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pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:41 PM
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Video of Ares rocket test
NASA and industry partners lit up the Utah sky on Sept. 10, 2009, with the initial full scale, full-duration test firing of the first motor for the Ares I rocket. ATK Space Systems conducted the successful stationary firing of the five-segment solid development motor 1, or DM-1. ATK Space Systems, a division of Alliant Techsystems of Brigham City, Utah, is the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage. Engineers will use the measurements gathered from the test to evaluate thrust, roll control, acoustics and motor vibrations. This data will provide valuable information as NASA develops the Ares I and Ares V vehicles. Another ground test is planned for summer 2010.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:54 PM
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1. Down at the NJ State Museum this weekend, they had some wonderful old men
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:55 PM by NNadir
running rocket displays and demonstrations (including some hands on stuff) on rocketry.

Their goal was to interest kids in science, and actually they had a fair amount of interest, with their crude stuff, this in the generation of video games.

There was a line to launch the rockets (often right at at unsuspecting adults).

These old guys were wonderful.

One of the old men, clearly a child of the cold war, was outraged that the US will not have a launch vehicle for human space flight for nearly half a decade. It really burned his butt that we will have to depend on them Russkies.

I'm agnostic on human space flight myself. I think robots do a better job in bang for buck, but no human being can object to what the Hubble - a human space flight dependent machine - has done for the human race. It has enabled humanity to see more than it has ever seen.

I think that no other adventure has made me more proud of being an American than the money we spent on Hubble.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thoughts on nuclear rockets NNadir? Would be interested if you have knowledge about 'em.
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 09:11 PM by joshcryer
I am particularly enamored with GCNR, but I admit my knowledge is sorely lacking in this area.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I can see several good reasons for building fission reactors for deep space missions
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 02:35 AM by NNadir
although RTG's on Galileo, Cassini, Voyager and Pioneer all worked fine.

Probably the rationale would be to drive ion propulsion engines for very heavy craft.

I'm not sure that the design for nuclear launch reactors on this planet are justified however, since it is probably cheaper and would require less development to simply use nuclear power to generate aluminum for thermite, for instance.

An exception might be an an attempt to launch from a planet or moon. A type of craft that I could see benefiting would be one that say, flew in the atmosphere of a very gaseous planet like Jupiter or Saturn and required a Brayton type engine to propel itself back out of the atmosphere. For energy density reasons, this type of device would need to be nuclear powered, fission powered, and not decay powered.

The Russians had several space fission reactors; one of them Kosmos 954 failed and fell over Northern Canada in 1978.

Everyone in Canada will die.

It is worth noting that the experiments conducted in the early 50's to see whether nuclear aircraft could be built led to the best unexploited idea in nuclear reactor design, the molten salt reactor. This reactor for which I will propose certain improvements in due course, is part of the Gen IV development program. One thing all of us can do to see that the US has even a shot at this reactor is to try to prevent the silly plan to dump US inventories of U-233, which amount to several tons.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I was sorely disapopointed with how RTGs and other nuclear space options were protested... crazy greens. NASAs stockpiles actually dropped to a very precarious point and they've had to start manufacturing material again (I don't think it's Uranium, I think it's a different radioactive element useful for RTGs, forgive my ignorance). The Mars Science Laboratory will be nuclear powered (RTG), and like the Vikings, should last well beyond 5 years on the surface of Mars. It's been delayed again and again though (more about bureaucracy than anything).

Hopefully, in due time, people can get over the whole "omfg nukes in space are bad" thing. Especially as we start to explore deep space more thoroughly.
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