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Comment Re:As did all the others. (Score 1) 152

A design like Airlander 10 is fundamentally a lot more resistant to the common problems that plague blimps during landing, such as susceptability to winds. It has less inherent lift, a smaller cross section, and more ability to anchor itself down with its fans. However, something clearly did not function correctly here. A blimp should never nose down like that. Either lift or thrust was for some reason configured wrong.

Comment Re:Protection (Score 1) 127

Right, so they're going to reengineer every last subcomponent of every last part to withstand cryogenic temperatures, specifically for production in the tiny volumes needed in the space industry? Just for the inconvenience of reusing an upper stage?

Again: contrary to would-be-rocketeer imaginations, launch costs are not the be-all end-all of expenses when it comes to space. Engineering and low-volume production is killer. Mission designers always heavily stress TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of all components, as it's such a key determiner of mission cost. If any plan you propose involves "just reengineer everything", you do not have a plan.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1, Insightful) 127

What you need is: Oxygen, Radiation shielding, Water, Food, Power and some gear.

Yes, it's totally that simple! The ISS has hundreds of thousands of parts, but only because congress insisted on adding thousands of Machines That Go Ping for no good reason. And random objects totally love being submerged in liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. And empty tanks are totally easy to haul all the way to orbit when pre-loaded with fittings and jackets and extra tanks. And building things in space (including bloody *welding*) is such a nothing job that totally costs nothing!

Meanwhile, in the real world...

The tanks will serve as basic habitats etc., you could grow food (wasn't this successfull?) in one of them to replenish your oxygen supply.

((Snicker))

Everything which does not need to be inside, you leave it outside,

((Snicker))

Comment Re:easy peasy (Score 1) 127

What plastic are you thinking of and at what thickness, that is compatible with liquid oxygen, retains flexibility at LOX (or worse, LH) temperatures, and withstands the pressure, all without adding a massive mass penalty? How is the plastic supposed to deform around every little structure in the habitat (aka, not face multiple atmospheres of asymmetric pressure)? What sort of hardware are you thinking of where every last element is just fine with being frozen down to LOX (or worse, LH) temperatures? How many man hours are you thinking of to "rip out" the giant bag through the tiny docking port (after having to detach it where it's carefully bound around each element? Unless you were thinking of having it fully loose inside there, which is even more problematic. Where's it supposed to go on the ISS? If you're doing the (larger) hydrogen tank, how 100% sure are you that you're not making an explosive fuel-air mixture, given that hydrogen burns at just a couple percentage concentration? How positive are you that you've fully vented every last nook and cranny? And on and on and on.

Wet workshops were worked on during the Apollo era. They were ditched for dry workshops because it's easier, cheaper, and more functional.

Comment Re:Too bad they can't use the SS ext. tanks (Score 3, Interesting) 127

Shuttle ETs never got up to a stable orbit. It would have been possible to use the OMS to take them up there, but then the Shuttle would have had basically no payload capacity on that mission.

Of course, that's one of the lesser problems with the concept. Often proposed, often investigated, but never considered worth throwing serious money into.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Informative) 127

And the US did launch a converted stage in the 70s with Skylab (albeit, Skylab was built on Earth and didn't contribute propellant / thrust... a rather different beast ;) ). That is, a dry workshop rather than a wet one.

To a rocket scientist, it's "obvious"; to a habitat designer, it's a nightmare. They're designed for dramatically different needs, and in-space construction is very difficult (and thus expensive). Orbital habitats are not just big shells, they're complex structures that take a lot of work to make. The original proponent of the wet workshop concept, George Mueller (who had worked with Von Braun on the idea), himself had switched to arguing for a dry workshop over a wet one by 1969 (this eventually became Skylab), telling congress that the wet concept had become just an inferior stopgap based on necessity rather that desirability.

There's this concept that launch costs are everything. They're not. A lot of times, it really is just cheaper to spend more in launch costs than to do more engineering, assembly, and/or in-orbit work.

Comment Re: Confused (Score 1) 127

The community in the case of Tesla (which was just an example picked from countless) was the customers. Are you saying that customers are irrelevant for a company? You also seem to be of the view that the "rally around the founder" effect is a good thing, given your comment about the TOR project being replaced.

I don't even know what OpenOffice thing you're talking about, by the way.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ball (Score 1) 219

You're missing the point. The complaint about electronic voting is that someone can compel someone to vote in a particular way when voting isn't in person because they can confirm that the vote was cast in the way that they want, which they can't do at a polling place. But this situation already exists with absentee ballots, when the person is filling out the ballot.

Meanwhile, in Estonian online voting, when you vote online, you can still later go to a polling place and change your vote. Meaning that the person who watched you vote a certain way online still has no clue whether that vote is actually going to be the final say, unless they hold you hostage all of voting day. Which someone could do with likely voters for a given candidate whether online voting exists or not.

This has nothing to do with whether people at the electoral commission can match voters with their votes (which they can't do with either paper or online votes in any decent system).

Comment Often deliberately (Score 1) 141

I switched off Comcast a few months ago to a regional ISP that's deploying fiber-to-the-premises all over the place. Their current offering in my neighborhood is FTTN, which is basically fiber to a box near my house, then DSL from that box to my living room. I have two DSL lines bonded for a 50Mbps down, ~8Mbps up connection (that is, faster than Comcast in uploads) for about a third what I was paying Comcast. That's to tide us over until the ISP gets around to replacing that last mile, which they've actually been doing and not continually deferring to some distant future.

Don't cry for me and my DSL connection. Our download speed is theoretically slower, but in practice it's just as fast, utterly uncapped, and far cheaper. I somehow think we'll scrape by.

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