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tomf

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    Sr. Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. It will be like going to the opticians "can you read the middle line of letters for me please. And is this better or worse, better or worse?" for 6 months solid.
  2. Any game with balls flying through the air would be awesome in a spinning habitat. Coriolis means things take weird curved trajectories.
  3. I expect that the fact it flies up in one direction and down in the other would make designing air intakes pretty tough to start with.
  4. Looks like it pretty much keeps the same orientation but with a 15 degree wobble in what they call the torque equilibrium attitude or TEA. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/04/26/how-does-the-international-space-station-keep-its-orientation/?sh=17f52e433a18
  5. I think a counterweight could be fired into a long coil, bringing it gently to a halt and recapturing it's energy as electricity. You might need to get that pesky air out of the way.
  6. I may have been taking a loose definition of life and I can't find the source I thought I had read that says that DNA organisms are outnumbered significantly by RNA viruses
  7. Human Viruses are beautifully engineered things for entering human cells. Most viruses only infect a very small range of creatures and jumping species is pretty rare despite the fact all vertebrates are pretty much indistinguishable biochemically speaking. So the idea that an alien virus equivalent would be able to in any way thrive inside us is laughable. Alien bacteria might be able to do a little better but still would be massively outcompeted by the bacteria that have evolved to use us as hosts. Also the idea that alien life would use DNA seems very myopic, most life on earth doesn't use DNA.
  8. This tickled me. https://www.theonion.com/spacex-under-fire-after-autonomous-rocket-hits-pedestri-1847946787
  9. I just set myself a challenge, to list all the active probes humanity has launched that are still actively returning data. Without looking anything up and excluding earth sensing satellites. What did I miss/get wrong?
  10. Arranging your towers onto the earth looks like it is going to be equivalent to the Thomson problem of packing charges onto a sphere. It looks like the optimum solution isn't known for more than a few towers.
  11. I saw this a while ago but I don't think it got posted here. This company claims to have invented a way of using the exhaust of a hovering rocket to bind lunar dust on the surface to make a pad that can be landed on seconds later. By injecting molten rock into it. https://masten.aero/blog/mitigating-lunar-dust-masten-completes-fast-landing-pad-study/
  12. And just to repeat something from up thread, of the cable breaks the separation speed is only in double digit m/s, well within the rounding errors of your maneuvering engines. If the cable breaks you just re-dock, bolt the ends of the cable back together and wind out again
  13. If you are going to start nuclear war you are probably willing to expend some upper stages. You would want to launch on an entirely typical trajectory that just happens to overfly the enemy territory and not reveal your true nature until practically overhead for minimal warning.
  14. I don't think even the most paranoid general would think that spaceX would start a nuclear was on their own, where would they get the warheads for a start? But if spaceX independence is a sham and really it is cover for a secret DOD black project...
  15. Imagine you are a paranoid general in a rival power to the US. What scenarios enabled by the planned starship system are you going to be presenting to leadership in order to justify increased spending on your project? It has to be plausible enough that you can convince the leadership that something needs to be done to counter the threat. In another thread the general consensus was that p2p was going to be niche at best so probably not worth worrying about. 1. ASAT missiles. With rapid launch cadence they can replace satellites that are shot down and with a huge mass budget the next one will be armoured! 2. First strike weapon. With in orbit refueling it might be common to have two large spacecraft rendezvousing over your territory. Except these aren't regular starships, these are disguised warhead busses about to rain 500 tonnes of warheads down on us with almost no warning! P.s. I'm not interested in whether you think starship will work as advertised, this is about reasonably slightly plausible military uses assuming it does.
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