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The sky above and…

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  • gwbnyc November 7, 2021, 7:50 AM

    perhaps redundant:

    the delivery of solid propellant, as used in the engines illustrated, was rather the work of one man, IIRC.


    an interesting read, the side trips are worth investigating.

    • Ray Van Dune November 7, 2021, 8:17 AM

      Not to take anything away from Parsons, but every rocket engine in the SpaceX video uses the liquid propellants Methane and Oxygen. Liquid propellant engines are uniquely well suited to SpaceX’s business as they can be throttled, and can be stopped and restarted. Solids generally run full thrust until the propellant is exhausted.

      • gwbnyc November 7, 2021, 8:56 AM

        so corrected, &appreciated.

        aside, I had read that the JPL was so named to take the “Flash Gordon” onus of rocketry off the agency. maybe explains why JATO’s weren’t properly designated “RATO’s”. (if I have that right 😉

        • Ray Van Dune November 7, 2021, 1:08 PM

          I had not heard that story, but I had heard a different one… that JPL was so named because in those days before jet engines and jet airplanes were a commonplace, the thing implied to most people, and especially physicists, by the term “jet” was the jet of hot gasses emerging from the nozzle of a rocket! So “jet propulsion” was a more just a term for using a jet of gas, as opposed to a propellor, for thrust.

          It would not surprise me if at some point when turbojet engines began to dominate there was an “impulse” (get it?) to change the organization’s name to RPL, and THEN the Flash Gordon argument emerged. Or both arguments were used by various people all along. Cheers.

          • gwbnyc November 7, 2021, 7:21 PM

            gave that some consideration while I was reading the explanation I cited, actually.


  • Mike Austin November 7, 2021, 11:00 AM

    “The Twilight Zone” presaged Musk—at least in imagination—by 70 years. Musk made it happen. Whatever one thinks of the guy, he made imagination into reality. Amazing what middle aged white guys can do.


    Still think the Chinese can beat us in any sort of techno wizardry way? By the time the Chinese get to Mars—using stolen technology of course—the Americans will have colonized the Alpha Centauri star system. Mars will be then nothing but a big “China Town” serving—quite literally—the best Kung Pao Chicken in the universe.

    • gwbnyc November 7, 2021, 7:33 PM

      that episode of the Twilight Zone is “The Lonely”, in my top five. I saw it when it was first televised, I was six.

      • Mike Austin November 7, 2021, 10:52 PM

        I watched the original “The Twilight Zone”, “One Step Beyond” and “The Outer limits” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We had a tiny black and white tv. Those shows at such an early age—I was born in 1953—gave me a profound sense of the eerie, the other-worldly and the out-of-the-ordinary. Those have stayed with my to this day.

        In those days tv was well worth watching. I turned it off 43 years ago and have never gone back.

        • gwbnyc November 8, 2021, 1:44 PM

          we were witness to anthology television episodes written by masters. an aquaintance, a producer, told me the increased production cost of different characters, plots, writers, sets and eras represented killed them.

          b. ’53, turned off the set ’97. I knew two men who shotgunned their TeeVees. West Virginians.
          the remains of our large cabinet tiny screen set lay in the corner of the backyard where trash was burned. tubes, etc would resurface. superceded by a large screen RCA.

          “The Magic Shop”/Hitchcock.

    • John P Coggeshall November 8, 2021, 6:58 PM

      Hey, really…why has no one mentioned “The Man Who Sold the Moon” [Heinlein, 1950]

      Has Elon Musk made any huge profits without enormous Government subsidy and gigantic media puff pieces? Really…has he?…

      • John P Coggeshall November 8, 2021, 7:22 PM

        Or…for that matter…”The Marching Morons” [Kornbluth, 1951]…that’s what these low- or sub- orbital launches remind me of…well…maybe {MAYBE} not to “terminate” thousands of “Morons”…but to separate them from thousands (millions, billions) of dollars…

        Wait…wait…I finally got it…”The Man Who Sold the Low Orbital Flight”…

        Damn…I’m getting too old…

  • Sid V November 7, 2021, 12:54 PM

    It’s easy to lose all hope with left’s intentional destruction of the country of late, but then you see something like this and you’re like – “perhaps we’re not done through yet”.

    When I leave Jersey at some point, I can see myself working at SpaceX. I would do anything. Clean toilets – whatever. Anything to be near these rockets!

    • Rvd November 7, 2021, 1:17 PM

      Then I would advise getting some very good ear protection! The noise problem of the Superheavy and other big rockets is going to be something that controls how and where they are used to a degree not yet generally appreciated!

  • Jim in Oxford November 7, 2021, 3:52 PM

    Elon Musk is certainly one of those uniquely place-in-time individuals who does things that no one other individual has done. Certainly he possesses an unusually gifted brain, but a read of his biography offers up no prodigy-like childhood. If anything, you might say he came from a “broken home”; how many millions of people had that start? His parents seem to be reasonably intelligent people, but so are/were lots and lots. He is definitely a hard worker, a gifted organizer, appears to posses boundless energy, and is chock full of bonzo ideas that he is more than capable of bringing to fruition.
    Really where does this all come from? How does it happen? How many theories or beliefs can identify the phenomenon of the human being?
    Oh, and one more thing: he absolutely loves to troll Jeff Bezos!

  • mmack November 7, 2021, 8:11 PM

    I was too young to see the Apollo astronauts walk on the moon.

    I hope in my lifetime I see Elon Musk send people back to the moon, or Mars.

    • gwbnyc November 8, 2021, 1:48 PM

      Gerard posted a vid of the landing on the anniversary, it was shot in the spacecraft and is utterly thrilling- the competence of all involved is obvious.

  • Annie Rose November 8, 2021, 7:08 AM

    Bezos’s vision is amazing and helps me remember that once our country had many great innovators with the drive to make their vision become reality to the betterment of us all. However, pondering the weirdness of our elites believing we must colonize Mars and soon (do they know something that we don’t?), I think back to when I was 11 and was going through my first discovery of science fiction writers. Do read Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles if you want to see how we earthlings most likely will screw up Mars the same way we are destroying ourselves here. It was written in 1950 and details the technology of getting to Mars, first contact with the Martians, who were quite happy before earthlings arrived, and the chaos, ruin, and destruction the earthlings ultimately brought about. We can try to outrun our problems, but at the end of our journey, we will open up our suitcase and all of our troubles will have traveled along with us. Best deal with them here and now.

    • Vanderleun November 8, 2021, 8:56 AM

      That’s a popular point of view and there is much in it that is correct.

      At the same time, it has also been established that the human race can do more than one thing at a time.

  • Mike Austin November 8, 2021, 8:02 AM

    Your point echoes a similar one put forth by CS Lewis. He wrote that if mankind ever visited another word and found sentient creatures there, that man would simply enslave them as the Spaniards did to the Indigenous of North America. Residents of earth would simply bring their evils with them wherever they went, just as you said.

    Dealing with such evils here and now might be more difficult then getting to Mars.

    • Vanderleun November 8, 2021, 8:58 AM

      “Might be” is obviously so. Much MUCH more difficult. That doesn’t mean Mars isn’t a go. Don’t think Saints are reequired.

      • Mike Austin November 8, 2021, 3:30 PM

        Agreed. If we had waited until sin was resolved Columbus would have never sailed and Armstrong would have been a paper pusher at NASA.

  • ghostsniper November 8, 2021, 10:26 AM

    where my flyin car iz???

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