Feb 212018
 

Oh, boy! Who wants to fill up your tank of stupid today?

The patriarchal race to colonize Mars is just another example of male entitlement

NBC News is actually promoting this rubbish.

These men, particularly Musk, are not only heavily invested in who can get their rocket into space first, but in colonizing Mars. The desire to colonize — to have unquestioned, unchallenged and automatic access to something, to any type of body, and to use it at will — is a patriarchal one.

Rather, the impulse to colonize — to colonize lands, to colonize peoples, and, now that we may soon be technologically capable of doing so, colonizing space — has its origins in gendered power structures. Entitlement to power, control, domination and ownership. The presumed right to use and abuse something and then walk away to conquer and colonize something new.

You know, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there might be something to the recent line of thinking that the recent spate of school shootings really does have something to do with there being something wrong with the male of the species. But note that this, indeed, does refer to a relatively recent development. And I’m thinking that perhaps the rise of third wave feminism, the man-hating, matronizing, screeching-about-the-patriarchy-at-every-opportunity sort of insanity that has it that colonizing and bringing to life a dead world is not only a bad thing, but that the drive to do so is specifically male and thus any male who wants to make life better – which would be just about every male – is a terrible person… this rise of insanity is filtering down to boys and messing with their heads. You tell a boy that his natural instinct to build, to improve, to make things better, is bad and wrong, what does that leave him?

So, who’s with me: anyone who opposes the conquest of space is  an enabler of school shootings. Is that a crazy position to take? Sure is. Is it more crazy than the position taken by the anti-space nuts? Not by a long shot.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Feb 192018
 

The NERVA nuclear rocket, studied throughout the sixties into the early 1970’s, would have been a great way to propel spacecraft. But a nuclear rocket is not the same sort of reactor as is generally designed for use in space to generate electrical power. A NERVA can produce *gigawatts* of thermal energy, energy which is carried away with the high mass flow rate of the hydrogen propellant. Power reactors, on the other hand, are generally designed for several orders of magnitude lower thermal power… a few thermal megawatts, perhaps, to produce a few hundred kilowatts of electricity.

However, the fact remains that a nuclear rocket *is* a nuclear reactor. For most missions it would burn for a few minutes, at most perhaps few hours, out of a mission lasting perhaps years. It is thus a bit of a shame to waste all that potential. So over the decades many studies have been made for using a nuclear rocket as a power generator .

One such study was reported by Aerojet in 1970. The abstract is HERE, the direct PDF download if HERE.

In this study, the NERVA would pump out 1,500 thermal megawatts during the propulsion phase(producing 75,000 pounds of thrust), dropping to 250 to 505 thermal kilowatts during the power generation phase, enough to create 25 kilowatts of electricity. This would be a very low-power, low-temperature use of the reactor, reducing system efficiency… but still, making use of a reactor that was already there, and not noticeably using up the fission fuel in the reactor. The reactor would be run at very lower power levels and hydrogen would flow through a closed loop built into the reactor; the warmed gaseous hydrogen would flow through a turbogenerator to create electricity; the warm hydrogen would then pass through a radiator built on the outer surface of the hydrogen tank itself.

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 Posted by at 3:26 pm
Feb 122018
 

We’ve trashed the oceans; now we are turning space into a junkyard for billionaires

Experts say rocket emissions affect our climate and cause ozone loss, yet too few people seem to care

Unless you think that that opening line doesn’t really hammer home the point, there’s this:

You might be tempted to dismiss this as an expensive publicity stunt by a billionaire playboy with too much time on his hands. But in reality it’s an important step towards a time when space travel for your average indolent millionaire will become commonplace. It will probably become another way of managing your finances when Mars inevitably becomes the ultimate off-shore tax haven.

Quite what our fetish for space exploration and spending billions on the technology required to feed this does to the environment is a serious matter. There’s a dissonance emerging here. On Earth, we’re organising summits and setting up carbon footprint-reduction targets all over the shop. Yet, up in yonder outer space we’ve established a giant garbage dump replete with huge hulks of rusting metal and, as of last week, a $200k American sports car.

Indeed, the whole issue of rocket emissions needs to be considered if we’re serious about the environment.

This is symptomatic of the modern luddite, repeating the latest version of the tired old “why spend money on space when we still have problems here on Earth” refrain. These monstrous reprobates were wrong fifty years ago when they managed to kill off Apollo and the first good chance for the conquest of space; they’re even more wrong now as they try to kill off what may well be not only the best, but perhaps the *last* opportunity for western civilization to save itself. Kill it off now with environmental laws and regulations and treaties, as the nattering chicken livered assassin of joy who wrote that opinion piece for the execrable “The Guardian” would have, and we’ll never get the chance again in any of our lifetimes. The Chinese might conquer the universe, planting their red flag of communist genocide on every chunk of rock within a hundred AU, but we’ll be stuck here in ever-increasing malaise, besieged by hopelessness and diminishing horizons, dark age Surt worshippers and astrologers and flat Earthers. Gormless chickenshittery in the face of THE ENTIRE DAMNED UNIVERSE should not be tolerated, much less celebrated, even less paid for. The yammering pinhead even finished off his ill-informed and ill-intentioned piece by suggesting that space aliens are mad at us for ” disfiguring their neighbourhood with obsolete metal junk.”

Sadly, the English language is simply far too limiting to get across the level of disdain and dislike I have for people who get paid to try to convince the western world to cut itself off at the knees.

 Posted by at 12:19 am
Feb 102018
 

If’n ya want details of the Tesla Roadsters orbit…

https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?CGISESSID=c3cbd47fbf603007d1b627107c28962f&s_body=1#top

The resulting wall-o-data is below the break. Useful for astronomers, but not very enlightening for the layman. Anybody know of a site that cranks out orbital trajectory plots, showing the arrangement of selected elements for whatever date in the future? The JPL Impact Risks site used to be really good for that sort of thing, but it requires a Java applet that makes my computer security system just go “nope.”

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Feb 102018
 

Fake news! Fake news! The Russians are involved, somehow!

SpaceX Hired Company to Destroy Floating GovSat Booster, Not USAF

The latest journalization has it that SpaceX initially contacted the USAF to take care of their errant floater, but in the end hired commercial “demolition experts” to do the job.

Once again, no details are provided. Obviously, an A-10 opening up a can of BRRRRRRRRRT or a B-1 laying down a bunch of laser guided bombs are no longer options. But one can now imagine a whole range of other options. Perhaps the demolition expert was an 80’s aficionado with a great big speedboat and Nothing Left To Lose, and he actually rammed the Falcon 9 at high speed leading to a gigantic orange fireball…

Probably not, I suppose.

 Posted by at 5:17 pm
Feb 072018
 

Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this:

Watching those two boosters plummet from the sky and dual land like that? That’s some sci-fi sh!t, right there.

EDIT: And then there’s this one, shot from the ULA Delta IV launch pad at SLC-37. I believe you can see the Apollo 1 launch table in the foreground, which I’ve been to and highly recommend in much the same way I recommend the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in D.C. This video has some subtle sounds that are interesting and important, so crank up the volume to 11.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:45 am