Carborendum

Triumph In The Midst Of Chaos

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So, in the midst of all the protests and riots, I had forgotten that we just saw the SpaceX launch.  It was a great achievement of modern engineering and entrepreneurship.

I remember watching some late night talk show where Elon Musk made an appearance.  The host made the comment:

Quote

So, there are only three parties that have gone to outer space:  USA, USSR, and Elon Musk.

I thought that was indeed pretty impressive.  Someone made the comment that he was a multi-millionaire.  It takes those resources to do this.  How did he become a multi-millionaire.  Musk's response:

Quote

You do it by starting out as a multi-billionaire, then losing a lot of it into R&D.  Then becoming a multi-millionaire is easy.

It made me wonder what NASA thought about SpaceX.  I called my cousin who works there.  I ended up being rather disappointed.

I thought that from the "3 parties" remark, that his space venture was entirely private sector.  Nope.  Essentially, SpaceX is just another government contractor. 

  • The entrepreneurial accomplishment was that he's pretty much the first "big player" in space contracting in a VERY long time. 
  • He's also on a short list of contractors that work with both NASA and the military as prime contractors on multi-billion dollar programs.  This would also be the short list to work on the Space Force.
  • Technologically, this latest launch was essentially the replacement for the Space Shuttle.  The shuttle was retired at G.W. Bush's mandate due to safety concerns.  After the last explosion, he was told that there was no way to protect against the design flaw that caused the last explosion (leading edge wing damage during re-entry).
  • This vehicle incorporates part of the shuttle design philosophy and the Apollo program design philosophy.
  • And they created the drone ship design for retrieval.

That was kind of impressive.  It seems we learned from our mistakes.  And we now have the means to go back and forth much more easily than before.

I would have hoped that a private sector solution to getting satellites in place for various communications would be marketable.  But, no, we're still dilluting the cost through government taxation.

Regardless, I thought it would be nice to talk about some really cool, really good thing amidst the misery we keep hearing on the news these days.

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30 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Essentially, SpaceX is just another government contractor.

Yes and no. SpaceX is indeed a contractor for NASA, just like JPL and Boeing are contractors for NASA. But SpaceX does not build merely a part or device for NASA's use; they build the entire rocket system. Furthermore, most of their space technology is not NASA-specific, but is used in SpaceX launches completely outside the scope of NASA. No one else can really say that. So in reality,  SpaceX is much more than "just another government contractor".

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

So there is a private industry market for his services.  Huzzah!!!

Admittedly, Starlink is his own private industry. :) But he put up the Arabsat-6A satellite a year ago, so his orbital services are indeed used by more than NASA.

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BTW, Musk's Starlink looks to be by far the biggest customer of Musk's SpaceX. Starlink will require 30 or so launches to finish the first incarnation of their services, using 1584 satellites. All launches will be provided by SpaceX, of course. But at this moment. Musk is among the lowest-priced options (usually the actual lowest price) for all low-earth orbit trajectories and many medium- and high-earth orbits (e.g. geostationary orbits), as well. So at this point, I suspect he'll get as much business with SpaceX as they can currently handle.

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I still think the most under-hyped news story of the last decade, which deserved to be hyped, are the SpaceX launches where the boosters fly themselves back down and land simultaneously.  Truly, truly, truly one of the most amazing technological feats I've seen in my lifetime.

 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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Elon Musk won the contract at great risk.   The accomplishment is astonishing from many aspects but the most important is the significant technological risk.  NASA had been using very old technology on emulation platforms in the shuttle program and has been afraid to upgrade because of the risk for loss of life.  SpaceX has leaped frog-ed technology and added risk using artificial intelligence technology to over see the integrated operation of over a thousand subsystems.  And there are very few patents because most of the tech is classified.   Having upgraded the tech to send maned flights back into space is very very big.

SpaceX puts the USA back in the lead in the race for space - a very big lead.  

And now for a grand rumor and speculation.  When I worked in military and space applications there was a rumor that a quantum well atomic rocket engine had been built and was intended to power the next generations of the space shuttle.  But, as the rumors and speculation goes the military did not want the world to know that we had a working prototype.  So a very secret military aircraft - called the Aurora was built with the tech.  It was rumored that the craft was capable of mach 10 - and of course this was 30+ years ago.  I may have accidentally been introduced to this tech because we dealt with a "UFO" flying at close to mach 10 while testing the initial B1.  So I have been waiting to see evidence of this tech.  Without quantum well tech - I do not see how there could be a maned trip to Mars and back.  Especially in the time frame that is currently being advertised.  

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

First - I am not an expert and I am trying to remember.  The first of your links looks like a deep space drive concept that does not have to deal with significant gravity.  This would be similar to the old idea of and overdrive in cars from the 50's and 60's.  The second is perhaps more promising but I do not recall a gaseous nuclear core as part of the rumors.  Because I never worked directly in any space program - I did not have the clearance beyond the speculations going on.  One of the speculations dealt with a ion drive with enough power to operate close to earth.  Though such a device would not have vertical capabilities nor a high acceleration capabilities a shuttle would be able to fly into space and return without buster rockets but would need a catapult to launch.  

There were rumors of an electromagnetic catapult and I see that the latest aircraft carriers are now using electromagnetic catapults.  I have wondered about using electromagnetic  catapults for space launches but for maximum efficiency we would need to move our launches from Florida to a high mountain closer to the equator.   Hawaii would be a good possibility but we would not want to use an active volcano - and we would want to launch from the west side to take advantage of the earth's rotation.  Maui would be ideal except that the west side of the island is the most popular and thus the most populated.   But who knows? - a 25 mile long catapult in the west desert of Utah may be the perfect possibility for a shuttle type craft - but if that is the case the SpaceX effort would be a waist of time and money.  Speculations are fun but seldom accurate.  However, I believe we do have a craft - perhaps the Aurora - capable of mach 10 at an altitude of around 120,000 feet.   The Soviets want us to know (or think) they have hypersonic missiles.  Because the Aurora would not have much acceleration capabilities or much maneuverable  capabilities as such high velocity it would be vulnerable.  

 

The Traveler

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Conspiracy theories about Aurora have been around for awhile, and most of them are built on a bunch of hogwash.  The same goes for many of the UFO sightings people see.

I, ironically, have been part of some of the projects which people thought were supposedly UFO's, or even government projects which some attribute weird ideas of their own towards.

In these roles I had not access to the actual classified information as I was a civilian with no part in the actual science of it and more in regards to the unclassified areas which dealt with some of these projects.  I didn't have the classified ranking to actually participate in the tests and such.  What I am about to relate below was actually written up in an article about it (Popular Mechanics, I can't recall which magazine especially, but it was approved via PR).

A prime example of on such item is a missile that was being researched.  I'm not sure of how much of it is declassified or remains classified, but at least a portion should be out there.  The missile went to hypersonic speeds with the hopes of going above Mach 10 and possibly even greater than that.  In general, it went anywhere between Mach 5 and Mach 10.There was a thought of having a manned aircraft designed similarly that could do the same thing.

The PROBLEM that arises is that the human body can only withstand so many G-Forces, and at a certain point any small changes in the aircraft would kill a manned pilot instantly.  Other difficulties arose in the design of it as at certain speeds and altitudes the skin of the aircraft would begin to shed.  No manned tests actually occurred, it was all unmanned (think...drone) as they were still working out how the pilot would be able to stand the stress of the G's.  At that point, it was resolved to be more of a drone if it ever became a reality because a human pilot would not be able to survive the stresses on their body.  There were still problems with the heat and other items causing havoc on the aircraft and/or missiles.

It's been years ago, but I don't think it's as secret as some think it is, and other nations have taken a stab at the same ideas.  I'm not sure if it was continued or abandoned, but it cost a lot of money.

Another famous project was the SR-71.  That was perhaps the fastest manned aircraft we had, and was classified for many years.  It also has been mistaken for "Project Aurora" from what I recall.

I think another aircraft that was mistaken for the supposed "aurora" aircraft was when they were designing the Stealth Fighter and other stealth aircraft (though, they were classified at the time...same goes for the SR-71 which also was classified for some of it's operational life at various times as well).

Finally, there are other incidents that are humorous in their take, from C130's dispensing flares above the Utah desert at night and people calling in UFO's about it, to some actual test aircraft or other items (for example, early on in the drone testing of some of the current drones in use) which people saw at night and called in as UFO's or other items in MOA's and SUA's but which were above areas which, though maybe rural and low population, still had those in those areas on the ground who were awake at those hours.

Sure, there are Top Secret Projects but I'm not normally one who ascribes to some of the more sensationalistic ideas of some of the more idealistic thoughts on what the US is designing (normally, I think it's more down to earth what the US designs) nor to the ideas of UFO's that people spread about.

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21 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Conspiracy theories about Aurora have been around for awhile, and most of them are built on a bunch of hogwash.  The same goes for many of the UFO sightings people see.

#BelieveBobLazar

:)

 

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:01 PM, Carborendum said:

I thought that from the "3 parties" remark, that his space venture was entirely private sector.  Nope.

I saw an interview with Elon (was it 60 minutes?) where Neil Armstrong's reaction to SpaceX was mentioned and Elon got teary eyed.  I kinda felt bad for the guy having his space hero telling him spaceflight should not be a private enterprise.

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5 hours ago, beefche said:

@NeuroTypical that video you posted....is that the same dude who comments on Nascar? Even has the cheering crowds to talk over!

I don't know, but yes, SpaceX certainly knows how to hype and market these events.  They're like NASA, but for cool people.

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2 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

They're like NASA, but for cool people.

*sniff* No one has ever called me cool before...

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On 6/7/2020 at 10:39 AM, JohnsonJones said:

Conspiracy theories about Aurora have been around for awhile, and most of them are built on a bunch of hogwash.  The same goes for many of the UFO sightings people see.

I, ironically, have been part of some of the projects which people thought were supposedly UFO's, or even government projects which some attribute weird ideas of their own towards.

In these roles I had not access to the actual classified information as I was a civilian with no part in the actual science of it and more in regards to the unclassified areas which dealt with some of these projects.  I didn't have the classified ranking to actually participate in the tests and such.  What I am about to relate below was actually written up in an article about it (Popular Mechanics, I can't recall which magazine especially, but it was approved via PR).

A prime example of on such item is a missile that was being researched.  I'm not sure of how much of it is declassified or remains classified, but at least a portion should be out there.  The missile went to hypersonic speeds with the hopes of going above Mach 10 and possibly even greater than that.  In general, it went anywhere between Mach 5 and Mach 10.There was a thought of having a manned aircraft designed similarly that could do the same thing.

The PROBLEM that arises is that the human body can only withstand so many G-Forces, and at a certain point any small changes in the aircraft would kill a manned pilot instantly.  Other difficulties arose in the design of it as at certain speeds and altitudes the skin of the aircraft would begin to shed.  No manned tests actually occurred, it was all unmanned (think...drone) as they were still working out how the pilot would be able to stand the stress of the G's.  At that point, it was resolved to be more of a drone if it ever became a reality because a human pilot would not be able to survive the stresses on their body.  There were still problems with the heat and other items causing havoc on the aircraft and/or missiles.

It's been years ago, but I don't think it's as secret as some think it is, and other nations have taken a stab at the same ideas.  I'm not sure if it was continued or abandoned, but it cost a lot of money.

Another famous project was the SR-71.  That was perhaps the fastest manned aircraft we had, and was classified for many years.  It also has been mistaken for "Project Aurora" from what I recall.

I think another aircraft that was mistaken for the supposed "aurora" aircraft was when they were designing the Stealth Fighter and other stealth aircraft (though, they were classified at the time...same goes for the SR-71 which also was classified for some of it's operational life at various times as well).

Finally, there are other incidents that are humorous in their take, from C130's dispensing flares above the Utah desert at night and people calling in UFO's about it, to some actual test aircraft or other items (for example, early on in the drone testing of some of the current drones in use) which people saw at night and called in as UFO's or other items in MOA's and SUA's but which were above areas which, though maybe rural and low population, still had those in those areas on the ground who were awake at those hours.

Sure, there are Top Secret Projects but I'm not normally one who ascribes to some of the more sensationalistic ideas of some of the more idealistic thoughts on what the US is designing (normally, I think it's more down to earth what the US designs) nor to the ideas of UFO's that people spread about.

The space shuttle reenters the earth's atmosphere to return to ground at mach 10.   I would be surprised of any hyper-sonic crafts that transcends mach 4 at an altitude less than 100,000 feet.  There is a difference between a rocket and a ram jet.  The SR-71 utilized ram jet technology which means that it's altitude is limited by the atmosphere - to about 70,000 to 80,000 feet or so max.  A jet engine is unable to maintain thrust at high altitudes where there is not enough atmosphere to compress.  A rocket engine caries it own compressed material to be used as a gaseous thrust.

Having worked on highly classified projects - one tactic often used on such projects is what is called diversion.  This simply means that the impression is coordinated and made that something else is going on.  Interestingly, often diversions were themselves classified.   When I left working on government classified projects - my resume was full of lies - which were coordinated with all the other engineers working on the same projects.  I have no doubt that the vast majority of UFO classified projects currently being released are "diversions".   One project I worked on was the development of upgrades for the cruse missile - some of the upgrades have been declassified.  Back in those days certain classifications that one may have was itself classified.  Anyway, during about a two weeks of testing we lost 4 cruse missiles.  These suckers had a 1500 mile reach and they were lost - we have no idea where (accurate direction) or how far they went.  They were capable of flying 50 feet above the ground and at mach .8.  This means that on a flat surface ( like the Bonneville flats) when it could first be seen at the horizon it would be 3 seconds before it was directly overhead and 3 seconds later is would be out of sight.  I do not doubt that, should somebody have encountered this - it would scare the &%#^@ out of them and convince them that no manned craft could do such a thing.  But this is not true - I worked on two maned crafts that were capable.  But with a caveat - the flight controls could not be operated by humans - only by computer during such flights.

I have been out of the loop now for 30+ years and I am sure that the technology has significantly advanced.   Hopefully, it is been long enough that what I have posted here will not be a problem.🙁

 

The Traveler

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21 hours ago, Traveler said:

The space shuttle reenters the earth's atmosphere to return to ground at mach 10.   I would be surprised of any hyper-sonic crafts that transcends mach 4 at an altitude less than 100,000 feet.  There is a difference between a rocket and a ram jet.  The SR-71 utilized ram jet technology which means that it's altitude is limited by the atmosphere - to about 70,000 to 80,000 feet or so max.  A jet engine is unable to maintain thrust at high altitudes where there is not enough atmosphere to compress.  A rocket engine caries it own compressed material to be used as a gaseous thrust.

Having worked on highly classified projects - one tactic often used on such projects is what is called diversion.  This simply means that the impression is coordinated and made that something else is going on.  Interestingly, often diversions were themselves classified.   When I left working on government classified projects - my resume was full of lies - which were coordinated with all the other engineers working on the same projects.  I have no doubt that the vast majority of UFO classified projects currently being released are "diversions".   One project I worked on was the development of upgrades for the cruse missile - some of the upgrades have been declassified.  Back in those days certain classifications that one may have was itself classified.  Anyway, during about a two weeks of testing we lost 4 cruse missiles.  These suckers had a 1500 mile reach and they were lost - we have no idea where (accurate direction) or how far they went.  They were capable of flying 50 feet above the ground and at mach .8.  This means that on a flat surface ( like the Bonneville flats) when it could first be seen at the horizon it would be 3 seconds before it was directly overhead and 3 seconds later is would be out of sight.  I do not doubt that, should somebody have encountered this - it would scare the &%#^@ out of them and convince them that no manned craft could do such a thing.  But this is not true - I worked on two maned crafts that were capable.  But with a caveat - the flight controls could not be operated by humans - only by computer during such flights.

I have been out of the loop now for 30+ years and I am sure that the technology has significantly advanced.   Hopefully, it is been long enough that what I have posted here will not be a problem.🙁

 

The Traveler

Well, if you worked with TS material you should  know the many of the standard NDA's is 50 years...so 30 years would mean stuff is problematic if one talked about it.

Luckily, I didn't do any classified work, mine was all regarding contracts with other agencies and negotiations over airspace, and other such legalities.  I knew what was in the NDA's people had to sign, and other stuff related, but as I didn't actually work in the vaults or around the classified, I didn't have direct access to any of it. 

Some items though were easy to see (a C-130 dispensing flares at night for example) or realize were not UFO's when you were exposed to them directly or indirectly, which others who were not exposed to them regularly would call in and try to ask about UFO's or other items they had just seen.  Some of those items were also covered in contracts, though sometimes not directly stated of what they were (more as, times when one could do a fly over of a community or other actions which were related to activities various units would do).  Other items were declassified so available, but not read by the general public sometimes (for example, the stealth fighter existing was released to the public eventually, but I don't think people realized what it was or knew about it in general for at least a little while after that, even though there was media and everything else about it.  The specifics on it's design and such were obviously not released, but the existence of it was).

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4 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Well, if you worked with TS material you should  know the many of the standard NDA's is 50 years...so 30 years would mean stuff is problematic if one talked about it.

Luckily, I didn't do any classified work, mine was all regarding contracts with other agencies and negotiations over airspace, and other such legalities.  I knew what was in the NDA's people had to sign, and other stuff related, but as I didn't actually work in the vaults or around the classified, I didn't have direct access to any of it. 

Some items though were easy to see (a C-130 dispensing flares at night for example) or realize were not UFO's when you were exposed to them directly or indirectly, which others who were not exposed to them regularly would call in and try to ask about UFO's or other items they had just seen.  Some of those items were also covered in contracts, though sometimes not directly stated of what they were (more as, times when one could do a fly over of a community or other actions which were related to activities various units would do).  Other items were declassified so available, but not read by the general public sometimes (for example, the stealth fighter existing was released to the public eventually, but I don't think people realized what it was or knew about it in general for at least a little while after that, even though there was media and everything else about it.  The specifics on it's design and such were obviously not released, but the existence of it was).

When I was working for the anti-submarine department there was a book published titled "Hunt for Red October".  Later the book was made into a movie.  I read the book and there was a lot of classified data in the book.  I took the book to the security officer over where I worked.  Of course they already knew all about it.  I asked specifically why I had not been briefed on how I should respond if asked questions about the book in public.  And so I learned that I could say there was classified material in the book but I was not allowed to say what it was.  If asked specifically about something classified I should respond either that it was not accurate or that I did not know about it.  Also I could talk about anything that I speculated as long as I do not give out information that I know and that was classified.

For the record - I do not believe in extraterrestrial UFO.  There are electromagnetic "interference" that can be cause by fracturing quarts from geographical events.  These electromagnetic events can show on radar and inferred sensors - as well as visual to the human eye (mostly at night) and they can do some incredible moves that appear unnatural.  In essence - I agree with what you are saying.  UFO's are not really that unknown.  

I would say that if there is information being circulated about a secret aircraft - that there is something else that is being kept secret.  When the government allowed leaks concerning the SR71 it was because there was something else.

 

The Traveler

 

 

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