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posted by martyb on Monday December 11 2017, @01:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the competition++ dept.

Who will make it to Mars first?

It was about a year ago that Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg first began saying his company would beat SpaceX to Mars. "I'm convinced that the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding on a Boeing rocket," he said during a Boeing-sponsored tech summit in Chicago in October 2016.

On Thursday, Muilenburg repeated that claim on CNBC. Moreover, he added this tidbit about the Space Launch System rocket—for which Boeing is the prime contractor of the core stage—"We're going to take a first test flight in 2019 and we're going to do a slingshot mission around the Moon."

Unlike last year, Muilenburg drew a response from SpaceX this time. The company's founder, Elon Musk, offered a pithy response on Twitter: "Do it."

The truth is that Boeing's rocket isn't going anywhere particularly fast. Although Muilenburg says it will launch in 2019, NASA has all but admitted that will not happen. The rocket's maiden launch has already slipped from late 2017 into "no earlier than" December 2019. However, NASA officials have said a 2019 launch is a "best case" scenario, and a slip to June 2020 is more likely.

#SLS2020

Also, the next SpaceX flight is an ISS resupply mission and is scheduled for this coming Tuesday (December 12, 2017) at 1646 GMT (11:46 a.m. EST) from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The plan is for the booster to return to landing at Landing Zone-1, also at Cape Canaveral.

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
Elon Musk Publishes Mars Colonization Plan
SpaceX Appears to Have Pulled the Plug on its Red Dragon Plans
SpaceX Putting Red Dragon on the Back Burner
SpaceX: Making Human Life Multiplanetary

Related: VP of Engineering at United Launch Alliance Resigns over Comments About the Space Launch Industry
ULA Exec: SpaceX could be Grounded for 9-12 Months
Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022
SpaceX Unlocks "Steamroller" Achievement as Company Eyes 19 Launches in 2017
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
SpaceX's Reusable Rockets Could End EU's Arianespace, and Other News


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  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday December 11 2017, @11:04PM

    by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @11:04PM (#608519)

    Three reasons I can think of:
    1.They received substantially more funding, so even if a substantial portion was swallowed up in corruption there's still more work actually being done. It also means more effort could be put into oversight and administration.

    2. Decades ago, the major works projects were believed to be necessary for keeping America safe. For instance, part of the reason the interstates were built was that there was a real fear that the Commies would invade the US, and President Eisenhower being the smart general he was wanted to make sure that he could, for instance, easily move an army formation from California to New York in a reasonably timely fashion without airlifting it. So the people involved were more likely to actually care about the project being done because there were real problems if they didn't. By contrast, nobody really believes their survival depends on the F-35, for instance.

    3. The Republican Party in the early 20th century was based on an ideal of "good governance", with the goal of making the government as efficient as possible at what it's doing, which meant that people like Eisenhower were constantly on the lookout for money going places it shouldn't. The Republican Party after 1980, by contrast, believes that government is always hopelessly corrupt and inefficient, so their focus is not on eliminating the corruption so much as making sure as much of the graft as possible goes into their own pockets. The Democrats by all appearances followed suit after 1992, although they still try to pretend otherwise sometimes.

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