A long time ago I entered the Space habitat design contest. Here’s my design. Well at least the only print I have of it.
I dropped into Brickmuppet’s blog and this post showed up.
Thunder00t has a video here.
He has a rather snarky take on the anomaly and frankly I think he went a little overboard. He’s right that NASA hasn’t had a ground based failure since the old Atlas days. So far until this happened SpaceX hadn’t had any fueling issues either. So I don’t think that SpaceX is as incompetent as Thunderf00t seems to think that they are.
When the space program was started back in the beginning of the 1960’s how to guide the spacecraft in space was a complete unknown. The problem of calculating burns and orbital insertions was a nontrivial one. At the time all flight control had been analog and in 1960, the computers filled up buildings. When the call came to go to the moon, one thing was clear though. A computer small enough to fit on the spacecraft was going to be essential. That computer would be the Apollo Guidance Computer(AGC).
Some times a piece comes in that is just mind boggling in it’s stupidity. Like this one.
At this rate, would-be space travelers will be able to choose their favorite tech company, find its richest guy and buy a ticket on his craft of choice. Why does everyone who achieves economic dominance over the planet immediately turn around and try to get off it?
The “boys and their toys” explanation is the obvious one – once you’ve bought all the cars and boats and planes you want, why not buy a rocket? (We don’t have a “girls and their toys” ethos yet because the cards are stacked against women getting to this level of obscene wealth, but I suspect a lot of us would want to buy rocketships, too.) Space is inherently cool, and even if it weren’t, space is inherently other – which matters a lot to the man who has everything terrestrial. By the same token, someone who already has a watch that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars can buy a watch that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars but comes from space.
Of course, uber-wealthy tech entrepreneurs aren’t just buying rockets for their personal amusement. They’re founding or investing in space travel – they want to get you off-planet, too. Well, not you-you, but someone like you with much, much, much more money.
And that’s where the vogue for billionaire space travel magnates gets a little weird –and maybe even sinister. It’s already very true that money expands your world; the person with the funds to have a car is less restricted in her movements than the person without one, and the person with a huge plane and the money to fly it is less restricted still.
I’m going to take it as a given that Laura Ingalls Wilder was never part of HER childhood. It’s just not a Brooklyn thing.The people in Brooklyn are the people who came after the pioneers built a comfortable environment after somebody else “built that.” At least Jess’s community is. She’s the child of people who live off the things that other people came before and built. For somebody like her it’s easy to say “you didn’t build that,” because her ancestors didn’t. They came over from Poland and Germany in the earliest part of the 20th century and settled in doing the same kinds of things that their ancestors did in the “old country.”
When the pioneer spirit has never been part of your culture I imagine that you have a hard time what drives people to look beyond the next hill. My family, way back, had to do that, at least twice. Once to cross the Atlantic in a ship that was just a bit smaller to a Massachusetts where the Native Americans and woods were still the prevalent part of the landscape. They helped to found the town of Roxbury, or I should say the little wooden hut village of Roxbury. About the only thing Mass. had going for it was that it was far away from the king. When things got rough in New England, members of the family pioneered again and moved to Ohio, where I imagine that things still weren’t a bed of roses, at least in the beginning.
That’s the way it’s going to be, at least in the beginning, in space. The first settlements, are going to be rough and crude, well at least relative to a Park Ave apartment or a Bel Aire Estate. The wealthy can already afford to separate themselves from most of the consequences of tyranny. The people who will pioneer space are going to be the people fed up with how the government is screwing things up. It’s government that creates the ecological disasters, unleashing the poisons on the unsuspecting populace. You only have look at the ruins of the Former Soviet Union to see that.
It also doesn’t look like the Billionaires are planning to leave any time soon. If they are planning to leave, it’s not going to be the toxic environment, but the toxic culture that they would be leaving. Jerry Pournelle used to write stories about that.
It’s always been intolerable toxic cultures that people leave, toxicity created by people like Ms. Zimmerman, who cannot see what they are doing. Always demanding that life arrange itself around them, rather than building better lives for themselves. That’s what people leave. When things get too toxic, the pioneering and the troublesome get going and build new places to live for themselves. Here’s a few posts I’ve done on how to do it. I’m working on more.
In the end it’s people who lack any degree of vision or tolerance that drag us back. People like Ms. Zimmerman can only selfishly see what they want and don’t really care how many bodies they have to walk over to get what they want. They are incapable of admitting reality or seeing beyond their own bloated self interest. They have no sense of art, culture or vision and go through life with only a crude appetite to drag everyone to their level and destroy everything they touch. That’s the great tragedy of the SJW.
Here’s some space station pics to keep it happy.
When you post a big post on something it’s almost inevitable that you will get comments that send you to new findings and more stuff. Since the main space suit post is so huge already I’m going to post more here.
Recently Sarah Hoyt published a post of mine:
While I was ecstatic to guest post on Sarah’s blog, File 770 reposted with their usual editorial style and Mike’s commenters behaved in their usually classy, hyper intelligent fashion, flinging their usual monkey poo. Because they didn’t actually read the links I posted they really had no way of knowing what I was talking about. I was directly referencing and being critical of the post that Mr. Robinson wrote, not the novel. But if you didn’t read the posts there’s no way to understand that. Thus the monkey poo. That’s what happens when you don’t understand things.
Apparently when I tried to point out that I was using a professional perspective I was being pompous.
Generation Ships – John Carlton
Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a book recently apparently to show that interstellar travel is impossible. He expresses his point of view in this post.
And this one.
As far as Mr. Robinson is concerned, once the solar system is filled up that’s it, game over. Only one earth, one solar system, that’s all there is. It’s not possible to travel between the stars and even if we could, the missions would all fail. Of course he also believes that utopia is possible as some sort of Socialist paradise. Now that’s a fantasy.
David Brin has some rejoinders here.
As does Stephen Baxter.
And Gregory Benford.
As an engineer, I think that Mr. Robinson is clearly wrong. Or at least, he doesn’t understand the basic rules for setting mission parameters and designing to meet those parameters. Mr. Robison’s vessel failed because…
View original post 1,227 more words
SpaceX pranged another booster recently.
This seems to be a recurring theme with their hardware. I think that the big problem is that their approach to that barge is too energetic and the barge is too small. Still SpaceX is making progress and getting payloads up even if they don’t recover the booster. Perhaps another approach would be to get rid of the barge altogether and bring the booster into a water landing. What needs to happen is the Falcon 9 needs to come to a hover on it’s engines and then slowly maneuver on the engines to a stop.
The old Delta Clipper could do this, but the DC-X couldn’t reach orbit. Of course the DC-X was proof of concept test bed that was supposed to pave the way for the vehicles that would follow.
In many ways, space travel has actually regressed seemingly. I know that that is not the case and that the fact is that the space shuttle was the wrong vehicle for too many jobs and too big for a first reusable vehicle. The fact is that shuttle operations soaked up a lot of money that could have been used to design successor vehicles. And the bureaucrats at NASA were able to keep competing space vehicles off the pad for the most part, as long as the shuttle was operational. Which is how we got to the current situation with the Russians providing access to the ISS and a fleet of mid 1950’s designed rockets used to launch most US payloads.
The good part of this is that the vacuum created by the shutdown of the shuttle program finally allowed private space vehicles to emerge. And it looks like Space X and the others are taking the lead.
That said, there is something significant about the development of this capability relevant to the future use and development of cislunar space. With the Falcon 9 first stage recovery, SpaceX developed the capability to safely soft-land a throttleable, cryogenic engine system—a key technical development needed for the creation of a permanent space-based transportation system. Although there are differences between landing the Falcon 9 stage and a lunar soft-lander, if one can be done, so can the other. All lunar landers to date, both robotic and manned, have used storable propellants (usually hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) and then, after a single use, were discarded. To return to the Moon permanently, we must develop reusable propulsion systems that use the propellants that we are able to manufacture on the Moon (cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and/or liquid methane).
A comparable technical project toward achieving these ends was completed two decades ago—the Department of Defense Delta Clipper (DC-X) project. This effort was part of the research program by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, whose efforts required developing reliable and routine access to space. The Delta Clipper used LOX-hydrogen rocket engines that could be throttled between 30 and 100 percent of their rated thrust. This particular vehicle was designed not to achieve orbit, but to prototype the various systems and technologies needed to build a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) launch vehicle in the future.
The DC-X launched vertically like any rocket—it was able to maneuver in attitude during flight, then re-orient to nose-first attitude for reentry, and soft-land vertically at launch site. The vehicle successfully flew eight times under the remote control of a human pilot. Astronaut Pete Conrad, who had previously conducted the first precision soft-landing on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission in 1969, was one of the DC-X remote control pilots. The DC-X was a one-third-scale version of an actual SSTO. It only flew to an altitude of a couple thousand feet, but it certified the systems that would be needed later for a full-size DC-Y launch vehicle.
The idea of a SSTO launch system is as old as spaceflight itself and has been proposed in many guises over the years. Always it has been assumed that the development of such a vehicle would make space access routine and cheap. But in fact, flight through Earth’s atmosphere on both ends of a mission imposes significant stress on vehicle systems and thus, difficulties (read: costs) during preparation for reuse. The greatest value to be realized from a reusable cryogenic space vehicle would come from developing a version that is permanently based in space, one that is not subjected to the extreme thermal environments of Earth orbital re-entry.
Four years ago, Tony Lavoie and I developed an architecture whose aim was to establish a resource-processing outpost on the Moon. In order to maximize efficiency and minimize cost, we imagined a lunar soft-lander designed to 1) use the propellant that we planned to make on the Moon from lunar polar water; and 2) be permanently space-based, traveling only between low lunar orbit and the surface, and reusable for multiple trips (it was for this reason that we based our orbital node in low lunar orbit (100 km), where lunar single-stage-to-orbit is possible). This hypothetical lander would be able to throttle its engines for terminal descent, and be of modular construction for between-flight servicing and engine change-out on the Moon.
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Also, unlike the old cold war days the various space agencies can draw in each other for design skills, resources and planning. Which means that those old plans sitting in somebody’s drawer can taken out, evaluated and updated to create new vehicles to take advantage of the new materials that the last forty year or so have come up with.
There’s also work being done to create engines that don’t require the super performance of H2 and all the problems that H2 creates. methane has a higher boiling point and is heavier and doesn’t have the nasty habit of leaking through leaks that don’t exist. On a lot of levels involving handling and turnaround methane has a lot going for it.
The Russians are also going to methane, which for the Russians is a big leap to a fully cryogenic stage, something they’ve had trouble with in the past. But they can draw on decades of cooperative experience in cryogenics from NASA and that will make a difference for them.
It looks like the race to develop the technologies to finally break the launchers form the disintegrating totem poles is on. It can’t happen too soon.