Expendable or Shiny

“Until the advent of the reusable Falcon 9,-“

And after the “advent” of plastic milk jugs we started throwing them in the trash instead of reusing glass bottles at great expense. Even Philip Bono, the father of VTVL, understood that only so much reuse was practical and incorporated some expendable tanks in his designs.

Not that reusability is a bad thing…unless it is a P.R. device and a deception. Even as a deception it is accomplishing some progress towards breaking even I suppose. But only spacex really knows. Everything is “expended” eventually….what you are accomplishing has meaning.

One of the problems with Apollo was the mighty 3000 ton Saturn V lifting off and around ten days later a 6 ton capsule parachuting into the ocean while the rest of it was expended. This did not sit well with the taxpayer and NASA never made any serious attempt to explain why this had to happen. Why didn’t it all come back like in Rocky Jones space ranger?

The ignorance of the public concerning this has been exploited with the NewSpace cheap and nasty ideology. The reality was a rocket engine IS a controlled explosion and after very many minutes of that controlled explosion it was not to be trusted to keep being controlled for very much longer. Due to the physics involved with escaping our deep gravity well, and the energy available from chemical propellants, staging is required. By making these eggshell thin containers pushed by controlled explosion capable of returning for reuse it made everything so heavy that not much would make it into orbit. No shiny Rocky Jones spaceships.

A half a century later, with far better quality control and slightly better materials, they seem to be landing back the first stage of the falcon 9 and reusing it to great economic benefit. Except spacex is not willing to prove this is actually happening. Even if it is “only breaking even” then dropping spent stages in the ocean still has advantages over reuse in that it eliminates much of the thrice-damned standing army and makes those trained people available for other work.
Maybe they should consider expending tanks and recovering engines vs shiny starships.


“NewSpace”, from the beginning, was…a scam. It promised space station vacations and LEO as the new frontier with cheap and nasty very small rockets as the path to the stars. Depots would allow all these cheap and nasties to do anything the big rockets could, for almost nothing.

The age-old confidence game of promising much in return for…almost nothing. Like vitamins and chiropractors….it is all just a scam but almost guaranteed to pull in some easy money.

Real space can be understood with just a few examples. The F-1 rocket engine. The AJ-260 monolithic solid fuel booster. If you look at the Saturn I you can see how this inferior lift rocket is still lifting satellites a half a century later in guise of the falcon 9. The coder-who-made-good entrepreneur has made landing back a great P.R. device but whether it is really breaking even is not so clear. Looking at the Saturn V we see the smallest practical rocket for taking a few people to the Moon. And then there is the Nova.

Nova is what should have came after the Saturn V along with programs to constantly improve it with an idea to recovering the engines and only expending tankage (the best feature of the Shuttle).

Instead of a logical progression for our tax dollars we got a political football. And trying to go cheap with the Shuttle. And here we are. Nowhere.

Hopefully the SLS and Artemis will kick-start a new space age.
NewSpace delenda est



I don’t know how long you have been visiting these forums but…about 10 years ago spacex was taken up as a cause by libertarians and they became what I call the “Ayn-Rand-in-space whack jobs.” These extremely toxic trolls over a period of a few years essentially hounded anyone not wanting to be part of their spacex infomercial into leaving. NewSpace goons have hijacked all public discourse on space- they accept no criticism and troll into oblivion anyone not subscribing to their ideology. People like me who are progressives or have a different opinion on the best way of expanding humankind into the cosmos are not tolerated. Many people visit these forums and see the far-right and bizarro libertarians commenting and never come back. That is why there is this illusion that everyone is a Musk fan…far from it. The fanboys feed off each others B.S. and think they are the center of all things. And it has affected the public view of space exploration in a profoundly damaging way. The NewSpace scam is the same as all confidence games – promising something for nothing, or almost nothing. And we will end up with nothing. There is no cheap.

The worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. I can’t stand any of them and expose them and their scam out of pure spite.

It takes anyone not brainwashed by the right about a minute to figure out you lie like the rest of us breathe. And yes, WE got rid of Trump and elected her.

“The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)(3) research institute and is funded by thousands of individuals, foundations and corporations.”

“The Foundation is committed to respecting the privacy of our donors.”


Like the wheel, some things are almost impossible to improve upon. As a way to safely return humans to Earth from space there is really no way to improve on a capsule parachuting into the ocean. There is not much that can go wrong. Unfortunately this holds true for the tractor escape tower also and the toxic dragon has about the worst possible design for an abort system.

SpaceX would do well to strip the toxic dragon of it’s superdraco’s and ton and a half of hypergolic propellants and add an escape tower. Put any propulsion system in the “trunk” so it can be left behind in the even of an anomaly. And they could even make the escape tower reusable.

But since they want that system as a way to station-keep and there would be some sacrifice in payload it is not likely they will spend the money- because NewSpace is all about going cheap. Sad that NASA is still risking people on fundamentally unsafe designs. You would think they would have learned after losing two shuttle crews. There is no cheap.

“Displayed a Moon rock in the Oval Office. At the request of the administration, NASA loaned a Moon rock from the 1972 Apollo 17 mission – the last crewed mission to the lunar surface – to be displayed in the White House Oval Office.”

Yes, we are going back to the Moon, but, “We will use the Moon to validate deep space systems and operations before embarking on a human voyage to Mars”?

We are only going to Mars with very large Nuclear Pulse Propelled lunar water shielded and artificial gravity equipped spaceships. By the time we have these true spaceships it will be realized the only places worth exploring have oceans- and that means Ceres will be the first interplanetary human mission, not Mars.

Mars is, like LEO, a complete dead end.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

%d bloggers like this: