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About mikegarrison

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    IRL Aero Engineer

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  1. I assume the big concern is that it would be rather silly to damage a radiator or solar panel because you wanted a nice picture. This is what led to the XB-70 crash that killed two people and destroyed one of the two XB-70 airplanes. GE wanted a neat PR picture of five GE-powered airplanes flying in formation.
  2. By the way, the Atlas V intended to launch the CST-100 orbital flight was stacked on Nov 8th. Target date for the launch is Dec 17.
  3. If it's like most things, there's probably one price to buy one, and a different per-unit price to buy 100.
  4. No, but it doesn't have to. I picture this as something like a mousetrap but with much weaker springs. The sats are compressed against something slightly springy, and the "tension rod" is on the outside holding them there. When the rod is released, the sats are pushed out. Or something like that.
  5. Could be that sats are pushed in against a spring. Then the "tension rod is" slid in to hold them all there. When the rod is released, they all get pushed out by their springs.
  6. Probably not. For quite a while now, Boeing has tried to follow a "lessons learned, fix the root cause" philosophy rather than a "kill the scapegoat" philosophy. SpaceX is getting paid what they bid.
  7. I think the key to understanding the Air Force using the X-37B is that it comes back. They can test stuff in orbit and then bring that stuff back and actually look at it. Easy enough (if you are the US Air Force) to launch things into orbit, but generally you never get to inspect them up close ever again. With the X-37B, they can launch stuff to orbit, let it do its thing (or do nothing) for a couple years, then bring it back and inspect it to see what orbital conditions did to it.
  8. Well, it's true. For instance, one of these jetways is at the front, but the other is not. Larger airplanes often load from closer to the middle, especially if they have two or three jetways.
  9. That's another benefit. But I'll point out that planes don't always load/unload from the front.
  10. Besides all that, launching a missile into a country with absolutely no warning is a good way to provoke a nuclear exchange.
  11. Hmm. I'm not terribly familiar with the SLS business model, actually, but I believe some of the hardware (engines) and some of the facilities and probably some of the people are actually government property and employees, right? And some are contractors? I suppose a lot of accounting issues could arise in figuring out what is the cost to the government of using a government-owned engine, for instance. I agree that it is easier to deal with if just buying off-the-shelf rather than paying for a development and integration project.
  12. United doesn't need any details on how much the airplane costs to make. All they care about is their payment. That's what I'm saying: overall cost at the highest level, yeah, this is known. Detailed cost is not. Airbus or Boeing does not know exactly how much it cost to build that particular A320 or 737 that they just delivered to United. They know what United paid for it, but they don't know exactly how much profit or loss they earned from that sale. They do know overall how much profit or loss the whole company is making, however.
  13. To be honest, I would actually be surprised if anyone did know. It's very, very difficult to actually know what an airplane costs to build and deliver to a customer. Yes, the total amount of money being spent is known, but how much of it should be assigned to what activities? It's not actually as simple as it seems like it should be, and that's not because of any budget shenanigans. It's just that large, complex processes are not actually easy to cost out.