Author Topic: Which way to space??  (Read 685 times)

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Offline Chieftain

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Which way to space??
« on: November 25, 2013, 08:40:23 AM »
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/23/which-way-to-space/

Flights of fancy may launch the industry’s future



MOJAVE, CALIF. — The air is so clear the mountains in the distance look almost fake, as if added digitally. The desert floor is runway-flat, with a few Joshua trees popping up randomly, like lost cowboys. The dominant feature is the sky, preposterously vast, beckoning test pilots, rocketeers and would-be space travelers.

Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier near here in 1947. Neil Armstrong flew rocket planes. Tom Wolfe immortalized the Antelope Valley’s hard-drinking, sky-shattering aviation pioneers in his book “The Right Stuff.” The place is chockablock with history — and yet it’s the future that everyone’s buzzing about.

DESTINATION UNKNOWN:

This is Part 3 of an occasional series on the future of NASA, the international space station, entrepreneurial space ventures, Mars exploration, planetary science and astronomy.

 

Part 1 -- NASA’s mission improbable.

 

Part 2 -- The skies. The limits.

To hear the dreamers tell it, this is the next Silicon Valley. The Mojave Air and Space Port is the spiritual heart of the industry that people call “New Space.”

Old Space (and this is still the dreamers talking) is slow, bureaucratic, government-directed, completely top-down. Old Space is NASA, cautious and halting, supervising every project down to the last thousand-dollar widget. Old Space is Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman. Old Space coasts on the glory of the Apollo era and isn’t entirely sure what to do next.

New Space is the opposite of all that. It’s wild. It’s commercial, bootstrapping, imaginative, right up to the point of being (and this is no longer the dreamers talking) delusional.

Many of the New Space enterprises are still in the PowerPoint stage, with business models built around spaceships that haven’t yet gone to space. A bold attitude and good marketing aren’t enough to put a vehicle into orbit. The skeptics among the Old Space people will say to the upstarts: Where’s your rocket? How many times have you launched? Can you deliver reliably? Repeatedly? Safely? We put a man on the moon — what have you done?

**SCHNIPP**

Fascinating article that is well worth the read.  For certain our future in space lies well above Low Earth Orbit, and it won't be NASA that gets us beyond it....


Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 02:12:21 PM »
If sombody would have told me in 1989 that before 2013 American would have to call  on Russia to get American's into space, I would have called them a damn liar. 
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Liberal_Spy

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 02:28:39 PM »
Regardless of who leads us there, I am very much looking forward to the future of space exploration. Fusion, dark matter technology and nanotechnology will pave the way.

Offline olde north church

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 04:20:09 PM »
It's all about priorities.  The drag of obamaphones or the future.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline EC

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 04:44:43 PM »
Quote
Which way to space??


Straight up. Just keep on going.
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Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 05:22:35 PM »

Straight up. Just keep on going.
Ah, but that pesky thing called gravity keeps pulling us back down!
"Just because people in positions of authority are stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to go along with it." —Arlo Guthrie

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Offline EC

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 05:24:34 PM »
Ah, but that pesky thing called gravity keeps pulling us back down!

7 miles per second. Nothing can stop you then! :laugh:
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Liberal_Spy

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 05:55:59 PM »

Straight up. Just keep on going.

This made me laugh out loud.  :silly:

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 06:30:18 PM »
Here's a thought to chew on.

The platinum group of metals (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum) all tend to occur together in naturally occurring elemental iron and nickel ores.  It is common enough that you can calculate how many grams of each of those elements is included in each ton of mined iron-nickle ore.  In fact, iron-nickel is a very common elemental combination throughout our own solar system.

Consider the Oort cloud of trillions of pieces of orbital debris, along with the trillions of rocky asteroids in the asteroid belt.  If the platinum group of metals occur at the rate of .002 grams per ton of nickel ore, how much by weight would there be in an iron-nickle planetoid that masses 2 trillion long tons??

And what about harnessing the energy of the sun with fairly simple reflectors to smelt that iron-nickle and start some serious heavy construction in space using materials we don't have to pay to lift out of the gravity well??

The possibilities are simply endless.  At some point we need to quit screwing around in LOE and move up and out.  The ISS is only supposed to last for 20 years or so and the clock is ticking on it.  There is plenty of incentive for private companies to start working toward space, several already are and not just in tourist business either.  I've heard of a couple of prospective mining companies out there with designs on the drawing board right now, and there is no telling what will be going on in another decade or two, or even in another century....




Liberal_Spy

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 06:38:04 PM »
Consider the Oort cloud of trillions of pieces of orbital debris, along with the trillions of rocky asteroids in the asteroid belt.  If the platinum group of metals occur at the rate of .002 grams per ton of nickel ore, how much by weight would there be in an iron-nickle planetoid that masses 2 trillion long tons??


I forget where I read it, but not long ago I was reading an article that said we'll soon be working on technology to snare resource rich objects that orbit close to Earth. That kind of thing is definitely going to be happening in the not so distant future.

Offline EC

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Re: Which way to space??
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 07:03:29 PM »
Here's a thought to chew on.

The platinum group of metals (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum) all tend to occur together in naturally occurring elemental iron and nickel ores.  It is common enough that you can calculate how many grams of each of those elements is included in each ton of mined iron-nickle ore.  In fact, iron-nickel is a very common elemental combination throughout our own solar system.

Consider the Oort cloud of trillions of pieces of orbital debris, along with the trillions of rocky asteroids in the asteroid belt.  If the platinum group of metals occur at the rate of .002 grams per ton of nickel ore, how much by weight would there be in an iron-nickle planetoid that masses 2 trillion long tons??

And what about harnessing the energy of the sun with fairly simple reflectors to smelt that iron-nickle and start some serious heavy construction in space using materials we don't have to pay to lift out of the gravity well??

The possibilities are simply endless.  At some point we need to quit screwing around in LOE and move up and out.  The ISS is only supposed to last for 20 years or so and the clock is ticking on it.  There is plenty of incentive for private companies to start working toward space, several already are and not just in tourist business either.  I've heard of a couple of prospective mining companies out there with designs on the drawing board right now, and there is no telling what will be going on in another decade or two, or even in another century....

I borrowed that concept from "Web between the worlds" and just inverted it to make spaceship hulls.
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