felt like a sporting event.
I'd guess the fuel is very nearly depleted at landing. This would put the center of mass somewhere fairly low on the stage, close to the engines which are dense, heavy things.
This means that the landed stage isn't as susceptible to toppling as it looks. At minimum, it would have to tilt so far that the CoM went beyond the line connecting the ends of two adjacent landing legs and tilt along a radius that crossed the midpoint of that line. Other tilt vectors would require more tilt to overturn the stage, based on CoM & landing leg geometry.
Wind loads could assist a tipover. The stage is ~12 feet diameter, it's really tall, it presents lots of sail area and it's pretty light at landing. Wind force would be a fun estimation to do.
They both have their "plans" on what to do, and the rocket basically is doing everything from what it can "see". There is no back-and-forth communication happening at all.
Awesome to watch.
For me, the really amazing thing is that if SpaceX has been pricing their launches to cover their costs (and I realize that is a big if), they have been developing the re-usable tech on the back of those flights. And now they have 5 (or 6) test flights where two were successful that is moving that tech forward. Developing it on top of an already profitable space flight business, that is pretty amazing.
So yes, the launches themselves are profitable.
My only problem with this whole thing: Weyland-Yutani Corporation sounds so much cooler than SpaceX.
(Take a look at e.g. http://flightsoftware.jhuapl.edu/files/2012/FSW12_McComas.pd... which is NASAs approach to reusing the typical architecture for flight software)
Rolling upgrades, artifact transport, and cleaner host machine alone can give you extra donut and YouTube time. Also doing forensics can be easier knowing the a specific container is at fault.
About the clean base host, One doesnt have to install anything really. No worries about runtimes, supporting libs, etc. This allows new machines to start even faster from zero.
More donut and YouTube time.
Also I don't see how it eliminates runtimes and libraries.
That same container can move from my desktop to any environment.
I'd love to hear from naval archs or hydrodynamicists who are working on this (surely there are some).
Once they have an economically meaningful recovery rate, advanced landing pad features might still become a tool to get some margin of error or to reduce the rocket mass overhead necessary for landing. But right now, just tipping over instead of dropping like a meteor (or stopping in mid-air like a cartoon animal, then dropping) is still the goal, not the most pressing danger.
The next step would be some way to secure the booster, post landing, in a structurally supportive way, on the barge. I can't wait to see how they pull that off.
I was also quite pleased that they had solid video of it coming into land with a drone that was hovering off barge. That was a brilliant move on SpaceX's part.
When I launched the replay of the live stream at whatever point it was, when I heard the wild cheering I knew they had finally landed a first-stage at sea before I even saw the footage of that supersonic toothpick landing.
Very, very inspirational.
On one hand, I can appreciate the technical performance like everyone, and I do believe this may have a great impact for sending things to space, including humans.
On the other hand, SpaceX's main goal of having men living on mars to me sounds completely insane. No matter how cheap is the trip to mars, I would not live there as I could not afford to, and I doubt anyone on Earth currently can. Maybe a scientific base with public funding would make some sense but it would still be so insanely expensive that it'd be tough to sell to the tax payer. And it's clearly not what SpaceX has in mind, anyway. Also I don't share the fear of an upcoming cataclysm that would make Earth worse a place where to live than mars. I just don't get it.
For reference: https://youtu.be/3YDnGHaXdxw
I truly believe the whole point of going to Mars is to challenge ourselves. New skills will be required; new passions will be planted in future generations. The benefits will dwarf the cost of the program.
But above everything, humans are wired to explore. Obviously we're exploring things in many other fields, but "exploring other planets" is a different kind of exploration.
Climate change? Widespread torture of thousands and thousands of marginalized classes of humans all over the world? Healthcare? Those are vastly more challenging than Mars.
I think the appeal of Mars is that it's somewhat challenging, but it's not messy at all. It appeals to people who can't stomach chaotic systems. They need a clear goal and they need "dumb" opponents, i.e. the laws of physics, materials science, etc. In the face of an intelligent opponent, the challenge becomes too high and they lose interest.
The idea of putting together a solution to a problem with known constraints, and then finding out those constraints changed, or worse yet there was active interference from another human is soul crushing to these people, so they retreat to difficult engineering problems where they will be challenged but not surprised.
There will be no benefit if nobody can pay the costs.
> I truly believe the whole point of going to Mars is to challenge ourselves.
SpaceX does not just want to go to mars, they want to have people permanently live there.
> But above everything, humans are wired to explore.
The point of exploration is to discover new places and what they look like. We know what mars is and what it looks like. We're currently exploring it. Sure, bringing humans there will make us know a bit more about it, and in that sense that's still exploration, but that's very marginal an improvement over what's currently done.
Also, exploration is a scientific endeavor, and as I said SpaceX's goals are clearly not just scientific. It's that non-scientific part I find insane.
As a child I was fascinated by technology and sci-fi, because of the unlimited potential held by it. It seemed to me like people could go anywhere, achieve anything, if only they set their minds to it. Growing up involved being told over and over again about all the things that aren't possible, all the ways in which that is naive thinking. The bar of what could be achieved was constantly lowered.
All that lowering of the bar? It is BS. Things are only impossible because they're believed to be impossible. We don't need more technology, we don't need more resources, we just need to believe we can do better. SpaceX is demonstrating that with every launch. Any spacefaring company could have done what they did, but they simply lacked the ambition and the belief. When (not if) they put people on mars and turn a profit doing so, it is a challenge to the rest of us to raise the bar in our own line of work.
The "How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars" acknowledges the part on how it would be made affordable. It is similar, but not the same, as Tesla's plan to make EVs affordable.
The question then remains, will it happen, rather than how it would be possible. As I said, I am skeptical about the Mars plan too, despite the plan.
I can already see the future - being a remote web dev on Mars! If you don't work hard enough they might cut off your oxygen. What a motivator! Ayn Rand would be proud
Or maybe they'll be all applying for research grants (wouldn't THAT be ironic)
Everything we've worked for during the entire history of the human existence can be erased in an instant. All other benefits of being interplanetary aside, redundancy is important.
It was in the post I was replying to.
> It's a species-ending impact or some other localized global catastrophe that would cause the loss of 100,000 years of culture, art, and history.
Do you plan on building museums on mars or something? Whatever you plan on doing on mars in order to preserve "culture, art and history", you can do it for much, much less money on Earth.
> Everything we've worked for during the entire history of the human existence can be erased in an instant.
That's a gross exaggeration.
If you want to see more interesting space activity than a bunch of comsats, some probes, and the ISS, you need to make space a lot cheaper. That's been stagnant for a very long time, and what we saw today is the second step towards something that promises to cut the cost of space by an order or magnitude or more. We're finally seeing something that might make space something more like aviation, not just a bunch of national prestige projects with a handful of commercial uses.
If people are living on Mars in 50 years (which looks more and more likely now) then it'll be because of this, far more so than the legacy of Apollo.
Fascinating how it seems to bounce or slide at the end. Also: WOW!
The SpaceX hype is just a logical continuation of that, IMO.