Thursday, May 02, 2013

Orbital Sciences: Antares Launch Nominal.

     You may not have heard of them -- at present, they're the "12 full ounces, that's a lot" brand* to Elon Musk's Co-Cola, but Orbital Sciences put an Antares rocket through its paces a few days ago, carrying a test payload to orbit smooth as silk:
     Elsewhere, they lit the main engine of SpaceShip Two in flight for the the first time recently -- and broke the sound barrier.

     I'm startin' to think this "space" thing might just work out.
* Ask your parents.  No, wait, ask your grandparents. Or a search engine.


Anonymous said...

While I'm impressed by these efforts and wish the best to these companies, this sort of news also depresses me: where's the spaceplane with "US Air Force" or even "NASA" painted on it?

Oh, that's right: we can't afford them any more.

Roberta X said...

That doesn't depress me at all, NASA and USAF being too susceptible to Congressional whim.

On the other hand, take heart (if you must) in the knowledge that the primary client of the cargo lifters is the .gov -- NASA and USAF, in fact. Unlike those two entities, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences can -- and do -- accept private contracts, too.

Dave H said...

* Ask your parents. No, wait, ask your grandparents. Or a search engine.

Better ask the search engine. Your parents probably don't remember. (I remembered the jingle but I couldn't remember the product it went with.)

Back to topic: I'm encouraged to see private space development. NASA's got too many masters and has lost focus. I say let 'em stick to the R&D and leave the haulage to industry. (I'd like to see them continue with manned exploration too but they've become so risk-averse I don't see it happening much.)

Something else I saw recently also gives me hope. NASA is funding research at U. of Washington to develop a fusion rocket motor. What's novel is that it doesn't require a sustained reaction. It's a pulse jet:

I suspect the hard part is going to be making their ignition system work. We already know how to make hydrogen isotopes fuse.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that private enterprise is moving into space (well, until the EPA or OSHA or the DoT shuts them down).

However, not having a national (especially military) space capability beyond stacking something atop an unmanned booster seems not only humiliating, but bloody foolish.

jed said...

I remember the Pepsi Generation ads. To the extent we has soda pop at home, it was mostly Shasta stuff or Dad's root beer, later to be replaced by Mug. Nehi made an occasional appearance.

Not sure whether you already brought it up, Roberta, but another cool thing I saw recently, space-wise, was the rebirth of the Rocketdyne F1 engine.

Stranger said...

If space is to be explored, it will be the private companies doing it. Congress is entirely too squirrelly to stick to any project for long. Even if it does save the human race.

But the jingle brings back memories of the Hamlin Wizard Oil's fifteen minutes, with the next show sponsored by the OKC bottler for "Twelve full ounces, that's a lot. Nickel nickel nickel" Pepsi Cola.

Along with ads for a new Oldsmobile eight for only $810 with a hail proof steel top: clock, radio and heater optional.