thegopnik wrote:Musk seemed asshurt calling the Amur rockets as rip offs even though 2 flights of them are cheaper and carry more payload than current falcon heavy rockets.
The Amur rocket seems like a good design to me but I do not see why they could not have used the RD-191 to power it to make something like that faster and cheaper.
Most rocket engines can be reused, otherwise how would you be able to test them before flight, and the RD-171 series was designed to be able to be used multiple times.
Over a dozen times I think. RD-191 can also throttle down to 27% power level which is more than what the SpaceX Merlin can do.
thegopnik wrote:The other issue with Space X is they are currently not testing or AFAIK plans of testing fly wing rocket designs while Russia has recently created a design bureau for that, so instead of using half of fuel for take off and half of fuel for re-landing, I am sure it would be cheaper to just use half fuel and land on a runway with a parachute to be re-used again.
Than of course there is the nuklon project which Space X has nothing similar to offer, while NASA just keeps talking about it instead of giving launch dates.
I do not think that is a problem SpaceX has to be honest. Their engineering team has no experience with aerodynamics. So they are better off sticking to what they know how to do best which is rocket engines. I have read a lot about this, the extra propellant for propulsive reentry adds like 20% extra mass to the vehicle, which is about the same you would add if you put wings and landing gear on the vehicle and strengthened the structure to make a glider. A VTHL vehicle like that needs to be able to handle not only vertical stress but also horizontal stress so it needs extra reinforcement to the structure. The main advantage of the glider is that you can return back to the launch site even on those launch profiles where SpaceX needs to do a barge landing on the middle of the ocean. With a glider you wouldn't need those barges at all. But that requires expert aerodynamicists and a lot of testing facilities which SpaceX does not have.
SpaceX did try to use parachutes, that is supposed to add only like 10% extra mass to the vehicle, but all the attempts they made with landing the rocket on the sea resulted in major damage to the vehicle so they gave up on it. You would also need to make the rocket resistant to salt water corrosion because of the ocean landing which isn't trivial. It has been done before though. Robert Truax who worked for the US Navy made the Seabee rocket which could be even launched from inside salt water. He tested launching it from the San Francisco Bay and it worked fine.
With regards to Nuklon, I also think it is much better to use nuclear electric or solar electric propulsion to go to Mars and the Moon than simply making larger and larger chemical rockets. But SpaceX has zero nuclear engineering talent. At best I think they could work on solar electric, nuclear electric is beyond their means. Russia has the largest and most sophisticated nuclear industry in the world so of course that is something that works for Russia but not SpaceX.
thegopnik wrote:that's 3 points for Russia, 0 points in progress for Space X or NASA, but Russia getting all 4 points will prove to be difficult because they have yet to test launch the Yenisei or Don Rockets, I hate to admit it, but I think they are having a tight race in terms of who can send the heaviest shit into orbit with Space X and NASA(maybe even China). SLS has earlier maiden flight dates and as much as we shit on Space X starship flights, they keep getting higher and higher in altitudes. I am trying to figure out why everyone here has high confidence that Russia would not have a problem launching the Yenisei or Don Rockets into orbit compared to what Space X is doing? Does everyone think that the Starship will take a longer time to reach orbit by the time Russia already just yeets out the Yenisei and Don with ease? This is a concern if perhaps they ever decide to do deeper space exploration with bigger nuclear tugs to farther planets or even possibly manned ship to Mars. This is the only reason why I am not laughing like everyone else on this forum at the starship launches because we do not know how Roscosmos compares in sending their newest and heaviest rocket launches in comparison.
I do not think Russia needs any of that crap to be honest. I think what they need to do is finish the LOX/LH2 second stage for Angara and reduce its construction cost by simplifying the rocket and the production methods. Angara is modular and can be used for all launch requirements be manned or unmanned. Large rockets like Yenisei or Starship are not cost effective and there is no launch market which needs these rockets. Same reason why Energia and Saturn V were cancelled.
Have you ever looked at the proposed Starship first stages? More rocket engines than N-1 rocket. It has a high chance of launch failure.
You won't get any special minerals by going to the Moon or Mars. The Moon has basically the same mineral composition as the Earth as it was made from the same starting matter. Mars is much smaller than the Earth to begin with. You do not need those large rockets to colonize the Moon or Mars anyway. This can all be done with nuclear or solar electric and multiple launches for much cheaper.
The original Von Braun Mars and Korolev Moon mission proposals used multiple launches and on orbit assembly. They went with larger rockets for the Moon program only because on orbit assembly back then was unreliable, they could not even dock vehicles in space reliably, this is not the case now.