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Going forward I'd expect some slowdown

Slowdown in funding or launch pace?

SpaceX is cutting launch costs significantly. I suspect that many satellite projects that weren't viable before will become viable now, thus increasing launch pace.




A quote from BulgariaSat (launched 2 days ago):

“People don’t realize that, for small countries and small companies like us, without SpaceX, there was no way we would ever be able to even think about space."

"With them, it was possible. We got a project. I think, in the future, it’s going to be even more affordable because of reusability.”


That's kind of odd, to me, since the Russians aren't that much more expensive than SpaceX, and the pricey bit is usually the payload.


The Russians are only at that price point due to the competition from SpaceX, but the big problem with Proton is the high insurance premiums due to their reliability issues.


Does anyone know what Proton insurance costs these days?


Perhaps it was a combination of low price (even lower since they got a re-used first stage) as well as the option to go rather soon (again, due to the re-used first stage). Don't know how full other launch providers' manifests are at this point.


Slowdown in development pace I believe.

Not to take anything away at all, but a large part of the rocket development until now was based on an existing knowledge base from NASA.

Going forward, there's going to be more and more uncharted territory, so things will likely progressively slow down, relative to the astonishingly fast development pace up until this point.


That premise doesn't inherently follow at all. Quite the opposite.

The uncharted territory combined with Musk & Bezos being willing to do audacious things with billions of dollars, is why breakthroughs are about to accelerate again. With scale and greater R&D capabilities, SpaceX will (perhaps along with Blue Origin and others) be responsible for the next great leap forward in space technology - finally.

Whereas the US Government launch platforms, through NASA and ULA, had been extremely stagnant in several areas that SpaceX & Co are operating in, due to eg wild (but typical) Congressional incompetence (constantly shifting goals, setting up the context where ULA was granted a monopoly (again due to Congressional incompetence or worse)). The Space Shuttle was an absurd production in all regards, it set US launch progress back decades due to the hyper bloat / cost that was entirely unnecessary. The Shuttle was the space equivalent of the F35, a boondoggle that isn't really great at anything and costs several times what it should have. Now that the incompetent Congress is much further removed when it comes to deciding which way to go (how to get there, why, etc etc etc), space tech will accelerate again.


Consider the capability they had with Saturn V and Apollo. Also, compare how easy it was to make Skylab happen, compared to the ISS. With the Saturn V, a smaller people launcher and Apollo they could have done so much more.

Imagen the next Space station after Skylab, they could have launched 4 Saturn V and launch a Skylab size station each time, creating a vastly bigger station then ISS at a minimal cost.

Now they are recreating the capability with SLS and Orion at a cost that is so absurdly high that its hard to even wrap you head around the numbers, specially when compared what the pay for COTS and CommercialCrew.


Anyone who's in DC should check out the Skylab module in the Air & Space Museum. It's remarkable how big it is.


I have not seen it, but I think the internal volume is very impressive. Compared to the ISS that looks more connected mining shafts.


Yeah, I accept this argument, but I guess the point I was trying to make is that, as always, they're standing on the shoulders of giants, and Musk is the first to acknowledge the huge contribution from NASA towards their success.

I'm rooting for them though to keep doing what they're doing.


Not to take anything from NASA, but a large part of their rocket development was based on an existing knowledge base from the Nazis. NASA has done little to make successful reusable space technology, and abandoned any attempts with the SLS.


Liquid fuel rocket technology initially came from privately funded Goddard and the privately funded Society For Space Travel (VfR) that was later funded by the German Army Weapons Department.

See "V-2" by Walter Dornberger

The V2 had solved the major problems with scaling up a liquid fueled rocket, such as the turbo-pumps and the boundary layer cooling of the nozzle.


Well, Germans. I wouldn't necessarily call Wernher von Braun a Nazi.


He wasn't just a member of the NSDAP, he also joined the SS. He's on the record suggesting the use of forced labour of concentration camp prisoners to build his rockets. That's at least an 8/10 on the Nazi scale. Don't whitewash his past just because he went on to build the moon rocket.

It's also interesting to see how much more apologetic the English Wikipedia article on von Braun is compared to its German counterpart.


He _was_ a nazi party member. We don't know if he really _meant_ it though.


Well, the choice was basically,

* Become a member of the Nazi Party

* Death

After WWII he didn't:

* Commit Suicide

* Exile himself to South America

* Face trials for War Crimes

He did:

* Become a public figure used to sell the space program

* Help an Allied power with extremely advanced military and scientific intel

* Help put someone on the Moon in a completely unrealistic time frame

* Become privy to extremely top secret information

I'm going with, "not a Nazi" on this one, personally.


> Well, the choice was basically, > * Become a member of the Nazi Party > * Death

No it wasn't. This is what Nazi's say to excuse their decisions and behavior. There were millions of people in Germany in both industry and the military who were not Nazi's and survived just fine.

Note that unlike Von Braun many other Germany scientists and weapon designers were not members of the Nazi party (let alone enthusiastic members)

Becoming a Nazi and joining the party is what a person consciously did either because they believed in the ideology or they wanted to collaborate to further their careers.

Van Braun being washed of his Nazi part is a conscious part of a US government propaganda campaign as Von Braun having safe haven in the USA in the 1950s was very controversial at the time. It's as simple as the USA overlooking his Nazi past and excusing it (and actively covering it up) because the cold war necessitated it.

edit: forgot to mention, Von Braun wasn't just a member of the Nazi party - he was a member of the SS - there is zero feasible explanation for becoming an SS member. There is also the small matter of the war crimes he took part in with the enslaved labor at his factory in Peenemünde.


>Van Braun being washed of his Nazi part is a conscious part of a US government propaganda campaign as Von Braun having safe haven in the USA in the 1950s was very controversial at the time.

I honestly thought this was common knowledge amongst people who know who Von Braun was.

He was a Nazi collaborator and party member in full blood. As you noted, explaining his actions with the camps he ran would be an interesting exercise for any apologist.


> There were millions of people in Germany in both industry and the military who were not Nazi's and survived just fine

Well, let's talk about that. How many of those millions who were both in both industry and the military AND ALSO were rocket scientists?

> Note that unlike Von Braun many other Germany scientists and weapon designers were not members of the Nazi party (let alone enthusiastic members)

For example? I'm not here to post up your argument.

> Becoming a Nazi and joining the party is what a person consciously did either because they > believed in the ideology or they wanted to collaborate to further their careers.

It's not apocryphal to say that full German citizens not persecuted for the racial background joined the Nazi party to escape suspicion of infidelity to the Führer's master plan of Aryan takeover, especially if you were an intellectual. Let's bring up another member of the Nazi party: Oskar Schindler. Tell me your criticism of Mr. Schindler. Was he acting in a purely selfish way?

> There is also the small matter of the war crimes he took part in with the enslaved labor at his factory in Peenemünde.

OK, let's talk about another German with the scientific mind whose knowledge and genius was enough to kill thousands of people: Albert Einstein. Do we blame him for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Cold War, and the tens of thousands of live nuclear warheads? His choice was similar: Death (as a Jew in Germany), or help make the A Bomb. Should he have chosen, "Death"?


> For example? I'm not here to post up your argument.

Easy as looking at the other V programs. Fritz Gosslau was the designer of the V1 - not a Nazi. August Coenders was the chief designer of the V3 - also not a Nazi. Robert Lusser worked on engines - not a Nazi (ended up at NASA). Hans von Ohain, designer of the jet engine and worked on the ME232 - not a Nazi. Walter Thiel was the head of the research lab at Peenemünde - not a nazi. Klaus Riedel worked on the rocket with Von Braun - not a Nazi.

All of Von Braun's deputies also weren't Nazi's (at least in the research part, I think it is fair to say that his subordinates in the SS were Nazi's).

It would actually be easier to list those of the Wehrmacht and in science / industry who were Nazi's (or were sympathetic to them) - since most certainly were not. Most famously that would be Albert Spier, the Krupp family, Erich Schumann of the nuclear program, Göring, etc.

Most of the military high command weren't Nazi's (or technically, sympathetic to the Nazi's since it was illegal to be both in the military and a member of a political party). They despised Hitler, as they despised Bizmark before him - because the German military had always been famously independent of civilian leadership and its own organization. Hitler taking the reigns of military strategy was the antithesis of how these guys had been bought up and trained.

> Tell me your criticism of Mr. Schindler.

He was a Nazi, until he changed sides. He assisted the takeover of the Sudetenland with his spying.

Schindler regretted his actions and worked against the Nazi's. Von Braun never did that - he just tried to minimize his role. Plus even Schindler never joined the SS.


None of those designers had to join the Nazi party or SS because Von Braun did it for them. He was told he had to suck up to Himmler to protect the program. He was obviously ambitious and it suited his ambition well, but he was also protective of his team.

And Von Braun ended up being arrested by the Gestapo for perceived disloyalty. Hitler only approved his release after Speers entreaties that Von Braun was indespensable.


Stop using the greengrocer's apostrophe. The plural of Nazi is Nazis, with no apostrophe.

Acceptable uses of the apostrophe:

  possessives
  contractions
  abbreviations
  glottal stops
  disambiguation in transliterations
Yes, I am aware of the moniker applied to those that nitpick grammatical errors.


>It's not apocryphal to say that full German citizens not persecuted for the racial background joined the Nazi party to escape suspicion of infidelity to the Führer's master plan of Aryan takeover, especially if you were an intellectual

This is simply false, as the other poster has given you many examples of. This is once again straight out of propaganda and an attempt to normalize Nazi war crimes.

>OK, let's talk about another German with the scientific mind whose knowledge and genius was enough to kill thousands of people: Albert Einstein. Do we blame him for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Cold War, and the tens of thousands of live nuclear warheads? His choice was similar: Death (as a Jew in Germany), or help make the A Bomb. Should he have chosen, "Death"?

Huh? What are you talking about? Albert Einstein was not forced to help J. Robert Oppenheimer. He returned to the US in 1933 and stayed there as a professor after his property was seized by the Nazis in Germany and they put a death mark on his head. Six years later in 1939 he agreed with Hungarian scientists to warn the US of German atomic weaponization research, and he himself made these choices, leaning on diplomatic favor to do so.

It was only a year before his death that he admitted it was a great mistake; but felt justified in the time he made the decision given the alternative of the Germans developing the weapon first.

I really have no idea where you are getting your alternative history facts, but they are not only incorrect but often run counter to what actually occurred.


> Albert Einstein. Do we blame him for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Cold War, and the tens of thousands of live nuclear warheads?

Well, no. He had nothing to do with any of those things, except for signing a letter that someone else wrote, telling Roosevelt about the possibilities of nuclear fission. He didn't discover fission, and was never part of the Manhattan Project, or post-war and cold war nuclear weapons research and development.


>Van Braun being washed of his Nazi part is a conscious part of a US government propaganda campaign as Von Braun having safe haven in the USA in the 1950s was very controversial at the time. It's as simple as the USA overlooking his Nazi past and excusing it (and actively covering it up) because the cold war necessitated it.

First I've ever heard of that. Do you have any proof of that? If it was very controversial, there's sure to be articles and discussions about it, right?


Two books cover it extensively, Apollo[0] and Red Moon Rising[1] - I can't remember the exact date, but at some point even Albert Einstein wrote a letter opposing Von Braun.

By the mid-50s his history had been all washed over and forgotten, and it wasn't until the 90s that the issue was broached again.

There is no reason for the coverup to continue today or for anybody to still believe it - there is a lot of testimony about Von Braun overseeing hangings and the deaths of thousands of slave workers. Had he not been useful for other purposes it is almost certain that he would have hung at Nuremberg.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Apollo-Race-Moon-Charles-Murray/dp/06...

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Red-Moon-Rising-Sputnik-Rivalries/dp/...


That it's the first you've heard of it doesn't mean Google suddenly stopped working or that the GP is under any obligation to provide you with proof.


Aside from the serious history stuff that you haven't even tried to find, it was the topic of a song by Tom Lehrer, America's greatest political satirist:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/wernher-von-braun-lyrics-tom-lehr...

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


Von Braun became an SS member when told he had to to protect the program. He was obviously ambitious and it suited his ambition well, but he was also protective of his team.

And Von Braun ended up being arrested by the Gestapo for perceived disloyalty. Hitler only approved his release after Speers entreaties that Von Braun was indespensable.


  >Well, the choice was basically,
  >  * Become a member of the Nazi Party
  >  * Death
That's not true. No more than 10% of the German populace were Nazi party members at any given time. In fact, it was illegal for soldiers to join political parties until after the war started, and even when they were allowed to join most of them didn't.

Of course joining the party is always your ticket to wealth and power in a totalitarian system, so it's not surprising an administrator like von Braun would be a party member even if he was completely disinterested in the party ideology. It's also not surprising he joined the SS when pressured directly by Himmler to do so. Himmler wasn't the kind of guy you said "no" to.

To all accounts he supported the party in the '30s because the Nazis were promising to reverse the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles. And he probably soured on the party by the time he was arrested and accused of sabotaging the program he was running (for which he could have been shot).

Clearly he knew what was going in in Mittelwerk. How much culpability you assign is an open question.

And it's not surprising he didn't off himself or hide after the war. He had something very valuable to offer whomever took him in, so that's not very dispositive as evidence of innocence.


The choice was becoming a member for cozing up with all the important decisionmakers of the time or giving up getting any of that incredibly fancy (at the time) rocketry research funded. He clearly loved his rockets, to the point where he did not mind becoming a nazi for them, or a yankee or whatever other affiliation that might have allowed him do do his research.


I think what you're saying is "because the choice was become a Nazi or death, he became a Nazi but was also not a Nazi"

Uh. Others below disagree with the "or death" part and back up with citations, but ignoring that, the statement is not particularly logical on its own terms.


Well he was arrested by the Nazis and could have been executed had Speer not interceded.


I'm sure that Nazis have arrested errant Nazis from time to time. Being arrested by a cop doesn't mean that you cannot be a cop yourself. And it seems like the Nazis paranoia levels were high: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun#Arrest_and_r...


That's just evidence that he needed to be a party member and SS member to protect himself and his team. Because he wasn't more cooperative with Himmler, he got arrested under charges that Himmler trumped up.


To make a bad analogy: Werner von Braun running the US spaceprogram is about as controversial as making Osama Bin Laden the building inspector for NYC after 9/11.


I don't know if he aligned with the Nazi goals necessarily but he certainly loved his rockets enough to look over the fact that tens of thousands of forced laborers worked under terrible conditions for his toys and thousands of people died in Britain.




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