Tuesday, July 31, 2012

N1 rocket at English Russia

This is one of the best looking rockets of all time, and certainly could have become reliable with enough time and effort.

Stats from Wikipedia:

Height105 metres (344 ft)
Diameter17.0 metres (55.8 ft)
Mass2,735,000 kilograms (6,030,000 lb)
Payload to
90,000 kg (200,000 lb)
Payload to
23,500 kg (52,000 lb)

More at English Russia

Wildman rocketry darkstar on Ebay

On Ebay.  As always, the price is really too high for me.  $250 for a starting bid on a rocket that sells in kit form for $125.  Sure there are parts and labor that went into it, a ton actually... but twice retail?!

Land Speed Record Vehicles

1  and   2

Monday, July 30, 2012

World's slowest, most expensive dune buggy

"NASA engineers take the Curiosity test rover to California's Mojave desert to learn how to drive on Martian sand dunes."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Clustering STIG modules for higher performance

By utilizing many STIG-A type modules in a cluster, it will be possible to achieve two and maybe even three stage flights.  This can greatly increase altitude and performance.  The proposed STIG - VII seen above appears to approach the performance needed for orbital flight.  Particularly if the core module operates as a third stage, and carries a large fourth stage as ~75% of it's payload.

Armadillo aerospace

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Schwerer Gustav 80 cm rail gun

How many times can a person post about the same gun? Well more than thrice!

Weight 1,350 tonnes Length 47.3 metres (155 ft 2 in)
Barrel length 32.5 metres (106 ft 8 in) L/40.6
Width 7.1 metres (23 ft 4 in)
Height 11.6 metres (38 ft 1 in)
Crew 250 to assemble the gun in 3 days (54 hours)
2,500 to lay track and dig embankments.
2 Flak battalions to protect the gun from air attack.
Caliber 80 centimetres (31 in)
Elevation Max of 48°
Rate of fire 1 round every 30 to 45 minutes or typically 14 rounds a day
Muzzle velocity 820 m/s (2,700 ft/s) (HE) 720 m/s (2,400 ft/s) (AP)
Effective range about 39,000 metres (43,000 yd)
Maximum range 47,000 metres (51,000 yd) (HE) 38,000 metres (42,000 yd) (AP)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Inflatable heat sheild tested at Wallops

"The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was successfully launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore on July 21. IRVE-3 is part of the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator or HIAD project -- within the NASA Space Technology Program's Game Changing Development Program."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Entering space

Just started reading this book by Zubrin.  It is not exactly "the case for mars", in that it does not dedicate the entire book to planning for specific missions.  What it does do is carefully examine the possible human future in space.  It also, perhaps most importantly, dismantles and refutes all of the silly notions about space exploration being propelled by asteroid mining, space tourism, space power generation, or other fantasies.  Zubrin knows these plans for what they are, at best unrealistic plans akin to extracting gold from the Ocean, and at worst, just one more way to justify the lack of government investment in the space frontier.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New design for long-term space hab

Frankly, getting back to pushing the deep-space envelope is overdue. Manned space exploration needs to move on to high-Earth orbits, lunar missions, and beyond. We gave the whole LEO thing a try for a few decades, and have precious little to show for it.

There are designs on file for missions including flyby missions of Mars and Venus. They have been around since the 1960s! These missions used Apollo hardware, and would have worked just fine if we had continued moving forward.  For missions lasting weeks or months, a normal space station would work in deep space as well. For missions exceeding 12 months travel time, some accommodation must be made for artificial gravity, as well as additional space for crew and life-support.

Sadly, no mission will ever fly if things stay the same.  NASA achieves far less per dollar than it did at any time, even during the cold war when money was cheap.  There are plenty of reasons for this.  But the real issue is not NASA, it is a lack of political will to get a mission done, and a lack of purpose.  Without a direction, NASA simply has to do the best that they can, and squeeze some science out in the process.

Here is what NASA is working on now:

"One possible next leap in human space exploration for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a mission to a near Earth asteroid (NEA). In order to achieve such an ambitious goal, a space habitat will need to accommodate a crew of four for the 380-day round trip. The Human Spaceflight Architecture Team (HAT) developed a conceptual design for such a habitat."

NASA Technical Report

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Museum of Cosmonautics in Kaluga

More at English Russia.

Talos Missile Handling

 "The Defense Atomic Support Agency Presents Technical Training Film Bulletin Number 45, Part II - Talos Missile Handling, Cruiser Installation - No Date - 13:00 - Black&White and Color - The Talos missile, fired from a Navy Cruiser, could carry either a conventional or nuclear warhead. The Mark 30 warhead was designed specifically for Talos.

The video shows the warhead being tested and mated with the missile. The missile was then stored until it was connected with the booster. After it was checked out and the wings and fins were installed, the missile was ready to be fired. The Talos had the capability to destroy air or surface targets."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

U Camelopardalis ejecting outer atmosphere - HST

It took me a moment to realize it... but this is a real image! This is a shot from Hubble showing a giant carbon star that has had, let us say, some indigestion. More specifically, it has ejected a large amount of gas due to a burst in helium fusion. Someone explain to me how we did not instantly start building a 2nd Hubble? Large space telescopes are simply irreplaceable when it comes to doing exploratory astronomy.

 "A bright star is surrounded by a tenuous shell of gas in this unusual image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. U Camelopardalis, or U Cam for short, is a star nearing the end of its life. As it begins to run low on fuel, it is becoming unstable. Every few thousand years, it coughs out a nearly spherical shell of gas as a layer of helium around its core begins to fuse. The gas ejected in the star’s latest eruption is clearly visible in this picture as a faint bubble of gas surrounding the star. U Cam is an example of a carbon star. This is a rare type of star whose atmosphere contains more carbon than oxygen. Due to its low surface gravity, typically as much as half of the total mass of a carbon star may be lost by way of powerful stellar winds."

Source - ESA/Hubble