The last crew of the orbiter Atlantis arrived at Kennedy Space Center yesterday ahead of the "Final Countdown" of the space shuttle programme. Commander Chris Ferguson said: "I think I speak for the whole crew in that we are delighted to be here after a very arduous nine-month training flow and we're thrilled to finally be here …
Da da daaah daa, da da da daa daaah.
Re: Final Countdown?
I think you're short of a few "aaaa"s there. We've been here before, many moons ago...
When I think of Final Countdown, I think of the American movie where the USS Nimitz nuclear-powered carrier travels back in time to December 6th 1941 and can potentially sink the Japanese fleet approaching Pearl Harbor:
It is Lewis Page's wet dream come to the big screen (and I say that without any malice or offense to Mr Page intended).
Now I'm going to have Europe stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
That should read
the end of the 50 year dominance *by* NASA of American spaceflight.
The two are only the same in the view of some parts of NASA.
Wait! Did i hear that right?
" He's asked us to start planning a mission to an asteroid."
I take it now the Earth is in grave danger and therefore mission priorities have changed. I guess that means we should all cancel our life insurance and give our money to NASA instead. And if they want volunteers well sign me up - so long as i never have to pay taxes as long as i live, 'coz i'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when i'll be back again...
The USSR won a lot of space "firsts".
I've got just three words for you, pal:
One. Small. Step.
If the US spent...
...what they dedicated to military operations in Iraq / Afghanistan on space we would already be on Mars and be half way to having an operational space elevator. Not to mention a lot less craters and ticked off fundamentalists.
"We are not ending human space flight, we are recommitting ourselves to it and taking the necessary – and difficult – steps today to ensure America's pre-eminence in human spaceflight for years to come."
In other words, they are depending on the Russians until Mr. Musk can get his kit sorted.
Your estimates are quite conservative.
During the Apollo missions NASA funding hardly reached 1% of DoD expenses, now they have 30 times less funding (adjusted for inflation).
I'd say that if NASA had 50% of DoD founding in the past 50 years we would already had a space elevator operational.
Every time you go up in a space elevator you're just harvesting a bit of the momentum that you put into it when you constructed it.
Send enough stuff up the thing and it flaps around all over the place, you slow it down in its orbit, bad things happen.
No. Just No.
A space elevator is a tension structure. The tension comes from the fact that there is a bloody great counterweight out beyond geosynchronous altitudes, and this allows the elevator to recuperate the lost momentum.
Of course, this is the least of your worries.
* We don't have any materials even remotely strong enough to build one. Carbon nanotubes are showing promise, but they aren't there yet.
* We don't have any materials light enough to build one, yet resilient enough to withstand random bits of space junk smacking into them at anything up to 17000mph.
* We don't have a feasible solution to the problem of building a vehicle that can climb 22500 miles up the cord under its own power, nor yet the alternative problem of powering it remotely.
we will be sending stuff down again too? Aren't we going to mine the asteroids for rare earth metals? And women with green faces and antennae?
Maybe the counterweight could be.....
A giant hottub for the nubile green-faced space vixens and their lucky earthling guests!! The tub is in space, so solar heating is readily available!!
This kills sooooo many birds with one stone! Nubile space vixens get as suitably adoring coterie, the hot tub produces no greenhouse gases, the space elevator has the needed counterweight to make it work, Richard Branson gets the passenger concession up to the "tub of love", and usually better-than-average paid tech workers get a better than average chance of a vacation playing Captain Kirk as he was in the original Star Trek series!!
Result: everyone wins!!
Mines the clingy, but easily removed/torn tan polyester pullover (you Trek fans know what I'm talking about!) with the first Nobel Prize for both physics and romance in the pocket!!!
Massive counterweight? Green women?
It'll be Shatner.
...if we're going to end up with horny women with green faces then it's a worthwhile investment. I'll have 2 please.
I haven't modelled it, so there will be those who know better than I, but people always speak of the Space Elevator as if it was simply an Indian Rope.
My perhaps basic mental analysis tells me it really isn't.
Come back fast!
NASA is due to announce the *final* design for the SLS and first ones will need the SSME's for the first 4 going up.