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Gepard

Ares 1-X

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I was watching it at launch time. The winds stayed above safe launch parameters and they had showers over the cape during their final launch window.

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Weather here has just been like standing in a wind tunnel all day. Clouds have never completely dissipated either.

I hope it gets off tomorrow or Wednesday, because if they try to go Thursday my planned day at Tel IV is going to be postponed, and I just want to get this project with the telemetry data relay system over with already!

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A question, do you guys think this is going back to the Apollo days? What happen to "Shuttles are inexpensive to use" as oppose to Expensive Rockets. Or am I not in the know about the latest rocket tech?

 

Just curious.

 

Falcon

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the cost savings of shuttles failed to materialize.

 

(Imagine that, a government program promising savings that didn't........)

 

sorry. couldn't resist.

 

at any rate there is a commission that has met and provided recommendations on manned space flight. I got the preliminary, draft report (about 15 pages). The final report was just out last week at about 150 pages, which I haven't seen yet.

 

the bottom line is that planned US manned space program, as presently planned, is unexecuteable with the current programmed funding. A number of options were laid out which ranged quite a spread. most included the need for increased funding

 

(imagine that, a government program that requires increased funding.......)

 

sorry...

 

so this launch is testing the low end of the new booster family, which by the time it comes into service under the current plans won't have a mission (LEO to service the ISS).

 

but this booster plays big in most of the alternative options.

 

but no shuttle after 2011. It really did turn out to be too expensive to operate. Interestingly enough, some of the options discussed involve turning over LEO operations and suppport to the ISS to the private sector. So under this option, NASA would contract for space delivery services to LEO.

 

(goes off and refines proposal template.......)

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Saturn 5 technology was reliable, had tons of throw weight capability, and was proven (hell, Apollo 12 was STRUCK BY LIGHTING DURING ASCENT and still made it to orbit).

 

The biggest issue with getting things to orbit is that it takes fuel to move weight. But you also need fuel to carry fuel, and that additional fuel needs additional weight to the structure to store it....you get the idea.

 

That's why traditional staging is efficient, because you get rid of 'dead weight' as you use up fuel. Which means more of your total liftoff weight can be dedicated to your payload.

 

You can already see the issue. The shuttle configuration required lifting a structure the size of a DC-9 to orbit, not including the payload. This is why the shuttle was built as a semi-reuseable system, to increase the payload fraction (the amount of total liftoff weight taken up by payload). The original proposals for fully reusable systems resulted in very large, very complex, very expensive to develop systems that didn't have sufficient payload fraction.

 

So now, you have the worst of both worlds...staging, so you dispose of parts of your rocket with every launch, and reusable, so you have to lift a lot of weight that has to be returned back to earth...reducing the amount you can throw into orbit (yep, it was designed by politics...no, I'm not kidding). And don't get me started on using non-throttleable, non-shutoff capable solid rocket boosters on a man-rated spacecraft...

 

Our current technology level to get to LEO needs to fall into one of 2 camps...either fully reusuable, with an acceptance of low throw weight, or a BDB (Big Dumb Booster), which has high throw weight, but disposable rockets. I personally think we should have had both...Saturn 5 tech to send up your large cargo items, and a small reuseable spaceplane (think Dyna-Soar) for crew or small payloads only.

 

This is my opinion of course...I'd be curious as to what Jedi has to say about it...

 

FC

Edited by FastCargo

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Actually, that is what the Ares plan is for. The Ares I will carry the "Apollo on steroids" 6-man semi-reusable capsule to orbit/the space station. I say semi because apparently they will use them for a few missions, but not dozens. The problem with the shuttle (ok, one of many!) is that to be reusable requires the structure be built stronger and heavier than if it was only meant to take one ascent/reentry. Again, more dead weight. The metric of maintenance man hours/flight hour on the shuttle is literally the worst in history. That is what was miscalculated.

The Ares V will be the unmanned heavy lifter that will take cargo and later things like landers and Mars cruise vehicles to orbit. It will be bigger and heavier than Saturn V...if it's ever built.

The original NASA plan, if you look it up from the late 70s, is 50 missions/yr with a fleet of 4 shuttles! That's 1 flight/orbiter/month! I don't recall what the fastest turnaround for a shuttle has been, but it's well over 4 weeks. There was also this idea that frequent flights = cheap flights, which was totally wrong. Each flight (now) costs roughly $500m, so if you fly 6 times in a year that's $3b spent purely for flying. While the dollar amount was lower in the 80s, I don't know what the inflation adjusted figures are, so I've no idea if it's more or less expensive in real terms now.

 

Is Ares I a step backwards technologically from the shuttle? Yes. However, after Columbia NASA wasn't given the mandate "go design something better, here's the money to do it", it was told "go make something safer using the same money you've always had WHILE still flying the shuttle." NASA has been eager to retire the shuttle solely because they want to put that money towards Ares, but according to the report that's still not enough.

 

NASA needs just over $3b more/year to get us to the Moon in another decade or so. They may not get it.

 

Maybe NASA should've changed its name to AIG? Then it would've had the equivalent of FIVE YEARS of its current budget thrown at it for nothing, instead of having to argue why HUMAN BEINGS LEAVING EARTH is worth the kind of money they throw at Cash for Clunkers with a week of deliberation!

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and...

 

launch.

 

Nice launch. looks cool.

 

you raise very good points. The funding to fix the manned space program is pocket change and rounding errors in the context of the throwaway trillions for buying votes.

 

but I digress.......

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I think reliability must stand over technological advantage. Look to the russians. Their Soyus Rocket is outdated but to bring cosmonauts, astronauts, spacionauts etc.nauts safe into the orbit it is the best solution. Its like to have an old but reliable car at home then a super high tech car which you cant frive, because it has constant malfunctions.

I think Ares is the right way. And perhaps we will see a small shuttle in the size of the european Hermes project or the american Dinosaur.

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Ares 1 launch, for those who missed it :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCamLXgLB68

 

Congratulations to NASA for taking the first step to get back to the moon.

As for Europe, ESA is working on the CTV program (not so different from the Orion project), an unmanned capsule to bring loads to the ISS, that could lead to a manned version and (maybe in a far future) to the moon.

I think the private space companies are the only ones really interested in a reusable vehicle/shuttle, at the moment.

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I'd like to see commercial space travel to the moon made affordable before I die, but I doubt it will happen soon enough.

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The Orion Project will be a great step forward for NASA and getting back to the Moon and beyond. I saw all the highlights and models at the KSC last year. It seems like an old idea, but it's one that worked and will work again. There really is no other way to get us to the Moon and return. We can't land a glider on the moon until we build a runway. So for the next 30 years, I hope I see it... let's get back there again!

 

But knowing the lack of support NASA has from the Dems.... who knows...

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I'd like to see commercial space travel to the moon made affordable before I die, but I doubt it will happen soon enough.

 

What wonders me is how Virgin Galactic manages to make a plan to do orbital flights a reality soon enough whilst NASA plans on retiring its reusable vehicles... I wonder how NASA would work if it had been bought up by Richard Branson... I'd bet we'd have the ability to spend holidays in lunar hotel and lunar golf being considered a dangerous sport...

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Well, to be fair the stresses and dangers of a short suborbital flight like that is nothing like an orbital insertion/reentry. I think SS2 won't break Mach 3, while orbital reentry is at Mach 12, or higher if you come back from the Moon or Mars.

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Yep, what JM said...orbital velocity is Mach 25...a whole other set of issues get to and bleeding off that kind of speed.

 

FC

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