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The Challenge For SpaceX Wiil Be To Make Its Falcon 9 Spacecraft Safe Enough To Carry Astronauts For NASA in 2018-Will It Happen?

ArmchairPolitiicianNASASpaceX, December 18, 2017, by Brad Peery,

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SpaceX is all about reusable space vehicles. On December 15, 2017, it launched a flight for NASA to resupply the international space station. The space vehicle included a reused Falcon 9 booster rocket, the first launch for a reusable vehicle for the U.S. government. There has been some skepticism about the reliability of reused space launch systems. The U.S. military also seems inclined to employ reused space launch vehicles.

The recent results have been positive for SpaceX. However, they have plans to send astronauts into space in 2018. NASA has safety and reliability requirements. The risks include blastoff risks, possible radiation dangers, and splashdown uncertainties.

Boeing also has a contract with NASA to send astronauts to and from the space station, but also has its own issues. Their manned vehicle, the CST-100 Starliner, has had excess weight and vibrations during launch problems. Boeing does have other possibilities. They can fly astronauts on their Atlas V rockets, which have a longer and better safety record than the SpaceX Falcon 9. They also believe the Starliner will be a safe and robust vehicle that will meet all NASA mandatory safety requirements, will be the lowest risk system available to NASA.

SpaceX is using a very different spacecraft design that allows them to reuse their launch vehicles and space capsules. However there have been some reliability issues for an internal fuel tank. Elon Musk is the owner of SpaceX. His team is redesigning the internal fuel tank, and need to demonstrate the reliability of an internal helium tank that they plan to use.
*SpaceX Launch Reuses Booster For NASA Flight, Wall Street Journal, by Andy Pasztor, December 15, 1017

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion
The space launch industry is being revolutionized by SpaceX. Their ability to use space launch vehicles and space capsules that have been recaptured and reused potentially allows them to launch space vehicles at a very rapid rate, and significantly reduce the cost per launch. 2018 will be a pivotal year for them. They will need to demonstrate that reused vehicles can reliably transport astronauts to and from space.

Boeing and others will have the ability to reliably transport astronauts into and out of space. On December 17, 2017, The U.S. used a Russian Soyuz space capsule to deliver 3 astronauts to and from the space station. It will be important for SpaceX to demonstrate that they can deliver astronauts into and out of space safely and at a lower cost. Space X also plans to deliver astronauts to Mars as early as 2024. It takes a giant launch vehicle to reach Mars. If they are successful in meeting that time schedule, they are likely to be the first company to send astronauts to Mars, and should beat others by years.

See:
SpaceX Continues Innovate By Announcing Plans For A Mars Flight By 2024: Who Can Compete?

See Also:
ArmchairPolitiicianNASA, July 27, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com
SpaceX Continues Its Space Successes: However, Other Companies And Countries Will Be Competing

See Also:
ArmchairPolitiicianNASA, June 6, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com
SpaceX Continues To Challenge And Supplement The Work Of NASA. A Whole New Era Of Space Travel Is Underway.

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