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Favorite rocket/ spacecraft?


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It’s late, I’m bored, and I want to know your favorite rockets- not necessarily the most functional or well designed, but those that will always hold a place in your heart. Flown and unflown are all fair game.

Mine (in this order) are:

1. Delta 3. A ridiculous rocket, but an endearing one. Maybe I’m sympathetic for its bad luck.

2. Ares 1. Much the same as Delta 3. Top heavy? Check. SRB(s)? Check. Hydrolox upper stage? Check. Prematurely cancelled? Check.

3. Titan 3E. Something about the convergence of aesthetics and function make the Titan 3 one of my faves, but the Centaur on 3E, a classic, reliable, and powerful upper stage, is much better.

4. Proton. Such a work of art of brutalist tanks, joined together to carry dozens upon dozens of tonnes of hypergolics. Who couldn’t love that?

5. Vanguard. The spindly, thin look with tapered upper stage looks very nice. The stumpy little fins on the bottom are quite pleasing too.

Edited by Clamp-o-Tron
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Moving this over to S&S as it's about spacecraft.  :D

 

The shuttle, for all it's flaws, is probably my favorite.  I grew up watching the earlier flights, and was home sick from grade school the day the challenger launched, I watched that happen live.   Even last night I was watching videos of it landing, still awe inspiring. 

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Saturn V.  Born in 1969, and I'm pretty sure I saw (and remembered) Skylab going up.  Of course I didn't know the difference between that and the Saturn 1B that brought astronauts to Skylab and finally Apollo-Soyuz, but I watched them every chance I could get (which was what, 4-5 Saturn 1B launches in the 1970s?).

For unbuilt rockets, I remain loyal to Orion.  The shear scale of the thing, combined with the ability to use fusion power with only 1960s tech (20 years away, pah!  We've got all the fusion we need already!) makes it read like over the top sci-fi (but it really could have been made, and probably not much more than an Apollo budget.  Or maybe the Nimitz's budget, but project power over the entire solar system...

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Saturn V (first rocket I remember, though mom said she sat me up to watch Gemini launches on TV as a baby)

Shuttle (not a fan of the program in many ways, but can't even hear audio of a countdown without getting goosebumps)

Falcon 9 (landing boosters is epic)

Unbuilt? Starship, obviously.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Unbuilt? Starship, obviously.

Starship won't be 'unbuilt' for long. In fact, you could even say that it's built - at least in part - right now.

Edited by RealKerbal3x
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19 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Starship won't be 'unbuilt' for long. In fact, you could even say that it's built - at least in part - right now.

I suppose "not yet operational" might be more accurate.

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On 11/1/2020 at 12:13 PM, Clamp-o-Tron said:

Proton. Such a work of art of brutalist tanks, joined together to carry dozens upon dozens of tonnes of hypergolics. Who couldn’t love that?

I'm going to take your Proton and give you Sineva/Lainer. Pickling your engines inside your fuel tanks for decades? Stage separation via gratuitous detcord? Flying underwater at 50% thrust? Who could resist...

scale_1200

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Size is beautiful, of course. Saturn 5 is my all time favorite, even last unit flew couple of years before I born. It was just so big and crazy thing built in hurry with unrealistic budget. Much like Kerbal contraptions  Soviet N1 must have been also nice rocket for same reasons than Saturn 5. It is sad that it had so bad luck.

I hope that Starship will join to that list after first attempt to orbital mission, but it lack some steampunk like nostalgia even it will be larger and much more sophisticated. Saturn 5 and N1 are like very old diesel locomotives (which I like even more than steam locos) and Starship is modern electric locomotive, which has all technical and economic parameters much better, but just lacks something aesthetic (like sound of 180 liter V16 engine).

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I have a soft spot for the Gemini.  Take two hot-shot test pilots and put them into a spacecraft that can be hand flown; what could be better? When the Shuttle was launched to dock with the ISS it would take nearly three days to dock.  Gemini guys have been known to dock with their Agina target on the first orbit!

 

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On 11/1/2020 at 3:45 PM, Gargamel said:

The shuttle, for all it's flaws, is probably my favorite.  I grew up watching the earlier flights, and was home sick from grade school the day the challenger launched, I watched that happen live.   Even last night I was watching videos of it landing, still awe inspiring. 

What a small world - I was also home sick from elementary school, although I was dozing when it happened.   And yes, the shuttle is the one I identify with the most as its what was flying while I grew up. 

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20 hours ago, Cavscout74 said:

What a small world - I was also home sick from elementary school, although I was dozing when it happened.   And yes, the shuttle is the one I identify with the most as its what was flying while I grew up. 

I must be a couple of decades younger than you guys, but I still grew up with the Shuttle. Despite being a bit of a problematic program, that thing was a marvel to behold, and the tech behind it amazes me.

As for my favourite rocket, I think it's between the Soyuz rocket and the Falcon 9 B5 (reusable configuration). The lines on both of them are really aesthetically pleasing, the F9 has a neat light-dark contrast balance thing going on, and they both have their place in history. The R-7 rocket family was the first to reach orbit, and in an extended form it's still flying today. That's some tenacity. And the Falcon 9 finally delivered on the promise of reusable rockets, which while not as big a deal as the R-7, does seem to be as big a deal as they say it is.

Edited by RyanRising
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If I had seen the same quality footage of R-7 launches growing up as I did Apollo/Shuttle it would probably have a higher place for me as well. The modern ones are certainly pretty, and Korolev cross? Epic.

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5. Delta IV Heavy sets itself on fire every time it launches. Nuff said.

4. Ariane 4. I love the flared out payload section, narrow neck, and wide base. The only SRBs on my list!

3. Falcon Heavy.  It's the biggest and most powerful rocket currently flying. Twin booster landings is like something out of sci-fi.

2. Falcon 9. It's simply revolutionary. Watching boosters land never gets old and it's blown away it's commercial competition. All its competitors are still scrabbling to catch up with a target that's moved.

1. Saturn V. Unequalled. Should never have been cancelled.

Honourable mentions to Soyuz, Vulcan and Starship Superheavy.

Dishonourable mentions to Shuttle for keeping us in LEO for 30 years and killing 14 crewmembers, and to SLS/Orion for the opportunity cost of eating the budget for things that don't suck.

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2 hours ago, Space Nerd said:

Flown:Saturn V, Falcon 9, Falcon heavy, Space Shuttle, Atlas V

Unflown:SLS (Yes I know you guys all hate it, but who can resist the combination of SRBs, RS 25s, and the classic orange and white coloring?), Ares I, Ares V

Large SRBs shouldn't be on a crewed launcher,

RS25sare a disgraceful waste on an expendable launcher,

I've always found the orange foam hideous,

And SLS is both grossly expensive and grossly unoptimised for the task of sending a capsule and lander to the lunar surface.

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This thread is about people's favorites, which can be for whatever reason. There are other threads to beat up specific vehicles, this should stay less combative, IMO.

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1. falcon 9, lots of world records obtained by this being, got lots done, REUSABLE. looks amazing.

2. saturn V, 10/10, wish it obtained variations.

3. electron, 3d printed scifi pencil.

4. ariane V, for some reason the SRB's make this thing look really fresh, also produces great fireworks.

5. ROKOT, the superior launch vehicle.

Rokot Data Sheet

uncompleted:

1. starship, steel makes it look like a cool thing, fully reusable, largest rocket, lacks costs, will get me to space.

2. firefly alpha, looks fresh, green & yellow exhaust instills positive emotions from me.

3. vulcan, looks nice, weird reusability is weird.

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It's really hard to chooce between A9/A10/A11, UR-700 and Sea Dragon. They all share the same feeling of trying to push technology a little bit too much, yet still don't look like they couldn't have worked had they been built.

For actually built rockets, I dunno, most rockets feel like all the others to me. Like, that one is different color or a little bit different shape but they all get the job done. Maybe I have some fondness to the Shuttle and Ariane 5, mainly because they were the main contenders for mentions in the medias when I grew up.

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On 11/1/2020 at 3:13 AM, Clamp-o-Tron said:

It’s late, I’m bored, and I want to know your favorite rockets- not necessarily the most functional or well designed, but those that will always hold a place in your heart. Flown and unflown are all fair game.

Mine (in this order) are:

1. Delta 3. A ridiculous rocket, but an endearing one. Maybe I’m sympathetic for its bad luck.

2. Ares 1. Much the same as Delta 3. Top heavy? Check. SRB(s)? Check. Hydrolox upper stage? Check. Prematurely cancelled? Check.

3. Titan 3E. Something about the convergence of aesthetics and function make the Titan 3 one of my faves, but the Centaur on 3E, a classic, reliable, and powerful upper stage, is much better.

4. Proton. Such a work of art of brutalist tanks, joined together to carry dozens upon dozens of tonnes of hypergolics. Who couldn’t love that?

5. Vanguard. The spindly, thin look with tapered upper stage looks very nice. The stumpy little fins on the bottom are quite pleasing too.

Buran Energia

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Titan/Gemini - My first memory of rockets caring astronauts . As a wee lad I remember watching the launches and spacewalks(yep another old guy here)

Saturn 5 of course- Because moon.

The Shuttle -was cool looking. Only when I got older did the flaws get noticed

Falcon 9 - The recovery of first stages is something I can watch all day long

 Soyuz Family - Most manned launches. How can that be not be awesome?

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