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Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #1 Posted by Norm on 10 Sept 2003, 4:09 p.m.

Howdy friends, didn't have anything worth telling U the last couple of weeks.

But check out this news article:,8599,480984,00.html

It says that NASA has recently compared the tradeoffs between the Space Shuttle and the Apollo rockets (with space capsule for crew) and finds considerable advantage to the Capsule !!!!!!!

They are even thinking of going back to the earlier design. No this is not a joke, and this is no drill. Read it for yourself.

Apparently a 100 ton winged space shuttle has more economic and engineering difficulty overall, than a 5 ton space capsule (!)

NASA is also looking at a mini-space shuttle (no doubt pushed along by a rocket). One thing they are way too quiet about ....... using a rail-gun to pre-launch the whole thing with energy from the ground. I think there are STILL too many MBA's to be visionary enough to really jump ahead..... a rail gun launch from the mountain at Hawaii, of a mini-space-plane, somewhere between a shuttle and a space capsule.

Classified information about updated space capsule....
Message #2 Posted by Norm on 10 Sept 2003, 4:11 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

I have just received classified information from NASA headquarters........ when the Apollo rockets are put back into service, there will be an HP-34C
with RED LEEDDDDDDDD's (oooweee babeee)
next to each astronaut, bolted to the armrest.

Message #3 Posted by Norm on 10 Sept 2003, 4:14 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Norm

also breaking news,

Carly Fiorinia will get a ride into space on the new updated Apollo rocket. There will be a special framework to hold a Wal-Mart beach chair for her, just directly below the rocket nozzles.

Re: Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #4 Posted by Grant Goodes on 10 Sept 2003, 4:28 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

It's not so much that the shuttle is advanced and a capsule old-fashioned; rather, NASA has basically insisted on a winged-design for any proposed manned vehicle since the Apollo system was retired, despite the clear engineering disadvantages. Similarly, NASA has continued to persue LOX/LH2 (liquid oxygen + liquid hydrogen) rockets, despite the engineering reality that the less exotic, seemingly primative LOX/Keronsene rocket (as used by the Saturn V first stage, and Soyuz) results in a cheaper cost/Kg to orbit. Something other than engineering expertise is driving these designs (and I don't think I have to point out the obvious parallels with HP calculator designs post-1985).

As long as people (both in NASA, and in their funding bodies such as Congress) continue to be swayed by Buck Rogers -style flash, the US space program will continue to flounder. A return to a less flashy, but far more realistic (and proven) capsule design for ferrying astronauts to/from LEO would be a definite turning point, and although I wouldn't hold my breath, might indicate the first "small step" on the way back to the moon.

To bring it back to HP: Are we seeing the first small steps to the return of the traditional HP values with the latest releases? I'm not so sure, and will definitely NOT be selling my HP-41 system or my HP-16C anytime soon.


Re: Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #5 Posted by christof (NOVA US) on 11 Sept 2003, 7:41 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Grant Goodes

Great fuel. Great burn. Great *manned* test platform.

(and I had a lot of fun doing some static tests on a visit I made a few months ago)

Re: Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #6 Posted by Paul Brogger on 10 Sept 2003, 5:37 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

I don't think a winged "space ferry" is necessarily a bad idea. The fault, as I (inexpertly) see it, is in insisting that the shuttle be the primary lift vehicle, and that it be capable of returning cargo from orbit.

Those requirements dictated the overall size of the vehicle, and of the boosters, resulting in a great deal of the costs incurred. Were they to have simply developed something along the original "Dyna Soar" concept (that is, a winged, maneuverable space taxi), the stress on a smaller, lighter vehicle would have been a fraction of what actually resulted, both going up and coming down.

Meanwhile, use of the Shuttle as the primary lift vehicle limited the sizes of satellites, and delayed a whole string of launches when the Challenger exploded.

I'm sure there's more to it than that, but putting all their eggs in the Shuttle basket sure seems to have been a boneheaded move.

Re: Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #7 Posted by Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina) on 11 Sept 2003, 11:20 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Paul Brogger

The Gemini capsule initial concept was to land as a sort of an ultralight glider (a unfoldable Rogallo wing), which was disregarded later in time. Perhaps it could be reconsidered now, some 40 years later, to provide a new capsule with the ablity to make controlled landings, instead of relying in "fishing" astronauts in the middle of the sea, as noted in the Time article referenced by Norm. (Certainly, some classics are coming back!)

Re: Let's go to the moon, its '69 again :o)
Message #8 Posted by David Smith on 11 Sept 2003, 12:18 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

When the shuttle was first funded, all the tooling for the Apollo rockets and engines were destroyed so that we would be guaranteed of not having anything to fall back to if the shuttle program ran into problems.

Let's go to Mars... let's not invite NASA or the gooberment.

Useful Space Links
Message #9 Posted by bill platt (les Estats Unis d'Amerique) on 11 Sept 2003, 6:57 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

Hi all here is a list of some of the links I have gathered over time. I cannot seem to find another very good one that talks about a number of "new" "innovative" reentry vehicles--some look like helicopter blades glued to a capsule---just like my 1950's chldrens book on rocketry!


Bill at plattdesign dot net

Edited: 11 Sept 2003, 7:00 p.m.

Thanks for the space chat, folks,
Message #10 Posted by Norm on 12 Sept 2003, 5:47 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by bill platt (les Estats Unis d'Amerique)

Thanks for the space chat, folks, I enjoyed all of your reply posts. "XCOR" was interesting, as was the consensus that NASA has too much bureaucracy to proceed with things beyond the Space Shuttle.

The Shuttle was, obviously, quite an achievement when it first flew. But NASA has not done any impressive "buck rogers" stunts in the last decade or two. They just run the school bus back & forth, back & forth (until it blows up) they need to try some new stuff.

For those of us with engineering mindset (all of us?) the focus needs to be upon cost per kilogram of material shipped into space. That specification will vary with the different vehicles that get proposed and built. It needs to be made as low as possible. My vote is for an electric rail-gun launch from Hawaii. The vehicle should already be going 400 miles an hour and be at 15,000 feet by the time the rocket motors are ignited.

I don't yet see any unifying consensus between all the different factions. It appears President Kennedy did the nation a favor by demanding a very specific goal of our country, at the earlier time. Painful to say if you are a republican, but its true that it was the democrat Kennedy that got everybody to focus upon the specific goal, that gave us the legendary "Apollo" years, an absolutely unbeatable time that no number of Humvee's, big-screens and stock-fraud millionaires in McMansions shall ever replace.

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