back to article NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

If you have a hankering to watch eight minutes of billowing clouds of rocket exhaust, NASA's posted the video of the latest test of its RS-25 engine. The RS-25 is, as NASA-watchers know, the power-plant the agency is developing to shove its planned Space Launch System skywards. Yesterday's test was the third time NASA's run …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Won't 8 million pounds of thrust also knock Earth out of it's current orbit and crash us into the moon?

    And is 8 million pounds of thrust equivalent to lifting a dozen large blue whales over your head or it is more? I can't work it out !!!

    1. jake Silver badge

      No. Earth's orbit is safe.

      But I hear that one single launch of the SLS will cause runaway global warming that the Earth will never recover from! And the chemtrails from this monster engine ... don't get me started on the chemtrails!

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: No. Earth's orbit is safe.

        don't get me started on the chemtrails!

        Yeah - but think of all the mind-control chemicals we can get in that stream!

        Actually Citizen - that information is way above your current clone-level. Please turn yourself in for reprocessing immediately.

        Trust The Computer. The Computer Is Your Friend.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      8 million pounds thrust

      That is anything from 16 to 24 large blue whales, depending on how well fed they are.

      I am more interested in what you could do with the expected cost of a launch: $1B. How about starting and cancelling two paperless NHS projects?

      1. Robin Bradshaw

        Re: 8 million pounds thrust

        Whilst I dont have a good way of describing the thrust in el reg units I do know a good video showing the mass of fuel burned per second in elephants for the saturn 5 which is in the same ballpark as the SLS

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4iMeKif488

        1. stucs201

          Re: 8 million pounds thrust

          I feel the "untied balloon" would be a suitable reg unit for thrust. I suspect the numbers would be rather large when using it to measure rockets though.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: 8 million pounds thrust

            The Norris is a measure of force: http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

          2. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: 8 million pounds thrust - the Untied Balloon

            The Untied Baloon is a unit of lift, not thrust.

            The proper unit of thrust is the Japanese Commuter Shover.

        2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          those poor elephants

          They should have used cows. At least they would bounce.

        3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: 8 million pounds thrust

          Whilst I dont have a good way of describing the thrust in el reg units

          Might I suggest The Ballmer, that being the amount of thrust required to launch an office chair across a room at a speed sufficient to convey the thrower's anger?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: 8 million pounds thrust

        four RS-52 motors providing two million pounds of thrust, “working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to produce up to eight million pounds of thrust”.

        Presumably that's 4 motors producing a total of 2m lbf, otherwise the solid boosters wouldn't be adding much. In which case why not just use 3 solid boosters alone?

        A Saturn V managed 8m lbf with 5 F1s and no boosters. Almost 60 years ago :(

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: 8 million pounds thrust

        Two paperless NHS projects? You do realise it would cost nearly £12billion just to cover the paperwork for that.

    3. sitta_europea

      Blue whales.

      I'm soooooo glad that elReg didn't swallow NASA's tripe. Oh, sorry, that should read "hype".

      According to Martin Burkey, of NASA’s Space Launch System team, RS-25 produces 512,000 pounds of thrust, that’s more than 12 million horsepower and "makes a modern jet engine look like a wind-up toy".

      Unfortunately this also makes NASA look like a wind-up, because horsepower is, well, power, and power is distance moved per unit time (kinda like speed) multiplied by force (er, thrust) so it's back to school for Mr. Burkey and well done elReg for not falling into the bear trap.

      1. dkjd

        Re: Blue whales.

        distance per unit time is velocity and has nothing to do with either thrust or power

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Blue whales.

          Surely the problem with a 12 million horsepower rocket, is that all the horses will gradually catch fire. Is that why rockets keep dropping stages as they rise?

          This must be the great SpaceX innovation. He's not landing his rockets in order to re-use them. He's bringing them back because of delicious horsey barbeque. Or should that be braai? I guess you can take the man out of South Africa...

        2. MJB7
          Boffin

          Re: Blue whales.

          Quote: distance per unit time is velocity and has nothing to do with either thrust or power

          You have misunderstood what the OP wrote. What he actually said is: "power is distance moved per unit time multiplied by force" (which is correct). There was a parenthetical remark after "time", but it didn't end the definition of power.

      2. cray74

        Re: Blue whales.

        Unfortunately this also makes NASA look like a wind-up, because horsepower is, well, power, and power is distance moved per unit time

        And therefore the power in the exhaust is calculable: you're moving known mass at known velocities. In public discussions, this often leads to incredible numbers about how many horsepower some rocket engine develops. In engineering discussions about nuclear and electric rocket analyses, the jet power becomes somewhat important because the available input power (from the reactor, solar panels, or hamsters in wheels) imposes limits on the possible output power, and therefore maximum possible thrust and exhaust velocity.

        If my memory hasn't completely failed me, I recall the equation being like:

        Power = 0.5 x [exhaust velocity] x [thrust force] / efficiency

        An ion engine with a specific impulse of 3000 (exhaust velocity of ~30,000m/s) that develops 1 pound of thrust (4.5 Newtons) via a mechanism 50% efficient (typical for electric rockets) requires an electrical input power of:

        0.5 x [30,000m/s] x [4.5N] / 0.5 = 135,000 Watts

        While its exhaust has 62,500 Watts and the engine's radiators are handling a similar 62,500 Watts.

        In the late 1950s, the US sketched out a number of nuclear-thermal rocket designs rated by their gigawatts of output, like the 12-gigawatt and 14-gigawatt rockets considered for the Helios and Hyperion rockets. The uranium in the engines could only produce some much power to warm and expand the exhaust, and it was critical to understand what that value was.

    4. DropBear Silver badge

      "Won't 8 million pounds of thrust also knock Earth out of it's current orbit and crash us into the moon?"

      Don't be silly, of course not. They always fire the exact same engine twice, 12 hours apart, so that the effect gets pretty much cancelled. They have strict regulations for that kind of thing you know!

      1. DJO Silver badge

        "Won't 8 million pounds of thrust also knock Earth out of it's current orbit and crash us into the moon?"

        There will be a minuscule effect on the Earth, every force having an equal and opposite reaction and all that stuff but the Earth is very big and very very heavy when compared to a rocket so I really wouldn't worry about it.

        Anyway the Moon is receding so any change to the Earth's orbit won't be enough to catch the Moon. also as the Moon orbits the Earth if the Earth's orbit was disturbed the Moon would just tag along for the ride staying in much the same orbit as now.

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        12 hours apart

        This, of course, causes the earth to become slightly less oblate, which is why you satnav/gps occasionally demands you adopt a stupid route through a mamor metropolis during rush hour instead of going round the bloody thing.

      3. JLV Silver badge
        Joke

        >twice, 12 hours apart

        So, $2B per launch then?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      8 million pounds of thrust - meh!

      Bit of a shame that the Sea Dragon was never actually made - its single first stage engine was rated at 79,000,000 lbf (RP-1 & LOX).

      No, that's not a typo - 79 million pounds of thrust.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Lawn-laying instructions?

    Hopefully there is a large arrow painted on the side of the rocket motor. Under it will be the words "this way up".

    Best not to take chances

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Lawn-laying instructions?

      My favourite part of the xkcd Up-goer 5 Illustration is the arrow to the rocket nozzles which says "If this starts pointing towards space, you are having a bad problem, and you will not go to space today."

    2. cray74

      Re: Lawn-laying instructions?

      Hopefully there is a large arrow painted on the side of the rocket motor. Under it will be the words "this way up".

      The shuttle carrier 747s do include orientation requirements on the shuttle mounts. ;)

    3. DropBear Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Lawn-laying instructions?

      Absolutely. And I'm sure they put a "warning: hot exhaust" sticker on the other end, possibly even a "if you're reading this when the engine is on... never mind..." on the interior of the nozzles.

      1. Jos V

        Re: Lawn-laying instructions?

        You might not have heard about them, but Kulula Air has all kinds of funny livery:

        http://www.snopes.com/photos/airplane/kulula.asp

        They also have a "this side up" livery. Google images will show more.

        Have a good weekend all.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gives you perspective...

    SpaceX Launches and Landings seem so routine and feel like they only last a few moments, but this gives you perspective on how long a SpaceX/Nasa Launch seems to a an avidly watching, apprehensive Rocket Engineer.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Gives you perspective...

      "SpaceX Launches and Landings seem so routine"

      Except for the ones that explode, I'm assuming.

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    So how many people

    cheering enthusiastically at the end of such a video aren't secretly a teensy bit disappointed the thing didn't go KABOOM!

    Still, as a child of the Apollo era watching these videos, a wide grin always threatens to split my face at the ears, as so many great memories come flooding back

    Good for NASA to get this test right!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We kept the only piece of the Shuttle we are still able to understand...

    .... let's put it in a 1960 rocket design so we can dream again about an era when we were able to look forward, not backward...

    But we will build the Great American Rocket again, and it will be the bbbigger, bbbiggest rocket ever seen!

    Next NASA project: design a flying vehicle made of wood and canvas, just add an iPhone to make it look "futuristic".

    The X-37 is a much more interesting project.

  6. publishnet

    The Space Shuttle main engines are RS-25 not RS-52 as stated in the article.

  7. Swiss Anton

    Rocket powered car

    Will I be able to use one of these to power my car after petrol & diesels are banned [in the UK] after 2040?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Rocket powered car

      And will it be covered by the congestion charge?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Flame

      Re: Rocket powered car

      Yes. Because nobody will be able to catch you. Or probably find your body after the inevitable crash and burn boom.

      However you will need to modify your car slightly - as you'll need a slightly larger fuel tank. And your fuel bils may increase just a teensy bit. 10,000 mile services will also become a tad more expensive, but seeing as you're unlikely to live that long - this shouldn't be a problem.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Rocket powered car

        10,000 mile service? It better go longer than that or the car will have a servicing frequency rivaling a vintage Jaguar.

    3. cray74

      Re: Rocket powered car

      Will I be able to use one of these to power my car after petrol & diesels are banned [in the UK] after 2040?

      The RS-25 is fueled with hydrogen and oxygen, which produces copious amounts of dihydrogen monoxide. Besides being known for eroding mountains and being bound in most tumors, dihydrogen monoxide is a potent greenhouse gas. Given the way REACH and the UK's Environment Agency have been going, they'd probably try to ban it and anyone who tried to correct their grasp of chemical nomenclature.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Rocket powered car

        Exposure to DHMO has a 97% observed mortality rate.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Rocket powered car

          "Exposure to DHMO has a 97% observed mortality rate."

          Observe some more and the percentage will go up.

          It's also a highly addictive substance. Deprive an addicted person of DHMO for 2-3 days and they will beg incessantly for it.

          1. Swarthy Silver badge

            Re: Rocket powered car

            DHMO is an industrial solvent that has been found to be present in a significant number of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

            It is possible to overdose on less than 60ml of pure DHMO, but addicts have been known to consume more than 2 litres per day!

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Rocket powered car

          Exposure to DHMO has a 97% observed mortality rate.

          Worse than that. Historical studies show that everyone exposed to it over a period of 100 years or so has died and thus it has 100% mortality.

          Ban it immediately!

          1. Robert Moore
            Pint

            Re: Rocket powered car

            For more information on the hazards of DHMO see:

            http://www.dhmo.org/

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Uffish
        Happy

        Re: Rocket powered

        Oh, I do like a steam engine, will the completed rocket have a whistle ?

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re: Rocket powered

          I like your thinking, a steam powered car would be a more sensible option for transport after 2040. True Stephenson's original was a bit slow, but this bad boy, "The fastest kettle in the world", can do over 140 mph*.

          (*Needs a bit of a run up to get to that speed, preferably a nice flat 2 mile runway. Also emits copious qualities of DHMO)

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Rocket powered car

        DiHydrogen Monoxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by a quite a lot.

    4. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Rocket powered car

      Just skip all the hassle and buy one of the Batmobils - those already have this built-in right now...

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @Swisss Anton -- Re: Rocket powered car

      Will I be able to use one of these to power my car after petrol & diesels are banned [in the UK] after 2040?

      I recall a video (I think it's been discredited) of a lad who put a JATO bottle in the trunk (the thingy in the rear) and ignited it. It became airborne and killed him and ended up in a zillion pieces. So.. the answer is.. don't try it.

    6. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Rocket powered car

      You will have to fuel up with Jet-A at the airport.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

    Which were only mfg for NASA for this task.

    So probably run out of chips.

    The RS25 was one of the jewels of the Shuttle programme. There were a fair few mods that could have made it both higher T/W and more reliable. Using it in expendable mode is deeply stupid. Hopefully this time round they will use actual off the shelf chips.

    Since it will operate no further than LEO they don't really need to be space rated either.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

      All this talk of modern engine controllers make me think that if someone were to build an updated N1 it would probably work a lot better than the original (ie not blow up).

    2. Old Used Programmer

      Re: Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

      One model of Raspberry Pi got "space rated" (specifically for use on the ISS). I don't recall, off hand, which model, but it was either the B+ or the Pi2B. The former, I think, as it wasn't the current model when launched and the Pi3B hadn't come out yet.

  9. Zmodem

    easier to make a EM drive, 1600 KW, and you can have a 900 ton shuttle just take off and flying into space from the ground, taking a 300 ton payload

    behind EU space mining laws, and uk's space plane port, there is 7 years of MoD's missing money and black projects caught on camera all over europe

    here are the basic's https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2017/07/15/supersonic_shock_waves/#c_3243987

    1. Solarflare

      I'm sorry, what?

      1. Zmodem

        here are the basic's https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2017/07/15/supersonic_shock_waves/#c_3243987

        to work out your lbs of thrust, you press your thruster up to some kitchen scales if you make a dodgy scale model, or a big hydraulic press like for weighing trucks, and only do a single pulse

        you will easily be able to lift a whole pack of A4 paper with 200 watts

        1. Zmodem

          everyone can stick to their rubbish rockets, imposible drives, and ion drives

          multiply BAE System railgun spec's by 1000, and you will have 100 tons shooting off with zero acceleration at 256 million MPH if your up in space, from a single pulse of compressed retracting magnets as you do not need a rail

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            WTF?

            "shooting off with zero acceleration"

            To repeat another posters comment, errrr what?

            1. Zmodem

              when flying around and up into space, your magnets would be set to something like https://youtu.be/W2IKoxt16Ro?t=16s

              when you are in space, you compress them, to get alot more force while still using the same amount of electric like https://youtu.be/W2IKoxt16Ro?t=27s ,

              2 fixed magnets inside of a tube acting as a thruster, one of the fixed magnet's will be what pushes your craft along and creates thrust if you get the timings, distance and force/gauss correct

              after you have spent a billion or so rewriting all the math for thrust, and able to calculate all the velocities in space with all the physics and terminal velocities, and know the forces it takes to turn and accelerate within a given gravity, you have zero acceleration, just like an electric car has maximum torque all the time

              1. Zmodem

                the average amount of power you would probably need is 8000kW, as that is what the french TGV and germany's maglev train uses on average to reach 400mph

                8000kW would probably be the best place to start with a full prototype

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                WTF?

                "2 fixed magnets inside of a tube acting as a thruster, one of the fixed magnet's will be what pushes your craft along and creates thrust if you get the timings, distance and force/gauss correct"

                Oooookaaaayyy!. And if I stand on a sail boat, becalmed, I can make it move by turning on an electric fan and point it at the sails, yes?

        2. kmac499

          BIg problem with the all electric EM drive is the length of the flex, I just checked Maplin and most of their extension cables max out at about 20m.

          I'll put my money on a Skylon.

          1. Zmodem

            if you have government backing, the most you need is a 0.5MW nuclear reactor for a 900 ton shuttle full of 3d star map navigation, topologal radar navigation system and a full science lab with catscans etc in, if you not carrying a satellite etc

            you could easily generate 500,000KW from normal fuel, you just would'nt be able to go beyond the moon

            the average cargo ship on the sea's needs a constant 50->75MW

            1. Zmodem

              if a nuclear submarine in todays world cost £1bn, a new shuttle would be around £3.5bn, so for the cost of building another useless international space station, you could have 30 or more shuttles flying around the whole solar system doing real science, and destroying NEO's and fighting aliens with railguns and MoD's dragon fire microwave laser cannons

              1. davetalis
                Mushroom

                I laugh at you from my 8-million tonne Super Orion nuclear pulse detonation cruiser station built with 1958 technology :-)

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

            If only a few more companies would.

            1. Zmodem

              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

              skylon is all good as long as the SABRE engines fail in 2020, BAE Systems has some loose change hanging around, the british government handed over £120m, NASA and US Airforce joined the party

              the public design of skylon is a joke, the real skylon with EM Drive should be more like http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/aircraft/Lockheed-F19/IMAGES/Lockheed-F-19-Stealth-Fighter-Title.jpg

              so you can have nano tube force fields in toughened graphite hull you can fix with polymer from a tube, for small space debris not picked up on the topological radar system that is generating real time debris in the 3d star map navigation system

              a easy engine would be frontier elite dangerous, its all "1:1", if you put your vector math in from control gyroscopes, and able to keep adding your scanned planets into the database until you need DNA data storage

              submarine radars can easily pick up a gold fish 100 miles aways,

              the design would also need to be curved for solar storms to pass by smoothly, flying along in a brick will kill you through radiation and debris having nowhere to go, and then fold down the rear fins when in space

              1. Zmodem

                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                im going to get a job at reaction engines, i have NVQ level 2 in cleaning and a fork lift licence and years of experience with industrial cleaning

                https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/vacancy/cleaner/

                why work hard and get paid less, if you have to work, do the easy stuff with alot of money

                1. Zmodem

                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                  why a cleaning job get the thumbs down, its a easy £600 a month tax free if you live in the area or a comment moderator, your never allowed to touch nothing in machine shops or main offices except the floor

                  you can move on to cleaning aeroplanes at your local airport at night £15ph, then power stations for £25ph

                  1. Solarflare

                    Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                    I'm wondering whether you:

                    - have hit your head

                    - are trying to parody something

                    - are a confused bot

                    1. Zmodem

                      Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                      im perfectly fine, depending on the compound, toughened graphite can be upto 10x stronger then the carbon which holds a forumal 1 cockpit together during a 36G head on crash

                      if you have toughened graphite, which would probably be a classified compound on a shuttle, then aerogel, and then carbon, you will have a light weight super strong hull which would survive space which the US air force x-37b hull is probably made of. then if you spray with a silicon spray, your hull will then be tough like a diamond, and is generally the ultimate glue on a building site, so you will have to bring out blow tourches and drills to break through the stuff, which is also used to hold roofs together during a storm

                      if elite dangerous engine is 1:1 scale, it should be easy enough to make a scale model of you craft, and add your EM drive power and gyroscope vectors into it, so you know your position in the solar system beyond mars because the sun will just be a dot and you will easily be lost without a 3d star map

                      making a true 1:1 star map is all part of the real science you can do while having a shuttle that has some speed, and if a next gen shuttle was 900 tons, that would make it roughly 4.5x bigger then NASA old shuttle, and with no fuel in the wings, comes more food for the outter reaches

                      1. Zmodem

                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                        if you shoot off at 256 million MPH, it would take 16 hours to reach the edge of the solar system going half the speed of light, but even a months journey would still be better then the 30 years it took voyager to get there

                        if you went faster then 256 million MPH, you would outrun your radar navigation system and would'nt have any space debris being mapped

                        1. Zmodem

                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                          electro magnets can go upto 1MW, compressing those would give you more gauss then the gravity of a neutron star, there is no gravity in space that could make a simple retracting magnet truster become useless, cancelling out your thrusters magnetic fields

                          to hover, you just have to carry on with the jump jet hover and landing, which would also apply to re-entry of atmosphere's

                      2. cray74

                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                        if you have toughened graphite, which would probably be a classified compound on a shuttle, then aerogel, and then carbon, you will have a light weight super strong hull which would survive

                        .

                        Though I've worked with a range of graphite composites (carbon-carbon to carbon-reinforced bismaleimide) in my career, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. "Toughened graphite" isn't a standard material product, and any "toughening" of graphite is relative - graphite is always a soft, brittle material, even when its tensile strength heads for 1 million psi / 6,900 megapascals. I used to chop and prepare ultra-high strength, woven graphite sheets with common steel scissors. I never had to sharpen the scissors once, there was no wear of the steel from such brittle, soft materials. (I did learn to wear a filter mask after I began coughing and sneezing black snot while chopping the graphite, but that's a different matter.)

                        .

                        space which the US air force x-37b hull is probably made of.

                        .

                        The X-37B's outer skin uses conventional, shuttle-type heat shielding. The nose cap is a carbon-carbon composite with silicon carbide oxidation barriers, like the shuttle's leading edge. The belly is lightweight, fiber-reinforced silicaceous material, a modest improvement on the shuttle's tiles. The underlying frame is mostly polymer composite (where it's not aluminum) like high temperature bismaleimide-carbon composites. (I'm not sure of the exact choice of resin, but BMI functions up to 250C, better than conventional aerospace aluminum alloys, and is a good example for this discussion until I can confirm it.) So, the X-37B's framework is in the family of composites with the 787 and F-35 aircraft, not "toughened graphite and aerogel."

                        .

                        Given the X-37B's relatively restricted budget, you're not going to see a lot of exotic material choices - truly new material systems really take upward of 10 to 20 years to go from the lab to operational hardware.

                        .

                        then if you spray with a silicon spray, your hull will then be tough like a diamond,

                        .

                        1) Diamonds are not very tough; their KIC (K-one-cee, I need to learn HTML subscript codes) fracture toughness is low compared to metals and polymers. They are hard and can be quite strong, but "toughness" is not something usually associated with diamonds.

                        2) Spraying silicon onto carbon usually results in either carbon with silicon on it or - if you pick an exotic process like plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition - you can get a thin layer of silicon carbide below the excess silicon. It's usually better to deposit your final material (you seem to like silicon carbide) directly on the substrate rather than hoping for less-controlled reactions between raw elements.

                        .

                        The chemical vapor deposition industry has some precursor gases that will decompose and reliably produce silicon carbide on graphite. I used to do that when making carbon-carbon composites to track the speed of graphite deposition. To figure out graphite deposition speeds, we'd interrupt hydrocarbon flow through the reactor and flow...it was a pyrophoric methyl silane compound with some chlorine, but I don't remember the exact name, just the fireballs when it leaked into air...anyway, a silane compound that would break down and deposit silicon carbide. You'd have visually distinct SiC layers between graphite can could figure out the millimeters-per-hour of graphite growth. Or you could make graphite-reinforced silicon carbide and skip the graphite deposition, though that wasn't my employer's goal.

                        .

                        Speaking of reinforced silicon carbide, you might want to ask if carbon and aerogels are the way you really want to go. There are some fantastic high temperature materials out there, like the tantalum and hafnium carbides, and fiber-reinforced silicon carbides have been in limited production for decades.

                        1. Zmodem

                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                          i doubt the x-37b is made from alloy, for the size of it, the rest would have to be 50% copper to last 3 years in space and being smashed by all the debris

                          you have NASA working on carbon plane frames along with spaceX, the main reason why you would have toughened graphite is the ease of being able to fix it with a quick space walk with polymer from a tube as the fibres have no specific order, which would also help if a nano tube force world would be used

                          if a shuttle was able to hover, with a jump jet system, then you can use the same system for entering atmosphere's and would'nt need ceramic heat sheids to handle the 6000c plasma build up

                          as far as the drive goes, you have 1 fixed magnet

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                            Who you jivin' with that Cosmik Debris?

                            1. Zmodem

                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                              nobody, the damage on the windows of the ISS is what space dust can do while not travel at any great speeds https://youtu.be/gfLnvEFkfMc?t=2m41s

                              if you have a submarine topological radar like https://youtu.be/KnhBUb0P8GI?t=3m20s

                              then you will need something that can easily be fixed if you are travelling at X MPH after compressing magnets, even the best radar won't pick up dust and you also would'nt be able to navigate around dust

                          2. cray74

                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                            the main reason why you would have toughened graphite

                            The main reason you wouldn't is that "toughened graphite" doesn't exist.

                            is the ease of being able to fix it with a quick space walk with polymer from a tube as the fibres have no specific order

                            Aerospace grade resin systems typically require hours, if not days, in controlled environments for final cure to their specified strength. You don't squeeze a tube of goop and get a quick super-strong bond. You'd only do that for a cosmetic fix, like a scratch in a gel coat, or some non-strength critical application like encapsulating an electrical connector.

                            Real composite repairs tend to take three forms where I'm employed:

                            1) A little dab of adhesive on a carefully cleaned, scuffed, and primed cosmetic scratch

                            2) A large, carefully applied, overlapping patch of fibers and resin, to be followed by a 7-day cure (or 2-4 hours if the part can go in an oven)

                            3) No repair, scrap it. Most of our engineering for parts with damage to their fibers is to toss the part rather than repair it. But this is a production environment where we're building stuff, not a situation with fielded hardware.

                            i doubt the x-37b is made from alloy

                            Why? The running joke at my aerospace employer (in my materials engineering group, anyway) is, "Sure, you can make your part out of any material you want so long as it's 6061-T6," (a common aluminum alloy and temper.) The data requirements for introducing new materials into flight hardware are ludicrous, designers won't touch new materials until they have well-developed A- and B-basis values for the major properties. Aluminum alloys like 6061 and 7050 have well-known properties and are strong enough, tough enough, and cheap enough for the job.

                            Aluminum alloys are a workhorse in space. The International Space Station's modules have aluminum pressure vessels (mostly 6000- and 7000-series alloys) and even aluminum Whipple armor panels. The shuttle used aluminum for its frame - a major design driver in its heat shielding was to keep interior temperatures low enough that aluminum was acceptable for the wing spars.

                            I know The X-37B uses composites. The USAF and NASA brag about "expanded use of composites" in the X-37. But, given most of the work is done by Boeing and Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, you can take a guess that they're working with carbon fiber-epoxies like the 787 or carbon fiber-BMI like the F-35. And because those are the players, they'll be also be using predictable aluminum alloys in less critical areas, too.

                            1. Zmodem

                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                              alloy is a joke in space, its reinforced with 8 inches of copper on satellites so space dust cannot penetrate vital parts, and belongs in the 1990's, and would also be alot more weight having to carry extra alloy plating if abit of space debris between the size of dust and a minoe/goldfish, hits your hull with a terminal velocity of probably 200,000 MPH +. as man's first deep space shuttle would'nt just be shooting off at half the speed of light

                              having some modern classified toughened graphite compound would make alot easier when it comes to fixing a hull, as the hull would'nt be less then 1 inch thick

                              even if you beat a toughend graphite tennis racket with a hammer, it will end up in alot better shape then a alloy racket

                              1. Zmodem

                                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                you can do some dodgy physic, what goes through my quantum brain is too hard to explain

                                except in space everything is weightless, and gravitational fields are always changing unless you intersteller

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-QOfc2XqOk

                                1. Zmodem

                                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                  bottom line anyway, in todays world there are enough carbons, graphites and silicons, to which you should be able to make new hull material including some form of collision phsyic's if you are going to carry on using 6 -> 8 inches worth in depth

                                  1. annodomini2

                                    Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                    Someone's stopped taking their meds again by the sound of it.

                                    1. Zmodem

                                      Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                      no, the challenger 2 was industructable 30 years ago, the alloy and copper plating involves no physics, it just works and has been said in tv programs thousands of times

                                      a want to see a sweet new shuttle buzzing around the solar system painted with >> https://www.surreynanosystems.com/vantablack

                                      take on aliens with stupid glowing balls with absolute darkness

                                      1. jake Silver badge

                                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                        Out of curiosity (and I know I'm going to regret asking), where and how in the seven shades of hell did you come up with "8 inches of copper"? Do you have any idea what one square foot of copper, eight inches thick, would weigh? That's just about 373 pounds, or near enough 170 kilos. Can you point me at anyone lifting this kind of mass out of Earth's gravity well just for shielding?

                                        1. Zmodem

                                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                          its in TV programs that have been on since the 1990's, 5 copper plates 1/4 inch thick, 1 -> 2 inches apart, and that is used to stop space dust

                                          its just the same as this, so i guess they use ceramic nowadays https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/hypervelocity/mmod.html

                                          silicon and graphite and some colliision physic's would end up more like http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Debris/Hypervelocity_impacts_and_protecting_spacecraft

                                          1. cray74

                                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                            its in TV programs that have been on since the 1990's, 5 copper plates 1/4 inch thick, 1 -> 2 inches apart, and that is used to stop space dust

                                            The International Space Station's Whipple panels use sheets of 6061-T6 aluminum, usually with Nextel ceramic fiber sheets or Kevlar polymer fiber sheets in between the aluminum. I recommend reading the link - it's a detailed look at different models of the orbital debris threats that NASA used, the analysis techniques to develop armor including some coverage of the hydrocodes, and a discussion of the different forms of shielding on the station depending on location and anticipated threats.

                                            1. Zmodem

                                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                              and there are plenty of photo's which show's those panels do not work, NASA is useless and too poor and has falling a long way behind the rest of the world of doing any good, they have to spend most of their money on the useless SLS

                                              the ISS sheilding would be 100% useless on a shuttle which shoots off at a minimum speed of 200,000 MPH so you could get to mars in a few months or a day

                                              material using some kind of collision physic's will be like http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2013/04/Hypervelocity_Impact

                                              all of NASA's sheilding for every meter/sq would way around 8KG, while graphite/silicon based hull would be around 1KG

                                              1. Zmodem

                                                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                                if a new shuttle shoots off at 200,000 MPH, it would take 170 hours to get to mars

                                                34,000,000 / 200,000 = 170

                                                170 hours is long enough in todays world, anymore and most people on the planet will get pandorum

                                                1. Zmodem

                                                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                                  if you get the gauss and watts correct, you will have instant speed of anything you have calculated through the compression force of the magnets in your thruster

                                                  without needing a big distance to accelerate, the time it takes for something to reach its destination, is massively cut

  10. Porco Rosso

    RS-25 turbo pump

    has any one an idea how many liters per second the turbo pump of RS-25 pump ?

    just as an order of grandeur ...

    thanks

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: RS-25 turbo pump

      I think I read it recently in "Into the black" by Roland White...but I forget, sorry!

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: RS-25 turbo pump

        What size family swimming pool though? Your linked piece doesn't answer that. So I googled a bit more.

        There are actually 4 turbo-pumps, 2 low pressure and 2 high pressure for fuel and oxidiser. And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar.

        I didn't easily find the answer in a few brief Googles. I think I found total propellant flow at 100% throttle, which is 1409 kg/sec. Which is both oxygen and hydrogen.

        Which is quite impressive - given the turbo-pumps only weigh something like 50kg.

        To put this into context, the UK rivers authority own 2 extra-large pumps for flood clean up. Each does 500 kg/sec - at much lower pressures too - and each completely fills the loadbed of a large articulated lorry.

        The pumpset for Wembley stadium does 60 kg/sec and is 16m long by 800mm wide by 1m high. I happen to know that, because we lost that contract...

        Oh, and the oxidiser high pressure turbo-pump is a mere 26,000 horsepower!

        The fuel pump is 70,000-odd.

        That's 35,000 Citroen 2CVs just to pump the fuel...

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar."

          What you've missed is that each of those pairs of turbo pumps operates in series.

          What you've listed is the output pressure from the Low Pressure Fuel & Oxdizer TP's.

          The "High Pressure" TP's are driven by the flow from the Preburner and are more like 7000psi (around 470bar) (to feed the Preburner) feeding the Main Combustion Chamber operating with a back pressure around 2-3000psi.

          Given that studies of engine costs suggest that development costs scale as the cube of maximum chamber pressure this may explain why SSME was such an expensive engine (it's also pretty big and uses liquid Hydrogen, neither of which help).

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: RS-25 turbo pump

          "To put this into context, the UK rivers authority own 2 extra-large pumps for flood clean up. Each does 500 kg/sec - at much lower pressures too - and each completely fills the loadbed of a large articulated lorry."

          To be fair, those include the generator, motor, fuel tanks and filters too. And they are built to last more than a few minutes of use.

  11. W Donelson

    Feeble compared to Atlas V from the 1960s. It could lift 118,000 kg to orbit.

    The new SLS can only lift 70,000 kg

    1. cray74

      Feeble compared to Atlas V from the 1960s. It could lift 118,000 kg to orbit.

      (Saturn V or Atlas V?) The Block 2 SLS is targeting a 120,000kg payload.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "(Saturn V or Atlas V?) The Block 2 SLS is targeting a 120,000kg payload."

        Indeed. That's the Saturn V.

        Atlas II (as the repurposed ICBM was called) was much smaller, and still used the pressure stabilized steel tanks developed by Karel Bosart.

        Nothing will get within sniffing range of the Saturn V until FH actually flies, hopefully later this year.

    2. annodomini2

      It's Saturn V and 140,000kg.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Heavy Rocketry

        The Russians will really have to up their game after SLS, FH and New Armstrong start flights in the next few years.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Heavy Rocketry

          The Russians do very well with the Soyuz. It's an old basic design and not terribly efficient, but it's been exceptionally reliable. NASA tends to design for maximum efficiency and reliability be damned.

  12. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Back of a fag packet

    If we were being green we'd replace all this nasty noisy stuff with helium balloons.

    If we need 8E6lbs of thrust that's 3.5E9g. Now a 2l party balloon filled with helium will support about 2g so all we need are 1.75E9 helium balloons ... or, in honour of the great film, 1.75 Ups per launch and a big balloon pump ...

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Back of a fag packet

      The problem with the He balloon proposal is that all He on Earth is a byproduct of radioactive decay (Alpha particles). This would mean that your balloon system would be nuclear powered and there would be more untutored, tofu-eating, sandal-wearing, wet liberal protesters painting their faces and laying down on railroad tracks than could be secretly sponsored by the minority political party.

      There is also a big problem with He availability for any vigorous launch campaign.

  13. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Another NASA Fail Then.

    I can't remember the number of times I have watched video of NASA trying to get that building off the ground... Maybe next time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another NASA Fail Then.

      They're doing it wrong.

      1. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

        Re: Another NASA Fail Then.

        I know nothing but it does not look like it will pass Mach 1 without falling to bits when they get it off the ground.

  14. Brian Allan 1

    "Working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to produce up to eight million pounds of thrust"

    With a good junk of the weight it has to push into space being the fuel required by these engines! Time to put gravitons work and simply cancel out gravity, i.e.: float into space and beyond!

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