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Comment Re:Speaking of delays... (Score 1) 106

ULA's track record with the Atlas V: 100%

Yes, let's take one vehicle in its fifth generation (not counting subrevisions), and ignore its track record with all of its earlier versions that led up to this point and all of their failures, and all of Lockheed and Boeings' other launch vehicles over time, with all of their failures. Lets also ignore that they're going to have to switch engines soon, to an engine with zero track record.

Payloads typically launch on schedule or within a few weeks. .... Some payloads have been waiting literally years due to delays.

Let's totally ignore that Atlas V launches once per two months, while SpaceX launches once per month, and that almost all of the wait time was due to investigation backlog. When it comes to hitting launch windows, SpaceX has a higher average success rate than average than Atlas V

And lets entirely fail to mention the point that ULA charges nearly double what SpaceX does per kilogram. Or that SpaceX is doing everything while rapidly evolving its rocket, to the point that they've basically even switched propellants partway through (denisification radically changes their properties). And while at the same time running an aggressive recovery and refurbishment programme and developing a heavy lift vehicle, with a small fraction as much capital.

Comment They're still people (Score 2) 376

The expectation is that the salaried position is a 40 hr/wk position.

If you treat your employees only as a measurable commodity, entering into no acknowledgment of their worth, individuality, and personal potential, while attempting to mine every second of their time like a greedy, annoying crow, or worse, if you attempt to sit on those things and repress who they are, then your employees will not be loyal. This is inevitable.

When the first even nominally better opportunity (which might not even be better on grounds of pay, since everything else at your place sucks so bad) and they'll be gone. Because you made them hate you.

Which you deserved.

Sane employment is pleasant, goal seeking and reward-rich. For everyone. Not based on counting drops of sweat and screaming when the count is short. Balance liberty against compassion in tension as you encourage your employees to chase your goals and their goals. Otherwise you run the risk of just turning out to be considered another reviled prick.

I've run several very successful businesses. I'm not guessing here. Happy people do better work. Period.

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 1) 106

As if liquid boosters can't fail catastrophically? Check out SpaceX's last failure. Liquids are hardly immune to catastrophic failure.

And actually more to the point, you've got it backwards. The SRB failure on Challenger was slow, more like a blowtorch. The explosion was when it compromised the external tank (which, obviously, stored liquids).

Solid propellants aren't like explosives. More to the point, you have to keep them under pressure to get the sort of burn rate that is desired for a rocket.

Comment Re:Speaking of delays... (Score 2) 106

Could you remind me how many people SpaceX has killed? Boeing and Lockheed have certainly killed people in the past.

If you're referring to the AMOS 6 ground failure, ignoring that part of the whole point of flying a stack unmanned as much as you can before you fly it manned is to shake out any problems, is that a manned mission would have almost certainly survived that. Unless the launch escape system failed, despite the drama, that was an eminently survivable. How do we know this? Because AMOS-6's hypergolic propellant tanks didn't ignite until the satellite hit the ground. AMOS-6 had the fairing as some extra protection, but on the other hand, the satellite itself isn't nearly as durable as a crew dragon.

The launch escape system ignites within milliseconds of a failure being detected and almost immediately reaches full thrust, accelerating away at 10gs. Here's a graphic of Dragon's abort test superimposed over the AMOS-6 failure. Things like this are the very reason that launch escape systems exist. NASA's last manned space vehicle lacked such a system entirely. And while their design for the Shuttle ultimately wasn't chosen, you know what? Lockheed's proposal didn't have one either. And it had a strong impact on influencing the final Shuttle design outcome.

Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 542

but it seems to me that it really puts a big barrier in their relationship to continually have to sign contracts/agreements/documents to remind them of their status and shared responsibilities (kids, mortgage, insurance, etc) year after year.

Those generally still require both signatures even when married. We both had to sign the paperwork to register our daughter for school. Mortgages require both to sign (assuming you're both on the loan). Home purchases require both signatures.

Insurance does or does not depending on the policy, but whether or not it does require both signatures depends on what the policy is (you can add anyone to your car insurance without their signature. You have to get their signature to add yourself as a beneficiary to their life insurance).

Being married generally does not let you put your spouse on the hook for something without their signature. The only big exception to this is you get to act on your spouse's behalf if they are incapacitated. But even then the government/company/whatever will often insist on waiting for your spouse to recover or die before proceeding.

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 1) 106

SpaceX and Blue Origin would not use solids, not because there's something wrong with solids per se, but because they're not "fuel and go", which makes them expensive to reuse - and SpaceX and Blue Origin are all about reuse.

A lack of experience with hydrolox surely factors into the picture for SpaceX and Blue Origin; they'd get significantly higher payload fractions by using a hydrolox upper stage. But they're willing to accept lower payloads in order to simplify their manufacture and ground infrastructure, and in particular because the need their propellants to be storable, and storing LH for long periods is a PITA. Storing methalox is quite difficult, but nothing compared to hydrolox.

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 2) 106

Solids really aren't that bad when reusability isn't a concern. They're very high thrust, which is exactly what you want out of a booster, and they're structurally very simple. Their low impulse and high structural mass are not particularly important aspects for boosters. Reuse of solids however gains you very little, because there's so much work in refurbishing them.

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 3, Informative) 106

That's not the reason you don't use it for a first stage. The disadvantages of hydrolox (which are numerous) are offset by its incredible specific impulse. But for a first stage, specific impulse doesn't matter that much, while thrust matters a lot. Thrust is in large part proportional to fuel density, as a turbopump sweeps out a fixed volume per rotation, so the denser the fuel, the more mass (and generally all else being equal, energy) it pumps per rotation.

Another aspect is that first stages are big, meaning that cost is more important than specific impulse. By contrast, when dealing with an upper stage, a small increase in mass has a huge increase in first stage size, and since first stages are so large and expensive, that's a big cost. So you generally want a higher ISP upper stage. With the caveat that "storability" requirements for engines that need to restart can shift the balance; because hydrogen is so deeply cryogenic it's difficult to store for protracted lengths of time. Also, the longer you plan to have a stage in usage without maintenance, the more you tend to favour simple propellants over high performing ones, particularly when you're dealing with small, light engines. So for example if you have an interplanetary probe you'll tend to favour a self-pressurizing hypergolic system so that you only have to rely on a couple valves working, even though self-pressurizing propellant tanks are heavier and hypergolics tend to be lower specific impulse. Engines that are smaller still are often monoprops for an even greater degree of simplicity.

Comment What *could* happen? (Score 1, Interesting) 197

Yep. Hey, you know what's great? Talking to people. Sex. Building models. Organizing one's rock/stamp/severedhead collections. Writing code. Playing with the cat/dog/cockatrice. Martial arts. Photography. Reading. Taking courses. Exercising. Working out a sane budget. Listening to music. Playing music. Sewing. Legos. Fooling with hardware. Home improvements. Giving the domicile a good once-over at the ultra-picky level, just for the fun of it. Putting the yard in tip-top order. Walking the canine or the cat. Visiting Rome, Paris or Venice (while pretending to be Canadian, of course.) Or just going to see a friend. You know, in person, not with that phone-tumor. Taking a walk, preferably somewhere you haven't been or really love. Etc. Lots and lots of etc.

Television... I just can't bring myself to call that "great." The couch, it really does make for potato generation.

Comment Re:Plan to succeed or plan to fail... (Score 1) 542

Well duh, they dropped dead before reaching their 20s.

Nope. Try looking at the last sentence in your post.

And then they show of all the 21 yo men alive in 1915, 54% of them reached 65 yo (in 1960).

So roughly half of the people who reached adulthood died before 65. That was my point.

Comment Que? (Score 1) 35

you maintain that anyone from any other country in the world has a right to live in the U.S., but U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country?

No. However, I maintain that Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas.

That's English for "Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas", BTW.

Which is not to say that most of his other ideas aren't stupid, because they really, really are. But the wall is special. Like Trump. Short-bus special. Profoundly without merit while at the same time comprising a financial boondoggle of titanic proportions, at the very same time when the country's actual useful infrastructure (not in any way to be confused with border "walls") needs money and effort.

So without regard to political party

Oh, yes. Completely without regard to political party. Just in regard to Trump and any bewildered sycophant who thinks building that wall is anything but a complete waste of time, effort and money.

Also, I like vegetables. So I'm rather appreciative of the workers who pick them. No matter where they come from. I like tacos, too. I would not be in the least bit offended by a taco truck on every corner. Especially if they offered a nice selection of vegetables, but, you know, either way, really.

U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country

Hmmm. That's a very... interesting... postulate. Let me guess: you live in one of the states that has legalized pot, and you just got back from a test run of every heavy-hitting variety offered, is that it? Did you know that at some taco stands, I've been able to buy Fritos? FRITOS! Lovely, crispy corn chips! And Soda! MMMMMM! Don't Bogart that joint, my friend. Pass it over to Juan.

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