Space Exploration,astronomy & Cosmology

Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by StuBoy, May 26, 2020.

  1. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Those of you on here long enough may remember that I used to regularly post links to the various Space Shuttle launches, the last one of which was in 2011 (I can't believe it's almost 10 years ago...).

    Since 2011, US astronauts have had to ride piggy back in the Russian Soyuz capsule, costing a handsome sum into Mr Putin's back pocket. However, tomorrow (weather permitting), NASA are planning on launching two astronauts to the ISS in a Dragon capsule, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the famous 39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre. This first ever commercial launch is using all SpaceX hardware.

    Lift-off is timed for 16:33 EDT (21:33 BST) tomorrow, below are some links if anyone is interested to watch this kind of historic event:

    https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public (NASA TV)
    https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel (SpaceX)

    I reckon the BBC might run this live on their website too.
     
  2. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    I read somewhere only 40% chance of launching tomorrow as the weather isn't favourable on the forecast. Next window is Saturday.
     
  3. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Yep, you’re not wrong UEA.
     
  4. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    I used to always follow your space threads back in the day! Pleasant surprise to find this here this evening.

    Whats the long term aim for NASA at the moment here, are they only going to be clients of companies like spaceX from now on stu?
     
  5. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Well if you believe the Trump administration landing the next man and first woman on the moon by 2024! They are developing their own super heavy rocket called SLS, based on a lot of the Shuttle tech. They’ve already test flown their new capsule Orion too a few years back, which is heavily based on the old Apollo capsule, notice a theme here?

    What you’ll see tomorrow is more low earth orbit stuff, I.e. NASA has distributed a lot of money to commercial companies to create almost a shuttle to the ISS for their astronauts, whilst they focus their efforts on deep space exploration, in theory.

    In practice many doubt the SLS will get off the ground more than once, and that it’s just a big white elephant to keep all the contractors involved in the space sector in their jobs....that being said, you can’t knock what companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin have done privately. More efficient and cost effective than NASA programs, as an example tomorrow SpaceX will attempt to land the booster used to propel the rocket upwards, incredible technology.
     
  6. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    haha yer I see the theme alright.....its another space race. exactly the same as last time.

    surely commercial space exploration is the way forwards at this point? it cant be left down to government organisations at this point.
     
  7. Sahorn

    Sahorn Reservist

    Isn’t a manned mission to Mars the next big thing?
    What’s the latest on that project?
     
  8. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    NASA changed it, moon first then Mars now. Although Elon Musk may think otherwise with SpaceX.
     
  9. Otter

    Otter Gambling industry insider

    For the time being Mars is out of reach for humans as a number of glaring factors need to be overcome.

    First of all the mass of equipment needed to get there (and have supplies for the return journey) would be many times that of the probes that have previously been sent, therefore the amount of fuel required would be massive. However it could be feasible if the mission launch is from space or the Moon rather than direct from Earth but that will be another logistical hurdle.

    Second on the most fuel efficient path (an orbital transfer trajectory) it would take about 8 months minimum to get there. The Apollo missions required food & air supplies for a mission lasting 8-10 days and the ISS is near enough for re-stocking, so this will be another new one.

    Third, the gravity on Mars is much greater than the Moon's, the atmosphere is too thin to rely on parachutes to slow the descent to the surface so much larger thrusters will be required than Apollo (due to greater gravitational pull) and Mars landers (due to greater mass requiring more force to decelerate). Furthermore, unlike the existing landers, the Martian Module would need to launch from the surface, this would need a lot more than Apollo did due to Mars' greater gravity + the friction of the atmosphere.

    Fourth, once the rendez-vous with the orbiter has been made a boost to propel it away from Mars' orbit towards Earth would be a hell of a lot more than what was required of Apollo particular as the proximity of Earth to the Moon meant that the return journey was mostly under the greater influence of Earth's gravity. Of course one small advantage is that as the spacecraft heads closer to Earth, the Sun's greater gravitational pull may assist a little.

    Fifth, as the spacecraft gets close to Earth, it needs more fuel to enable it to decelerate enough to get captured Earth's orbit or all that will happen is a deflected fly-by.

    Sixth, the primary position of Mars in relation to Earth for the shortest efficient outwards journey as mentioned in the second point, means that it is highly unlikely that the two planets will be in prime position for the shortest possible return journey. This is probably why 2-2.5 years for the mission has been banded about for the last few decades.

    Seventh, even if all of the above technological issues are overcome, you have to find 3 (minimum) astronauts who have the mental and physical strength to cope with such a long journey, muscle and bone mass depletion is well documented for ISS astronauts and that's for missions that are a lot less than half the time required for this mission. Then there's the exposure issue, astronauts on the ISS are within the Van Allen belts, which largely protects them from magnetic solar energy as well as most of the cosmic radiation, z-particles etc. To date only the Apollo astronauts have ever left low-Earth orbit, they all reported continuously seeing flashes of light during the flight, this was found to have been caused by z-particles and other sub-atomic particles which cannot be filtered out by any shielding of the spacecraft. Nearly all Apollo astronauts suffered from poor eyesight as a consequence of this. With this in mind I would not be surprised that any astronauts partaking on a Mars mission will have life-changing medical problems on their return.

    With all of this in mind, Mars is out of reach for now.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  10. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Can we not just strap Trump into a rocket and play it by ear?
     
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  11. Sahorn

    Sahorn Reservist

    That’s quite a summary..
    Thanks for the insight and effort to post.

    I’m sure I remember listening to an interview with an astrophysics/astronomy? student who’d applied to be a Mars bound astronaut (Mars One?) .
    One way trip as I recall to set up a space station with a bunch of other highly qualified nutters who clearly felt their life was worth the human progress!

    So a return journey was not an issue but the radiation/ dementia/ loss of muscle and other long term effects (cabin fever!) would surely result in their early demise?
     
  12. Otter

    Otter Gambling industry insider

    On top of all of that, in the case of Apollo, as the Moon is close enough it enabled NASA to do two dummy runs as in Apollo 8 and Apollo 10 before the big one.

    The key test of Apollo 8 was to test the endurance and the Moon orbital capture and return to Earth; Apollo 10 was to test deploying the Lunar Module, rendez-vous and return.

    For a Mars mission, if they were to do equivalent runs it would take at least nearly a decade to go from Apollo 8 to 11 allowing for time to chew over the data and make alterations to the plans. With that in mind, there will be no Apollo 8 equivalent but possibly an unmanned Apollo 10 equivalent.
     
  13. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    Looks like it will be taking off today!
     
  14. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Weather looks crap at Cape Canaveral.
     
  15. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    they must be hoping for a window? i agree though it looks dreadful
     
  16. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Apparently this was in the last hour...

    [​IMG]
     
  17. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Yeah looks bad. Still go for now though.
     
  18. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Binned. Failed on the weather. Try again Saturday.
     
  19. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Weather still red 17 minutes before launch so it’s scrubbed. Come back on Saturday I think now.
     
  20. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    Spoke too soon. Shame but ill still get to see it on Saturday :)
     
  21. a19tgg

    a19tgg Squad Player

    upload_2020-5-27_23-48-15.jpeg
     
  22. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Coming up to 20 minutes to go now for attempt number 2, and the weather is looking much better now. Fingers crossed this is it.
     
  23. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    This is incredible! An new era for spaceflight has begun!
     
  24. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Great to watch. Especially the first stage landing back on the ship.

    Let’s get to the moon in 2024. That’s absolutely crucial for engaging a new generation in space travel.
     
  25. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    Saw it on the western horizon for three minutes at 10.15

    Incredible really, even gave me a little bit of goosebumps. Some positive news was well needed at the moment!
     
  26. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Pretty sure I saw the ISS - which was super bright and moving fast - but no Dragon X.
     
  27. Bonkingbob

    Bonkingbob First Year Pro

    My 5 year old was enthralled by the whole thing, actually watching the buildup for half an hour and getting hugely excited when the countdown began.

    It's still a magical thing to watch.
     
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  28. Sahorn

    Sahorn Reservist

    They’re watching us from up there ... Barbecued UK from the space station...
    upload_2020-6-2_12-52-11.jpeg
     
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  29. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    I'm still watching videos of the return of these things in amazement. Straight out of a Sci-Fi movie.


    Having one land is incredible. Getting them both down simultaneously is just taking the piss.
     
    StuBoy likes this.
  30. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    They did it again last night with the Starlink launch. Night launch and landing, quite impressive!

     
  31. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    At night and at sea, he's having a laugh.

    When Segways first came out is was baffling how something with only one wheel each side could stay up, now we have **** coming back from space and standing upright in tandem.
     
  32. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Next challenge is to get one around the Watford ring road in rush hour.
     
  33. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    Musk might well be a weirdo genius but he's not a miracle worker. We'd need Jesus for that and Man City will probably want north of £70M for him.
     
  34. Lloyd

    Lloyd Reservist

    There's a brilliant documentary on Netflix about Apollo 11 with some fantastic footage of the launch. The film is simply called Apollo 11 but don't let the somewhat unimaginative title put you off - it's excellent
     
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  35. StuBoy

    StuBoy Forum Cad and Bounder

    Agree Lloyd, I've watched it a couple of times and think it's brilliant. Some great footage.
     
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