As NASA acknowledges: "Typical spaceflight hardware can take six to eight years to develop."So Boeing and SpaceX are both ahead of schedule on the Commercial Crew program...
While shy and retiring Elon Musk may have made a big noise with his big rocket, there was plenty other news for space fans to chew over in the last week. 'As The Crow Flies' to be Rocket Lab's ninth Electron mission Small-sat upstart RocketLab has set the date – kind of – for its ninth Electron launch. The mission, still from …
As a Kiwi I have a soft spot for Rocket Lab. A couple of Kiwi's wondering if you can 3D print a rocket engine and decide to find out.
Shades of the Hamilton brothers perfecting the marine jet engine so they could go power boating on the braided rivers in Canterbury (very wide, gravel beds, multi streams, nothing very deep).
More recently there was a guy who designed and part built a stealth helicopter. Except by making it remote controllable he allowed the authorities (possibly leant on by Uncle Sam) to class it as a cruise missile and hence banned. I feel sorry for him. Last I heard he was defying court orders to turn over the plans and hence surrender his entire IP rights to his design and invention. Engineers, beware of businesspeople.
To put it charitably, the stealth helicopter was a bit pie-in-the-sky. Even one of the stated features (diesel-powered, stealth, full satellite control) would be ambitious for an aerospace start-up. The helicopter start-up failed without any real results.
The (home-made) cruise missile was a separate proof-of-concept by someone else:
There's certainly a lot of enthusiasm for aerospace projects in NZ!
I think NASA aren't thinking outside the box enough.
Instead of a lunar lander which returns from the surface, how about one that just lands and stays there.
You take with you several chemical rockets, to which you can strap payload to return, or astronauts.
If the chemical rocket is (for example) hybrid solid fuel, it can be made to turn on, off, and steer, to dock with the "command module" or whatever.
Instead of returning a big load of useless hardware to orbit, you just bring back the parts you need.
Then you leave behind a habitable module which you can add to over time, building up a "Space 1999" moon base, albeit 21 years later.
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