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Space Launches, Landings & Destinations v4


SpaceChampion
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I've only found this on facebook, so can't embed it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/InterplanetaryTransportSystem/permalink/5091277914277211/

It's a close up of the legs as they deployed before SN10 lands.  The legs were expected to be quite shoddy for this flight, and no surprise here.  The real surprise is managing to land at all on legs that fails to deploy / latch down.

Meanwhile, another Starlink launch:

 

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Starlink L21 mission - 9th use of this booster, a record for SpaceX.  One more and SpaceX will be deciding whether the 10 flight lifetime of these first stages is accurate or can be extended further.  If Starship is ready to take over in a few years then this is moot, but will have implications for how times it can launch -- important since they're targeting for 10 re-flights for the Starship upper stage, and 100 re-flights for the Super Heavy booster.

 

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Former Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) has been nominated by the Biden administration to lead NASA. 

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Senator Bill Nelson, former U. S. Senator, is a fifth generation Floridian whose family came to Florida in 1829.  He has served in public office over four decades, first in the state legislature and U. S. Congress, then as State Treasurer.  He was elected three times to the United States Senate, representing the third largest state for 18 years.  His committees included the breadth of government policy from defense, intelligence and foreign policy to finance, commerce and health care.

Nelson chaired the Space Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for 6 years and in the Senate was the Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee and Ranking Member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.  Most every piece of space and science law has had his imprint, including passing the landmark NASA bill of 2010 along with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.  That law set NASA on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia, orbited the earth 98 times during six days.  Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.  In the Senate he was known as the go-to senator for our nation’s space program.  He now serves on the NASA Advisory Council.

 

Not a fan of this myself. 

 

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4 hours ago, Starkess said:

Why's that? Seems like he'll probably hold the course.

Holding the course with the late and expensive SLS program will still miss by years target launch dates for the Artemis program to return to the moon.  Nelson is the one guy most responsible for SLS existing at all.   I think it should be cancelled, there are existing rockets you can make a robust program to land on the Moon, visit asteroids, and land on Mars with.  I don't buy the sunk costs fallacy.

But developing SLS meant having no money to develop things to launch on top of it -- landers, habitats, drilling equipment, fuel depots etc..  Bridenstine was clearly moving NASA towards using commercial rockets for the bulk of the cargo delivery, perhaps helping deliver human crews partway too, with a couple of SLS launches to satisfy politicians like Nelson to get the rest of the way.  Now I think that is in doubt.  But with him not a senator anymore, and Shelby retiring in 2022, perhaps support for SLS will evaporate soon.

The Obama admin's proposal for funding NASA was a vastly better, nimble program to develop technology for payloads to reach the Moon and Mars -- landers, fuel depots, habitats, etc. as well as engines.  SLS uses a few spare shuttle engines they still have lying around but can't manufacture more if I remember correctly.  It's a dead end sooner or later, and not reusable so they are getting thrown away.

Obama didn't fight for his program, and let Shelby and Nelson dictate engineering design in the budget authorization bill for NASA that year (2009 or 2010, I don't remember).  It was an obvious dead end before the ink dried on the authorization bill, so I hope NASA can move past that sooner rather than later.  A decade on this waste of money is long enough.  Nelson will stretch it out longer.

With fuel depots for instance, you can use existing rockets, refuel in orbit or around the moon, or at Lagrange points, and reach a lot of places.  But Nelson and Shelby are responsible for banning even mentioning fuel depots at NASA back then.  Now finally NASA is currently able to develop those things with contracts awarded under Bridenstine, but I assume those will be screwed under Nelson.

He feels comfortable banning technology that will threaten the contracts of the companies making SLS, so not a good thing for NASA at all.

 

 

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Ah, that's fair. I'm not particularly enthused about SLS either. But given that its Congressional support seems to be evaporating (like the recent move to allow Europa Clipper to go commercial), I hope that it won't be too much of a hindrance. At least it did finally pass its Green Run, so hopefully it's actually nearing readiness!

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Googling for old articles on SLS vs fuel depots + commercial rockets found this:

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“Not only was the fuel depot mission architecture shown to be less expensive, fitting within expected budgets, it also gets humans beyond low Earth orbit a decade before the SLS architecture could,” writes NASA Watch editor/gadfly Keith Cowling. “Moreover, supposed constraints on the availability of commercial launch alternatives often mentioned by SLS proponents, was debunked.  In addition, clear integration and performance advantages to the use of commercial launchers Vs SLS was repeatedly touted as being desirable: 'breaking costs into smaller, less-monolithic amounts allows great flexibility in meeting smaller and changing budget profiles.'“

 

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@SpaceChampion There's something that's been bugging about this approach to landing the Starhip, maybe you can shed some light.

This is supposed to carry a bunch of people. I've seen a couple of concept drawings. So how is flipping horizontally and then back vertically going to affect the people inside? 

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1 minute ago, Corvinus85 said:

@SpaceChampion There's something that's been bugging about this approach to landing the Starhip, maybe you can shed some light.

This is supposed to carry a bunch of people. I've seen a couple of concept drawings. So how is flipping horizontally and then back vertically going to affect the people inside? 

Not a lot is known about that.  They might have hinged seats that rotate with direction of gravity, but I don't think that is really necessary.   Just a guess but flipping shouldn't have too bad G forces, more like an elevator than a roller coaster.  Perhaps vertigo will be a factor going on if the interior is rotating around them too fast in different directions.   I doubt they have finalized anything, but it's more of a try it and see what happens, take measurements and figure it out.

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It looks like Mars might be the source of dust in the inner solar system that causes the zodiacal light phenomenon, and not comets as previously thought.  But as Phil Plait says, there is no explanation for this and comets ought to be sufficient to provide the amount of dust seen -- so what it going on is a mystery.

 

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