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Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Johan, Apr 27, 2016.
Wow. Just wow. This is big stuff. Sending an unmanned (but man-rated) capsule to Mars just to show that it can be done is huge. Realistically, it is an awful lot of money for a private company to spend on something that will make them no money, but it will capture the entire world's attention and likely generate the funds needed for the future missions.
I had always read their plans before to be for the next cycle, with launch in 2020 and landing in 2021. This indicates they think they can go for the earlier window of opportunity. I believe it's 26 months between optimum launch dates.
How much extra thrust is necessary for Mars launch? It almost seems simple after a while.
This is encouraging to me if it begins the process of extracting Mars from the icy grip of the planetary scientists who wish (demand) that it be kept absolutely pristine so that they can complete research programs... It's an entire planet which is (or may be) suitable for colonization and population, not their private Petri dish. If the Dragon capsule were to open up and deposit a ton of highly-refined manure on the surface of the polar region, it'd be a good beginning...
Falcon heavy (1 falcon + 2 falcon 1st stages) to take one Dragon capsule + payload.
Now please correct me if I'm way off here but basically you need enough thrust to reach escape velocity going in the correct angle on the correct time to hit Mars.
This might be a throwback to Elon's first foray into space. To make this amazing they would need to fill the capsule with enough stuff to represent an entire crew. Among the stuff could be the greenhouse that Elon always wanted to use to inspire the world. How cool would that be? The extra stuff can be things needed for future expeditions. A care package for future colonists.
And yes, a Falcon Heavy is needed. The Red Dragon will have the boosters needed for a soft landing.
They should fill it with supplies for some future mission needs too. Definitely ketchup and a spare radio. Never know when a future Martian is stranded with only potatoes and they've ran out of ketchup and have no radio - maybe some Disco music too.
Lots of details:
SpaceX plans to debut Red Dragon with 2018 Mars mission | NASASpaceFlight.com
So they will be doing this with NASA. It will carry a "suite of scientific equipment."
Some of the funding for Red Dragon will come from:
NASA cuts funds for Mars landing technology work - SpaceNews.com
Which makes a lot of sense since the Dragon will already be achieving what this program is just planning.
This is disruption in action....
Just wait to see what this does to SLS...
This is so exciting! SpaceX is pushing ahead and leaving ULA and NASA behind. Basically, NASA has no choice but to cooperate with SpaceX and provide support. But I have read nothing that indicates NASA is providing any financial support. SpaceX appears to be doing this mission on their own. NASA is cutting funding of their Mars landing technology R&D program because they needed to find places to cut funding due to a reduced budget. I didn't read that the funding would be diverted to SpaceX.
So the Red Dragon capsule will obviously be left on Mars after it lands, it won't be coming back. My bet is that the landing site is the one SpaceX thinks is a likely site for the first human landing. The Red Dragon could carry some useful supplies.
I would be very interested in hearing if anyone has heard Elon take about if he envisions another unmanned mission to Mars after this one, with return of samples to earth (i.e. a rover, unmanned Ascent Vehicle and Earth Return Vehicle) before the manned mission, or if he's thinking manned mission directly after this one???
Bringing back samples to Earth before doing the manned mission seems to be the scientifically best thing to do...
By the way anyone with a red Tesla should get the licensplate REDDRAGON or REDDRGN before someone else thinks about it. In 2018 the entire world will know what that is. SpaceX will be on everyone's agenda.
First few missions will be with new Falcon 9's thereafter some unmanned missions may be used F9's to keep cost down.
Manned missions after this one? Seems like a lot of work is still required. Dragon capsules could take people down to the surface from orbit but no one is going to be making an interplanetary voyage in something so small with so little resources.
Yes! Tons of Manure and TONS of seeds... I know planetary scientists (and the search for ET) would freak, but realistically sending out manned explorations to Mars with any intent on bringing people back would be prohibitively expensive, risky and I believe, of limited yield. Where's the launch site to bring the people back into space? Mars does have an atmosphere, not like the moon.
Let's start Terraforming!!! I like one of NASA's ideas of capturing an asteroid (or comet) to learn how to do it. Then we should send it to Mars to start adding some water...
Good point. For the last two or three years I've wondered why SpaceX and NASA seem to be running along a parallel course. Just achieving a successful launch of the first Falcon Heavy later this year could be cause for more disruption. With Elon saying that the Falcon Heavy can launch payloads to just about anywhere in our solar system, perhaps the added thrust of the SLS isn't even necessary. And then we have the SpaceX Red Dragon vs. NASA's Orion. Dragon has eight built-in thrusters which can be used for launch aborts or soft landings on Mars, even on planetary moons. Orion will probably turn out fine....good for bumping up next to asteroids, circling the moon or eventually reaching Mars. But it won't really land anywhere, except back on earth. I've been a big fan of NASA since the sixties. However, it has been frustrating to witness getting stuck in LEO for forty over years, saddled with several broken political promises to venture beyond. This upstart SpaceX does promise to make things interesting.
The good thing is that there are LOTS of scientists trying to figure out the best way for humans to survive on Mars. I'm sure there are some native life forms that can survive in the harsh environment of Mars. There are probably whole scientific papers written about what to do.
What is delta-v of Red Dragon? Would this mission be possible:
From Mars capture orbit to Deimos surface: delta-v 0.9 km/s.
Rover collects samples to Dragon.
From surface to Earth (with aerobrake): 1.8 km/s
Total 2.7 km/s Probably too much...
Mother ship could bring Dragon closer to Deimos. 0.7 km/s for landing and same for return to mother ship. Total 1.4 km/s.
Perhaps too much.
Phobos is easier for Dragon (total 1.0 km/s), harder for mother ship.
Could it do 1.0 km/s?
Or at least land to Phobos? 0.5 km/s. Landing to Mars is easier, because of atmosphere.
I did not try to calculate myself. Delta-v budget - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
NASA exploring additional cooperation with SpaceX’s Red Dragon mission - SpaceNews.com
NASA doesn't want to be left out in the cold. They are finding some extra funding to throw in.
This is the part of that article that I found most interesting, quote:
If NASA is able to fly payloads on Red Dragon, Jurczyk said a particular area of interest is in situ resource utilization (ISRU), testing technologies that can extract water, oxygen, or other resources from the Martian surface or atmosphere. NASA already plans to fly an ISRU experiment on the Mars 2020 mission to convert carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen, but he said NASA is interested in other ISRU studies.
“One would be in situ resource utilization using the water in the soil at Mars to generate potable water and hydrogen and oxygen,” he said. Another experiment would be to create methane, which could be used as rocket fuel.