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About IncongruousGoat

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    Stuck staring skyward

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  1. It's... less exciting than you'd think, actually. From what we can see of the nozzle, it doesn't look like they played with the nozzle geometry to try and reduce flow separation (as was done on the RS-25), and from the shape of the plume, the engine is very over-expanded at sea level. It looks like they just worked out the size of the biggest nozzle they could mount on Raptor's combustion chamber that wouldn't tear itself to pieces when fired at sea level, and went with that. It's a compromise design, sacrificing some tens of seconds of specific impulse in vacuum for the ability to fire the engine at sea level, probably for abort capability and landing redundancy reasons. It's only the biggest if you don't count the M-1 ( Which, to be fair, never got as far as an all-up test, but it seems like it was at least put together at some point. None of which is to say the test isn't exciting. It's very exciting. It's another piece of SS/SH in action, and the fact that they went with a relatively short nozzle helps answer a lot of open questions about low-altitude abort scenarios and landing contingency plans. Also, it's Raptor, and Raptor is an amazing engine. So yes, hype.
  2. I got these things: These are the fruit of vaccinium deliciosum, a.k.a. the Cascade blueberry, a.k.a. blueleaf huckleberry. Folks around here just call them huckleberries. And they're awesome. They taste mostly like blueberries, except much juicier, sweeter, and more flavorful - basically, better in every way except size (they're a bit smaller). And, unfortunately, accessibility, since the bushes that produce these berries are A: tiny, and B: only grow high on the slopes of the Cascades. The only way to get them is to pick them by hand from the mountains where they grow, and to make matters worse the season for them is only about a month long. Needless to say, I'm very excited to have acquired some.
  3. "How do you get to Mars Carnegie Hall?" "Practice, practice, practice!" They've shown that they can fly a single 150m hop. What's less clear is whether or not they can reliably perform 150m hops with their current methods and technology, and given how many test articles blew up due to pad procedure problems, this is an important thing to determine.
  4. I didn't know I needed a metal cover of Northwest Passage. Heck, I didn't know there even existed a metal cover of that song. And yet, here we are.
  5. Unfortunately, I think that would be in violation of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Plus, Antarctica is a pretty bad Mars simulator. About the only thing the two locations have in common is air temperature (some of the time) and Antarctica poses some challenges which are completely orthogonal to what one would encounter on Mars.
  6. I'm now wondering about the timing of the landing burn. Usually, the landing burn happens almost at the same time as SECO, but it was much earlier than that on this launch. Anyone have any ideas?
  7. About a week ago, I got a second degree burn on my dominant hand while making breakfast. Left me with a 1/4" blister on my palm, a bit below my pinkie. For most things it's not so bad (proper moleskin bandage, etc., etc.), but it makes doing dishes a pain in the neck since I have to do all the washing with the bandage off, since otherwise the water & soap destroy the glue on the medical tape holding the bandage down and soak through the moleskin. Keeping pressure and heat off an un-bandaged blister in that particular spot while trying to do something that involves both hands and hot water is not exactly fun. Especially given that I cook a lot, which means there are always lots of dishes to do...
  8. For now, I think they're sticking to LEO (so, within the inner Van Allen belt). Good point for future LEO->MEO or LEO->GEO stuff though.
  9. It looks like the thruster design they're using (plasma, not ion) has a lower Isp than a typical ion thruster (~1000s vs. 3000-5000s), but also a lower power requirement per kN of thrust. Also, they're only trying to get 1 km/s out of their first model, which gives them some margin for heavy solar panels.
  10. More like provide a temporary propulsion bus for a bunch of rideshare smallsats for final orbital placement purposes. So, LV dumps smallsat dispenser + tug into LEO somewhere, tug then moves dispenser around dispensing smallsats into target orbits.
  11. It doesn't look like there's a thread for these folks yet, so here goes: Basically, they're working on electric-propulsion space tugs (microwave electrothermal propulsion with water as the propellant) for use on rideshare missions, to deliver the launched satellites to various destination orbits beyond whatever the launch vehicle would have been capable of. They seem pretty legit too, given that they've managed to get contracts from actual satellite manufacturers for launches with slots on actual launch manifests. Thoughts? Personally I'm very excited, but I'm curious to see what you all think about this.
  12. Went out hiking near Stevens Pass on Monday. The snowpack's been melting slowly this year, and there are still snow patches and snowfields everywhere in the Cascades. The actual hike ended up being more of an adventure than I'd bargained for (I lost the trail in a snowfield on the way back down, ended up on the wrong side of a ridge, and had to bushwhack my way up and over to get back on the trail), but the view from the summit was beyond gorgeous. There's that snow I mentioned. Needless to say I kept well away from those nasty-looking cornices. Got a nice view of Glacier Peak, which I was quite pleased about given how isolated and remote it is. Definitely not something I get to see every day.
  13. Suggestion for "less cruft/bloat than Ubuntu, but also kinda similar to Ubuntu": Debian, with something lightweight like XFCE or LXDE for the desktop environment.
  14. The standard Arduino might not have enough pins, but the Arduino Mega has 54, which oughta be more than enough.