SpaceX Falcon Heavy Can Launch the Mass of a 737 Jet Into Space

April 24th, 2014

Thanks goodness for SpaceX. We need non-government alternatives to spacecraft development if we are ever going to get the costs down. This is from the SpaceX website:

“Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful rocket, a launch vehicle of scale and capability unequaled by any other currently flying. With the ability to lift into orbit over 53 metric tons (117,000 lb)–a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.”

The Amazing Aldebaran Spacecraft

April 19th, 2014

 

Aldebaran spacecraft

Aldebaran spacecraft

Above is the Aldebaran spacecraft as conceived by  engineer Dandridge Cole in 1959. It would launch from the sea and would have atomic rocket engines. It was to be massive – and it could have launched 60 million pound payloads into orbit! With a couple of these babies, we could get all of the components for the Enterprise to space in no time.

Of course, uh hum, it had radioactive exhaust. You  probably would not want to be any where near it while it flies.

The Aldebaran spacecraft is fun too because it looks like something right out of 1950s sci fi. More on the Aldebaran spacecraft here and some more images are here.

VASIMR Getting Attention

April 16th, 2014

The Washington Post has a brief article about Franklin Chang Diaz, the inventor of the VASIMR engine that can get people to Mars in 39 days.

12MW VASIMR Mars Spacecraft

12MW VASIMR Mars Spacecraft

Nuclear-Electric Propulsion Missions to Mars

April 10th, 2014

Christopher Morrison, a graduate student working at RPI on space fission systems, emailed me  about this talk he gave regarding the advantages of electric propulsion systems. This is nicely done and is just 15 minutes in length. And all of this is directly relevant to the Gen1 Enterprise. I think his talk is consistent with things I have said on the BTE site.

… Back When They Contemplated Building Some Serious Rockets

April 3rd, 2014

In the early 1960s, scientists and engineers pondered building heavy lifter rockets that could take some seriously large payloads to space – in the one million pound payload range. Look at the diagram at this link to see them.

Elon Musk may have caught the bug lately to build bigger and bigger rockets. But no one talks anymore about rockets that can carry one million pound payloads (well, except at the BTE site).