Bill Phil

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About Bill Phil

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    Some Engineer Guy

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  • Location The Planet Gunsmoke
  1. Let's go back about a 100k years. Turns out we're ice age creatures. This warm period happens to be a very long one, and the next glaciation isn't expected for thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years. But, us being ice age creatures, what we wear is important for environmental protection. Over a very long time this morphed into fashion... But what we wear is important. On a cold day we should wear a jacket, for example. Even so, I can perfectly understand the feeling. I try to be practical in what I wear on a day to day basis.
  2. No harm no foul.
  3. You mean... kilograms? As far as I can tell SLS is designed for 70 metric tons to LEO, although it's not a LEO launcher.
  4. Huh. Doing some math, an Atlas V and a skyhook about 2500 km long (yeah, that's long, but certainly more doable than a space elevator...) could put 76.5 tonnes into orbit. In just a single stage. Now the real problem is that we're running out of engine thrust... I guess we could use the Atlas V SRBs to help out a bit, and maybe boost payload slightly. Payload fraction is about 20%. Assuming fixed launch costs at 109 million, we get 1425 bucks a kilogram. Now, the Atlas V was never truly cost competitive, but eliminating the second stage may reduce cost by a good amount, and breaking the 1000 USD per kilogram barrier could* be done with a reusable rocket or with streamlined operations. Even this cost beats out the Falcon 9 in its current form, by more than a 1000 USD. And this is an expendable kerolox booster. If reusability works out, then costs could go down quite a bit. Or if we used hydrolox, we could get higher payload mass fractions. *this is about a tonne of salt Also there's the cost of the skyhook itself, but that's likely to be government infrastructure like roads and canals, so the government would absorb most of the cost... and even if it didn't, the cost would likely amortize over time.
  5. We are Groot. I saw it. I liked it.
  6. If we're going to do that, I recommend building a Skyhook for the Venturestar to actually go to. It would reduce the required performance of the vehicle.
  7. Hmm... Skyhook-Venturestar. That's 5 billion per year, right? If so, then the Skyhook could be built in pieces, using the already existing hook to make subsequent launches cheaper and cheaper. A 1000 km long non-rotating skyhook would reduce the delta-V required by about 1km/s. Even 1km/s would be a huge benefit. Make it even longer, and you'd get more benefits. Now, a skyhook isn't a space elevator, but rather a cable that goes from two separate altitudes. Dangle a cable from some high altitude down to 200km, and then get a launch vehicle (perhaps SLS, it is already developed...?) to do a rendezvous and release its payload. Lowering the Delta-V requirement would enable Single Stage to Skyhook, and lower mass ratios, thus increasing payload mass fractions. Then a vehicle like Venturestar could be practical, and with more payload to boot. More payload per launch, and a set cost per launch, reduces the cost per kg. And if you want a new vehicle, we could revive Venturestar, or at least something similar to it. SSTS is far easier than SSTO.
  8. I feel like NASA should be facilitating other entities' rocket launches. Mainly infrastructure. More pads? Maybe get an electromagnetic launch assist system? A... skyhook (even a relatively low capacity one)? Might be useful in the long run...? Not to say that I don't like big rockets, but having infrastructure this spread out is just... impractical.
  9. They're not awful. They work just as well. It's only when both systems are in use in the same mission that it becomes an issue... And of course, there're many more complications to integrating international stuff than measurements. It's not difficult to convert between the two. Albeit a bit annoying. Really it just boils down to what you're used to using. In our science classes we use metric and we use liters and such when talking about cars, so most things are slowly converting.
  10. Momentum exchange tethers, maybe. Then we could get away with low mass ratios and high payload ratios.
  11. Infinite money? I'd go for rotating colonies like the Stanford Torus... certainly more advanced though, it's not the 70s anymore.
  12. I say rocket airlines. Impractical but awesome. Or maybe they would be practical... after all, reusable rockets always seem to want airline like operations...
  13. Oh, you mean a rocket guitar?
  14. It's calculating the propellant load by the stage volume. Can you adjust that?
  15. Even that isn't necessarily accurate. Pretty famously, what we know about the Persian invasion of Greece mostly comes from Greek people at the time. So there's an inherent bias.