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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Space X Falcon Mission Aborts

Following the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet, NASA has decided that it wishes to outsource its supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) to the private sector in a bid to cut costs. Space X was selected as the private company most likely to be able to perform this task, and this morning it was due to launch a demonstration mission to the ISS. Unfortunately for Space X, the launch was aborted owing to an engine problem, so its Falcon rocket and cargo-carrying Dragon capsule remain on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. Rocket science never has been easy or cheap.

Although the Space X system, providing that it can prove its capability, will be cheaper than other launch systems, ultimately it must be viewed as a stopgap technology that needs to be superseded if the costs of exploring and utilising space are to be made somewhat less than astrononomically expensive. With the recent successful testing of the Skylon spaceplane's SABRE engine system, such a new era could be just around the corner, with British engineering and manufacturing leading the way.

Space X Dragon Capsule


  1. Skylon is a great idea and it would be nice to see it come too fruition, unfortunately I just don't see it happening. The main point is that the bean counters do not seem to have the imagination to see how it would change our future, perhaps that is why they are bean counters. Large cost overruns delays etc and the whole affair after millions getting spent gets dumped in the rubbish bin. SSTO ( Single Stage To Orbit) vehicles have been around for over 50 years now, or there blueprints and ideas have and in fact it is the right way to go if you can get it too work and that is the snag. I think the problem was put nicely into perspective by Elon Musk himself when he said if you take a full beer can and pull the ring tab off, the ring tab is basically all we send into space the rest we throw away. If you want to have a SSTO then you have to compromise even more because you have to use some of the fuel to get yourself back down and therefore you reduce the size of your load you can get into space. The idea has been around for more than 50 years and it is nice to see that it is still being thought about because if we can really pull it off then, Then it will really will reduce costs as you have basically only maintainance and fuel costs. Its also nice to see that the Skylon team is basically the same team that were developing the HOTOL project so they will not make the same the same mistakes of reinventing the wheel. Philip Bono was doing much the same thing in America during the 60s and 70s you might want to look him up, his work is quiet fascinating. The main problem is that we are just on the cusp of being able to get into space if the energy density of Hydrogen was just a little bit lower we would not be able to get into space.

    It is nice to see Space X going about it in the right way building a Model T ford Space truck with a common component base so as to keep cost down with mass production and interchangeability. It is also nice to see they are being very careful and checking and counter checking and not taking risks as they did in the Space shuttle which cost seven astronauts there lives.

    A Website you might be interested in of another British firm. I find the maths quiet difficult to understand can't get over the idea that there is no mass ejection to get movement, but the Government has been supporting it so there must be something there. If this works then it could and would improve the Skylon idea.

    1. Hello YM. I'm glad to see that you're an enthusiast for this concept too. I'll take a look at the link you've suggested, but I won't pretend to get my head around the maths if it's of rather a technical nature!


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