Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SLS Unjustified

Thank you Hop.
it would take between 8 and 12 launches of an augmented SLS to get a fully fueled manned Mars vehicle into space and prepared for departure to Mars.
Only if they do it wrong. This is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 billion for a single mission. This is never going to happen since it would be following a much better plan.
Human missions to deep space destinations require large amounts of mass in LEO because we need to protect and preserve the lives of the crew, take all consumables and fuel for the journey, and carry the equipment and supporting machines needed to carry out the mission objectives.
No. We only need enough mass to get the job done. More mass is more cost. Most equipment should be sent ahead and waiting. Nothing need be stationed in LEO.
No existing commercial launch vehicle (nor any anticipated in the near future) has the launch capacity of the SLS.
The SLS doesn't have any launch capacity yet. Other vehicles with greater capacity could actually become reality sooner.
as no Falcon Heavy has yet to fly, we have no idea of what its cost would be.
$90m already published.
[FH] would consist of 27 engines, all of which must burn for the same duration and thrust level.
Not exactly. The central core, with crossfeed will burn longer and engine out is part of the design. The N-1 failures means nothing.
[The purpose of SLS] was to make sure that the vehicle would be built and to assure that our national capability in this area would not be lost.
You have just entered the spin zone! Translation, it's about old space jobs over new space jobs.
[SLS] exists and it will provide a capability that we can use to go back to the Moon and to the planets beyond.
No it doesn't exist. No it doesn't provide a capability without new equipment they haven't even started. Orion can only splash down on earth and perhaps not even then from some sources.

Dragon 2 exists and can land anywhere including on mars. FH is made from existing cores and will be flying soon. It has been delayed by other priorities but that situation has drawn to a close.

Zubrin reviews Spudis.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Poverty literally kills. Policy increases poverty.

Obama crows about the great job he's done when in reality he is a murderer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Delegate count

Trump needs about 60%.

Mars problems

Let's see.

1) We don’t have reliable life support machines.

Redundancy and easy part replacement should mitigate this. Parts can be produced on site so we don't have to ship parts from earth. It's chemistry mostly. We know what to do. It's just about good implementation.

2) We don’t know how to land heavy spacecraft on Mars.

10 to 50 ton payloads are not required, just nice to have. We could have a successful program with no more payload than we can already do. More payload isn't about capability; it's about lowering costs.

3) Radiation exposure.

Not the problem it's presented to be. Yes it must be mitigated and can be.

If this is the best arguments against they're pretty feeble.

Trump'S VP

Who will he pick?

Yes, this is startling

Education is now the enemy.

Financial boat anchor

Thomas Sowell has pointed out that regulation is a form of ownership. Germany is one of Europe's leading financial states. So this is an issue our next president should address.

This would guarantee a Trump presidency

Would Sanders do it?

Pass the popcorn.

New apartment

I'm moving into a new apartment Thursday. Don't know about internet access yet, but I'll work it out.

I haven't seen it yet, but trust it's nice from what others have told me. It includes utilities for $358 a month. I've been on a list for about a year now and it's finally come through. It's on second floor with elevator at end of hall with a laundry on the floor. Apparently a good size apartment. I'll make do.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Can Trump get to 1237 deligates? Yes, and it may not matter.

The magic number of delegates needed to nominate is 1237 (50% +1). Can Trump get there in pledged delegates? Yes, he has a very good chance, if he suffers no more unexpected losses. However, let's assume he does get there... if he has 1237 or more delegates, he's the nominee - except, he may not be. Here's why; Republican Rule 40 (b);
(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States
and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business
What this actually means is that in order for a name to be places in nomination, a candidate must have the delegates from at least 8 states certify that the candidate has a majority (50% +1) of that states delegates. Trump has won more than 8 states by enough to have majority control of the deligates from that state, BUT, the key is "a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support...". Delegates pledged to Trump are pledged to vote for him on the first ballot, but they are not pledged to provide rule 40 (b) certification. Therefor, a few delegates in key states could simply decline to so certify, and having 1237 delegates becomes irrelevant because the candidate's name can't be placed in nomination. Cruz has seemed to focus particular attention on states like South Carolina (where Trump won all the delegates) that Trump needs as part of meeting rule 40 (b), which makes me suspect this particular play might be in his arsenal if Trump reaches 1237 delegates.

However, it's been said that this rule, passed in 2012, can be changed. It can, by the delegates on the rules committee.  To do so would requite the support of the Secretary of the Convention, who is, this year, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. What it would not actually require is the support of a majority of delegates on the rules committee (this is true of any rule) because it can be passed by voice vote. A voice vote is simply the yeas and nays shouting out their vote, and then the convention secretary (Ryan) decides which side has more, in his opinion alone - no matter the actual result. In case anyone thinks this (a convention secretary ignoring the actual result to get what he wants) is far-fetched, I'll mention that this is exactly how rule 40 (b) was passed in the first place in 2012; the convention secretary was speaker of the house John Bohner, and here's the video;
Note that the teleprompter had the results BEFORE Boehner ruled on the result of the vote. Noted also that the "no" vote seemed louder.

So, what can we really expect from the convention? My guess; Cruz will do all he can to stop Trump, even if Trump has the needed 1237 delegates. Once Cruz has done so, Paul Ryan will lift rule 40 (b), and then Cruz will find himself in a very interesting position; while some delegates are loyal to him, a great many are not; they are loyal to their state party bosses - and Cruz will find his own delegate totals shrinking as some of his delegates, and some of Trump's, defect to other candidates.  Paul Ryan himself may be one, though he's denied it just as vociferously as he denied he was running for Speaker of the House. Other possibilities are failed cantidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich - I note that Rubio wrote letters to the sates in which he'd won deligates asking that they remain committed to him.

My prediction, then, is that if this goes past the first ballot, the nominee will be neither Trump or Cruz. Instead, we'll end up with a party establishment loyalist of some sort - and a landslide loss in November.


Is Cruz a sith lord?


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Upgraded Falcon Heavy as an alternative to SLS

At the moment, there's a lot of discussion involving SLS, particularly about how unaffordable it is, and the difficulty of low flight rates (reliability, etc).

The counter argument is we need it due to its large payload capability and high-ISP upper stage. The latter is particularly important for anything beyond LEO. An example is the difference in launch capacity to LEO vs. GTO for Falcon 9 and Atlas V; Atlas has a much larger GTO capacity, as a percentage of its LEO capacity, than the F9, due to the high ISP of its LOX/H2 Centaur upper stage. Ker/LOX works well for a launcher, but for in-space use, its lower ISP is a serious drawback.

A better example would be Falcon Heavy vs. Delta IV heavy. Using Falcon Heavy figures from before the Falcon 9 V 1.2 version currently in use (which has oxidizer subcooling, higher thrust engines, etc) because updated figures aren't available, we see 53 tons to LEO, vs 21 tons to GTO (Geosynchronous transfer orbit) so the fraction of Leo capacity to GTO is 39%. For Delta IV Heavy, we see  28 tons to LEO, 14 tons to GTO (50%).

These differences are magnified for interplanetary launches.

Therefor, the argument goes, you need the SLS and its expedition upper stage (essentially an enlarged Centaur) for Mars missions.

However, there's a theoretical alternative; SpaceX's in-development Raptor engine, which uses methane/LOX. That combination does not have the ISP of hydrogen/LOX, but methane is denser, so you save mass in tankage to the point of nearly breaking even. The Raptor would enable a Raptor-based MethLox upper stage for Falcon Heavy.
With such a stage (stretched from the current to allow for increased propellant mass) you'd have a very different beast - a high ISP upper stage with significantly more propellant.

By essentially shifting mass to the upper stage, you do away with much of the motive to crossfeed. You also end up staging at lower altitude and velocity, making recovery is the 3 1st stages easier. And in so doing, you shed a lot of mass earlier - mass you no longer have to use prop to accelerate.

The big impact is on payload; people who can crunch the numbers better than I can get around 129 tons to LEO for this configuration, and it'd have a better LEO to GTO fraction (and thus a better LEO to Mars fraction) than Falcon 9. Not quite as high a fraction as the envisioned version of SLS, but very close.

A further upgrade would entail dissolving hydrogen in the methane (this gives an ISP boost, and methane, like propane, is easy to dissolve hydrogen in).  

What you would have at the end of all this is a Falcon Heavy with a Raptor upper stage, with a payload capacity very close to that of SLS's claimed capacity; 130 tons for SLS block II, vs. 123 tons (expendable mode) for Falcon Heavy/Raptor Upper stage with straight methane (dissolving some hydrogen in the methane would boost ISP and thus payload, but I can't find figures on how much).

Falcon Heavy could have its Raptor upper stage within a few years if it's in development now. Compare that to SLS, which won't have the first flight of SLS block I (56 tons to LEO) until about 2020, with Block II waiting at least until (per the budget) 2033.

This Falcon Heavy with a Raptor upper stage may also not be as theoretical as I assume; it negates the need for crossfeed, and I note that SpaceX cancelled its plans to develop crossfeed for Falcon Heavy. Also, the US Air Force is partially funding Raptor development, and the contracts stipulate that Raptor is for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy upper stages. 

Until I figure it out

This site can’t be reached

The webpage at http://www.transterrestrial.com/

I can go anywhere else... netsh winsock reset, doesn't resolve the issue. I'm using for DNS.

Update: looks like it's up again.