SpaceX CEO Elon Musk lays out ambitious deadline for BFR-built Mars Base Alpha

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Eric Ralph, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Eric Ralph

    Eric Ralph Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2017
    Messages:
    280
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced what may be the company’s most ambitious deadline yet, stating that he believes a full ‘Mars Base Alpha’ - a preliminary city on the Red Planet - could be completed as soon as 2028.





    In essence, Musk has implied that SpaceX could go from completing the first prototype spaceship segments to a full-fledged Martian city in a decade, a goal that might be even more ambitious than President John F. Kennedy urging - in 1961 - the U.S. to commit itself to landing humans on the Moon “before this decade is out”. In fact, the comparison becomes increasingly apt after examining the finer details of both major proclamations.

    For Kennedy’s famous May 1961 speech, NASA had launched its first astronaut ever - and only on a suborbital mission - less than three weeks prior, and would not place an astronaut in orbit for another nine months after that. This was perhaps the boldest aspect of Kennedy’s announcement - he wanted NASA to go from a tiny, suborbital rocket (Mercury-Redstone) to Saturn V - a rocket that could literally place five fully-loaded Redstone rockets into low Earth orbit in a single launch - in well under a decade.

    [​IMG]The Mercury Program’s Redstone rocket vs. Saturn V. Saturn V launched successfully precisely 6.5 years after Kennedy’s famed 1961 speech. (Peter Alway)

    Examining NASA in the early 1960s, the challenges ahead of SpaceX may be quite forgiving in comparison. While NASA had less than three years of experience launching extremely small launch vehicles and placing even smaller (but still pioneering) satellites and space probes into orbit prior to May 1961, SpaceX has a full 60 successful launches of its massive Falcon 9 and Heavy rockets to bastion its expertise, as well more than 30 successful rocket landings and 15 reuses of a number of those recovered Falcon 9 boosters.

    In terms of capability and size gaps, SpaceX’s journey from a Falcon 9 or Heavy-sized rocket to BFR is more akin to the Saturn I and IB rockets that preceded Saturn V, the latter of which is shown above. It’s still going to be a massive challenge for the rocket company, particularly with respect to the move from aluminum-lithium propellant tanks to all carbon-composite tanks and structures, but SpaceX arguably has it easy compared to NASA.

    [​IMG]BFR’s booster and spaceship separate a few minutes after launch. (SpaceX)[​IMG]An updated spaceship lands on Mars. (SpaceX)[​IMG]SpaceX has already completed the first of many carbon-composite sections of its prototype spaceship. (SpaceX)[​IMG]Yusaku Maezawa stands on the first BFR composite tank/fuselage section prior to his Sept. 17 announcement. (Yusaku Maezawa)

    Massive hurdles still remain for the establishment of any successful Mars base, especially one just a decade from now, with essentially every major component of such a base being a major unknown that needs to be analyzed and solved sometime between now and then. Just as Musk noted in his September 17th BFR update and lunar tourism announcement, he tends to construct schedules from a perspective of everything going right, reasonable in the sense that ambitious targets breed ambitious achievements.

    A large Mars Base Alpha with 4+ BFR spaceships landed on the Martian surface by 2028 is undoubtedly entirely dependent upon every conceivable aspect of BFR development going flawlessly over the next decade, an extraordinarily implausible outcome. The need to wait for optimal orbital alignments between Mars and Earth also means that even a few-month-slip could delay Mars launches by nearly two years.

    For prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket recovery fleet check out our brand new LaunchPad and LandingZone newsletters!

    Article: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk lays out ambitious deadline for BFR-built Mars Base Alpha
     
    • Love it! Love it! x 1
  2. mail2larryh

    mail2larryh Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Messages:
    92
    #2 mail2larryh, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
    According to the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey we are very very far behind. (you gotta know I'm joking of course, but it is kind of sad)
     
  3. cygnusexwon

    cygnusexwon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    New York
    When NASA was tasked with the monumental undertaking of sending humans to the moon, they rose to the challenge with the support of the American people. Public awareness was prevalent in most households. US citizens waited with abated breath to receive news of each new achievement and wept when brave astronauts perished. The Apollo 13 mission captivated the people of America and people around the world hoping for a successful return of the crew.

    Today I often find that most people are unaware or vaguely familiar with SpaceX or with what SpaceX and NASA plan to do. The relationship NASA and SpaceX have with each other gives me optimism that we will, as a species, explore and have a persistent presence on other worlds and space in that finial frontier.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Roy_H

    Roy_H Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2018
    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Oh, come on! He said a base, not a city!
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. Martin Dravecký

    Martin Dravecký New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Slovakia
    Exactly :) Moreover - he based it on current timeline they have. In 2022 two cargo ships, in 2024 two more cargo and two crew ships...they will have over 3 years to do nothing else than building core infrastructure, Alpha Base if you will. Even not accounting for another launch in 2026/27 there will be 6 ships on the landing site... if things go more or less as planned that is.

    Also - they will not be building base with bricks and concrete. Some kind of modular system will be more likely. And here - take chinese modular building technology - it is not Mars based, but with prefabricated blocks they managed to build skyscraper in matter of weeks. Later on 3D printing may be the key, but until not efficient enough, prefabricated modules will be the thing. ;)
     
  6. john.hind

    john.hind New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Major difference: NASA had effectively unlimited funding available on demand. Musk is funding from operational revenue which is a major time constraint. Also he is only talking about committing serious manpower starting from the end of next year!

    A huge constraint is imposed by the need to produce fuel for the return journey on Mars. You have to get ALL the equipment you need for that to Mars before you can return ANY of the ships for re-use. Unless you can get the facility constructed and operational using robots (unlikely, and yet more mass to haul) you need a sizable first crew willing to stay for a significant duration knowing they have to be successful or die on Mars. Once the plant is built, it probably has to operate for several years to produce enough fuel for a single return flight (it's a trade-off between the initial size of the plant and the production time for the first return). I call this 'the bootstrap problem' and I do not see a credible plan for it yet.

    I've learned the hard way not to bet against Musk on engineering or financial feasibility, but his time plans are another matter entirely! Frankly, on this one and at this stage he is on a race with his own mortality. Or more urgently, his propensity for legal and financial self-destruction by Twitter Incontinence!
     
  7. snerdguy

    snerdguy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    There are many technological hurdles that may or may not be overcome in the effort to put any people on Mars. A lot of brain power and resources are focused on this effort. That's a big problem. There are places right here on the Earth where there a is lack of water and a desperate need for food and shelter and we haven't even solved those problems. There are millions of sick people who can't get medicine and many are dying. But, here is Mr. Musk thinking he is somehow going to put a city of human beings in a far more desolate place, find enough water for them to live and grow their own food and they will have to make medicine just to stay alive in an extremely hostile environment. I call BS. If Musk can't fix the problems that exist right here on this planet, he isn't ready to deal with the same issues on Mars. All of this hype about building gigantic rockets to get people there is pointless if we can't even live on Earth and may human beings can't.
     
  8. Quantum Bit

    Quantum Bit New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    To be fair, Elon is fixing a fair few problems on this rock, too. If we didn't push the boundaries until we'd created some kind of nirvana our species would still be confined to Africa. And if we don't move on we'll go the way of the dinosaurs sooner or later (possibly sooner). That's a big problem. 2028 Mars base may be optimistic - I hope not.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Roy_H

    Roy_H Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2018
    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Although I count myself as being a big Elon Musk fan, I think his Mars ambitions are just too much. I think it would be far more reasonable to promote mankind as a space fairing species by building a rotating space station in low earth orbit. This should be big enough to support a sizable community with self support via micro-gravity research and manufacturing, and growing their own food. Rotation will allow a 1g living environment and self support will prove out possibility of living in isolation. I have attached my proposal for a space station for 250 - 300 people that could be built with present day technology and launched on BFR sized rockets requiring about 50 to 100 flights.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Creative Creative x 1
  10. Gorgu

    Gorgu New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    España
    Eso no depende de él. Las personas y sobretodo las del tercer mundo les falta educación, viven en la miseria y no paran de tener más y más hijos . Sería un bucle infinito.
     
  11. Michael Russo

    Michael Russo Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    Pau, France
    Gorgu, benvenido. Se lo puedes y no te molesta demasiado, por favor escríbenos en inglés aquí porque temo que la mayoría de la gente aquí no entiende el castellano...
    Muchas gracias y que te vaya bien!
     
  12. cygnusexwon

    cygnusexwon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    New York
    Oh Boo Hoo.
    Musk is making great strides towards solving a multitude of problems on this planet. What do you think the net effect of motivating an entire industry to move from fossil fuel to renewable energy is? It's not just all the Tesla's that are popping up all over the place, it's also all the companies that have to follow suit. In Buffalo, NY He has built the third largest solar manufacturing plant in the world. The solar panels on my home have offset just north of 40 tons of CO2. The Boring Company will be giving away earth bricks to be used for public housing in LA. https://www.theverge.com/transporta...k-boring-company-underground-garage-hyperloop
    So if you're calling BS, take a look in the mirror.
     

Share This Page