Click to get your own widget

Monday, June 22, 2009


The fourth launch of a liquid-fueled rocket occurred on July 17, 1929. Considered much more elaborate than the first three, Robert Goddard equipped the rocket with a barometer, thermometer and a camera to record their readings during flight. The rocket achieved a maximum altitude of 90 feet in an 18.5-second flight covering a distance of 171 feet.

The scientific payload was recovered safely via parachute. However, the launch was so noisy and bright that it captured much public attention. Many eyewitnesses believed an aircraft had crashed in the area. Local fire officials quickly forced Goddard to discontinue his launch operations at the Auburn site.

Aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh paid his first visit to Goddard on November 23, 1929. Lindbergh had become fascinated by accounts of the work of Goddard he had read, and believed strongly that rocketry had vast and significant potential.

Lindbergh arranged financial support for Goddard, which included a $50,000 grant from the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, paid to Clark University to fund research activities of Goddard. In addition, a smaller grant from the Carnegie Institution was received for the construction of test facilities.

In December, 1929 Goddard established a rocket test facility at Camp Devens, artillery range.

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary body. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission - to perform a manned lunar landing and return the mission safely to Earth

The Saturn 5 rocket's capacity was:
Height 110.6 m (363 ft)
Diameter 10.1 m (33 ft)
Mass 3,038,500 kg (6,699,000 lb)
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 118,000 kg (260,000 lb)
Payload to
Lunar vicinity 47,000 kg (100,000 lb)

From about 1969 political movements, at least in America & western Europe have become ever more anti-technology. members of this movement asserted that the money could be put to better use here on this Planet & have since spent tens of trillions solving all our problems.

The Apollo programme was allowed to peter out & NASA budgets were cut so that, though there remained enough money to work as a job creation programme there was virtually noting left for space development. Though allowed to limp along the last Space shuttle is due to be cancelled in 2010 which will leave access to the International Space Station dependent on the Russian spaceship Soyuz-TMA. This is the latest of the Soyuz spaceships, a line first launched in 1967.

I think the comparison between the 90 feet achieved 40 years before Apollo, 250,000 miles achieved by it & the current reliance on Russia to reach Earth orbit shows that had we continued the trend up to 1969 we would now not only have unlimited power from solar power satellites, substantial space colonies & asteroid mining but would have explored the entire solar system. Whether these would be worth all the money spent fighting the new ice age, global warming, building windmills, preventing passive smoking, eating salt & preparing for the oil to run out in 1990 must be a matter of opinion.

Labels: ,

1. A commenter on NextBigFuture named Goatguy debunked the myth of orbital solar power.

I'm not against technological progress, but GG put together a quick estimate showing that such a system would lose money. Trying orbital solar on a vast scale would probably end like the windmill craze in Europe, or the Ethanol craze in America.

2. Since we are on the subject of cost, I actually like the Soyuz craft. If I remember correctly the Soyuz spacecraft was designed to enter orbit and subsist up there for two weeks, which means it carries a lot of equipment and extra oxygen not needed for a three hour trip to the International Space Station.

Since the US seems to be on an outsourcing kick anyway we could simply pay the Russians to downsize the craft to a simple steel can that has just enough to make the trip up and back. NASA could then focus on running the space station and Russia would provide transportation cheaper than the shuttle.

In fact, now that I think about it, a smaller spacecraft could be mounted on a much smaller rocket saving a lot of money in fuel and materials, making the cost of spacetravel a lot lower.

Also, letting the Russians design and build such a craft would save a huge part of NASA's capital budget, allowing NASA to do other things than try to design a some sort of wondercraft to replace the shuttle.
I haven't seen Goatguy's remarks but the cost of SPS is overwhelmingly dependent on launch costs. Obviously it wouldn't be comeptitive with the Shuttle (nothing is) but we can reasonably expect costs to go down 100 fold for a proper commecial launcher. Add in a spacegoing civilisation where the meatls come from the Moon & you can decrease costs by another order of magnitude, maybe more. Ad that satellites don't suffer from weather & thus, at least in theory, can last forever. That being the case I don't think one can make a blanket assessment on it being cost effective at some time.

The great thing about Soyuz is that they have been rolling them off the production line since 1967 so all the design, factory building, machine tool etc costs have already ben paid for. This & the sensible attitude it implies is why Russia can run its space budget at $800-900 million, a tenth of America's.

I do admire that. Nonetheless it is not much to be proud of compared to the previous 40 years.

For various countries' budgets.
I wasn't thinking so far into the future that we would have a spacefaring civilization. I meant that NASA can kill the Shuttle, end the development programs and simply sign a ten-year contract with the Russians to provide spaceflight services. Now that there are so many companies planning commercial space launches, such as the ventures backed by Branson, there should be commercial carriers willing to haul passengers to the ISS in ten years.

If Branson's spaceplane isn't ready in ten years, or is simply too expensive, then the contract with Russia can be extended another decade. As it is, I suspect that Soyuz is cheaper to launch and maintain than the Shuttle.

Give me a few minutes and I will find Goatguy's comment.
hat would be a sensible way to go. I am sure Soyuz is very much cheaper than the Shuttle (though you can always find accoutants who can prove whatever is wanted). Much of the problem with Soyuz being commercial is that the US makes it difficult for American compaies to use it for sensitive components. When NASA is relying on Soyuz to get to orbit I think they will not be in a position to maintain such restrictions.
I found Goatguy's comment on orbital solar power and Brian Wang's post - link.

Also, I looked over you post on national space budgets and one thing caught my eye. In your post you mention that the total amount of space spending in the EU is larger than normally reported because subject states often have their own programs as well. The same is true here in the US, other federal departments have their own space programs separate from NASA.

Here are a few programs that I can think of that may or may not be accounted for in your estimate of US space spending:

1. The GPS system is probably paid for out of the Pentagon's budget. In addition, some of the math work for the GPS system was probably done by the Department of Commerce and by the US Geological Survey. I wouldn't be surprised if all of the scientific offices of the Interior Department are part of the program too.

2. The Air Force spends an amazing amount of money on researching spacecraft and other NASA like activities.

3. At the end of the Cold War the US merged the AF Strategic Air Command (nuclear bombers and missiles) with the AF's satellite program to create the Space Command.

4. The Landsat program seems to be managed by NASA, but it could be paid for out of either the budgets of the Department of Agriculture or Interior.

4. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) runs the National Weather Service and and since the US has many weather satellites, I wouldn't be surprised if they are paying for those separate from the NASA budget too.

5. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) runs America's fleet of spy satellites. As far as I know the NRO is a joint venture of the AF and the NSA or CIA.

Some of the above programs may be paid for out of NASA's budget, or they may not. But a lot of detective work will have to be done to determine how much the US is really spending.

The fact is that NASA is probably a massive waste compared to the other US space programs. You or I could probably run NASA for $2b a year and still maintain and expand the ISS, and maybe continue the space probe program.
Next Big Future has a post showing the total global space expenditure here.

Wang however states that a lot of foreign space expenditure for spy satellites and other military purposes may be underreported.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.