[ExI] Stephen Baxter's Titan

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Apr 29 05:12:17 UTC 2010


>...On Behalf Of Emlyn
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_(Stephen_Baxter_novel)
> Has anyone here read this? If you're a space nut and you 
> haven't, then you should, the obsessive detail on the innards 
> of the US space program is really something...

Emlyn, from the wiki discription, it almost sounds like a humorless satire.
I recognized some of the allusions, a disease that attacks only Han Chinese
would be a sly reference to HIV, fundamentalist christian president a poke
at Reagan or Carter for instance.

>... And if you've 
> ever thought an old Saturn V should be refurbished and flown 
> now, it's a book for you :-)...

In some important ways, humanity was more advanced in space travel fifty
years ago than today.  We had the industrial base engaged in building that
kind of stuff, we had the top minds in engineering emplyed in it, we had the
attention and the dreams of the populace.  Almost all of that is gone now.  

What has improved?  Control systems, digital processing equipment,
communications gear has improved vastly.  Metallurgy, some.  Lightweight
structures, a little.  Propulsion, no.  Almost nada in real advances in
propulsion technology since the Saturn V days, and I see little on the
horizon in the foreseeable.

If we had a way to build the Saturn V today it would be a hellll of a leap
forward from where we are.  Even the commies aren't producing their biggies
these days.

> But, it bugs the crap out of me for a lot of reasons, 
> particularly the one-eyed glorification of the old days (the 
> 60s pretty much)... Emlyn

The 60s were good days for the rocket biz.  We must be ready to recognize
that technology isn't always forward in all fields.  Almost all and almost
always, but some technologies do rot on the vine.  Plenty of our reference
material generated in that decade is still in use today.  Pretty soon the US
will have no manned access to LEO, after landing guys on the moon over 4
decades ago.

Emlyn if you get a chance, try to talk one on one with some of the rocket
guys who were in their 20s in about 1960.  There were some things that were
just fundamentally different back then, and better in a lot of ways for the
space biz.



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