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Wow.

This place deserves to be much better known than it is. Such a large collection of Russian hardware.
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Variable gravity research can be performed for a fraction of the cost of a lunar or Mars base by a spinning facility in Earth orbit.  To what end?  If the question is biological, then you're simply trying to find out something that would facilitate later human operations.

And what is that?
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I think folks fretting about the temporal ordering of Musk's tweets should put themselves in the shoes of a CEO.  Musk said, "we should paint the name on the barge". The work item for this was sent to SpaceX's communications/design dept and some artsy employee no doubt mocked up a half dozen or so possible options in Photoshop.  These got sent to Musk, and he chose one.  From his perspective, the task is now done.  He tweeted the mockup he chose, because it tickled his fancy.  There's no deceit involved: the barge shortly *will look* like the design he approved. He's CEO, he doesn't need to micromanage the exact date and time it will be done, or worry that a random cruise ship will arrive back in port before the task is complete.  He's just tweeting the Elon-view of the situation.

This is different from more speculative tasks like the core landing itself, where no amount of "directive from Elon" suffices to make it so.  In those cases we've seen appropriately cautious/measured statements.  But painting a boat is not rocket science; there's no reason to assume it won't get done according to the design he approved. From Musk's perspective, "painting the name on the barge" just means "picking the design and hiring someone to do it".
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I understand ULA's plans for reuse will be presented by Tory Bruno soon, so we will find out if Skylon is an option. May just have to ask .
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I agree with the idea of an Antarctic style base on Mars with government funding. <snip>

And what will they research? In theory I am not opposed to a research station. However what would they research? Here's the kind of research I would not be opposed to:

Establish three (3) totally identical research stations; one (1) on earth to be the control, one (1) on the moon and one (1) on Mars. The Lunar and Martian stations would need to be pre-positioned and up and running before any scientist is sent. Timing would be set so that the scientists would all enter their stations on the same date. For a specific period of time (I suggest a full earth year) the scientists would all perform the same experiments, in the exact same way. That way we have the control (earth at full gravity) and the experiments being conducted in 1/6 gravity and 1/3 gravity, all for the exact same amount of time. In each station, research efforts would be identical and performed at the same exact time. Research status would be evaluated, recorded and transmitted to Research Central on a daily basis. At the end of the test period, the final results recorded, transmitted to Research Central (JSC?) and the scientists would then come home.

This type of research would provide valuable biological data measured at 3 different gravity levels. This would provide some real insight into how gravity actually affects living organisms. When the scientists depart their stations they will shut them down to maintenance mode and walk away. The stations would not be reactivated unless the results provided unforeseen results that require a followup, in which case it would be repeated, with an appropriately modified research schedule.
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Space Policy Discussion / Re: SpaceX vs. US bid protest - Settled
« Last post by joek on Today at 09:07 PM »
That is just semantics and quite wrong.
The semantics are not "wrong"; they are what they are.
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The level of involvement reduces what is needed for certification.
No, it simply shifts the effort; it does not a priori reduce the effort or eliminate the need for certification.
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With full involvement, "certification" boils down to just somebody making a statement that cert is complete.
More than just a statement.  It also requires evidence that certification requirements have been met.  Again, the work must be done and equivalent evidence produced.
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The work is the same.  Just because they formalized the process and gave it a name doesn't change the work.
Exactly.  Couldn't have said it better.
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Other Launchers (Korean, Brazilian etc.) / Re: The suborbital thread!
« Last post by Salo on Today at 09:00 PM »
http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/agni-vs-maiden-canister-trial-successful_1539204.html

Agni-V's maiden canister trial successful

Balasore: Giving an edge to the country's strategic strike capability, India on Saturday successfully carried out the maiden canister-based trial of its most potent missile Agni-V, which has a strike range of over 5000 kms and can carry a nuclear warhead of over one tonne, off Odisha coast.

The missile was launched from a canister mounted on a road-mobile launcher at Wheeler's Island.

The three stage, solid propellant "missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 8.06 hours," ITR director MVKV Prasad told a news agency.

"A gas generator at the bottom of the canister pushed the 17.5 metre long, 50-tonne Agni-V out of the canister. The missile, which can take on targets situated more than 5,000 km away, had a dummy pay-load in today's trial," said a senior defense analyst at the ITR here.

The missile version was stored and launched from a hermetically sealed canister. The steel container was made of maraging steel.

Defence analysts said the canister would make the missile fully road or rail mobile, giving a great deal of secrecy and flexibility to the country's strategic strike capability.

The alternate to using canister is fixed ground-based silos which are vulnerable to surveillance and attack.

"We can transport the missile to anywhere and fire from there. This will give advantage over the rivals. This apart, the canister can keep the missile in appropriate atmosphere," said RK Kar, another missile researchers.

Prasad said the canister version of Agni-5 missile was successfully test launched. "The missile, witnessed a flawless 'auto launch' and detailed results will be known after all data retrieved from different radars and network systems," Prasad said.

Today's launch was the third developmental trial of the long range missile. The first test was conducted on 19 April, 2012 and the second test on 15 September, 2013 from the same base.

The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile Agni-V is capable of striking a range more than 5000 km. It is about 17 meters long, 2 metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one `AGNI-V`, is most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, Prasad said.

"Lot of new technologies developed indigenously were successfully tested in the first Agni-V trial. The very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) had ensured that the missile reaches the target point within few metres of accuracy.

"The high speed onboard computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly," said an official.

India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-I with 700 km range, Agni-II with 2000 km range, Agni-III and Agni-IV with 2500 km to more than 3500 range. After a few more trials, Agni-V will be inducted into the services.


Photo:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/slideshows/infrastructure/agni-v-missiles-maiden-canister-based-trial-successful/agni-vs-canister-based-trial/slideshow/46076530.cms
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What is also specific about this group is that Robert Gibson and David Walker were each assigned to command STS-46 and STS-44 respectively but were grounded because Walker came within 100 feet of a Pan Am plane while flying a T-38 and Gibson's airplane collided with another during an air race at an airshow. Although he survived the collision, the other pilot died. So, Walker and Gibson each have "grounded by T-38 incident" in common. To find that information, I have two links where I got this from:

So Gibson was grounded from T-38 activity a well? How did he stay current?
I know he went on to command STS-47 which was right after STS-46 in 1992; the grounding couldn't have hurt him that much as he also went on to be in the Astronaut Hall of Fame lol


http://www.americaspace.com/?p=26252
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/10/science/2-shuttle-veterans-grounded-by-nasa.html
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TBH, one customer I believe would take big advantage to build skylon is ULA. It can so phase-in a competitor with SpaceX with relatively shorter and lesser effort than design its own reusable design from scrap. And its members have enormous manufacturing capabilities. So if anyone, I would bet on them....
It's an interesting question. Note the Atlas and Delta payload  range is much larger than the 15 tonnes that Skylon supports. That said the ability to send that mass to LEO routinely should make people reconsider their priorities.

Keep in mind it's not just the availability of a "ticket" for a launch, it would be having an actual vehicle sitting on your runway. that sense of "certainty" in being able to place (and recover) payloads to orbit

The flip side is that employing their construction facilities would be quite difficult. ULA does not an aircraft construction facility. They are operated by its parents. Nor does it have experience in the materials REL plan to use (although in fact no aircraft mfg has experience with these materials so its a pretty level playing field)  :)

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