Space X: Exploding In A Massive Fireball Equals Rousing Success

Adam Taylor

Adam Taylor is a native Texan, centrist life-long Democrat, and among other things, creator of the simulation fantasy baseball site No-Lyfe Fantasy Sports. He also likes to think he has valid opinions on a wide range of topics. He doesn't tweet much, but is on Twitter.

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9 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    Musk couldn’t buy publicity like this.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    Fun videos aside, you are right about how utterly risk adverse old Aero is. You only need to look at stuff like the JSF or even the 737 MCAS debacle to see that.

    As nutty as Musk is, I applaud him being willing to keep his fire department well practiced. The data they get from each failure has advanced modern rocketry at a pace it hasn’t experienced for a long damn time.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      We were doing reusable VTVL rockets in the 1990s, and they weren’t exploding on every flight either.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Imagine if NASA hadn’t treated that project like a red-headed step child…

        ETA: Although given the McD culture back then, I’m not sure it would have been a success even if NASA had been excited about it.Report

        • It had the disadvantage of being linked to SSTO. From Earth’s gravity well, that’s always been a pretty marginal idea.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

            It’s not the gravity well nearly as much as rocket nozzle aerodynamics. I mean, SSTO is always going to be expensive as long as we need reaction mass to do it, but it’s even more expensive if you can’t change nozzle geometry once the air gets thin.

            We ran the numbers back in college as part of our capstone design, and settled on a 2 stage just so we could change nozzles.

            If we ever get variable geometry rocket nozzles (IIRC the linear aerospike was supposed to be the answer to that, but I could be wrong), SSTO might be more doable.


            • 100%. With the mass fraction required, Starship on its own MIGHT be able to make it to orbit as a SSTO. But at that point it has no meaningful ability to carry anything of value to orbit, and it wouldn’t have enough fuel left to be able to land without being destroyed.

              It’s underappreciated how close Earth’s gravity well is to keeping us locked onto the planet without the ability to get into orbit. If Earth was much more massive, a space program would be completely impractical if not impossible.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Adam Taylor says:

                I wonder if that is part of the Drake equation, that intelligent life evolving on planets with heavier gravity would never be able to reach space.

                Although, I wonder if project Orion would overcome that limitation…?Report