That poor bird...
"To think that we've finally found a nice, quiet place in the steppe, and now this...!"
We're obliged to those readers who pointed us in the direction of a hi-def vid of yesterday's ExoMars mission launch, in which Europe's Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli "entry, descent and landing demonstrator module" (EDM) thundered aloft from Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Proton-M rocket. Magnificent, but compare that …
[Original post withdrawn & resubmitted due to embarrassing mispeling... and edited for the sad news which inexplicably had escaped me...]
I have been saying it for years, ESA should have hired Sir Ken Adam while there was still time and have him design some some proper launching sites and control rooms and so on.
Saw an exhibition about his life & work last year in Berlin - both
are were truly extraordinary.
Godspeed Klaus - you always were one of the good guys.
If you want to build a rocket without anyone knowing about it, what's wrong with underground? Quite a few of the Russian launches I've seen actually came out of holes in the ground. Of course, as son as it launches everyone within miles knows about it, but that's another issue.
There was a recent satellite launch on some similar flavour of converted ICBM (perhaps this one: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/17/sentinel_launch/ ) where it looks like, even though above ground, there is still some kind of tube that the rocket launches from.
I'm sure there's a technical reason (something to do with the rocket engine expecting a certain back pressure from an underground launch tube?) but it's also amusing to just consider that the rockets get nervous in the open air so they're given a little tube to hide in until it's time to go...
That's a nice transparent blue flame with mach diamonds looks like the rocket's burning n2o2 or acid & MMH / UDMH / hydrazine / Aerozine 50 or similar hydrazoid propellant. Hypergolics in a first stage now that's not seen every day.Typical Russian space truck these Proton rockets must be the Lada Nivas of the space industry - solid, chunky, clunky and they do exactly what's said on the tin.. Wonder if they still use hi-tensile bolts meant for steam locomotives?
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