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Comment: Re:Exports for a struggling economy (Score 2) 522

by Delwin (#46991529) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches
The RD-180 is used by ULA for all their heavy lift rockets.

ULA has a stockpile of them that will last at least a few years but until the SLS with the F1-B or the Falcon Heavy with the Merlin fly the RD-180 is the only heavy lift engine we have.

The closest second is the Falcon 9 which is already using Merlin engines but it is running about 40% of the lift capiability of the largest ULA rockets. If the Falcon Heavy is ever launched then SpaceX will have a launch vehicle that can finally put the RD-180 to rest. Likewise when the SLS launches it could replace the heavy lift rockets from ULA but it's not being designed for LEO operations.

Comment: Re:governement approach can waste money trying (Score 1) 333

by Delwin (#46942237) Attached to: NASA, France Skeptical of SpaceX Reusable Rocket Project
NASA had it's biggest successes when von Braun was a leading force within it. Without a genius level mover like that in their ranks the bureaucracy takes over and huge projects will not be what they could be.

That said they're still good at smaller projects and basic research.

Comment: Re:Economic reasons (Score 1) 384

by Delwin (#46878629) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire
#1 - There are a number of fabs in the US. Interestingly semiconductors is one of the items that you need a truly skilled workforce to fabricate and thus it's still cheaper to do it at home.

#2 - ... that's a real problem.

#3: Rare earth elements. China's already got a stranglehold and it's already been doing things like banning export to Japan. In return Japan has been doing a lot of research into reduction or elimination of rare earth elements. We should be OK on this one.

Oil though... That's a real problem. EROEI is already way below peak and it's only getting worse. We're going to need to invent either really good batteries (which are in research now) combined with extensive deployment of wind/solar (which is happening now) or we're going to need some serious advancements in the nuclear realm - either small reactor technology, thorium, or fusion. Barring any of those we're going to need some kind of currently sci-fi/fringe power source to actually work (Hydrino, LENR, zero-point, etc).

If we don't get one of those three, or better all of them, then yea. We're screwed.

Comment: Re:We need a US base in the Ukraine (Score 1) 623

by Delwin (#46516669) Attached to: Russian Army Spetsnaz Units Arrested Operating In Ukraine
If we don't enforce the treaty we are partner to then any hope of keeping Iran from getting nukes is out the window. Likewise the last few decades of keeping nukes out of the hands of those that would be more than happy to smuggle them into the US and use them on us is gone too. Would you still feel this way when Boston, DC or LA become a mushroom cloud because a suicide bomber upgraded from chemical to nuclear explosives?

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