Author Topic: The Absence of Airlocks  (Read 2729 times)

Offline Count Zero

  • Mars
  • ***
  • Posts: 352
  • Pad 39A July 14,1969
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #135 on: September 10, 2019, 07:00:34 AM »
That reminds me of the infamous and legendary "Moonman" asking questions like, "At what altitude above the Moon's surface does this alleged vacuum begin?" and "What is it about our atmosphere that keeps the vacuum out?"

Bonus quote:  "[In the video,] the top part of the LM took off like a rocket."
"What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before."

Offline jfb

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #136 on: September 10, 2019, 07:57:14 AM »
Hi Atomic Dog

Why go out 10000 miles? Test steering in a vacuum for one.

You can do that 200 miles up.  And, we already know how to do that.  How do you think we sent unmanned probes to every other planet in the solar system?

We haven’t sent people beyond LEO in the last 50 years because there hasn’t been a mandate to do so.  Period.  End of story.  It’s not about the technology, it’s not about capability, it’s not about anything but desire.  We chose to stop going to the moon because it was seen as a waste of money.  Even though NASA has been working on a new booster (SLS) for the last 8 years and spacecraft (Orion) for the last 15, there’s been no actual exploration program tasked specifically with sending people to the Moon or anywhere else.  SLS’ primary purpose is to send federal dollars to the states and districts of powerful Senators and Congressmen, not to actually launch things in orbit.

No, I don’t count Trump’s Artemis program as a serious attempt.  Good on Brindenstine for lighting a fire under NASA’s and Boeing’s asses to get the goddamned SLS flying already, but I don’t trust Congress or the President to follow through.

Meanwhile, SpaceX just tested a new engine and fuel combination on a water tower built out in the open on a beach in south Texas and are building two orbital prototypes for spacecraft that could potentially send people to Mars or beyond.  That may or may not happen, but it’s fun to watch them try.

Offline Glom

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #137 on: September 10, 2019, 08:59:03 AM »
Interesting point about a less wild west regulatory environment today. What about the Saturn V wouldn't have made regulatory compliancy today?

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3171
    • Clavius
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #138 on: September 10, 2019, 09:15:16 AM »
What about the Saturn V wouldn't have made regulatory compliancy today?

I was specifically thinking of captures for the stage separation hardware.  You aren't allowed to fill space will little bits of material from frangible or explosive fasteners.  They have to be built in a way that the pieces are captured and contained.  At one time I had whole list, but that's what I can remember off the top of my head.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3171
    • Clavius
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #139 on: September 10, 2019, 09:32:41 AM »
I don’t trust Congress or the President to follow through.

Nor should you, nor would it matter if this Congress or this President did.  NASA's budget is, as you say, a quagmire of federal boondoggle, and has been for quite a long time.  A clear mission and stable funding for a decade would be a good start.

Publicly held aerospace companies have little incentive to do anything more than incremental improvements to support their ongoing or projected revenue streams.  No public company will be able to convince its shareholders to use their investments to build infrastructure for joyrides at 10,000 nm that have no commercial application.  Space exploration doesn't pay the bills.  This is why we look to privately held companies to forge a bold path, which they can do because they don't have to sell out to various other interests in order to capitalize their efforts, and because they have long-term leadership with plenipotentiary power to set the direction and keep it there.  Regardless of whether people like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos ultimately succeed, they have made space cool again.  This is something the aerospace establishment never deemed necessary.

Quote
That may or may not happen, but it’s fun to watch them try.

And this they can do because the funding to do it is not tied to commercial or government contracts that limit what can be done.  Or worse -- that mandate what should be done.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Zakalwe

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1358
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #140 on: September 10, 2019, 09:46:17 AM »

No, I don’t count Trump’s Artemis program as a serious attempt.  Good on Brindenstine for lighting a fire under NASA’s and Boeing’s asses to get the goddamned SLS flying already, but I don’t trust Congress or the President to follow through.

It'll never fly. At best, it might fly once just to show that it can. Conservative estimates put a single launch at somewhere between $1.5-2.5 billion. Who in their right mind are going to do that when SpaceX (and possibly Blue Origin) will do it at a fraction of the cost, and sooner? Hell, NASA spent more refurbishing one of the test stands that *may yet not be needed* than SpaceX spent developing the Falcon Heavy. ::)

It's also nothing short of a crime that the reusable and beautifully designed RS-25 engines will be tossed into the sea after a single launch. :(
SLS is nothing more than a boondoggle to keep the dollars flowing into Shelby's state. It's pork-barrel politics at it's seediest.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline LunarOrbit

  • Administrator
  • Jupiter
  • *****
  • Posts: 834
    • ApolloHoax.net
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #141 on: September 10, 2019, 09:48:32 AM »
At the risk of offending a fellow Canadian who happens to be the administrator :) , I will tread lightly.

Why start now? You've already violated the conditions I set when I removed the restrictions from your account, so you are on extremely thin ice.

Quote
I think you are incorrect in your analogy. I believe Ford could do a one off 1969 Mustang in a week if they wanted.

You live in fantasy land. You think just because you can imagine something happening one way, that that is how it would actually happen.

Building a new 1969 Mustang from scratch today would be a pretty large undertaking. Not only are their factories not setup to build that car, all of the people who were involved in building it 50 years ago have long since retired or died. Machines aren't just built from blueprints, they are built from the knowledge and experience of the people building them. When those people are gone much of their knowledge goes with them. Anyone trying to recreate the 1969 Mustang today would have to spend a lot of time learning about the car and how it was built.

Likewise, the Apollo rockets and spacecraft etc. are not just blueprints. They are the works of people who are no longer around. Knowledge has been lost, so any attempts to recreate Apollo will involve re-learning how to do things. Can it be done? Sure, but it won't be easy. NASA is also operating under much smaller budgets than they had with Apollo, so that slows things down.

We have Apollo hardware in museums that could be torn down and reverse engineered if we absolutely had to rely on them to regain that knowledge. But NASA won't be recreating 1960s hardware, they will be building something entirely new. So the Apollo blueprints etc. would only have limited value anyway.

Quote
And they could retool a production plant

And what would that cost?

Quote
Toyota just down the road from me did that just last year. They changed the line from a car to a truck.

And I'm sure they just snapped their fingers and it happened in an instant, right? And it didn't even cost them a penny? And none of their employees had to undergo training to learn how to build the new trucks?

But do you know what they didn't do? They didn't take a factory that had been gone for 50 years and start it up again with entirely new people who had never built a car before. That's what returning to the Moon is like... restarting something that hasn't been done for 50 years, with people who weren't even born the last time it was done.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline LunarOrbit

  • Administrator
  • Jupiter
  • *****
  • Posts: 834
    • ApolloHoax.net
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #142 on: September 10, 2019, 09:51:04 AM »

No, I don’t count Trump’s Artemis program as a serious attempt.  Good on Brindenstine for lighting a fire under NASA’s and Boeing’s asses to get the goddamned SLS flying already, but I don’t trust Congress or the President to follow through.

It'll never fly. At best, it might fly once just to show that it can. Conservative estimates put a single launch at somewhere between $1.5-2.5 billion. Who in their right mind are going to do that when SpaceX (and possibly Blue Origin) will do it at a fraction of the cost, and sooner? Hell, NASA spent more refurbishing one of the test stands that *may yet not be needed* than SpaceX spent developing the Falcon Heavy. ::)

I don't want to let the thread go even further off topic, but this is a good discussion to have so let's take it to the General Discussion area.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline mako88sb

  • Mars
  • ***
  • Posts: 275
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #143 on: September 10, 2019, 11:10:56 AM »
Hi Jay and jfb,

Sorry, I should have said 7 years of development (from 1961-1968 Apollo8)

Jfb, I think you can interpret Petitt's comments as you suggest. It still doesn't change the fact (or why) after 50 years they have not used "this technology" on one vehicle, one craft, or one program in which man has left earth's orbit. Even for a quick test joyride.  And you suggest they are doing it now? They have been saying that for years. Kicking the can and changing the goalposts all the time. Trump says we are going to the moon just recently. Then someone "kicked" him and now we are instead going to Mars. That should buy another 20 years of time.

With the retirement of the space shuttle we no longer have the capability to capture satellites and repair them in orbit or in rare instances, return them to Earth. I doubt we will have a reusable shuttle for many decades, if ever. I believe, others will correct me if I'm wrong, that the crew losses from the Challenger & Columbia disasters will make any future shuttle programs require a better system to ensure that the crew has a better survivability prospect then what the previous shuttle design had. I know some sort of separating crew compartment system was contemplated for the shuttle early in the design but dropped due to the extra mass involved. At any rate, if ever they come up with a new reusable shuttle, how much of the old design do you think will be incorporated into a new design? Satellites are an important part of our lives and much easier to deal with compared to manned landings on the moon yet we've lost the ability to repair them in orbit or retrieve them. Wouldn't be much of a stretch for people with similar arguments that you are bring up about the Apollo landings to come to the conclusion that the shuttle missions were all hoaxed. I mean some people already claim that but they all fall into the flat-Earth or "rockets can't work in space" category. 

Offline gillianren

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 1826
    • My Letterboxd journal
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #144 on: September 10, 2019, 11:14:06 AM »
That reminds me of the infamous and legendary "Moonman" asking questions like, "At what altitude above the Moon's surface does this alleged vacuum begin?" and "What is it about our atmosphere that keeps the vacuum out?"

Bonus quote:  "[In the video,] the top part of the LM took off like a rocket."

I quoted Moonman to a friend who hadn't heard of him yet recently, and I could hear his facepalm from here.  He lives diagonally across the US from me.  The friends I had at the time still quote him, and they never even read the thread.  Amazing how often these people think everyone secretly believes them and will rise up in support of their obvious brilliance, but even people not really interested in this sort of thing are laughing at them.  Those same friends refer to "solid solar surface" now and again, too.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates

Offline mako88sb

  • Mars
  • ***
  • Posts: 275
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #145 on: September 10, 2019, 11:41:19 AM »
Hi Everyone,

 As I have pointed out in the past, I believe the visuals, ie photos and films were faked. I am confident in my mind they were faked (and I am pretty certain of who some of the individuals that were involved). But fake photos don't necessarily mean the missions were faked. My stance currently is the photos/films are fake but I am unsure whether the missions actually took place. It is a bit of a stupid stance given if the pictures were faked, odds are the missions were faked too.

Well, I haven't read everything you've posted so this is the first I've seen of your opinion about faked photos and film. I take it you also believe the live TV broadcasts of all the lunar EVA's were faked as well? Is that correct?

Offline jfb

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #146 on: September 10, 2019, 11:42:43 AM »
It doesn't matter if the blueprints are still around or not, because many of the components that the Saturn launch vehicle and the spacecraft were designed around are no longer manufactured (rope core memory is no longer a thing, for example).  Modern electronics are lighter and use less power (although would require more shielding from the odd cosmic ray hit), there are better ways to manufacture the engines using lighter materials, the tanks could be made lighter, etc.  You'd have to extensively modify the design to account for different mass and different power draw, enough so that you might as well start over with a clean sheet (like the SpaceX Starship/Superheavy design). 

And besides, it's not just a matter of rebuilding the vehicles, even if you could. 

The VAB has been gutted and reconfigured twice since Apollo - it's no longer set up to stack the Saturn.  You'd have to gut and reconfigure it again to support the Saturn. 

All the ground infrastructure to support a Saturn launch is gone and would have to be rebuilt.  39A is no longer accessible via the crawlerway.
 The mobile launch platforms for Saturn are gone and would have to be rebuilt.  And it's not going to happen because a) we're already building a new BEO launch vehicle and everything's been reconfigured to support it and b) there's no point in recreating 50-year old technology

The SLS is a mistake, but it's a (somewhat) technologically current mistake.  The SpaceX Falcon rockets are significantly advanced compared to the Saturn booster.  The SpaceX Starship/Superheavy vehicles are going to be amazing if they get built.  The Crew Dragon spacecraft is an incredible leap forward in design.  Nobody's going to waste their time sourcing EOL'd 50-year-old components to build a vehicle that has no launch infrastructure. 

The make the point again, some more - the only reason we (meaning the US, anyway) haven't gone back to the moon is a lack of desire to do so.  We did it to beat the Soviets, and once that was accomplished we stopped caring.  We still have the capability; we just don't have hardware that's ready to go right now

Find a new equine carcass to beat - this one's down to a few bits of hide. 

And wasn't this garbage fire of a thread supposed to be about thermal management in the LM cabin in a vacuum?  How everything would have suddenly frozen solid as soon as they opened the hatch?  Remember that?  How you already know about Stefan-Boltzmann and radiative transfer (which is an absolute crock otherwise you wouldn't have made such a ridiculous claim in the first place)? 


Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3171
    • Clavius
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #147 on: September 10, 2019, 11:59:15 AM »
Building a new 1969 Mustang from scratch today would be a pretty large undertaking.

Yes, but in this case there are still a lot of 1969 Mustangs on the road.  It's not a good example because it's not truly a dead design.  There are still machinists and fabricators who can make new parts, and some of the manufactured components (e.g., oil filters) are still available because there's enough market to have retained manufacturing capacity.  But the question subtly shifted to "Build a 1969 Mustang as a one-off."  It was originally, "Have Ford build you a new 1969 Mustang."  The whole point was that they would have to do it as a one-off -- at great and uncommon expense and effort.  The only reason to do it would be to have a nostalgic car, whatever the cost.  That's not the same proposition as, "Give me a colon-rumbling muscle car."  Jr Knowing is equivocating around, "They had 'the technology' back then, so why not now."  This is why he refuses to specify "the technology."

Quote
Not only are their factories not setup to build that car, all of the people who were involved in building it 50 years ago have long since retired or died. Machines aren't just built from blueprints, they are built from the knowledge and experience of the people building them. When those people are gone much of their knowledge goes with them.

This is supremely important in aerospace.  Paradoxically, some parts of the LM had to be hand-build and hand-assembled, and other parts could not be hand-built.  Grumman's proprietary method of chemical milling was used to produce the parts of the pressure vessel with their integrated stringers.  That's not a hand process.  You need all the infrastructure.  It's not something you buy at the hardware store.  It's stuff that Grumman literally invented, and ever only existed in their plants.  And you had to have the people who operated it.  It's not something you can read in a manual or learn at the community college because, again, Grumman literally invented it and the only people who ever knew how to make it work were the people at Grumman.  One of my customers has a need to wrap large containers with Kevlar fibers.  The machine that does this is literally the only machine in the world that can do it.  They invented it, designed it, and built it.  And the guy who designed it is the guy who operates it.  While he has trained others, he is still the guy who has to be called in to diagnose and fix the problems with it.  Getting back to Grumman, the chem-milling process they developed was superseded first by improvements in five-axis machining, and later by additive manufacturing.  "They had the technology back then" doesn't mean they still have it, need it, or use it today.  And the harsh realities of aerospace manufacturing mean that you don't waste the space keeping around obsolete tools for obsolete processes.  The LM pressure vessel panels were designed knowing they'd be manufactured using that process.  For at least some of those panels, additive machine could reproduce the shape, but not necessarily all the structural properties that were needed.  That is, you can't assume a metal part built up additively will have the same structural strength as the equivalent shape created by subtractive methods.  This is, in fact, why we machine parts for aerospace that would be created by shaping or forging processes in other industries where weight is less a premium.

Frank Pullo tells of problems in the ascent-stage fit-up.  They had plywood fixtures and so forth that would keep the components aligned, but none of those setups would fit into Grumman's automatic welding and drilling machines.  This was especially a problem around the struts for the propellant tanks, which interfered with the fit of the pressure-vessel panels to the structural framing.  By the time you got everything aligned properly, there was no way to get the automatic fastening machines in there.  So the assembly line workers just did it by hand, because they were that good.  There were, at the time, people who could drill a hole with a hand drill to a tolerance of just a few mils from where it needed to be.  That's not to say such skill doesn't exist today.  But it's to say that the design of the machine depended very much on the idiosyncratic capabilities of who was going to make it.

Quote
Likewise, the Apollo rockets and spacecraft etc. are not just blueprints. They are the works of people who are no longer around. Knowledge has been lost, so any attempts to recreate Apollo will involve re-learning how to do things.

Yes.  Conspiracy theorists, none of whom has been within ten miles of an actual aerospace project, seem to think they can simply remove the human element from the design and manufacturing process.  This is not how aerospace works.  It's not how it has ever worked.  There is no set of documents that would ever fully capture the expertise of building something.

Quote
Can it be done? Sure, but it won't be easy.

Or cheap, or ultimately effective.  Yes, some clever engineering firm could figure out how to manufacture, via some new process, the panels that Grumman chem-milled.  Or some other clever firm could spend years re-inventing Grumman's chem-milling processes, possibly with the help of ex-Grummans who haven't passed on.  But it would not be a shortcut to success today.  And that's the claim.  It should be easier now, they say, because we did all the hard work decades ago.   They don't understand the whole process of high-stakes engineering and manufacture.

Quote
We have Apollo hardware in museums that could be torn down and reverse engineered if we absolutely had to rely on them to regain that knowledge.

I think Adam Savage and his colleagues just rebuilt the CM door.  I got to play with a Block II CM door last month, in California.  I've always appreciated some of the ingenious elements of that mechanism.  The Orion capsule hatch works according to the same basic mechanical principles, but has additional constraints for usability and safety that weren't required for Apollo.  So while the Apollo side hatch informs the design, it doesn't provide the design.  The adaptation is still a new design.

Similarly I watched people consulting the Apollo LES design documents to inform the design of Orion LES.  The "blueprints" (nitpick: Apollo drawings were reproduced using the diazo process) were life-size drawings of the assemblies, tacked up on the walls of the bullpen.  They extended floor to ceiling and were several meters long.  This is not the sort of thing you can Google for.  But it exists, and it can be consulted.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3171
    • Clavius
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #148 on: September 10, 2019, 12:05:11 PM »
And wasn't this garbage fire of a thread supposed to be about thermal management in the LM cabin in a vacuum?  How everything would have suddenly frozen solid as soon as they opened the hatch?  Remember that?

That clearly went to the same topic graveyard as LM maneuverability.  His bluff was called.  So now he wants desperately to pretend that topic never existed.  It's a show, an act.  When he doesn't get applause for his clearly superior intellect and out-of-the-box thinking, he quickly sends out another act.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3171
    • Clavius
Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #149 on: September 10, 2019, 12:37:25 PM »
You'd have to extensively modify the design to account for different mass and different power draw, enough so that you might as well start over with a clean sheet (like the SpaceX Starship/Superheavy design).

The bottom line being, as we've belabored, that the existence of highly specialized designs to do a thing 50 years ago does not provide a shortcut to doing them same thing now or in the future.  Vague, handwaving references to "the technology" simply ignore how aerospace (or any specialized field of engineering and manufacturing) works.

Cars and consumer electronics are poor examples because these days their production and assembly lines are designed to be easily reconfigurable.  Agile manufacturing requires it, and that's part of being competitive these days.  The electronics production line at my brother's work can literally repurpose the line in 15 minutes to start producing a product.  Keep in mind that the line is composed of general-purpose machines that have dies, parts bins, and software loads that have been prepared ahead of time.  That takes weeks or months.  But "retooling" in some production contexts is much easier than it is in aerospace.  In aerospace there just isn't enough commonality between product designs to make this sort of production process practicable.  And that's just for building, say, different airframes that superficially resemble each other.  The 737-MAX assembly line can't be instantly, cheaply, or easily converted to make the 747.  It's all specialized tooling that's part of an overall high-level system design for the manufacturing process.

When you get to entirely unique designs like manned spacecraft, there's no commonality between them, or between any example of one and any other sort of product.  There's no toehold for general-purpose methods or machinery that can be gently rearranged in six months from having previously done other things.

Quote
All the ground infrastructure to support a Saturn launch is gone and would have to be rebuilt.

And a lot of that would not be up to code today, if we simply followed the original designs.  Even more of it wouldn't be considered "best practice."  The specific Apollo designs are not really a shortcut to accomplishing equivalent tasks today.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams