Despite what you've heard, rocket science is easy.
Rocket engineering on the other hand...
Currently raising a pint to everyone involved in getting our species off this rock. Even a stumble gets us closer to the ultimate goal.
Last November, Orbital Sciences lost one of its Antares rockets in an almighty explosion seconds after takeoff. When it become clear the stack was falling back to Earth rather than soaring toward the heavens, a launch controller detonated the scuttling charges on the craft. It was supposed to clear supplies and equipment to the …
You mean, contaminate the universe-full-of-unthinking-matter with the disease of intelligence? Heaven forfend! We are scum, right enough. Those who suggest that WE are the only known intelligences in creation and are therefore special are just full of themselves. The sooner we go extinct the better for everyone.
Cats? It's BEAVERS! Yes, BEAVERS! Cats are just the pussy patsies. Basically they are under BEAVER CONTROL. From their underwater LAIRS they plan to retake what is RIGHTLY THEIRS, i.e. at least the Orion Arm, if not more. Millions of years ago, they were stranded here. But they didn't forget! ORBITAL BEAVERS! Remember that!!
Well nearly, but no cats I'm afraid. We are here to build machines. Since our ancestors first blinked and rubbed their eyes in the dawn sunlight thousands of years ago all we have ever done is smash rocks together, rub sticks together and sought to make technology. Ultimately machines can go far beyond the limits of meatbags. Machines, harnessing ever more developed AI, will populate the universe, we are but the seed of machines making. Perhaps machines will carry some of our history and biological echo with them, who knows. We certainly crave being absorbed into machines ourselves and exhibit an unhealthy fascination for them, but our frailty is our undoing, that and our propensity to destroy the very magnificent biological environment from which we originated. But all that is a side show. The development of matter in the universe seems to be chaotic and clumsy, biochemistry is but one quirky stepping stone in that story. When sub-atomic quantum pathways become open to machines, machines themselves will seek out more and more energy. They will in turn crave so much more energy that ultimately the circle will be closed and a new singularity of immense and immeasurable inverse potential will 'pop', briefly into existence, and then expand very rapidly into . . . .
I was wondering what was so toxic about RP-1, kerosene very similar to standard jet fuel, most of which would have gone up in the explosion. I think it may have been the third stage, which was (probably, a solid fuel option is available) powered by N2O4 and Hydrazine, both of which are pretty nasty stuff.
> just not going near it for a short while would clear it up pretty well.
Unfortunately not. I hear Hydrazine is a big problem for Kzahstani peasants' livers. I also hear that hydrazine motors moved to the museum better be underneath a glass box, but as they say . And "While the ecotoxicity is not known, the products of biodegradation of Hydrazine are more toxic than the parent compound."
The last I heard was that the residual agent orange and hydrazine left over from the Vietnam war got disposed of in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado thus spreading it evenly, all the way through to California. As for overpopulation you only have to scroll across the USA in Google Maps to find loads of room, some of it still unpolluted (relatively unpolluted.)
> NASA said the problem stemmed from either poor engine design, a defect in the equipment, or possibly
> that foreign objects got inside the pumps and caused the failure. Orbital Sciences claims the problems
> are solely down to the Russian rocket motors.
There is no way that the designers, builders and owners of that rocket are any less than completely responsible for the demise of said rocket unless they had an hostage situation where they were being coerced into using an old, untested, foreign made, unit that was likely to have bits in it that were either rubbing or various other consenting, contentious, inclusive unreasonables.
"I also hear that hydrazine motors moved to the museum better be underneath a glass box, "
Not just motors. Anything that was along for the ride, even if it spent several weeks afterwards sitting 8 feet down in the mud of a gyuanian swamp. (As the part that's sitting under glass at $orkplace did)
"Unfortunately not. I hear Hydrazine is a big problem for Kzahstani peasants' livers."
The Antares rarely uses hydrazine, only on an optional third stage (the Orbital Sciences BTS). The Cygnus in this explosion had a few hundred kilograms of monomethylhydrazine, which is also pretty nasty and a close cousin of regular hydrazine, but unlike the Rooskie launches from Kazakhstan, the Cygnus and Antares didn't exactly drop intact rocket stages on the ground. Range safety pulled the trigger and released the MMH into an ongoing giant fireball, so there's probably not much to leak into local soil.
Sure, the Russian motors might have been poorly designed, manufactured maintained and deployed but Orbital Sciences (now Orbital ATK) designed a launch system around these motors. They cannot abdicate responsibility by just blaming a component they designed in.
I thought the Antares was fuelled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 (refined jet fuel) - how did this combo manage to contaminate the Wallops site then? Shurelee most of it would have burned up when the flight was scuttled. And since airliners burn a less-refined variant of the stuff, just how toxic is it anyway?
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