Space Troll: Discussing the REAL future of Humanity

Delta 4 Heavy debut

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
One key part of the space programs has to be lift capacity and the current situation is depressing. Today, the Delta 4 Heavy was successfully tested by Boeing; the article described it as ‘mammoth’. How mammoth is it? It is capable of putting 25 Kilotons in Low Earth Orbit. Is this progress? Of a sort; but when you look at 35 years ago, it’s not impressive at all. A Saturn V (the platform for the Apollo program) was capable of handling FOUR times as much! The new rocket is cheaper in real dollars in cost per kilo, but that fact remains: the U.S. (and other program) don’t have near the lift capacity we used to have.

Vast improvement in electronics makes this less significant to satellite and robotic programs, but the fact remains: to get man into space, there has to be a significant increase in lift capacity.

Russia has an Energia launch system that can be built up to larger load capacities and they are pushing it for Mars exploration; problem is, it is completely untested and Russia is having more trouble in their program than the U.S. from a budget viewpoint. The Chinese are entering the fray, but are looking to put up a 20 ton launch system, still vastly smaller than in the 60s. It’s got to get better.
4:10 AM :: ::
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