QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Aug 5 2006, 03:41 PM)
Ah, right you are tty, lower air pressure is an advantage.
The Chinese don't seem to worry about impacting their territory, nor do they seem to worry about using horribly toxic non-cryogenic fuel. The controversy about using NDMH and N2O4 goes back to the old feuds between Korolev and Glushko.
When the second M-69 launch exploded near the launchpad, a kiloton of this toxic mixture went off -- the yield of a tactical nuclear weapon! When people saw the poisonous orange cloud, there was pandemonium as they rushed to their cars to escape. I'm amazed that anyone would use this for manned launches.
Oh dear, this thread is really meandering. But I think the original white-paper discussion was beaten to death.
Well, Don, the U.S. of A. used those horribly toxic fuels to launch 10 manned Gemini capsules on the Titan II booster. And, of course, every lunar orbit insertion, every lunar descent and ascent, and every trans-Earth injection performed during Apollo used these fuels.
And, IIRC, the Shuttle uses these fuels for its reaction control system and its orbital maneuvering system.
And, oh yes, the CEV and LSAM are now planned to use these fuels.
I agree, they're horribly toxic, hard to handle, and even small leaks can have catastrophic effects. But the specific impulse of these fuels, along with their (relatively) easy storage over the course of a long mission, make them still the best choice for many applications...
-the other Doug