We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Pretty much the coolest thing ever

Pretty much the coolest thing ever… 😎

60 comments to Pretty much the coolest thing ever

  • Mary Contrary

    Amen

  • JadedLibertarian

    Like a boss 😎

    Elon Musk displays a level of showmanship not seen since the time of Brunel.

  • Rob Fisher

    This is what it’s all about!

  • Bruce

    Think back to the classic 1940’s / 1950’s SF pulp-mags and B-Movies.

    They usually showed the “spaceship” landing just like that. See also the wonderful Wallace and Grommit epic, “A Grand Day Out”.

    When the “Eagle” landed on the moon, nearly half a century ago ago, it did exactly the same thing.

    Dropping the big Saturn 5 boosters into the ocean and letting the upper stage boosters burn up in the atmosphere was pretty much all they could do at the time. The Apollo on-board computers had about as much grunt as an early digital mobile phone and were considerably larger. Only five or so years before, ANALOGUE computers were the big thing in aerospace technology

  • JohnW

    Core landing failed – but 2/3 is very good!

  • Sam Duncan

    I knew it would be good, but god-dammit, that was awesome. And they made it look easy.

    Similarly, although rationally I know it must be true, it still comes as a bit of a shock to realise that, yes, Elon’s Tesla really is up there.

    This is the 21st Century I was promised. 😀

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    How irresponsible! Rocket builders need repeat orders! I bet this reusible launcher puts some rocketsmiths out of a job! And what will all those NASAcrats do now? And this sort of thing might encourage little kiddies to want to be astronauts, and thus endanger their lives! Won’t someone think of the kiddies?

  • Eric

    I still think he should have sent up a Corvette, but this is pretty cool.

  • It does make a complete mockery of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS), especially the comparatives.

    The current estimate is that the SLS, which is still not flight ready will cost $1 billion a shot (double the 2012 estimate of $500 million), whereas with this one flight SpaceX have proven that they can deliver the same or better capability for around $90 million a shot.

    Competition in the space launch market is good, but with the small-to-medium sized launch market saturated and plenty of competition from private companies with SpaceX (Falcon9 and Falcon Heavy) and a good showing from Blue Origin (New Shepard, New Glenn) the SLS seems to be evolving into the white elephant that everyone (except NASA I presume) thought that it would be.

    Not only is it long past time for NASA to abandon the SLS, it should never have been commissioned in the first place.

    Long past time to scrap NASA as well. It’s purpose was served after the core aspects of the Apollo program were completed.

  • Umbriel

    Definite Gerry Anderson vibe to the booster landing…

  • Biffa Bacon

    Still can’t get over that landing. It just looks like it should not work, yet it does.

  • Eric

    JG,

    Manned space at NASA has been little more than a jobs program since the early ’80s when it became clear the shuttle wouldn’t meet any of its design goals. SLS is designed specifically to use the same engines STS used, so the same people, in the same Congressional districts, get to keep their jobs making something nobody else wants. It also means the cost of a SLS launch will never go down, since spending money is the point.

    What SpaceX has done is make the whole thing so, so obvious the question “Why are we doing SLS?” is bound to keep coming up until it’s dead. Particularly if BFR makes it off the drawing board.

  • bobby b

    Hey, now!

    NASA may not put any more people into space, but that’s only because they’re putting their resources into the more important issue of faking climate science!

    So cut them some slack.

  • DOuglas2

    I’m hoping that Starman Stig is actually an animatronic mannikin, and that after everyone gets used to seeing a completely static starman cruising towards mars but never moving, he at some point surprises everyone watching just then by turning towards the active camera and giving a “thumbs up” sign.
    Then he should go back to the original static position, and anyone who saw it will wonder if they hallucinated.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    As a contrarian, maybe the rockets simply took off, and the tape was played backwards? And acters played the ‘spectators’?

  • Mr Ed

    Let Arnie, for all his faults, sum it up, from Total Recall.

  • Mr Ed

    A massive missed opportunity to make a first for women, ahead of men. Just imagine the rejoicing if, instead of a mannequin, a woman who had missed out on another ‘first’ just over a year ago, had been in the driving seat of that Tesla.

  • Jon

    OK – it’s pretty clear that that video has been reversed, and those rockets were taking off.

    Heard it here first, folks. 😉

    Elon Musk is a hero.

  • Guys, I watched this on the BBC ten’o’clock news last night and they showed this while reporting the successful launches and landings, but the video had a small ‘animated footage’ label – easy to miss but it was there.

    Many commenters have remarked the Jerry Anderson vibe – well, yes, it would be in that case.

    Does anyone have more information on the reality or otherwise of the footage?

  • No, not animated. That was a live feed.

  • bobby b

    It was faked.

    After too many landing failures, Musk made the rockets hang in one spot, and then he moved the Earth up to intercept them. The cameras were Earth-mounted, so of course it appears that the rockets came down.

  • …and then he moved the Earth up to intercept them

    Any man who can land on Amber Heard & then take off again is clearly capable of God-like deeds 😉 😀

  • Mr Ecks

    Whilst I share the joyful space-faring general vibe of the thread it should be pointed out that–Jekyll & Hyde like–Musk is also still a Greenfreak crook and conman whose Tesla car is a taxpayer boosted scam.

    Hopefully he can set SpaceX off and have it keep on flying and triumphing long after he is destroyed by the inevitable collapse of his dodgy pedal-car empire.

    Musk indeed deserves a place in history as a space visionary and entrepreneur. But he also has a place in the dole queue post Tesla bankruptcy as well.

  • Mr Ed

    The true test of President Trump now is whether he asks ‘See that? Why not scrap NASA?‘.

    Had Ted Cruz got the ticket and won, he might have said ‘I can find nothing in the Constitution permitting NASA to exist, so it will not be funded.‘.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . Musk is also still a Greenfreak crook and conman whose Tesla car is a taxpayer boosted scam.”

    I’m torn by this.

    Yeah, he’s milking the public purse, and being handed piles of money by gullible investors.

    But he’s not really defrauded anyone. We all know about his production problems. We all know his product isn’t sustainable at present prices.

    He’s managed to tap in to an unsupportable ideological blind spot currently suffered by half of the population, and they’re willing to throw their money at him to prop up their delusions. (Sadly, they’re also willing to throw my money at him.)

    I don’t think he’s the problem. The problem is that people are mistaken as to exactly what he’s selling to them. It’s not electric cars. It’s identity within an ideology. He makes people feel woke and trendy.

  • Barracoder

    It’s a pity they duplicated the booster video feeds on the bottom row but at least you can see the other booster firing.

    I sat cross-legged in front of my TV with friends and cried when they landed the side boosters simultaneously.

    On a greyer note I’m in the middle of a debate in the SpaceX Facebook group about the future of the Senate Launch System. “But if they cancel SLS then all that money disappears!” appears to be the main argument in favour, which isn’t actually an argument in favour.

  • Mr Ed

    I found this compilation of mobile phone footage from distant spectators to the landings, note the sonic booms that follow on some shots.

  • Darryl Watson

    Hopefully he can set SpaceX off and have it keep on flying and triumphing long after he is destroyed by the inevitable collapse of his dodgy pedal-car empire.

    Have you ever driven a Tesla car? Just because his vehicle transfers the burden of powering it from a petroleum infrastructure to the electric grid infrastructure, doesn’t mean that the car isn’t a sexy beast.

    I watched the video of those two boosters land themselves Flash-Gordon-like, and the hairs on my neck sprang up. Apparently it didn’t go so well for the other stage, but… the payload was delivered into orbit, for much cheaper than NASA could hope to do it.

  • Laird

    “[P]eople are mistaken as to exactly what he’s selling to them. It’s not electric cars.”

    Well, I’ll concede that it’s not only electric cars, but then Apple isn’t selling only cell phones and computers, either. There’s a perceived cachet to all, and if Musk has tapped into it (just as Jobs did) more power to him. And whatever you might think, he really is selling an electric car, and a pretty amazing one at that. Take a ride in one and then tell me you’re not impressed. Personally, I’d love to have one and I’m no “green freak”. Unfortunately it’s not in the budget.

  • Alisa

    What Mr. Ecks said, but in milder terms.

    (Sadly, they’re also willing to throw my money at him.)

    That’s the most problematic part about Musk. That said, of course he is not the problem, but he is part of the problem in that regard in that area – while in the area of space exploration he seems to be part of the solution. People and reality in general tend to be complicated like that.

  • It is the twenty-first century, and at last we have our flying car!

  • Al from Chgo

    Turn NASA into a weather reporting service with all stations and facilities outside of the United States. /Saudi Arabia, the Gobi, the Dead Quarter, two hundred mile of Vladivostok for starts.

  • Beaneater

    Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray said:

    As a contrarian, maybe the rockets simply took off, and the tape was played backwards?

    I know you’re being tongue-in-cheek, but I have seen the idea seriously proposed. Among the problems: imagine playing the landing tape (as we saw it) backwards. You’d be seeing what the conspiracy theorists claim is the original footage. And that would involve a giant cloud of dust coalescing and being sucked toward the engines, which then ignite and lift off, leaving the scene pristine and dust-free. I’m reasonably certain that that does not happen during a real rocket launch.

    I guess you could say the dust was manipulated by CGI, but in that case, why not just call the whole thing CGI rather than cooking up some bizarre story about footage being run backwards?

  • Mr Ed

    Here’s a YT clip on the V2, with a compilation of launch failures. Progress on the technology, but more importantly the motive for building rockets.

    Having said that, I suppose that Mr Musk could soon land one of these boosters pretty much in someone’s back garden if he chose to, an expensive prank but hey.

  • Mr Ed

    Here’s a nice Space X YT video showing the steps on the road, how not to… with Colonel Bogey as the background music.

    Nice that they can see the funny side of capital consumption.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, what’s the use of having “f**k-you money” if you can’t indulge in expensive pranks? 😆

  • Jon
    February 7, 2018 at 10:33 am

    OK – it’s pretty clear that that video has been reversed, and those rockets were taking off.

    When I was young, lots of SF movies had their rockets “land” by playing a takeoff backwards. NO similarity. I hope you intended a {sarc} label.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, nice video, but FYI the background music is not “Colonel Bogey”, it’s John Philip Sousa’s Liberty Bell March (which was used as the theme for Monty Python).

  • Mr Ed

    Laird,

    Indeed, sorry for my inexcusable error.

    It has just occurred to me how wicked and unforgivable it would have been to have launched Falcon Heavy so that the boosters could have landed unannounced in Hawaii, painted with red stars and some Korean writing.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, you have an evil mind!

  • bobby b

    “Take a ride in one and then tell me you’re not impressed.”

    Drove a Model S for two days. Insane acceleration. Nice handling, but heavy. Lousy fit and finish. The radio stopped working on day 1. Comfortable. Everyone had to stop and comment on it. It made me popular wherever I went. I hate that.

    The battery range made it into a hobbyist’s toy – something to show off to Buffy and Todd at the club and then take back home so you could jump in your truck and actually go somewhere.

    He’s selling ramped-up and shiny Cushman electric golf carts for insane money. Maybe at the next quantum leap in battery tech, electric cars will be the replacement for cars with engines, but not yet. Right now, I’m firmly convinced you buy one to impress and signal.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Bruce: “Think back to the classic 1940’s / 1950’s SF pulp-mags and B-Movies. They usually showed the “spaceship” landing just like that.”

    My thoughts exactly. As I watched that video, I was thinking that the aliens were landing and the invasion was starting. Had it continued, I wouldn’t have been entirely surprised to see a little green man step out of one of those rockets and ask to be taken to Donald Trump, or whoever.

    Umbriel / Niall Kilmartin: yes, it is a bit Gerry Anderson, isn’t it? All that’s missing is the theme music from Thunderbirds.

    Being a little more serious, mad props to Space X. If space travel is going to become relatively inexpensive and routine, we’ve got to stop throwing away most of the spaceship after each flight. Space X has just brought that reality a whole lot closer.

  • the other rob

    …and then he moved the Earth up to intercept them.

    Thus following in the grand tradition established by those visionary pioneers who faked the Moon landings in a studio on Mars.

    I had meant to watch the launch live, but missed it. I’m delighted that it went as well as it did.

  • Eric

    Whilst I share the joyful space-faring general vibe of the thread it should be pointed out that–Jekyll & Hyde like–Musk is also still a Greenfreak crook and conman whose Tesla car is a taxpayer boosted scam.

    That’s a little strong. In a perfect world those subsidies wouldn’t be available, but I can’t blame him for subsidy farming. And I don’t see any evidence he’s a conman.

  • Eric

    The battery range made it into a hobbyist’s toy – something to show off to Buffy and Todd at the club and then take back home so you could jump in your truck and actually go somewhere.

    How often do you drive more than 200 miles in a single day?

  • the other rob

    How often do you drive more than 200 miles in a single day?

    You don’t live in Texas, do you?

  • bobby b

    “How often do you drive more than 200 miles in a single day?”

    Three times in the past two weeks. (But I’m unusual in that respect.)

    I was looking at a used Tesla. Battery range decreases as the battery ages, so range was estimated at about 160 miles, at 70 degrees F. Range decreases with temperature. I’m in Minnesota, so I can’t really plan on 70 degrees. Plus, I’m the sort of O/C person who never lets his gas tank get down below 1/4 full, and I’d likely not let an all-electric car go below 1/3. Call it paranoia. But it’s a common paranoia.

    So that gives me a range of about 45-50 miles before I have to turn around, because there just aren’t any charging stations outside of the ten biggest US cities, and I’m not going to cut it close to the point where my battery-powered car is dead on the side of the road.

  • Laird

    bobby b, I’m not going to waste any sympathy for someone who voluntarily lives in Minnesota! 😆

    And as to charging stations, we have a few around here and I can assure you that I am not in one of the ten largest cities. But your point is a fair one that true electric cars (not hybrids) won’t become practical until charging stations become nearly as common as gas stations.

  • Mr Ed

    My drive to my head office is 201 miles one-way, 1-2 per month. On one trip, I was overtaken in some roadworks by a speeding Nissan Leaf, and it occurred to me that if he’d set off where I had, he would have run out of juice before the roadworks ended (they like 10 mile+ long roadworks in the UK for ‘safety’ reasons). Perhaps what electric cars need for now is for there to be ‘tanker’ lorries with huge batteries on them cruising the motorways and they could use drogue plugs like air-to-air refuelling to recharge, by plugging in and cruising behind, perhaps in line, no more annoying than HGVs.

    The current Leaf offers a guarantee on the battery and electrics for 8 years or a poxy 100,000 miles. My Diesel has done 270,000+ miles at around 24,000 mpa. There’s no practical comparison unless you intend to only drive around the Vatican or Monaco.

  • Alisa

    IIUC, Musk’s most serious work is on rechargeable batteries in general, and so far there has not been much progress to show for in that area.

  • Fred the Fourth

    I drove a Fiat 500e for three years, practical range 100 miles. Now I have a Chevy Bolt, practical range 220 miles. Both work very well for me, BUT I live in the South San Francisco Bay area, am semi-retired, and am happy if the car can make the round trip from home to SF on one charge.I
    I leased, of course, because the tech is changing very fast.
    My brother-in-law is a HUGE Elon fan, and owns all 3 flavors of Tesla, though one is only on paper so far.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Tesla Corp is rapidly becoming the Xerox PARC of the 21st century, in that Musk is so hard to work for that Tesla is spinning off new ventures started by ex-Employees at a rapid pace.

  • Tedd

    Alisa:

    Battery development may look slugging compared to progress in chip performance, but then so does pretty much everything else. The $400 battery I recently bought for my ebike is far better than the $800 battery I bought for it 2 1/2 years ago. That might not be Moore’s-Law-level progress, but it’s still quite a significant improvement in a short period of time. And most of the benefit of recent investments in battery production facilities hasn’t even begun to hit the market, yet.

    Electric vehicles are up against some of the most mature technologies we have. But this stuff is going mainstream at an impressive rate, under the circumstances.

  • Alisa

    Tedd, I am in no way belittling the progress that has been done in that area – it has been more than great, as you point out. But from my layman perspective, what seems to be happening now is that this progress has reached (or about to reach) a plateau. I am sure it is only temporary, and a new technological breakthrough is forthcoming (either in that specific field, or in some newfound alternative to what we think of as a battery). But until that happens, most of the rest of Musk’s projects may stall, as they largely depend on efficient storage of energy.

  • Runcie Balspune

    He’s selling ramped-up and shiny Cushman electric golf carts for insane money. Maybe at the next quantum leap in battery tech, electric cars will be the replacement for cars with engines, but not yet. Right now, I’m firmly convinced you buy one to impress and signal.

    The biggest gripe I have is that the Tesla has just swapped over the ICE for an Electric Motor, there is so much more to do. Placing the motors on the wheels would be as start, full control 4 wheel drive with no (heavy and inefficient) transmission system.

    And batteries – leave that until later, Musk is chasing a lost cause, they are a massive environmental headache right now and that’s without the recharging. This will need quantum technology to provide a breakthrough. For now he should just stick a regular ICE, or Compressed Air, or Gas Turbine, or coal burner, or even a mini-nuke, inside as the power plant. Get the structure of the vehicle correct and it wont matter what happens later when you want to power it, in fact, make the power plant swappable for extra durability. FFS, Mr Porsche was doing this at the start of the last century, on cars – and tanks !

    If Musk can get a better car going just using traditional ICE with electric in-wheel motors, then that would be a breakthough, but right now, it is, as is said, a golf cart.

  • Y. Knott

    Placing the motors on the wheels would be as start

    – And not a good one. It increases sprung weight, causing the car to drive like a tank. It’ll be better once superconducting motors become common as they’ll be a lot smaller / lighter, but while I’m dreaming…… 😥

  • Runcie Balspune

    And not a good one. It increases sprung weight, causing the car to drive like a tank.

    I assume you meant unsprung weight.

    The point I was making is to concentrate on the structure not the power source, developing a viable in-wheel motor is probably a lot easier than developing a better battery.

  • Mr Ed

    I found this film with ‘enhanced’ audio of the launch and the landing of the boosters, lift off around 3′ 24″ with the sound building 12 seconds later, and with the two triple sonic booms from the boosters landing at 6′ 47″. Presented by a very keen engineer and filmed from the roof of one of the rocket sheds. The roar of the rocket after launch is quite impressive. It works best with ear or headphones.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, great video. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>