* Posts by Tim Brummer

46 posts • joined 14 Feb 2012

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Tim Brummer

Earth is not typical. it has one large moon which is unusual.

And Earth has a large liquid iron core which produces a strong magnetic field.

Both these features were required for life to form here as it did.

There are other factors also such as asteroid and comet bombardment to bring liquid water.

H-1B visa hopefuls, green card holders are feeling the wrath of 'America first' Trump

Tim Brummer


It's about time. Hopefully those interviews will weed out the fake marriages. I had one Chinese woman offer me $20,000 to "marry" her. And the fake asylum claims, another Chinese woman claimed to be a persecuted Falun Gong member, when in reality she loathed Falun Gong.

Patience is SpaceX's latest virtue

Tim Brummer

Other articles state the explosion was caused by solid oxygen reacting with carbon (fiber) under pressure.

The carbon fiber is wrapped around liquid helium tanks, which are placed inside the liquid oxygen tank.

Like I said when I first saw this explosion, the cause would be similar to early rocket planes (X-1 and X-2) which blew up because Ulmer leather gaskets used in their LOX plumbing would react under pressure. I guess none of the young SpaceX designers ever heard of the Ulmer leather problems.

Watch SpaceX's rocket dramatically detonate, destroying a $200m Facebook satellite

Tim Brummer

Been there, done that.

I was in the launch blockhouse when this Titan exploded at Vandenberg AFB.


It totally destroyed the launch pad, a support building, and fuel transfer lines. It tooks us six months to repair everything. There was a deep smoking crater left where the support building formerly was.

Looks like the SpaceX damage here is a lot less than we had.

But I don't understand how an oxygen line can explode like that, you need a lot of fuel mixed with the oxygen to get an explosion that big. It reminds me of when the destruct charge of a Titan I accidentally went off.


Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

Tim Brummer

How did this person who must live in California get a handgun? It's very hard to legally buy one here any more.

SpaceX: We'll land on Mars in 2018 (cough, with NASA's help)

Tim Brummer

Sure, just like they were going to launch the Falcon Heavy from Vandenberg three years ago. It still hasn't flown.

As for decontamination, a guy I worked with put a note inside the Viking lander the night before launch and after it had been decontaminated that said "made by Sanchez".

Test burn on recycled SpaceX rocket shows almost all systems are go

Tim Brummer

Re: Parachutes?

There is also the problem of re-entry at Mach 10, a heat resistant "ballute" would be needed for that. And a drogue chute to slow down in the transonic range. So now you have three different parachute systems that would probably weigh just as much as the rocket fuel used for re-entry and landing.

Tim Brummer

Re: Heavy Falcons

Spitfire and Mustang both used the same Merlin engine. In fact it was the brits who put the first Merlin into an early Mustang, replacing it's previous Allison motor.

Tim Brummer

Re: Launch Window

Titan III and IV satellite launch vehicles were not "second hand", they were all new built. I worked on that program for 12 years. And the use of mild steel would have made the tanks and air frame four times heavier, resulting in a much larger impossible to transport booster.

Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Tim Brummer

Re: Real numbers would be interesting

Looks like 75 tons of propellant needed for the return.

The SpaceX site says stage 1 holds 395 tons of propellant, so about 20% of the fuel is needed for return.

Tim Brummer

Re: Unreservedly, unabashedly euphorically optimistic

Upon return the engine nozzles also experience a lot of heating and aerodynamic stress from re-entry, something static fired engines don't experience. Same for the hydraulic gimbal actuators.

Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could

Tim Brummer

"Musk is known for working his staff hard"

And I bet that will end up being the root cause. Human error during construction, cause by overworked tired employees.

Elon Musk's $4.9bn taxpayer windfall revealed

Tim Brummer

Re: how capitalism is supposed to work??

100 years ago in the USA there were no income taxes, no subsidies, and no federal regulations. That is how capitalism is supposed to work.

KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Tim Brummer

Re: hes got money and he is going to spend it

Vandenberg launches go south over the ocean. There are some Navy owned islands to the south the booster could land on. As it happens they are just offshore from the SpaceX factory in Hawthore.

You are correct about going East from VAFB it will never happen, millions of people live under that flightpath.

US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed

Tim Brummer

DMSP is an Air Force Program, I helped to launch this very satellite on a Titan II SLV from SLC-4W at Vandenberg AFB as a launch operation engineer. The Navy is only peripherally involved in that they use the data acquired.

More info here on another similar launch. http://www.spacedaily.com/news/dmsp-99d.html

SpaceX: CATS with FRIKKIN' LASERS to blast off to space station

Tim Brummer

Musk should have married someone like Jean Peters:

"In 1971, Jean Peters and Howard Hughes divorced after a 14 year marriage. She agreed to a lifetime alimony payment of $70,000 annually, adjusted for inflation, and she waived all claims to Hughes' estate."

This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Tim Brummer

The other Mexico.

Nobody should be surprised, California is now "the other Mexico" as affirmed by Governor Jerry Brown, thanks to decades of unrestricted immigration wrought by the Bilderbergers and other globalists.

3D printed guns: This time it's for real! Oh, wait – no, still crap

Tim Brummer

Re: But against the backdrop of your British readership...

So you prefer only the government have all the guns. And we all know governments are always benevolent and never abuse their power.

Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'unlocked tailbooms' going through sound barrier

Tim Brummer

Co-pilot screwed the pooch by unlocking early? We will see what the report says.

Virgin Galactic vows to continue space program after 'serious anomaly'

Tim Brummer

The wing feather system deployed prematurely during boost instead of re-entry. The resulting adverse air loads on the stabilizers caused them to break off and the ship started to tumble, you can see it going backwards in one picture with the stabilizers detached. This is also why the stabilizers are located some distance away from the main wreckage.

Dead pilot named in tragic Virgin Galactic spaceship crash

Tim Brummer

Latest news is the wing feathering system deployed prematurely. Normally this is only used for re-entry.

Branson on Virgin Galactic fatal crash: 'Space is hard – but worth it'

Tim Brummer

I think Virgin should switch to using a SpaceX Merlin liquid rocket rocket engine. It is proven and man rated.

No astronaut has ever been killed by a liquid rocket engine, in spite of them failing in many programs, including X-15, Gemini 6, Apollo 13 (stage II), Shuttle STS-51F, and Soyuz T-10-1.

Solids on the other hand have now killed eight.

MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer

Tim Brummer

Re: Straight vs Gay

You were lucky, I had them starting at age 25 for work reasons, rocket fuel handler physical.

Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Tim Brummer

The damage doesn't look too bad, when the Titan 34D-9 I worked on blew up, it destroyed entire buildings and fuel systems. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1268/1

I worked inside the launch support building in that last photo. In the foreground is what remains of a 12 foot high air conditioning building that had one foot thick concrete walls. One of the SRM's fell on it.

America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft

Tim Brummer

Re: x-37's mess things up...

The X-37 can also change it's orbital plane up to 40 degrees, something normal satellites cannot do. Start imagining what this ability of large orbit changes allows it to do.

Tim Brummer

Re: Marathon?

It sits up there waiting for a war to break out, then attacks it's target, either a satellite or ground base.

A small version of orbital bombardment platforms.

Tim Brummer

I was near Surf Beach on VAFB, watched it come in and land. It's small and hard to spot, basically only got a glimpse.

It could take out enemy satellites without blowing them up, by painting their solar panels. And since it can quickly make large orbital plane changes it could do so on the side of the world opposite an opponents tracking network and they would not know what happened. They would think it was just an electronics failure.

Or it could change orbital plane to sneak up and bomb a target, like Iran's nuke site, without warning.

Are you a gun owner? Let us in OR ELSE, say Blighty's top cops

Tim Brummer

You blokes need a second amendment. In the states the government only knows who legally owns handguns, machine guns, and explosive devices (rocket launchers). Everything else is unregistered. Ya in Connecticut they passed a semi-auto rifle registration law and 90% of gun owners ignored it. Plus it looks like the Governor who signed it is getting booted out of office, just like a few politicians in Colorado who banned 30 round magazines were recalled.

Secret U.S. 'space warplane' set to return from spy mission

Tim Brummer

Re: deja vu all over again

Actually the original X-20 mission was nuke warhead delivery, a manned space plane would have been able to hit closer to a target than the crude 1950's ICBM guidance systems. Improved guidance systems made the X-20 redundant.


Tim Brummer

Re: Wings

Look up "Space Maneuver Vehicle". The wings allow it to make very large orbit plane changes without using a lot of fuel. It can make a plane change twice as large as using fuel alone. I think the specs are a 40 degree plane change capability.

Since the program is run by the "Rapid Deployment Office", the purpose is to have a space weapon which can change orbits on a moments notice and sneak up to attack, either a ground or space target.

It could even change orbit, attack, and change orbit again on the side of the earth opposite tracking stations so an adversary would think their satellite just failed, or was hit by space debris.

Elon Musk wants SpaceX to launch spy sats – and will sue US gov to do so

Tim Brummer

Re: will have cost them money since the sats cost over $1 billion.

ULA has never dropped a sat over 81 launches, nobody else in the world has a perfect launch record like that.

Tim Brummer

Re: Shock news - Lawyers win

If SpaceX dropped just one spy sat in the ocean, he will have cost them money since the sats cost over $1 billion.

Tim Brummer

You have to look at the entire picture. Those spy satellites cost over $1 billion, and ULA has a 100% success record over 81 launches. Since SpaceX did not have a long record of launches and a 90% success rate for their five launches at the time, it was prudent for the DOD to go with ULA. In a couple years time if SpaceX has built up a 98% success rate they may have a point then.

Jeff Bezos reveals Amazon's brutal scale in annual letter

Tim Brummer

They need to buy a company with good customer service, their "customer service" and communication system totally sucks.

DON'T PANIC! No credit card details lost after hackers crack world's largest casino group

Tim Brummer

Couldn't have happened to a nicer criminal, Adelson routinely violates laws to earn his billions, such as bribing Chinese officials to get his Macao casinos, and bribing US officials who allow him to hire cheap illegal alien workers.

Judge: Google owes patent troll a 1.36% cut of AdWords' BEELLIONS

Tim Brummer

My company tried adwords, it was a big waste of money. I guess it works for some companies but there has to be better net ad products out there.

Techies CAN sue Google, Apple, Intel et al accused of wage-strangling pact

Tim Brummer

I don't see anything illegal here, the firms didn't set wages or blacklist job applicants, they just agreed not to head hunt each others workers.

To the MONEY RING: Musk's SpaceX to attempt boldest mission yet

Tim Brummer

GTO is Geosynchronos transfer orbit. The booster puts the satellite payload into GTO which loops between low earth orbit and GEO. At the high point an "Apogee kick motor" which is part of the payload makes the orbit into a circular GEO.

SCRUBBED: Technical oopsies halt SpaceX's bid for the Money Ring

Tim Brummer

Re: Here's hoping...

No fuel left in the first stage, no recovery attempt. It takes all the first stage fuel to get a decent sized satellite to Clarks orbit.

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Tim Brummer

YES, these bastards support amnesty for illegal aliens which will cost taxpayers $6 trillion!! They should be paying that entire tab.

Tesla vs Media again as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway

Tim Brummer

Musk has done well with SpaceX because he is competing against fossilized, political correct, unionized government funded companies that are very inefficient. And he has hired some really smart high performing rocket engineers. With that background it's easy to make big improvements. With Tesla he is competing against other free market well run companies so it's tough to improve on what their are doing.

'Doomsday' asteroid Apophis more massive than first thought

Tim Brummer

Re: Wait, this may be a good thing...

I was thinking exactly the same thing!

Rocket 'Grasshopper' leaps higher than tall building in single bound

Tim Brummer

Re: To land vertically?


You need to look at rocket trajectories, stage 1 at burnout is 50 miles downrange and at 200,000+ feet altitude, there is no significant air to slow you down. The stage would continue 200 miles downrange until gravity finally pulls it down into thicker air. Your concept would only work if there was a landing platform on vertical pontoons (for stability in rough seas), for it to land on. Then it would take a couple of days to secure and be barged back to the launch site.

Top-secret US spaceplane sets off on another classified mission

Tim Brummer

Re: Its a fair bet its off to pick up whatever North Korea launched yesterday

I hope not, I live next to Vandenberg AFB where the X-37 lands. I sure wish they would bring it back during daytime so I could watch it come it, the past 2 have landed just past midnight.

Elon Musk envisions small town of vegetarians on Mars

Tim Brummer

Re: Won't happen for that price

The Dragon can carry 7, lets say 6 as passengers, and fuel cost for a Falcon 9 is $300,000. For airliners fuel is half the ticket price, so let's use that for fully reusable launch every day Falcon just like a jet airliner. Total launch cost is $600,000 or $100,000 per passenger.

Then you go to Mars on a different vehicle, something with more room and supplies, it drops you off at Mars, refuels, and comes back to be re-used. You would need at least 1300 pounds of food, clothes, personal effects, and other supplies per person for the trip. Total payload mass would be 1500x6people = 9000 pounds. Then you have the weight of the empty transit vehicle, lets say 30,000 pounds same as an empty Apollo CSM.

Then you need the fuel to boost 40,000 pounds to escape velocity, a delta V of 9800 ft/sec. Maximum oxygen/methane vacuum isp is about 330, at an average acceleration of 1g the engine would have to run for 304 seconds, or in other words you need almost 1 pound of fuel to accelerate 1 pound to escape velocity. Since the fuel is also being accelerated, 70.000 pounds of fuel will be needed to get 40,000 pounds of vehicle and payload off to Mars.

The 70,000 pounds of fuel, 8,000 pounds of supplies, and a container for them weighing lets say 7000 pounds need to be brought up from earth orbit, a total of 85,000 pounds. This would take three falcon launches, $1.8 million total or $300,000 per person. So we are up to $400,000 already without the cost of the Mars base, the Mars refueling equipment, and the transit vehicle, all of which needs to be brought up from Earth and transported to Mars. I would say total cost would be more like $1 million per person, which is still pretty cheap.

You can see the biggest expense is fuel for the transit vehicle, if instead it had a solar powered ion engine using reaction mass magnetically propelled off the Moon and Mars, then it could probably be done for $500,000 a person.

Spacemen urge NASA to build nuke ship for Mars trip

Tim Brummer

I say they are already testing a nuclear powered craft next to Yucca Dry Lake at Nevada Test Site. Check out the Google Earth pics of a newly built, isolated hanger and airstrip there.


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