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Everything posted by Codraroll

  1. Starship has flown higher than N1 ever did. Well, maybe parts of the N1 went higher.
  2. The terminology here has all sorts of fun technicalities. The farthest distance traveled by any craft designed for humans might be a certain Tesla Roadster, although it wasn't designed for humans in the regime of space. But in either case, I guess Snoopy, the Lunar Landing Module tested during Apollo 10 and subsequently ejected into a heliocentric orbit, comfortably beats Orion on every relevant metric.
  3. Orel predates all of these, however, and remains in an earlier stage of development. SLS began development in 2011, flew the other day. Orion was announced in 2011, also flew the other day. Starliner was unveiled in 2010, flew its first test flight in 2019, and again this year. Orel was made public in January 2009 and remains on the mock-up stage today with the first flight years away. Orion as first conceived (the Crew Exploration Vehicle) dates back to 2006, but this predecessor also went through a flight test in 2014. By 2025, Orel will be older than the CEV is today. Setbacks and delays are common, but not to this degree. The craft you mentioned are infamous for their multiple delays, but at last had their pre-development concluded with test hardware in flight. That milestone is still years away for Orel, and the odds of further delays are quite substantial, with the way things are going.
  4. The first launch of the Orel manned spacecraft of the Russian Federation has been postponed from 2023 to a later date https://www-interfax-ru.translate.goog/russia/872946?_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=no&_x_tr_pto=wapp
  5. How typical. I had my alarm clock set for 7:30 this morning. Had I got up in time, I would have caught the launch as it was happening, while eating breakfast. Unfortunately, I woke up tired as a deflated balloon, drenched in cold sweat, and with a slight fever, so I decided to give it an extra hour (yo-ho, yo-ho, a PhD student's life for me). While eating breakfast, I discovered that the launch had already happened, less than an hour earlier. Note to self: try not to get sick around predicted rocket launch dates.
  6. Landing without leaving the vehicle? Granted, that'd be like doing a cross-country drive to Disneyland, only to do a U-turn in the parking lot and driving home again.
  7. Probably the launch of cruise missiles from one country, and interceptors from the target country. I.e. in Ukraine at the moment.
  8. Skylab was fifty years ago, and measures have since been taken to prevent anything like it from happening again. "We should be allowed to repeat the mistakes others learned to fix decades ago" doesn't strike me as a very good argument. If a rocket's lift capacity is 24.5 tons with a proper deorbiting system and 25 tons without it, its design lift capacity should be 24.5 tons, no excuses. Disposing the empty stage by letting it fall wherever is like saving money on garbage disposal by not paying the garbage collection fee, but just dumping it in the river behind the house instead.
  9. Somewhere in the world, yes, but strictly bound to those orbital lines. Looks like the west coast of India is off the table, for instance.
  10. Where did the previous ones fall again? Côte d'Ivoire, Sea, Borneo? Of course, it's futile to bet on what's essentially a dice roll, but I count 64 squares above, of which 38 mostly feature empty ocean. Splashdown somewhere wet and/or uninhabited seems to be overwhelmingly likely. Still, the chance of it hitting somewhere people are pointing weapons at each other and itching for any excuse to pull the trigger seems to be at least a few percent, which should be grounds for major concern and lead any decent space agency to take actions to lower the risk. There are also a string of pretty major metropolitan areas over most of row 1. Still, though ... the Earth is mostly covered in water. If I had to make a guess, that's where I'd place it. Water.
  11. Efficiency doesn't have anything to do with that, though. It's simply a measure of how much of the incoming sunlight it can capture, independent of what that amount actually is. Mars receives less sunlight than Earth, but the portion of it a solar panel would be able to capture would not be affected by that. And in The Martian, the efficiency of the solar panels is explicitly said to be 10.2 %, which is less than half that of state-of-the-art solar panels today.
  12. Depending on what happened to the Admiral Makarov, which reportedly was blown up yesterday. Anyway, I recently re-read The Martian and noticed how some of the assumptions made in writing that book have changed as time goes on. It's not so much "bad science" as a change in the understanding of how things work. A major plot point in that book (which takes place in 2035) is that NASA doesn't have rocket boosters available that can hurl even a small probe to Mars on short notice, and only one extra chance is given when China repurposes one of theirs. Now, barely ten years after the story was first written, rapid reuse of Falcon 9 boosters would make this predicament much less of an issue. Even a single Falcon 9 can get 4 tons to a Mars transfer orbit, while the Iris probe in the book was only 900 kg. You may not exactly be able to dial SpaceX and have a supply probe on the way to Mars by the next month, but ... hmm ... actually, may you, if it's enough of an emergency? Also, the listed capabilities of the Ares mission solar panels and rover batteries seem kind of bad. 10.2% efficiency is far from great for a solar panel these days, and the rover batteries were stated to have a capacity in the low tens of kilowatt-hours - less than what you'd find in any modern electric car. But I guess these can be excused by "space-grade gear has lower specs than Earth-based gear because concessions were made to weight/radiation hardening/dust protection/something".
  13. "Hey, we promise to do this really cool thing if you pick us! Of course, we would probably spend a fortune without making much progress and it'd take years to even see if we got anywhere, but consider this: Cool thing! Come on, let the pork flow to us like before! For the sake of the cool thing!"
  14. It'd probably be too big to be attached to the nose of a rocket booster, instead having to ride attached to its side. Maybe even a couple of SRBs would have to be used to give some extra oomph to get it off the pad. But on the positive side, you could put the main booster engines on the spaceplane instead of the main rocket, and recover them after the flight. The "main rocket" would then just be a big empty tank, which could be ditched after every flight without representing too much of an expense. I think we're really onto something here.
  15. It still saddens me a bit that we've yet to see proper capital ship-to-ship combat in a Star Wars movie (Revenge of the Sith had some of it, but mainly in the background while the heroes zipped around in their little fighter craft). Both sides deploy these huge hulking capital ships bristling with big guns, yet they are constantly fought by fighter squadrons and destroyed by lucky hits on exposed weak points while AA is sprayed everywhere, while the big guns never get to shine. I guess it makes more dramaturgical sense that the heroes in their tiny spacecraft can take out the big ships on their own, "slaying the dragons" in personal combat as it were, but just for once it'd be cool to see the big ships trade salvos too. That sort of battle can still make an exciting movie scene, just a little bit different from the usual trope of "the hero in their little spaceship against the hulking enemy cruiser".
  16. In light of that, perhaps the M142, whose only nickname is just a boring acronym of its official designation, ought to be called "Weedwacker"?
  17. I heard a neat analogy from the Norwegian pilots who are learning to fly the F-35. It's been a while since I read the article, but it went something like this: "Engaging in aerial combat with an F-16 is like going into a knife duel. Hot and violent, where you look the attacker in the face, size each other up, and charge, trying to get your own blade into the opponent before he gets his into you. Fighting against the F-35 is like going into a dark room containing a ninja wielding a baseball bat and silk slippers. You neither see nor hear him coming and you're out cold before you even realize there's a fight. Everything seems peaceful and quiet up until the point where your aircraft detects missiles behind you, and then you lose." So "F-35 Ninja" has a nice ring to it.
  18. It's for signal intelligence. If memory serves correctly, the antennas of those are more than a hundred meters across. I guess that's the size of antenna you need to intercept phone signals from mobile phones at a distance of several hundred kilometers.
  19. I was just made aware, through Ars Technica's weekly rocket report, that this might actually have been the last-ever commercial Proton launch. With Angara slated to take over, there remain only a few Protons to "use up", and with the commercial launch market having dried up, they are likely to be used by the military and not commercial customers. It has had a long service life as a "workhorse" for Roscosmos, now it's time to see if Angara will have the same success. It's a dispute over payment, he's not likely to withdraw the service. The price he asks is chump change for the Pentagon: the war in Iraq cost a billion dollars per day. It's not an unreasonable demand either. The factories that make the gear donated to Ukraine aren't working for free after all, so one shouldn't expect Starlink service to be free either. But I guess this discussion is more relevant to the Starlink thread. None of this takes place in Russia, after all.
  20. "Sod taking over Ukraine, let's go for something easier and more achievable. Like the moon."
  21. Space always has the fundamental hurdle that it's far away and there's nothing there. That's great for communications, which aren't too fussed about the distances involved, but sending anything other than electromagnetic waves through space is quite expensive. I guess some industries can take advantage of the "nothing there" bit, but the "far away" thing becomes such a cost driver it's probably not worth the bother. We can always hope that costs are one day driven low enough to overcome the fundamental hurdle in at least some cases, but a lot of money has to be invested until then. It'll be interesting to see if we get there in my lifetime.
  22. That would put Musk in a whole world of trouble with the US government, so it's probably not his doing. Turning off Starlink to the Ukrainians wouldn't award him a "slap on the wrist" type of punishment, but years behind bars. Aiding the other side in a conflict where the US is involved by sabotaging services bought by the US government would be an act of treason. I've seen speculation that it could be a type of geofencing. That Starlink only broadcasts noise in the Russian-occupied areas, and Ukrainian units are advancing across that geofence before it can be updated. After all, it's bad for operations security if you're constantly on the phone with your service provider telling them where your troops are. In that case, the issue could be solved by pulling back the geofence a bit. It's not like the war would be turned at this point by letting the occupied territories access Starlink. It could also be a type of ECM, but the war has shown a certain disparity between the claimed capabilities of Russian ECM and their actual performance. If they had had the capability to jam Starlink extensively, it would have been put to use much earlier.
  23. The problem in this case is, well, the elephant in the room. Or the Mûmakil, as DDE put it, because the ordinary allegory doesn't quite suffice. The US and EU might have issues with their economics and domestic policies, but Russia has issues. It is difficult to go into details or provide any sort of context without sounding overly negative or coming off as unpleasant, because there's just so many aspects that create worry for the space program. And without details or context, what sort of discussion is there to be had? I think “The Russian economy isn’t doing too well, they may not be able to afford their new space station” is putting it very mildly. I dare even call it a euphemism. The aforementioned issues have broader and deeper implications than calling into question the space station project. I wouldn't consider it an exaggeration that the Russian space program itself is in danger for multiple reasons, half of which aren't even related to the, er, "events of 2022". It is kinda difficult to have any sort of discussion of the Russian space program without acknowleding that it is threatened by all sorts of concurrent perils at the moment. I would consider it relevant to (if not entirely overshadowing) pretty much any sub-topic worthy of discussion. But if discussion is only permitted if the issues aren't mentioned, or swaddled in multiple layers of euphemisms, it loses all purpose. How can one meaningfully talk about the Russian space program without acknowledging any of the numerous complicating circumstances under which it is presently operating? Things are, or at least seem, bad at the moment. They've seemed bad for a long time, but now it's really time to bring out the italics. Following the rule of caution, I haven't responded to several posts that responded to mine. I definitely think there are fallacies in them, but I keep them to myself because it's pretty much impossible to formulate a counter-argument without stepping over the red line. Sure, it keeps the thread clean, but I really think it stifles the discussion. So what is left to talk about? Laconic reports on the various launches along the lines of "A Soyuz launched today", with a strict "never discuss matters outside the frame of the picture/video" policy? Pretending that all is fine and dandy with a "no negative news" rule? Saying nothing? Because if the inconveniences are to be ignored or never talked about, there's precious little else to discuss regarding the Russian space program at the moment. Never mind that forcing silence about political issues can be a political statement in itself. In that case, you might as well lock the entire thread instead.
  24. Isn't that rover lifted straight from The Martian?
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