Part 1: The history of people and space
Part 2: Mission Mask
Part 3: Humanity insurance
In life there are difficult situations from the category "ofpoint A to point B ". For example, a) I can not believe that my alarm clock woke me up so early; b) now I'm sitting at work. Or a) rent expires next month; b) now I have completely moved to the new apartment and even hung all my favorite things on the walls. And: a) oh, I think I hate my wife; b) it is good that now I have a new wife and everything is fine. All this is difficult.
But a) I think I want to deliver a million people to Mars; b) and now there are already a million people on Mars - this movement seems supernaturally difficult. Elon Mask has more ambitions than you have.
From the beginning of this project, I spoke with Mask sixtimes, and all these times, we most often talked about how actually going to Mars will occur. From what I heard, he needs only two things, and everything will turn out:
It is believed that the hooters and "it is said -done. " Or there: there would be a desire, but there would be a way. More than forty years ago we flew to the moon, fifteen years before we had normal computers, so it seems that the plan for the exploration of Mars can be fully fulfilled - and the only limiting factor will be a lack of desire, lack of will.
But Musk believes that everything is just the opposite. We have a way to get to Mars for an astronomical amount of money. But there is no way to colonize Mars. According to Mask, we lack the ability to get to Mars at an affordable price. He calls the USA a “people of research” and a “pure spirit of thirst for research” and believes that if Mars were cheaper, there would be more willing to go there. But since all this does not even look close, no one talks about it, and the will of the people to go to Mars remains dormant.
If someone told me that the penthouse is onManhattan with a huge balcony fell in price by 95%, I would have a lot of desire to pay his rent and drive there. But since the price remains the same, I don’t want to move in there - I don’t even think about it. The reason that I do not write this post, sitting in a hot bath overlooking the skyline of New York, is not a lack of will, but a lack of ways.
Mask sees the situation with Mars is the same. Instead of “there would be a desire, and there will be a way,” he believes that the expression “you build, and they will come” is more appropriate.
In particular, the model that Musk has in mindis that Mars will be paid for by passengers traveling on it, almost the same way as public transport on Earth works - and the key will be to provide an opportunity to buy tickets at a low enough price so that a million people can make out. Or, as Mask himself says:
There must be a crossing of people who wantgo to Mars, and people who can afford to fly to Mars. And if an equal number of people needed for self-maintenance of the colony on Mars gets into this intersection, this will be the solution.
Something like that:
The problem now looks more like this:
Since Musk thinks will (yellow circle)will grow accordingly, when a real way appears, Musk identifies a tiny blue circle as a critical limiting factor: the very high cost of space travel. And if you correct this, he believes, this factor will become a key link between A and B.
Therefore, in 2002, Musk went further: “I assembled a team and instructed it to draw up a feasibility study on the effective construction of rockets over several Saturdays. It became obvious that nothing prevents us from doing so. Missile technology hasn't improved much materially since the 60s — perhaps even rolling back. ” He was agitated.
But back to reality for a second. If you decide that the revolution in the cost of space travel was the key to something very important, you can hardly say: “Wow! I will do it! ”, But rather“ I do not know how to accomplish this ”. To try to understand how such a serious goal could be achieved, let's try to understand what we are trying to do in the opposite direction.
Question: how would I turn the cost of space travel?
Answer: in the process of decades of innovation, hundreds of trial and error, attracting thousands of the smartest people to work. Simple, but not suitable. Not suitable because:
Question: where to get a lot of money to pay for all this? If it was interesting to governments, they wouldalready doing it yourself. No charity patron will agree to send tens of billions of dollars to a massive project that will last for thirty years, or even more, without any guarantees of success.
Answer: you pay for it by making your R & D operations doubly valuable, while at the same time providing profitable space delivery services. To test your new innovationtechnology, you will need to do a lot of launches. Governments and companies will dump you a lot of dough so you can bring satellites, cargo and people into space during these launches. Two hares with one shot.
Question: but how can I find out how to send something into space?
Answer: you do not know. You will have to spend a couple of years studying from scratch andbuild one of these devices on your own, prove to everyone that you can make a successful launch, while no one will hire you as a delivery service.
Question: But if during the initial phase of research and development there will not be many customers, who will pay for this phase?
Answer: you, founder.
Question: Where will I get the money?
Answer: You will become a co-founder of PayPal, and then sell the company.
That was the logic of Mask in 2001, and she also wrote the SpaceX business plan:
SpaceX has been working on this plan for thirteen years. Let's find out what has already been done by the company and what is still waiting for it.
Stage I: figure out how to send things into space
Starring: Falcon 1
purpose: send something into orbit until Mask runs out of money
Phase I in fact began even beforeSpaceX appeared, in the middle of 2001, when Musk was still in PayPal. Seriously considering entering the space arena as his next step, Musk did what anyone who wants to become a world-class rocket technologist for the year without education does — read books. For example:
- Missile Rocket Elements, George Sutton
- "Aerothermodynamics of a gas turbine and rocket motion", Gordon Ots
- "Basics of Astrodynamics", Roger Bate
- International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems, K. Isakovitz, J. Hopkins, J. Hopkins, Jr.
Yes, he read books and drew useful things from them. Missile expert Jim Cantrell, who then met with Mask and participated in one of the unsuccessful trips to Russia, says: “He literally quoted excerpts from these books. He became very knowledgeable about the topic. ”
In addition to his reading, Musk askedQuestions to many smart people. Cantrell, who calls Mask "the smartest person I've ever worked with," says that "Mask hired many of my colleagues in rocket and space business to consult," and that "he seemed to suck the experience out of them."
When Musk started talking about space as a businessquite seriously, his friends were worried. Wouldn't you? Imagine that your friend made a lot of money selling an internet business and then says that he is going to spend almost everything to become the first entrepreneur to succeed in building a space launch company - because it is important for humanity to become a multi-planet view. You would hardly be happy with such statements. One of Musk’s friends tried to discourage Mask from this crazy project by sending video from exploding rockets.
But Musk remained an ugly duckling and continuedmove smoothly. Having built a foundation of knowledge for himself, he decided to recruit other people on board. When I asked Mask what a business was, he replied: “I don’t know what a business is. A company is just a bunch of people who work together to create a product or service. There is no such thing as a business, just a pursuit of a goal - a group of people in pursuit of a goal. ”
Therefore, he began to assemble a group of the smartestpeople who could find, and so was born SpaceX. Then he began to hire famous people, for example, the famous rocket engineer Tom Muller. The personnel policy of SpaceX in the early stages was as follows:
No idiots. Musk says that if you hate your colleagues or your boss, you don’t want to go to work and work for hours.
Hiring should be built on raw talent with no experience.. Musk says he doesn't care about the scientist.degrees, college or even school education - just raw talent, personality and a desire to work on future SpaceX missions. I talked to SpaceX's vice president of transport engineering, Mark Jankosa, who turned out to be an ordinary Californian dude. True, he seemed to be one of these silly guys, with whom I was a friend, and not a leading rocket scientist. He said that he was a terrible student and almost lost faith in himself as a person, until he found a passion for working on racing cars in a car club next door to a college. It turned out that in this case he is an absolute genius, and when, after school, someone introduced him to Mask, he hired him. Dzhankosa quickly grew in the company, and now, in his 30 years, he heads one of the largest divisions of the company, and hundreds of talented and much more experienced people work for him.
A lot of stories like this reflectthe extraordinary meritocracy of SpaceX. I met with Zach Dunn, a senior director of start-up engineering, who was about 12 years old. Dunn told me that he started as an intern just a couple of years ago. And earlier, when he assumed that Musk had no idea who Dunn was, Mask surprised him by saying that he considered Dunn to be a very strong engineer. From this, Dunn realized that Musk knows everyone and everyone in the company. A few years later, Dunn became the head of start-up engineering for more than a hundred employees.
Musk personally communicates with everyone, including cleaners, and does it like a pervert. This rule was followed almost withoutexceptions in the first eight years of the company's life, until it gathered 1,000 employees. According to the Mask biography, “every employee receives a warning before meeting with Mask. Interviews can last from thirty seconds to fifty minutes. Elon will most likely be writing e-mails and working during the initial part of the interview without speaking too much. Do not panic. This is normal. Then he will turn his face to you in a chair. And even then, however, he may not particularly face with you. Do not panic. This is normal. When the time comes, he will talk to you. ”
The company itself, like Tesla, is largelydegrees vertically integrated. This means that instead of outsourcing a large part of the rocket production process to third parties, SpaceX produces almost all large parts independently, maintaining ownership and control over most of the supply chain. This is very unusual for the aerospace industry - as Eshil Vance says, “the plant is a temple that SpaceX considers to be the main weapon in the game of building rockets, home production. SpaceX produces 80-90% of its rockets, engines, electronics, designs its own motherboards and microchips, vibration detection sensors, on-board computers, and solar panels. ”
Old-fashioned industrialists like Andrew Carnegie andHenry Ford was in favor of vertical integration, and Apple, in many ways, defeats competitors. Most companies today avoid vertical integration, but for lovers of quality control, like Mask or Jobs, this is the only way to keep everything in their hands.
In addition, the production of such a number of partslocated under the same roof of SpaceX, they are physically mixed in the building, as in Tesla - the engineers at their computers sit right on the floors where they design and produce, or in fully glass offices, from where you can watch the entire assembly process around.
As the team grows and departments form,The mask remains closely involved in almost every process in a completely invisible way. Some bosses are called micromanagers - but in the company Mask, because of the level of involvement in the process, they call him “nanomenger”.
Elon Musk knows a lot of stuff
Almost everyone I spoke to at Tesla and SpaceX,focuses on what a strong expert Musk is in each individual area, whether it is dedicated to car batteries, electric motors, rocket projects, engines, electronics (avionics), or aerospace engineering. He manages to do this by combining a deep level of understanding of physics and engineering and an almost brilliant ability to store information as it is learned.
It is such a broad outlook of expertise.allows Mask to maintain an abnormally high level of control over everything that happens in his company. Regarding spaceX rockets, Musk says: “I know my rocket from the inside and outside. I can tell you about the nature of the heat treatment of the shell material, how it changes, why we chose this material, the welding technique ... in the smallest detail. ”
I asked SpaceX vice-president of software development Jeanne Hussein about Mask's nano-management. He replied:
"The biggest surprise for all who firstjoined the company - SpaceX uses the term "nanomenger", and you think: "Well, he likes to pick at weeds, that's cool." But you do not know how it is. For the CEO of the company, he throws the bait incredibly deep - he has access to everything, and he often buries himself in one thing, does it all the time. He makes decisions at the lowest level and manages the company at the narrowest level with high accuracy, I do not know who else would have worked in any other company. The thought of one person is a key point for solving an indescribable number of questions - he keeps all this in his head and remembers when it is necessary, if necessary, in order to be able to make the right decisions. ”
* * *
Good. It is now the middle of 2002, and this crazy idea becomes reality. There is a clear mission, team, omnipresent CEO. The next step is a rocket.
Before we get to the first SpaceX rocket, let's clarify something.
The task of almost any space launch is to send something into space. The things you take are called payload. A satellite, a cargo, people, a monkey - anything can be a payload.
To survive a difficult journey into space, the cargo must be under a protective shell - fairing. Sometimes a payload must also be sent, sent, docked in space, and maybe even returned back to Earth. In this case, the payload is carried inside. spacecraft (and if you have not yet got out of childhood, then space ship).
You have rocket. A rocket is a big main thing thattakes off and does one thing: sends the payload and its container through the atmosphere into space. Most of the rocket is represented by a large fuel tank, and from the bottom the rocket has the most powerful engines in the shape of a bell. They provide the rocket with the driving force - pounding - which allows you to lift many tons through the atmosphere of the Earth. Sometimes a rocket consists of many small rockets - steps. And yes, all of the above becomes a combat missile, if the payload is a weapon.
Finally, space ships does not exist. A spaceship is a term that gives joy to four-year-olds. Real cosmonauts don't say that.
The Apollo missions went to the moon usinggiant Saturn V rocket. Saturn V weighed 3,000 tons - like seven Boeing 747s - and was 35-story high. Saturn V looked like a matryoshka doll because it contained less and less elements.
The Space Shuttle (Space Shuttle), which had a simpler job - to go into low near-earth orbit - acted completely differently.
Instead of one big rocket first stage, SpaceShuttle used two rockets (solid-state rocket boosters) to cope with the hardest part of the climb, and the payload — people and equipment — traveled to parts of the shuttle, which resembled an ordinary stereotypical spacecraft. This unit added the necessary thrust when the rockets fell off using fuel from a large, for some reason orange fuel tank. Usually the spacecraft returns to the ocean by parachute, but space shuttles used a more civilized approach, landing on the ground like an airplane.
When SpaceX made its first rocket, it did nottried to create the biggest and coolest thing in the history of mankind. She built a training run-up rocket, a small direct Falcon 1 rocket (Musk named it so in honor of the “Millennium Falcon” from Star Wars). It was 21 meters high, a two-stage rocket with one powerful engine below - SpaceX's own invention, the Merlin engine.
Despite its modest size and features,Falcon 1 was full of new technology innovations. The main task was to make the rocket deliver small loads into space cheaper than before. Not only because Musk saw the cost reduction part of the journey to Mars, but because he considered it the only aspect of space travel that can be fixed quickly and efficiently. He says: “The speed of a rocket always remains almost the same. Convenience and comfort remain unchanged. Reliability ... it's better not to do it here. There remains one key parameter by which we can judge the improvement of technology, and this is the cost. "
Mark names two reasons why costs remain so high:
1. There are few companies in the aerospace industry, and those few are huge, and huge companies do not risk. He says: “There is a huge prejudice against risk taking. Everyone is trying to optimize the cover for their ass ... Even if better technologies are available, they will use outdated components that were often developed in the 60s, and many use Russian rocket engines developed in the 60s. I’m not saying that these engines were designed in the 1960s - I mean, these engines were literally made in the 1960s, packed and brought from somewhere in Siberia. ”
2. Lack of vertical integration. We mentioned the SpaceX vertical integration andfull control, which allows Mask to control SpaceX, but Mask also believes that the vertical structure is important to reduce costs, and therefore criticizes the rest of the industry for not wanting to resort to it: “Large aerospace companies have a tendency to outsource. They pass it on to subcontractors, subcontractors turn to subcontractors, and so on. You need to go through four or five layers to find something really useful - the real metal cutting, the alignment of atoms. Each level adds costs - it is expensive in the fifth degree. "
Not having the luggage of a large company with a longhistory, SpaceX was able to “design and develop Falcon 1 from a blank sheet of paper,” says Max Vozoff, one of the first employees of SpaceX, and this blank sheet of paper is traced in thinking Mask: “I asked: what is the rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, some titanium, copper and carbon fiber. And then I asked, what is the cost of these materials in the commodity market? It turned out that the cost of rocket materials is 2% of the typical price - and this is a huge ratio for a large mechanical product. So I thought that we could make a rocket much cheaper, considering the cost of materials. ”
And all this is great - but SpaceX was not ordinarya company with a regular budget and development time. It was an enterprise for which investors would hardly have subscribed in their right mind and sober memory, therefore the company existed mainly on the money of the personal bank account Mask. By 2006, Musk decided in parallel to make a revolution in the field of automobiles and invested $ 70 million from his earnings at PayPal at Tesla, leaving about $ 100 million for SpaceX. Musk says that this should have been enough for three or four launches. SpaceX would have enough of these several launches to prove to customers that it can pay. And since paying customers wanted SpaceX to deliver their loads into orbit, this was what SpaceX needed: to launch something into orbit successfully, demonstrating its capabilities to the world.
The rules of the game were simple: launch three or four times something into orbit or close a company. At that time, many private companies were trying to launch something into orbit, but only one succeeded (Orbital Sciences).
To understand why it is so difficult to do, we need to understand what an orbit is.
What is an orbit?
It can be intuitively assumed thatdelivering an object to orbit is the difficulty of delivering an object to orbit, since astronauts on the ISS are floating in space without experiencing any attraction. It seems that the time has come to lose confidence in your intuition.
Let's go back to high school for a second. Here is the equation by which we calculate gravity:
G - This is a gravitational constant, boring number, which we ignore in this equation.
m1 and m2 - These are masses of two objects. Two objects here, because gravity does not belong to one thing - every two objects attract each other with the same force. If you are on Earth, your weight can be thought of as the force of attraction between you and the Earth, and this force acts equally on you and on the planet. And since two numbers have a mass in the numerator, this means that when they grow, the force of gravity will also grow (proportionally). If your mass doubles, the weight will double. If your mass remains the same, and the mass of the Earth doubles - again, your weight will double too. If both your mass and the mass of the Earth double, your weight will quadruple. But we will not work with the masses.
We are interested in part d ^ 2. d is the distance between two objects - or, more precisely, the distance between the centers of mass of two objects. In the case of the Earth, the mass is symmetrically distributed, so the center of mass will be the center of the planet. The radius of the Earth is 6371 kilometers, so when you are on the surface of the Earth, you use this number instead of d to determine the gravitational force experienced. Since d is in the denominator of the equation, as d increases, gravity decreases.
To illustrate this, I will squeeze the Earth to one million of its size, so its diameter will be exactly a meter.
If we double d by moving the radiusEarth away from the surface (by half a meter), d ^ 2 will increase four times, so the force of gravity, and your weight, will be four times less than on the surface. If you move a full meter - so that another Earth fits between you and the Earth - d will triple, and your gravity will be 1/9 of that on Earth.
And where does the ISS fit in all this?
The station is located at an altitude of 350-400 kilometers,that on our meter ball 2-3 centimeters, a little more than an inch from the surface. If a ping-pong ball were stuck in this ball, the ISS (and many satellites) would work on it. A widely recognized height, where the “cosmos” begins, is considered to be the Karman line 100 kilometers above the surface - on our ball it is 7.8 mm from the surface. Aircraft fly at a height of 0.84 mm above the surface, it is less than the thickness of a grain of sand.
What does this say about gravity on the DOE, where is the ISS?
If we take the middle point at the average heightISS (375 km), we find that at this height d will be 5.8% of the normal d on the Earth's surface, which means that it will reduce the force of gravity to 10%. Therefore, astronauts on the ISS almost do not feel gravity. And so swim.
But the fact is that they are in a state of free fall.
I once had a chance to fly in a smallthe plane with the pilot, which was slightly addition, so he raised the plane to 4000 feet (1200 meters) and quickly lowered it to 2000 feet. Before falling, he gave me a pen and told me to put it in an open hand. During the fall of 8% of me, who did not struggle for survival so desperately, saw the pen soar in front of me, gently swaying from side to side. On the ISS this happens all the time.
That's why: imagine that you are standing at the peak of a planet smaller and smoother than the Earth, which has no atmosphere, and throw a baseball ball with all your might:
He should behave like this:
Now give the high league pitcher a chance:
And if you run it from a gun? He will fly even further:
Before all these balls fall to the ground, theyfly curve way. If the surface of the Earth is not found along this path, they will continue in the form of long ellipses. Let's continue each path of the balls, if they continued to move.
Now let's get a more powerful gun:
It looks as usual, but note that the arc curve corresponds to the shape of the planet. Therefore, in the end, everything looks like this:
This ball will go around the planet in a circle and crashgun in the back. And if nothing blocks it, he will continue to “fall” forever, never landing. Since the path of the ball is curved and corresponds to the circle of curvature of the planet, the planet will continue to fall away from the ball until the ball tries to fall to the ground. You launched a ball into orbit.
If you have a perfectly smooth planet of anysize without any atmosphere, in theory you can launch something into orbit right from the ground. But since the Earth has a dense atmosphere (and mountains on the surface), no matter how hard you launch the ball from the surface, the atmosphere will slow it down, dragging its curve until it comes down from orbit. Therefore, we put things into orbit so high that the atmosphere was thin enough and not slow down our objects. If it were not for the force of friction, Newton's law of inertia would allow the satellite to rotate around the planet forever.
To get into orbit around the Earth, an object must move incredibly fast. But not too fast. Why? Because then the curve will be too wide and the following will happen:
Therefore, people talk about achieving “orbitalspeed "to stay in orbit, and" escape velocity "to leave the gravity of the Earth and go into space. The escape speed means that the arc of the path will be wider than the curvature of the planet.
Orbital speed at an altitude of 375 kilometers,where the ISS is located is 27,600 km / h. Or 7.66 km / s. This speed will allow the object to remain in orbit at that altitude. To understand how fast it is, imagine that if you throw a ball at that speed from the beach into the ocean, it will fly over the horizon in about half a second. At this speed, the ISS flies around the Earth every 90 minutes (and since this speed is relative, astronauts on the ISS do not sense movement at all).
* * *
Let's go back to SpaceX. Considering the box above, it is now possible to understand why the main task of the company was to “throw” the payload into orbit. People think that the rocket takes off upwards, but in reality it throws something with great difficulty partly in the side, so the trajectory of the rocket looks like this:
Everything, as in our example above, the rocket acts as the hand of a giant who throws a payload:
Only in our real world, a rocket company needs not a hand and a brush, but a seven-story 40-ton metal tower, which flies away from the planet with an explosion.
To make things even harder, “throwing”It begins in the atmosphere at sea level, which is at the same time thick as molasses and full of moving parts (i.e., weather). This is how to accurately throw the ball with your hand, standing under a few meters of flowing water. The head of SpaceX’s technical department, Mark Jankos, described the task of putting a rocket through the atmosphere: “A rocket is such a wet noodle that you are trying to push into space. She squishes like hell. You do not even know where it is going, measuring the trajectory of one point of the rocket - you need to measure several. "
With such powerful forces in the game - the weight of the rocket,speed, dense atmosphere - even tiny equipment damage can sentence a mission. The problem is that you cannot conduct reliable tests on how the equipment will behave until you start.
SpaceX has learned this lesson well.
2006: first launch - failure
2007: second launch - failure
2008: Third Launch - Failure
Failures were caused by the smallest details. The rusty nut does not hold up under pressure, the fluid in the rocket splashes more than expected, and the first-stage engines shut off a couple of seconds later during the separation of the steps. You can do everything right 99.9% of the time, and the last 0.1% will lead to a catastrophic rocket explosion. Space is hard.
Each launch company orgovernment - every and every - faced setbacks. This is part of a concert. Usually you take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, find out what went wrong, and proceed to the next launch. But SpaceX had special conditions - the company had money for “three-four launches”, and after three failures the last launch was the last chance. It was scheduled less than two months after the unsuccessful third launch.
A friend of the Mask, Adeo Ressi, described it this way: “Everything depended on this launch. Work - an epic success. Fail - if something goes wrong and everything fails - there will be an epic failure. There is no third. No backup options. Three failures had already happened, everything had to end. Case for the study of the Harvard Business School: a rich boy climbed into the rocket business and all profukal ".
On September 28, 2008, SpaceX prepared forfourth launch - and did it. She launched a load of pacifiers into orbit without a hitch, becoming the second private company in the world that succeeded.
Falcon 1 has also become the most effectivecost rocket in the history of launches - cost only $ 7.9 million, it is three times cheaper than the best alternatives. NASA turned its attention. The successful fourth launch was convincing enough for the agency, and at the end of 2008, NASA called Mask and offered to sign a contract for 12 launches to the ISS worth $ 1.6 billion.
Money Mask did the job. Now SpaceX has customers and a long future ahead.
Next part: The cost of space travel
Tim Urban, WaitButWhy