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Boeing may be trying to race SpaceX to Mars

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Jon the frog

Space race is awesome !

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Vlad the Mighty

Very good. That's what competition is supposed to be about isn't it . Who will get there first? Boeing? SpaceX? the Russians? The Chinese? Isn't it exciting! 

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TaintlessMetals
Posted (edited)

find it hard to believe that an additional 10+ years are required to accomplish a mars landing...

Edited by TaintlessMetals

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Vlad the Mighty

Well, how long did it take to develop Apollo from the initial idea to Apollo 7 (the first manned flight) being launched? About eight years. Mars is a very much bigger challenge than that, after all, certainly if you want to bring people back.  

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Derek Willis
2 hours ago, Vlad the Mighty said:

Well, how long did it take to develop Apollo from the initial idea to Apollo 7 (the first manned flight) being launched? About eight years. Mars is a very much bigger challenge than that, after all, certainly if you want to bring people back.  

Yes, but Apollo was starting almost from scratch. There is now half a century's worth of technology and experience. I would say mounting a mission to orbit Mars will be possible in a decade. The main problem is going to be radiation. Landing is a different kettle of fish, and that might take until the mid-2030's. Either way, I hope I am still around!   

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Waspie_Dwarf
4 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

There is now half a century's worth of technology and experience.

Not really. Not relevant to a crewed mission to Mars.

There has been no deep space crewed spaceflight since Apollo 17 in 1972. There had been no launch of a super-heavy lift launch vehicle since Skylab 1 in 1973.

Let's compare the situation to airline manufacture.

If you look at Boeing's airliner production, they have continuously manufactured the 747 since 1969. That airliner is not the same now as it was when it entered production, it has benefited from upgrades and new materials. It is safer, more efficient, quieter, more economic to fly than when the first one rolled off the production line. What has be learnt from that has been incorporated into Boeing's newer airliners.

Now imagine if, in 1973, Boeing had ceased production of not just the 747 but all it's airliners. Imagine if, for the last 45 years Boeing had only produced short range, commuter aircraft. Now how much more difficult and time consuming would it be for Boeing to produce a new, long-range, airliner under those circumstances?

Some of the new technology and materials would exist as they would have been developed outside of the aviation industry, but Boeing would have little experience of using them on a large commercial airliner. Some technology which would have been developed in house will not exist because of the lack of production for 4½ decades. If Boeing were in this situation producing a successor to the 747 would basically be like starting again from scratch.

The Boeing scenario is effectively the situation that NASA and other organisations find themselves in.

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