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About peadar1987

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  1. Wow, where did that six weeks go?! I haven't had a spare minute to write, but figured I probably deserve a bit of a break from the thesis, so here goes. Arbus Military Cemetery, Tokana, the Tespen Confederation. It was a cliché that it always rained at funerals. Partially because of a string of writers taking dramatic license with the weather, and partly because the Arbus military cemetery was located on a particularly wet promontory adjoining the naval base of the same name. Today, a stiff breeze drove white-capped waves against the base of the cliffs and over the bow of a Tokanan submarine steaming out to probe Yeflanan defences in the Straits of Neb. It churned slate-grey clouds as they rolled overhead, and it bit into the group of mourners assembled for the interment of the nine non-noble victims of what had become known as the Javelin Catastrophe. The noble victims had been flown back to their family estates, to be placed in crypts or mausoleums, underneath elaborate marble headstones with family crests. The rest would be laid to rest under simple wooden memorial plaques on a headland with countless others who had fallen in the line of duty. Less than half of them had any relatives there, time off for agricultural workers during harvest season was nearly impossible to come by, and lords didn't want to set a precedent of allowing Kerbals to stop work just because a loved one had been killed. However, the embryonic space program had captured the public's imagination to such a degree that millions were said to be listening to the broadcast all over the Federation. After the speeches had concluded, Jadra hurried through the uniformed remnants of the Tespen astronaut corps until she came to General Billgren. He hadn't been on the aircraft when it went down, but he could scarcely have looked worse if he had. "General Billgren, can I have a word?" "Of course, Private Jadra" said the general, pulling his jacket tight against the wind. "General, I've been thinking a lot since the crash. About what happened, and what I could have done. Virenna and Lorcan tried to guide the plane down. Dunfrey spent the entire descent stabilising the injured. What did I do? I got scared, pulled up some floorboards and lost my spanner. I'm not cut out for this. I'd like to offer my resignation from the astronaut corps." "Resignation not accepted" replied the general. "With resp..." "Private Jadra, can you guess why I selected you, above any of the thousands of other candidates, to take part in this programme?" "Because I was the Kerbal of the moment in the media? Because I am about as common as you can get, and it would look good to send up a peasant? Because I'm expendable?!" "No. That's why I was allowed to pick you. And you have repaid my faith in you. You might think all you did was get scared and lose your spanner. Do you know what I have heard about the accident? I heard two pilots tried for ten minutes to fly an aircraft with obviously severed control lines because they couldn't think of anything else to do. I heard about a medic who treated burst eardrums and minor lacerations on Kerbals who were about to hit the ground at 300 knots. And I heard about a combat mechanic who, in spite of being terrified, did not for one second stop thinking of creative solutions, and who nearly saved the aircraft and everyone on board. Our Kerbals are going further, higher and faster than any Kerbal has ever gone before. Things are going to go wrong. Unexpected events are going to happen. Things we can't train for, could never train for. And the only Kerbal on this entire program I've seen show a hint of being able to swallow their fear and fix a problem like that is you." Jadra stood with her mouth open, unable to think of anything to say. The general continued. "I'm being replaced as head of the space program. Heads have to roll after a foul-up like this, and apparently mine is one of them. But before I go, I'm arranging for you be put to the front of the rotation for the first Kerballed spaceflight" With that, he turned on his heel and walked, solitary, through the dwindling crowd and out of the cemetery. Jadra stayed rooted to the spot, a thousand emotions competing for space in her head. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Nammard, Yeflana Tombart and Matrick sat at a café at the side of a small courtyard in one of the oldest districts of Nammard, sheltered from the sun by a dense carpet of shadevines creeping along a network of wires strung across the courtyard for that very purpose. The vines needed minimal water, produced delicious berries, and could grow in the thinnest of soils, and seemingly every street in the city was protected by a canopy of their waxy leaves. Their five-pointed, star-shaped flowers had become the symbol of Yeflana, stylised to the star on the hats of the PEB agents sitting at the table next to Tombart and Matrick. Tombart couldn't tell if they were being monitored specifically, or if the PEB were simply everywhere in Yeflana to make sure nobody misbehaved or read the wrong sort of newspapers. "So the accident enquiry could have gone worse" said Tombart, trying to make conversation. "Main engine turbopump casing failure, leading to combustion chamber damage. Escaping gas causing a torque on the vehicle for which the control system was unable to compensate", rattled off Matrick from memory. The enquiry had lasted several days, and a seemingly endless series of twisted and blackened metal had passed across the desk of the committee of which Matrick and Tombart were both a part. Indeed, they had spent more time explaining to the PEB appointee how rocket engines worked than they had trying to decipher why this particular one had failed. "So now how do we stop it from happening again?" "It's hard to say. The problem is the scaling. I've only ever worked on lab-scale rocket engines before. I can get them working with 99% reliability, and good specific impulse, but you just can't get something capable of lifting a Kerbal into orbit into a lab and fire it. This is all virgin territory, and every time we try one of the bigger turbopumps the entire thing flies apart." "So we don't scale them" suggested Matrick. "You said we've got the specific impulse to make orbit, just not the thrust. How about we use your smaller designs, and just cluster them together? Ten or fifteen of them should be able to get our first stage off the ground, no?" "Good idea, and we already looked into it" said Tombart, sipping a shadeberry cordial. It was punishingly hot, even under the shadevines. "the problem is vibration. One turbopump running at a time, we can predict what that's going to do and damp things properly. Fifteen turbopumps? The test rig and half the engines shook themselves to pieces within half a minute. The vibrational modes interact with each other in ways we can't even begin to predict. It will make a nice PhD thesis in ten years time, but we're not going to the Mun any time soon with any more than five clustered engines." Matrick stared down into his empty coffee cup and debated ordering another. The coffee at the space centre was terrible, and he didn't know when he would next pass through Nammard. Although if they couldn't solve the thrust problem, it wouldn't be long before the next enquiry. -------------------------------------- And meanwhile, deep underneath a mountain towards the northern reaches of West Atlavand, the First Air Lord inspected a welding crew putting the finishing touches to the steel wall of a wide vertical tube that ran all the way to the surface, almost 10km above. Even if the blast doors at the mouth of the shaft had been open, there was no way any light from outside could have filtered down to here. He smiled to himself. West Atlavand weren't going to the Mun just yet, but at least with what they had developed down here in a disused copper mine, they could spring a few nasty surprises on the upstarts to the west.
  2. Convergent evolution
  3. Well technically anything in freefall you're experiencing zero g. Hit a bump hard enough in a car and you'll experience zero g for a second.
  4. Darude Sandstorm
  5. I did like the suggestion that they be named after the Challenger Seven. Scobee, Smith, McNair, Onizuka, Resnik, Jarvis, and McAuliffe Seven Hills of Rome wouldn't be the worst either: Aventinus, Caelius, Capitolinus, Esquilinius, Palatinus, Quirinalis and Viminalis
  6. Not easy, but you can do a decent job without huge amounts of experience. I do a lot of work with fibreglass boats, so I've done broadly similar things myself. And it lessens the shrapnel risk of using metal, which is probably the best reason for doing it.
  7. Yeah you'd be better off using composites to make the shell of the rocket. That will pose much less of a shrapnel risk if something goes wrong. I would suggest Polyurethane resin like this: And fibreglass cloth like this: This will probably end up being both lighter and stronger than something using aluminium. And quite possibly cheaper, too. Working with aluminium is going to play havoc with your electricity bill!
  8. On the subject of magnetic fields, although the planets will be tidally locked, their years are all very short, from 1.5 to 12 days for b to g. That means they will still actually be rotating relatively quickly. They will also be experiencing significant tidal heating, as well as having plenty of residual heat of formation left over due to being significantly larger than bodies like Mars. I see no reason why the inner planets especially wouldn't have reasonably strong magnetic fields.
  9. I don't agree with including moons in the definition, just for clarity. Call me traditional, but I think a planet should be something that orbits a star. For me, the best definition would be: -Orbits a star. -Not itself a star (no fusion) -In hydrostatic equilibrium (Rigorously defined as some maximum deviation from perfectly spherical) It's simple, precise, sure it would make lots of KBOs and TNOs, and Ceres into planets, but I don't really mind that. And it would finally put to bed that stupid "Dear NASA, your mom thought I was big enough" meme. Yes, my mum does have a smaller mass than Neptune. Pluto probably would be big enough to eject her from its orbit!
  10. As always, it depends why they are going to war. Are they trying to capture something? Is it religious in nature? Did the beautiful but headstrong Princess of Ganymede marry the dashing Duke of Enceladus instead of going through with her arranged marriage to the Earl of Europa? The objective of the war will determine what constitutes "winning", and that will determine who is the most likely to win.
  11. Children of a Dead Earth?
  12. Now that's not a bad idea. Set it up so you're sure it's not going to accidentally dump fuel on the pad or with people around and you might be onto something. I'd still recommend going to a local amateur rocketry club though. Every problem you have, they'll have had before, and will know how to fix it. They'll be interested, they'll know how to help you out, and they'll know how to keep you safe.
  13. Yeah, range safety is a good idea. For a suborbital satellite you're still going to have a lot of debris that doesn't burn up before it hits the ground, but at least you'd be breaking it up and making sure it didn't hit anything fully-fuelled. On the other hand, it still doesn't deal with the problem of it blowing up on the ground, during fuelling, or at any other stage. And it adds the extra step of making an actual bomb, which is another layer of danger on top of what you would already be doing.
  14. The worry isn't that you would build a bomb intentionally, the worry is that your rocket would turn into a bomb. Your pump overspeeds? Bomb. Internal bulkhead ruptures? Bomb. Thermal insulation insufficient for cryogenic fuels? Bomb. Stabilisation system doesn't work? Bomb. This is difficult stuff. It's dangerous, and people are more concerned with the fact that you got angry and defensive when they suggested you take reasonable safety precautions than the fact that your calculations are only at a preliminary stage.
  15. Quite frankly, it would be irresponsible for anyone on the forum to give you any advice that might bring you closer to building a functioning rocket/bomb when you've shown complete disdain and disregard for any semblance of safety procedure to protect either yourself or others. Sorry to sound harsh, but it's true.