1. Post #1001
    Nutt007's Avatar
    January 2009
    1,480 Posts
    Because even though the Falcon Heavy will do certain things, it just doesn't make sense to rely on ~30 engines, that's what lead to the failure of the N1 project. With large payloads you're always going to be relying on clusters of engines, but if you can have just a few very large engines as opposed to dozens of small engines, assuming each engine has the same potential for failure, you greatly reduce the overall risk of the launch and the complexity of the vehicle.
    That makes sense. Which leads to something else, what were the Soviets thinking when they built the N1?
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  2. Post #1002
    Gold Member
    J Paul's Avatar
    October 2007
    2,861 Posts
    Not so much risk reduction. It does add complexity but having many engines allows for the mission to continue if some of the engines fail. There were a number of other reasons the caused the N-1 to fail too.

    Also, on a less related note. the Merlin 2 is estimated to cost $50m a-piece. That's almost as much as an entire F9.
    Engine out capability is very important in any cluster, but the idea is, say your engines have a failure rate of around 1 in 10, would you rather have 30 engines or 5 engines? It's like playing the lottery in reverse, the aim is to buy fewer tickets. It's just a matter of risk management. Not safety risks, I mean financial risks.

    Remember that SpaceX has to approach spaceflight from an economic perspective.

    That makes sense. Which leads to something else, what were the Soviets thinking when they built the N1?
    It wasn't so much a matter of design choice, they were working with what was available, and there were many reasons it failed. We had something like a 5 year head start with the F-1 by the time the N1 ever came up in discussion. By then there was no time nor money to develop a new large engine for the N1. Rather than using toxic hypergolic fuels to reduce combustion complexity, they opted for a mix that while safer for people to handle, increases plumbing complexity in the fuel system (an already complex plumbing system made to support 30 engines) and caused a major argument between designers. The engines themselves were decided upon after much argumentative debate and lobbying between competing interests within the rocket bureaus, and after the leading engine designer in the soviet union eventually refused to work on the project due to these arguments.

    They were forced to use a new very small engine, produced in a very short time by a jet engine manufacturer with little experience in rocketry, and even though it was an amazing engine with an incredibly high reliability rate, because there needed to be so many functioning engines during the flight, the reliability just never got high enough to actually work.

    So while the NK-15 is probably more reliable than the F-1, you're launching 30 NK-15s at a time as opposed to only 5 F-1s.
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  3. Post #1003
    Shogun42's Avatar
    September 2008
    264 Posts
    Just found out this morning that my grandfather who worked as a programmer on the Apollo missions passed away. He was one of the largest reasons why I love space as I do now, and it makes me sad that now I wont ever hear any of his stories while he was working at NASA again.
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  4. Post #1004
    Star Extraordinaire
    Blazyd's Avatar
    May 2011
    4,355 Posts
    Just found out this morning that my grandfather who worked as a programmer on the Apollo missions passed away. He was one of the largest reasons why I love space as I do now, and it makes me sad that now I wont ever hear any of his stories while he was working at NASA again.
    You should take his place when you get older.
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  5. Post #1005
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    I hate the news.

    "SpaceX launches it's commercial rocket to the ISS tomorrow! What's it mean for Obama? More at 11"
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  6. Post #1006
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    Lol, the media.

    Anyways, here she is, ready for the launch tomorrow:

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  7. Post #1007
    Ask me about my .gif fetish
    st0rmforce's Avatar
    February 2008
    3,594 Posts
    Scheduled for launch at 8:55 UCT
    That's 9:55 British Summer Time! Rocket launch and cornflakes, the best kind of breakfast.
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  8. Post #1008
    Gold Member
    Zackin5's Avatar
    May 2008
    4,848 Posts
    Scheduled for launch at 8:55 UCT
    That's 9:55 British Summer Time! Rocket launch and cornflakes, the best kind of breakfast.
    Reminds me of that one My Three Sons episode were everyone is trying to get ready for school/work while the television is voicing over a rocket launch (And coincidentally their actions )
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  9. Post #1009
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the morning show today:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?...cbsthismorning
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  10. Post #1010
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the morning show today:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?...cbsthismorning
    Seems more positive towards private spaceflight now than I've seen him before.
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  11. Post #1011
    Gold Member
    Pelf's Avatar
    September 2007
    2,968 Posts
    May be late but I just saw this:


    Edited:

    Next Falcon 9 being built:


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  12. Post #1012
    ask me for a rust key :~)
    LordCrypto's Avatar
    December 2008
    18,199 Posts
    Is there going to be a livestream of it? it'll only be 2 in the morning for me, so thats not too bad to watch it live
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  13. Post #1013
    Tony's Avatar
    September 2011
    733 Posts
    Yeah the livestream will be the same as it was for the static fire.
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  14. Post #1014
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    Is there going to be a livestream of it? it'll only be 2 in the morning for me, so thats not too bad to watch it live
    http://www.spacex.com/webcast/
    one hour 20 minutes till it begins.
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  15. Post #1015
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    Seven minutes, guys.

    ohboyohboyohboy



    The time the webcast starts, I mean. Not necessarily the launch.
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  16. Post #1016
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    https://twitter.com/#!/elonmusk/stat.../photo/1/large

    Mr.Musk is at his helm.

    Edited:

    In related news, SpaceX has a good taste in holding music.
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  17. Post #1017
    Tony's Avatar
    September 2011
    733 Posts
    NASAKennedy Launch managers had a weather briefing at T-1 hour and there are no weather-related issues that would prevent liftoff at 4:55:26 a.m. EDT.
    Yessssssssssss
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  18. Post #1018
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    She looks so beautiful on the launch pad with those lights...
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  19. Post #1019
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    ‏@elonmusk

    KBro, the SpaceX dude with the mustache on the webcast looks just like Ron Burgundy. Stay classy :) #DragonLaunch
    I was thinking the exact same thing, haha.
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  20. Post #1020
    Excited!

    Edited:

    In related news, SpaceX has a good taste in holding music.
    Why am I not surprised?
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  21. Post #1021
    Gold Member
    Pilotguy97's Avatar
    November 2010
    4,474 Posts
    NASA_Johnson The SpaceX launch team just completed their poll. They are GO for launch. #Dragonlaunch
    Woo!
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  22. Post #1022
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  23. Post #1023
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    T - 13:30 now.

    Still go for launch!
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  24. Post #1024
    Gold Member
    Pilotguy97's Avatar
    November 2010
    4,474 Posts
    OSM station took a little long to confirm they're ready. COMMENCE PARANOIA.
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  25. Post #1025
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    Less than 10 minutes to go. Things are looking clear.
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  26. Post #1026
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    OSM station took a little long to confirm they're ready. COMMENCE PARANOIA.
    OSM guy took a little longer than expected in the bathroom.

    "Guys, I'm back. Did I miss anyth- oh, uh, OSM, check."
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  27. Post #1027
    Gold Member
    Pilotguy97's Avatar
    November 2010
    4,474 Posts
    OSM guy took a little longer than expected in the bathroom.

    "Guys, I'm back. Did I miss anyth- oh, uh, OSM, check."
    Oh god, I just imagined a guy in a SpaceX polo sprinting across a white hallway with shit running down his legs.

    Edited:

    Oh fuck oh fuck T-1 minute here we go lads.
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  28. Post #1028
    One minute guys, hurry to the livestream if you haven't already.
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  29. Post #1029
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    There she goes!
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  30. Post #1030
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    Fuck.
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  31. Post #1031
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    Aw hell.
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  32. Post #1032
    Tony's Avatar
    September 2011
    733 Posts
    What the fuck was that
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  33. Post #1033
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    Welp.
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  34. Post #1034
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  35. Post #1035
    Gold Member
    Pilotguy97's Avatar
    November 2010
    4,474 Posts
    Well crap.

    I blame the OSM station.

    I love how a post says "Here we go", followed by streams of disappointment.
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  36. Post #1036
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    I wonder what could have gone wrong?
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  37. Post #1037
    Gold Member
    MangoJuice's Avatar
    February 2010
    4,794 Posts
    Maybe they left the parking brakes on.
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  38. Post #1038
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    Apparently the flight computer failed to start.
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  39. Post #1039
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,953 Posts
    "Abort on engine 5"

    Edited:

    Well, looks like I have another all-nighter to look forward to on the 22nd...
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  40. Post #1040
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,119 Posts
    Right, high pressure problem in engine 5.
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