Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Space Stuff

Rand Simberg has a good piece up on the recent hypersonic test of the X-43 by NASA.

The big appeal of the scramjet has been that it theoretically requires less takeoff weight and therefore should be cheaper. Of course spacecraft aren't really bought by the pound but by the unfireable unionized workforce that supports them.....which is why it was cheaper to throw away a Saturn 5 and go to the moon than it is to launch a shuttle to LEO.

In this laygeeks opinion a better model is that followed by the crew that worked on the DC-X and Y before Clinton killed it with a line item veto.

The Japanese agree, as they are going that route with a rather low key effort .....but with no Clinton to screw things up. (note: the interview on the previous link has video of this Japanese test vehicle taking off and landing, as well as schematics!)

A informative overview of DC-X and other SSTO ideas by Jerry Pournelle can be found here.

Assuming that we actually get out of the gravity well, here is info on both lunar rocket fuel and mooncrete synthesis, as well as an article that has some preliminary designs for a moonbase.

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