Author Topic: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?  (Read 588568 times)

Offline nomuse

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #645 on: January 03, 2013, 01:33:48 PM »
I just have to say I love all the tech details.  This thread has totally been worth it.

And impresses me again of the difference between doing it and doing it well.  The difference between a tinkerer and an engineer.  The basic physics, anyone should be able to do.  But when you get down to stuff like helium disk ruptures...that's rocket science.  That's where engineering lives.

(I'm a tinkerer myself.  Raised around engineers, but that isn't me.)

Offline sts60

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #646 on: January 03, 2013, 01:35:04 PM »
Heiwa, your post earlier today ignored two criticisms completely and merely repeated your error addressed in the other. 

1. In my first post, I pointed out that your fundamental premise – that you will give a million Euros to anyone who can show Apollo could go to the Moon – is fatally flawed, as you do not have a million Euros to give to anyone.  This is absolutely on-topic, not only because as I said, it is your fundamental premise, but also because it is part of the original post in this thread, and because you have repeatedly mentioned it here as a guarantee for the validity of your claims.

No one believes that you have said money to award for your "challenge".  Provide evidence that you do, or retract the claim.

2. Your response to point #2 is wrong, and in fact merely recapitulates your previous error.

My calculations are very simple - kinetic energy B of space craft Before and kinetic energy A of space craft After maneuver. It is a function of the variable Force applied to the space craft during distance travelled time used.

First, you don’t need to tell us that kinetic energy of the spacecraft changes as a result of thrusting.  We already know that.

Second, your calculations are simple.  The problem is they are too simple.  It’s as if you calculated whether a ship could accelerate to a given speed without accounting for the thrust of the propellers.  Your calculation is fundamentally wrong, and you have had this pointed out to you by actual practicing engineers.  Repeating your claim does not make it any less wrong.

The expelled reaction mass is also given, probably the difference in space craft mass Before/After maneuver.

Yet you explicitly disregard the kinetic energy of the reaction mass used:

...The mass of exhaust, type of fuel, etc. have nothing to do with my basic energy calculations that only involves force and distance/displacement.

I will note in passing that the second part of the above is also wrong, as you do not actually use either the force or displacement numbers you mention; you simply take two given speeds and plug them into the kinetic energy equation.

As shown in my presentation they are not consistent at the various complicated maneuvers carried out, e.g. braking while changing direction while losing mass in a 3-D space with the pilots looking backwards doing something - steering (?) the space ship using the available systems.

Wrong.  You make no accounting whatsoever for maneuvering; you are only looking at a toy 1-dimensional kinetic equation, incorrectly comparing different parts of the same system (spacecraft + fuel).

It seems nobody, incl. Willy at NASA, can explain what systems - manual and or automatic - were used to carry out maneuvers when 5-10 tons of fuel were used, etc, etc, and therefore I conclude that the whole trip was a hoax (purpose of the forum).

Wrong – wildly wrong - and as this has been pointed out to you repeatedly, I can only conclude this is willful misrepresentation on your part.  Just for emphasis:

Apollo Operations Handbook, Block II Spacecraft gives detailed descriptions of the systems.

Space Navigation Guidance & Control, Volume 1 (NASA-CR-75543) and Volume 2 (NASA-CR-75798), explicitly discuss the principles of navigation and guidance for such maneuvers.

NASA TN-D-8249, Apollo Experience Report - Guidance and Control Systems discusses the architecture of these systems and lessons learned from their development and use.

NASA TN-D-8227, Apollo Experience Report - Guidance and Control Systems: Primary Guidance, Navigation, and Control System Development discusses their evolution, including their testing and development issues.

Apollo Onboard Navigation Techniques and Apollo Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Hardware Overview are very nice recent (2009) overviews of how the spacecraft were navigated.

Your claim that “no one can explain what systems were used” is explicitly refuted.   Furthermore, as has been repeatedly pointed out to you – including relevant excerpts posted directly – NASA SP-238, Apollo 11 Mission Report, contains the actual maneuver and consumables loading and usage values.  No actual engineer would deliberately neglect to use the as-flown values when investigating system performance. 

The final maneuver - the 6300 km/1080 seconds re-entry starting at 11 200 m/s velocity flying backwards up/down in Earth's atmosphere with a 5.5 ton capsule and then dropping down just in front of president Nixon - is so unlikely that I wonder how Willy could believe it or make it up. So it was a hoax IMO.

Your juvenile obsession with Mr. Low is irrelevant.  The fact is that steerable blunt lifting bodies have been part of standard aerospace practice for about half a century.   The fact that you are ignorant of this, and of how they work, means that your appeal to ridicule only makes you look ridiculous.   Furthermore, your opinion (“IMO”) is irrelevant, as you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

So your clarifications are welcome so we can learn a little.

3. Which brings me to the third point I made earlier, and the other one you completely ignored.  You really do not know what you’re talking about.  That’s not an insult; it’s a fact.  I’ve pointed out a few of the really egregious mistakes you’ve made, which are bad enough.  But ignorance is forgivable if one at least makes an attempt to relieve one’s ignorance.  Yet there is no sign that you have made any attempt to actually learn anything about space flight in general or Apollo in particular.  There is no sign that you have the ability to do so.  There is no sign that you’re willing to actually learn anything from people who really do know about the subjects which you get so consistently wrong.

So, given your track record of blatant, fundamental errors of fact – like not even knowing about the existence of things like ablative heat shields, etc. – and unwillingness and/or inability to perform even rudimentary research to remedy your deficiencies, I have to ask again:

Do  you actually want to learn something?  Or are you simply here to troll?  Because I will do my best to help you if you are willing to admit mistakes and learn something, like a real engineer would.   If you’re just here to goad people by saying dumb things, however, then I have better things to do with my time.

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #647 on: January 03, 2013, 01:48:51 PM »
OK Heiwa, you want to do a simple energy difference calculation? Fine. Forget burning the fuel. Just imagine that the spacecraft dumps all that fuel overboard in a non-propulsive way. Its mass decreases, it's velocity remains unchanged. Its kinetic energy therefore has decreased. Where did that energy go? How did the kinetic energy of the spacecraft change? The answer to that might help you with the answer to your original issue.
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline JayUtah

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #648 on: January 03, 2013, 01:55:27 PM »
Of course, you are light years off topic about the Heiwa €1M Challenges...

Nonsense.  You have claimed to be a qualified and skilled engineer.  You have offered a substantial prize for anyone who can refute your findings, which you characterize as having come from a rigorous engineering background.  Your personal qualifications and expertise are therefore very much part of the question, and they will be investigated by any means possible.

Your choice of screen name and your decision to serve up your conspiracy claims from your "company" web site inexorably connects that company to your claims.  Such claims would seem more credible if they came from an engineering company rather than from an individual.  While it is highly incredible to suppose that a private individual has a million euros he would be willing to offer, it is more credible if readers believe the prize is being offered by a company.

In short, you seem to be using this pretense of a company to inflate your credibility.  So long as you consider this sham company relevant to your claims, we will continue to investigate it as part of your claims.  You may forestall that investigation only by repudiating the connection between your alleged company and your claims being made here.

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Heiwa Co is a European agency for Safety at Sea.

Nonsense.  "Agency" implies an arm of the government.  I see no evidence that your web site describes an actual company, much less any government agency.  It lists no employees or clients.  Its business address is your residence.  It is not licensed or accredited for engineering by the EU.  Your site is hosted by a free web hosting provider with a poor reputation.  And its content consists almost entirely of your personal conspiracy rants, with only vague references to maritime engineering and safety.  While it purports to offer services, you provide no evidence that anyone has patronized those services.

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...is very popular with > 1 450 000 downloads.

Popularity is not the same as legitimacy or correctness.  Since the majority of your site content is conspiracy rants, and since you constantly post those links in debate and insist that people go read them, I doubt the hit-count has anything to do with the legitimacy of your business.  You receive so much traffic because you are a prolific international crackpot, not because you merit the attention on legitimate grounds.  You are the intellectual equivalent of a road accident; people have a hard time looking away.

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It seems we citizens of member states of the European Union can use the EU flag to show that we are committed to European unity. So I have copied/pasted in my web site.

Then you should add a disclaimer to that effect, since it seems the common interpretation of your site is incorrect, misleading, and possibly illegal.  You do not appear to have any connection whatsoever to the EU government, nor any legitimacy as an engineering organization under that jurisdiction.  It would seem that you are attempting to fool people into thinking you are a qualified engineer by inventing a false company or government agency that employs you.

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George 'Willy' Low has described it in his report...

No.  The document in question is NASA SP-238 Apollo 11 Mission Report, prepared by the Mission Evaluation Team of NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.  George Low, in his capacity as the acting administrator of NASA at the time the report was issued, wrote and signed a brief preface to the report.

He did not write the report himself.

You praise Low for an entire paragraph, apparently trying to hype up his value as a technical expert so that your use of a report that you attribute to him will seem more authoritative than the single-source, secondary material it is.  And in the end you accuse him of being an accomplice to the hoax.  So in one breath you heap legitimate praise upon him for your own lazy ends, and then in another breath you announce that you're so much better than he because you discovered his hoax.

But as the report is signed "George M. Low" that is how you should identify him when citing his work.  You have not earned the privilege of calling him "Willy," and your insistence on diminishing him in this fashion reveals your contemptuous bias.

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ref [1] at http://heiwaco.tripod.com/moontravel.htm

This URL warns many of your potential readers that your site will infect their computers with malware.  If you are serious about your web presentation, and demand that people read your drivel as a condition of debating you, then do your readers the courtesy of hosting it at a real site.

The report you use as practically your only source of Apollo technical information is a summary.  It does not contain all information pertinent to Apollo.  It was prepared by the Mission Evaluation Team, which is essentially a clerical task as it applies to this product.  It is not the authoritative source of Apollo material.  You rely exclusively on secondary sources for information that can be more accurately and authoritatively obtained from primary sources.  When you are shown those primary sources, you deny they exist.

Further, it has been repeatedly shown that you are not even competent with this source.  You identify important factors such as mass properties of spacecraft and assert that they are "erroneously" reported elsewhere (which you write off as a NASA lie), but in fact you have simply misread your source(s).  For example, you have been repeatedly corrected on your misreading of the LM fuel loadout, but you refuse to admit that your simple reading error is the source of the discrepancy you want to attribute to NASA lies.  Forget space travel -- you need to work on how to read a book.

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...and it is not convincing. I think it is a hoax.

Your ignorant opinion is irrelevant.  You are unable to prove it is a hoax.  You are so far able to prove only that you do not understand space travel in general and Apollo in particular.  You further prove that you are unwilling to consider evidence that disputes your belief.  In fact, you are unwilling to admit even that such evidence exists, even when it is plainly laid before you.  In the face of such a demonstration you maintain that no such information exists, and that this alleged dearth of information is the source of any flaws someone might find in your claims -- not, in fact, your utter ignorance of the subject.

Hence it is painfully obvious that you have arrived at your belief first, and are simply concocting a fantasy characterization of the available sources to appear to support your belief.  Your answer for the fact that all the professional practitioners unanimous disagree with you (and you with them) is that they are all lazy, incompetent "PhDs" who simply pull the wool over people's eyes.  In other words, you create a fantasy world in which only you are the qualified expert -- a behavior consistent with having created the belief first and then subsequently paying attention only to that which appears to confirm that belief.

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So to clarify matters I offer €1M to do it ... clarify matters.

No.  You have revised the conditions of the prize after it was previously satisfied.

Your first offer was for a million euros to find errors on your page.  We have done that.  Your second offer was a million euros to show that we are "more clever" that you.  You conceded that point when you corrected your web site to accommodate corrections you learned hear.  Now you are deliberately trying to rephrase your egregious and fundamental errors as if they are minor points only, which do not merit the prize.

You are consummately a liar and a fraud.  You have been roundly refuted on the very fundamental basis of your claims (e.g., the proper formulation of an energy-balance equation), and you simply refuse to admit it.

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To start with just explain how the first and only lunar orbit insertion maneuver was done.

First, the question is phrased incorrectly.  "First and only lunar orbit insertion maneuver" is factually incorrect.  LOI-1 and LOI-2 were the two orbital insertion maneuvers that together placed the CSM/LM stack in the proper lunar orbit.  In fact part of your error is quoting the velocity after LOI-2 and assuming it applies to LOI-1.  The SPS accomplished both of those maneuvers as retrograde burns at the appropriate times, and produced the document change in velocity.

Second, the mechanics of Apollo's orbital insertion have been painstakingly laid out to you many times.  To suggest that you haven't received an explanation is nothing short of a deliberate lie.  You reject it because you attempt to validate it with your incorrect homegrown mathematics.  When this fails, you attribute it to NASA lies rather than to your incompetence.

Your inability to understand practically anything of value in space travel is not a valid basis from which to challenge the authenticity of a space mission.  You are simply not as smart as you want people to think.

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I evidently do not believe it.

English is obviously not your first language, so I suggest you accept our advice that you are not using the word "evidently" properly in this context.  You clearly do not believe the published facts about Apollo astrodynamics, but that's because you're grasp of astrodynamics is obviously incorrect.

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I think it is a hoax.  So I offer anybody €1 M to show that I am wrong.

You have been repeatedly shown in what ways you are wrong.  You are very wrong.  For example, you simply refuse to believe that your homemade analysis can possibly be as wrong as it is.  You insinuate that corrections could only be in minor ways, and that your overall approach is sound.

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I cannot understand why people get upset about THAT!

Really?  You can't figure it out?

You arrogantly presume to be an engineer.  You obviously aren't.  You arrogantly insinuate that an agency of the EU government (again, you need to see how properly to use "agency" in English), or, at best, an engineering company backs your claims.  This "company" is obviously just you operating a free web account.  You arrogantly tell the world you have a million euros to give out, but you steadfastly refuse to prove it.  You arrogantly insult an entire industry in which highly-qualified individuals accomplish great things.  You obviously have an axe to grind.  You arrogantly set yourself up as the only judge of whether you've been properly correct, thus creating an obvious conflict of interest.  You obviously desperately want some sort of legitimate credibility.  You dishonestly ignore every single bit of evidence that would apply to your offer.  You obviously have no intention ever of paying it out.  You've been banned at several web forums for your egregiously irrational behavior.  You obviously have no idea how to comport yourself in polite or professional company, and even here you require babysitting.

After all that, you really can't figure out why you provoke such a strong reaction among people with legitimate qualifications and expertise?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline gillianren

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #649 on: January 03, 2013, 02:01:50 PM »
(I'm a tinkerer myself.  Raised around engineers, but that isn't me.)

Personally, I'm not either.  I confess that I've been skipping a lot of the specific discussion of propellants, because my eyes glaze over when I try to read it too carefully.  I don't understand it; I'm not going to understand it.  (As bad as my physics education has been, it is still better than my education in chemistry.  I took physics.)  That's okay; I don't have to understand it.  I know that there are people who do, and I know that they know that the things NASA claims about Apollo stand up to scrutiny.  That's good enough for me.

I have long known that the two places I am best suited to discussion here (aside from use of the English language) are providing the layman's perspective and knowing about the history.  I am here to tell you that it wouldn't take long for even a layman to see exactly how ludicrous some of these claims are.  What's more, as I said before, I can't speak to how well not-Americans know Walter Cronkite.  I do know that Heiwa still hasn't even acknowledged that correction, much less the more technical ones.  How can we expect him to sensibly admit error over propellant when he can't even identify the Most Trusted Man in America?
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #650 on: January 03, 2013, 03:07:28 PM »
I've never been able to find a source that confirms whether or not MON was used...

It was.

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"Stress corrosion from nitrogen tetroxide was a major problem; thus, several solutions were considered, including coating the walls with Teflon, shot peening the wall surfaces, changing the tank material, and changing the propellant nitrogen-tetroxide specification.  The nitrogen-oxide content in the nitrogen tetroxide was increased to inhibit the stress corrosion by the nitrogen tetroxide.  In the Apollo Program, this problem was universal in systems using nitrogen tetroxide." NASA TN D-7143 Apollo Experience Report: Descent Propulsion System, p. 15 (emphasis added)

The reason for using MON that I've heard is to reduce the freezing point.  Pure N2O4 has a freezing point of just -9.3 C, which isn't very good in applications where cold temperatures are expected.

As a point of interest, the LM design documents describe the need to manipulate the optical properties of both the ascent and descent stages for passive thermal control in order to hold the propellant tanks within a very narrow temperature window.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline nomuse

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #651 on: January 03, 2013, 03:17:12 PM »
(I'm a tinkerer myself.  Raised around engineers, but that isn't me.)

Personally, I'm not either.  I confess that I've been skipping a lot of the specific discussion of propellants, because my eyes glaze over when I try to read it too carefully.  I don't understand it; I'm not going to understand it.  (As bad as my physics education has been, it is still better than my education in chemistry.  I took physics.)  That's okay; I don't have to understand it.  I know that there are people who do, and I know that they know that the things NASA claims about Apollo stand up to scrutiny.  That's good enough for me.

I have long known that the two places I am best suited to discussion here (aside from use of the English language) are providing the layman's perspective and knowing about the history.  I am here to tell you that it wouldn't take long for even a layman to see exactly how ludicrous some of these claims are.  What's more, as I said before, I can't speak to how well not-Americans know Walter Cronkite.  I do know that Heiwa still hasn't even acknowledged that correction, much less the more technical ones.  How can we expect him to sensibly admit error over propellant when he can't even identify the Most Trusted Man in America?

Heh.

I read a lot of science bloggers (and I've tried my hand at writing hard SF*.)  I've got enough of a general grounding to be aware that at least half the time that I think I know what they are talking about, I'm fooling myself -- even when the blogger in question is making an effort to include a lay audience.  There are, unfortunately, no hard and fast rules for determining when you don't know enough to know that you don't know enough.  Other than those places where theories and calculations meet the real world.  Hopefully not in the form of collapse or fire of the thing you thought you understood well enough to build or use in a safe manner!

* I think it was Hal Clement who said, "Hard?  It's damned near impossible!"

Offline raven

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #652 on: January 03, 2013, 03:22:00 PM »
It's been a while since it was posted, but thanks for the bit about enthalpy of formation, ka9q.
I understand this on a very basic level, water is an 'ash'; it's made when you burn other things (water and hydrogen), and breaking it apart will always take at least as much energy as it took to make, but this gave a significantly more detailed understanding.
Not an engineer, not even close, hence my analogy based explanations rather than trotting out the maths, but it's clear even I have somewhat more understanding in this regard than Heiwa.

Offline Bob B.

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #653 on: January 03, 2013, 03:40:37 PM »
I've never been able to find a source that confirms whether or not MON was used...

It was.

Thanks.  I assumed that was probably the case but could never find proof of it.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #654 on: January 03, 2013, 03:58:26 PM »
Thanks.  I assumed that was probably the case but could never find proof of it.

True, but your instinct was correct.  What you purchase as "gasoline" is principally gasoline but also a minestrone of additives and other fuels such as ethanol.  Similarly what we refer to as nitrogen tetroxide is principally that, but also various impurities and additives such as other oxides.  The bottom line is that there is hardly ever any reason to use 100-percent pure N2O4 as an oxidizer, for the reasons you and others have mentioned, so unless it says otherwise it's defensible to assume you're dealing with mixed oxides.  Scrupulously one should specify MON-x, but Apollo hadn't had that degree of standardization yet.

The bottom line is that sometimes you have to work in the industry to know these "unwritten" practices and nomenclature.  "Naturally" nitrogen tetroxide refers to the principal oxidizer plus any necessary minority stabilizers and additives.
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Offline Abaddon

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #655 on: January 03, 2013, 04:54:20 PM »
As an engineer, and a businessman, I cannot but conclude that Heiwa is just taking the mick. Nobody in their right mind would put that crap on their professional website. Nobody.

Even if one really believed it, one wouldn't pollute one's professional reputation that way.

ETA: OK before anyone points it out, if one were flat out bonkers, then maybe.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 04:57:55 PM by Abaddon »

Offline Tanalia

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #656 on: January 03, 2013, 05:47:32 PM »
Wow, long thread...

My personal theory is that they dropped a house on his mother.
That is one of the funniest comebacks I have ever read. Is it original with you? I want to give proper credit.
Hmmm... I think that specific phrasing is; it just seemed to fit. Wizard of Oz reference, o' course.
Reminds me of a line from Beetlejuice (more context here):
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Don't mind her. She's still upset, because somebody dropped a house on her sister.

Offline ka9q

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #657 on: January 03, 2013, 05:54:33 PM »
I cannot but conclude that Heiwa is just taking the mick.
As a clueless Yank, I had to look that one up. "taking the mick" == pulling one's leg, i.e., teasing. Or trolling in an Internet context.

Supposedly "mick" is short for the rhyming slang "Mickey Bliss", but the phrase that forms is also unfamiliar to most Americans.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 05:58:42 PM by ka9q »

Offline grmcdorman

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #658 on: January 03, 2013, 06:03:44 PM »
You know, I was thinking about this today. Isn't the whole point to a rocket engine basically throwing (reaction) mass away? It doesn't matter whether it's an AJ10-137 engine or Ivan Ivanovitch chucking rocks, although one will be a wee bit more efficient than the latter. The former just uses the heat-energy of combustion to make the reaction products go really, really fast, and the engine design constrains the direction they go, yes?

I mean, freaking bottle rockets (a.k.a. water rocket).

I would ask Heiwa how he thinks a bottle rocket gets its KE, but I don't think it'd go farther than "from the pressure".

Offline JayUtah

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Re: So, who wants to win 1 million Euro?
« Reply #659 on: January 03, 2013, 06:42:04 PM »
Isn't the whole point to a rocket engine basically throwing (reaction) mass away?

That's exactly correct.  It's a pure application of Newton's third law of motion.

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...or Ivan Ivanovitch chucking rocks...

That's pretty much how the Vostok RCS worked.  ;D

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The former just uses the heat-energy of combustion to make the reaction products go really, really fast...

Yes.  The faster you can throw mass, the better you are.  A good way to get mass to go a certain direction is to establish the mass as a fluid and create a pressure difference in a strong container that expels it through an opening in the container, in one direction.  And a good way to create that pressure difference is to heat it up within that container.  And a good way to heat it up is to combust something in or around it, again in that chamber.  Brilliantly, we create the working fluid as the product of the combustion, such that we achieve optimal thermodynamic efficiency.

We've used other methods, such as the nuclear rocket.  We superheat the working fluid using a nuclear reaction to transfer heat into the fluid.  Any way you can raise the pressure of a confined working fluid, typically by raising its temperature, you have the basis for a putative rocket.  Theoretically a steampunk rocket could be made using a boiler and a suitable nozzle.

There are also electrostatic rockets that create the working mass (not even really a fluid) as ions and then use powerful magnetic fields to accelerate the working mass in a single direction at colossal velocity.  The last Boeing spacecraft chassis I worked on directly allowed this type of engine as one of the options for stationkeeping thrusters.

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...and the engine design constrains the direction they go, yes?

Yes.  For chemical rockets we typically use the de Laval nozzle design, which has proven itself for more than a hundred years to be a successful mechanical apparatus for converting pressure to unidirectional velocity.  However as you note with the bottle rocket, a simple hole works well enough.  Because the fluid expands also to the sides (i.e., it disperses), only the component of the momentum that's parallel to the bottle's axis works for propulsion.

For the electrostatic rockets there is no nozzle.  The working mass has negligible gas behavior, so doesn't need to be constrained against static pressure.  Instead there is simply a pinhole where the ions emerge in a thin stream from the magnet assembly.

Solid rocket motors generally use conical nozzles.  This is because far more of them are needed than for liquid fueled rockets, and they work well enough while being more reliable and keeping costs down.  Conical nozzles are generally cooled by an ablation layer, which is easier to lay up in a conical frame and generally retains its expansion performance consistently as the layer erodes.  They work "well enough," which is to say that they do not perfectly convert pressure to velocity and they allow for a certain degree of plume expansion that reduces overall efficiency, but the performance is good enough in practice.

Probably the most curious mechanical design for an apparatus to convert pressure to velocity is the so-called Aerospike, which allows the plume to ride along the outside of a shaped structure.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams