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valcatosi t1_j9vrace wrote

I'm not really sure what the point of tracking "first methalox launch to orbit" is in the first place. Feels like just a No True Scotsman game. I'm excited to see all of these rockets launch but the fuel they use is not a primary reason why I'm excited.


BrangdonJ t1_j9yphih wrote

I see the switch to methane as part of a sea change in the launch industry. Part of the realisation that hydrogen sucks as a first stage fuel, which is significant because NASA in particular were fixated on it for decades (and still are for SLS). Part of the New Space willingness to rethink old assumptions and ways of doing things. The switch is a symptom rather than a cause, but still a sign of the times.


Adeldor t1_j9vs8i5 wrote

Beyond the interesting technical compromises, the only importance it has for me is the fact that until one actually makes it to orbit, it's yet to be proved. Needless to say, it's surely exceedingly unlikely some hidden gotcha making methalox impractical will surface.


valcatosi t1_j9vtalm wrote

Yet to be proved in what sense? There is no credible failure mode associated with methane being in the tanks when the vehicle makes it to orbit.