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Congratulations... Again
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1381
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Author:  PeterScott [ Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Congratulations... Again

My enthusiasm and admiration for SpaceX's latest success is tempered by the knowledge that we had this with the DC-X how many years ago? Before it was killed off by the X-33 consortium?

Author:  sakeneko [ Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Congratulations... Again

Yes, but it was possible to kill off space development then because the level of technological development limited the people involved to mostly big governments. Ain't the case anymore. :-)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Author:  PeterScott [ Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Congratulations... Again

Except that the DC-X wasn't developed by a big government. That was the reason that big government took it down. It was a threat to the huge budgets of the military-industrial complex.

Author:  sakeneko [ Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Congratulations... Again

Yeah. Now, a generation and a half later, big government is banking on SpaceX to do the job that big government can't or won't do and wants done.

Not all change is for the worse. :-)

Author:  PeterScott [ Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Congratulations... Again

True. I'd be interested in how come SpaceX and its ilk avoided getting kneecapped by Lockheed Martin and friends.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Congratulations... Again

PeterScott wrote:
True. I'd be interested in how come SpaceX and its ilk avoided getting kneecapped by Lockheed Martin and friends.

I think the answer is between the lines of all the above posts.

McDonnell-D, Lockheed, Martin, Boeing etc. don't do crap without a cost-plus gummint contract; when their proposal department fails to keep NASA or DoD attention, the project is deep-sixed.

SpaceX doesn't rely on government contracts and makes its own R&D choices.

I sort of envision the old boys club standing around laughing at the Grasshopper. Kind of like the Far Side cartoon where the dinosaurs are laughing at the furry mammal passing by... until you notice the last dino in the line catching a snowflake. That said, I am not certain what craft like the DC-X and Grasshopper are supposed to achieve. For a narrow range of needs, yes, being able to make a powered, controlled, pinpoint landing is useful, but for any kind of commercially viable use... think about it. Range, altitude and cargo capacity would be limited by the need to carry an immense amount of fuel - enough to get up, and then enough to get back down again. Powered launch/semipowered landing makes a great deal more sense until we develop unlimited power sources for rockets.

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