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Thread: After 25 years, [US] military told to move from "expendable" to "reusable" rockets

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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default After 25 years, [US] military told to move from "expendable" to "reusable" rockets

    "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
    ~~ Nicholas Klein, 1914 (no, not Ghandi!)

    Ars Technica...

    After 25 years, military told to move from "expendable" to "reusable" rockets

    This is a big boon for SpaceX after more than a decade of fighting.


    Less than a year and a half has passed since SpaceX first flew a used first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, but this achievement has already shaken up the glacial process of lawmaking and military budgeting. The final version of the defense budget bill for fiscal year 2019 will make both a symbolic and a significant policy change when it comes to reusable rockets.

    The conference report from the US House and Senate calls for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program of the Department of Defense, commonly known as the EELV program, to be named the "National Security Space Launch program" as of March 1, 2019. No longer will the military rely solely on expendable rockets.

    Moreover, the report says the US Air Force must consider both expendable and reusable launch vehicles as part of its solicitation for military launch contracts. And in the event that a contract is solicited for a mission that a reusable launch vehicle is not eligible to compete for, the Air Force should report back to Congress with the reason why. The US House has already agreed to the conference report, and it should be taken up in the Senate next week. After that, it will need the president's signature to become law.
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    The US Congress appears to have noticed these significant achievements. As part of the conference report, Congress directs the Air Force to report back on how the military will ensure the used rockets are safe to use and how much money the government will save as a result. It is quite a change from the state of play just 13 years ago, when ULA was dominant and SpaceX was roundly dismissed by the courts and the broader aerospace community.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Nice!
    It still amazes me that those vertical landings are the most efficient way, considering the fuel you need to take. My intuition tells me that wings would be more efficient (gliding back or so, like the Space Shuttle did), but my intuition probably does not account well enough for the induced drag and added weight. :-)
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Yup, it's the dry mass driving it. Grid fins, thermal coatings, flip down legs etc. are lighter than wings and wheeled landing gear.

    New drone ship next summer: ASDS A Shortfall of Gravitas, to allow another increase in cadence and landing both FH booster cores downrange. A well-used center core would be sacrificed for 90% of the fully expendable FHs capabiility.

    If you think F9/FH landing are cool wait until BFS comes in - it'll do a swan dive-like maneuver at about 2.5km up before rotating to vertical for the landing.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 28th July 2018 at 08:51.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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