Starting Thread 6 because of Musk talking at ISS R&D 2017 Wednesday, the BFR/ITS update at IAC2017 (Sept. 25-29) in Adelaide Australia and other developments.
ISS R&D is usually streamed on the CASIS YouTube channel:
Now for some beef,
Bear in mind that SpaceX is agile, turning on a dime and accelerating away like an NFL running back. They're doing it again.
Red Dragon's purpose has been a pathfinder for propulsive landings for; Commercial Crew, CRS (Commercial Cargo) Round 2 and for a future Mars architecture.
Last September the Mars architecture selected was a vertically landing lifting body, which has little in common with landing a capsule but much in common with vertically landing a booster - which it appears they have locked down rather nicely.
Since then, NASA has decided they don't want propulsive landings for either Commercial Crew or Commercial Resupply Services Round 2 (CRS Round 2). This In spite of ALL the CCtCap propulsive landing milestones having been met. The issues appear to be NASA's usual risk aversion, the safety panels, skittish congressional oversight etc.
Red Dragon became a mission without a purpose. Monkey motion and a diversion of resources.
End result: Red Dragon is cancelled, and Dragon 2 propulsive landing development delayed at the least.
The handwriting has been on the wall since September 2016, and leaks on both r/SpaceX and NSF have let the cats out of the bag.
The new path appears to be going directly to BFR/ITS derived systems including a new heavy booster forum users have dubbed mini-ITS. From the indications so far, there's nothing "mini" about it. We may get a hint or three on Wednesaay, or not.
This is coming faster than anyone thought, and part of why SpaceX "went there" in saying NASA needs to consider a new COTS competition for commercializing the cis-lunar station plans, including surface landings.
As soon as Block 5 and Commercial Crew development are checked off and become production items, it's a huge shift of money and people to BFR/BFS. And don't be surprised if the communications network is launched by the new system.
Fasten your seat belts.
Edited by DocM, 17 July 2017 - 06:37 PM.