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Jhu/apl (aka "jpl-east)
Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 15 2006, 09:57 PM
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Excerpt from the Editorial in the January 16, 2006, issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology:

QUOTE
Editorial

The New Pasadena?
Aviation Week & Space Technology
01/16/2006, page 448

Competition is good, one of many reasons to laud the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory for its development of the New Horizons spacecraft that is set to rocket toward Pluto this week (AW&ST Jan. 9, p. 46).

With the New Horizons mission, APL--in this case ably assisted by the Southwest Research Institute--is more solidly positioned as a strong competitor to NASA's storied Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for robotic exploration of the Moon and planets.

That face-off has been building for several years. It can only serve to sharpen the management and technical competence of both APL and JPL, as each, propelled by rich histories, fights for new flights to barnstorm the Solar System.

Both labs will continue to be key technology and exploration centers. But what the emergence of APL as a major planetary player brings is a different, leaner culture. That atmosphere is not necessarily any better than JPL's, but presents a different approach toward viewing how to tackle the most difficult of space challenges.
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ToSeek
post Jan 16 2006, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 15 2006, 09:57 PM)
Excerpt from the Editorial in the January 16, 2006, issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology:


I worked at APL for a couple of years. They have some very sharp people, but they also have an unnerving reliance on those specific people, rather than having well-documented procedures in place that make past experience an institutional resource.
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dvandorn
post Jan 17 2006, 02:44 AM
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Sounds a little like STG's (and later MSC's) reliance on Max Faget and his small cadre of engineers to design various manned and unmanned spacecraft.

Heck, the CEV will be the *first* American manned spacecraft that was *not* designed, at least in part, by Max Faget.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Bob Shaw
post Jan 17 2006, 10:19 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 17 2006, 03:44 AM)
Sounds a little like STG's (and later MSC's) reliance on Max Faget and his small cadre of engineers to design various manned and unmanned spacecraft.

Heck, the CEV will be the *first* American manned spacecraft that was *not* designed, at least in part, by Max Faget.

-the other Doug
*


other Doug:

Max Faget had a hand in SpaceShipOne, did he?

And the X-15 (and Dyna-Soar!)...

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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Bob Shaw
post Jan 17 2006, 10:23 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jan 17 2006, 11:19 PM)
other Doug:

Max Faget had a hand in SpaceShipOne, did he?

And the X-15 (and Dyna-Soar!)...

Bob Shaw
*


Oh, and the CRV...

Bob Shaw


--------------------
Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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dvandorn
post Jan 18 2006, 03:49 AM
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Hmmm... Dyna-Soar and CRV never flew. Metal was never even bent on flight vehicles.

As for the much-vaunted SpaceShip One, and the X-15 for that matter, those are *aircraft* with the capability of popping up into the extreme upper atmosphere. For five minutes. Or so. Not, IMHO, spacecraft. To me, a spacecraft must be able to handle the atmospheric heating from deceleration from orbital velocities. Or, it must be designed not to ever operate in an atmosphere at all.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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edstrick
post Jan 18 2006, 07:53 AM
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Face it. Getting to space in a "popup" suborbital trajectory is hard.

But just reaching space requires only some 3% of the energy (1/2 mass times velocity squared) of getting to orbit.

Getting into orbit is REAL HARD.

Chemical bonds don't have enough bounce-per-ounce to make Buck Rogers / Flash Gordon type rocket ships. Nobody has any really good ideas for nuclear powered space ships to reach orbit that wouldn't send the greenies screaming <quite appropriately for once> to the protest lines.

Unless the universe permits us to make practicable "reactionless drives" like in space operas, our only really good hope to get around this is the space elevator. That looks really possible, but until we have nanotube cable that's strong enough, it's not ready to to from engineering studies to hardware construction.
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dvandorn
post Jan 18 2006, 04:13 PM
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Don't get mne wrong, I give great kudos to Rutan and company for winning the X Prize. But it seems to me they've been feted as if they swam across the English Channel, when all they really did was wade five feet away from the shore and then came running back.

The last time I was ever able to force myself to watch the Fox News Channel was during the flight of SS1, and one of their pundits sat there and proclaimed, "Why the heck do we need NASA? They spend billions of dollars and incinerate their pilots, and here these fine Americans have done the same thing for pennies on the NASA dollar."

The guy's ignorance was extremely offensive to me, and at that point I stopped even being *close* to thinking of SS1 as a spacecraft. It certainly doesn't come anywhere close to having the abilities that even a Mercury spacecraft had.

Ergo, any vehicle that has *at its maximum performance* the ability to pop up *just* above someone's arbitrary line that demarcates "space" is not, again IMHO, a spacecraft. Of any sort.

Oh, and by the way, Max Faget didn't design the manhole cover that was thrown "into space" by a nuclear explosion, either. If y'all insist on calling SS1 a spacecraft, then I'll assume that it's a "spacecraft" in the same sense that the manhole cover was a spacecraft...

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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