Thursday, March 29, 2018

BFR rocket

It's filler material, I know.  Not exactly news.  Musk announced it back in the fall.  Now, it is spring.  Nope, not news.

But, I have some thoughts on it.

My understanding of the rocket may be inaccurate, so my apologies in advance.

It looks like a 2 stage rocket, with the first stage returning to base.  The second stage is supposedly reusable as well as the first stage.  Landing the first stage appears to be a proven technology now.

Musk hasn't tried landing the second stage yet, so this is new.  It hasn't been demonstrated, but the Space Shuttle ( and others ) proves that it could be done.  Big difference though is in how he proposes to do it.  He wants to land vertically, as opposed to landing like a plane.  Perhaps this idea from the sixties may be feasible way to do it?

The Russians land their capsules, so they have done something similar, but it is not a powered landing.

Musk wants to do this in the next five years, but his timetables are not always kept.  Plus, he wants to put all his marbles in on the BFR concept.  Seems like a risk to me.

My guess is that his concept could work for large rockets, but sending a hundred people at a time to another planet seems like something far-fetched at this time.  He could build a cargo ship with this technology, and the second stage would not have to be reusable.  He could build a tanker for refueling, and try to reuse it.  He could afford to lose several of these as practice for landings.  But the landing technology would have to be well proven before he could put people on board.

Suborbital flights with passengers might be another way to test the tech before graduating to orbital reentry procedures.

There's an opportunity to do a lot of testing, but a five year window is pretty tight.

Just saying.

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