Skip to comments.SpaceX and the Russian Rocket Mess
Posted on 06/13/2015 8:55:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The first thing to notice is how rapidly Elon Musk's SpaceX is altering the market for government-sponsored rocket launches.
Witness how frequently the words "to compete with SpaceX" appear in industry statements and press coverage. To compete with SpaceX, say multiple reports, the United Launch Alliance, the Pentagon's traditional supplier, is developing a new Vulcan rocket powered by a reusable engine designed by Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin.
Because of SpaceX, says Aviation Week magazine, Japan's government has instructed Mitsubishi to cut in half the cost of the Japanese workhorse rocket, and China is planning a new family of kerosene-fueled Long March rockets. "Stimulated by SpaceX's work on reusable rockets," reports SpaceNews.com, Airbus is developing a reusable first stage for Europe's venerable Ariane rocket.
All this comes amid one of those Washington battles ferocious in inverse relation to the certainties involved. Should Congress, however bad the precedent, climb down from sanctions enacted last December curtailing the Pentagon's reliance on a Russian-made engine to put U.S. military satellites in orbit?
Yes, say the Pentagon, the national intelligence leadership and the White House, because avoiding disruption to crucial military launches is more important than any symbolic weakening of sanctions against Russia.
No, says Sen. John McCain, who criticizes "$300 million of precious U.S. defense resources subsidizing Vladimir Putin and the Russian military industrial base," never mind that Pentagon dollars are not different from private dollars, which flow in abundance to Russia under a loopy sanction that does nothing to curb Russia's booming engine sales to U.S. private commercial customers and even NASA.
(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral, Fla., in 2012. Photo: Air Force Space Command
Eutelsat's Chief Executive Michel de Rosen said a duopoly between Arianespace and SpaceX would leave the industry exposed if one of the two rocket suppliers suffered a failure that grounded its vehicle for several months. Credit: Arianespace, SpaceX [SES, Eutelsat CEOs Vow To Do What it Takes to Avoid SpaceX, Arianespace Duopoly]
De Rosen took issue with statements repeatedly made by French politicians and others that attribute SpaceX's success to U.S. taxpayer largesse. "This is exaggerated," de Rosen said. "First of all, SpaceX's support from NASA is in the form of contracts, not subsidies. And even these total less than what the European taxpayer is paying to develop the Ariane 6 rocket. There is a tendency in Europe to look at a non-European's success and conclude, 'He's cheating.' Yes, [SpaceX Chief Executive] Elon Musk has been aided, but he has done a lot." [SES, Eutelsat CEOs Vow To Do What it Takes to Avoid SpaceX, Arianespace Duopoly]
De Rosen took issue with statements repeatedly made by French politicians and others that attribute SpaceX’s success to U.S. taxpayer largesse. “This is exaggerated,” de Rosen said. “First of all, SpaceX’s support from NASA is in the form of contracts, not subsidies. And even these total less than what the European taxpayer is paying to develop the Ariane 6 rocket. There is a tendency in Europe to look at a non-European’s success and conclude, ‘He’s cheating.’ Yes, [SpaceX Chief Executive] Elon Musk has been aided, but he has done a lot.”
According to some on FR, Musk is nothing but a welfare queen.
They’re wrong, of course.
Elon Musk is an engineer with a used car salesman’s penchant for business.
We pay the Russians to take our astronauts to and from the ISS, and for the supply rockets.
What’s McCain up to? Is he running for President again?
We subsidize the Russian space program, and should not. That’s a holdover from the Demagogic Party’s pathological need to bind us to a single party state dictatorship that they worship.
We should have our own manned space program.
One guy alone guy who almost had no startup money originally, and who as a boy had very few friends I think is going to totally change the way we live our lives.
We probably won’t see really deep effects even in five years but after 30 years Elon`s impact is going to be HUGE.
The thing I like most about him is that he is always polite and never a braggart.
ULA has the Delta Heavy. SpaceX will have the Falcon Heavy- essentially 3 Falcon 9’s strapped together.
The demo launch is supposedly sometime this year. I had heard it may be pushed back, but I don’t know.
I can’t wait for the Falcon X launcher to fly that’ll use the Raptor engines they are developing at the moment. I think it is supposed to be classified as a super-heavy class launch vehicle. Falcon XX is supposed to be ultra-heavy lift vehicle.
We do, we just don’t actually have any launch capability in the area of man-rated boosters. It’s a stupid situation. President Reagan wanted Space Station Freedom, Carl Sagan and the rest of the left wanted the International Space Station.
The Pentagon shouldn’t be relying on our Russian enemy to launch the replacement for GPS, either.
So, you think the once premier spacefaring nation should be able to lift their own astronauts into space? Wow, what a great idea!
I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to become so dependent on the Russians for our space program but it should stop. It’s the national security stupid.
Access to space is a vital strategic capability that should not be dependent upon parts or resources that can be cut off by an enemy.
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