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Everything posted by Rune

  1. Yup, but since there are very few people at the poles, we say that is global coverage. Actually, that is also the reason Molniya orbits (highly elliptical polar orbits with a lot of dwell time over one pole) were developed, and are still used to communicate in the high northern latitudes and Antartica. Rune. Always nice to read someone with curiosity.
  2. Well, me personally, I've always found more compelling sci-fi universes without FTL than those that have it. Lightspeed may sound like a big barrier, but there are ways around it (generation ships, for example). And if you mean see them yourself, well... you could outlast the universe if you were going fast enough. Rune. I recommend Tau Zero as a read to illustrate that last point, and Revelation Space to see how cool "STL" travel can be.
  3. Wait, conservation of momentum? I mean, the instant it regains mass, it should stop considerably on its own. Where do all those G's go, in that case? I think you just torpedoe'd your own design, unless you assume some fancy inertial dampeners, which would make it redundant.
  4. As an engineer, my final answer is pretty simple: better for what? The answer could be either, depending on the requirements you set. So it's kind of an impossible question to answer, impartially. Of course, since we are all speaking english here, I kind of guess which one will come out ahead. As a biased personal opinion, I will point out that variants of the booster used for Vostok are still in use today, and to carry US crews to the ISS no less. Rune. Good 'ol R-7 Semyorka, Soviet engineering at its finest.
  5. Well, it is a really good way to keep a lot of aerospace contractors happily working, I can't deny that. That is short of what I have been saying all along. But I would much prefer to have them working at something worthwhile. Imagine if the money was spent on building in-space reusable (hence, refuelable) stages and putting them on top of rockets (chemical or nuclear, for a near-term personal proposal, I would like to see a methane/LOX transfer stage/unmanned tug). Or fuel depots, or transfer habitats, or multipurpose reusable landers, or waypoint stations, or surface habitats... we could have an inner solar system transportation system set up for what this program will cost, and we would end up going somewhere, while those aerospace contractors keep receiving their paychecks just like they do now. The only big advantage SLS could have over other launch systems is the 10m diameter of the core stage. And Boeing keeps on showing stuff that throws that away by inserting a 5m adapter, and other people finding neat tricks to get around the launch diameter limitations in the meantime (inflatable heatshields, segmented mirrors, that short of thing). That means they throw that away and look even more silly next to the Falcon heavy, or even ULA's own launchers. Hell, even old Proton can do what SLS is meant to do, cheaper, if you master the crucial in-space techniques like autonomous rendezvous and fuel transfer that we would need anyway. Right now this looks like the old NASA fixation on direct return from the moon and huge Nova rockets. Remember what Churchill said? "You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing... after they have tried out every other possibility and seen that they don't work". When is NASA going to do the equivalent of the "go with LOR" decision, and how much money will they burn in the meantime? Rune. Lots of things to do, and practically none getting done.
  6. It' probably beyond my physics, but from a sci-fi "I don't care how it's done" point of view, it sounds like a cool way to hit 99+% of c in near-instantaneous fashion (Einstein's limits will still apply, since you say it still has some mass) and make the trip, form the perspective of the travellers, in zero elapsed time.
  7. You mean Altair, right? The H2/LOX lunar lander that could do polar missions? Just nitpicking, don't mind me.
  8. It's a relative distance thing. You could find a small planet if it orbits very close to the star, since it covers a large portion of the star, but then it won't be in the habitable zone. Or you could find bigger planets further away, but you will also need more time to confirm them since you need a couple of revolutions at least to confirm your findings, and that means a few of their years. Small planets far away need either a lot of passes to be able to confirm them with certainty (and each pass takes more time, remember), or are just beyond Kepler's sensitivity.
  9. Completely off-topic, but I just took the zombie test in your sig. I was very sad that there was no way to answer that I own a bow and know how to shoot it fairly decent. I'm sure that would have got me a push to get over 80%, I got a 79. Rune. Because, you know, arrows are recoverable, silent, and such.
  10. Hum. Depending on density, you could get close to 1G surface gravity, and it would fit. But iceballs must be relatively common around there, and if it's got a significant rocky core, surface gravity may be much, much higher.
  11. Let's run those numbers again. Assuming they actually reach the goal of 500 million a flight (I don't believe that, but its what they say), we get 70mT on low orbit at 7.1 million/mT. You compare with shuttle, and indeed you are right, since the best cost analysis I've seen on it (at least in order of magnitude, shuttle accounting is a mess) got a similar cost per flight, and the payload was roughly a third, so it is more effective... unless you take into account that the whole ~70mT orbiter got to orbit with its ~25mT payload. But then you go and compare with Falcon Heavy. Which is announced to cost 125 million to the customer, and you could book right now. They wouldn't charge you for development, they wouldn't charge you to "maintain the capabilities", or to build a new launch pad/construction tools/crawler/whatever they can get away with. And it clocks in at 53mT to 200km LEO circular, which comes out to 2.35 million/mT, or a third of the cost for 2/3rds of the payload. Any, I repeat, any ELV can do better than SLS in cost per kilogram to orbit, even the incredibly expensive Delta IV. Which is really, really strange, since as you said bigger rockets should be much more efficient in those terms. And that is believing the cost projections as they stand right now, which is really hopeful thinking IMO. My conclusion? Someone should prosecute the contractors for fraud. They are robbing you blind. Rune. Once, a long time ago, I was actually looking forward to Ares V. Then I learned better.
  12. And what happens when 2021 passes by, and no more payloads are available for the giant rocket? If it actually gets that far, that is. The whole aerospace community is pretty much dead-set against it, except the people that work at building it, which are grasping at straws to sell it at this point. Where is the money coming from for the L2 gateway? Where would you get the money from, to build the lunar lander? Does someone seriously think that at a projected 500 million a pop (at least, it'll probably cost-overrun considerably more), it is actually sustainable in any way? And most important of all... why is it needed to lift Orion, if Orion is going to be test-flown on a Delta at a fraction of the cost? Always consider NASA's budget hasn't gone up since Apollo. It really makes no sense, unless you look at it from a pork perspective, then it's the best business ever. Also, Orion has as much use as a deep-space vessel as a Soyuz, or a manned Dragon, or the old Apollo command module. Which is, basically, a decent heatshield for a return that assumes you throw away the rest of your exploration vessel after each flight. No room, no radiation protection, no long-term supplies, no significant delta-v on its own. Pretty thin to sell it as a "deep-space exploration vessel". And it's already costed what, 5 billion give or take? I think I'm on the low side on that, actually. It's verging on the absurd, but I'm sure Lockheed is happy to keep at it. If Congress wanted NASA to get somewhere, they wouldn't have cancelled, and actually forbidden by law to pursue, the only deep-space thingies that were once in the works, namely Transhab (yeah, it's illegal for NASA to build deep-space habs!) and NERVA. Rune. Sorry to rain on your parade.
  13. Yeah, the V2 is actually a decent study on mass-produced rockets and serious launch frequency. When you realize it was done in the middle of a war, you start thinking... what the hell are we doing now and why do we have the stones to call ourselves space-faring?
  14. Oh, I didn't intend to flame you, sorry if I gave that impression. I was just trying to correct you on the "congressional support" part. Congressional support is shown on budgets, not words, and right now that is exactly 0 for a Moon base, and only marginal (100 million if the budget goes through, out of 17 billion) for an asteroid mission. No matter what congressman Wolf keeps on screaming (I'm actually starting to hate that guy, BTW). Congress gets enough pork going to the space states with SLS+Orion. When they cancel it, a new pork rocket will take its place without actually having to build or launch anything. If they actually wanted to get something done, they would buy something like 50 existing ELV's and give NASA money to put stuff on top of them. Rune. It sound sarcastic, but I'm just going by recent history here.
  15. Considering SLS is Ares V+Orion without Altair and the rest of the stuff, and both are going to end up doing nothing for lack of funding, I'd say none of the answers are applicable. Both are paper exploration programs that won't get anywhere. Rune. 20% of NASA's budget, directly going to pork with nothing to show for at the end. Sad.
  16. You could say Mars and Earth are pretty much the same here from what we can tell at this distance, and we even get Europa as a bonus. But it is surely inspiring, two likely waterworlds!
  17. That's the Sagrada Familia cathedral, in Barcelona! Still unfinished, and now that so long has passed since Gaudi passed away, architects I know don't have the highest hopes for the end result... apparently, the workers now aren't doing a really stellar job at following their designs. Or a decent one, even. Rune. Yay, spanish reference!
  18. I have a related question. Are we getting back the rocket builders thread? So I don't put my stuff in the wrong place (and you don't waste time on a thread you will have to rebuild).
  19. I already commented at the time, but yeah, this thing is still a marvel of KSP engineering. I wonder if you'll ever ever release at least the landers? Or make a step-by-step building album, the last time I checked it was a bit confusing to follow. Rune. In fact, since the forum probably ate the rep I gave you for it, here you go again.
  20. Not all of it. Mine is Well, what was it worth for anyway. As for the craft of the post, not very good looking, but it sure packs a punch. Good job!
  21. Pro tip: If you activate physical timewarp, and don't ask me why, your rover will stick to the ground like it's glued to it. Much higher speeds are achievable safely with x2 activated before you can tip it over. Rune. I'll put that under features, not bugs. ;P
  22. One word: "Energia". Read up on your rocket history. Rune. Not that Falcon Heavy is anything short of awesome.
  23. Congressional support? Where did you get that impression? I will believe that when they show the budget with the money for it. As long as all they speak about is "needing a new vision" and "within existing budgets", IMO, it's just empty rhetoric to win over people like you. Rune. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.
  24. Which means they could accelerate it during the plunge from orbit, and then why take the extra months to circle around the sun, complicating targeting? Impressive test, BTW.
  25. Sad to see you lost you original account, climber. But I see you still have your love of lens flares ;P Also, expect to see that observation cockpit as stock in 0.20, with some awesome interiors by Claire. I'm really looking forward to see what she has done...
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