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Could a space vehicle help in recent Tsunami catastrophy?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:13 pm
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Could a space vehicle help in recent Tsunami catastrophy? 
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Post Could a space vehicle help in recent Tsunami catastrophy?   Posted on: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:13 pm
When I saw the photos of the recent Tsunami catastrophy in Asia and saw the victims and destructions I later thought if help could be provided earlier if there were a fleet of private suborbital space vehicles fit for point-to-point flights.

Which use and help could such vehicles provide? Should they land on water in that region given these special kind of catastrophy? And which kind of use and help can and should they provide? Transportation of medicine, doctors etc.?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:26 am
Ok Ekkehard, we don't have to try and use rockets for everything.

You're talking about spending $$$$$$$$$$$ on a system for escape from something which an adequate warning system (costing far less) can give ample time for use of normal transports. Or if your talking about rapid delivery of aid then you should know that getting the aid there is fast enough, the bottleneck remains with distribution logistics.

Natural disasters of the scale you are talking about are very rare. Build a warning system, cheap to maintain and provides a platform for the regular gathering of oceanic data suitable for other needs/studies.

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"Sometimes when you're holding a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail."

Edit: FYI from intelipedia I get the following list of disasters and estimates of people killed

830,000 - Shaanxi earthquake (China, 1556)
400,000 - Tangshan earthquake (China, 1976)
200,000 - Xining earthquake (China, 1927)
200,000 - Gansu earthquake (China, 1920)
155,000 - (UN estimate, ongoing) - Indian Ocean earthquake & tsunamis
etc ...

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:45 am
Alright, but look at our german politicians here, our government, the chancellor and the minister of state. They are using the catastrophy to catch the psychics of the voters to hold their majority in Nordrhein-Westfalen and in Schleswig-Holstein.

Why shouldn't private space vehicles prove to be of possible use in or after catastrophies too? And it would be of much more practicle use than the marketing-sided use chancellor Schröder and minister of state Fischer are making of the catastrophy.

I simply posted the question because I can see here in Germany how much perception could be got by showing presence or use in catastrophies.

Perception is got by marketing - Schröder is keeping his majority by them without doing any good policy in Germany but private spacecrafts could get perception by providing practicle help and use.

Why not copy Schröder and Fischer?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:05 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Why not copy Schröder and Fischer?

Ethics. Seek not to profit from the misfortune of others.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:22 am
Private spacecrafts could be owned or chartered by Non-Profit-Organizations like the Red Cross - then it wouldn't be profit-seeking. I could imagine a SSO landing on water-skids near coasts.

Such a SSO could be in the area of catastrophy within a few hours whereas ships and normal airplanes and lorries need much hours, days or weeks.

Would do much more help than Schröder's and Fischer's search for publicity effects for getting advantages for the elections in Schleswig-Holstein and Nordrhein-Westfalen or the Bundestag two years ago in 2002 when they made marketing use of the flood-catastrophy of the Oder. Wouldn't it?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:29 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I could imagine a SSO landing on water-skids near coasts.

I thought some of your other ideas were impractical, but this one beats them all!


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:26 pm
the only reasons I think it would be somewhat impractical are fuel and capacity. The cost of the fuel to make as many point-to-point trips as would be needed in a natural disaster situation would be (pardon the pun) out of this world. And capacity would be a major problem, a vehicle such as SSO is simply not large enough to be of use in that situation. There's not enough room to carry supplies to survivors in large enough quantities to make the trip worthwile...

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:56 pm
And:
SSO can’t fly more than a few hundred kilometers.
Takes a couple of days to prepare for flight.
Needs facilities at Mojave to prepare for flight.
Can’t take off again when it gets there, unless WK goes there too.
Can’t land on water. Even sea planes are limited to VERY calm water, open ocean is almost never calm enough.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:47 pm
Well I was thinking more for future disasters and aid, when carriers like WK might be found in more places than just Mojave, but everything you said is very true.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:25 am
It could be a challenge to develop SSO-derivatives that could provide significant help.

May be this challenge will be accepted only after suborbital space flights have been established for tourism by Branson and others. As far as I remember the use of airplanes for help in catastrophies started years after Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:13 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I could imagine a SSO landing on water-skids near coasts.

Such a SSO could be in the area of catastrophy within a few hours whereas ships and normal airplanes and lorries need much hours, days or weeks.



Might I point out that if you really wanted to solve this particular problem, then provide each country with small fleets of seaplanes, such as the old PanAm China Clippers. They'd be reliable, long-ranged, have a high passenger capacity (although unarguably not nearly high enough), and relatively cheap.

Of course, the seaplanes would only be used to evacuate the people who are for some reason unable to reach higher ground -- otherwise you would need a nearly infinite amount of aircraft (not to mention fuel), and no pilot would be willing to run the risk of terrified, angry mobs destroying his very fragile aircraft (no airplane is really all that robust, especially with a thin sheet aluminum fuselage).

In summary, it ain't gonna work that well. EWS is cheaper and far more effective.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:06 pm
Sea planes are old technology, like zeppelins. Now days they use helicopters. For larger and slightly slower transport they use large cargo planes like C-17 or 747. But air transport is just too expensive and moves too small a weight of goods to be important after the first few weeks of a disaster. In the long run surface transport is the way to go. Thousands of tons moved for practically free compared to the cost of air transport. And all the aid agencies will tell you that the long run is important. Long after the world looses interest, or has it’s interest captured by the next disaster, the need for aid is still great.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:06 pm
They did, the cell-phones become useless after the Tsunami in many places and only
satelite-telephones worked. To improve the grid for satelite-telephonoes could be useful
in cases of natural disasters.
As for sea-planes, Beriev are #1, see www.beriev.com

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