Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pr0n for Aerospace Engineers

Seriously, is there anything better than massive rockets demonstrably outperforming anything to date that can carry massive amounts of payload and has the thrust of 15 Boeing 747's at full throttle? I submit that there is not!!

For those who don't follow the aerospace industry, SpaceX announced today the Falcon 9 Heavy along with a laundry list of impressive stats including, but not limited to:
  • 17 MN of thrust at liftoff (that's 3.8 million pounds)
  • 53,000 kg payload (that's 117,000 lbs or 53 tons and double that of the Space Shuttle and the Delta IV Heavy)
  • High reliability from their first-of-its-kind propellant cross-feed that leaves the center core "full" even after side booster separation
  • A cost of 1/3 that of the Delta IV Heavy
I confess, astronautics is not my primary interest. I'm much more interested in aeronautics, particularly in autonomous aeronautics. Even so, if this video doesn't pique your interest, you need to reevaluate your geekiness!!


  1. That really is amazing! My favorite part is "At a fraction of the cost". Man, if anything is expensive it is sending stuff up to space! How many billions does it take to run NASA? In fact, spaced based project's over-budget is measured in billions (Astronomers need look no further than JWST) and so any part of the space-based pipeline that greatly cuts cost is appreciated by me.

    If this SpaceX/Virgin Galactic/etc... stuff works out it will be a great example on how government can fund costs up front to design technology that couldn't be built any other way then pass off this knowledge to the private sector who can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost.

    As I've said before: It is amazing to me that our private sector can produce technology that the governments of most other countries could never dream of. (And it costs less too.)

  2. I think most of our technology has come from the private sector. Certainly much of our scientific advancement comes from gov't agencies, but I think most of our technological advances and breakthroughs are driven by the private sector. The two are certainly coupled.

    Although SpaceX has used much of NASA's knowledge they have certainly innovated, streamlined, and made things much more efficient (no small feat indeed).


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