Three boosters will return?


"Musk means that if the launch fails, the Falcon Heavy, currently standing at the Florida launch pad where Apollo astronauts began the first journey to the moon, could end up in a massive explosion over the Atlantic Ocean. 

"There's a lot of risk associated with Falcon Heavy," Musk said at a conference in 2017. "Real good chance that the vehicle doesn't make it to orbit." "


 Now THIS will be a real pilgrimage for that "midnight cherry roadster."  I guess he is tired of the car.  I continue to be surprised and pleased that there still are people like Musk among us.  The hiccups in the Tesla car building bidness are unpleasant but I  think they will overcome that with the construction of the company's Shanghai plant.  I am very keen to see if all three booster cores can be returned to Terra for re-use.

I suppose Musk intends to leave his bones on Barsoom.  pl

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31 Responses to Three boosters will return?

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Classic Betteridge’s law.
    Only someone like Musk could hype the positives from the possible/likely destruction of $ millions of hardware paid for by his investors. Imagine if Koralev had tried the same thing with his backers. But I guess rocketry was a more serious business back then.
    I wish this modern day pied piper and his Mars colony the best of luck, but my own bones will not be leaving this beautiful planet.

  2. Laura says:

    We live near Vandenberg and love watching the launches of Space X. Musk is indeed a valiant risk-taker and retains a boyish enjoyment of his own adventures. This is not a man to rest on his laurels! Go Tesla!

  3. turcopolier says:

    My parents retired to Lompoc. Do you know the “Hitching Post” cowboy steak house in Casmalia? pl

  4. blue peacock says:

    I wish this modern day pied piper and his Mars colony the best of luck

    Elon Musk is the classic Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Selling “vaporware” is the shtick that is used many a time. Having said that, there is real innovation going on because of the unique ecosystem of venture capital, tech entrepreneurs and the engineers that make it all happen. The past track record of creating significant market capitalization drives mezzanine & late stage capital. Some incredible franchises have been created over the past 30 years.
    If Musk wasn’t a “hypemeister” SpaceX wouldn’t garner half the attention. This is required to push the envelope. Even if SpaceX accomplishes only a third of what his “vision” pronouncements are, it would be a huge leap forward.
    Tesla on the other hand could be a bust if the capital markets tighten. Even with the huge taxpayer benefit on each car sold they lose money on every car. The real competition will be coming out in force with the 2020 model year when Mercedes, VW, Volvo, Toyota, Honda, etc with long experience in automobile production and distribution start shipping EVs in volume. And remember Tesla is not only doing EVs, it absorbed Solar City when it was hitting the ropes to protect Musk’s investment there. The firm bleeds cash and needs to constantly finance itself.

  5. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree. Any way, these chemical rockets are inadequate to the task; one needs nuclear-powered ion ships. There could have been more progress if we did not hate one another so much.

  6. Laura says:

    turcopolier — Yes! SO good!

  7. pl,
    Reading this conjures up the image of an ME-262 on the cover of the Blue Oyster Cult album “Secret Treaties.” The pilot was a skeleton. It was a striking sketch which always stuck with me. I can see Musk’s skeleton at the wheel of that red Tesla Roadster at the rim of a crater overlooking a grand Martian vista.
    My younger son test drove a Tesla S last summer in Richmond. He swears his next car will be electric. He has a Golf GTI now. Tesla just built a 20 car recharging station only a few miles from his house.

  8. Amir says:

    He uses proven technology, namely a “copy” of the process that functioning of Moon Lander possible, paid for by the US taxpayer. He innovated by providing for inspiration and management of the introduction of preexisting higher processor power (already massively improved, e.g. pocket-size Sony CLIÉ in 2001-2005 had more computing power that the house-size Apollo Program supercomputers. That power has grown almost 100 times more, the last 15 years) to compensate for a more complex natural environment/set of parameters, on Earth. He owes American taxpayer and the government a huge debt of gratitude. I am sure he will pay his taxes when the company becomes successful, like GE does.

  9. Green Zone Café says:

    RIP John Young.
    “Young is the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times”
    What could have been if the USA had funded the space program instead of flailing around the world

  10. turcopolier says:

    Another anti-business guy. Ever use the internet? ARPA did that for you. What do you owe the US government? pl

  11. Amir says:

    I agree with you. As you stated internet grew out of DARPA and CERN, financed by the public’s taxes. As compensation, net neutrality ensures cheap access to internet, lifting the bottom for all. I am happy with the spin-off track. In the spirit of crony capitalism, this net neutrality is eliminated thanks to a Jeltsin’s mirror image.
    It would be appropriate if the captains of the industry acknowledge it with words and deeds/$ instead of profiteering from Sovietization of US system in the form of socialism for the 1 ‰ . There should be no free lunches and that is as left- as well as right wing as it gets.

  12. Amir says:

    I forgot to mention that I pay taxes to Uncle Sam and at the end of the day, I am not to serve the government but the other way around. If your questions is about what I contribute to the community and my fellow countrymen, I refer to the equivalent of 3 years of public service in an inner city hospital, where “real Americans” are mostly neither patients nor providers.
    As an example, I would like to include the treatment of a paraplegic Vietnam veteran with pressure wounds reaching to the pelvic bone, that he developed in a VA hospital. I don’t expect kudos for that as Inwas paid for it. Same goes for the top 1‰: It would be appropriate, as I mentioned in my previous post, if taxing Neo-Commissars of modern day Sovjos & Koljos, paid for the necessary investments in social and physical fabric of this country.

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    There could, but there wasn’t, we’re only human after all.
    In terms of reusable rocketry to reach earth orbit I’m very interested to see this technology get off the ground (I may have posted this before). If it does we’ll likely see the end of people trying to reuse ‘traditional’ rocket engines.
    Yet despite their evident brilliance, these guys have been toiling in relative obscurity for years. Musk is actually making it happen – even if it does go bang once in a while. IMHO we need both kinds of people and most importantly a system like blue peacock describes that can get the $$ to the most promising ideas. Without the incentives that existed during the Cold War space race, the impetus to get our species ‘multiplanet’ looks like it will continue to come from the private sector.
    I personally think sending 1,000,000 souls to Mars is nuts, primarily because Mars cannot be terraformed, as it lacks a magnetosphere. But who knows, “cannot” is not a word Musk understands, maybe he’ll make one from Tesla batteries.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I was thinking that the release of detailed designs of Project Orion could indpire improved designs for space vehicles based on nuclear power. Chemical rockets are not up to the task of exploring the solar system, much less the star systems. But who would agree to putting hydrogen bombs in Earth’s orbit?

  15. jld says:

    Interesting technology, it’s indeed utterly silly to have a rocket carrying it’s own oxidizer supply for the part of trajectory where it is still in the atmosphere and which is the hardest w.r.t. acceleration.

  16. ked says:

    Here Here! Young was the real deal, even among those having the Right Stuff. He could fly a space ship very very well, understood the centrality of safety, had a sense of humor, took the long view, & kept at it all life-long. I hope the program can keep his attitude alive.

  17. EEngineer says:

    Not as silly as you might think. Rockets going to orbit get up and out of the atmosphere ASAP to be free of it’s drag. 40,000 ft in the first minute and double that in another 30 seconds. The weight penalty of hauling all that extra plumbing isn’t worth it considering it takes 8 to 9 minute to get to LEO. Simpler and cheaper to just carry the extra oxidizer. LOX is less than $1 a gallon. The propellants are less than 1% of the cost of a launch.

  18. Lloyd D. Herod, Jr. says:

    You have no memories of the repeated failure of the Vanguards on the Launch pads? Until Von Braun took over with his (and the Army’s) Juno (modified Jupiter-C) the US was unable to orbit anything. Vanguards had 3 successful launches for 8 failures. Rocketry is extremely expensive. Musk reminds me of D. D. Harriman of Robert Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”. I wonder if Musk had read the book as a child? Perhaps the Col.remembers the Heinlein book?

  19. Lloyd D. Herod, Jr. says:

    Chemical rockets are presently the only way to put sizeable objects into earth orbit. And every object of any useful size that has been put into orbit used chemical engines to get there. The idea of using an Orion booster to place a payload into earth orbit is, well, a bit bonkers. Can you imagine the effects of multiple nuclear detonations at or near ground level? Not to mention it would be a violation of the Test Ban treaty. Orion would be practical only when used in deep space. Other propulsion systems (ion propulsion for example) only become practical once you get everything into vacuum. For those interested in the Orion drive, The author John Ringo has written a series of SF, which he calls the Troy Rising series which posits the space use of an Orion drive ship.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    I am aware of the issues regarding using Orion-type design for putting things in Earth’s Orbit and I am aware of the TBT etc.
    You are, in fact, agreeing with me, that progress in space exploration cannot be made since we hate one another; cannot trust the other side – and for good reasons – to not introduce a weapons platform into Earth’s Orbit.
    I mentioned Project Orion in order to indicate that if its designs are de-classified, smart people could refine them and improve upon them. Project Orion, in my personal opinion and based on Internet sources, is a viable stating point for a trip to nearest stars within a human life time.
    Chemical rockers, as you suggest, could be used to assemble it in space – say around the moon.
    I also had mentioned nuclear-powered ion ships; making the propellant particle’s mass smaller, delivers more thrust on an ongoing basis.
    My wider point is that you cannot go into space without nuclear power.

  21. charly says:

    The design issue with Orion is the nukes and their exact output. Neither will be de-classified and i expect the rest to be not much further than the napkin design stage.
    ps. What do you mean with nuclear power. Fussion, Fishion or decay. The only nuclear power source AFAIK that has been used in space is decay and decay has serious max. power issues.

  22. ISL says:

    Dera Colonel and Laura,
    Definitely better than the one in Buellton!

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:


  24. charly says:

    I assume only during the propulsion phase of a mission as getting cooling is a very hard problem in space. It also needs to be a very big ship to make it economical compared to solar powered ion engines

  25. Bill Herschel says:

    You want technology. Try this:
    The title does not even remotely give the subject justice. Computers have been the best chess players in the world for 20 years. The computer described in the article was given the rules of chess, played itself for 4 hours–that’s it–and proceeded to beat all the best computers handily. It had previously beaten the best human and computer Go players.
    This is something completely new. This hasn’t existed before. The possibilities are endless.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You have taught the computer a certain pattern and it can work within that design game’s rules.
    I do not believe that to be so impressive.

  27. charly says:

    The impressive part is that they do it now and not 20 years ago. Computers where fast enough back than. True, it would have taken a week instead of 4 hours but that is still faster than write a competing program the old fashion way.

  28. Bill Herschel says:

    A friend of mine said that a human, using only a pencil and a piece of paper, can do anything a computer can do. That is a true statement, but it does slide over the fact that the human would have to be immortal and very dedicated.
    More to the point, “Go experts were impressed by AlphaGo’s performance and its nonhuman play style; Ke Jie stated that “After humanity spent thousands of years improving our tactics, computers tell us that humans are completely wrong… I would go as far as to say not a single human has touched the edge of the truth of Go.” That is echoed by chess experts who say that the play of AlphaZero is neither human nor computer. It’s alien.
    Impressed? The cohort of chess and go players–who are very impressed–is small. So the decision whether to be impressed will be based on the domains other than chess and go which the computer can conquer in a short period of time. Each of us is permitted to make our own guesses as to what those domains may be… and thus how impressed to be.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A fundamental principle of metaphysics that thing cannot give rise to that which would surpass them.
    All these attempts by men – out of a sense of womb-envy – does not imply the creation of something by Man that could surpass him.
    Another gadget, another trick, like Leonardo’s mechanical contraptions for the amusement of the King.

  30. philmc says:

    SpaceX completed a WDR(wet dress rehearsal) on the Falcon Heavy today, which was only test loading of fuel. Had it been flawless we could have seen the static test which would have been a start and running of all 27 engines for 12 seconds. The static test was scrubbed for today.
    They will repeat this tomorrow, unless today’s results uncovered a needed change.
    Once the static test has been completed and all of the data analyzed, we could expect a solid launch date.

  31. philmc says:

    Static test completed today. 5 million pounds of thrust for 12 seconds.
    You have to forward to 28 minutes into the video.
    Hopefully next stop is test flight of FH and 3 core returns.
    I would bet the hotel rates in the cape area just doubled or tripled.

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