• mipadaitu@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    Not sure why SpaceX is in this group, except “cause musk”, since they’re objectively the best rocket company out there.

    The rest are obvious, but the Falcon 9 is the cheapest, and most reliable rocket.

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zip
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      1 month ago

      While Falcon 9 is a dependable rocket…

      1. One has never been turned around as re-usable in anywhere near 24 or 72 hours as Musk claimed they would be, fastest turn around to date is I think 3 weeks, roughly in line with faster Space Shuttle turn around times. No where near ‘rapid’.

      EDIT: My turnaround times for the Space Shuttle were off, fastest was 55 days and its more like 3 months in average. The point I was attempting to illustrate, which is Rapid Reusability Is A Huge Element To Making The Cost Effectiveness Gains Promised, And SpaceX Is Still Off By An Order Of Magnitude, Over A Decade Into The Falcon Program.

      1. The cost to launch a Falcon 9 has never dropped to around 5 million dollars, as Musk claimed they would be. Even accounting for inflation, launches average around ten times the cost Musk said they would be. Musk is charging the government around 90 million per launch: Soyuz was the only option, so the Russians could overcharge a bit for ISS launches, now the Russians are not an option, and Musk is similarly overcharging.

      2. Starship/BFR is woefully behind the schedule for accomplishments that Musk claimed it would reach in his hype shows, woefully behind schedule for the NASA contract.

      3. Starship/BFR has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and so far has a proven payload capacity of 0, would require 12 to 16 launches to accomplish what a single Saturn V could do, has not demonstrated the capacity to refuel in orbit, is not human rated, and is now just being moved back to Starship 2 and 3, with Musk now claiming Starship 1 actually has half the orbital cargo capacity he has up to recently claimed it has.

      4. For comparison, the Saturn project had a development time similar to how long BFR/Starship has… never once failed, proved it could do what it needed to in 67, 7 years after development began.

      (They also had computers maybe a little bit more or less powerful than a ti-83 and had to basically invent a huge chunk of computer science)

      Starship/BFR development has been a shit show.

      Dear Moon is cancelled.

      Remember when the repulsive landing Dragon Capsule was going to land humans on Mars?

      Remember when we were going to have multiple Starships starting a Martian colony by now?

      SpaceX in general has gotten high on their own supply over the last 10 years and has made all sorts of lofty claims about lowering launch costs, rapid reusability, rockets for military asset deployment to anywhere on Earth, rockets as basically super fast commercial airliner travel, all of which have driven massive public hype and investor confidence, and then these claims are just forgotten about when it becomes apparent just how difficult these are to achieve, or in some cases, laughably, obviously unworkable with even a modicum of thought.

      The truth of the matter, as proven by Musk’s handling of his other companies, is that Musk just says things, “We can do this now!”, when in reality he’s basically had a napkin drawing plan a month ago, calls this prototyping, and now its a month later, and he emailed somebody and said ‘Make this happen’ with no further explanation, thus the project is now in development.

      • JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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        1 month ago

        Seems like you’re comparing SpaceX to Elons promises, not against the rest of the space industry. They’re still much better than all the rest, even if they don’t quite meet Elons promises.

        • lone_faerie@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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          1 month ago

          A big part of that is money. The competition is either less wealthy Musks or notoriously underfunded government agencies.

          • JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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            1 month ago

            Are you saying SpaceX is selling launches at a loss? I don’t think musk is paying for SpaceX launches with Tesla money.

            • lone_faerie@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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              1 month ago

              Not necessarily, although I wouldn’t be too surprised, scientific endeavors tend to operate at a loss. I’m just saying that Musk’s funding gave SpaceX a jumpstart on the competition. Someone like NASA isn’t going to be able to keep up when their budget is consistently getting cut and Musk is rolling around in more money than anyone could ever spend.

              • halcyoncmdr@lemmy.world
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                1 month ago

                So then if you want to move that goalpost again at least move it to a comparison that makes sense. SpaceX and Blue Origin are both Billionaire funded launch providers. Even though SpaceX now operates from their launch sales.

                Meanwhile, Blue Origin has a complete lack of real world launch vehicles to send viable payloads. The best they’ve shown is a handful of tourism rides on New Shepard. And massive delays on the new engines for New Glenn and other rockets, which are finally starting to be delivered to customers massively delayed, but still no New Glenn rocket anywhere near being launched.

                • Emerald@lemmy.world
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                  1 month ago

                  Meanwhile, Blue Origin has a complete lack of real world launch vehicles to send viable payloads.

                  Do they really need to? Vulcan seems like it will be a fine rocket. And the vulcan engine is the same as new glenn engine

                  Edit: Okay well it seems New Glenn is planned to be a lot more powerful, containing 7 BE-4’s rather than 2 for Vulcan.

          • M0oP0o@mander.xyz
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            1 month ago

            Even ignoring all the other aspects of one working and the other not; The big one is even with the musk grift the cost to taxpayers is orders of magnitude different.

            SLS is Over US$2 billion excluding development (estimate) per launch. While Space X just upped their cost estimates in 2022 to $67 million per launch.

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                1 month ago

                SLS cost to develop so far: US$23.8 billion nominal

                Falcon 9 cost to develop so far (note this was for falcon 9 1.0)(estimate): US$300 million

                Once again, not even close.

                • M0oP0o@mander.xyz
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                  1 month ago

                  For more fun I started to look at some of the other development costs of Space X rockets.

                  Starship (the big spender) : $5 billion to $10 billion

                  Falcon Heavy : Over $500 Million

                  Falcon 9 : $300 Million

                  Falcon 1: $100 Million

                  Like I dislike the kirkland brand Dr.evil as much as the next dood, but I think boeing might just have a spending issue.

                • AFK BRB Chocolate@lemmy.world
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                  1 month ago

                  You’re not arguing in good faith. First of all, that’s what NASA paid, not the total development cost. Way, way more of the costs were paid by investor money. Secondly, falcon 9 is not the nearest equivalent to SLS - that’s starship. There’s a huge, huge difference.

          • frezik@midwest.social
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            1 month ago

            Are you serious? Most observers shake their head at SLS. Best result for everyone on its maiden flight would have been blowing up at Max-Q. Then congress could admit it’s a failure and move on.

        • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zip
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          1 month ago

          Musk is SpaceX.

          He’s the frontman, even if Shotwell is the CEO now she’s made some of the absurd claims I’ve referenced.

          And SpaceX as a company, its developed products, fall laughably short of its promises, of its marketing.

          The rest of the Space industry, generally, is no where near as bombastic and obviously full of shit, instead preferring to develop and operate without grandiose media/public performances.

          There is a saying in business: Under-Promise, Over-Perform, or Over-Deliver.

          SpaceX does the opposite of this.

          • JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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            1 month ago

            Yeah but that doesn’t mean SpaceX isn’t a fantastic rocket company. Why is over promising an issue? It’s still fantastically cheap and capable. You aren’t buying rocket launches, and the people who are are looking at the current performance, not future projections.

          • AngryMob@lemmy.one
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            1 month ago

            Like it or not, the industry would still be worse off without the idiotic claims. The idiotic claims pushed the industry forward. You want to make a bulleted list of all the things you dislike or you perceive as failures and drawbacks, fine, go ahead. There are just as many positive bullet lists that could be made.

            • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zip
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              1 month ago

              Or one could interpret them as fraudulent claims for the purpose of soliciting funding, you know, like Full Self Driving.

          • sushibowl@feddit.nl
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            1 month ago

            There is a saying in business: Under-Promise, Over-Perform, or Over-Deliver.

            SpaceX does the opposite of this.

            It literally doesn’t matter though: everyone and their mother are buying falcon 9 or heavy launches. SpaceX accounts for almost 90% of the world’s launched upmass. They are simply the cheapest most reliable option out there and it is not close. The only reason not to fly on a SpaceX rocket is national security or wanting to keep your own domestic launch industry alive.

      • clothes@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        Musk is gross and SpaceX has some questionable marketing claims that you’ve identified, but I don’t see how anyone could claim that anything about the company’s products are a shitshow.

        Falcon 9 has radically changed the economics of the space industry, and has no competition to force lower prices.

        Starship has had a very successful testing campaign, and operates within a different development paradigm than Saturn. They’ve shown more progress on more technology in the last year than almost any rocket ever. It won’t be long before Starship has demonstrated all the capabilities you mentioned. While the price tag is large in absolute terms, it will be very cheap relative to the competition.

        Dear Moon was not canceled by SpaceX, and no one who follows the industry has ever believed Musk’s timelines.

        I guess I’m confused, because everything I know about Starship points towards it being one of the most incredible engineering accomplishments ever. There are lots of other problems with SpaceX’s leadership, environmental impact, and work culture, but aren’t the products inspiring?

        • AngryMob@lemmy.one
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          1 month ago

          Some people just cant separate the musk from the accomplishments. Or they read headlines about costs and historical comparisons without actually thinking about how apples to oranges they are. The vitriol over musk which is well deserved has really fucked with the space industry’s image. And considering how fucked the image already was (not hated, but jaded and perceived as a waste of money), its a shame.

        • someacnt_@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          It would be interesting if starship actually succeeds. It initially did not seem like something that would work

        • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zip
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          1 month ago

          I specifically said Starship development has been a shitshow.

          I would not characterize all of SpaceX as a shit show, more like vastly under delivering compared to what was promised.

          • ebc@lemmy.ca
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            1 month ago

            They say it themselves: SpaceX specializes in turning the impossible into merely late.

            When Starship was announced, people were saying it wouldn’t fly with so many engines because the Russians tried and failed with their N1 rocket. Now that it did fly, it’s that the heat shield will never work.

            Are they late compared to what they announced? Absolutely. Are they still faster than anyone else? Look at Blue Origin and you have your answer.

            • someacnt_@lemmy.world
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              1 month ago

              Yeah, it’s honestly impressive how it works at all. Like, look at the sheer scale! How does it even stand?

      • shadowtofu
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        1 month ago

        3 weeks, roughly in line with faster Space Shuttle turn around times

        The shortest shuttle turnaround time was 55 days. Almost three times as much as Falcon 9. The fastest post-Challenger turnaround time was 88 days, I believe. After Columbia, the fastest turnaround was around 5 months.

        NASA claimed that the shuttle could achieve a turnaround time of two weeks (page IX). It looks like SpaceX is not the only one setting unrealistic timelines?

      • AdrianTheFrog@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        They don’t have rapid reusability because it doesn’t matter to them, they have enough rockets that they can work on multiple at the same time to get the same effect

      • Emerald@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        Dear Moon is cancelled.

        Looked this up. The guy says he cancelled it because it was delayed too long. Pretty much shows they didn’t have the patience needed for spaceflight in the first place.

        • Diplomjodler@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          They’re the only ones who are seriously trying. And Falcon 9 is better than anything else by a very wide margin.

            • Diplomjodler@lemmy.world
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              1 month ago

              They’re the one eyed man who is king in the country of the blind. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are the leaders in their industry.

    • HappyFrog@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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      1 month ago

      The main issue with spacex is that they use taxpayer money to build infrastructure, research, and in many other ways fund a company who’s accomplishments will never be shared with the world unless there is a price sticker on it.

        • Hildegarde@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          Roscosmos doesn’t consider clearing the launch tower to be a success. There is value in continuing to use proven technology.

          • AngryMob@lemmy.one
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            1 month ago

            Youre comparing a testing goal to an operational goal? How the hell is that even relevant?

            We’d all still be using steam engines with your logic, because the moment a gasoline engine blew up in testing we shoulda just given up! And jet engines for aircraft? What a waste of time!

            C’mon. You gotta be smarter than that.

            • Emerald@lemmy.world
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              1 month ago

              Eh? Both the Soyuz and Falcon 9 are proven spacecraft. That one abort was a fluke and the crew survived without injury. I’m sure they’ve put in some effort to make sure that abort won’t happen again.

          • becausechemistry@lemm.ee
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            1 month ago

            clearing the launch tower during a test launch with an experimental rocket that has no payload and no humans aboard is success

            managing to get into the right orbit without aborting using a rocket that’s launched since the 60s and is lit with giant matchsticks is success

            You, an idiot: “these are comparable”

      • CarbonIceDragon@pawb.social
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        1 month ago

        From looking up the numbers, it seems like a soyuz launch under the cheapest circumstances can get decently cheaper than a falcon 9 launch, however, it also carries significantly less payload mass, so the actual cost per mass to orbit is lower for falcon 9, which makes the comparison a bit like comparing a van to a semi truck; if you want to move something small enough to fit in the van, without any other cargo to fill the space, then the van makes sense. But if you’re running a logistics network and have enough cargo to fill whatever vehicle you’re using, the bigger truck is going to be cheaper to use.

        As far as them being a better rocket company though, Roscosmos has just been operating a group of designs that are quite ancient in terms of rockets, especially the soyuz which is an evolution on an original design that literally predates Sputnik. They’re not bad rockets per se, but Roscosmos didn’t develop them and they don’t seem to be innovating much beyond them, and so are quickly becoming out of date as more groups work on things like rocket reusability. SpaceX by contrast has been quite innovative in the space especially with regards to reuse, and has such a high capacity that one satellite constellation it owns accounts for a majority of operational satellites at the moment.

  • TheReturnOfPEB@reddthat.com
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    1 month ago

    SpaceX has Gwynne Shotwell who actually is the reason to find SpaceX interesting. She is so powerful that she can overcome Musk’s perpetually increasingly unstable drag coefficient.

  • april@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    One of these things is not like the others. Falcon 9 is the most successful and impressive rocket ever built.

      • alcoholicorn@lemmy.ml
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        1 month ago

        Did you mean Starship? That thing has like a 50% chance of exploding on landing last I knew

        • irq0@infosec.pub
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          1 month ago

          Pretty sure they meant Boeing Starliner, which is currently docked to the ISS but whose return to earth is delayed because of several hydrogen leaks and faulty manoeuvring thrusters. They’ve tested the thrusters since docking and only 4 of the 5 worked.

          SpaceX Starship on the other hand is a test vehicle. It’s not meant to explode of course but these things are expected from time to time. SpaceX go for more of a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” approach. It looks like they don’t know what they’re doing but they really do, Falcon9 is the most successful rocket ever built after all

          • CookieOfFortune@lemmy.world
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            1 month ago

            Starship’s last launch had two soft landings, they were just over the water which leads to exploding. That’s as good as can be expected.

          • marcos@lemmy.world
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            1 month ago

            The return is delayed because they decided to run a lot of extra experiments on their experimental capsule.

            I’m not saying it’s not fucked-up. The extra experiments are all because there’s a lot of stuff that must be fixed or else they’ll get a really pissed-off customer. But it’s not just stuck there because it can’t return.

            • AngryMob@lemmy.one
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              They lose the ability to claim experimental when it has passengers (and in my opinion also since it is not doing anything particularly innovative… It is “just” a capsule). We dont risk astronauts like that. Spaceflight is risky enough as is.

              And the traditional space companies (like boeing) spend so long on design and engineering and testing specifically so that things go mostly right the first time. This is now the third launch and its still having issues despite now risking crew. And that is with several years between launches. Its not a good look for boeing here if they cant get this capsule absolutely rock solid.

              • marcos@lemmy.world
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                1 month ago

                This is now the third launch

                Wait, what?

                No, sorry, I wasn’t talking about this one, that apparently I completely missed on the news.

        • CarbonIceDragon@pawb.social
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          Tbf, starship isn’t finished yet, if it were pretending to be a product ready for public use and was blowing up customer’s payloads, that’d be a fair point, but if you’re developing something by just flying it knowing it will probably fail, and then fixing whatever causes the failures so that it gets farther next time, until it eventually goes all the way, then being criticized for the test flights failing isn’t really fair unless you aren’t making any progress with them, which starship seems to have been making.

          • AdrianTheFrog@lemmy.world
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            The last 2 launches have gotten to (near) orbit just fine, although I think the payload door failed on one of them iirc. If they were carrying payloads they probably would have been able to deliver them (I don’t think they have made payload fairings for things other than starlink yet though)

        • Sabin10@lemmy.world
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          It’s still in testing though, there are people literally stranded in space right now thanks to starliner. What do you consider a bigger fuck up?

        • lefty7283@lemmy.world
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          On the last test flight a few weeks ago both the booster and ship did powered soft landings in the ocean (even with the ship’s flap melting a bit)

        • AdrianTheFrog@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          The last launch really was incredible. It managed to land relatively softly and pull off all of the flips while it’s fins were literally falling apart. Obviously the fins weren’t supposed to be falling apart, but it’s crazy that it still landed.

        • Quacksalber@sh.itjust.works
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          1 month ago

          Starship is in testing. Where other space companies spend years to decades testing their designs in simulations, wind- and plasma tunnels with gigantic costs (Blue Origin is developing New Glenn since at least 2013), SpaceX is building test articles and just fly them. Those test articles are not the final version of the rocket and they are not meant to complete an entire flight flawlessly. They are akin to alpha builds in software development, designed to test features, not to be a finished product.

    • Rhaedas@fedia.io
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      Related, but I’d say Falcon Heavy is. Especially if you add in the dual booster landings.

  • THCDenton@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    Musk is a pissbaby, but I’ll whiteknight spacex until they blow up a tourist.

      • sushibowl@feddit.nl
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        This wasn’t a SpaceX decision though. The guy who contracted them is the one who cancelled the mission. Mostly because the rocket is not ready yet and he was sick of waiting.

        • Laser@feddit.de
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          The mission was contracted for 2023, which already passed. I know SpaceX didn’t cancel it (why would they of they can just move the date into the future indefinitely) and that’s why I said they didn’t perform it. But the result is the same and the reaction of the client understandable. Any sane party will cancel a contract when they see that the other party is unable to fulfill their offer.

          • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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            Surely the fault lies with the client who decided to sign a contract, fully understanding that it was all theoretical and based entirely on future projections, that may or may not be accurate.

            It’s not like he was lied to and thought that the ship already existed, or was only a couple of months away from completion.

        • Laser@feddit.de
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          1 month ago

          I guess? The comment I replied to said “tourist” though and Polaris is with a professional crew.

      • Rob Bos@lemmy.ca
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        Oh, that sucks. I hadn’t heard about that cancellation. Still, SpaceX set an unreasonable timeline and expectations of the client, and that should have consequences.

        • Laser@feddit.de
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          1 month ago

          It’s my main issue I have with the whole topic. Starting in 2017 or so, there were so many idiotic promises regarding space travel and all, this one included. Oh yeah and we’ll colonize Mars btw. Like what are you people on? And now SpaceX is even behind on the contractual obligations to NASA, Artemis will not bring astronauts into moon’s orbit this year. Now while do acknowledge that space travel is really hard, this was achieved almost 60 years ago already. What was promised does in no way match reality. Going to Mars was always unrealistic, but to me it feels like progress on ambitious yet achievable goals is worse than 60 years ago.

    • underisk@lemmy.ml
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      1 month ago

      Blowing up rockets over protected swamplands and failing at things NASA learned decades ago isn’t enough for you?

    • stoy@lemmy.zip
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      Why whiteknight them at all?

      Let them stand and and fall on their own merits

      EDIT: lol @ the downvotes with no comments!

        • stoy@lemmy.zip
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          It’s fine it you downvote, but just tell me why you disagree with me on this topic.

          • THCDenton@lemmy.world
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            Well I don’t really simp for spacex, I’m just a fan of their rockets. I think they’re really cool. I was just being dramatic :p

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      1 month ago

      Yeah honestly space x is rocking it because of the immense talent of the team that exists there. They do over 100 successful launches per year now. It has transformed the space industry as humanity has ever known it. That’s fucking cool.

      • Emerald@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        Yeah too bad it’s led by Musk. Luckily he’s still too distracted with ruining Twitter

  • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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    1 month ago

    Why is SpaceX on that I mean I know “musk bad”, but seriously they’re doing well. Just put Boeing on there again this time for Starliner.

    • MonkderDritte@feddit.de
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      I first thought it was the Starliner. Then the group would have been “full of technical issues”.

    • whyalone@lemm.ee
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      They are not doing well, they take tax payer money and blow them up, literally.

        • Ragnarok314159@sopuli.xyz
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          It is and it isn’t. If NASA sent up rockets like them, blew them up, and said “that’s what we wanted to happen!”, at the same tax dollar spent ratio, there would be congressional hearings and massive outrage.

          • ZMoney@lemmy.world
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            1 month ago

            When you build new things they necessarily blow up during the development process. NASA is hobbled by a flat budget so they can’t afford to blow anything up. So they can’t build anything new, which is why SLS is a bunch of old parts scrapped together.

            • Emerald@lemmy.world
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              1 month ago

              SLS is a bunch of old parts scrapped together.

              True. But those old parts scrapped together is what makes SLS beautiful. :P

      • EpeeGnome@lemm.ee
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        1 month ago

        They are paid both taxpayer and private money to put things, including people now, safely into orbit. A thing they do frequently and reliably, without any explosions. Yes, their dramatically destructive development method of launching unproven prototypes and pushing them to the limit does seem wasteful, but it actually has allowed their engineers to very effectively identify the weak points in their systems and remove or compensate for them, resulting in designs that are redundant only where needed, but still reliable. Despite a lot of competition from international and the older American aerospace companies, they remain one of the most cost effective and reliable options for space launches in the game.

        Now, I’m all for some Musk mocking these days after how much of a jackass he’s revealed himself to be, and I am now convinced that Space-X succeeded in spite of him, but it is successful.

  • Demdaru@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    Imma be honest, I deem Tesla successful. At start, their mission was to get EVs started up and going. And they fucking did. After showing how much can EVs achieve, they forced whole world to shift focus - they succeeded. As of what happens with the company now…I don’t care. They did hella lot of good for everyone, now they can fall off. Would prefer if Musk fucked off instead and let them cook, but eh.

    • original2@lemmy.world
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      I disagree. EVs needed more battery development which occurred largely independently of Tesla, and instead they just reaped the reward of other people’s labour.

      • Demdaru@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        Technology wise, true. But it’s not about technology. Tesla pushed for EVs to become mainstream. They made them wanted by people. Up to that, automakers ignored that tech fully, cause money was with ICE.

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        You can’t deny the impact that they had on propping up EVs as desireable, though. There wouldn’t be so many Teslas on the road if the opposite was true.

    • BruceTwarzen@lemm.ee
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      They did a lot of good for whom? A lot of things are successful and shit, that’s not a metric.

    • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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      Gwen Shotwell actually. Honestly fantastic name.

      If you’re going to hate Elon Musk it might be a good idea to work out what companies he actually is and isn’t CEO first

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    1 month ago

    No one cared when Astra’s first three attempts (with a much less ambitious design) recently failed to reach orbit. Of course, launching rockets is hard and SpaceX’s first, less ambitious rocket also failed on its first three attempts. I’m sure other manufacturers have had their own share of problems. IMO people mostly think worse of spacex because it gets more publicity, but some degree of failure is always to be expected with new ventures in commercial rocketry.

    • BeardedGingerWonder@feddit.uk
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      There’s 2 main reasons spacex gets shit. First one is Musk. Second one is the weird competitive thing SpaceX fanbois do where they criticise the shit out of all other rocket manufacturers and endlessly praise everything spaceX do.

      • wieson@feddit.de
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        1 month ago

        3rd SpaceX is a private company getting public (national) funding and taking away from NASA (a national institution)

        • M0oP0o@mander.xyz
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          1 month ago

          Same for Boeing, Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and the like. Why are they getting a pass?

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            I don’t think Boeing is getting a pass. If anything, its become an even bigger laughing stock than SpaceX.

            As to the rest, most people forget they even exist. What has Rocketdyne even received credit for of late, ffs? What has Lockhead, for that matter?

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              Space Launch System (SLS) is a joint project of Roketdyne, Boeing and Lockheed Northrop Grumman. My issue is that Boeing is not getting enough shit and the other two are not even known.

              edit, got Northrop and lockeed mixed up.

    • UnderpantsWeevil@lemmy.world
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      A great deal of the problem with the modern rocket industry is that it has been commercialized.

      Indian and Chinese public sector agencies don’t need to run around sucking off donors for money or inventing new ways to generate profit on taxpayer expense. They can operate at-cost with a consistent budget and aim at targets set by experts in the field rather than investors with the biggest wallets. Consequently, they’re putting up better and more efficient spacecraft - India put its Mangalyaan probe into orbit around Mars for a measly $75M, China’s the only country left with a nationally independent space station - than anyone in the private sector has managed to date.

      Back when NASA wasn’t an entirely owned and operates subsidiary of Boeing, it was able to go toe-to-toe with the USSR. But now the pursuit of quarterly profits is dissolving the western space industry to the point where we can’t even get people off the ISS without Russia’s help.