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About DerekL1963

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    Rocket Scientist

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  1. Fun fact: At least for the Trident-I, the equipment section serial number served as the missile serial number. Because the missile could be broken apart for testing (such as X-raying the motors), different parts could end up in different missiles over time. Reading the missile logbooks and following the history of the components was interesting and illuminating.
  2. For Questions That Don't Merit Their Own Thread

    Oh, that's an easy answer - all you'll accomplish is diluting your fission fuel. The pressures/temperatures inside such a reactor aren't anywhere near fusion territory.
  3. For Questions That Don't Merit Their Own Thread

    I can't even figure out what such a thing would look like... the materials that fizz don't fuze, and vice versa. So I'd say, it's not possible to build a hybrid reactor of that nature. (And no, Teller-Ulam isn't a reactor and doesn't count.)
  4. NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads - RIP DSG

    Flights are expensive. And it's not impossible they thought they had a workable solution that didn't actually work. This stuff happens, BTDT.
  5. Australia was colonized, and not just by criminals or people who offended the Empire, because that's what Great Nations did in those days. The British especially stuck with all sorts of unlikely and useless places because grabbing and holding land was a mark of greatness and accomplishment. (And because the oddests bits of land might become strategic in wartime.) Like all the stupid historical analogs people drag out to justify spending money on technological porn, Australia is irrelevant to the discussion. Bovine end product. We know what's on the Moon because it's the same stuff that's found on Earth. There's no treasures to be had.
  6. That's the thing - it's not an incremental mission. It's a series of tenuously connected missions. The two are not the same, and the latter doesn't generate the sense of "urgency" the former does. It's "clandestine" nature is more likely to trigger backlash than funding (IMO). The upshot of this is that they literally have no idea how to retrieve the sample, how to get them into orbit, how to recover them on orbit, and finally how to return them to and recover them at Earth. All of these things are impacted by the design of the 2020 Rover... Or to put it simply, design decisions are being made today with no clear idea how they'll constrain future missions that are currently barely BOTE.
  7. They don't. The theory is that once the samples are gathered, that fact can be used to justify funding for the next stage (getting them to orbit). Once they're in orbit, that serves as justification for going out and fetching them from orbit... lather, rinse, repeat. It's all an attempt to hide the cost and complexity of a sample return mission. Rather childish really.
  8. The basic problem is that though it's possible to discuss the American space program without toxic partisan politics, it's impossible to discuss it freely and rationally and completely without politics. That being said, I don't get too excited by any pronouncement by any President - because none of them will back up their pronouncements with intent and action. And even if they tried, Congress is going to push back and divert the shambling remnants of the program to their own ends. This isn't the 1960's, and it never will be again.
  9. Extracting Power from Nuclear in Space

    Polywell has been three years away ever since the late 00's.
  10. Not even close - the loss wasn't caused by a bug. The loss was caused by a configuration error.
  11. Sure looks like LC-39. It's almost certainly LC-39 since all the other pictures are from the same area (KSC / VAB area). That's not a launch complex, that's one of the mobile launchers... specifically MLP-1
  12. NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads - RIP DSG

    It's not 100% certain this is true, an angel might have come forward... But what is certain is that without NASA money, Musk was within hours of having to choose whether Tesla or SpaceX would be thrown overboard.
  13. Hwasong-14 as Space Launch Vehicle

    [snip] No, it isn't good at all. The second stage was the key limiter of the -14's performance.
  14. Extracting Power from Nuclear in Space

    Presuming NSWR works as theorized, but I'm not aware of any actual formal analysis of their performance. (Zubrin's paper is not formal analysis, it's the scientific equivalent of a bar napkin.) Which sounds impressive if your goal is high ISP and high exhaust velocity. But in terms of actual performance, the things that interest people designing actual spacecraft and missions... it's not all that useful. It's thrust makes an ion engine look like a cluster of S-IC stages.
  15. Hwasong-14 as Space Launch Vehicle

    According to what I've seen, the belief is that the -15 is -14 with an improved second stage.