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(NPR)   SpaceX scores 100 points with 1x difficulty touchdown on Atari Lunar Lander   (npr.org) divider line 6
    More: Spiffy, SpaceX, Naval Station Norfolk  
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7277 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Aug 2013 at 1:17 PM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-15 01:26:08 PM
2 votes:
Not his department...

upload.wikimedia.org
2013-08-15 06:39:35 PM
1 votes:

GoGoGadgetLiver: John Carmack and ARmadillo Aerospace basically did this back in 2004.


And Neil Armstrong did it by hand in 1969.

But, SIZE MATTERS. See the square-cube law.
2013-08-15 05:45:12 PM
1 votes:

radiumsoup: puckrock2000: "The Navy and NASA are testing out how they'll recover astronauts once they splash down in the ocean following future missions to deep space, something a Navy crew hasn't had to do in nearly 40 years."

Question: why can't the capsule come down on land, like the Russians have been doing for nearly 60 years?

because the Russians have vast swaths of flat land that are almost completely uninhabited that they can aim a spacecraft at with minimal risk to those on land. Remember that these things are going VERY fast, and since the capsules are largely uncontrolled bricks (compared to the Shuttle, anyway, which was a brick in its own right), any error early on during reentry could mean landing as much as 250 miles away from the intended target. (citation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury-Atlas_7) Most of the U.S.'s middle country has towns or mountains within a 250-mile radius of any point, so for the sake of safety, I'm sure it was determined that water-based landings were the way to go early on until they could get a better understanding of the atmospheric variables on each trip. I understand the engineering required to come down over land has improved much over the years, though, so perhaps more modern spacecraft could be brought down with a much higher degree of precision nowadays, and indeed most even in the 60's were within only 5 miles of target. I still don't want one aiming for the next county over, though, if you don't mind.


To expand on that a bit, back in the 60s when manned programs were in their infancy and the cold war was still going on, the Mercury flight path in general was chosen so that it was over friendly (or at least neutral) countries as much as possible. NASA chose to avoid the entire eastern bloc (and the USSR) and took a route over Africa, the Indian ocean, and Austrailia. Since they were avoiding the largest last mass on Earth, it became likely that if something went wrong and the capsule had to de-orbit early, they'd be landing in something wet. So the capsule was designed for a water landing, although it was capable of coming down on land IIRC.

Remember, at 18,000 mph, every second of error translates to missing the landing zone by 5 miles.
2013-08-15 04:50:41 PM
1 votes:

puckrock2000: "The Navy and NASA are testing out how they'll recover astronauts once they splash down in the ocean following future missions to deep space, something a Navy crew hasn't had to do in nearly 40 years."

Question: why can't the capsule come down on land, like the Russians have been doing for nearly 60 years?


Because the Russians (and Kazakhs) have umpty-million acres of totally flat, totally empty land, at latitudes matching the orbital inclination of their stations.  We don't.
2013-08-15 01:45:51 PM
1 votes:
And on that day, no Kerbals were sacrificed.....
2013-08-15 01:24:12 PM
1 votes:
Yeah, that newest version of MechJeb is pretty damn good
 
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