|Colin Leighfield||22/07/2019 13:16:20|
5996 forum posts
Interesting to see the reference to the Indian space programme. That began because we in effect gave them Blue Streak after the cancellation of our own. It is a long time ago now and easy to forget, but in the early days of the European Space Agency the intended launch vehicle was based on a UK built Blue Streak first stage, with stages two and three being built by other European countries, primarily France and Germany. All of the test launches failed because of the malfunctioning of the second and third stages, Blue Streak worked every time. With that continuing failure and the abandonment of independent UK intentions, it was sadly cancelled and finished up in India. A critical point was the government seeing a choice between continuous funding of an independent satellite launching programme or continuing with Concorde. The view was that there was never going to be a commercial future in launching satellites, so the decision went to Concorde. Leadership of the European programme was taken by France with Ariane and look where they are today. However much we get excited by Concorde, me included, we can’t argue that it was a commercial disaster and money down the drain. We seem to breed governments that are incapable of making good long-term judgements and this is among the worst examples. If we had continued with a Blue Streak based launch programme we would be in the pound seats now, with a space programme that actually made money and funded so much more. They wonder why we are so disillusioned with the clowns that govern us, decade after decade. Will it ever change? Smug incompetence.
|Peter Miller||22/07/2019 13:45:11|
11071 forum posts
I once read a science fiction short story.
In it the point was made that the people who most want to govern are those least suited to governing.
I can't remember the author but I bet he is saying "I told you so!!!"
|Martin Harris||22/07/2019 13:51:29|
9332 forum posts
Talk about disillusionment...I spent many years of my childhood under the impression that the loud noise heard from several miles away was Blue Streak rocket engines being tested at Hatfield - the impressive tower visible from the road adding credence. Now I've just discovered it was a fuel flow test rig - although they do mention that impressive flames were a feature of the tests so I'm not sure how much the rig differed from rocket engines - no thrust augmenting nozzles perhaps?
It's probably just as well that they chose the rocky Cumbrian region for proper tests though - with the typical clay/flint/terminal moraine gravel based subsoil in the area the prospect of the tower disappearing into the Hertfordshire skies might have been a real prospect!
Edited By Martin Harris on 22/07/2019 13:56:34
|Lima Hotel Foxtrot||22/07/2019 13:52:55|
386 forum posts
What MM has missed is that the fake moon landings were to be directed by stanly Kubrick, fresh off 2001. Kubrick, a notoriously obsessive director, insisted on absolute detail. His demands grew so much that, eventually, NASA simply went to the moon because it was cheaper and easier than dealing with Kubrick.
Just to be clear, the above is a joke.
|Lima Hotel Foxtrot||22/07/2019 13:55:05|
386 forum posts
That may have been Harry Harrison. I think ha also said that the government should be selected from a citizen-wide ballot, with fixed terms and time off for good behaviour.
|Doc Marten||22/07/2019 22:34:55|
|567 forum posts|
I wonder how long it will be before those iconic words from Armstrong will be amended from, "One small step for man, one giant step for mankind" to something less male dominated to reflect modern times?
|Trevor Crook||22/07/2019 23:12:05|
|966 forum posts|
Plenty of high-res photos now showing the Apollo landing sites from space. Descent stages and experiments are visible, and also foot and wheel tracks between them. Needless to say, the conspiracy theorists will have an explanation for it all.
|Peter Miller||23/07/2019 08:45:38|
11071 forum posts
The is one very convincing fact that proves that the moon landings were real.
They brought back moon rocks. These were given to many institutes including Russia.
Now can you imagine Russia (Or the USSR in those days) Studying the rocks and not screaming fake?
And, just in case anyone thinks you can't tell where they came from answer me on question.
They keep finding pieces of meteorite in the Antarctic which they can identify as coming from MARS. Don't ask me how but they do.
|Craig Carr||23/07/2019 09:36:26|
708 forum posts
Maybe a sign of the times,... I understand though Neil always maintained he said “one small step for ( a ) man” but the word was clipped/missed. The additional “a” makes the statement more meaningful from the individuals (Neil’s) perspective
Edited By Craig Carr on 23/07/2019 09:39:34
|Gary Manuel||23/07/2019 10:17:51|
2274 forum posts
Yep. It doesn't really make sense without the "a" as otherwise "man" and "mankind" have the same meaning in the context of the full quote.
I think we can forgive him for not pronouncing that one word clearly - he may have been a bit nervous and preoccupied at the time.
Edited By Gary Manuel on 23/07/2019 10:26:19
|2950 forum posts|
Correction..............got my millions and billions mixed up in my post.. The true figures are hundreds of billions of dollars spent on cosmetics - so even more absurd.
The robot v human issue is an interesting one. From a purely political standpoint, the US, i.e. JFK, was looking for an achievement that would totally eclipse any Russian effort and send to everyone a signal that US technology and the society that built it was the most superior (technically and morally) on the planet. Both sides at that time were more than capable of destroying each other using advanced (for the time) automated techniques in rocketry and nuclear weaponry, so simply landing an unmanned craft on the moon was really proving very little, as difficult as that proved to be at that time - and still is...... ask the Israelis!
The Russians had made the US look foolish up to the time of Kennedy's challenge with some quite unbelievable and spectacular missions that we are are now well aware of. A sense of panic was gripping the US mindset and remarkably, both public and political insistence that 'something must be done' was taken very seriously by the government and those holding the purse strings. The fear was not merely losing a 'space race' but if 'The Reds' are so expert in the technology of space flight, what can we soon expect from them in terms of military advances that threaten the continental USA?
I love the snippets of contemporary news footage showing US public reaction to early Russian successes and to compare them with our peoples' reaction. The young lady in a British news item is obviously thrilled at Yuri Gagarin's safe return, yet in the states the position is one of self recrimination, fear and loathing.
On Armstrong's "one small step", I really think that the missing "a" is just a function of his strong Ohio accent where the "a" simply gets melded between "for" and "man" . Sort of "furahman", if you know what I mean.
Listen to it enough times and I think it's there, but the sound is very subtle. On the other hand, I think I'm right in saying that Neil later admitted in an interview that he'd fluffed his words.........so make of that what you will - does it really matter anyway?
Edited By Cuban8 on 23/07/2019 10:32:51
|Wilco Wingco||23/07/2019 10:43:48|
|233 forum posts|
There are many "moon rock" scientists who spend months in the arctic collecting "moon rocks" to study on earth. Also they are found in the more remote parts of Mother Russia?.
|Gary Manuel||23/07/2019 10:47:02|
2274 forum posts
I'm no expect but I have an interest in life, the universe and everything.
The Russians have also collected their own moon rock samples (Luna project) which they have no doubt compared in great detail with the sample given to them by the U.S.
I understand that meteors that have fallen through an atmosphere (Earth's for example) display completely different crystal structures to those that don't (the moon for example) due to the heat generated on entry.
Mars is made from different materials than the Earth or the Moon, which share the same materials as it is thought that the moon and Earth were briefly one structure which were torn apart then eventually settled into the two structures we have now.
|2950 forum posts|
Geologists analysing Apollo samples (Apollo 16, but I might be mistaken) have found evidence of Earth rocks within lunar samples. Obviusly the result of ancient asteroid impact on earth and debris being flung out onto the moon..
Talking about 'chips of of old blocks' This is my daughter squeezing herself either in or out of a mocked up Mercury vehicle at the space park when she went there a few years ago (yet to visit myself, maybe next year) She's about 5'6" and found it very tight for room. Very proud of her as you might expect, she's met many of the Apollo Astronauts and quite a few of the modern intake as well.
|2950 forum posts|
I saw a programme quite a while back (possibly Pete Lawrence on The Sky at Night) that said if you collected old debris from your house guttering, you stood a fair chance of finding microscopic metallic meteor fragments within the muck. Filter as much as possible (good opportunity to reprise the chemistry lessons we had at school) and use a powerful magnet to detect metallic 'space dust'.
Never tried it, but if you have an old house where the gutters haven't been washed through for many years you might be lucky - sounds plausible.
Edited By Cuban8 on 23/07/2019 11:26:34
|Doc Marten||23/07/2019 12:15:53|
|567 forum posts|
I enjoy some of the urban myths that have grown from the space programme, one being that the Americans spent a premier League footballer's weekly wage on developing the biro to work in zero gravity when the Soviets just used a pencil.....not true, using a graphite pencil had far too much risk attached to it.
Edited By Doc Marten on 23/07/2019 12:17:04
|Peter Miller||23/07/2019 12:33:13|
11071 forum posts
Based on that my gutters should be full of bits of every planet and possibly the odd Neanderthal skeleton
|Piers Bowlan||23/07/2019 13:32:46|
2141 forum posts
Might have been easier for your daughter to enter the Mercury capsule had they made the top step lower, Cuban8. Rather like stepping through the companionway on my small boat!
Picking up Colin's earlier point about money wasted on blue streak and the governments inability to recognise the potential revenue from satellite launches. There are countless examples of this of course. Fairy Rotodyne; the Americans were interested in 200 military versions. TSR2; decades ahead of it's time. Barnes Wallace swing wing airliner; Concorde was perceived as less risky. Pretty amazing the Harrier got built after the government pulled the plug on funding and it became a solely privately funded project by Hawker Siddeley. The Harrier would have been supersonic had the (Wilson) government not got cold feet and withdrew support.
This is not just true of the UK of course. Nasa had plans for a reusable first stage winged rocket that could glide back to earth and land like the Shuttle, instead of the huge and expensive throw away Shuttle LOX/Hydrogen fuel tank. Unfortunately NASA insisted it had to be manned which massively increased the cost of the project so The Space Shuttle was developed as an even more expensive alternative!
|Colin Leighfield||23/07/2019 14:13:01|
5996 forum posts
Some fascinating stuff coming out here. Piers’s observations about other projects add further light. Actually though what is not known is that the Harrier wasn’t privately funded by Hawker, it was mostly funded by the USA from the beginning, even when a wholly UK built project. Without that it would have been abandoned. Little realised is that development of the Hunter was also largely US funded under the mutual aid programme I think. The reason that the Swift didn’t get built in large numbers was that the US test pilot given the task of flying development Hunters and Swifts to recommend which was the most likely to be successful and worth funding, flew them at a time when the Swift was in serious trouble with a lack of turning performance at altitude primarily, there were other problems but there were plenty with the Hunter then as well. However the manoeuvrability issue at height was damning in the job the planes were designed for, so the money went to the Hunter. If he had flown the Swift with the all flying tailplane featured on the F4 it could have been different. It was actually better low down than the Hunter and faster, proved by the success of the FR5 as an armed PR plane in Europe. However there were only a hundred or so made primarily from converting un-ordered F4s and as normal service attrition reduced numbers it was replaced by Hunters (PR10?) in 1961, I think. Hawker was never good at spending its own money. The supersonic thin winged Hunter, the P1083, was actually built when the government cancelled it. If Hawker had flown it, quite likely it would have won decent export orders but the accountants won as usual. What is more the Mach 2 P1121 was largely built when that contract was cancelled and it was scrapped. Their failure in the thirties to invest in modern manufacturing lead to the Hurricane being built with their outdated “patented” and very labour intensive riveted tube and wooden former fabric covered system, which built in its obsolescence from day 1, it could have been a far better and less fire-prone fighter than it actually was. Sadly it was all that they could build in quantity and they took a long time to make the Typhoon adequately safe and reliable.
Worth noting that after Blue Streak we did have a less ambitious satellite launcher programme for a while, using the small Black Arrow rocket. However, as soon as it had put a satellite into orbit the government cancelled that as well. It makes you want to weep.
|Peter Christy||23/07/2019 16:38:48|
|1819 forum posts|
I remember chatting to an elderly chap who had been a ground mechanic during the war. The Hurricanes were much more popular with the guys who had to repair them precisely because of the fabric covered open structure.
The way he told it, when Hurricanes came back from a sortie, they'd be waiting with squares of fabric, already doped, ready to slap over stray bullet holes! Only rarely was significant airframe damage encountered.
On the other hand, the Spitfire's metal stressed-skin structure made any bullet hole a much more serious matter, often requiring hours of intensive repair work for something a Hurricane would have shrugged off with a doped patch!
He was certainly an entertaining raconteur.....!
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