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Comment Re:we've taken (Score 1) 111

yes we might quibble on the precise definition of 'explode', but the fundamental problem with solid rockets is the reactants that burn are right beside each other in a solid motor, and if it fails, theres no way to shut it down, and its failure mode is highly likely to take the rest of the rocket with it, either by rapid unscheduled disassembly, or a pillar of flame torching parts of the rocket.

and as for the safety record of the saturn V vs the shuttle, just because the saturn V didnt have the opportunity to rack up the number of flights the shuttle did dosent make it less reliable, indeed, the saturn V has a perfect mission record, despite losing a engine on the apollo 13 launch. such is the benefit of more benign failure modes in liquid rockets.

and as to your point in (2), thats like saying that there has never been a scenario like that except for that one time when it killed 7 astronauts but lets ignore that one because NASA forgot how delicate the solids are. oh, and saving the military money by making the shuttle design less reliable with tacked on solid boosters to prop up ICBM manufacturers sure sounds like a design compromise for political considerations to me.

while im sure the argument that using parts from a established industrial base to save money in building a new rocket sounds nice, in practice using those parts necessitate a design similar to that which came before, with its design flaws and comprimises and resultant high costs. what needs to happen is a clean sheet design, to learn from the mistakes of the previous generation, and thats what spacex is doing, while NASA is taking bits from the previous generation, and not learning the lessons.

Comment Re:we've taken (Score 1) 111

spacex interjected itself into the US space program, by being damn good at what they do, for a fraction of the cost of a NASA developed launch vehicle. theres a lot to be said for having a launch vehicle being developed with the design decisions being free of political influence, and having most of the parts of your spacecraft developed under one roof, and not in many different senators districts around the country, in a myriad of porkbarrel projects. a specific example would be solid rocket boosters that were shoehorned onto the space shuttle, the now defunct ares, and the in development Space Launch System. this is to appease the senator for the state of Utah, and the contractor ATK in his state, who also make solid rockets for the military, for missiles and the like. the problem is, once you light solid rockets, you cant turn them off, and if they fail, they usually go boom, and take the rest of your launch vehicle with them. this is what happened in the 86 challenger shuttle disaster. in contrast, if liquid rockets engines fail, its usually a non-catastrophic failure and the fuel valves close. and if you have multiple engines, they can compensate for the lost engine by burning for longer, if you design your rocket for that. which the falcon 9 is. the fact is, you are ill informed, and wrong, spacex has multiple commercial clients, and in fact has a commercial satellite hitching a ride along with the NASA resupply mission on this very flight. sir, you need to GET SOME KNOWLEDGE ALL UP IN YO FACE. WHHHAAAAA.

Comment pop (Score 4, Interesting) 111

i watched the launch, and on the closeup view of the engines from spacex, one of those engines definitely went pop at 1:20 into the flight. you can see the debris coming off. its unmistakable. i guess its a testament to the value of having the ability to sustain a engine failure and still get into orbit.

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