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Everything posted by DerekL1963

  1. Not really, no. The political environment of the 1950's-early 1960's was radically different from today. Rockets were growing by leaps and bounds, and a huge engine with no current requirement seemed like a prudent investment in the future. The F-1 wasn't the only such speculative project... Just one of the few that eventually saw the light of day. In some ways, the Apollo CSM itself (in it's earliest incarnations) can be seen as equally speculative... A general purpose earth orbiter, when no clear requirement for such existed. Later, a lunar lander when NASA had no significant funding for such a venture and only the vaguest intention of going to the Moon sometime in the future. ("Possibly in time for the country's 200th birthday" according to some early documents.)
  2. But that's the thing - the F1 was already in development before the Apollo project. The CSM's design was well advanced (as a general purpose Earth orbiter) before Kennedy set us on the road to the Moon. Sometimes I get this feeling that folks think that NASA managers sat down with a blank sheet and got started the morning after Kennedy's speech... When nothing could be further from the truth. The only part of Apollo that was anything resembling clean sheet was the LEM. Much of the rest of the Apollo Project was largely cobbled together and adapted/developed from bits and pieces of programs and projects that were already in progress. This wasn't an accident. WWII and the Cold War... When you read the biographies of a lot of middle and senior folks at NASA and with the contractors during Apollo, they're often a litany of ever larger and more complicated aerospace projects in the 1950's. That's one of the unsung secrets of Apollo's success, the level of recent engineering and management experience with the rapid development and deployment of cutting edge aerospace systems.
  3. I suspect that had more to do with limited attach points where the SRB thrust was symmetric and jettisoned SRB's wouldn't hit the Orbiter. Not quite, the Apollo Program managers avoided new tech absolutely as much as possible. That is, they avoided research (as much as possible) and concentrated (where possible) on systems that only required development. It's a subtle, but important distinction. Ditto Gemini. Gemini was conceived after Apollo, and the design definition of the latter was largely complete and the design frozen two years before Gemini flew. Gemini contributed a great deal in terms of flight experience, but very little in the way of hardware or specific technologies. They did examine thrust termination ports... But the problem was the shocks and loads of sudden loss of thrust were sufficient to shred the ET, tossing the orbiter uncontrolled into the airstream. (This is basically what happened to Challenger, and she was destroyed by aerodynamic forces.) It was proposed to add a solid rocket to the orbiter in order to provide the necessary control, but it was too heavy.
  4. Every choice of SRB was fraught with problems. Every single one. Those big rockets? Huge problems... Starting with "nobody knew how to handle them". They have to be cast nose down , handled level, and raised nosed up for assembly - and their size and weight posed serious challenges to handling and moving them w/o potentially damaging the grain. They'd be a serious challenge even today. They're heavy enough and large enough that they can't be practically transported any distance, so they'd have to be cast at KSC. (Heck, they're large enough and heavy enough that even transporting them within the bounds of KSC posed a daunting problem.) That's a significant safety problem. Storing them would also be a significant safety problem due to the sheer mass of explosive in each booster. Speaking of casting the motors... that's another (huge) known unknown. The SRB's had to match (IIRC) within 5% - and the batch size was for a matched LH and RH segment pair was within the bounds of existing technology. Nobody knew how to cast a pair of matched monolithic boosters. Heck, they'd had problems casting even one during the testing down in South Florida. (IIRC, the final test blew the nozzle off due to rough combustion attributed to casting problems.) Etc... etc... Big monolithic SRB's, contrary to the nonsense believed by many, were not a magic solution. They would have required an expensive and extensive R&D program to a TRL where they could be considered ready for flight... and even then, as outlined above, extensive problems remained to be tackled.
  5. o.0 What part of "the resulting transient shock loads would shred the ET" was too hard for you to grasp? Millions of pounds of force simply don't disappear.
  6. Not knowing to c&p between threads or quote something someone else quotes... Sevenperforce asks why they didn't put thrust termination on the Shuttle SRB's - and there's a simple answer: It wouldn't work. Terminating SRB thrust meant the SRB's would go from "pulling" on the stack to "hanging off" the stack, the resulting transient shock loads would shred the ET and toss the orbiter uncontrolled into the air stream. There, as happened to Challenger, aerodynamic forces would turn the Orbiter into confetti. The only way around this was to put a SRB on the Orbiter itself, and use it to power the Orbiter away from the disintegrating stack. Problem was, even using this SRB for orbital insertion, it was too heavy and basically wiped out a large fraction of the cargo capacity. As to the never used "1 orbit capacity"... No, they never used the entire amount of crossrange available - but they routinely used the crossrange capability to widen abort and landing windows. (Or to create them were the window wouldn't have existed without the crossrange capacity.) Here's a handy little PDF from NASA that shows the amount of crossrange used at landing through STS-88.
  7. At the Tacoma Power dams on Lake Cushman and Lake Kokanee they built literal elevators to move the salmon past the dam...
  8. That depends on the mission... Are you talking a coastal submarine (AKA "manned mine")? Or are you talking something intended to operate at longer ranges? It also depends on your intended tactical environment... Sitting at a geographical choke point? Or hunting in the open ocean? Etc... etc... There is no such thing as "all else being equal", warships are designed with a metric buttload of parameters kept in mind - many not obvious. And honestly, the jury is still out to which AIP system(s) will win the race. The field is fairly young and the amount of operational experience limited.
  9. Indeed. It's very hard to actually have things in KSP that are well thought out and carefully engineered because either a) a lot of very important things IRL are abstracted away in KSP, or b) because of the limits of KSP's Lego block building system. (Or sometimes both.) KSP is a very useful introduction to some of the very basic concepts, but it's also actively misleading in some respects. (For example, you never have to worry about keeping your batteries warm - though oddly, you do sometimes have to worry about keeping them cool.) Contrary to the bromide beloved of many KSP players, you don't actually learn as much as you think you do simply by playing KSP.
  10. That's a bit of apples-to-oranges Rizzo... Modern armor is designed to stop penetration. War hammers and other mass weapons aren't meant to penetrate in the first place. They're shock weapons, meant to bruise and break bone. That being said, modern ceramic armor will spread the impact energy of a mass weapon over a larger area thus sharply reducing it's effectiveness. Best to swing for the limbs, joints, and head. Even if a helmet and/or face plate spreads the impact out, you're still going to cause the head to move (potentially disorienting the wearer) and apply considerable force to the neck.
  11. Among other things, they'd have to modify the fairing mountings to take the higher weight/stress. And they'd have to develop new separation mechanisms to ensure the heavier fairing separated cleanly. And they'd have to go through and recalculate how the weight changes the vibration levels. And... well, you get the picture. It's not nearly so simple as just swapping out the material the fairing is constructed from.
  12. In addition to Sturmhauke's suggestions - MechJeb can also calculate transfer trajectories. It can also correct for orbital inclination, very handy for visiting Pol and Bop.
  13. That's not atypical of NASA's PAO though... They're past masters at spinning even the tiniest connection into a breathless "this would never have happened without NASA megabucks!" narrative.
  14. Certainly. And that's what's driving the 'passion' many people have for 'space' - they're fanboys of the spectacle (or more accurately of the personality), not interested in space per se. They literally don't care what's under the fairing, only that $BILLIONAIRE has DONE IT AGAIN! Once the launch is over, they're off to fanboy over other things.
  15. Hot water drills don't use steam jets - they use hot water to heat a probe body that then melts it's way through the ice. If Martian water is in the form of large bodies of ice, which they almost certainly aren't, then this would be useful.
  16. You're a few years out of date... AIP for submarines has made great strides in the last couple of decades. They certainly aren't as fast as nukes, but the better ones can currently stay submerged for over a week while doing 4-5 knots. Probably not, since the only sensible way to drill through any thickness of ice is with a hot water drill. Heat the water directly in an externally fired boiler, and you'll only need a fairly small generator for the pumps. Nah, ain't worth it.
  17. There are 9 very cool illustrations of space craft. Other than Lockheed, none of the companies have (AFAIK) flown any hardware of note. Nor are these contracts to produce hardware, they're contracts to (essentially) write proposals.
  18. It wasn't portable - it was a massive fixed installation, very visible and very identifiable from the air. Footage/images of V2 launching vertically would have been available too.
  19. I dunno. From various sources, Armstrong-Aldrin-Collins were noticeably not as friendly with each other as other crews... But they're often held out as proof that any three astronauts [in that era] could form a crew and successfully complete a flight. All three have military backgrounds, and one of the things the military teaches you is how to submerge such differences (at least while on duty). Then there's the intense competitiveness to get a flight, and a reluctance to do anything that might jeopardize that. Etc... etc... I dunno what standards to use to judge, as the situation is not a normal one. I will say this however, the guy I worked best with in MCC, the guy that given a choice I'd choose to partner with me on a task - was a guy I absolutely loathed when we were off the boat.
  20. Deke! is a decent read IIRC, it's been a few years though... But I read them for scholarly purposes, not entertainment and that skews my perception. Armstrong's, if you're speaking of First Man, is dry/dull because it's a scholarly biography rather than a popular autobiography like the others you list.
  21. No, not at all. There's plenty of experts in the matter who speak Russian and have long experience watching both the Soviet and Russian programs. Not to mention we're not talking about one-off publicity statements, we're talking official statements of intent made by persons in a place to make said statements and and ongoing repetitions of such statements over a period a time. We're also talking mockups and prototype hardware being built, and then the program silently vanishing. We're also talking partially built hardware languishing for years at a time. We're also talking Russian authorities in active negotiations with Western authorities. Etc... etc... etc...
  22. Try reading what I wrote Mike: He was the backup commander for Apollo 8, and that's why (via Deke's "backup crew-skip two-flight crew" system) he was commander of 11. That rotation system wasn't strictly adhered to, but it's generally the first place to look when the question "why did x fly [Gemini|Apollo] y?" comes up. I'd second Rizzo's recommendation to read Cernan's autobiography (though Cernan was a bit of a publicity hound). You should also read Deke! (Deke Slayton's autobiography) for further insight into the crew assignment/rotation system during Gemini and Apollo. The big caveat is, as I said above, folks who aren't Deke (such as Cernan) are giving their viewpoint (which may or may not reflect reality) and Deke himself was generally reticent to discuss details of why someone was or wasn't chosen for a particular flight. On that particular topic... Apollo 1 has been mentioned as big influence on who flew what mission, but another (less recognized) influence was the deaths of Elliot See and Charles Basset - the prime crew of Gemini 9. That shook up the rotation of the late Gemini missions and affected who got backup and flight crew experience. Stafford was promoted to prime, getting his 2nd flight. Cernan was also promoted to prime, getting his first flight. Lovell went from backup commander of Gemini 10 to backup commander of Gemini 9 (and thus flew as commander on Gemini 12). Aldrin made the same shift from backup pilot on 10, to eventually flying 12. (If you do the math, backing up 10 was a dead end - because there was not going be a Gemini 13.) The big beneficiary here was probably Aldrin - with no Gemini flight experience, when does he get slotted into Apollo?
  23. As to the first claim, being a military pilot in the 1950's was a fairly dangerous way to make a living - Armstrong is one of thousands (tens of thousands?) to have piloted a plane that "killed other men". (Sometimes many of them.) As to the second... absent citations, I call bovine exhaust. That makes the nonsensical assumption that at the time he was assigned as backup Commander for Apollo 8 it was known for certain that Apollo 11 would be the first landing (as opposed to further testing of the LM in a repeat of 9 or 10). Nor is there any evidence that the Administration (or even NASA HQ for that matter) meddled in flight crew assignments. Basically, whoever is peddling that nonsense is full of unprintable words that would get me banned from the forums. The only person who knows for certain why Neil Armstrong was assigned to Apollo 8 (and subsequently to Apollo 11 by rotation) is Deke Slayton. And to the best of my knowledge he took his reasons to his grave. With only a few exceptions he was fairly reticent about his reasons for crew assignments.
  24. The Russians have announced any number of plans over the last thirty odd years. Very few have produced anything more than a press release.
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