Orion RED Rockets Today at the CAPE.

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vreihen

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Having been to more aborted launches than actual launches at the Cape over the years, this is not surprising. They were only 50% sure of a launch today due to the weather (per an announcement yesterday), so at least they got a chance to find the bad valves and Chinese fishing boats if nothing else.....
 
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Uwe

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So $500 million to launch a capsule (which has no clearly defined missions planned), on a Delta 4 Heavy (which will never be man-rated). This makes sense how?
 
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Bruce

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Based on my daughter-in-law's father's report, the capsule contents is predominantly military in nature. His company made some gizzo gadget for this launch but he cannot speak about it as it is classified. Don't know that this justifies the cost.... Just giving some info.
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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I just like watching the rockets go up.........like Estes only bigger.

Nothing makes sense anymore to me.........:p........especially stubborn to embrace new physics laws hopefully soon to change........ I am the crackpot!

But I also posted that a starter should turn 2K RPM yesterday.......I guess the jokes on me :( :)

Yay STAR WARS LIVES!
 
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vreihen

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So $500 million to launch a capsule (which has no clearly defined missions planned), on a Delta 4 Heavy (which will never be man-rated). This makes sense how?
T-shirt sales and motel revenue in Florida. :)

Seriously though, the space shuttle program's longevity and the resulting lack of new challenges for a whole generation of engineers caused a serious brain-drain for people who knew how to build trans-lunar rockets. With China clearly targeting the moon in this decade, I think that it is important for the US to keep those skills alive. Remember, the Apollo stuff was all designed on paper with slide rules, and these new kids are having to scrounge through museum pieces and even ocean salvage to get digital renditions of the old hardware as a starting point. Here is an interesting article that I read a few months ago, explaining how the next generation tore down a flight-certified Saturn F1 engine and what they found:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/how-nasa-brought-the-monstrous-f-1-moon-rocket-back-to-life/

In particular, I like the mis-drilled hole in the injector plate:



I was thinking that maybe it was done intentionally to break up some resonance by adding just a touch of randomness, but I'm not a rocket scientist.

Yes, Uwe, I get the point about building a bridge to nowhere, but I think that having engineers who know how to build those bridges is important for both our country and humanity in general. Hence, using a non-man-rated booster and cramming many tests into one flight to keep the costs down, while still sending a message to both the Chinese and Mr. Putin that our manned launch technology is more than trampolines right now as they implied.

Based on my daughter-in-law's father's report, the capsule contents is predominantly military in nature. His company made some gizzo gadget for this launch but he cannot speak about it as it is classified. Don't know that this justifies the cost.... Just giving some info.
According to the press, the manifest included a Sally Ride mission patch, Captain Kirk doll for William Shatner, moon dust samples, Muppet stuff, and all kinds of other space souvenirs as ballast. Here's an unofficial list:

http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1113291947/sesame-street-and-other-mementos-onboard-with-orion-120314/

ROTFL @ Cookie Monster's "classified" chocolate chip cookie..... :)
 
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jyoung8607

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Here is an interesting article that I read a few months ago, explaining how the next generation tore down a flight-certified Saturn F1 engine and what they found
I've read that before... it's just an amazing story, front to back. The craftsmanship, the "archaeology" to rediscover how it worked, and of course the gas generator:


At first glance you might think hey, that's a decent little rocket engine. No. That's part of the fuel pump for one of the actual rocket engines. Just gives you a sense of the absolutely stupid level of energy involved in getting Saturn V off the ground. And, we had multiple people volunteer to be sit on top of it while it was operating.

Jason
 
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vreihen

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Just gives you a sense of the absolutely stupid level of energy involved in getting Saturn V off the ground.
Here's some interesting comparisons, if one can believe Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(power)

2.074 GW – tech: peak power generation of Hoover Dam
8.21 GW – tech: capacity of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, the world's largest nuclear power plant.[15][16]
11.7 GW – tech: power produced by the Space Shuttle in liftoff configuration (9.875 GW from the SRBs; 1.9875 GW from the SSMEs.)[17]
12.7 GW – geo: average electrical power consumption of Norway in 1998
55 GW – tech: peak daily electrical power consumption of Great Britain in November 2008.[18]
101.6 GW – tech: peak electrical power consumption of France (February 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm)
190 GW – tech: average power consumption of the first stage of the Saturn V rocket
700 GW – biomed: humankind basal metabolic rate as of 2013 (7 billion people).

Five Saturn-V F-1 engines generated almost twice as much power as the peak electrical usage in the entire country of France! Notice how wimpy the Space Shuttle was by comparison, lifting off at only 1/16 the power of the Saturn-V.

I saw this chart the other day, which shows the relative sizes of all manned space vehicles to date:



The size of Skylab compared with the International Space Station is interesting when you subtract the solar arrays and trusses. Skylab's pressurized volume was 320 cubic meters, whereas the ISS is 916 cubic meters pressurized with only 388 cubic meters habitable. The ISS went up in multiple pieces via Russian rockets and Space Shuttle cargo bay loads, whereas Skylab was chucked into orbit in one piece by one Saturn-V.....
 
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Uwe

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Skylab was basically the 3rd stage of a Saturn 5. Fuel tanks capable of holding cryogenic propellants make dandy pressure vessels.

The fact that we purposely scuttled all 130-some external tanks from the Shuttle program bothers me to this day. The LH2 tank alone had a volume of ~1500 cubic meters, with the LOX tank adding another ~500.
 
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vreihen

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The fact that we purposely scuttled all 130-some external tanks from the Shuttle program bothers me to this day.
I wonder how many of them are showing up as sonar targets in the MH-370 search in the Indian Ocean? No argument from me that it was a waste, probably driven by congress critters that were from states with huge NASA contracts to build the ISS...and the never-constructed "Freedom" before that. For that matter, the entire space shuttle program was a boondoggle from the beginning, from the people who can't even balance their own checkbooks in Washington. It was severely over-priced if the cargo was a geostationary satellite, didn't have the orbital range to reach communications satellites to repair them, and many feel that the ISS was built specifically so that the shuttles had a place to go to keep them flying once everyone caught on that it was a money pit. I'm glad that we as a country did it, but felt that it dragged on for way too long and prevented future developments like Orion and manned missions around the solar system.

With that said, I'm cheering for SpaceX to hit their bulls eye next week when they try to land a Falcon9 first stage onto their floating platform out in the Atlantic. We should have been doing this stuff in the 1980's.....
 
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Uwe

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I wonder how many of them are showing up as sonar targets in the MH-370 search in the Indian Ocean?
They break up during re-entry, don't they?

For that matter, the entire space shuttle program was a boondoggle from the beginning, from the people who can't even balance their own checkbooks in Washington. It was severely over-priced if the cargo was a geostationary satellite, didn't have the orbital range to reach communications satellites to repair them, and many feel that the ISS was built specifically so that the shuttles had a place to go to keep them flying once everyone caught on that it was a money pit. I'm glad that we as a country did it, but felt that it dragged on for way too long and prevented future developments like Orion and manned missions around the solar system.
The right way to do manned missions around the solar system, and even to the moon, is to stage the stuff you need in low-earth-orbit. Had the Shuttle performed as originally advertised/sold, with basically a flight a week that cost ~$25 million, it would have been easy to do that. There's an old saying: If you can get to low-earth orbit, you've made it half way to anywhere in the solar system.

With that said, I'm cheering for SpaceX to hit their bulls eye next week when they try to land a Falcon9 first stage onto their floating platform out in the Atlantic.
Yep. If they can pull that off (and I'm reasonably confident they will eventually) it will be a game-changer.

For years I've been wishing I could buy stock in SpaceX, but I understand fully why Elon won't sell any.
 
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vreihen

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They break up during re-entry, don't they?
They were supposed to, but so was Skylab and it rained down on that part of the world when it de-orbited.

The right way to do manned missions around the solar system, and even to the moon, is to stage the stuff you need in low-earth-orbit. Had the Shuttle performed as originally advertised/sold, with basically a flight a week that cost ~$25 million, it would have been easy to do that. There's an old saying: If you can get to low-earth orbit, you've made it half way to anywhere in the solar system.
Yup. Instead of a space station that from the outside appears to have been designed by committee, we should have assembled an inter-planetary cruise ship. Between Soyuz, Orion, and the two commercial capsules, we would have the means to transport crews and fuel/supplies up and down. Shades of 2001...except Siri in place of the HAL-9000. I guess the only way this will happen is through private industry (like SpaceX), because the government has no interest in doing something logical.....
 
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Uwe

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a space station that from the outside appears to have been designed by committee
Several of them. In different countries. :p
 
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voughtt

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Having worked there, I can tell you NASA get more useful hardware and software developed for the dollar than any military branch...mostly because of all the folks who retire from the military after getting their career benefits, come to NASA as a contractor, and earn a very good living while the contracting company charges NASA 3-4x their salary. The good part of all of it is that they often seem to have learned from their mistakes developing things like the F-22 and F-35.
 
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Uwe

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So that's the secret to SpaceX's low development costs. They hire the same sort of people, but instead of NASA paying a contracting company 3-4x their salary, SpaceX just pays their salary? ;)
 
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vreihen

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So that's the secret to SpaceX's low development costs. They hire the same sort of people, but instead of NASA paying a contracting company 3-4x their salary, SpaceX just pays their salary? ;)
I was under the impression that SpaceX hired talented youths with no preconceived notions of what can and can't be done, and cuts them loose to accomplish miracles on shoestring budgets.

Take a look at this comparison between NASA's control room at JSC in Houston versus the SpaceX control room:



Count the "gray matter" and receding hairlines, and estimate the average staff ages in both places.

In terms of operational leanness, compare the "bling" in both facilities.

NASA:





SpaceX:





SpaceX's mission control center consists of cafeteria tables, and they didn't even waste money for carpeting or a ceiling! THIS is how they save money!

Oh, and I use these SpaceX pictures to shame the guys at work for lousy/ugly cabling jobs. The cabling that connects those computers/monitors together is 100% invisible, and there isn't a single wire on the floor.....
 
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