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Comment Re:Mojave? (Score 2) 409

There was a bird on a Shuttle when it launched at least once. That bird got the scare of its life. It also almost certainly died. Another pair of birds got hit by a shuttle and fell into the exhaust. So yes there are animals that got scared or died from the launches. That alone isn't reason enough to stop. Also Falcon has a minimal amount of toxic chemicals, at least compared to most launch vehicles. Brownsville isn't ideal, but it's not bad if their purpose is to avoid some of the bureaucracy--they won't get away from it completely, they'll still have to deal with the FAA, more in fact than they do now. Better than Mojave or anything inland by a great deal.

Comment Re:It's not just the textbooks (Score 1) 446

In my first year of college I went to a branch campus of my university. They decided to have a 'First Annual' math contest for a modest prize. I had competed and done well at high school level and figured I could get the cash. The last problem was misworded so that it had an uninteresting answer (I think it was zero) ON my answer sheet, I answered both the problem as written and the stated how it should have been written and that answer. The other problems were also easy and I collected the prize. There was no second annual.

Comment Re:Time for a launch loop (Score 1) 246

That fully redundant system you designed costs $1 billion to launch a 10lb payload. There are several groups that could all be at fault here. CEO (makes decisions involving costs), Management (Choosing to cut corners, bad decisions), Engineers (bad design and/or bad procedures), Technicians (not following procedures), Manufacturing (crappy products)

Comment Re:Doubt it would make any difference (Score 1) 416

The correct response is to vote for Z. Serves two purposes: 1) vote of no confidence in the two main parties' candidates and 2) gives confidence to more people to reject the two parties. If third party votes remain limited, people choose to not vote in greater numbers or do the way you do--choose a lesser evil. However, it's in the interest of both evils to continue the system. Yes occasionally they lose, but they win often enough in the system to keep them in a modicum of power. With three of more parties, their power diminishes and *gasp* compromise might be necessary.

Comment Re:Class Difference (Score 1) 671

It's amazing how many military officers have history and/or political science degrees. For the most part it does them very well, but they often end up way out of their element in Space Command. Then, it matters how they treat their subordinates, who can save their asses. I think a lot of officers with those degrees realize that they are well-prepared for a career in the military and little else and make the military a career while those with technical degrees have options. Therefore, senior levels have an abundance of history majors.

Comment Re:Solid rockets - Real Answer (Score 1) 121

Actually they unzip down the side of the case. They stop at the aft segment though. That's enough to release the pressure though. RSO hands are not going to be anywhere near the button unless something is going wrong. But yeah half a second at most when the decision is made-transmitting the signal and propagating it thru the system will likely take as long. And NASA calls them RSOs, but they call themselves (M)FCOs (Mission Flight Control Officers)

Comment Re:Solid rockets (Score 1) 121

I thought all the extinguishable solid rocket motors were the hybrids-a solid propellant ignited by a liquid/gaseous oxidizer. Stop the flow of the oxidizer and the engine turns off. Hybrids are usually not grouped with pure solids. Most (or all I believe) solid propellants in use today mix and the fuel and oxidizer and just require an ignition source and then it is a self-sustaining operation,at least inside the rockets itself, which is why they can not be turned off.

Comment Re:Hydrochloric acid? (Score 1) 121

The LH2 by itself is the best fuel by Isp, but it comes at the price of enlarged tanks to hold it. There are some other fuels that provide a slightly better comparison based on dry mass for tanking and engine and such. LH2/LO2 technology is pretty well understood and fairly reliable but cryogenics provide other problems. The right choice of propellant depends on the tradeoffs.

Comment Re:Shuttle SRBs are neither cheap nor reliable (Score 2) 121

Solids do have some advantages over liquids. Primarily acceleration. But for human payloads, liquid rocket engines make more sense--particularly if an accident does occur, the engines can be shut off, allowing escape rockets to take the passengers away from the rest of the rocket. This is the Ares rocket's biggest problem--there are periods of time where the escape rocket may not be able to escape the solid vehicle underneath it..

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 542

The solution is to have the majority of countries, or at least those with the bulk of the money, blackball those countries who try to low ball everything. Additionally, to write their tax codes such that corps in their own country who try to avoid taxes still have to pay. The goal at the end is that each country would have a roughly equal chance to attract companies, and a framework for taxation of multi-nationals can also be achieved and be somewhat equitable. I agree that it should be a world wide leveling. But it also means nailing the cheapest bastards. Because that hurts the corporations that take advantage of the cheapest bastards you have to go after both the countries and the corporations. And given that most politicians are paid more by the corporations than by the countries, it is unfortunately highly unlikely to happen.

Comment Re:What a typical waste (Score 2, Interesting) 401

The fact that Apple has used the 'i' in their product names, mean that Video Pod is unlikely to dilute the Apple trademark. No one would confuse Video Phone with the Apple product, I say likewise for the word Pod. These cases should be quickly tossed out. Not associated with the legal system as I don't what little reputation I do have to suffer greatly.

Comment Re:Headline FAIL (Score 1) 178

Trust me, NASA's ability to identify & estimate risks is sub par at best. But they are getting better. Those you listed are among the chief risks. But the biggest risk in space flight has always been human error. Mainly because you don't launch unless you've addressed the external environmental risks. Stress just increases the chance for human error. All that means though is that the chance of a catastrophic failure goes up from about 1.6% per launch to 3 or 4%. Hopefully that's all. NASA will probably says those odds are more like 500 to 1 or maybe in the range from 75-150 to 1 (they'll blame most of that on micrometeorites and orbital debris), but they said the chance of a Challenger disaster was 100,000 to 1.

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