Archive for the ‘Moon’ Category
As microblogged live on my (other) Twitter account, @mmorabito67 on May 25, 2011:
- At the BIS British Interplanetary Society in London for Alan Lawrie’s SaturnV presentation. live microblogging 6pm GMT
- Title is “Saturn V Manufacturing and testing” – room packed
- Special anniversary of Kennedy’s announcement of the Moon attempt in 1961
- Lawrie has 30 years of space technology experience
- Kennedy spoke at around 1.09pm EDT – Also 45th of first full rocket
- Mastermind was Von Braun – developed in record time, new materials invented
- Huntsville Al. was a small city when Von Braun went there in the 1950s –
- Picture of Von Braun team member meeting Korolev’s daughter –
- Saturn was a military concept for testing rockets at the start –
- Pictures of Marshall Spaceflight Center test facilities –
- RL10 h2 / o2 rocket test facility. Neosho rocket production facility in Missouri near Joplin –
- Details of rocket. First stage S-1C by Boeing and MSF.
- Welded tanks but bolted intertanks. Manufacturing details. Fairings around external engines blown after separation
- Pictures of retrorockets firing – heroicrelics.org
- S-1C firing test at MSF. Walt Disney visiting Huntsville
- Picture of Saturn V in test stand
- People measuring rocket’s vibrational modes by pushing it – same happened for Ares –
- Stage built vertically but engines inserted horizontally –
- First stage of Apollo 16 caught fire during tests. Engineers forced to look at the failed parts.
- S-II second stage by NAA in California. Not kerosene but hydrogen. One tank with one bulkhead within
- Testing at same Mississippi facility still used
- Story of mistaken loading to explosion due to incorrect procedures
- First stage o2 not insulated but second h2 had to be. Several attempts up to Apollo 13.
- Third stage S-IV B similar to second stage but one engine.
- Tanks hemispherical in 3rd ellipsoidal in 1st and 2nd
- 2nd stage external insulation strong metal inside. 3rd stage insulation inside by tiles that didn’t fall off.
- Picture of Skylab being built out of 3rd stage
- Explosion in Jan 1967 of S-IVB-503 3rd stage one week before Apollo 1.- problem with Helium tanks
- Problem with welding of He tanks.
- Pictures comparing sites in 1967 and 2006 –
- F-1 rocket engines – tested at Edwards
- J-2 tested near Hollywood
- Overview of Saturn V flights. Second flight not so well (Apollo 6) with 2 lost engines then Apollo 8
- Apollo 8 – a major structural failuree in California a day earlier but launched anyway
- Pictures of test firings of Apollo 11. Lightning striking Apollo 12. Apollo 17 3rd stage never test fired.
- How did they make it so perfect? Leadership, mindset. Von Braun and other German managers
- Many things worked by dodging bullets
- 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.
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.
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.
Still not much out of the LCROSS team, victims of “HYPErspace” to say the least. Let’s entertain ourselves in the intervening time with a Forbes.com article “Bombing the Moon“. And for those in a hurry:
The LCROSS mission is an important and expensive scientific experiment. Nonetheless, comments on Web sites such as Scientific American and Nature indicate that quite a few people thought the whole venture to be some sort of outer-space vandalism. Some even wondered whether NASA might have acted illegally or violated an international law or treaty by setting out to “bomb the Moon.”
The answer is no. But while many might be surprised–dismayed, even–to hear that there is such a thing as “space law,” there are treaties governing activities in outer space, including the Moon.
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)
from the Sueddeutsche Zeitung's weekly magazine. Picture quality deliberately reduced.
Here’s four sides of Buzz Aldrin one seldom sees in the news:
One can only feel sad upon reading Giovanni F Bignami’s op-ed piece about the race to the Moon and what choices to take for the future (“Once in a Blue Moon “, IHT, 18-19 July 2009). Prof Bignami’s argument appears to be about treating space-faring as a purely novelty product, like a fairly curious but ultimately useless item on a late-night TV shopping channel. Something you may be convinced to buy, but just the once.
And even if we have spent less than a week in total time exploring a few square miles of a place as big as the former Soviet Union, Prof Bignami tries to seriously argue that there is no “compelling reason” to go back to the Moon. And that we should embark on the enormous effort to reach Mars instead, presumably for a couple of trips before getting bored with travelling millions of kilometers too.
Here’s a “compelling reason” then: as it is well known, one needs a lot less fuel to travel to Mars from the Moon, than from Earth. Most of the launch cost lies in getting from our planet to low Earth orbit: beyond that, the whole planetary system is within relatively easy reach.
Prof Bignami remarks also that “the notion of mining on the moon would also [be] environmentally offensive“. I for one do not understand how will humans ever be able to “environmentally offend” a surface pummeled for billions of years by asteroids of all sizes, by a perfectly unhindered solar wind, and by cosmic radiations of all sorts. That is the Lunar surface, made of a type that likely covers several billion square kilometers on hundreds of natural satellites in our Solar System alone.
Paradoxically, the astronomical/astronautical community has been unable to support its own cause since the launch of the Sputnik. Nobody has gone anywhere because of effective lobbying by planetary geologists or solar scientists.
Bignami’s op-ed appears to be yet another example of how bizarrely brainy arguments about going to Mars vs returning to the Moon have succeeded so far only in keeping the human race in low Earth orbit, literally going around in circles instead of literally reaching for the stars.