Making Commercial Spaceflight a Reality

Erik Seedhouse, Springer Praxis 2013, BeavertonLib 629.4 SEE

Like most Praxis books, informative, opinionated, and rough around the edges.

Opinions about technology schedules are shaped to encourage funding, not provide timetables. If every technology schedule is equally optimistic (typically 2 to 3 times), they mesh, and cost overruns are paid for by accumulation of unexpected revenues.

As I write this, !SoaceX is undergoing 10% layoffs, and is years behind the schedules in this book. That said, they astounded me by actually landing and reusing first stage boosters, and by launching a Falcon Heavy with 27 engines that did not blow up. Indeed, they haven't yet blown up a mature Merlin; I hope that none of the laid-off engineers are the ones that knew how to achieve this miracle. If they were laid off, I hope they teach their techniques to other rocket companies.

Elon Musk is the messiah of our times, until he makes a big mistake and is crucified for that. I hope that happens long after Dragon Crew capsules become the main ISS "commuter bus", and long before Red Dragon crashes astronauts and their fecal bacteria on Mars. Mars is a terrible place to colonize (the asteroids are better), but it may be the source of exotic biological knowledge that could save planet Earth, and help colonize useful places in the solar system.

SpaceX (last edited 2019-01-18 23:33:28 by KeithLofstrom)