the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

SpaceX

Posted by Jeff Id on November 2, 2014

SpaceX is an amazing story.  We are witnessing space history being made in front of our eyes.  No less important than Columbus style ocean crossings, I do wonder if the public is even aware of it.   I am an aeronautical engineer and an entrepreneur myself, I see these things going on and am fascinated by the common sense approach SpaceX has taken.   I wrote after their first successful flight that SpaceX won’t lose another craft, I don’t expect any near-future rocket failures even though they expect them.   Someday it will happen, but my guess is that it will be the safest and more importantly lowest cost rocket system for the foreseeable future.

Recently they have completed two successful soft landings on the ocean surface.  The press has responded by mis-reporting the event as though these were failures with comments about the rocket “tipping over” and breaking up.   The reports miss the rather obvious point that the rocket is standing on liquid at that point and has few options other than “tipping over”.  They also miss the point that when a 14 story building tips over, it tends to rather dramatically “Break up”.  It leaves one wondering just what these reporters imagine might happen had the launch gone perfectly.???

Perhaps in reporter land, a fleet of rubber ducks would extend from the bottom and carry the booster to some white-sand beach and deliver it salt water free to its heavenly creator with none of the evil hydrocarbon fuel dripping into the water….  Is Musk the heavenly creator they imagine, hell no, but is he getting it done, hell yes.

Politicians have resisted the organization for political reasons, bloated government contracts have been awarded to their competitors, yet they continue to penetrate the industry at a rapid pace.  They are completely unstoppable, largely due to the capitalist idea of making money, and the entrepreneurial concept of simplicity.  If they go public I’m throwing a pile their way simply because it is the future we are looking at.   The actual future of humanity.

Standing a pencil end up is hard on your fingertip, yet that is what they are doing in a vertical rocket landing.  They have already repeatedly demonstrated rather difficult resupply and return of materials from the ISS — for a fractional cost of the space shuttle.  The big space companies are just beginning to react, but they are nothing more than government bloated organizations with public owners.  They have no realistic hope of changing sufficiently to compete in any substantial manner.  Full of frustrated engineers who know it can be done better and managers who’s vision is trumped by massive process, these competitors are doomed to lose badly before a big corporate reset happens.

I just want to say thanks to Mr. Musk for the fireworks show we get to watch for the second half of my life.  It should be great!

8 Responses to “SpaceX”

  1. kuhnkat said

    I believe the Rubber Ducky kept deflating in Hong Kong…

  2. jmurphy said

    “government contracts have been awarded to their competitors”… Are you really claiming SpaceX has been awarded NO gov’t contracts?

    • Jeff Id said

      Um…..no?

      • jmurphy said

        Don’t understand your original statement, nor see the point of your single-word response. SpaceX has been granted a number of gov’t contracts. Why say that their competitors have been awarded contracts in such a way that implies by omission that SpaceX has had to get by without gov’t contracts? (That may not have been your intent, but that is what a plain reading implies).

        • Marleychil said

          I think the writer are saying that SpaceX does twice the work for half the pay. Being new and not necessarily part of the institutional system, they are paying a price. But you know no good deed goes unrewarded. So, thank you for your reward and keep watching. America and the rest of the world is also watching and keeping score.

        • Brian H said

          Maroon. On the merits, those competitors were just gifted with the lion’s share of the money. SpaceX promised and delivers about twice as much per dollar spent, or more.

        • Jeff Id said

          Jmurphy,

          You seem sensitive to the fact that much of their funding comes from government contracts. They also are using certain technology designed before their time. I am hopeful that they can retain enough separation from the government to remain light-weight and responsive. There are plenty of NASA bureaucrats who are pushing for the opposite.

  3. joshv said

    I would never have believed that a reusable rocket was practical, but Musk is very close to showing it to be so.

    Having watched Carmack and Armadillo aerospace get nowhere for most of a decade, I was also very skeptical of SpaceX in the beginning, but Musk has shown he’s got the chops. He hasn’t repeated the mistakes of the past and he hasn’t tried to re-invent the rocket engine. He’s approached it more as an exercise in economics and logistics. Yes, he’s used advances in material science to make his engines and ships better, but that’s not really the key to his success.

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