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About mikegarrison

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  1. Have you never tried it? How else do you judge what the heat shield will be like deployed when building your craft? You inflate it in the VAB, make sure it covers everything, then deflate it. In the VAB you can similarly retract unretractable solar panels and such too. Most of the time what happens is that once you slow down enough, the heat shield is not needed so you jettison it. But since it has more drag than your ship, it either slams back into (damaging your ship) or just presses itself against you. Either way it causes serious problems. Then you finally use parachutes, and the
  2. I argued very hard when the inflatable heat shield was first released that it should be deflatable. They even have an animation for it, because you can deflate it in the VAB. But the devs thought otherwise. After a few disasters caused by my own detached heat shield destroying my craft, I never used that part again.
  3. Well, that kind of gets into a discussion of what "mass" actually is.... Not something I know the answer to.
  4. I will point out again that while we say "reaction mass", we actually mean "reaction momentum". There is nothing physically impossible about accelerating a spacecraft by either emitting photons from it or reflecting beamed photons off of it. But thrust would be very small.
  5. Not zero momentum, though. Photons produce thrust.
  6. That's interesting. The control systems of the two manufacturers are so different. I didn't think a lot of pilots fly both.
  7. There are a lot of misconceptions about CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic). You can make it more stiff than aluminum if you want. You can make it lighter than aluminum for the same strength, too. But the really interesting thing is that it is non-isotropic. Metals like aluminum are isotropic -- they have the same strength in every direction. But CFRP is a designed material, and the way you lay the fibers can make it stronger in one direction than another. I don't do structures, but I know that it's generally considered wasteful to make "black aluminum" -- CFRP that behaves just l
  8. The 787 wing is simply the most beautiful wing I've ever seen. From the first moment I saw it, I loved it. I attended the roll-out ceremony. I could invite one person, so I invited my grandfather. He started by bucking rivets on B-17s and finished his career working on 747s. I know that doesn't answer your question, but even if I did know the recipe for the secret sauce I wouldn't be able to say it here.
  9. Keeping an airplane stable by computer is fine for a fighter jet. If anything goes wrong -- out goes the pilot! But it's a bad idea for an airplane that doesn't have ejection seats.
  10. It's fine. If I say something wrong, I want to get corrected.
  11. I would not be surprised if SpaceX has some meteorologists on staff. Our Flight Test group has our own meteorologists.
  12. Don't they just click the "in" button and watch the numbers change? That's what I do in KSP.
  13. OK, first of all, I'm not an S&C specialist (stability and control). So apologies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keel_effect You are correct that the weight doesn't directly cause a rolling moment. But having the fuselage above the wing *does* tend to create roll instability, while having it below the wing *does* tend to create roll stability (sometimes too much). And this is why high wing airplanes tend to have anhedral wing angles. The question is how this works, and the links you provided are illustrative. It is called "pendulum effect" but the name is misleading because
  14. You guys are missing the main point about the wing shape of the Corsair. Remember my post about landing gear? The Corsair had a huge engine, and to turn all that power into thrust it had a huge propeller. And that propeller needed ground clearance. So they needed landing gear height. But landing gear is heavy and hard to fit into the airplane, so it's good to make it as short as possible. Thus, in order to get more ground clearance, they angled the wings down (anhedral), put in the landing gear at their lowest spot, and then angled the wings up (dihedral). Dihedral, by the way,
  15. I doubt that it is. Most civilian cargo is carried by ship and train because it's amazingly cheap and cargo often doesn't care when it gets where it is going. Time-sensitive packages are carried by airplane, but there is not much advantage to carrying them any faster because they can already be delivered overnight. The real trick is the "last mile" -- getting them to and from the airport quickly and doing all the sorting and tracking. Certain high-value, low weight items are worth shipping by plane just because of the inventory cost. This actually includes airplanes themselves -- bot
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