Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maybe the coolest thing ever.

Expired: NASA

Tired: Corporate space projects.

Wired: Setting out a guitar case with a sign on it reading "Pls. donate to our cool manned rocket project. It'll be awesome." Then building a homemade manned rocket and a floating catamaran launch platform which you will tow to the launch zone behind your homemade submarine. Because, you know, it'd be awesome. All these guys need now is a secret island volcano lair and a ninja army, and they're livin' the dream.

Bonus quote of the day comes from Blunt Object:
“Denmark” is not trying to put a Dane into space. A bunch of Danes are trying to put a Dane into space. “Denmark” is (quite commendably) assisting by staying the f**k out of the way.


og said...

it says they're members of the "Something Awful" community. Cliff yablonski hates people in space, too.

Stranger said...

Yep, a great deal more could and would be done if government would stay out of the way.

But then - we would have to give the bureaucrats back the shovels they used to lean on. And they would not like getting their starched shirts all sweaty.


Ed Foster said...

Again, not to be pedantic or anything, but using "traditional" disposable stages, a million pounds of thrust will put 50,000 pounds of vessel/cargo into orbit. 20 to 1 ratio.

The shuttle engines are up for sale next year, as scrap, with the industrial base to maintain them already in place, and they're the only rocket engines designed from the git-go to be reusable and fairly easily maintained.

Run the numbers. A very conservative 30 to 1 lift ratio for a reuseable DC-X type craft, reasonable with aerogel and composite structure, puts a 6 ton ship into orbit, with a ton of fuel aboard for flight path correction, rotation, and tail down landing after a Saenger-Skip landing.

Minus 3.5 tons for the engine and 1.5 for the airframe, that's 2,000 pounds of people and product to orbit.

Without orbital capability, it's nothing but a toy, or something third world nations could use to put a load of scrapmetal in front of a satellite.

I'm figuring the thrust of the single engine at 435,000 pounds, which is quite conservative. It's actually 512,000 in vacuum, and more than 85% of the trip to LEO is in a hard vac.

Contemporary airframe technology is generations ahead of what we had 30 years ago. Engine technology is not, and these critters have a really good track record.

They're already there on the shelf and need no R&D, no investment in new infrastructure, no tooling costs or expensive and time consuming testing.

Would Columbus have used military surplus sails if they were cheaper and could do the job?

Please, somebody put a bug in Burt Rutan's ear.

Joanna said...

In a perfect world, funding for any space-related project can be justified by gesturing at the mock-up, pointing to the ceiling and making rocket sounds. If the investors don't get what you're saying, find new investors.

theirritablearchitect said...

It snows a lot in Denmark, and they eat a bunch of cold fish, slathered in a paste of some sort, but, you'd be hard pressed to find a Dane who didn't speak fluent English, and they've been pretty steadfast with the whole free speech thing, even after the whole throat-slitting over a cartoon bit.

Just sayin', they're batting a higher percentage than the US is, of late, with regard to the important stuff. Add this rocket story to the list of reasons to at least pay them a visit.

Old NFO said...

I just hope they have some kind of sling seat for the 'pilot', otherwise I can see broken legs in his/her future... And I hope to hell they are successful!

Anonymous said...



jimbob86 said...

"Without orbital capability, it's nothing but a toy, or something third world nations could use to put a load of scrapmetal in front of a satellite."

Or an aspiring superpower with a HUGE military numerical superiority... which does not rely on satellite tech.... a dozen or so of such devices would destroy all satellites, rendering any military that relies on them for everything from guiding bombs to finding their own ass without resorting to both hands, a compass and a map..... crippled. Use your imagination, kiddoes.... Do you see what I see?

Tam said...


"Or an aspiring superpower with a HUGE military numerical superiority... which does not rely on satellite tech.... a dozen or so of such devices would destroy all satellites"

The only country with "HUGE military numerical superiority" I can think of has it's own manned space program.

Steve Skubinna said...

What amazed me were the comments ridiculing the idea, or stating "I wouldn't ride in it."

You shittin' me? HELL YES I'd ride it. Even if they told me it was only a 50-50 chance. Gotta die sometime, and I'd much sooner it be sitting on top of a rocket than anything else.

Where's the spirit? What percent of the population is content to sit in front of American Idol with their government cheese?

Will said...

Old NFO,

The pilot has a butt perch, in addition to leg and arm supports/restraints. Even the head will be cradled. They may allow some head swivel, and his hands/forearms will have enough movement to operate a couple controls and use a barf bag if needed. Full pressure suit, plus sealed capsule. Only 3G's (sustained/peaked) expected under boost.

Most questionable item is the mounting of a pressure spike to keep the air off the plastic dome on the nose. It mounts directly to the center of the dome, without any reinforcing ribs to the body. Questionable if the dome has the strength to handle the stresses.

Will said...

I'm not clear if the sub being used is their latest model, or the previous one. Latest has a 6ft beam, twice the earlier's size. Impressive on its own.

Joanna said...

Reminds me of the line from Futurama: "Can this ship function as a submarine? How many atmospheres can it withstand?"

"Well, it's a spaceship, so I'd say anywhere between zero and one."

Dr. StrangeGun said...

If they pull it off, I can see the book already;

"Canonauts: the Great Danes"

couldn't resist a little cheese-Danish.