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SpaceX - The Future of Space Travel, Exploration, and Commerce

dubyahitedubyahite Member UncommonPosts: 2,483

Hey folks, 

 

Just wanted to gush a little bit about the current SpaceX mission to the ISS, and see if anyone around here follows that kind of thing. 

 

As I type this right now, the Dragon spacecraft created by SpaceX is about to become the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International space station.

 

I am just in awe of this company and the successful missions they have completed. What this company has done is nothing short of revolutionary.

 

The fact that a company that was founded about 10 years ago, is right now docking a spacecraft with the ISS is just amazing to me. And what's more is that they can do it for about one tenth of the cost that the shuttle was able to do it for. 

The shuttle was able to launch cargo into space for about $20,000 US dollars per pound. A very expensive proposition. The craft that SpaceX launched earlier this week was able to accomplish the task for about $2,000 per pound. 

That sounds great but the company plans to take things even further! They plan on creating reusable rockets and vehicles that can land on a landing pad similar to a helipad. They are aiming to have this technology ready within a decade. 

They aim to bring the cost down to about $100 dollars per pound with this technology.

Imagine the day that this becomes reality. A company out there will have a set price of what it will take to get anything into space. You could make an entire business plan based around this. 

 

This is a very meaningful event. If SpaceX is successful in their future plans, the possibilities are endless. The space race used to be between governments and militaries of various countries. The privatization of space travel means that there is a new space race. The race to bring costs down, to open up space travel to the world, to create technologies that have never been possible before.

The space race has been reborn. There are many other companies working on private space travel in some form or another right now with many different technologies. SpaceX is just the first of these companies to reach orbit. Soon others will follow.

 

I could not be more excited. More than any other time are the opportunities available to humanity in space opening up. The SpaceX vehicles have performed very well. They are making leaps and bounds in their technology.  They have reached the same level of technology as NASA in a decade, and even surpassing it in some ways.

They already have a more powerful rocket being created that will rival the power of the most powerful launch rockets ever created. In the not so distant future SpaceX is likely to have some of if not the most advanced launch capabilities in the world.

 

 

If you haven't followed the SpaceX story, check out Nasa.gov or SpaceX.com and check it out. It's amazing stuff.

 

What do you guys think about all this? 

 

Update: Just watched the ISS capture the Dragon with the robotic arm. Awesome stuff. First private company ever to launch their own spacecraft and be captured by the ISS. 

 

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Comments

  • LaserwolfLaserwolf Member Posts: 2,383

    Proud it's an American Company, a little bummed that it's company and not our government, and depressed that I'm probably going to be dead well before the average person can vacation in space. 

    image

  • dubyahitedubyahite Member UncommonPosts: 2,483
    Yeah, and there are more American companies workin on this as well.

    I'm pretty sure that SpaceX rockets are manufactured entirely in America as well, which is something NASA could never claim.

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  • BrenelaelBrenelael Member UncommonPosts: 3,821

    In fact I was just talking with my teenaged son about this earlier today. He really didn't understand what this holds for the future of space exploration and development so I explained it to him like this. What drove the technology revolution during the latter half of the 20th century was in fact the Cold War. This included the space race as keeping ahead of the Soviets was always a primary concern of the US government. With the end of the Cold War we saw NASA funding cuts which lead to the space race totally stagnating with the Shuttle program. This has been the case for well over 20 years now.

     

    With the commercialization of space exploration this will restart the space race with a renewed viggor we haven't seen since the 1960's. Now instead of Cold War paranoia it will be good old fashion business competition that will drive technology forward to bigger and better things. There are untold riches to be made out in space and these companies know this. Shuttling freight and passengers is only the beginning.

     

    Space mining of the Moon and of near Earth asteroids will rake in billions for these companies once they get the cost to orbit down to a reasonable level and they will. NASA was never really concerned too much with cost to orbit as they always had whatever money they needed to achieve that goal. Big Business will get those costs cut dramatically to maximize profits because that is what they do best.

     

    This is the dawn of a whole new era of space exploration. What we've seen in the last week is absolutely nothing compared to the years to come. Once we see several companies competing with each other this race will really take off. Right now we are still sitting in the starting gate of what should prove to be one hell of a race.

     

    Bren

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  • dubyahitedubyahite Member UncommonPosts: 2,483
    Great post Bren. I love your description to your son.

    Your point about the last week being nothing compared tothe future is spot on. These companies are still in the process of duplicating NASA's successes in the past and the things that we have already accomplished.

    Sure, docking with the ISS is nothing out of the ordinary normally, but the fact that this young company has pulled it off so quickly and with great proficiency is amazing to m, and for a fraction of the cost!

    SpaceX and several other companies are on the verge of matching the capabilities of all of the space agencies in the world. They will rapidly overtake them very soon.

    In the relatively near future we are going to see things happen that just weren't possible before. Things that we have dreamed about for decades. Once this stuff gets going we are going to see some amazing stuff I believe.

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  • dubyahitedubyahite Member UncommonPosts: 2,483
    Oh and your point about the cold war is a great one as well.

    If it weren't for the cold war, we may not have this fancy Internet stuff we are sofind of. Darpanet was designed to survive nuclear attacks for this very reason.

    If it weren't for that, the Internet might have been created but it wouldn't be the distributed open network it is today, and probably wouldn't be nearly as empowering to humanity as it has been.

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  • DOGMA1138DOGMA1138 Member UncommonPosts: 476
    Originally posted by dubyahite
    Oh and your point about the cold war is a great one as well.

    If it weren't for the cold war, we may not have this fancy Internet stuff we are sofind of. Darpanet was designed to survive nuclear attacks for this very reason.

    If it weren't for that, the Internet might have been created but it wouldn't be the distributed open network it is today, and probably wouldn't be nearly as empowering to humanity as it has been.

    The Internet was never designed to be a "destributed"(on a global scale) or "open" network, it became one despite the US trying to control it.

    Look how much effort it took to "force" the US to release control of the root domain name servers and allow countries to host actually root servers and not just copies.

    The GPS is situation is even worse there is a reason why Russia, China, India Japan and the EU are operating their own, or launching new sat-nav systems(even global ones). GPS was intended to be a military system it was made public after the US was preasured to make it one after the Korean-Air inicdent in 88. And still it can shut it down at any point, rencode the transmitions, or change the signal offest to make it unusable to any one else besides them. During the invasion of Iraq and Afganistan there were delibirate "blackouts" which were felt across parts of europe, ME, and south-east asia.

    The US control and regulation over some techologies was and still is quite horrible...

     

  • BrenelaelBrenelael Member UncommonPosts: 3,821

    Actually you're both wrong. The ARPANET was originally designed as a research network to tie computers together at several different colleges around the nation. DARPA funded the program but it was more geared toward Research and Development than Command and Control at the time. The reason it was designed as a distributed network was simply because computer hardware of the late 60's to early 70's was temperamental at best. The design was distributed so that if any major hub went down due to hardware failures the data could be redistributed around the malfunction. It wasn't until the RAND corperation made a study of the network years later that the nuclear survivability subject was brought into it. Nuclear survivability was a side benefit and not a design goal. This is one of the major myths surounding the ARPANET project.

     

    Now can we get back on topic?

     

    Bren

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  • dubyahitedubyahite Member UncommonPosts: 2,483
    Originally posted by Brenelael

    Actually you're both wrong. The ARPANET was originally designed as a research network to tie computers together at several different colleges around the nation. DARPA funded the program but it was more geared toward Research and Development than Command and Control at the time. The reason it was designed as a distributed network was simply because computer hardware of the late 60's to early 70's was temperamental at best. The design was distributed so that if any major hub went down due to hardware failures the data could be redistributed around the malfunction. It wasn't until the RAND corperation made a study of the network years later that the nuclear survivability subject was brought into it. Nuclear survivability was a side benefit and not a design goal. This is one of the major myths surounding the ARPANET project.

     

    Now can we get back on topic?

     

    Bren

    I have been owned. Lol

     

    Anyways, SpaceX style, I watched the docking and hatch opening and all that stuff as it happened on NASA.gov.  Stuff was cool. 

     

    I can't wait to see the Falcon Heavy in action. 

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