NASA's Space Launch System

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Exachix
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Exachix » 15 Sep 2011, 06:44

Lyinginbedmon wrote:Exachix, what you describe is one of the bigger issues behind the series Planetes, which regards a team that cleans up orbiting space trash to prevent Kessler syndrome, and there's actually a terrorist group that things mankind should stay on Earth until they figure out how to live together responsibly. It also had the backdrop that space travel had become heavily invested in the private sector, with people going on holidays to the moon and taking high-altitude flights between places on Earth.

In the end, I really like how the whole resource issue was addressed. A political agreement was made that the resources harvested from space would be given to Earth nations based on their population, not their actual economic contribution to space exploration and such. It wasn't a full-blown stop to the debate, but it was an excellent foundation for resolving it.

I think once more of Earth gets moving into space, either by developing the technology independently or by piggy-backing onto NASA or some other manner, humankind is going to start realising there's not much separation between them, either in the cold darkness of space, or on the warm homeland of Earth.


I will look into it, sounds interesting.

I would remind people that ESA (European Space Agency) are also working on other space projects (Ariene Launches, Rosetta); although a lot of projects are a joint venture (SOHO, Herschel, many others). There are alot of other space agencies, but I'm under the impression many are just satellite-based.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 15 Sep 2011, 06:59

NASA is the largest and most heavily-funded of them, however. At least, that's my understanding.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Rikadyn » 15 Sep 2011, 08:08

theDreamer wrote:Current problems with Earth:

Over population -> not enough food production, poor living quality for many

Solutions: Kill the poor. Get more living space.

I unno about YOU, but I think space travel and eventual colonization IS a solution to ending poverty, and other underlying issues.



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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Arius » 15 Sep 2011, 08:28

Lyinginbedmon wrote:More like this
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Imagine trying to fly a spacecraft through that, and that was from 3 years ago.

Misleading picture. The scale of the squares make the satellites appear to be the size of 5 Manhattans+ each. Even accounting for perspective, the ones on the sides of the planet appear to be just as large.

You have about 1000 miles between each satellite. You might be able to squeeze through.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 15 Sep 2011, 08:53

Maybe this will help then. Obviously finding images to accurately convey the concept is tricky since it often hits hyperbole.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Shinneh » 15 Sep 2011, 12:58

I do believe I read that "firing a magnetic net" into space was one option for clearing the debris mess.

Which despite any amount of monetary cost would make me go "OMG! that is awesome!"
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby arch4non » 17 Sep 2011, 14:20

theDreamer wrote:Current problems with Earth:

Over population -> not enough food production, poor living quality for many

Solutions: Kill the poor. Get more living space.

I unno about YOU, but I think space travel and eventual colonization IS a solution to ending poverty, and other underlying issues.


There's actually enough food production to feed everyone in the world, and more. In fact, sometimes farmers are paid not to grow in order to keep food prices from bottoming out. Famine and malnutrition mostly have to do with food distribution and purchasing power. The food's there, it's just not getting to everyone.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby madrak_the_red » 17 Sep 2011, 14:48

Lyinginbedmon wrote:More like this
Image


Clearly what we need is a giant magnet.

Also, I'm holding out for a massive space station with a launch system. C'mon, space elevator
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Metcarfre » 17 Sep 2011, 14:54

The Earth IS a giant magnet.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 17 Sep 2011, 15:23

Which, in actuality, is part of the problem.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lord Chrusher » 17 Sep 2011, 16:44

Very little of a spacecraft is ferromagnetic so using magnetic fields would not be very useful. Lasers and solar sails are better bets at cleaning up space junk.

The Earth's magnetic field is so weak that it has no effect on orbits. The tenuous atmosphere found in low earth orbit is far more of an issue for maintaining a stable orbit. However atmospheric drag helps deal with space junk. The drag slows the satellite down causing it to drop to a lower orbit. As the satellite sinks into thicker and thicker air it slows faster and faster, eventually burning up on reentry. However the time scale is hundreds of years so this process by itself takes too long to clean our current mess.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby empath » 17 Sep 2011, 18:05

arch4non wrote:
theDreamer wrote:Current problems with Earth:

Over population -> not enough food production, poor living quality for many

Solutions: Kill the poor. Get more living space.

I unno about YOU, but I think space travel and eventual colonization IS a solution to ending poverty, and other underlying issues.


There's actually enough food production to feed everyone in the world, and more. In fact, sometimes farmers are paid not to grow in order to keep food prices from bottoming out. Famine and malnutrition mostly have to do with food distribution and purchasing power. The food's there, it's just not getting to everyone.


THIS - thank you for posting what I meant to (ashamed to admit I forgot about this thread) There is more than enough capability to feed many more people than currently exist; part of it is distribution, another is inefficient use of arable land (pesky graveyards/golf courses/parks/etc/etc taking up perfectly good space).

...but again, the problem's source leads neatly right back to ourselves.

As always.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby madrak_the_red » 18 Sep 2011, 14:50

Lord Chrusher wrote:Very little of a spacecraft is ferromagnetic so using magnetic fields would not be very useful. Lasers and solar sails are better bets at cleaning up space junk.

The Earth's magnetic field is so weak that it has no effect on orbits. The tenuous atmosphere found in low earth orbit is far more of an issue for maintaining a stable orbit. However atmospheric drag helps deal with space junk. The drag slows the satellite down causing it to drop to a lower orbit. As the satellite sinks into thicker and thicker air it slows faster and faster, eventually burning up on reentry. However the time scale is hundreds of years so this process by itself takes too long to clean our current mess.


A giant Vacuum pump then!

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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Dutch guy » 18 Sep 2011, 15:43

Lord Chrusher wrote:Very little of a spacecraft is ferromagnetic so using magnetic fields would not be very useful. Lasers and solar sails are better bets at cleaning up space junk.


Just to be a bit of a pain in the ass though, a metal does not have to be ferromagnetic to be affected by magnetic fields. A strong enough magnetic field will create eddy currents in any metallic conductor including copper and aluminium. Those eddy currents in turn produce an induced magnetic field around the conductor. So a strong magnetic field MIGHT be of influence on a spacecraft. You'd need one hell of a field strength though. (And very low field attenuation over distance from the source)

So yeah, lasers and solar sails would be more useful. As well as, you know, not dumping so much crap up there.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby CancerBottle » 18 Sep 2011, 16:02

Is there a reason we couldn't use a single-stage to orbit craft like the Skylon?
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 18 Sep 2011, 16:35

Because NASA is American and we have a "special" relationship.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby CancerBottle » 18 Sep 2011, 17:02

Lyinginbedmon wrote:Because NASA is American and we have a "special" relationship.


That's true, national pride and all that. Thought I suppose we could design our own single-stage to orbit spaceplane. But it would be too efficient and cost-effective for our tastes, so I guess we're stuck with Apollo Redeux.

Still, it's better than bumming rides from the Russians.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 18 Sep 2011, 17:12

"Special" in the manner of "We sort of have to take some responsibility for your existence but the disdain is mutual" fashion, yes.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Lord Chrusher » 18 Sep 2011, 18:58

Also building a single stage to orbit space craft is not easy.

It is quite difficult to build an engine that is efficient both at sea level and in outer space. While there are several clever ideas on how to do this no one has one that works satisfactory. Using a staged design allows you to use different engines for different parts of the ascent. Rocket science tells you that is it more efficient to use a staged design as you do not have to carry the fuel tanks and engines into orbit with you.

The US has tried it before with the X-33 which was cancelled but supposedly Lockhead Martin is still working on it.

Beyond the technical issues with a single stage to orbit design which I believe are solvable, the main hurdle is economic. Paradoxically it can be cheaper to build many disposable launchers than a handful of reusable spacecraft. Since it unclear whether a single stage to orbit craft would be cheaper to operate, people have been unwilling to spend the money to build one. The space shuttle was supposed to be (mostly) reusable hence cheap to operate but ended up being more expensive per launch than a conventional rocket.
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Re: NASA's Space Launch System

Postby Metcarfre » 20 Sep 2011, 08:43

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