[extropy-chat] Re: SPACE: where are we?

Spike spike66 at comcast.net
Sun Feb 8 04:23:56 UTC 2004

> --- Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > ... I've always wondered why
> > there are not freely available government specs on "How to build an
> > orbital rocket" or "How to build a space capsule"...

The government version of that would not be particularly
useful I fear, because NASA does everything super-high-tech.
I've been sizing a system for compact payloads.  The shuttle
has that enormous 20 meter by 4 meter payload bay, but what
if we went low tech, tried to hoist 1000 kg in a payload
envelope 2 meters on a side?  I have convinced myself that
the task could be done with a 2 1/2 stage system using
pressure fed kerosine and LOX in both rocket stages.

If we don't need to recover the second stage, my calcs
show it could work.  It's a little more difficult if
we try to recover everything.  Another compromise
design recovers the second stage motor and control system
but throws away the second stage tanks, which shouldn't 
be all that expensive.

My notion is that pressure vessels can be assembled
on-orbit with a stack of hexagonal and pentagonal
plates, forming a soccer ball, with each plate being
about 2 meters across.  One could even use these plates
to make long tubes which connect spherical shells and
so on.  The notion is to make the payloads compact
so you don't waste all that weight on structure to
haul big stuff to orbit.


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