In Honour of SpaceX and Elon Musk

I don’t have sufficient words to describe the respect I feel for an individual and the 5000+ workers in the SpaceX (16 year old private) company who are disrupting the established space industry.

Never has high tech been so emotional.     Tears filled my eyes when I watched two of the three boosters return and land in formation.  I was not alone.  My friend Christine Negroni was one of the 100,000 people who travelled to Florida to observe the launch.  It was emotional for them as well.

Musk equates the difficulties of landing the boosters as “balancing three rubber broom sticks in a windstorm”.  It matters little that the third booster failed on its approach to the floating sea-platform landing.  Because, just like Airbus Autoland and other fly-by-wire systems, once SpaceX perfects the software logic for the thruster autoland systems, the software need never change and so the system will remain  certified forever.

This is high tech at its best.  The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful reusable rocket delivery system on Earth.  The things SpaceX have accomplished are breathtaking.  Take control and disrupt yourself before others disrupt you

Elons Musk has invested $500m in the Falcon Heavy project.   SpaceX have said they can use their reusable rocket technology put 63.8t of cargo into space for as little as $100m per launch.   NASA is quoting $1b per launch for their next platform.

Take control and disrupt yourself before others disrupt you

This event marks a new age for space work and travel.  The bold will inherit the Earth.  Rewards are commensurate with risks.

Congratulations to Elon and everyone at SpaceX.

See also:

 

Falcon Heavy (Photo Brady Kenniston @TheFavoritist)

The launch – 8 Feb 2018 (Image SpaceX)

Enjoy these images of Starman.  But remember that there can be no noise in a vacuum (space).

 

Starman live view falcon heavy spacex

SpaceX_Falcon_Heavy-Over Australia – 7Feb2018

Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. (Image Elon Musk)

See also:

14 comments

  1. Francisco Miguez Vaca · · Reply

    Dear Richard, your article on the SpaceX shows your great admiration for this remarkable project, and your strong beliefs in leadership and teamwork. Best Wishes Francisco

    1. You are correct Francisco. But also include courage and execution. Rich

      1. Francisco Miguez Vaca · ·

        Values that you have shown in spades on the QF32 incident. Come September, I’ll be getting your next book. Can’t wait for it! Francisco

      2. Thanks Francisco – neither can I. I’m final proofing the chapters now and am very pleased with the result.

  2. Peter Finlay · · Reply

    What a stunning achievement by Elon Musk and his team. Successfully launching Falcon Heavy with a Tesla Roadster as cargo and sending it on its way to fly by Mars and enter solar orbit is perhaps the greatest modern achievement by private enterprise. It ranks with the greatest terrestrial discovery voyages by mankind.

    Then, to cap it off, the simultaneous safe recovery of the reusable boosters side by side just blew me away. It will be interesting to learn what went amiss with recovery of the first stage motor.

    In a way, the achievement is a clever publicity exercise for Tesla automobiles specifically and indirectly for electric cars generally. Musk has so far managed to convince several governments to legislate the internal combustion engine from production in the not-too-distant future to say nothing of showing the world the feasibility of battery power for road going vehicles and in assisting the national grid.

    The frisson of excitement emitted by the TV commentators was palpable. Both of them shedding not a few tears of joy as they were fed every scintilla of information on the progress of the launch.

  3. steve jenkin · · Reply

    Richard,

    SpaceX is leading us to what seems to be a new ‘disruption’. As your SpaceMag link says, we’ve hit a ‘tipping point’. Things won’t be the same again…

    The disruption is about access to ‘space’, frequency of launches and the cost. It’s now within the reach of high schools and middle-income individuals – around US$5,000. There’s already the ‘CubeSat’ form-factor, based on a 1L /1.33kg ‘block’ (Lego-like), 100mm x 100mm x 100mm, which has brought new access to Universities, students and researchers.

    SpaceX could, if it wants, make up maximum weight on every non-Classified launch by packing in small payloads, provided they are safe and won’t compromise the mission.

    The commercial opportunities aren’t just ‘cheaper communications satellites’ or space exploration.
    Geosynchronous satellites are a mature technology, though we need a better platform to allow many more to be ‘parked’ in that belt around the equator.

    Newer, low power constellations offering WiFi from Low Earth Orbit are becoming financially viable. We can expect thousands of satellites in close orbits at one time, being replaced frequently. Managing / removing / recovering Space Junk & ‘space traffic management’ will become critical issues.

    There are already new services based on ‘many’ LEO mapping/sensing satellites.

    I’m sure we’ll see lots of space experiments, starting with ‘I stuck an iPhone + sensors in a box’.

    Geosync comms satellites are about as large as they’ll every get, we know this from a 2012 Intelsat launch. Until more can be ‘parked’ in orbit (‘slots’), this market segment will see little new activity.

    The Ariane 5 record launch of 2012 was 10.18t, lifting two Intelsat comms satellites:
    33e & 36, were 6.1t and 3.253t respectively, flown on the same rocket.
    They are expected to last 15 or more years (mostly limited by propellant life).

    Regards

    Steve

    ============================

    Falcon Heavy’s performance data.
    ‘Range’ is replaced for aircraft with payload capacity to different orbits.

    MTOW: 1,420 tonnes [Max Take Off Weight]
    Payloads
    LEO: 63.8 tonnes [Low Earth Orbit]
    GTO: 26.7 tonnes [Geo-sync Transfer Orbit]
    Mars: 16.8 tonnes

    According to Google, cost for a SpaceX launch:
    Falcon 9 $62M 8.3t to GTO = $7,500/kg
    5.5t reusable
    Falcon Heavy $90M 26.7t to GTO = $3,350/kg
    63.8t to LEO = $1,400/kg

    From Wikipedia
    Delta IV Heavy $400M 14.22t to GTO = $28,100/kg
    Atlas 5 $109M 4.750t – 8.9t to GTO = $22,950/kg – $12,250/kg
    Ariane 5 $165–220M 6.1t, 6.95t, 11.115t GTO = $27,050/kg – $19,800/kg

    1. Great information Steve.
      It’s an exciting new world!
      Thanks
      Rich

  4. Michael o Connell · · Reply

    What an amazing result an success.
    The future is scary. But very obvious what the future in 100 years will be like. Pity I won’t be around to see it.
    Leave nothing to pass for future children to no and learn maths and science.
    How far will we be able to go will be endless. Michaelxx.

  5. Steve Holt · · Reply

    For a private company (and even for any type of organisation), the Falcon Heavy launch was an amazing achievement. The booster landing was a truly jaw dropping sight.

    I’m glad Australia is now trying to be part of the earth’s space program. I hope we can soon launch our own satellites and advance our technology and give employment and opportunities to young scientists and engineers.

  6. johnqeeg · · Reply

    Brilliant post.
    Elon Musk is a legend who keeps on pushing the boundaries of aerospace?
    “Take control and disrupt yourself before others disrupt you”

    I haven’t heard it stated so well. Capt. Richard De Crespigny original quote?

    1. Yes my words John. They are to appear in my next book that is due out in September.

      The best disruptors are Apple, Amazon, Telsa and SpaceX.

      Kodak got stuck in its past and failed to disrupt themselves. They suffered the consequences.

      Rich

  7. Dear Richard,

    Thank you so much for your commentary and these excellent photos.

    PS I am a great fan of yours, and you have my greatest respect. Only you could have landed QF32, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

    Your book (and yourself) is inspirational.

    Dr John L Whiting

    1. Thank you John,
      QF32 was a team effort and I am still proud to have been its leader. Whilst the conductor leads the orchestra, it’s the musicians that make the music.
      Best Wishes
      Rich

      1. I will remember that !

        Thanks again Rich

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