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  1. #1

    NASA selects SpaceX as its sole provider for a lunar lander

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021...-lunar-lander/

    In an extraordinary announcement on Friday, NASA said that it has selected SpaceX and its Starship vehicle to serve as the lunar lander for its Artemis Program. This is NASA's plan to return humans to the Moon later this decade.

    About a year ago, NASA gave initial study and preliminary development contracts for Moon landers to SpaceX, Dynetics, and a team of aerospace heavyweights led by Blue Origin. The cost of SpaceX's bid was about half that of Dynetics, and one-fourth the amount received by Blue Origin. That frugality, at least in part, led NASA on Friday to choose SpaceX as the sole provider of landing services during the down-select phase.

    "We looked at what’s the best value to the government," said Kathy Lueders, chief of the human exploration program for NASA, during a teleconference with reporters on Friday.

    NASA said it will award SpaceX $2.89 billion for development of the Starship vehicle and two flights. One of these missions will be an uncrewed flight test of Starship down to the lunar surface and back. The second mission will be a crewed flight—the first one of the Artemis program—down to the Moon.

    Starship offered several advantages, NASA officials said. It has a spacious cabin for astronauts, two airlocks, and ample payload capability to bring large numbers of experiments to the Moon and return samples to Earth. Significantly, the NASA engineers also praised the vehicle's innovative design and future-looking technology that might also one day be used on Mars.

    Ultimately, the selection criteria were based on a company's technical proficiency, management, and cost. SpaceX scored well in all three. But budget appears to have been the biggest factor. The space agency has had difficulty securing funding from Congress for the lunar lander aspect of the program. For the current fiscal year, NASA said it needed $3.3 billion in funding to meet the goal of landing humans on the Moon by 2024. Congress provided just $850 million, and as a result, NASA acknowledged that 2024 was no longer a realistic target.
    Glad to see there is competition to these contracts, space has always fascinated me.

    Edit: SpaceX stacks Starship atop massive booster for 1st time to make the world's tallest rocket
    https://www.space.com/spacex-starshi...acked-1st-time
    SpaceX's newest Starship prototype was briefly placed atop of its massive booster for the first time on Friday (Aug. 6), setting a new record for the world's tallest rocket ahead of a planned orbital test flight this year.

    Engineers performed the stacking test at the SpaceX Starbase facility in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica, in view of livestreams from NASA Spaceflight and Spadre.com. SpaceX has not commented on the stacking procedure yet on Twitter, although founder Elon Musk sent an update suggesting the company actually wanted to complete the stacking Thursday (Aug. 5), a few hours after Starship completed its rollout to the launch pad, but winds were too high.

    Starship SN20 ("Serial No. 20") and its Super Heavy booster were mated for about an hour for fit checks, during which time the two vehicles posed a towering site. Super Heavy alone stands 230 feet (70 meters) tall and Starship SN4 added another 165 feet (50 m) of height. Together they stood a whopping 395 feet tall (120 m), taller than NASA's massive Saturn V moon rocket, which was 363 feet tall (110 m).

    "Dream come true," Musk wrote on Twitter of the stacked Starship.


    Last edited by Deus Mortis; 2021-08-07 at 01:38 AM.

  2. #2
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Whelp, the timeline just got pushed even further back.

    Also the plan is to use SLS to fly the Orion capsule to the moon the Starship as a kind of elevator around the moon? Sounds overly complicated but it will probably mirror what Mars landing would be like.

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    The Unstoppable Force Orange Joe's Avatar
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    Why waste time and effort to just send a man to the moon again.
    I have a fan. Seems he was permabanned.
    Yo, don't mind my "street talk"

  4. #4
    I'd rather fund NASA instead of private companies...like giving elon musk a few billion for this project.... why?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Themius View Post
    I'd rather fund NASA instead of private companies...like giving elon musk a few billion for this project.... why?
    Because it's cheap as shit through SpaceX, and infinitely better than going with most other private companies like Lockheed (kek). I don't know the practicality of NASA building their own rockets again honestly, especially with such a cheap alternative like SpaceX around.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Joe View Post
    Why waste time and effort to just send a man to the moon again.
    Because of the technology and everything else that will come with this rocket. At some point we will need to leave our planet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Themius View Post
    I'd rather fund NASA instead of private companies...like giving elon musk a few billion for this project.... why?
    Because it is far cheaper like Edge said, plus for the past several years we have been having to use Russia to send people to the ISS. It is not cheap to get into this field and it is far better option for Nasa to go with SpaceX.

    It is too bad Scroe is banned because he would do a FAR better job at explaining why.

  7. #7
    Odd, i had a thread going about the Artemis program here, but it got closed. Well, there are some useful links in the thread if you want to peruse them.

    https://www.mmo-champion.com/threads...and-Mars/page6

    Here is the OP:

    Artemis 1 is scheduled for November 2021
    Artemis 2 is now August 2023
    Artemis 3 is now October 2024


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis_program
    https://www.firstpost.com/tech/scien...0-6694501.html

    The Artemis program was given its name in May 2019. Its a planned manned moon mission by 2024 and eventually a manned Mars mission. There will be a space station in lunar orbit by 2024. It is the successor to the Apollo program. In Greek mythology, Artemis was Apollo's twin sister.

    It might be best to understand the program with a timeline:

    1. Summer 2019 - a launch test of the capsule that will contain the astronauts
    2. 2020 - Artemis 1 launches, which will be an unmanned mission around the moon.
    3. 2022 - Artemis 2 launches, which will be a manned orbit of the moon (with no lunar landing).
    4. 2024 - Artemis 3 launches, which will be a manned lunar landing in the south pole region of the moon.
    5. 2025 - Artemis 4 launches, manned lunar landing.
    6. 2026 - Artemis 5 launches, manned lunar landing.
    7. 2027 - Artemis 6 launches, manned lunar landing.
    8. 2028 - Artemis 7 launches, manned lunar landing.
    9. 2028 - Artemis 8 launches, manned lunar landing and delivery of Lunar Surface Asset, a moon base.
    10. 2030s - Manned mission to Mars using the moon base as a springboard.

    In addition to the Artemis launches, NASA will hire private companies to perform 5 additional lunar launches between now and 2024 to ship the building blocks of a lunar space station that will serve as a "gateway" to the moon. This space station will be parked in lunar orbit. Artemis will dock with the space station. The space station will have its own lander that will shuttle astronauts between the space station and the moon.

    NASA's boasts it can accomplish all of this in 5 years due to the bidding nature of the project. Instead of NASA listing precise mission requirements and trying to get contractors to match them, NASA is simply "buying the service" from contractors and letting them work out the details instead of "owning the hardware".

    The beast behind the mission is the new SLS rocket system. It is the biggest rocket of all time and it will power the Artemis program.
    Last edited by Kokolums; 2021-04-17 at 04:01 AM.
    TO FIX WOW:1. smaller server sizes & server-only LFG awarding satchels, so elite players help others. 2. "helper builds" with loom powers - talent trees so elite players cast buffs on low level players XP gain, HP/mana, regen, damage, etc. 3. "helper ilvl" scoring how much you help others. 4. observer games like in SC to watch/chat (like twitch but with MORE DETAILS & inside the wow UI) 5. guild leagues to compete with rival guilds for progression (with observer mode).6. jackpot world mobs.

  8. #8
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Because it's cheap as shit through SpaceX, and infinitely better than going with most other private companies like Lockheed (kek). I don't know the practicality of NASA building their own rockets again honestly, especially with such a cheap alternative like SpaceX around.
    Damn Skroe would have dropped is a fat info dump with cool ass pictures and everything.

    The article is very misleading. NASA is only using SpaceX to actually touch down onto the moon. It's still using its own rocket and capsule to actually get to the moon. The capsule will dock with SpaceX's vehicle at the moon and be the means of getting astronauts to and from the lunar surface.

    That's cool and all but it seems kind of silly when you see the two bigass rockets being used for something that was done with one in the past. Hopefully the goal is future proofing stuff for Mars.

    NASA will be using SLS, a rocket that will already by bigger than the Saturn Vs that got to the moon. SpaceX's Starship will be huge too, if not around the same size. The crazy thing is that the SpaceX vehicle is only going to be around the moon. There's pros and cons to that. It gets the job done but we're looking at space shuttle levels of way too much vehicle and costs for what's actually being done. It's like you tell your roommate you're about to drive your hybrid SUV to the corner store that's 2 min away but they insist that they drive you in their H1 Hummer. It's inefficient but hell, it's their money.

    The real short-term gain for NASA, assuming SpaceX even meets its goal with Starship, is that NASA can hold off on building a lunar space station to act as a hub for lunar missions. Instead it can use Starship as kind of a forward RV while it drafts plans for a bigger station further out stable orbit - one that can better serve Mars and asteroid missions. SpaceX gets to show off its tech to future investors/customers, being a rep beyond the ISS's Uber. SpaceX will also get first dibs on the commercialization of the moon (we can have a completely separate discussion on the Artemis Accords, what they are, the politics, economics, why some scientists/countries are for them and why others against, and how SpaceX's bid is controversial). SpaceX can and will use the fact that it's their vehicle being used to claim equity in favorable lunar sites/discoveries.


    This entire contract assumes Starship will do half of what SpaceX says it will, on top of SpaceX being able to generate enough revenue to complete its Starship project.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Mortis View Post
    Because of the technology and everything else that will come with this rocket. At some point we will need to leave our planet.



    Because it is far cheaper like Edge said, plus for the past several years we have been having to use Russia to send people to the ISS. It is not cheap to get into this field and it is far better option for Nasa to go with SpaceX.

    It is too bad Scroe is banned because he would do a FAR better job at explaining why.
    The way NASA works, time will tell if it is actually cheaper. Aerospace contractors, SpaceX included, know how to finale money out of NASA. Give them a dollar amount, say you have acquired new costs when it's too late to back out, Congress expand's NASA's budget, suddenly xyz contractor needs more money for a critical component or the project is doomed. They basically treat NASA like a a GoFundMe, receiving more money in the end at 65% of their milestones met. NASA then gets its budget slashed/diverted to the military for 'wasting' money.

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  9. #9
    Brewmaster Sorensen's Avatar
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    Elon daddy to the moon.
    Driving on Sunshine.

    PM for Tesla referral code.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Because it's cheap as shit through SpaceX, and infinitely better than going with most other private companies like Lockheed (kek). I don't know the practicality of NASA building their own rockets again honestly, especially with such a cheap alternative like SpaceX around.
    The argument is why not just build it via government? The cost of building a rocket for the government doesn’t include profit motives and shareholders.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Themius View Post
    The argument is why not just build it via government? The cost of building a rocket for the government doesn’t include profit motives and shareholders.
    That would require a much heavier investment. SpaceX already exists.
    Isms bore me. I think they are only brought by people who seek to marginalize the potential of each ism to provide something meaningful. Name it, Capitalism, Socialism, even Communism-- all contain something of merit towards structuring a society. The biggest flaw in human history has been the need to take the worst of a system along with the best. It doesn't have to be all of one and none of another.

  12. #12
    NASA has always been SpaceX biggest financier, this is not unusual.

  13. #13
    Herald of the Titans Hansworst's Avatar
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    Waiting for cubby to call everyone with criticism haters.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadoowpunk View Post
    Take that haters.
    IF IM STUPID, so is Donald Trump.

  14. #14
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Midnight Bomber View Post
    That would require a much heavier investment. SpaceX already exists.
    The contract is only using SpaceX to touch down on the moon after NASA has already done everything else to get there. Also don't SpaceX is sending the astronauts back. SpaceX is the primary benefactor in the deal. That's not necessarily good or bad right now but it is what it is.

    I really wouldn't cost NASA that much money to make its own dedicated lander. They are hoping Starship actually does what SpaceX says it will so NASA can rely on that option for things other than Moon missions. It's an "I can make my own pizza or the shop down the street about the same price to make one for me without all the hassle of making my own".

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  15. #15
    Legendary! Zuben's Avatar
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    I expected SpaceX to have a program that handles the whole thing, but this is just the lunar lander, SLS and Orion taking care of the other parts of the mission. Maybe it's a matter of schedule, SLS and Orion being further along in production for their roles in the mission than SpaceX's respective tech (or NASA just wants to actually use the tech they've developed rather than let it gather dust). Perhaps in the future we'll see the whole thing passed to SpaceX, at least if they do it far cheaper. I hear SLS's operational cost is estimated to be high af, and, as this choice of only one partner once again shows, low funding is a persistent issue for NASA.

    Despite being glad SpaceX has been so successful in delivering, I do hope Blue Origin and others will make it in the long run as well. It'll be good to have competition and diversification of assets in the space industry.
    Now you see it. Now you don't.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Joe View Post
    Why waste time and effort to just send a man to the moon again.
    Well there is a rather grand plan to set up a "space gate".

    As the saying goes - "if you are in orbit you are half way to anywhere"
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

  17. #17
    biden should step in to stop those contracts if elon is just gonna be a right wing troll on twitter
    trump personally stopped amazon from getting military contracts, its only fair game

    maybe give them to jeff bezos company instead

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Joe View Post
    Why waste time and effort to just send a man to the moon again.
    It’s to test habitats for missions to Mars.

  19. #19
    Legendary! Thekri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Themius View Post
    The argument is why not just build it via government? The cost of building a rocket for the government doesn’t include profit motives and shareholders.
    Oddly enough, neither does the cost from SpaceX. It is a weird company, it isn't a public company, so it doesn't have normal shareholders, instead Musk owns 54% of it, with the remainder being various other billionaire investors. In short, it really isn't trying to make a profit, it is trying to make a legacy. I dislike Musk as a person, but I do rather like the business model that SpaceX is using, despite being essentially a vanity project, it cares about cost a LOT, with the stated goal of driving down the cost of space flight for everybody. Simply put, SpaceX is built from the ground up to do everything cheaper then anyone else, including NASA, and its primary driving goal seems to be to achieve as much as possible in space, not make stacks of money.

    I can admire the company without admiring Musk, who is an asshole of questionable brilliance. The thing he is a genius at is managing large companies, he does an excellent job of hiring smart people, giving them a purpose, and then letting them succeed on their own. The fact he spends his spare time mouthing off dumb shit doesn't endear him to me, but I can't deny his results.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Themius View Post
    I'd rather fund NASA instead of private companies...like giving elon musk a few billion for this project.... why?
    You obviously have never worked with government contracts in the USA. Private enterprises generally can get the same job done faster and cheaper due to how horribly inefficient our bureaucracy is. Look at how much NASA was spending on the shuttle craft vs how much Space X is spending for the same payload size.

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