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Old 11-16-2022, 10:57 AM   #21
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I know I sound weird when I say this, or anti-moon. But you'd think with advances over the last 60 years in engine technology, computer design, flight systems, metallurgy and other things that we would be beyond the multi stage, vertical launch huge flame spewing rockets by now.

I'm not saying its cool or awesome, but it feels like automobile technology has lept ahead faster then rocketry.

And the other thought, is if we're looking at moon missions or mars missions or deep space probe missions, wouldn't it make sense to build an orbital construction facility or assembly facility and build the larger rockets in space and just use shuttles to ferry up supplies or people.
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Old 11-16-2022, 11:01 AM   #22
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Space is hard. Like, really really hard. How do you assemble things in orbit without first getting the material up there? And if you are hauling excess mass to orbit, why not build it on the ground? It may make sense in the future to assemble on the Moons, should we one day have a way of extracting and processing materials on the moon into something useful, but we are so far away from that.

As for an alternative to rockets, there aren't really any. Spinlaunch is the only one I can think of, and it still uses a rocket.
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Old 11-16-2022, 11:03 AM   #23
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Don't the moon plans have an orbiting base component? That's pretty cool and a step (albeit small) towards what CC is thinking.
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Old 11-16-2022, 11:06 AM   #24
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Space is hard. Like, really really hard. How do you assemble things in orbit without first getting the material up there? And if you are hauling excess mass to orbit, why not build it on the ground? It may make sense in the future to assemble on the Moons, should we one day have a way of extracting and processing materials on the moon into something useful, but we are so far away from that.

As for an alternative to rockets, there aren't really any. Spinlaunch is the only one I can think of, and it still uses a rocket.
I'm just musing. The assembly on the moon or in orbit would make sense if you could assemble craft without worrying about them breaking earth base gravity.

You could build smaller or lighter ships that use less fuel in orbit.

Ha, maybe I'm playing too much Kerbel, I mean I've only killed about 100 of the little monsters in my quest for earths orbit.
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Old 11-16-2022, 11:08 AM   #25
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Space is hard. Like, really really hard. How do you assemble things in orbit without first getting the material up there? And if you are hauling excess mass to orbit, why not build it on the ground? It may make sense in the future to assemble on the Moons, should we one day have a way of extracting and processing materials on the moon into something useful, but we are so far away from that.

As for an alternative to rockets, there aren't really any. Spinlaunch is the only one I can think of, and it still uses a rocket.
We could use the finest 1919 technology from that movie from the earth to the moon, and build a large style hypervelocity (based on the advanced naval gun program) cannon to shoot components into orbit for the station to pick up. Plus putting astronaugts in a cannon would be awesome.

Sorry to derail the thread.
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Old 11-16-2022, 11:49 AM   #26
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I'm just musing. The assembly on the moon or in orbit would make sense if you could assemble craft without worrying about them breaking earth base gravity.

You could build smaller or lighter ships that use less fuel in orbit.

Ha, maybe I'm playing too much Kerbel, I mean I've only killed about 100 of the little monsters in my quest for earths orbit.
Ya, you just have to imagine how to even get started on that. Think of all the different materials and processes needed to make a craft able to survive in space. If the moon does have useful minerals, you'd still need to extract and process them, turn them into usable raw metals, form them into parts...just the materials to make the manufacturing facilities would require an unimaginable amount of energy to get them to orbit or the moon.

More realistically I think we still build the components on Earth, and find a way to extract and process fuels from in situ materials.
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Old 11-16-2022, 12:34 PM   #27
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Ya, you just have to imagine how to even get started on that. Think of all the different materials and processes needed to make a craft able to survive in space. If the moon does have useful minerals, you'd still need to extract and process them, turn them into usable raw metals, form them into parts...just the materials to make the manufacturing facilities would require an unimaginable amount of energy to get them to orbit or the moon.

More realistically I think we still build the components on Earth, and find a way to extract and process fuels from in situ materials.
Yeah, true, but its fun to imagine.

An orbital ship yard would be cool. I don't even know what the moon has for minerals.

But I was looking at rail guns which the US Navy is experimenting with and one of the concepts would be its ability to fire things into earths orbit.
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Old 11-16-2022, 12:38 PM   #28
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Space is hard. Like, really really hard. How do you assemble things in orbit without first getting the material up there? And if you are hauling excess mass to orbit, why not build it on the ground? It may make sense in the future to assemble on the Moons, should we one day have a way of extracting and processing materials on the moon into something useful, but we are so far away from that.

As for an alternative to rockets, there aren't really any. Spinlaunch is the only one I can think of, and it still uses a rocket.
Space elevator!
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Old 11-16-2022, 12:58 PM   #29
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Space elevator!
Any day now!

That would be really cool, but the engineering challenges are immense. Plus could you imagine the conspiracy nuts with that? "It's slowing the rotation of the flat Earth! It'll doom us all!
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Old 11-16-2022, 12:58 PM   #30
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Space elevator!
Working on it!

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Old 11-16-2022, 12:59 PM   #31
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Ya, you just have to imagine how to even get started on that. Think of all the different materials and processes needed to make a craft able to survive in space. If the moon does have useful minerals, you'd still need to extract and process them, turn them into usable raw metals, form them into parts...just the materials to make the manufacturing facilities would require an unimaginable amount of energy to get them to orbit or the moon.

More realistically I think we still build the components on Earth, and find a way to extract and process fuels from in situ materials.
Fuel is the obvious choice. No need to try and make titanium screws in orbit. Artemis weighs 5.5 million pounds, and roughly 3.7 MM pounds of that is just fuel (700k liquid, 1.5mm solid in each booster). And a lot of that fuel is required simply to lift the rest of the fuel. If you had an orbiting refuel area the cost of space missions would be dramatically lower, because you could use much smaller/cheaper rockets to get stuff out of earths gravity. Think Falcon 9 vs SLS.
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Old 11-16-2022, 01:12 PM   #32
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We could use the finest 1919 technology from that movie from the earth to the moon, and build a large style hypervelocity (based on the advanced naval gun program) cannon to shoot components into orbit for the station to pick up. Plus putting astronaugts in a cannon would be awesome.

Sorry to derail the thread.
Acceleration is your key issue. to get to the moon you only have 1 goal ~40,000 KPH everything else is the details of how you get there.

With Spin, Slingshot or Railgun style launch systems... you need to hit that speed by the time you leave the launch apparatus. Chemical rockets give you the ability to take an hour+ to hit that speed. One acceleration rate is going to be a thrill ride, and the other would crush you to death against the weight of the seat pushing you upwards.

Any successful launch system is going to continue accelerating after it leaves the launch pad, (a 100 KM long launch system might violate that logic, but then you're just on a space elevator).
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Old 11-16-2022, 03:46 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by CaptainCrunch View Post
I know I sound weird when I say this, or anti-moon. But you'd think with advances over the last 60 years in engine technology, computer design, flight systems, metallurgy and other things that we would be beyond the multi stage, vertical launch huge flame spewing rockets by now.

I'm not saying its cool or awesome, but it feels like automobile technology has lept ahead faster then rocketry.
Has it though? ICE cars are still basically the same thing just with incremental improvements in efficiency and power.. crazy levels of improvements but still. Battery cars are very different but same thing there battery capacity and motors are still basically the same, just better at the same thing. Most of the more recent advances are just adding different areas of technology to it.

Rockets have kind of undergone the same kinds of advancements. It used to be building just one rocket was a custom effort requiring a national effort.

Now some guy with a car company can do it, and far cheaper, and more reusable, with better engines and materials etc etc.

But in terms of something radically different, qualitatively different rather than quantitatively, I think there's a few factors. First your solution is constrained by a few things.. the nature of the task has hard constraints, as does the laws of physics. Plus we're often used to seeing progress vs time like a 45 degree sloped line, but usually it starts out fast but the further you go usually the harder the next improvement is, so your diagonal line levels off to a horizontal one, to the point where progress becomes less and less worth doing.

No matter what if you're getting into orbit you need a certain amount of acceleration, a certain amount of deltaV and the energy required is fixed.
Your options for that amount of energy are very limited.

There was a design for a huge rocket that was basically a giant steel and concrete disc and you exploded nuclear bombs under it.

So yeah unless you do something completely different like a space elevator or figure out how to make a magnet strong enough to push against the earth's magnetic field or lasers strong enough to push a payload up you're kind of stuck. All the improvements make it cheaper and easier and reusable and safer, but the basics don't change. The mass of chemical fuel is the mass of chemical fuel.

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And the other thought, is if we're looking at moon missions or mars missions or deep space probe missions, wouldn't it make sense to build an orbital construction facility or assembly facility and build the larger rockets in space and just use shuttles to ferry up supplies or people.

Eventually these kinds of things will probably exist, but as Fuzz said space is hard, and part of it is processes and materials still need to be found that facilitate them and it has to be worth doing.

Imagine a factory where the temperature swings between 100's of degrees and near absolute zero. Where the wrong kinds of metals will just vacuum weld to each other if you're not careful.

In a factory on earth it's easy to have one trade come do one thing, then the next guys come do the next thing. Knowing what works and what doesn't in construction and pluming and electrical and air and making machines to make the bottles or parts or whatever.. all of that has centuries of knowledge backing it so we know what kinds of things work. We have almost none of that in space. And don't even get me started on moon dust.

And every mistake costs thousands per kilogram at best, lives at worst.

The risks are super high which makes it even harder to try that kind of thing.

I think we'll get there eventually, it's just going to take a looong time. And I think we'd be better off doing it all with robots, advancing robotics to the point where we're basically useless until we land and walk into the habitat.
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Old 11-16-2022, 03:57 PM   #34
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As for SpinLaunch, I see them closer to a HyperLoop than a real thing.. but if they do manage to do something, one thing I could see them throwing into space is fuel.

A trip to Mars will require a lot of fuel, far more than can be launched with a Mars vehicle. If SpinLaunch worked, fuel seems like an ideal payload. Raw materials if/when space construction ever becomes a thing.
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Old 11-16-2022, 04:00 PM   #35
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As for SpinLaunch, I see them closer to a HyperLoop than a real thing.. but if they do manage to do something, one thing I could see them throwing into space is fuel.

A trip to Mars will require a lot of fuel, far more than can be launched with a Mars vehicle. If SpinLaunch worked, fuel seems like an ideal payload. Raw materials if/when space construction ever becomes a thing.
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SpinLaunch is optimized to launch constellations of large numbers of satellites at low cost. The first generation launch system is designed to launch satellites weighing up to 200 kilograms. Following best design practices developed by our Space Systemís team, most satellite architectures can readily be adapted to operate in SpinLaunchís unique launch environment.
I tihnk this makes lots of sense if they can make it work. I think it's more likely to have Spinlaunch firing satellites than Hyperloop moving passengers any time soon.
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Old 11-16-2022, 04:11 PM   #36
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HyperLoop is like 0%.. SpinLaunch feels like 5%.

But if it ever works and is economical great!
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Old 11-16-2022, 04:14 PM   #37
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They did build a 1/3 scale model and launch to 10km, with a goal for the full version to 60km, so it's not total vapour ware. I understand there are real challenges to scaling though.
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Old 11-16-2022, 05:19 PM   #38
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Space elevator!
I recall there was a Canadian company proposing to build one a few years ago, but haven't heard anything in a while so it probably didn't go anywhere.
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Old 11-17-2022, 11:37 AM   #39
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I recall there was a Canadian company proposing to build one a few years ago, but haven't heard anything in a while so it probably didn't go anywhere.
A space elevator is just a theoretical concept still, we donít have any materials strong enough.
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Old 11-17-2022, 01:58 PM   #40
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Look, the Lizard-Men are not going to be happy if we start to encroach on their Lunar Sovereignty, they've been drilling for Oil on the Moon since the 60s and they really consider it their turf.

The only thing worse than a Lizard-Man is an enraged Lizard-Man.
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