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Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
Nehkara 27 points

I commented on this article on SFN:

A lot of stuff to talk about in this article.

  1. Vulcan will fly its final configuration (ACES + Reusability) version, at the earliest, by 2025. By then it will be competing against BFR which will be vastly more powerful, 100% reusable, and much less expensive.

  2. I'm fairly certain that SpaceX will, once Block 5 of the Falcon 9 comes online next month, be very reticent to fly expendable flights. They will very likely shift any Falcon 9 payloads that prohibit re-use to Falcon Heavy.

  3. Vulcan still doesn't have engines selected. I expect its initial launch schedule to slide significantly.

  4. Despite Tory Bruno's hinting that the Falcon Heavy on government missions would cost 3 x $96.5 million, that makes no sense at all. You don't just triple the mission cost for a 3-core versus a single-stick... at least not for SpaceX. There's a lot of fixed mission costs in there. I expect Falcon Heavy government missions to cost probably $150 million or so.

  5. ULA has never made an orbital rocket from scratch before and they're claiming some pretty incredible performance out of Vulcan. They could pull it off, but again it will come slowly and incrementally. SpaceX is currently building their 4th orbital rocket from scratch and has instituted a myriad of incremental upgrades to their Falcon 9 series which has doubled its performance.

  6. The ACES upper stage is super cool and I'm glad they're doing it. It definitely pushes the envelope of what is possible. However, it won't fly for at least 6 years. SpaceX's BFS should also be capable of most of the tasks ACES could perform and due to its low marginal cost, may still be less expensive even with refuelling if required for more complex or heavy tasks.

  7. The plan to recover Vulcan's first stage engines mid-air with a helicopter is not fool proof and will likely need a lot of careful work to ensure it is safe.

  8. They spend a good amount of time touting the capabilities of the heaviest version of Vulcan (6 SRBs + ACES) but fail to mention that almost that entire vehicle will be expendable. You throw away the 6 SRBs, most of the 1st stage, ACES, and the fairing**. This vehicle will also probably cost quite a lot. Those SRBs are several million each.

** = Apparently ULA are working on fairing recovery with their partner RUAG. If it works out, then Vulcan becomes significantly more reusable. (Thanks /u/Zucal!)

Zucal 11 points

You throw away ... the fairing.

Interestingly enough, ULA & RUAG (their fairing supplier) are looking into fairing recovery. It's still mostly a hypothetical, of course.

Nehkara 8 points

That's awesome! Their fairings are huge and expensive.

Zucal 12 points

Felt bad dropping that without a source, so here's two:

1. (SpaceNews) Swiss manufacturer Ruag Space is developing reusable fairings...

2. (Tory Bruno) Been studying that [fairing recovery]. Interested to see how it fared

Zucal commented on a post in r/RocketLab
FritzVonDenHasen 4 points

"RocketLab has officially become the second privately-owned rocket company to achieve orbit"

Forgetting about Orbital ATK smh

Zucal 4 points

"Liquid-fueled rocket" makes it a proper statement, I think. That was SpaceX's distinction with Falcon 1.

FritzVonDenHasen 2 points

Definitely not a distinction made in the video, though. And also kind of arbitrary.

Zucal 1 point

You'll have no argument from me on either point.

Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
S-A-R 3 points

SpaceX is testing engines and pressure tested a tank. It's more than a paper rocket, but still years away from operation. SpaceX just started building their BFR/BFS factory.

There's time for a lot of changes to the BFR/BFS.

Zucal 13 points

SpaceX just started building their BFR/BFS factory.

Not even that - they received environmental approvals for the project, allowing them to begin basic activities like demolition, leveling, repaving, and installing utility connections. That process will take three months, and only then can actual construction begin.

Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
[deleted] 1 point


Zucal [M] 1 point

Rule 1: Be respectful and civil.

Both of you need to take a little break. Disagreement is fine, but this is not:

ill-informed idiot...

stupid, slavering fan that can't think for themselves

blithering fool

white knights

HighDagger 6 points

It looks really bad if you take her two Tweets out of context, which is going to happen to a substantial degree due to Twitter's design. It's disarmed and more reasonable in the flow of the conversation, but that's over a dozen or so Tweets that most people are never going to see.

What can you say, satire really doesn't carry well over the internet. I buy her explanation, although it's still very poorly worded, as evidenced by the existence of this thread. I don't know her well enough to evaluate how naive she is with regards to these kinds of things. 140 (it was expanded, wasn't it?) character limits just don't lend themselves to good communication.

Zucal 2 points

140 (it was expanded, wasn't it?) character limits

280 now!

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Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
hanoian 1 point

If SpaxeX got taken of Reddit, what would you replace this place with?

Zucal 1 point

SpaceX doesn't have the ability to shut down this site. As is noted at the top of the page, "This subreddit is fan-run, and is not an official SpaceX website."

uCry_iLoL 2 points

Update the sidebar, mods.

Zucal [M] 1 point

In what way? SpaceX's Facebook page is no longer listed on r/SpaceX's or r/SpaceXLounge's sidebar.

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Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
still-at-work 3 points

Hey, I think that means /r/SpaceX is the last major spacex community standing!

Well I mean except for NASAspaceflight forums and a host of others...

Zucal 5 points

There's a 38,000-member unofficial Facebook group. SpaceX's official page was just webcast alerts and Flickr reposts.

Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
counterkush 1 point

What's the compressor building for? Cooling for O2 or CH4? That's the only reason I could think you need an entire building for a compressor...

Zucal 2 points

The compressor building is extant, not a planned SpaceX facility. It will be demolished for Phase II of the site development.

fattybunter 1 point

How does the size of this compare to their Hawthorne facility?

Zucal 3 points
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Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
peterabbit456 1 point

I notice that a BFR booster is shown on its side, but only in the last frame.

I cannot tell if it is on a barge, or on the dock.

Zucal 2 points

There's no BFR booster anywhere in those renders.

peterabbit456 1 point

Look carefully at the last picture, just above the cabin of the harbor patrol boat, and partly in front of the left side of the factory building. There is a cylindrical object, 50% longer than the F9 first stage, and about 3 times its diameter. It is clearly a movable object, since it is not in the other frames.

If it is not a BFR first stage, then it is an enclosure, on the deck of a barge, designed to hold either a BFR booster, or a spaceship.

Zucal 2 points

You're seeing this building, which is on the dock across the water from SpaceX's facility. The perspective is tricky.

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Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
Elon_Muskmelon 2 points

That would be surprising, u/Zucal is usually pretty on top of things. Also, how did you know?

Zucal 5 points

I don't check daily unless it's a noteworthy move op like 1046.

[deleted] 0 points


Zucal 3 points

The side cores had already flown, so u/Jincux isn't counting their engines.

Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
Astroteuthis 2 points

I believe L2 had a similar post prior to that with a bit more information.

Zucal 1 point

About Pyron? I'm not aware of that.

Astroteuthis 7 points

While Falcon 9 B5’s black sections by all appearances look like naked carbon fiber composite, they are likely to be coated with an incredibly heat-resistant material known a Pyron. Portions of the booster that suffer from incidental scorching and extreme heating (aside from the octaweb) appear to have been treated with this material, including a pathway down the side of the rocket known as a raceway.

Apparently this information originated in L2. Teslarati must have gotten permission to use it, because normally L2 info isn’t shared. It generally comes directly from SpaceX employees and contractors.

Anyway, all of the composite parts are covered in the new thermal coating.

Zucal 2 points

It's not L2, it was mentioned in the thread showing 1046 on the stand up close.

Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
Jaxon9182 3 points

DSG won't need cargo unless someone besides nasa sends crew there, people always seem to ignore this when they talk about DSG resupply missions. The modules will come packed with cargo and Orion will have cargo as well, so there will be no need for that unless they can extend mission lengths significantly or find someone else to launch people to the gateway. Idk if an atlas 5 with extra strap ons could send a CST-100 there (with a new service module for return and to extend free flight endurance well beyond 60 hours), or of course FH could send a D2, maybe something with Soyuz and a booster stage could be arranged? About D2, could the LAS superdracos be used to return to earth from a lunar orbit (removing the need for a new service module)?

Zucal 2 points

an atlas 5 with extra strap ons

Worth noting that by the time DS/LOP-G are completed it'll be Vulcan+ACES flying, not Atlas V. New Glenn (including the BE-3U-powered third stage) will also be available.

SwGustav 0 points

what stuff though? there's no way BFR will visit ISS imo

it's a waste of mass otherwise

Zucal 15 points

Why wouldn't they use BFR to conduct ISS crew or cargo runs? If it can lift an incredible amount of supplies, experiments, and a crew rotation to the station for something near the cost they're claiming, they'd be fools not to substitute it for Crew Dragon/next-gen Cargo Dragon.

There's also DSG, as a longer-term destination that would also require semi-frequent cargo and crew runs.

Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
4LS 1 point

I'm assuming that SpaceX does all the shipping themselves? Can't imagine that you can just pull up to FedEx and drop an M1D off and say "have it to California by Wednesday"

Zucal 3 points

They contract companies like EZE Trucking to move first stages, second stages, fairings, MVac, M1Ds, etc.

Zucal commented on a post in r/SpaceXLounge
filanwizard 1 point

My first thought when I read this was.

“Does Russia even have a rocket capability that can do TLI? Let alone Martian transit”

Zucal 3 points

ESA's ExoMars launched on a Proton, so... yes?

Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
rshorning -1 points

The BFS is sort of a fan shorthand that has been adopted by this subreddit, but keep in mind that it is at best a placeholder for another name that may be announced in the future. Nowhere has Elon Musk or SpaceX said it is the official name of the rocket.

The only thing which is definitive is that the ITS name is out and depreciated. It sort of ticks me off when fans on Wikipedia are trying to treat the ITS and the BFR as different rockets, as it is the same concept and really the same thing just tweaked and refined.

Zucal 13 points

Musk is the origin of the term, actually. He has consistently used it as shorthand when describing the system.

(Big Fucking Booster + Big Fucking Spaceship = Big Fucking Rocket)

"I'm using BFR and BFS for the rocket and spaceship, which is fine internally, but..." (2016)

"...full-scale Ship ... Ship flights ... BFS is capable of reaching orbit..." (2017)

" the BF Ship ... we modified the BFS design..." (2017)

"...BFS has a delta wing." (2017)

Eucalyptuse 1 point

Yea, that makes sense. My bad. No hard feelings.

Zucal 2 points

No harm done! It's really cool to be able to interact with people that do work there, and I've definitely gotten overzealous in the past.

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Zucal commented on a post in r/BlueOrigin
CardBoardBoxProcessr 1 point

Test version became the full version after 2017 IAC.

Zucal 9 points

It's still subscale, just not by as much. The initial subscale test Raptor went from being approximately 33% scale to approximately 59% scale.

Subscale test Raptor: 1,000 kN

Production Raptor (2017): 1,700 kN

Production Raptor (IAC 2016): 3,000 kN

Jedi1971 -19 points

A non story by people who do not understand anything.

Zucal 15 points

I'm curious what your reasoning is here.

redspacex 7 points

Small correction: the research article was published in Space Weather, not Nature.

Zucal 8 points

I meant:

a very brief rundown [of a much larger research article] in Nature

but I was unclear. Thanks!

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Zucal commented on a post in r/spacex
SeverHail 8 points

Can we please get some further clarification on why we need to have posts APPROVED before showing (3.1) during non-launch times?

This was not the status quo just a year or so ago. This is a pretty major problem in my view, and has resulted in me visiting this sub less and less, and moving to other sites for up to date information on SpaceX. I remember just a few weeks ago some pretty big news came out but it wasn't available on here for hours until a mod approved it. Why is this policy necessary? Why was it not necessary before? What kind of number of posts are we talking about that need approved/denied? Is it so terrible to allow all posts and then delete them afterwards? Or even let the community decide? (downvotes, reporting, etc.).

Zucal [M] 10 points

I'll start off by partially agreeing with you - I think the system takes way too long right now. Ideally, any post should only be in the filter for a few minutes before it gets voted on. Right now we're low on manpower (several of the moderators on our current list are semi-permanently inactive, others are on hiatus for work reasons/etc.) and our timezone spread leaves an awkward overnight gap. That can and will be fixed.

I am committed to keeping the filter, though - with so many subscribers these days a rulebreaking post can get a ton more comments than it used to before we remove it, and when removing it the impact on many commenters is greater than that on a single submitter. The filter also saves our asses sometimes when something potentially proprietary is posted (doesn't happen very often), or, more commonly, someone posts a thread like "explosion at MCGREGOR????" based on a puff of steam and we're able to avoid mass panic on the subreddit by making sure it doesn't hit the front page without an uneditorialized title. This definitely has the occasional downside of delaying breaking news, and I'd really, really like to avoid that.

Sorry for the mild word vomit.

Macchione 8 points

Speaking of the redesign, I was invited to test it out as a regular user (I don't know how many users they're inviting so I can't tell if I should feel special or not), but pretty much the only sub I really care about is r/SpaceX.

So I guess if you want alpha feedback or anything else, let me know. Or don't, no idea if that would be useful or not.

Zucal [M] 6 points

Thanks! We're mostly just messing with the design on and off just to see what's possible, and likely won't arrive at anything close to final until they expand the overhaul to the whole site. Let us know if it's unreadable for whatever reason, but short of that ignore it for now :P

Zucal commented on a post in r/BlueOrigin
redditbsbsbs 5 points

I wish Blue Origin all the best. The fact remains though that with more money and being founded two years earlier they have accomplished way less than SpaceX to date.

Zucal 12 points

Less money. They only started getting Bezos' billion-a-year recently years ago, before that they were basically just a VTVL think tank in comparison to SpaceX.

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