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About wumpus

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    Spacecraft Engineer
  1. If I was designing the Raptor, one thing I'd strongly consider is having it boosted by Falcon Heavy side boosters (possibly more than two). Possibly without a proper lower stage at all. The upper stage might light on the pad,assuming you didn't want to risk upper atmosphere ignition, or might not (it wouldn't produce significant thrust till much later, but still possibly worth it). There has to be a wide range of tonnage between FH full re-use and standard Raptor, and you would think it would make sense to cover most of it. Then again, most of the "really massive stuff to LEO" plans are for Mars transport. Although I suppose eventually customers will exist wanting massive satellites in LEO. Or simply want even bigger things to GSO than Falcon Heavy can supply.
  2. Back during the end of the Cold War, the US Navy dragged the Missouri and New Jersey back into service. It was widely claimed (and quite believable) that it would already be unfeasible to build (even with the money being thrown around at the time) from scratch. After a turret exploded (killing just about anyone nearby) it became clear that the guns would require complete redesign, at which point I'd expect only the outer hull armor to be left original. Both ships are now floating museums. Of course, since the only real mission of such a ship is shore bombardment (submarines and carriers are superior for hitting other surface vessels), there really isn't much difference between a WWII battleship and a heavy cruiser (unless the cruiser sinks due to a turret explosion). Presumably the Navy's current railgun project can be considered something like this. The other thing a battleship provides is a wildly different set of weaknesses. Normal missiles, such as the exocet, would simply bounce off. What you would need is something on a high ballistic arc (which defenses could easily pick up) to avoid the armor and do damage (and I imagine that the USSR developed plenty back when two American battleships were lumbering about).
  3. That seems well after a "final" Falcon 9 design. Also if they are building 20 falcons and have nearly a dozen used boosters in storage, just what do they plan on launching? I another thread (probably a SLS-bashing one) someone pointed out that the Saturn V was built to go to the moon, not the moon chosen because we built the Saturn V [note: Kennedy originally wanted Mars, but was told that it was beyond our capabilities]. Does Musk really have that many satellites to launch?
  4. Back during the early shuttle era it was clear that NASA couldn't launch the [2?] Saturn Vs it had as museum pieces (I think one is in Redstone, Alabama the other is at KSC). While I'd assume that virtually everything is documented (but the .01% that isn't will surely bite you), I'm sure it also includes knowledge that only existed in somebody who launched Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. There was a small army scurry around making sure the right things happened at the right time during the countdown (while the countdown was critical to hitting the window, its real purpose was making sure everything happened on schedule). I'm not sure if SLS included the revived F1 (Apollo main engines) or not. These things effectively *had* to be 3d printed because the welding techniques simply aren't used anymore and simply couldn't be done (and of course you would need both welder and inspector. You might eventually dig up the right "maker", but who is that into inspection?). I remember reading about bits that included thick steel welds (heatshields?) and thinking that in the 1960s you could find a ton of welders with battleship experience. Good luck finding such now. Technology depends strictly on infrastructure. Ideas help, but if you can't build it with available parts (or build such parts) it isn't happening. If an engineer can design something with parts from Newark/Allied/McMaster-Carr, the product can be shipped on time. If not, you have a massive R&D project.
  5. Declare N2 RCS thrusters as "not a burn"? Electromagnetic braking (certainly possible. Wouldn't like to be the test pilot)? Where did you get this from anyway? I can't find any indication of weird NG re-entry plans.
  6. I'd recommend by doing simple missions and then taking the most simple next step possible, using the most simple rocket components you can (obviously you have enough power by putting a mark1 capsule on a twinboar booster, but getting it stable might be harder). Try something like: Launch a vessel! (hint: you need a manned capsule or remote core, then hit the spacebar). Get into space! (parachutes can be tricky if you go too high. I'd also recommend sticking with the mark1 capsule for manned missions this far up. Go into orbit! This is a big step up. Seasoned kerbanauts have been known to make plenty of adjustments to new rockets to get them into orbit. Minmus/Mun: I still recommend landing on Minmus first (note that in career mode this might not be an option due to radio links) for landing, but if you want to simply orbit (Apollo 8) or simply go there and return (upcoming SLS and/or Falcon missions) Mun should be easier. The trick to getting to Minmus is adjusting your inclination to match Minmus. Duna: Wait, what? The above missions will take awhile and you will know what you want out of this game before you are ready to blast off for Duna.
  7. It is certainly better than less-serious SF writer Robert Anton Wilson's naming planets 10-11 (Pluto was still a planet) "Mickey" and "Goofy". RAW's main claim to space fame was writing a theme song for the proposed High Orbital Mini Earth. It went "HOME, HOME, on Lagrange..."
  8. I like to claim that BO is the only space program that is free of politics, but even that isn't quite true. Still Bezos's independence from congress and NASA is impressive. Having spare billions will do that (I remember John Carmack saying he had budgeted a portion of his "mad money" for space. It was a *lot* of money, but it really wasn't enough to go far in space).
  9. A team of kerbals lifts up the ship and carries it home. This is rather tiring so they attempt to eat the thing as a snack. The further they have to bring it back to KSC, the more "snack damage" occurs. This is why landing far away from KSC returns less kredits/roots than landing on KSC.
  10. A lot of this depends on how high you want your orbit to be. If you are skimming the edge of the atmosphere (for more Oberth), you really won't be able to "warp to" (or use the physicsless warp) until after you've circularized. As someone who uses a lot of low-TWR designs for circularization, I probably *should* use a maneuver node. But I'll stick to KE and easily readable "time to AP" and AP/PE readings. Anyone know the efficiency of burning 1/2 burn length before AP vs. burning for constant time to AP? I know plenty of my designs would crash if I used a naive maneuver node (some of them barely coast at all), but I'd wonder about efficiency for less crazy launches.
  11. Has Spacex always used "fire in the hole" staging? Of course, main engine cut-off, staging, second stage ignition weren't simultaneous, but more like someone hitting the spacebar three times in succession without having time to check to see if everything was going exactly right.
  12. Obviously that was new as well. I was annoyed at the claim that fueling used boosters (early) was somehow more dangerous. I don't recall there being much left of the booster in either failure (although for in the one in question, I think the cargo wasn't destroyed until the second stage could no longer support it and it crashed into the pad/fire).
  13. I suspect that NASA figured that US manned flight wouldn't survive such a loss and there was no justification for other plans. As long as congress (or whoever else controls the spending) insists on micromanaging things you will get cases like this. I'm fairly certain it would make a lot more sense to have split the shuttle program into manned and unmanned [cargo] missions, but that would let Congress simply cancel the manned missions so NASA never gave them the option. Don't underestimate Blue Origin. Bezos may not have [personally] the engineering chops to micromanage the program like Elon Musk, but at least that is the only space program that isn't ultimately answerable to politics.
  14. I have to wonder how many teapot pictures are hung in front of telescopes on April 1. I could just see the NASA press release: We've located absolute proof of the divine. And she is a trickster goddess.
  15. Except that those changes are for both new and used flights, and a new booster exploded. And while the [uncrewed] payload might be at risk, it certainly looks like the army of technicians needed are not (or at least much less at risk). This seems to be the type of change you make if you plan on having a launch cadence like spacex.