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View Diary: What NASA Could Be (320 comments)

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  •  What's wrong with Orbital? (0+ / 0-)

    They're bucking every old-timey space stereotype by going for lower launch costs at MARS (as a Virginian I strongly approve).  Why in God's name would Falcon 9 be manrated?  What's its diameter like a meter?  Same goes for any Orbital rocket.

    These things are cargo craft.

    •  No, they aren't (0+ / 0-)

      Falcon 9 diameter is 3.6 meters, and the Dragon (vehicle to go on Falcon 9) is intended for both manned and unmanned operations.  (Falcon 1 is 1.7)

      Taurus II, Orbital's COTS rocket, has a diameter of 3.9 meters.  

      As for my problem with them, I don't agree that they are really pushing towards low cost orbital vehicles.  Now, that may or may not be fair (and I know someone who would tell me it probably is), but I don't get the impression that they are looking at real low cost.  

      Dragon is a cargo and CREW vehicle, and I would like to see Orbital make Cygnus a Cargo and Crew vehicle as well.

      •  Alright (0+ / 0-)

        You know more than I do.  I've never even heard of Cygnus.

        One point though - Space X loves to brag about launching the first private rocket.  Orbital did that nearly 20 years ago.  The Pegasus was privately-funded.  It did not require a single government contract, nor a single billionaire to pay for it.  Oh, and it didn't fail on its first three launch attempts.  Woops.

        •  SpaceX does have a history of (0+ / 0-)

          over promising.  I won't deny that.  I think they would've been well served not to make as many claims as they have, and instead considered looking at the XCOR or Blue Origin model.  Or, if they could go the Armadillo Aerospace route, and literally publish everything (well, until very recently).  However, they do have results on their side as well, which can't be ignored.  And I think they always add first liquid fuel private rocket.

          As for the vehicles and rockets

          SpaceX
          Falcon 1 - The launcher with which you are aware of  - its launched 4 times, failed the first 3 times.  Has a single Merlin engine.

          Falcon 9 - It has 9 Merlin engines on it, and can place a lot more in orbit.  

          Dragon - An orbital vehicle, designed to deliver cargo and crew to orbit.  NASA is providing partial funding the development of this vehicle (and Falcon 9) under the COTS program.  However, NASA has not excersied the Crew option, although Dragon was designed from the beginning to be both.

          Orbital Sciences

          Cygnus- Orbital Science's proposal to deliver cargo to and from the space station.  It has been reported that they have done some initial investigations into a crewed version, but not much.  
          Taurus 2 - The launcher for Cygnus
          Both Taurus 2 and Cygnus are being partially funded via the COTS program.  

        •  Forgot to include (0+ / 0-)

          a link to Dragonas well

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