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    Flight Director

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  1. The only "profits" in the space sector so far, other than telecom satellites, is having NASA or the military pay for launches. In the end, it's always the taxpayer that foots the bill.
  2. It doesn't. It rotates (hence the day/night cycle). So does Mercury, or the Moon. They rotate, but their rotation period is the same rate as their orbital period. This can be due to tidal lock and mass irregularities, which seems to be a fairly common occurrence, since we have multiple examples of it in our solar system. I don't see how space-time curvature comes into play here. I don't think there are any objects that do not have some kind of rotation in them.
  3. ATV had pretty much half the internal volume of Salyut and was actually bigger than Tiangong-2 or ESA's Columbus module. It could practically have been its own mini-space-station. It really is a shame they only built 5 of them. In fact, instead of launching Columbus on a Shuttle, ESA could have outfitted an ATV and permanently docked it to the Russian side. HTV is missing from that graphic. Especially as it is still flying for 2 more years at least. It fits between Progress and ATV in terms of size, but trades off internal volume for unpressurized cargo.
  4. You don't need training on the procedures when you are the one writing the procedures. As I said, the Astronaut Corps is heavily involved in the Orion development process. Systems training goes along with systems development. The actual mission training is about 10 months (but depends on the actual work to be done) and starts when a crew has been assigned an actual mission. Unless it is cancelled or postponed, EM-2 is still 4 years away, so they have plenty of time and you can keep your hype train in the station.
  5. A number of NASA Astronauts have been actively working at Boeing to develop human interfaces, cabin layout, and procedures. These tasks need to be done before training can start. Training is the major part of the job of being an astronaut (aside from the above development tasks and public outreach) and most astronauts spend several years training while waiting for a flight assignment. They typically train on systems more than on specific missions. For ISS operations, specific mission training usually takes a couple of months (preparing for specific EVA tasks, running experiments, testing equipment...). The first astronauts to fly on Orion will most likely be those most experienced with its development, like Young and Crippen were the first to fly Columbia after spending years working on the Shuttle program to develop systems and flight test Enterprise.
  6. Blue Origin is assembling its rockets at the Cape.
  7. I think that reusable launchers would probably benefit from being made wider and shorter than they way they are currently designed. I envision something like the old SASSTO or ROMBUS designs from Phil Bono, or the DC-X. There is a slight tradeoff in terms of empty mass and drag by using a wider cylinder or a conical shape, but I have the feeling that making the design more robust is worth it, and since you aren't aiming for SSTO, the first stage doesn't have to be highly optimized for weight.
  8. GEO stands for Geostationary Earth Orbit. It's a specific orbit, at ~36000 km, over the equator, where your orbital speed matches the Earth's rotation, and therefore the satellite remains over the same spot. This orbit is very popular with telecom and TV satellite operators who want permanent coverage of a particular country. The drawback of reaching this orbit is that it is very high, and therefore requires a lot of dV to get there, and it needs to be equatorial, which means that you need to launch from near the equator.
  9. I'm not sure that the problem with Russian space is due to funding. I think it's mostly a problem with workforce qualifications. Russia is suffering from a brain-drain, where skilled engineers and technicians tend to either flee Russia or go work in more lucrative businesses (gas and petrol for example). I suspect that a large part of the Russian space program is made of poorly qualified technicians, with a high turnover rate. Also, the fact that many of the materials and processes used are obsolete doesn't help.
  10. I know you're joking, but I don't see BFR ever docking to the ISS. It is large and would put a lot of stress on the structure. It's probably too "dirty" too (thruster gas pollution). We also don't even know if there is a docking adapter in any of the recent designs. At any rate, it would have to go through years of certification with NASA before it would be certified for operating in vicinity of the ISS, at which point the ISS will be near its end-of-life.
  11. Dragon 1 cannot unberth without someone on the station closing the hatch and controlling the arm, so any options involving Dragon 1 are a no go - Any option involving leaving the crew without an evacuation vehicle (Soyuz) are a no go. Any option involving a vehicle that is not yet ready to transport crew (Dragon 2, Starliner or Orion) or to operate in vicinity of the ISS (Shenzhou) is a no go. The shelf life problem with MS-09 is not just about fuel, so #10 is a no go. In your list, only #1 and #2 are options at this point. There are other opportunities that involve shuffling around the Progress launch that was scheduled for November. However, resuming Soyuz launcher operations assumes that the investigation determines that the problem was a one off and is not systemic. Given the reliability issues that Russia has been having over the past years, I wouldn't be very confident with that sort of conclusion, and neither would NASA. And don't forget the concerns about hole in the MS-09 for which there still hasn't been a satisfactory explanation. Who knows if Soyuz is still safe at this point? What if there is another hole (or other manufacturing problem) on the next Soyuz ? There seems to be a deep-rooted systemic problem with Russian quality control that has to be addressed, and that can take a lot of time.
  12. The docking modules were not originally part of the Shuttle design. They were built by Russia and retro-fitted as part of the Shuttle-Mir program. This is why the US segment of the ISS was fitted with Russian APAS docking ports. Also, Columbia was never fitted with the docking equipment.
  13. Submarine-launched rockets don't use bouyancy to get out of the water. They use solid rockets. Those things are pretty heavy solid boosters. Adding the structural reinforcements to make your rocket withstand underwater pressure, plus the complexity of the thing and all the additional failure modes would take away any benefit of extra delta-v if there was any (but there isn't).
  14. They are not wings, they are fins. Unlike something like DreamChaser, they do not generate lift, and since they are symmetric, they should be pretty much neutral. The canards are also symmetrical and can be trimmed to be neutral. If anything, they should help stability. After all, fins on the front of a rocket are nothing new. Now, vertically launching with a spaceplane on top (X-20 DynaSoar, DreamChaser, or Hermes) is much more problematic, because those vehicles are designed to generate lift on re-entry. You are going to need strong control authority to keep it flying straight. That's why the Space Shuttle flew to orbit "upside down". It could use some of the lift generated by the wings to rotate the flight curve rather than fight the lift with the engine gimballing. You just have to keep in mind that although it looks like it has wings, the BFS is not a spaceplane.
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