Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Nasa is sending Orion test capsule into space soon. Orion is the "next generation" space vehicle developed by the space agency. The plan is to make a vehicle that can go into deeper space, asteroids, or even Mars if need be. They'll launch the test flight on the 4th of this month, send her up to about 3600 miles and then back down. The idea is to test all her systems and see if we can retrieve it from the ocean.  Read on.

I don't like to be negative, but I think we did this back in the 1960s.

And the capsule is really small for a 6-9 month journey to Mars.

I might be missing something. I usually am.

1 comment:

Dan said...

No, you're not really missing anything. The problem is that the fundamental physics of rocket launches isn't going to change. Although there have been a number of incremental improvements in materials science that have lowered the cost-per-pound of putting stuff in to orbit*, there haven't been any major breakthroughs that would get us order of magnitude improvements.

The Space Shuttles were a radically different concept, but their wing superstructure and large cargo bay made them so massive that we couldn't lift them beyond low earth orbit, much less get one to the moon or interplanetary.

So, yeah, unfortunately the new thing looks a lot like the old thing. Not exactly exciting to anyone's imagination, but a practical necessity for now.

* Reducing the cost-per-pound to orbit is roughly equivalent to increasing the amount of mass a given size rocket can put in to orbit.