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View Diary: The Senate Launch system flies again (67 comments)

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  •  IMO it's a horrible idea. (1+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest

    Expensive, already has many known engineering problems, and it's not clear what problems it's intended to solve.

    Conversely, they are funding a number of projects with their COTS program, including SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, Orbital Sciences Corp., and others. A lot of technology is being developed after 40 years of neglect, and modern tools and design are now up to a lot of challenges that couldn't be well addressed forty years ago. Simulation in particular makes many things now practicable that simply weren't possible in the '70s, and computing advances help with a lot of the complex control issues.

    SpaceX is working on making their rockets reusable (which, if successful, will substantially drop launch costs), and have significantly improved their rocket engines. Others are looking at re-engineering the Saturn F-1 engines, and finding a much better solution to the "pogoing" problems they had.

    Dreamchaser looks like a little space shuttle (lifting-body lander) with modern materials, computers, and flight control, and will be capable of self-landing.

    The whole field has been a case of studied neglect since 1972, largely a victim of the space shuttle's budgetary obesity.

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