Thursday, October 31, 2013

China to beat Bigelow?

One way to get to mars is to turn a profit in LEO first. I expected Bigelow to be first leasing space on their Alpha Station. I still do since I don't believe it will take ten years as the Chinese propose.

Why 39A matters

It's all about holding SpaceX back because they can't compete otherwise.

In the almost as bad as SLS department...
...the MPCV, which has already absorbed an incredible $7 billion through 2012, while foregoing the rather important necessity of developing a service module,  is set to receive a steady allotment of roughly $1 billion per year, virtually for the foreseeable future.
What did it take to make a Dragon?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The "because I said so" plan

“Nothing in this Act ... shall be construed to require that an individual terminate coverage..."
Like saying, "I will never, ever do [destructive behavior] again... I mean it this time." Only worse, because ACA was written in the bizarro world of unreality and can't work in the real world. It has consequences and no amount of words change those consequences.

For mentally ill lefties: words speak louder than actions.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GOP quislings

RINO is too good a term for them. Either we fight them or find a new place to form a more perfect union.

But they don't hang

They jump from no accountability to another like monkeys.

Isn't it time we ended the government protection racket?

The slavery issue of the 21st century is effectively Big Government

An absolute must read. It's important to get the definition of smaller government correct.

I am a potted plant

Musk’s 12-15 year prediction for crewed flights to Mars is closer to reality than anyone thought.
I'm not anyone? Once the Mars One lander was ready which could be done in perhaps 3 years, we could go to mars then as everything else already exists. We don't even need the Falcon Heavy. The F9 is good enough to put a ship based on the Sundancer in orbit.

It needs to be explained

Obama should explain to Cruz that a freshman senator is not qualified to be president. /sarc

I've not heard him debate, but I hope this is true...
He’s very bright, he’s very articulate — and he’s very hard for others to debate.
The Democrats own ObamaCare but watch how the media tries to turn it around (and some members of the stupid party help them.) Let the suffering (and death) begin, because we tried to stop it.

Would you like to travel at 3C?

Click on the down arrow.

Imagine that one day we could travel at that speed and landed on some far off world and all we discovered was this.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Raptor four times the power of Merlin

Not just for the upper stage either. Another game changer. It makes other companies (and countries) look like they're standing still. Via Zimmerman.

The Raptor is a methane/Lox engine suitable for some future mars launch vehicle using ISRU fuel. But of course, it's going to be used in other vehicles long before that.

Update: More. Rand is also on it.

My final settlement charter

Short and to the point.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A woman with gravitas

"protecting incumbents won’t protect our freedom"
You'd think people would know that? Go Liz!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elbow room

A discussion of space mining introduces the idea that the busybodies on earth may make mining in space more palatable...
If you are a big mining operation, you could spend fifteen years putting a mine into place then have the government arbitrarily say "Oh, by the way, we are increasing your royalties. They are now going to be doubled..." Or there is a sacred indigenous burial ground that no one ever knew about that you are going to have to pay a tribute to, or stop operations because of... In some ways, the resources in space have a set of risks that are lower.
Assuming they don't let the politicians get their grubby hands on that as well?
Many of our investors ask us "Tell me how this is going to change the world, I'm not interested in a better improvement or percentage point." They are already rich. They want something that is going to change the world.
Colonizing will change the world and provide a market for water and more in space.

Bingo. How to understand the elite republicans’s not “smaller [govt.] than we have now” it’s “smaller [govt.] than the Democrats want it to be in the future but bigger than now”.
Smaller means smaller! Damn it!

they know so much that isn't so

This speech could use an update for our times. 2014 would be it's 50th anniversary.

I think we need to understand that ObamaCare is a red herring. The problem is elite republicans that are ok with a growing government. The 'shutdown' has highlighted who they are so they can be targeted for removal.

I hope ObamaCare does defund itself, but the democrats have made a fine art of never letting a crisis go to waste. The best thing about ObamaCare is it hurts the idiots that voted for it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sarah nails the bastards in her best article ever.

Read it.

Unicorns are really dancing in the flame duct?

SpaceX points out that Blue Origin doesn't have anything to fly yet. Pad 39A is meant for launches to orbit and the space station.

I wish I had the nerve

Things that can't be seen

Truth can be blocked by the environment you are in. So how is it that those not in such environments are just as blinded?

The importance of no

Democrats called the republicans the party of no. Did they realize they were giving a compliment?

Control freaks always want more. Take for example the NASA CCIDC (Commercial Crew Integrated Design Contract) which uses safety as the red herring for taking control away from private companies. They would have gotten away with it except for one thing: Elon said no.

He did it very diplomatically, "We may not bid on it."

NASA got the message and their plans for universal domination were foiled (for this round. Control freaks never give up.)

The sad thing is, I didn't hear any of the other contractors come out and say the same thing which they should have. I am greatly saddened that these principles are not more universally held.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Grasshopper retired

Because it taught SpaceX the things they wanted to know...
The October 7 flight by the company’s Grasshopper test vehicle ... was the last planned flight of that vehicle...
However, that certainly isn't the end of things...
Falcon 9-R (“Falcon Niner”) first stage equipped with flight-weight, retractable landing legs [will have] test flights at Spaceport America in New Mexico starting in late December.
They're like the terminator... "it will not stop..." until they've figured out reusability.

Could Bezos slip past the finish line first?

Dark horse Branson ... springs a surprise, “We do have another idea, which we’re going to announce in about four months’ time [around next January.]"

Did those old movies get this right?...

From SpaceX...
That relight also went well, however we exceeded the roll control authority of the attitude control thrusters. This particular stage was not equipped with landing gear which could have helped stabilize the stage like fins would on an aircraft [or old movie rocket.]

It's all about the abuse of power

If you can't sell it and someone else [in this case the EPA] tells you what you can and can't do with it, then you don't own it (at least not completely.) While some may be good, in all cases regulation takes away property rights.

No surprise, the EPA wants to expand their control over you by removing...
the limiting word “navigable” from “navigable waters of the United States”
The next step would be "any land exposed to air."

We have had a mechanism for dealing with polluters since the beginning of time. If someone damages you, you can sue them... no EPA required. Or you could just let the community know and boycott them.

I especially like laws that self correct behavior such as the one that says your intake water must be downstream of your exhaust water.

Friday, October 18, 2013

My broken record

Is playing again at Rand's blog. I should add that the article he refers to is one of the best in highlighting the mess of SLS and the opportunity costs lost.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's starting to get cold

Now would be a good time to head to Phoenix except I've decided to pay off my last three payments on the Jimmy so I can put myself back on schedule. I've got a specific goal to reach by January which I'm not going to make if I don't do something now. It's a good thing I'm on the shallow end of the curve. By July I've got to get the engine humming.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why neither side will compromise

"The purpose of Obamacare got nothing to do with your health, and nothing to do with your insurance," [Rush Limbaugh] said. "It's about building a permanent, undefeatable, always-funded Democrat majority."
How can any deny this? That's what democrats do and it will destroy America because we will run out of 'other people money' eventually.

Losing this fight is game over.

Update: No, they didn't compromise. They caved. It's hard to see any strategy that wins in the future. Picking up a senate seat in CO is not going to mean much even if they do.

Welcome to the undefeatable, always-funded Democrat majority future. I'm putting that out there so I can be proved wrong... I hope.

Regarding a third party... it might be useful to clarify when polls paint with a broad brush... GOP polls down? Is it because of the tea party or the elites? Doesn't matter, the MSM can bash them either way.

When did freedom and liberty become an extremist position? "Give me liberty or give me death" "Sure pal, here's death..."

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm looking for an apartment in Prescott

I went to Las Vegas, not to gamble but because it was on my way from Springerville to Sacramento.

Drove up and down the strip once then ate at a mediocre Chinese restaurant. I was tired and it was dark when I pressed on and I couldn't remember the route so I downloaded Navigator for my not so smart phone. It sent me north on 95 (I should have gone south to avoid the mountain passes.) Then at the entrance to CA-120 my phone would not connect all the way to where 120 meets 395.

Spooky... CA-120 dips and turns so your headlights are mostly useless. Then every half mile or so you get a sign with an animal on it. Never the same animal it seems. It has cattle crossing gates (some real, some just paint.) Did I mention the temperature was 27 F. and I was also worried about black ice? /...spooky.

CA-108 on the other hand was much better than the goat path it used to be. I waited for daylight and refueled first though.

Sonora has become a parking lot. Not going to spend any time there.

I first stopped at my sister and her husband in Lockeford and spent a few days there. They're always too busy for me to come around but when it's time to leave they won't let me go so I spend a few more days with them than I plan.

Then I went to Sacramento and gave my ex a call. Unlike all other times I've called she was speechless. No warmth at all. She could not have made it more plain. So I didn't bother to visit.

I spent the night in Sacramento but woke up around 2am and realized my stepson was probably at his second job. I called and we got together. He is so big and has shaved his head. He's doing well enough and we will get together some time when I can meet his wife (married last Feb.)

Then I went back to Lockeford to talk with my brother-in-law about where I might settle. He suggested Prescott where I'd never been before. So I drove there and spent a few days exploring. I went by way of Bakersfield this time. Much better.

In Prescott, I saw Gravity in a theater with plush recliners. Very nice. I would have stayed longer in the Prescott area but my money was running low. Next payday my mother will need some money so my days on the road will have to start up again the following payday.

I definitely want to get an apartment in that area. I fell in love. All of the convenience of a large city, but it's not. Plus, if you are not heading to Prescott, I-17 or 95 do not take you through it.

Shhh... don't tell anybody about this best kept secret in AZ.

Overcoming sensible objections

I'm not alone in my concerns for the Mars One plan. I don't think they will raise more than a third of their funding from a reality show and I think dependence on life support equipment from earth makes it a suicide mission. But these are objections that can be addressed and overcome. I would like to respond to those and others.

1) Does not have existing flight ready hardware.

Correct, but so what? It's not like we haven't anything at all and we already have a good idea of the cost: 3 landers, 2 transit ships, 1 F9/Dragon to orbit. One billion for vehicles and one billion for fuel putting the first dozen on mars. We should add landers for precursor missions to preposition supplies to improve chance of survival.

2) Four colonists will not have the specialized skills to survive.

In principal correct, but not entirely. A single person could have all the skills but more is definitely better. I suggest a dozen for the first landing and another 3 dozen two years later. Four dozen allows for a complete industrial ecology (meaning the foundation exists for everything else) with plenty of overlap in skills.

3) Funding: not enough and not in time.

They do not need all the funding up front. If they did happen to get a lump sum of $6b at any time, that would be enough to pay for everything using just the interest, the $6b would exist forever to provide indefinite funding. $300 million per year is more than enough. That would provide four resupply mission each launch window for instance. The transit vehicles are reusable so only have a one time cost other than consumables. Launch to orbit may be $20m per person today but simply increasing the number put in orbit on a single vehicle (using Falcon Heavy instead of F9 for example) could reduce that cost to 20% or 10%.

4) Can't land in the martian atmosphere.

We've already landed in that atmosphere. This is an engineering challenge. Nothing more.

5) They can't handle the isolation.

Give me a break. So don't isolate them. Four dozen in two years with plenty of work to do takes care of most of this concern. Send more and often.

6) Environment will kill them.

Some of them? Probably. All of them? Not likely. We've already overcome harsher environments. With proper preparation, old age will be the most common killer.

7) Landing too far from supplies (or vice-versa.)

This is why human landers should include a small electric vehicle with a battery range of about 50km. This is not nearly as complicated as the lunar buggy. It's just a small tractor most of which is the batteries pulling a very strong but low mass unfolded trailer for the astronauts. They land with two weeks of supplies but will likely not be more than a few hours from their destination. They will have solar panels to recharge the batteries to extend their range. They could even drag the solar panels behind the trailer (mitigating for dust) for continuous daylight range.

Another possible mitigation: We keep supplies in orbit for after humans land. If they happen to land too far from ground supplies we send in more supplies closer to where they did land. In any case, there is no reason we can't demonstrate the required precision.

8) Not a big enough gene pool.

Semen will be relatively easy to send.

9) Perchlorates.

Not deadly. Chlorine and oxygen can both kill you but we do find them useful as well. Take along a biochemist to explain it to you.

10) If we don't think of everything they will die before being resupplied.

Wrong on multiple levels. We only need to think of enough things, not every thing. For everything we do think of we should have multiple solutions and always a solution that can be provided for using ISRU. This is one of the obvious flaws in the Mars One plan that is easily solved and will likely be given the time they will have before sending anyone.

11) Funding may be cut off after the first colonists land.

Absolutely. So getting them to independence ASAP is vital, but does not require as many colonists as some naysayers would demand. Also, they will never be fully cut off. Communication with earth will allow them the depth of knowledge to help overcome any challenges they may face. Plus they will have all the resources they need withing walking distance (but they'll use trucks) to grow their society after being given a proper start. Even limited funding would be enough to send other seeds and such for diversity they may need.

12) Isolation will kill them.

Yes, I'm repeating item 5 because it's being hyped by the naysayers and I have more to say. If they have work to keep them busy, work they give themselves to improve their lives because they have ownership, they will not feel isolated. It's an old story... "Martha, too many people are coming to our valley. I think we should head west for some more elbow room. There must be at least a dozen families in this valley." Most people today aren't used to this level of isolation but even today hundreds of thousands live in communities of less than 100 individuals. The solution to isolation is we send more people and stop wringing our hands about it.

13) It's just nonsense!

Such a strong negative assertion. Doing it is the best way to answer such smugness.

14) Dust! Toxic abrasive dust.

You're giving me shivers. How could we ever deal with dust? First realize that everything is both toxic and abrasive. "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Not sure if that's right, but the fact is we deal with toxic and abrasive on earth all the time. We can do it on mars. This is why I propose the 50m Zubrin Hobby farm be directly accessible from the habitat and would seal out any dust (other than human skin which can be filtered out if desired.) The airlock that does go directly to the martian surface will let in dust. A combination of positive pressure and a water bath/wash for the environment suit (which you leave in the airlock, it's not required in the habitat of course) keeps the dust from being any sort of problem. This is not high tech. and is easily fixed if it does somehow break down (fans do break occasionally.)

15) Radiation. Gravity.

Already answered numerous times. Read my blog. Not the big deal some make it out to be. Even the naysayers have to acknowledge that it takes years to kill even without mitigation. Sudden high doses of radiation are not what we're talking about. The levels that are known to exist are easily dealt with.

More... I see we already have a structure as a foundation for real estate development.

Missile crisis? Not with today's politics

Iranian missiles in Venezuela in range of U.S.A.

Walmart conducts a social experiment

Do results matter? via Rand.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lansdorp disagrees with history

As Earth's own colonization history has proved, placement and subsequent expansion of a settlement has essentially led to ownership of that land.
(My emphasis.) If Lansdorp is successful in putting colonists on mars his disagreement with history will have little impact.

Abundant water on mars with enough solar panels (which can be produced ISRU) for power makes mars colonization inevitable.

Getting to mars is difficult; Living on mars need not be.
"If you have a Falcon Heavy, and you have a Dragon, and you have a Bigelow module, then all of a sudden, life gets interesting," Pittman told NBC News. "It changes the whole equation here."
Well yeah.
Strickland said the alternate scenario could lead to the establishment of a base on Mars in the 2030s, at a cost of "tens of billions of dollars instead of hundreds of billions."
Actually, perhaps as little as two billion would land the first dozen colonists. While independent depots certainly make sense they aren't required to get colonists to mars. The ships for orbital transfer are themselves depots. They sit in orbit (with a profit potential as lease-able space) until fully fueled with enough delta V to make the trip using storeable kerosene and LOX. Ion engines with internally stored fuel provide a safety margin for mars orbit insertion and returning the ships empty to earth for reuse. Clarification: The bulk of your chemical fuel used for orbital transfer is no longer subject to collision loss. Your ion fuel stored internally is only lost if the entire ship is lost to a collision.

For a dozen colonists you need 3 landers in mars orbit ($150m ea.) 2 BA330 class ships for orbit transfer ($200m ea. or less) 2 F9/Dragon to orbit ($100m ea.) The rest is fuel cost to orbit which comes down in future trips because there are cheaper sources than taking LOX from the earth's surface.

The first trip could begin in as little as three years. Strong property rights pays for everything at a significant profit. Colonists risking their lives should go for free and arrive with wealth for future development independent of any enslaving organization. We could finally attempt true free enterprise with contracts replacing the need for government. [This last sentence has caused cognizant dissonance in control freaks but what can you do?]
Unless and until you get the government on board, it's really tough to make progress.
No. The problem is the psychological block that says government is required when it is not. 2 billion is within the reach of a single company or even individual and the profit potential is much higher even if it takes a dozen years to realize (but doesn't have to.) The initially small colony on mars can be self governing only needing supplies from earth mainly for survival in the early years.

Will it take a Russian orbital station to teach us about free enterprise in space?

Does concentrated solar heat stored in salts have implications for a mars colony?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Criminal violation of trust

They don't own it. We do. Prison is too good for them (I'm including the media, for ignorance is no excuse.)

The GOP has many faults. The most important is there inability to communicate. It's not like they never had a good example.