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Old 27-05-2021, 08:37 PM
glend (Glen)
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glend is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Lake Macquarie
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Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
Is one successful test flight ( and landing ) of SN15 constitute success and reliability. I would have thought SN16 and SN17 test flights would reinforce the design and engineering of this vehicle and it’s reliability and more importantly the next big development of the booster and orbital vehicle.The Apollo program and the development of the Saturn 5 vehicle took 6 years ( 1962 to 1968 ) with Mercury and Gemini programs running in tandem to get to the unmanned test flights of Apollo 4 , 5 and 6. Huge development and test program which at the time had nearly 400,000 people working on the program and not one Saturn 5 flight to the moon and back failed ( Apollo 13 was a successful failure not due to the Saturn 5)
Is Elon pushing too quick too hard ?
He certainly has the runs on the board, but the real deal will be manned orbital flights of his Starships.Falcon 9 took 16 years of development and testing to achieve human rated safety and reliability
Your thoughts ?
If you look at some recent photos of SN17, there is a big hole cut into the downward facing side, taking out a chunk of heat tiles. As SN17 has not been stacked yet, it may never get to that stage. Elon has said in his Tweets that the focus is now on the Orbital mission. I don't think he cares much about past program iterative development and testing. We can not know if he is pushing too hard, as this sort of spacecship development has not been attempted before. Right now he is stuck, waiting for the Orbital infrastructure, which is holding up where he wants to be this year. I believe His goals for this year could be considered modest, in terms of the future plans. He just want to get a Starship to orbit and return the booster and Starship for a water landing; no complexity like landing them back at the pad, just a gentle plunge into the water. Assuming they are empty they might be able to be towed back to land (which he mentioned in one Tweet).
In terms of human rated safety and reliability, he has been through that with NASA, with the Dragon capsule. And NASA has to sign off on humans riding in these things. There is a long way to go before it is certified by NASA, but they and the FAA are going along with the rapid development ride. The next few weeks should be very telling. The latest overhead shots of the Orbital launch table show what look to be hold down clamps being Installed, and the next tower segment is ready to roll out as early as tomorrow. More concerning is the fuel farm completion and the GSE piping to the tower for fueling. The elevator is being Installed now. I suppose they could stack the booster (BN3) and SN20 using the largest crane, for that first orbital flight, which is not being brought back to Boca. Does that mean no booster flight test? Who knows, maybe they would just fly it, after all they have heaps of booster development experience, and boosters are actually much simpler, in my opinion. They might be thinking of just doing a booster hop test, but they have no legs, they are suppose to be grabbed by the tower arms. So maybe just a static fire, then go for orbit. After all Apollo had to fly, there was no hop testing then, far too expensive.
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