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Saturn

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As microblogged live on my (other) Twitter account, @mmorabito67 on May 25, 2011:

  1. At the BIS British Interplanetary Society in London for Alan Lawrie’s SaturnV presentation. live microblogging 6pm GMT
  2. Title is “Saturn V Manufacturing and testing” – room packed
  3. Special anniversary of Kennedy’s announcement of the Moon attempt in 1961
  4. Lawrie has 30 years of space technology experience
  5. Kennedy spoke at around 1.09pm EDT – Also 45th of first full rocket
  6. Mastermind was Von Braun – developed in record time, new materials invented
  7. Huntsville Al. was a small city when Von Braun went there in the 1950s –
  8. Picture of Von Braun team member meeting Korolev’s daughter –
  9. Saturn was a military concept for testing rockets at the start –
  10. Pictures of Marshall Spaceflight Center test facilities –
  11. RL10 h2 / o2 rocket test facility. Neosho rocket production facility in Missouri near Joplin –
  12. Details of rocket. First stage S-1C by Boeing and MSF.
  13. Welded tanks but bolted intertanks. Manufacturing details. Fairings around external engines blown after separation
  14. Pictures of retrorockets firing – heroicrelics.org
  15. S-1C firing test at MSF. Walt Disney visiting Huntsville
  16. Picture of Saturn V in test stand
  17. People measuring rocket’s vibrational modes by pushing it – same happened for Ares –
  18. Stage built vertically but engines inserted horizontally –
  19. First stage of Apollo 16 caught fire during tests. Engineers forced to look at the failed parts.
  20. S-II second stage by NAA in California. Not kerosene but hydrogen. One tank with one bulkhead within
  21. Testing at same Mississippi facility still used
  22. Story of mistaken loading to explosion due to incorrect procedures
  23. First stage o2 not insulated but second h2 had to be. Several attempts up to Apollo 13.
  24. Third stage S-IV B similar to second stage but one engine.
  25. Tanks hemispherical in 3rd ellipsoidal in 1st and 2nd
  26. 2nd stage external insulation strong metal inside. 3rd stage insulation inside by tiles that didn’t fall off.
  27. Picture of Skylab being built out of 3rd stage
  28. Explosion in Jan 1967 of S-IVB-503 3rd stage one week before Apollo 1.- problem with Helium tanks
  29. Problem with welding of He tanks.
  30. Pictures comparing sites in 1967 and 2006 –
  31. F-1 rocket engines – tested at Edwards
  32. J-2 tested near Hollywood
  33. Overview of Saturn V flights. Second flight not so well (Apollo 6) with 2 lost engines then Apollo 8
  34. Apollo 8 – a major structural failuree in California a day earlier but launched anyway
  35. Pictures of test firings of Apollo 11. Lightning striking Apollo 12. Apollo 17 3rd stage never test fired.
  36. How did they make it so perfect? Leadership, mindset. Von Braun and other German managers
  37. Many things worked by dodging bullets
  38. Personally I would not be surprised the programme was stopped before a major accident would kill it and spaceflight

The lecture followed the publication of “Saturn” by Alan Lawrie with Robert Godwin.

Written by omnologos

2011/Jun/12 at 22:15:09

My Podcast At “365 Days of Astronomy” – Moon Colonies

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My first ever podcast, entitled “Moon Colonies”, is now available at “365 Days of Astronomy” for January 23, 2011. The 10-min MP3 audio recording is at this link (including the shortest guitar solo in history, but hey, it’s my first musical recording too!).

Transcript will follow soon.

Written by omnologos

2011/Jan/24 at 07:55:54

Space Sociology: 10 Out Of 10 For Courage, Minus 1million For Pessimism

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The events at the British Interplanetary Society headquarters in London are often very interesting, at times packed and seldom soporous: but I cannot recall of any, where the speakers would more or less consciously risk to stir a hostile crowd.

That’s what happened on the evening of Sep 8, when sociologists Peter Dickens and James Ormrod’s presentationHow Should we Humanise Outer Space?” turned into an open confrontation with shall I say quite sceptical people in attendance (one of them, myself). It might have been the unwise choice of mixing descriptive (“how things are”) and applied (“how things ought to be”) sociology, in front of an audience unfamiliar with that science. Or it might have been their obvious and declared socialistic worldview, with everything seen as a zero-sum game based on exploitation (opportunity gains? not even remotely considered; asteroid mining? no, thanks, otherwise people will not stop consuming; and don’t even think of going to orbit, your moment of fun will be based on the work of thousands of people none of whom will ever get the chance of going to orbit).

Or it might have been the speakers’ unrelenting pessimism about technology advances, associating for example plutonium for space-based RTGs to lung cancers on Earth and in general declaring that science and technology create more problems than they solve.

Another hypothesis: underlying it all, we have just witnessed that supreme act of courage, people in a BIS room speaking of manned spaceflight as “escapism”.

At the end it was like hearing the Pope tell teenagers that sex is the problem so let’s have less of it for a change. Is capitalism bad, and should social equality be our objective? Shall we try make that happen in space, and through the use of space-based resources? Those questions sound, and are, much more political than scientific. Perhaps the real questions should be, is sociology victim of its own hubris…is it creating more problems than it solves?

Written by omnologos

2010/Sep/10 at 07:04:18

A Wonderful Place To Die

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It is called “Mars to Stay” and I hope it will involve a 85-year-yound Italian in 2052 going to Heaven but first stopping for around 30 years on the Red Planet. For the final resting place I select this:

Scalloped sand dunes in the southern hemisphere of Mars

Scalloped sand dunes in the southern hemisphere of Mars

Written by omnologos

2010/Feb/06 at 23:09:17

Unimpressed By Ares 1-X

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What about the Ares 1-X launch? What we have seen is the 480M$ demonstration that a Space Shuttle’s Solid Rocket Booster can fly on its own. A step towards a Moon mission dream? Methinks not.

It’d be vastly cheaper to develop just a capsule to launch on top of the Ariane-5. Or better yet, order 200+ Soyuz flights from Russia.

What is missing is a really heavy launcher, not yet another reinventing of the manned rocket.

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/29 at 01:20:51

Posted in Astronautics, Moon, NASA, Space

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Going Back To the Moon: The Simplest Argument

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It’s going to be far simpler to explore the Solar System with humans (and with robots) by starting from the Moon.

What is in fact at present the minimum requirement to reach orbit?

On Earth: Atlas LV-3B / Mercury (the one used in the John Glenn’s launch below)
Total Mass: 116,100 kg (255,900 lb)
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft)
Length: 25.00 m (82.00 ft)

On the Moon: Apollo Lunar Module Ascent Stage
Mass: 4,670 kg (10,300 lb)
Diameter: 4.2 m (13.78 ft)
Length: 3.76 m (12.34 ft)

Case closed.

Written by omnologos

2009/Jul/25 at 14:58:59

Four (New) Faces Of Buzz Aldrin

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from the Sueddeutsche Zeitung's weekly magazine. Picture quality deliberately reduced.

Here’s four sides of Buzz Aldrin one seldom sees in the news:

Written by omnologos

2009/Jul/21 at 23:33:00

Posted in Astronautics, Moon

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