A quick closeup of the landing...
As you may have heard, SpaceX's reusable rocket was used to help deliver an inflatable guest room to the International Space Station along with 7,000 pounds worth of food and cargo to resupply the astronauts.
But the real story is that reusable rockets make space exploration literally 100x cheaper over the long term.
This means we're that much more efficient at leveraging the resources we have out there, the resources we haven't touched yet, and eventually relocating civilization to save us from natural disaster or human-made disaster.
A quick closeup of the landing...
Even the one where they (it) screwed up and crashed was impressive. It's hard enough to make a rocket go up in our atmosphere without flipping out and exploding, never mind landing again.
I agree...although this was obviously even more impressive...If you have the time, watch the webcast...
Didn't the space shuttle cover the re-usable spacecraft thing decades ago, and they retired it because disposable rockets were cheaper?
From what I gather, the Dragon's appeal is that it's cheaper than both the space shuttle and the disposable rocket model, while still being resuable.
Plus the controlled landing means they don't have to go and get it out of the ocean.
The thing about the Space Shuttle is that it utterly failed to be cheaper than disposable launch systems. The Space Shuttles were mind-bogglingly complicated machines, each craft requiring tremendous numbers of man-hours spent on inspection and maintenance. The external fuel tank for the Shuttle's main engines was $50+ million a pop, none of them reusable. In the end it came out to an average of 25 grand per pound of payload put into space, which was well over 100 times more expensive than NASA was projecting it would cost in 1972.
Simplicity is one of the largest factors (if not THE largest factor) in keeping the cost of space launch systems down, and simplicity just isn't compatible with the concept of a manned cargo-hauling space glider.
I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to improve over simply putting parachutes on them a la the shuttle's boosters?
Anyway, it's not enough to reuse. You also have to get the costs of recovery and refurbishment below the cost of simply making a new one. Shuttle refurbishment was crazy expensive.
I'm sure there's hard numbers somewhere that say how much of an improvement it is or isn't.
But just as a technical feat this is impressive to see. I've been reading about the early space program, which if you read about, you know how many factors they have to account for & how much can go wrong.
In the end, I'm putting my money on a few space elevators connected to in-orbit spaceports.
Then you just lift a vehicle and launch it directly into orbit.
When I envision a space elevator, I think of something like a tram. A full loop kept in motion, bringing things down and up. This could be powered from the ground, and does a lot of great things. But there are major problems with that idea, not least that you need like 4+ times as much cord, and the main wheel would probably have to be built into a mountain.
Most designs are more static, which lets you make it thinner in the middle, but presents an interesting problem: How do you get up and down it? Sticking a rocket on the cable car is (A) potentially dangerous to the cable and (B) makes you wonder why you even bother having a cable. There's talk of using laser propulsion, which is a great idea that may be practical someday but isn't right now, and once again makes you wonder what the cable is for. (Coming down, I suppose.) You basically cannot have a self-powered crawler - there's no way to make the math on that work. The cable's length makes running a current down it impractical, unless you can somehow get a superconductor in there, which I doubt.
I think they'd have some very redundant, very fail-safe slow mechanical process that may take a week or more to raise the thing, but it addresses the practical problems... Like why bother with cords? Have regular combustion-engine wheels that slowly roll up a corkscrew track. There could be some more rapid smaller elevators in stages around the sides for personnel or emergencies or the like too. And things can be geared for going up, as I imagine to get things down it'd be easier to just get them into the upper atmosphere and parachute them off from there.
The other problem with space elevators is the radiation the car is exposed to during the ascent/descent. It would take about five days to get to orbit height, during which time the radiation has cooked everything to a crisp - unless you add significant levels of radiation shielding, which then increases the mass of the car, giving you further problems. You've also got the fact that to be stable, the cable needs to be much thicker and the top than at the bottom, which makes the method of moving cars up and down more limited.
I hope I see space elevators during my lifetime, but I think the apocalypse is more likely.
By no cord I meant not cords lifting anything, but that wasn't the sticking point about needing some massive physical structure one way or another anyway.
The fuel would be laser power.
I'm not about to presume I've thought of anything that very smart people haven't already thought a lot about and know the ins and outs of though.
When I address both what you said and the more reasonable thing you may have meant, it's too late to come back with just "that's not what I meant". It's not like I didn't foresee and address that possibility.
It wasn't really to explain. I'm mostly saying that because when I was originally typing that I was going to put "fuel" in quote marks, but it became a pain to open up the stupid window for symbols on my phone and scroll over to the quote marks. It's more than just what I meant, but my intended symbology to mark it that my phone was fighting me on, and it looks better to say that than do a late edit. Chalk it up as frustrated typing on a phone sometimes.
They'll never make it past the Chem Trails.
And even if they could, the Van Allen belt would fry 'em like an egg on a sidewalk.
No one's really been to the moon, you know. We're trapped here, on this flat monolith located on the back of a giant turtle floating through the phlogiston loaded aethers.
Nonsense, we live inside a sphere. Don't believe me? Just dig a hole and you'll see. But you're too scared! That's how they have taught you.
Cellular Cosmogony is the truth!