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Old 22nd May 2018, 09:13 AM   #1
ChristianProgressive
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Is Elon Musk the PT Barnum of Technology in the 21st century?

Given all his wildly improbable (and outright impossible) schemes, I don't understand why people keep believing him. He's very good at re-branding and repackaging old ideas with new names but they're the same old failed ideas. Even the ones that work "on paper" have obstacles that make them virtually impossible to realize in actuality (see Hyperloop, surface to surface rocket travel, and the "tunnel" scheme for examples).
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Old 22nd May 2018, 09:22 AM   #2
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SpaceX.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 09:30 AM   #3
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I tend to agree that Musk has a lot of pie in the sky ideas, some of which have been proposed for decades or centuries and not built as per the OP. I applaud is enthusiasm and decry the rather irrational enthusiasm others seem to have for his crazy ideas.

Seriously, the something like the hyperloop has been in issues of popular mechanics since its inception. Its the flying car of trains.

The tunneling thing, he thinks he can build them 10x faster than folks that have actually built tunnels.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 09:35 AM   #4
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Eh, Tesla Model 3 is far from perfect, but they've got production up to (ETA: almost) 4000 per week and have a large backlog of orders. Space X just about dominates the launch market. He's got a lot of pie-in-the-sky projects, but he's also got some that have worked pretty well. Not as good as originally promised, but still strongly innovative and generally practical.

His Solar power operation also seems to be going pretty well.

Time will tell, I suppose.

They've done one launch of the Falcon 9 "block 5", which is supposed to be the last major redesign. That one needed to be dismantled after landing for metallurgy testing, so it won't relaunch. If the block 5's are as reusable as hoped (ten launches per rocket with no significant refurbishing, 100 launches total per rocket), Space X will have proven its worth (even as it still has more ambitious plans for the BF Rocket).

Tesla Model 3 is getting mixed reviews, but they are ramping up production. Time will tell. Maybe he won't get production up high enough to meet goals, maybe people will start cancelling orders due to poor reviews. We'll know soon enough.

Tesla Solar uses much of the same technology as the cars (the batteries), and they have started installation.

So he's got one venture that is clearly successful (SpaceX), and we'll know within the next year if it is truly revolutionary (if the Block 5 lives up to promises). Even if the BF rocket never comes to fruition, a successful block 5 and associated Falcon Heavy would be considered very successful by any standard.

He's got two other projects (Tesla cars and Tesla solar) right on the edge.

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Old 22nd May 2018, 09:40 AM   #5
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He's been married twice to the same android, so there must be something to his technological ideas.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 11:49 AM   #6
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I find the two of them equally entertaining.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 12:24 PM   #7
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Does some great stuff. Also talks crap sometimes. I often wonder whether the crap-talk might just be pimping the good stuff.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 05:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
SpaceX.
The conventional rocketry program, has a place and purpose. BS like powered rocket site to site is another story.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 06:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
I tend to agree that Musk has a lot of pie in the sky ideas, some of which have been proposed for decades or centuries and not built as per the OP. I applaud is enthusiasm and decry the rather irrational enthusiasm others seem to have for his crazy ideas.

Seriously, the something like the hyperloop has been in issues of popular mechanics since its inception. Its the flying car of trains.

The tunneling thing, he thinks he can build them 10x faster than folks that have actually built tunnels.
The tunnelling project has a ton (pardon the near pun) of issues involving the problems of the lift wells, etc.

I like this guy's takedown of the tunnel scheme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBtL3qDvdZc

He debunks a lot of Musk's nonsense.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 11:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ChristianProgressive View Post
The conventional rocketry program, has a place and purpose. BS like powered rocket site to site is another story.
Why? What obstacles do you see to this plan? I've yet to see a killer argument against it, other than "you'll never get rockets to airline safety levels" which is just an argument from incredulity.

Offshore landing platforms eliminates the sonic boom issue I know someone will bring up. Anything else?
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Old 23rd May 2018, 12:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Why? What obstacles do you see to this plan? I've yet to see a killer argument against it, other than "you'll never get rockets to airline safety levels" which is just an argument from incredulity.

Offshore landing platforms eliminates the sonic boom issue I know someone will bring up. Anything else?
g-forces? I'm reading that astronauts experience about 3g, but it lasts a long time and they're trained and wearing special suits.

Cost? A commercial airliner is good for 10's of thousands of flights. Can a BFR be reused enough times to offset the hardware cost?

The free-fall phase of the flight?

Added: Toilets, catering, emotional support peacocks ...
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Last edited by GlennB; 23rd May 2018 at 01:33 AM. Reason: Not as many flights as I'd guessed :)
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Old 23rd May 2018, 02:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
g-forces? I'm reading that astronauts experience about 3g, but it lasts a long time and they're trained and wearing special suits.

Just a product of acceleration and therefore you can have as many or as few G as you like - If you're prepared to accept a less than optimum launch profile.

Airliners might pull 1.2 G. Roller-coasters, the big ones, do up to 6.


Quote:
Cost? A commercial airliner is good for 10's of thousands of flights. Can a BFR be reused enough times to offset the hardware cost?
Probably


Quote:
The free-fall phase of the flight?

Added: Toilets, catering, emotional support peacocks ...
None of this is insurmountable even with current technology. The question is "Can you charge enough per ticket to cover the costs plus a little for profit?"
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Old 23rd May 2018, 02:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Just a product of acceleration and therefore you can have as many or as few G as you like - If you're prepared to accept a less than optimum launch profile.
"Space Exploration: Why can't we just slowly rise to space? Why do you have to go so fast?

Going fast uses less fuel - a lot less. As soon as you leave the launch pad, part of the fuel you use is just counteracting 1G of gravity, it isn't doing anything but holding you up while the rest of the thrust pushes you up..."

Can SpaceX technology manage this? No. Could it? Maybe, but at huge cost for an entirely different rocket. Basically, Musk's claims in this area are a load of hot air.

Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
None of this is insurmountable even with current technology. The question is "Can you charge enough per ticket to cover the costs plus a little for profit?"
That kind of claim always worries me Astronauts are trained in using space toilets, but Joe X who fancies trying the rocket flight from NY to Beijing won't be.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"Space Exploration: Why can't we just slowly rise to space? Why do you have to go so fast?

Going fast uses less fuel - a lot less. As soon as you leave the launch pad, part of the fuel you use is just counteracting 1G of gravity, it isn't doing anything but holding you up while the rest of the thrust pushes you up..."
Yes, I know, hence the 'If you're prepared to accept a non-optimum launch profile'. Saturn V left the pad really, really slowly with a TWR at launch of about 1.2. Okay, that went up a teensy bit during the flight*, but, if one is prepared to spend the fuel (and this is an orbital vehicle re-purposed for suborbital flight, so there might be a fair bit to spare.) then there doesn't necessarily need to be astronaut levels of G during the flight.


Quote:
Can SpaceX technology manage this? No. Could it? Maybe, but at huge cost for an entirely different rocket. Basically, Musk's claims in this area are a load of hot air.



That kind of claim always worries me Astronauts are trained in using space toilets, but Joe X who fancies trying the rocket flight from NY to Beijing won't be.

They won't need to, outside of emergencies. The flight time from the UK to Australia won't be long enough that anyone would need to.



*In this instance teensy means lots.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:13 AM   #15
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I'd say he is more like Eddison than PT Barnum in that he directs researchers and engineers and so on, some of his ideas are pie-in-the-sky etc. but some have already paid off.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:21 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"Space Exploration: Why can't we just slowly rise to space? Why do you have to go so fast?

Going fast uses less fuel - a lot less. As soon as you leave the launch pad, part of the fuel you use is just counteracting 1G of gravity, it isn't doing anything but holding you up while the rest of the thrust pushes you up..."

Can SpaceX technology manage this? No. Could it? Maybe, but at huge cost for an entirely different rocket. Basically, Musk's claims in this area are a load of hot air.
I'm not sure if you've checked the notional BFR specs. Limiting g-loading to 3g up and down is the plan and well within the delta-v budget.

Toilets on a 40 minute flight, where 20 minutes of flight you need to be strapped in (probably the whole flight - you don't really want 200 novices floating around in zero-g, trying to get back to their seats)? I'm not seeing the need.

No training or pilots necessary, except maybe a demo on how to use a barf-bag in zero - g
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Why? What obstacles do you see to this plan? I've yet to see a killer argument against it, other than "you'll never get rockets to airline safety levels" which is just an argument from incredulity.

Offshore landing platforms eliminates the sonic boom issue I know someone will bring up. Anything else?

Um, how about, it's a ridiculous waste of non-renewable resources designed to pander to a level of profligate vanity that makes ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors seem like ascetics by comparison?
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:41 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Um, how about, it's a ridiculous waste of non-renewable resources designed to pander to a level of profligate vanity that makes ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors seem like ascetics by comparison?

You're talking about air travel in general, right?
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Old 23rd May 2018, 03:47 AM   #19
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"Tesla promises over-the-air update to stop Elon Musk sounding like such a dick"

https://sniffpetrol.com/2018/05/23/t...e-such-a-dick/
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Old 23rd May 2018, 04:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
I'm not sure if you've checked the notional BFR specs. Limiting g-loading to 3g up and down is the plan and well within the delta-v budget.
I'm only going by what I've read, and that suggests that protracted 3g can be handled by trained astronauts in g-suits. On their backs during acceleration/deceleration.

Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Toilets on a 40 minute flight, where 20 minutes of flight you need to be strapped in (probably the whole flight - you don't really want 200 novices floating around in zero-g, trying to get back to their seats)? I'm not seeing the need.
Fair point, though now I'm wondering how long they'll be loaded and waiting on the pad. Even how to load passengers at all. Maybe they'll load passengers with the rocket horizontal and crank it up to vertical? Hmmm ...

Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
No training or pilots necessary, except maybe a demo on how to use a barf-bag in zero - g
Ah yes.

"When we first get to space, we feel sick," Hadfield said to a group of students back on the planet. "Your body is really confused. You're dizzy. Your lunch is floating around in your belly because you're floating. What you see doesn't match what you feel, and you want to throw up."

Sounds like it's a regular experience, though in this case our passengers are strapped in. Will preparing for one of these flights be like preparing for serious surgery? Fast for 12 hours and nil by mouth for the final 6 (or whatever the guidelines are)?

Not even Musk believes these flights are going to happen. He has a solid track record of announcing wild, unrealisable projects, and that's what we're discussing.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 04:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Not even Musk believes these flights are going to happen. He has a solid track record of announcing wild, unrealisable projects, and that's what we're discussing.

I have to admit, I'd be quite suprised if they happened. I don't think the finances would work out. I don't think there enough people willing to spend the extra money to save a day.

But I don't think there's anything that makes the proposal technically impossible either for the hardware or the squidgy, human bits inside.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 06:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
You're talking about air travel in general, right?

Well, yes, but that's no reason to add a new air travel modality that's at least a hundred times worse.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 06:51 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Well, yes, but that's no reason to add a new air travel modality that's at least a hundred times worse.
You're deciding that 'now' is the right level of air travel?

On what basis?
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Old 23rd May 2018, 07:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
You're deciding that 'now' is the right level of air travel?

Good thing you included that final character there, the kind of hook shape with a dot under it, indicating an implied uncertainty. Because the words preceding it don't follow in any logically conceivable way from anything I've said.

If I suggested that a man who defecates on the lunchroom floor every Wednesday morning should not switch to doing it every day instead, would that constitute 'deciding' that once every Wednesday is the right level of defecating on the lunchroom floor?
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Old 23rd May 2018, 07:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
I'm not sure if you've checked the notional BFR specs. Limiting g-loading to 3g up and down is the plan and well within the delta-v budget.

Toilets on a 40 minute flight, where 20 minutes of flight you need to be strapped in (probably the whole flight - you don't really want 200 novices floating around in zero-g, trying to get back to their seats)? I'm not seeing the need.

No training or pilots necessary, except maybe a demo on how to use a barf-bag in zero - g
Somehow I seriously doubt that the FAA will approve of such a spacecraft unless it is provided with pilots and a trained crew.

Similarly, I seriously doubt that any insurance company will write a policy for such a space craft unless it is provided with pilots and a trained crew.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 07:23 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Good thing you included that final character there, the kind of hook shape with a dot under it, indicating an implied uncertainty. Because the words preceding it don't follow in any logically conceivable way from anything I've said.
Jesus christ.

I often have this difficulty round here. People's opinions are not clear to me through their writings. When interrogated people get all defensive and also seem to think they can perfectly infer my position simply from the questions I ask.

I shan't bother, thanks.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 08:50 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Jesus christ.

I often have this difficulty round here. People's opinions are not clear to me through their writings. When interrogated people get all defensive and also seem to think they can perfectly infer my position simply from the questions I ask.

I shan't bother, thanks.

Your interrogation came across to me as hostile strawmanning. I'll comment on the discourse step by step and maybe we can figure out where you or I went wrong.

Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Why? What obstacles do you see to this plan? I've yet to see a killer argument against it, other than "you'll never get rockets to airline safety levels" which is just an argument from incredulity.

Offshore landing platforms eliminates the sonic boom issue I know someone will bring up. Anything else?

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Um, how about, it's a ridiculous waste of non-renewable resources designed to pander to a level of profligate vanity that makes ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors seem like ascetics by comparison?

The quote immediately above was the post of mine you first responded to, which had Octavo's post quoted in it. I thought it was pretty clear that the "it" that I described as a "ridiculous waste" etc. was the same "it" that Octavo was talking about (which Octavo also referred to as "this plan"); that is, Elon Musk's proposal for rapid worldwide ground-to-ground passenger rocket transport, which was also the general topic of discussion at that point in the thread.

Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
You're talking about air travel in general, right?

As I just explained, I was NOT talking about air travel in general and I thought that was pretty clear. No one was talking about air travel in general at that point.

If it actually wasn't clear to you which I was talking about, you could easily have phrased your own question clearly, "Are you talking about the Musk passenger rocket, or air travel in general?"

So by bringing it up in that way as a leading suggestion instead, I thought you were making a point something like, "well, air travel in general is pretty wasteful too, don't forget." And as it happens, I completely agree with that.

At the same time, I was pretty certain that (at least on a per-passenger basis, which is the basis I was using for comparison) air travel in general is not nearly as resource-intensive as worldwide ground-to-ground passenger rocket transport, and I wanted to make sure that fact remained in view if the discussion were going to turn to the resource costs of air travel in general.

To make sure that that was really the case, and that Musk hadn't come up with some engineering miracle that would make it not the case, whilst writing that post I looked up articles on the passenger rocket proposal to see what sort of rockets were proposed to be used and so forth, and compared the fuel consumption of typical rockets of that type with typical aircraft. Exact figures were hard to come by, but "at least a hundred times worse" (more fuel consumed per passenger mile) was a reasonable summary of my findings.

So I then responded:

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Well, yes, but that's no reason to add a new air travel modality that's at least a hundred times worse.

The "that" referred to was (I thought, pretty clearly) the proposition that air travel in general is wasteful of resources. I wasn't sure, at this point, whether the point you were getting at was complete agreement with that proposition or not (and hence, pro-Musk-passenger-rocket or not) but my response, by design, addressed it either way.

Air travel, environmentally bad. Air travel by Musk passenger rocket, worse. Very clear, I thought.

Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
You're deciding that 'now' is the right level of air travel?

On what basis?

And this was the record-scratch moment that seemed it could only be a challenge to my position via straw man. My position, I thought I had clearly laid out, is that

- Air travel 'now' is profligately wasteful of resources.

- Air travel by Musk passenger rocket would be far more so.

"Now is the right level of air travel" is a completely contradictory and therefore unfair characterization of that position. Your final question "on what basis?" was a demand that I defend that position I had never taken.

Again, if you were simply confused about my meaning, a question phrased as "Did you mean A, or B?" might have conveyed that better. (The demand to defend my position could wait until you were clear on what my position was.)

Hence, the snarkiness of my response.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Good thing you included that final character there, the kind of hook shape with a dot under it, indicating an implied uncertainty. Because the words preceding it don't follow in any logically conceivable way from anything I've said.

If I suggested that a man who defecates on the lunchroom floor every Wednesday morning should not switch to doing it every day instead, would that constitute 'deciding' that once every Wednesday is the right level of defecating on the lunchroom floor?

That response, while snarky, also included an explanation by analogy of exactly why I considered your interpretation of my position ("'now' is the right level of air travel') incorrect and unfair.

Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Jesus christ.

I often have this difficulty round here. People's opinions are not clear to me through their writings. When interrogated people get all defensive and also seem to think they can perfectly infer my position simply from the questions I ask.

I shan't bother, thanks.

I'm sorry you often have that difficulty. I hope my explanations can help address it. And of course I welcome input from you and others into where I might have gone wrong with my own interpretations.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 09:30 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
LOTS


Aaaaaaargggggggggggg.


This place seems to wind me up more than it used to. Then I get ranty. And I'd love to tell you it's never my fault. There are many occasions I need to take a chill pill and I fail to do so.

I shall read your kind explanation when I have recovered my equilibrium. My apologies and thank you.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 10:45 AM   #29
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I think Musk's idea of rocket travel replacing air travel is a little ridiculous. It's solving a problem that doesn't exist (it takes too long to get from one point on the globe to another? Not really).

Sure, people would like to make travel around the world even faster than it already is. But I highly doubt they will be willing to pay the kinds of fares that would be necessary to make the improvement in travel time that we're talking about here.

It's an interesting idea in so much as if the market were there it could potentially put a lot of money into the rocket industry, leading to new advances and economy of scale. But I really don't think the market is there, not even if the BFR could be as safe and efficient as advertised, and while I expect that SpaceX can make some major gains and pull off something spectacular, I also expect that they will fall far short on the the level of safety that they are talking about for the BFR. That isn't to say that it can't be made much safer than current rockets, but as safe as air travel? I'm sorry but just the simple fact of how rockets work compared to how airplanes work makes me doubt that.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 11:01 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
but as safe as air travel? I'm sorry but just the simple fact of how rockets work compared to how airplanes work makes me doubt that.

I really don't agree with this at all.

Jet engines are much more complex things than rocket motors.

If you invested as many development hours in rocket based, non-orbital transport as has been invested in jet engines, I see no reason the reliability could not be raised to current airline standards.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 11:34 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
I really don't agree with this at all.

Jet engines are much more complex things than rocket motors.
I don't think complexity is the relevant metric here. Your jet engine is more complicated that an automobile, but the jet is safer in terms of passenger miles.

The speeds, g-forces, and temperatures involved in rocketry are of a different magnitude than those involved in jet flight, and each of them presents issues to safety and reliability.

I'm confident that gains, even huge gains, can be made in the safety of rockets. I'd even think that it might be possible to achieve similar safety to air travel if a disproportionate expenditure were put into that aspect of the engineering of the rockets as compared to airplanes.

But at a fundamental level rocketry is just harder on the machinery than air travel.

Quote:
If you invested as many development hours in rocket based, non-orbital transport as has been invested in jet engines, I see no reason the reliability could not be raised to current airline standards.
I think it's theoretically possible, and maybe even practically achievable, but I doubt it's economically viable at present.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 11:55 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
I really don't agree with this at all.

Jet engines are much more complex things than rocket motors.

If you invested as many development hours in rocket based, non-orbital transport as has been invested in jet engines, I see no reason the reliability could not be raised to current airline standards.
While it is true that jet engines are more complicated than rocket motors, however there is a great deal more to it than that fact.

Unlike rocket motors, jet engines can develop a wide range of power.
Unlike rocket motors, there is a vast body of knowledge on how to use jet engines for aircraft.
Unlike rocket motors, there is a wide amount of jet engine production available.

And so on.

In short, it will take a very long time and vast amounts of money in order to rocket motors to be the equivalent of jet engines.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 12:08 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
I really don't agree with this at all.

Jet engines are much more complex things than rocket motors.

If you invested as many development hours in rocket based, non-orbital transport as has been invested in jet engines, I see no reason the reliability could not be raised to current airline standards.
Complexity and "predisposition to explode, slaughtering the passengers, when things go a bit wrong because you're sitting on big tanks of fuel and LOX" aren't the same.

Knock a lump out of one of the engines of a commercial jet - rendering it useless - doesn't make the plane a guaranteed death trap.

Decompression, where the oxygen masks fall down to save you? Well, they might not fall down at all in a BFR flight - they might even fall up (Yeah, I know, they'll be on solid mechanical struts)

Emergency landing, like that time in the Hudson (and others)? Good luck with that if your craft has zero gliding capability.

Technically possible, maybe, but so colossally dangerous that the aviation authorities wouldn't dream of licencing it.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 12:13 PM   #34
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The best comparison between Musk and Barnum is that both are very successful businessmen.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 12:51 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
While it is true that jet engines are more complicated than rocket motors, however there is a great deal more to it than that fact.

Unlike rocket motors, jet engines can develop a wide range of power.
Accepted.

Quote:
Unlike rocket motors, there is a vast body of knowledge on how to use jet engines for aircraft.
Unlike rocket motors, there is a wide amount of jet engine production available.

And so on.

In short, it will take a very long time and vast amounts of money in order to rocket motors to be the equivalent of jet engines.

Yes, this is in line with what I said about having the same investment in development as jet engines have over the last 60 years



Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Complexity and "predisposition to explode, slaughtering the passengers, when things go a bit wrong because you're sitting on big tanks of fuel and LOX" aren't the same.

Knock a lump out of one of the engines of a commercial jet - rendering it useless - doesn't make the plane a guaranteed death trap.

Decompression, where the oxygen masks fall down to save you? Well, they might not fall down at all in a BFR flight - they might even fall up (Yeah, I know, they'll be on solid mechanical struts)

Emergency landing, like that time in the Hudson (and others)? Good luck with that if your craft has zero gliding capability.

Technically possible, maybe, but so colossally dangerous that the aviation authorities wouldn't dream of licencing it.


Ah, yes, I did say 'as reliable'. The fatality rates of reliability failures are another thing entirely.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 12:53 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Why? What obstacles do you see to this plan? I've yet to see a killer argument against it, other than "you'll never get rockets to airline safety levels" which is just an argument from incredulity.
No, it's a very real, fundamental question of operational reliability that ties into the question of economic viability. A lot of futurist flim-flam is that way, using the "economist fallacy" (to wit: "assume a can opener") to hadnwave important issues.

The guy whose vid I linked to above is really good at "busting" techno Barnums like Musk, or Solar Roadways, or passive atmospheric water generation schemes, or nuclear engined cars/airplanes, etc and showing the science. (Handy, him being a scientist himself.) When he sticks to hard data arguments, I rarely have any issue with his conclusions.

Quote:
Offshore landing platforms eliminates the sonic boom issue I know someone will bring up. Anything else?
Which increases the time to utilize and makes the economic viability even MORE questionable.

Here's his takedown of Earth-to-Earth, for those interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4KR4-TN-Yo
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Old 23rd May 2018, 01:02 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
I really don't agree with this at all.

Jet engines are much more complex things than rocket motors.

If you invested as many development hours in rocket based, non-orbital transport as has been invested in jet engines, I see no reason the reliability could not be raised to current airline standards.
Conversely, there is very little room for improvement in rocket motors that doesn't increase their complexity (and hence cost).
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Old 23rd May 2018, 04:00 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by ChristianProgressive View Post
Given all his wildly improbable (and outright impossible) schemes, I don't understand why people keep believing him.
Lets have a look at some of those "impossible" ideas

- Landing first stage rocket boosters back on land or at sea for re-use

- Solar panels that look just like ordinary roofing tiles

- Reducing the cost of putting satellites into orbit by over 50%

- Electric cars with the performance specifications of a supercar (the Tesla Model S P100D has a 532 HP motor, does 0-100kph (60mph) in 2.8 seconds, has a top speed of 250 kph (155 mph) and a single charge range of 540km (337 mi).

Perhaps if you read something about the guy before criticising him, you might get a better idea of why he sets seemingly impossible targets.

Here are a few primers for you

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/e...15-5?r=US&IR=T

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/elon...employees.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/elon...employees.html

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

“Those that say something is impossible should get out of the way of those doing it”
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Old 23rd May 2018, 07:17 PM   #39
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PT Barnum was all about entertainment... nothing more, nothing less.

Musk on the other hand, is a dreamer who's trying to put his dreams down on paper with science as his tool of choice (and a whole lot of imagination).

There's just no comparison between the two.

The best part about Elon Musk is that he's forcing the rest of the world to stand up and take notice of the things he's trying to accomplish... and with any luck, that means he's also forcing the rest of the world to 'get back in the saddle' with regards to investing R&D funding towards futuristic endeavours, greener technologies, and space exploration.

And that's always a good thing.

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Old 24th May 2018, 01:01 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Um, how about, it's a ridiculous waste of non-renewable resources designed to pander to a level of profligate vanity that makes ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors seem like ascetics by comparison?
Methane and Oxygen are non-renewable resources only in the most technical of senses. Production of Methane and Oxygen can be carbon negative if you're using CO2 from the atmosphere and doing all the chemistry off solar. That's actually the plan eventually, so... No, it will MASSIVELY reduce carbon emissions. Try running your 787 on Methane. Just no.

Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
I'm only going by what I've read, and that suggests that protracted 3g can be handled by trained astronauts in g-suits. On their backs during acceleration/deceleration.
I've not done any research myself, but it seems like 3g for a few minutes on your back should be tolerable. Maybe it's a killer, maybe only adults in good health and under 65 get to fly?

Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Fair point, though now I'm wondering how long they'll be loaded and waiting on the pad. Even how to load passengers at all. Maybe they'll load passengers with the rocket horizontal and crank it up to vertical? Hmmm ...
There are some interesting solutions to this from forumites on nasaspaceflight. The best idea seemed to be having a boring tunnel loop out to the platform, with the tower blast-proofed and set up to take loop cars from the tunnel for loading multiple decks at once, while still having passengers safe at all times.

I'm not saying it would be cheap/practical/economic -but there are solutions.


Ah yes.

Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"When we first get to space, we feel sick," Hadfield said to a group of students back on the planet. "Your body is really confused. You're dizzy. Your lunch is floating around in your belly because you're floating. What you see doesn't match what you feel, and you want to throw up."

Sounds like it's a regular experience, though in this case our passengers are strapped in. Will preparing for one of these flights be like preparing for serious surgery? Fast for 12 hours and nil by mouth for the final 6 (or whatever the guidelines are)?
I'm not qualified to answer that, but I'd suggest starting by offering anti-nausea drugs at the terminal for all passengers.

Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Not even Musk believes these flights are going to happen. He has a solid track record of announcing wild, unrealisable projects, and that's what we're discussing.
He has a track record of announcing wild projects with insane timelines and superlatives and orders of magnitude. He has a track record of being late on promises. He also has a track record for delivering on some of those wild projects. I'll not rehash his accomplishments, but you'd think he'd earned more benefit of doubt. He's not stupid.

And if you think Musk doesn't believe these flights will happen, why is Gwynne Shotwell talking the way she is here?


Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
Somehow I seriously doubt that the FAA will approve of such a spacecraft unless it is provided with pilots and a trained crew.

Similarly, I seriously doubt that any insurance company will write a policy for such a space craft unless it is provided with pilots and a trained crew.
Why? Does Dragon have trained pilots? No? FAA certifies that to fly. Will have Dragon 2 have pilots? Not on cargo flights and the "Pilot" on a crew flight doesn't actually pilot anything.

What exactly is a pilot going to do on a BFS anyway? I wouldn't trust a human to have the reactions necessary to time a suicide burn perfectly and then hit a tiny target in the ocean.

Crew to calm passengers and demo safety features, yes, definitely. But, no pilots. There's no point. If you have a bad day in a BFS, survival chances approach zero since there's no escape system. Hence the focus on reliability.
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