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News In 2018 SpaceX will fly two tourists around the moon

  1. Feb 27, 2017 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2017 #2

    berkeman

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    I didn't watch the video, but I assume they will do a couple test flights without people onboard to prove out the system...?
     
  4. Feb 27, 2017 #3

    russ_watters

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    1. I'll believe it when I see it.
    2. The risk of failure/death is really high, considering this company has not even done any manned space flight yet.
    3. I'd still do it.
     
  5. Feb 28, 2017 #4

    Borg

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    :oldlaugh: After seeing #2, that made me laugh. I would be really tempted as well.
     
  6. Feb 28, 2017 #5
    PF fundraiser!!!
     
  7. Feb 28, 2017 #6

    mheslep

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    I seen no mention of who is going to pilot the Moon cruise. I believe only NASA (or other national space agency) is qualified to train a pilot, and so would have to approve the trip. I'm not sure they would.

    The idea that that SpaceX is touting a Moon cruise in less than two years when no private firm has yet put anyone (tourist or trained astronaut) in orbit, or even sub orbit, seems a bit Hollywood.
     
  8. Feb 28, 2017 #7

    nsaspook

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    Who needs a rocket?

    "One of these days Alice—pow! Straight to the Moon!"
     
  9. Feb 28, 2017 #8
    The Dragon 2 capsule has space for four. I believe Musk has said that NASA will provide the pilot(s). Space X must "human rate" the Dragon2 and Falcon 9 which they plan to do by sending an empty capsule to the ISS by years end then if all goes well in six months send a NASA crew to the ISS. Then six months after that by the end of 2018 presumably they will send the Dagon 2 to the moon on a five day journey. An issue that may come up is the so called "load and go" fueling sequence where the astronauts are in the rocket as it is fueled. The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has determined in a 2016 report stated that it might be too dangerous for the crew . This report was prior to the Falcon 9 explosion last year. Musk down plays the risk.

    Aside, Trump has asked his NASA transition team to see if NASA could pull off a lunar trip by next election.
     
  10. Mar 1, 2017 #9

    Student100

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    I'd do it....

    But first, how much are they paying us? :cool:
     
  11. Mar 1, 2017 #10

    mfb

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    The Dragon capsule has up to 7 seats. NASA missions to ISS just use 4 because that is the planned US crew on the ISS.

    The Dragon capsule does not have pilots in the classical sense. The processes are largely automated or controlled from Earth. The passengers will get some basic training in how the capsule works and how space works in general, but they are passengers, not pilots. Same for NASA astronauts. NASA has training facilities for space-related issues, I would expect some cooperation for training the two passengers. SpaceX might want to send someone experienced on the mission as third person, but I didn't see them mentioning anything like that. Keep in mind that the current Dragon capsules don't have a pilot either.

    The current optimistic plan:
    - Launch the first Falcon Heavy this summer. At least a launch in 2017 looks realistic as the components have been built already.
    - Launch an unmanned Dragon 2 on F9 late this year, deliver supplies to ISS in the same way Dragon 1 does it now.
    - Launch an unmanned Dragon 2 on F9 and demonstrate launch abort at the most critical phase of the launch (Max Q) in early 2018.
    - a lot of paperwork and negotiations with NASA to get the approval for manned NASA launches
    - Launch a manned Dragon 2 on F9 to ISS in spring 2018.
    - Launch a manned Dragon 2 on Falcon Heavy to Moon in late 2018.

    Probably additional tests in between: A Dragon entering the atmosphere at Moon-return-like velocities is certainly something you want to have tested.

    It would be surprising if that plan holds, but delays are expected anyway. Times are always to be seen as "not earlier than".

    The nominal FH maiden flight is with a payload fairing and a dummy mass to get approval to launch heavy US government satellites, but there is an interesting alternative option: Make the maiden flight with Dragon 1 going around the Moon, test the heat shield and other systems. Put a random satellite that was scheduled to fly on Falcon 9 on a FH for the fairing test.
    They did not send anyone to orbit yet, but the Dragon 1 could in principle do that. It has a pressurized interior at a controlled temperature, the acceleration values are fine, and so on. It just doesn't have seats and the required paperwork.
     
  12. Mar 1, 2017 #11

    berkeman

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  13. Mar 1, 2017 #12

    mfb

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    Maximal aerodynamic pressure, not maximal acceleration, but apart from that: yes.
    It is a test not actually required by NASA, and I'm not aware of such a test (in flight) ever performed, but SpaceX decided to do it to demonstrate the capabilities of the system.

    A launch escape system was only used to save a crew once: A Russian rocket caught fire while still on the launch pad, the system saved the crew.
     
  14. Mar 1, 2017 #13

    mheslep

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    https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/606877main_FS-2011-11-057-JSC-astro_trng.pdf

    SpaceX clearly already has the hardware, and extensive experience with it, to get a payload to geostationary and I expect they'll soon have the hardware via Heavy to obtain another delta V of ~ 1.7 km/s to orbit the moon. Given their prior record and experience, I think it likely SpaceX will have success with Heavy within in launch or two. On the other hand, SpaceX has zero experience with manned space flight.

    Right. Orbit to ISS is a day. The Moon is a four day transit each way. It's not a Disney ride. Even if all the maneuvering is automated, an experienced pilot/commander is going on that mission with the tourists for life support control, keeping a lid on the amateurs. Maybe in the future the trip can be taken alone without a pilot, but not the first time out.

    Sure, Dragon supplies the hardware to orbit a crew, but there is no such preliminary trip planned that I've seen, when it should be announced as a fundamental pre-requirement for a manned Moon loop.

    History might be a guide to the difference between competence and overreach, circa 1809: 'We conquered most of Europe, Spain, Italy, Prussia, so not only are we good, we can do anything if only we are bold. Now let's invade Russia in the winter.'
     
  15. Mar 1, 2017 #14

    Student100

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    I thought it was used twice, once in flight. Although this was just me watching the history channel as a kid... so maybe I'm wrong.
     
  16. Mar 1, 2017 #15

    1oldman2

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    This is likely pretty close to the reality.
    http://spacenews.com/space-makes-cameo-appearance-in-trump-speech-before-congress/
    "WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump made a fleeting reference to human spaceflight in a speech before a joint session of Congress Feb. 28, even as his administration develops a budget proposal that could slash funding for NASA."
    "American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream," Trump said near the end of the hour-long Joint Address, one of several achievements he said were possible by 2026, the 250th anniversary of the nation’s independence. The line was the only reference to space in the full speech, which devoted more attention to topics ranging from immigration to healthcare."

    http://spacenews.com/the-public-private-race-to-the-moon/
    "The announcement Feb. 27 that SpaceX plans to launch before the end of next year two people "on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth" is bringing a new kind of space race into sharper focus, a race between commercial space and traditional government civil space programs. If all goes according to plan, this private mission leads to the real possibility of humans returning to the vicinity of the moon on a commercial spaceflight before NASA can complete its own lunar flyby mission."

    And then there's another aspect...
    https://phys.org/news/2017-03-moon-tourists-rough-experts.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
  17. Mar 2, 2017 #16

    mfb

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    What is the pilot going to do?
    Keeping an eye on the displays: You can do that from the ground station as well.
    Keeping an eye on the passengers: Cameras? A pilot has to sleep, the ground station does not.
    Emergency medical procedures? Possible. Training for the passengers plus experts on Earth can work as well, you are quite limited in what you can do during the flight anyway.

    Apollo 13 was 5 days 22 hours, the SpaceX flight should be similar. Longer than the trip to ISS, but the idea is the same and Dragon can last that long easily.
    There will be at least one unmanned Dragon V2 trip and at least two Dragon V2 flights before the moon mission, I would expect at least a third flight to be very probable.

    From the phys.org article:
    Multiple Apollo missions flew with two astronauts on their first spaceflight (and a commander with experience from previous flights). One landed on the Moon, while the other one stayed alone in Moon orbit. Back then they had to do tons of things manually because the computers were challenged even by simple trajectory calculations.
    Crossing a street has a risk as well. Radiation levels will be roughly 1 mSv/day, or 6 mSv assuming 6 days flight time. Probably lower, I don't know the shielding of Dragon v2 (but I am highly confident that it is better than for Apollo). That is a bit higher than the average yearly radiation exposure on Earth, and a single CT scan can give higher doses. If they are unlucky and receive a strong solar flare, they might get twice that radiation dose. It might increase their lifetime cancer risk a tiny bit, but not even that is sure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  18. Oct 1, 2017 #17

    mheslep

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    SpaceX, Feb 2017
    SpaceX's list of striking accomplishments (e.g. booster landings) is growing, as is the list of undelivered claims. Falcon Heavy 4 years late. No unmanned Dragon 2 launch this year. And as of last week's new BFR announcement by Musk, Heavy has planned obsolescence before first flight.
     
  19. Oct 1, 2017 #18
    If I recall correctly, the odds of dying in manned space flight is still around 1 in 50 to 1 in 100. Even at 1 in 1000, those odds are way too high for me. If I knew on a given day I had a 1 in 1000 chance of dying in a car accident, I'd just stay home that day. Same for space flight.
     
  20. Oct 1, 2017 #19

    mheslep

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    Perhaps the SpaceX depositors are ~80, say, enormously wealthy as the deposit suggests, and perhaps diagnosed with a debilitating desease.
     
  21. Oct 1, 2017 #20

    mfb

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    SpaceX focused on Falcon 9 upgrades. The current rocket is close to the initial FH capability plans, and some FH launch contracts have been moved to F9.
    The components for the FH maiden flight exist now, we can expect a launch in the next months.
    So did Block 4 of F9.


    NASA's requirements for the risk (loss of crew) are 1:270. It is unclear how accurate these evaluations are, and the Space Shuttle lost more missions than its calculated risk would have suggested.

    The trip is longer than a day, and it is certainly more interesting than a random week on Earth. How much more interesting?
    A month? Mortality reaches 1:270 per month at age 77 (male) to 81 (female) in the US, probably a bit later for very wealthy individuals as they can afford excellent healthcare.
    A year? Mortality reaches 1:270 per year at age 47-52.
    If the risk is smaller than 1:270, the comparison gets even better.
     
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