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(Jalopnik)   Ever wonder why the Soviets didn't make it to the moon first? It was this rocket   (jalopnik.com) divider line 106
    More: Interesting, moons, Soviet Union, rockets, sub-orbital spaceflight, geocentric orbit, satellite state, Alan Shepard, space races  
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8073 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Oct 2013 at 4:36 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-19 03:00:43 PM  
I thought it was vodka.
 
2013-10-19 03:32:17 PM  
And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.
 
2013-10-19 04:18:38 PM  
Quality was not job one with the soviets.

/and I think we got the better rocket Nazis after the war.
 
2013-10-19 04:35:32 PM  
That video was cool. Haha Soviets were dummies.
 
2013-10-19 04:43:41 PM  
You should see the rocket that Politburo planned to use for Sun landing!
 
2013-10-19 04:49:59 PM  
Odd they did not just copy the Saturn V.  I mean, they seemed to hang their hat on exact replicas of so many other projects - Fat Man pluto bomb, B-29, Buran, etc, etc.  I wonder why they went in such a different direction with this one.
 
2013-10-19 04:50:49 PM  
Duh. We "made it" first because we had Hollywood and all their special effects.
 
2013-10-19 04:50:51 PM  

Confabulat: That video was cool. Haha Soviets were dummies.


Really ? (I know you're trolling but just to fire back). Wasn't it the dummies who got into space...first. And the dummies who managed to put a man into space...first.

Second sucks. You know that right?
 
2013-10-19 04:53:14 PM  

basemetal: Quality was not job one with the soviets.

/and I think we got the better rocket Nazis after the war.


This.
There's a profound mental image of two coaches picking their best players in the immediate post-war confusion after stalingrad. Only, Russia's coach was still a little hungover, trying to sleep it off in the next room while the US started picking anyway. We got von braun - they got a few draftsmen and the janitorial staff basically.
 
2013-10-19 04:55:19 PM  
Our Germans were better than their Germans.

The most reliable, frequently launched rocket IN THE WORLD is the Russian R-7. It has 20 engines in its first stage. This was the rocket that launched Sputnik, Gagarin, our guys to the ISS, etc.

The Russians just had bad luck, and they were kinda weak in overall systems engineering. With a little refinement of the design, it would have been quite successful.

/credit where credit is due
 
2013-10-19 04:56:29 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.



So... the US is the Walrus?

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


You still need rocketry to get past a certain level, since air-breathing engines kinda quit when they don't have air.  And then there's the whole problem of lack of control surface (no aerodynamic effect when there's no air...) so you have to rely on thrust vectoring to direct your craft...

If you're unfamiliar, look up the "coffin corner".  Neat concept - there's a point in the flight envelope where you can't go any faster, but if you go slower then the plane stalls.
 
2013-10-19 04:58:44 PM  

indarwinsshadow: Confabulat: That video was cool. Haha Soviets were dummies.

Really ? (I know you're trolling but just to fire back). Wasn't it the dummies who got into space...first. And the dummies who managed to put a man into space...first.

Second sucks. You know that right?


Technically speaking, it was them being dummies. The US would do things like postpone flights for technical difficulties. We learned that some things just shouldn't be rushed.
Bad things happen when they are.

The Russians never truly learned this. Which let them get the drop on us for the early missions.
...but You need to achieve a certain level of patience and quality control to loft hundred ton payloads on more complex machines. To which they found themselves boxed in by their own programmatics.

 
2013-10-19 04:59:13 PM  
In middle school 16 year old Putin won long jump competition by landing on the Moon. Alisa Seleznyova won second place
 
2013-10-19 05:00:45 PM  

Mister Peejay: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.


So... the US is the Walrus?

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

You still need rocketry to get past a certain level, since air-breathing engines kinda quit when they don't have air.  And then there's the whole problem of lack of control surface (no aerodynamic effect when there's no air...) so you have to rely on thrust vectoring to direct your craft...

If you're unfamiliar, look up the "coffin corner".  Neat concept - there's a point in the flight envelope where you can't go any faster, but if you go slower then the plane stalls.


Perhaps a combination of traditional jet engines, ramjets/scramjets, and rocket boosters to take it that final yard would work.
 
2013-10-19 05:03:24 PM  
The article refers to the N1's engines as "unreliable", but I read that the N1 engines were actually relatively simple and quite efficient. I think the Russians have been selling off the surplus engines to private space ventures, with promising results. [citation needed]

basemetal: rocket Nazis


No rocket for you! NEXT!
 
2013-10-19 05:07:00 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: Mister Peejay: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.


So... the US is the Walrus?

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

You still need rocketry to get past a certain level, since air-breathing engines kinda quit when they don't have air.  And then there's the whole problem of lack of control surface (no aerodynamic effect when there's no air...) so you have to rely on thrust vectoring to direct your craft...

If you're unfamiliar, look up the "coffin corner".  Neat concept - there's a point in the flight envelope where you can't go any faster, but if you go slower then the plane stalls.

Perhaps a combination of traditional jet engines, ramjets/scramjets, and rocket boosters to take it that final yard would work.


It's being worked on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_%28spacecraft%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_%28rocket_engine%29

Seriously though, the N1 was a plumbing *nightmare*. It just plain had to many possible failure points to ever be anything like a reliable system. The funny thing is that they likely could have scaled up their proton launcher a little bit and gotten the same effect with *far* less effort.
 
2013-10-19 05:07:22 PM  

mark12A: Our Germans were better than their Germans.

The most reliable, frequently launched rocket IN THE WORLD is the Russian R-7. It has 20 engines in its first stage. This was the rocket that launched Sputnik, Gagarin, our guys to the ISS, etc.

The Russians just had bad luck, and they were kinda weak in overall systems engineering. With a little refinement of the design, it would have been quite successful.

/credit where credit is due


They put a satellite in orbit first and they made a soft landing on the moon with a probe that sent back pictures before we did.  Yeah, they were on to something.
 
2013-10-19 05:09:01 PM  
It was more than just the N1 failing, just saying that they would of done it if they had gotten that rocket to fly is disingenuous. By 1965 the Americans had started to catch up with the Russians, and even in some case exceed capability. Like, the first spacewalk by the Russians was kind of a farce. Alexey Leonov's suit ballooned up, and he didn't really have the maneuverability/great time during the EVA and had a tough time getting back in. Ed White meanwhile was having so much fun he had to be ordered back in.

Then there is the first space rendezvous which would of been crucial for landing on the moon, Americans did that first and well by 1965 onward the Americans had just started to gain momentum and pump more money into their space program than the Soviets were capable of doing. Then the chief designer of the Russian space program Sergei Korolev died in 1966, and well it was all downhill from there for the Russians. Though I doubt that even if Sergei had lived, that they would have been able to get to the moon before the Americans. America started their program first, and there are just a lot more things that go into a moon landing than just building a rocket.

Like spacesuits, ships for tracking/recovery, navigation computers, etc. The Russians just didn't have the capability to be first, and it goes WAY beyond just the failure of the N1.
 
2013-10-19 05:14:27 PM  
The reason the N-1 was designed this way isn't really a technical one. Long story short: The designer of the rocket and the boss of the design bureau responsible for larger rocket engines couldn't stand each other, so the rocket designer instead worked with the smaller rocket engines from the design bureau responsible for the smaller engines.

The Germans were only involved in the very first rockets of the Russians, later they were systematically removed from the design process because the Russians didn't trust them and didn't want them to have any inside knowledge of the state of the Russian technology.
 
2013-10-19 05:15:15 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets. That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.


Uh, what do you think the Shuttle was? A warp drive?

.

mark12A: The Russians just had bad luck, and they were kinda weak in overall systems engineering. With a little refinement of the design, it would have been quite successful.


Oddly, the USA went with a state-driven approach, while the USSR had several competing design bureaus that ate each other up instead of cooperating.

How's that for a paradox?
 
2013-10-19 05:28:11 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


<Scratches head>  <Looks at solid rocket boosters> <Looks at fuel tank on shuttle> <Looks at main engines on shuttle> <Looks at reusable Dragon capsule>  <Scratches head some more>

Whatever you say there guy.

Once you remove the single polar orbit launch with return to launch facility requirement the Air Force jammed down NASA's throat on the shuttle, the shuttle design is kind of stupid.

Returning to symmetrical (ie. standard rocket design) launch vehicles is undoing a mistake that was made for cold-war reasons.  Now we can start driving launch costs down.
 
2013-10-19 05:34:12 PM  

MadHatter500: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

<Scratches head>  <Looks at solid rocket boosters> <Looks at fuel tank on shuttle> <Looks at main engines on shuttle> <Looks at reusable Dragon capsule>  <Scratches head some more>

Whatever you say there guy.

Once you remove the single polar orbit launch with return to launch facility requirement the Air Force jammed down NASA's throat on the shuttle, the shuttle design is kind of stupid.

Returning to symmetrical (ie. standard rocket design) launch vehicles is undoing a mistake that was made for cold-war reasons.  Now we can start driving launch costs down.


Sure, the shuttle launched like a typical rocket, but it looked like a plane, sort of, and landed mostly like one.  Plus, it was much larger and roomier than the capsules that sit on top of rockets.

Maybe it's just that rockets and capsules look old fashioned to me.  It seems like we should have something new by now.  A completely reusable vehicle that takes off like a plane, maybe uses internal rocket engines to achieve orbit when it's at max altitude, does its thing in space, and then comes back and lands like a plane would seem to reduce a ton of waste (like those boosters and fuel tanks that the current designs just dump at high altitude).
 
2013-10-19 05:34:42 PM  
It wasn't the rocket, it was quality control on the rocket.

Most of the US rocket failures were design failures-- we learned from them, and the next rocket in had a better design each time until we'd refined the craft to some sort of optimal balance of cost, control, and reliability.

Most of the Soviet rocket failures were failures of QC.  Separate bureaus not talking to each other (the US farmed things out to private corps, which were used to working together whereas most soviet enterprises were single-unit), just straight-up poor craftsmanship, that kind of thing.

You can compensate for that from a design perspective to a certain extent... that's actually what the cluster of engines was all about, it was so that some of them could fail... but when you're doing stuff like manned moon trips and extralunar probes your margins for error and so on get so narrow that only the US, which did things the hard way and optimized through a dozen designs that exploded on the launch-pad, could really manage them.

Quantum Apostrophe: Oddly, the USA went with a state-driven approach, while the USSR had several competing design bureaus that ate each other up instead of cooperating.

How's that for a paradox?


That's not entirely the case.  Centralized design was a plus, but a lot of it was high-level stuff in the US, with many details left to Boeing or any of another couple dozen companies the sub-projects were farmed out to.

//Actually a lot of the above has changed, currently most non-US entities stick to orbit or lower more from habit and weak funding than because they couldn't manage Mars probes and so on.  Albeit the potential for that to change is mostly because the US shares our info, so in a way we're still tech-dominant there.
 
2013-10-19 05:37:33 PM  
Gunnery Chief: This, recruits, is a 20-kilo ferris slug, feel the weight. Every five seconds, the main gun of an everest class dreadnought accelerates one to 1.3% of light-speed. It impacts with the force of a 38-kiloton bomb. That is three times the yield of the city-buster dropped on Hiroshima back on Earth. That means- Sir Issac Newton is the deadliest son-of-a-biatch in space!
 
2013-10-19 05:37:57 PM  

lifeboat: Odd they did not just copy the Saturn V.  I mean, they seemed to hang their hat on exact replicas of so many other projects - Fat Man pluto bomb, B-29, Buran, etc, etc.  I wonder why they went in such a different direction with this one.


To put it simply, they didn't have the same capability as the US. Building a rocket like the Saturn V would of been beyond their capability. It kind of comes down to money, the Russians had succeed with what was overall a budget space program in some sense. IE: The First Russian spacecraft  Vostok had no capability to land by it self, so once you entered the earth'satmosphere and reached a certain height you jumped out of the spacecraft. The second spacecraft Voskhod was basically avariant of the Vostok. They sort of cheated to put three men into orbit with that, by basically cramming them in there without a pressure suit since there was no space.

Anyway, my point is that the Americans spent a hell of a lot more money and even today we continue to do so. NASA's budget may keep getting slashed, but we still spend more money on NASA than any other space agency. Which is why funding NASA is so important in my opinion, if we don't do it nobody else is going to on the same scale. Otherwise they would of done so by now.

As for the N1, calling it a failure isn't exactly true. The engines worked just fine, indeed two modified versions can be found on the Antares launch vehicle that is used to fly the unmanned Cyngus cargo spacecraft to ISS. Other engines developed from the NK-33 have also been proven to be veryefficient and useful. The RD-170 engines which were used on the Energia  launchvehicle put the unmanned Buran space shuttle into orbit, The Atlas V's RD-180 engines were also developed from the NK-33, and so is the RD-191 which will be used for Russia's new launch familyAngara.

Anyway, as for all the failures of the N1 that is sort of to have been expected. You're trying to get 30 engines to work together in the 1960's. That being said, that doesn't mean they couldn't of necessarily pulled it off. The Russian's didn't have the capability to tests all 30 engines together before flight, so every time they flew together was the first time they fired together. Which means every flight was a trial by fire as it were. Only the program was cancelled before they could succeed in favor of space stations. Maybe if Sergei had lived they might of pulled it off, if AFTER 1972. After Sergei died though, the Russian space program lost a strong leader with any vision.
 
2013-10-19 05:40:43 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


*psst*! The Shuttle was a rocket. And unless we can crack QA's Lightspeed 747 challenge, we're stuck with rockets. The problem is that we don't have a viable engine that can work at subsonic sea-level, ultrasonic high altitude, and zero atmosphere environments. As it is now, we'd need three different engines, jet engines, scramjet engines (which we haven't got working reliably yet, and rockets. And two of those engines would always be off, waiting for the environment they work best in. Good luck getting that to work reliably. (That's why Virgin Galactic uses a host plane to lift the sub-orbital rocket plane into flight altitude).

And really, the shuttle was a boondoggle. A freaking camel of a orbiter. Ballistic missiles are cheaper and more reliable than the Shuttle.
 
2013-10-19 05:45:39 PM  
The first launch of the N! was always going to be a failure. Everyone knew it. They were elated when the thing even got off the ground before exploding.

The reason behind this is that the Russians didn't test their hardware incrementally. They just went and built the whole farking rocket, let it blow up, figure out what went wrong, and then build another rocket to test the fixes.

The N1 never made it to the moon because the Russians ran out of money.  The N1 engines were actually decades ahead of their time because they were closed cycle engines, where the fuel spinning the turbopumps to power the engine was then fed directly into the combustion chamber instead of being vented as waste like the US open cycle engines did.  Combustion chamber pressure was higher, Higher power, lighter weight, higher ISP.  Something like 20% more powerful then anything the US had at the time.

/When americans got hold if the spec sheets for the engines, they thought there must have been a mistake, we could never make closed cycle engines work without exploding.
 
2013-10-19 05:47:38 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: MadHatter500: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

<Scratches head>  <Looks at solid rocket boosters> <Looks at fuel tank on shuttle> <Looks at main engines on shuttle> <Looks at reusable Dragon capsule>  <Scratches head some more>

Whatever you say there guy.

Once you remove the single polar orbit launch with return to launch facility requirement the Air Force jammed down NASA's throat on the shuttle, the shuttle design is kind of stupid.

Returning to symmetrical (ie. standard rocket design) launch vehicles is undoing a mistake that was made for cold-war reasons.  Now we can start driving launch costs down.

Sure, the shuttle launched like a typical rocket, but it looked like a plane, sort of, and landed mostly like one.  Plus, it was much larger and roomier than the capsules that sit on top of rockets.

Maybe it's just that rockets and capsules look old fashioned to me.  It seems like we should have something new by now.  A completely reusable vehicle that takes off like a plane, maybe uses internal rocket engines to achieve orbit when it's at max altitude, does its thing in space, and then comes back and lands like a plane would seem to reduce a ton of waste (like those boosters and fuel tanks that the current designs just dump at high altitude).


As far as I know, the shuttle's crew section was basically a capsule strapped to an aircraft frame.  You could put the same roominess into a capsule as far as I know (please double-check before quoting me on that to other people)

And in space, all of those airplane parts are dead, wasted weight that you have to throw extra horsepower behind to get it up there in the first place.  Wings, hydraulics, landing gear, landing gear struts, and all the heat shielding over every single square inch of surface that's going to be exposed to heat.  So now you have to put extra weight of shielding into protecting the extra weight of airplane parts.

Whereas a capsule with a good, small, sturdy heat shield and parachutes can come down just fine wherever you decide you want it to come down once you get the ballistics calculations figured out.

Flying around like a trans-atmospheric plane is absolutely cool for a concept, but just not feasible or efficient right now.  The power margins are too thin to allow for all the bells and whistles.

Now capsule-sized lifting bodies and such seem like they're decent compromises... Like Space Ship One, or the old X-20 Dyna-Soar.  But capsules still win from the pov of simplicity.
 
2013-10-19 05:48:25 PM  
Gotta love how they hype the Saturn V then make a joke out of the N1 burning kerosene. Saturn V first stage used the same fuel, though our "rocket-grade" kerosene was better quality than theirs.

bbfreak: Alexey Leonov's suit ballooned up, and he didn't really have the maneuverability/great time during the EVA and had a tough time getting back in. Ed White meanwhile was having so much fun he had to be ordered back in.


White had ballooning problems and significant trouble getting back inside, too. The suit resisted bending enough to let him fit into the cramped seat, and McDivitt had to help pull him down. Leonov's ballooning problem was worse than White's, plus he was on his own, as Voskhod had an actual air lock and the cosmonaut inside the capsule couldn't help.

Later attempts to do any actual work during Gemini EVAs were complete failures until Buzz Aldrin (the first engineer astronaut) worked out solutions. He came up with the idea of training in a neutral-buoyancy pool, helped design new hand tools, and had handholds and places to brace your feet installed.

White was also unable to hear NASA during the EVA, due to a problem with the Gemini comm system. Since NASA could hear him, it took a while to figure out the problem and have the other astronaut relay the order to come in. They were getting worried because the capsule was about to pass into shadow and they wanted him safely inside before it went dark and cold.

...and then they had a problem where the hatch mechanism jammed, and they had to partly disassemble it before they could latch it closed.

Spaceflight's hard.
 
2013-10-19 05:49:18 PM  

MadHatter500: Once you remove the single polar orbit launch with return to launch facility requirement the Air Force jammed down NASA's throat on the shuttle, the shuttle design is kind of stupid.



In all fairness to the return-to-launch idea, the fact that we basically did it just because it was a stupid-hard thing to do that showed off our engineering prowess doesn't really make it unique to the space program.  It's never really been about practicality.

I mean, I don't disagree that it ended up not being the best idea, but we've developed a lot of designs and ideas constructing and maintaining the things, so fundamentally they've served their purpose even if they're pretty thoroughly obsoleted by older tech.  NASA is all about trying shiat that might not pan out just to see what happens.
 
2013-10-19 05:49:47 PM  
A conventional explosion the size of a small nuke. That takes some doing.
 
2013-10-19 05:52:57 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


Eh. The shuttle was a failure as a low cost launch system though, for various reasons. The biggest that comes to mind is limits of space planes. IE: They are a lot more vulnerable to the weather. Which is why the shuttle scrubbed at any signs of clouds, or even cold temperature etc. While in Russia they can launch Soyuz in pretty much any weather. Also, they can't go beyond low earth orbit. This is for two reasons depending on the space plane. They don't have the capability as far as fuel goes to go beyond low earth orbit. I'm not even sure how you'd hook up a space shuttle to some sort of booster stage, or Dream Chaser for that matter.

Then there is the matter of getting back to earth at speeds of 24,791 mph. The capsule shape works really well as far as that goes, but I'm honestly not sure how the space shuttle would do a skip reentry trajectory. Or Dream Chaser. Eh, I'm no engineer though.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-10-19 05:56:28 PM  

Beowoolfie: Gotta love how they hype the Saturn V then make a joke out of the N1 burning kerosene. Saturn V first stage used the same fuel, though our "rocket-grade" kerosene was better quality than theirs.

bbfreak: Alexey Leonov's suit ballooned up, and he didn't really have the maneuverability/great time during the EVA and had a tough time getting back in. Ed White meanwhile was having so much fun he had to be ordered back in.

White had ballooning problems and significant trouble getting back inside, too. The suit resisted bending enough to let him fit into the cramped seat, and McDivitt had to help pull him down. Leonov's ballooning problem was worse than White's, plus he was on his own, as Voskhod had an actual air lock and the cosmonaut inside the capsule couldn't help.

Later attempts to do any actual work during Gemini EVAs were complete failures until Buzz Aldrin (the first engineer astronaut) worked out solutions. He came up with the idea of training in a neutral-buoyancy pool, helped design new hand tools, and had handholds and places to brace your feet installed.

White was also unable to hear NASA during the EVA, due to a problem with the Gemini comm system. Since NASA could hear him, it took a while to figure out the problem and have the other astronaut relay the order to come in. They were getting worried because the capsule was about to pass into shadow and they wanted him safely inside before it went dark and cold.

...and then they had a problem where the hatch mechanism jammed, and they had to partly disassemble it before they could latch it closed.

Spaceflight's hard.


Yup.
 
2013-10-19 05:59:05 PM  
I just watched a documentary on this

Found it on Youtube

Google "Engines that came in from the cold"

Pretty much after Khrushchev's fall the political will to go to the moon dissipated for the CCCP
 
2013-10-19 06:06:22 PM  
The real maddening thing about the Soviet era is that they got Henry Ford's very own factory designer to help build a bunch of factories pre WWII. He showed them how to build factories, and how to do quality controls. But just communism deters the personal effort, probably because of what The People's Cube said about "all efforts produce equal results."

Oh, and IIRC most of their German rocket surgeons died when a general insisted everyone get closer to the rocket that was about to blow up.
 
2013-10-19 06:10:14 PM  
bbfreak: lifeboat: Odd they did not just copy the Saturn V.  I mean, they seemed to hang their hat on exact replicas of so many other projects - Fat Man pluto bomb, B-29, Buran, etc, etc.  I wonder why they went in such a different direction with this one.

To put it simply, they didn't have the same capability as the US. Building a rocket like the Saturn V would of been beyond their capability. It kind of comes down to money, the Russians had succeed with what was overall a budget space program in some sense. IE: The First Russian spacecraft  Vostok had no capability to land by it self, so once you entered the earth'satmosphere and reached a certain height you jumped out of the spacecraft. The second spacecraft Voskhod was basically avariant of the Vostok. They sort of cheated to put three men into orbit with that, by basically cramming them in there without a pressure suit since there was no space.


Ah, OK.  Did the Russians have many spies at NASA at the time of the space race?  I'm guessing they did.  I'm just curious because I've been reading a lot about the Manhattan Project lately and was kind of surprised to learn there were at least 3 Soviet spies inside the project at Los Alamos!  I'm thinking NASA would have been much easier to access (when compared to the Manhattan Project).
 
2013-10-19 06:13:07 PM  

Ed Grubermann: scramjet engines


You know, with all the "UFO reports" about objects flying at multiple mach speeds in line with the aurora, i'd be willing to bet good money we have scram jets that work great but they're still highly classified.
 
2013-10-19 06:15:25 PM  

cman: I just watched a documentary on this

Found it on Youtube

Google "Engines that came in from the cold"

Pretty much after Khrushchev's fall the political will to go to the moon dissipated for the CCCP


Kruschchev's ouster + Korolev's death + bad blood between Korolev's and Glushko's design bureaus + a wonky guidance system (KORD was a piece of shiat) = no Red Moon

/astro geek, specifically Russian astro geek
 
2013-10-19 06:17:19 PM  

clintster: cman: I just watched a documentary on this

Found it on Youtube

Google "Engines that came in from the cold"

Pretty much after Khrushchev's fall the political will to go to the moon dissipated for the CCCP

Kruschchev's ouster + Korolev's death + bad blood between Korolev's and Glushko's design bureaus + a wonky guidance system (KORD was a piece of shiat) = no Red Moon

/astro geek, specifically Russian astro geek


I really want to learn more about the Soviet space program. I wish there were more documentaries out there.

/Actually I like learning about the Soviet Union
//Reading Kruschchev's biography right this very moment
///Ok, my computer is reading it. I am listening to it
 
2013-10-19 06:17:36 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


The Space X situation really isn't all that different than what we had before. Rockewell/Boeing built the Shuttles, and joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed called the United Space Alliance did all the maintenance, so there wasn't really much NASA did themselves previously. Apollo similarly relied on contractors for the bulk of the work (Grumman built the LEM for example).

As for the Shuttle, it required so much maintenance between flights that you really didn't save much over a traditional booster. We would have been way better off just streamlining the Saturn designs over 30 years instead of trying to make the Shuttle work. It was a decent idea for the original task of grabbing Soviet spy sats out of orbit, but it was terribly I efficient for boosting heavy loads. Just imagine the kind of space stations and telescopes we would have been able to laugh if we still had the heavy-lift capability of the Saturn V. Not only was the Shuttle a flawed design that exposed the heat shielding to ice damage every launch, but it probably set American space exploration back 30 years because we held off on developing the cheaper boosters we need. In terms of reusing the spacecraft, Space X is probably closer to really perfecting it with their Grasshopper design than decades of Shuttle development were able to do.
 
2013-10-19 06:18:24 PM  

Jim_Callahan: MadHatter500: Once you remove the single polar orbit launch with return to launch facility requirement the Air Force jammed down NASA's throat on the shuttle, the shuttle design is kind of stupid.


In all fairness to the return-to-launch idea, the fact that we basically did it just because it was a stupid-hard thing to do that showed off our engineering prowess doesn't really make it unique to the space program.  It's never really been about practicality.

I mean, I don't disagree that it ended up not being the best idea, but we've developed a lot of designs and ideas constructing and maintaining the things, so fundamentally they've served their purpose even if they're pretty thoroughly obsoleted by older tech.  NASA is all about trying shiat that might not pan out just to see what happens.


And really, that's what NASA should do - try to stretch the limits, without worrying about whether something is going to be profitable or practical.  See if it can be done, then worry about streamlining it for future use later.

That's one of the reasons I have big reservations about private enterprise taking over more of the space program.  At the end of the day Space-X is going to be looking to make money.  That's something NASA wouldn't have to worry about.

Another neat feature of the shuttle was the big cargo area and the space arm.  It might be possible to put a space arm on a capsule, but it seems like the shuttle was better for going up and fixing satellites, the ISS, the Hubble telescope, etc.  Eventually we might need to start looking at building spacecraft in space, and having something like the shuttle would have been very useful for that.
 
2013-10-19 06:20:57 PM  

bbfreak: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

Eh. The shuttle was a failure as a low cost launch system though, for various reasons. The biggest that comes to mind is limits of space planes. IE: They are a lot more vulnerable to the weather. Which is why the shuttle scrubbed at any signs of clouds, or even cold temperature etc. While in Russia they can launch Soyuz in pretty much any weather. Also, they can't go beyond low earth orbit. This is for two reasons depending on the space plane. They don't have the capability as far as fuel goes to go beyond low earth orbit. I'm not even sure how you'd hook up a space shuttle to some sort of booster stage, or Dream Chaser for that matter.

Then there is the matter of getting back to earth at speeds of 24,791 mph. The capsule shape works really well as far as that goes, but I'm honestly not sure how the space shuttle would do a skip reentry trajectory. Or Dream Chaser. Eh, I'm no engineer though.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 800x386]


This stuff just blows my mind. There are actually people who figured this crap out with slide rules, paper, and pencil. I can't math. I seriously admire the brainiacs who do this, even more than the astronauts themselves.
 
2013-10-19 06:22:16 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.


Hmm, and just in case I didn't make my point clear enough in the last post. Basically when you don't launch frequently, launch costs go up. Which is why space planes aren't so great from an engineering standpoint beyond the whole how do you do a skip reentry trajectory and land it at an airport afterwards? Skylon may have dreams of pulling off SSTO, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Either way its going to be limited to low earth orbit, and honestly I think we should have something that can go beyond.

Though having easy/safe access to space travel would be good too. So maybe Skylon can do that. I think if they can pull it off, Virgin Galactic should make it happen. It makes sense sort of. Skylon's engineers are looking for people to build the spacecraft now that they've sort of more or less proven that the engine can work and Virgin Galactic is looking for a way to expand beyond suborbital.
 
2013-10-19 06:23:47 PM  

lifeboat: Ah, OK.  Did the Russians have many spies at NASA at the time of the space race?


Most of the science and a good chunk of the design work behind both space programs was  published openly.  No need for spies on either side, not that there weren't probably plenty.

Basically, no one bothered to keep much secret, because:

1. both of us tended to publish designs for stuff we already had ready to go more than anything else, trying to pull stuff out of the design phase had a lot of noise, since both programs were swimming in ideas.  So if one of us copied the other they'd be behind by the year or three it takes to go from design to production-ready.

2. most of the stuff that was compatible was pretty intuitively obvious anyhow

3. it was mostly about showing off anyway, and

4. the whole point was to work our shiat out peacefully instead of bombing each other.  We actually wanted things to all link together at some point, e.g. the ISS and so on, just to make it a world project.
 
2013-10-19 06:24:47 PM  

lifeboat: bbfreak: lifeboat: Odd they did not just copy the Saturn V.  I mean, they seemed to hang their hat on exact replicas of so many other projects - Fat Man pluto bomb, B-29, Buran, etc, etc.  I wonder why they went in such a different direction with this one.

To put it simply, they didn't have the same capability as the US. Building a rocket like the Saturn V would of been beyond their capability. It kind of comes down to money, the Russians had succeed with what was overall a budget space program in some sense. IE: The First Russian spacecraft  Vostok had no capability to land by it self, so once you entered the earth'satmosphere and reached a certain height you jumped out of the spacecraft. The second spacecraft Voskhod was basically avariant of the Vostok. They sort of cheated to put three men into orbit with that, by basically cramming them in there without a pressure suit since there was no space.

Ah, OK.  Did the Russians have many spies at NASA at the time of the space race?  I'm guessing they did.  I'm just curious because I've been reading a lot about the Manhattan Project lately and was kind of surprised to learn there were at least 3 Soviet spies inside the project at Los Alamos!  I'm thinking NASA would have been much easier to access (when compared to the Manhattan Project).


Its almost certain that they did. After all the Buran spacecraft was basically a copy of our space shuttle with improvements.
 
2013-10-19 06:28:20 PM  

bbfreak: TuteTibiImperes: And now we have to bum rides off of them.

Though, I guess Space-X is getting close to offering crewed flights.  It's a shame that it's not NASA though and that it has to fall to a private company.

It's also a shame we've gone back to rockets.  That seems so regressive after the Shuttle.  We should have space planes that can take off from a regular airport, achieve orbit, go where they need to go, and then land like a normal plane by now.

Hmm, and just in case I didn't make my point clear enough in the last post. Basically when you don't launch frequently, launch costs go up. Which is why space planes aren't so great from an engineering standpoint beyond the whole how do you do a skip reentry trajectory and land it at an airport afterwards? Skylon may have dreams of pulling off SSTO, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Either way its going to be limited to low earth orbit, and honestly I think we should have something that can go beyond.

Though having easy/safe access to space travel would be good too. So maybe Skylon can do that. I think if they can pull it off, Virgin Galactic should make it happen. It makes sense sort of. Skylon's engineers are looking for people to build the spacecraft now that they've sort of more or less proven that the engine can work and Virgin Galactic is looking for a way to expand beyond suborbital.


Why would it have to be limited to low earth orbit?

Wouldn't it just be a matter of making sure your trajectory would take you to the proper altitude and then having enough fuel to use thrusters to stabilize an orbit at that point?   Once you're mostly free of earth's gravity, does it take that much more fuel to increase how far your orbit is?
 
2013-10-19 06:29:03 PM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: This stuff just blows my mind. There are actually people who figured this crap out with slide rules, paper, and pencil. I can't math. I seriously admire the brainiacs who do this, even more than the astronauts themselves.


As an engineer, l'll let you in on a secret: we still do it the same way they did it in the '50s, mostly.

It's just faster now, because what used to be 500 lbs of anthologies of steam tables, material ratings, etc is now a big set of searchable spreadsheets and such that I can store on my two-oz phone if I'm so inclined.

Either way, the difference between science and engineering is that Science is about writing the table, and engineering is about knowing what table to use for a given problem.

//I'm not even kidding, shiat like the bessel functions are still usually numeric tables, even in computer programs that use them to solve things.
 
2013-10-19 06:29:07 PM  

bbfreak: lifeboat: bbfreak: lifeboat: Odd they did not just copy the Saturn V.  I mean, they seemed to hang their hat on exact replicas of so many other projects - Fat Man pluto bomb, B-29, Buran, etc, etc.  I wonder why they went in such a different direction with this one.

To put it simply, they didn't have the same capability as the US. Building a rocket like the Saturn V would of been beyond their capability. It kind of comes down to money, the Russians had succeed with what was overall a budget space program in some sense. IE: The First Russian spacecraft  Vostok had no capability to land by it self, so once you entered the earth'satmosphere and reached a certain height you jumped out of the spacecraft. The second spacecraft Voskhod was basically avariant of the Vostok. They sort of cheated to put three men into orbit with that, by basically cramming them in there without a pressure suit since there was no space.

Ah, OK.  Did the Russians have many spies at NASA at the time of the space race?  I'm guessing they did.  I'm just curious because I've been reading a lot about the Manhattan Project lately and was kind of surprised to learn there were at least 3 Soviet spies inside the project at Los Alamos!  I'm thinking NASA would have been much easier to access (when compared to the Manhattan Project).

Its almost certain that they did. After all the Buran spacecraft was basically a copy of our space shuttle with improvements.


And they had the foresight to see that it was a complete waste of money and mothballed their shuttle program before it really got going
 
2013-10-19 06:34:30 PM  

indarwinsshadow: Really ? (I know you're trolling but just to fire back). Wasn't it the dummies who got into space...first. And the dummies who managed to put a man into space...first.


Wasn't so much technical prowess as political will: The US really had no political reason to go into space... until Sputnik, which was a radio transmitter installed inside a missile nosecone. A not-so-subtle hint that the next thing the Soviets put into orbit might be a multi-warhead nuke.

Once we got the political motivation, we were able to catch up and pass the Russians on a technological front fairly quickly.
=Smidge=
 
2013-10-19 06:36:30 PM  

Jim_Callahan: lifeboat: Ah, OK.  Did the Russians have many spies at NASA at the time of the space race?

Most of the science and a good chunk of the design work behind both space programs was  published openly.  No need for spies on either side, not that there weren't probably plenty.

Basically, no one bothered to keep much secret, because:

1. both of us tended to publish designs for stuff we already had ready to go more than anything else, trying to pull stuff out of the design phase had a lot of noise, since both programs were swimming in ideas.  So if one of us copied the other they'd be behind by the year or three it takes to go from design to production-ready.

2. most of the stuff that was compatible was pretty intuitively obvious anyhow

3. it was mostly about showing off anyway, and

4. the whole point was to work our shiat out peacefully instead of bombing each other.  We actually wanted things to all link together at some point, e.g. the ISS and so on, just to make it a world project.


That isn't true at all. Russia's space program was shrouded in mystery and propaganda and was almost entirely military in nature. Thus secrets. NASA was a lot more open about everything since they're a civilian agency, but that isn't to say we willingly gave everyone who wanted the engineering specifications of the Saturn V, etc. After all, these are aerospace agencies that build all this stuff. Boeing I'm sure doesn't publish everything about how they do things so that Airbus can copy them.

Not that the US didn't have a military space program either, we still do but Russia didn't put a gun on a space station or think we had ulterior motives with the shuttle because they were trying to be peaceful. The Buran was designed to carry mini space shuttles for example, so that they could bomb the United States.
 
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