Saturday, April 15, 2006

Susan's Husband's Heaven?

Or: Maybe this is what happens when they drown all the lawyers.


Orbital mechanics and kinetic energy being what they are, launching payloads into orbit on an easterly heading from, or near, the equator makes good sense. The Earth's rotational velocity of roughly 1,000 mph means the launch vehicle needs roughly five percent less energy to get into orbit than if launched from, say, the North Pole.

In light of this, NASA conducts most launches from Cape Canaveral (Vandenburg is used primarily for polar orbital tracks, which don't benefit from the Earth's rotation), and France uses Guyana. An additional benefit of those launch sites is that the inevitable launch debris -- primarily spent stages and strap on boosters -- hits open ocean. Fish have neither phones, nor lawyers.

Kazakhstan is about as southerly as Russian gets, but without he benefit of beachfron property. So their launch detritus is going to land on terra very firma. Including some terra that is quite literally in the backyard.

From the looks of things, Kazakh's don't have phones, or lawyers, either. [shameless pop reference]Nor guns and money, for that matter.[/shameless pop reference]

7 Comments:

Blogger Bret said...

That's why we need to get over the rocket thang and go directly for the space elevator.

April 15, 2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

That one must have come down VERY gently.

(I didn't get either of the shameless pop references. Shows how much I know.)

April 15, 2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

The pop reference is to Warren Zevon.

When it comes to playing Trivial Pursuit, I scythe the competition in geography, history, or current events.

Entertainment and pop culture are an entirely different matter, so I completely feel your pain.

Which, I am fairly certain, means I feel nothing at all.

April 15, 2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

LiftPort Corp. is already building a space elevator, and they need backers, so this is the perfect opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

I'd really like them to succeed, but my guess is that to say that it's 1000 - 1 against them is being kind.

April 15, 2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

LiftPort hopes to get it up (so to speak) by 2018. That does sound a tad ambitious. But what they learn might pave the way for a successful group later.

April 15, 2006 10:23 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

I am surprised it wasn't cut up for scrap metal. But sadly, that size of rocket is beyond my current certification level :-). I would also like to note that the rocket in the picture is an all wood rocket, except for the launch lugs and parachute.

Bret;

Why not a Launch Loop?

April 17, 2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

Sure, the launch loop is amusing too. The 3gs of acceleration and routine catastrophic failures doesn't make it seem all that useful for human space travel though.

April 17, 2006 12:15 PM  

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