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Who Here wants to BE an astronaut?

Posted by: Diadem - Wed May 19, 2004 12:53 pm
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Who Here wants to BE an astronaut? 

What do you want to do... see space, or work there?
I wanna be an astronaut! woo! 69%  69%  [ 25 ]
Space tourist... 28%  28%  [ 10 ]
I dont think you will be able to be either one. 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 36

Who Here wants to BE an astronaut? 
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Post Who Here wants to BE an astronaut?   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 12:53 pm
I just think it'd be kinda interesting to see how many people want to just see space, and how many actually hope to (someday :cry: ) become a proffesional astronaut, piloting sub orbital launches... while it may be a little far fetched, you gotta let people dream...

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Post driving spaceships   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 1:42 pm
It's a good dream, Diadem ... I'm hoping to see launching spaceships technically come down to the level and getting in your car and driving over to the convenience store for a six pack of diet soda pop. :D THAT'S when we know the technology is here.

Then, it's on to the next X Prize--the first amateur faster than light drive!

Yes, one can dream.

One SHOULD dream.

And from dreams such as these, eventually come reality.

Onward and ever upward and outward.

Space, I hope, is not the final frontier, but it will do for now.

--Ralph

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Post Re: driving spaceships   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 2:51 pm
author wrote:
It's a good dream, Diadem ... I'm hoping to see launching spaceships technically come down to the level and getting in your car and driving over to the convenience store for a six pack of diet soda pop. :D THAT'S when we know the technology is here.

Then, it's on to the next X Prize--the first amateur faster than light drive!

Yes, one can dream.

One SHOULD dream.

And from dreams such as these, eventually come reality.

Onward and ever upward and outward.

Space, I hope, is not the final frontier, but it will do for now.

--Ralph


Airplanes STILL aren't as simple as getting into the family car and they've been around for a hundred years.


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Post Simplicity of flying   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 3:08 pm
"Airplanes STILL aren't as simple as getting into the family car and they've been around for a hundred years."

Well, they should be, could be, and certainly WILL be ... look at projects like Paul Moller's flying car (http://moller.com).

And, yeah, I saw the POPULAR MECHANICS covers during the 1950s showing we would all have flying cars by now.

I just wanna know, WHERE'S MINE! :P

But my point remains valid... just because a highly trained pilot or astronaut reads a plethora of blinking displays, punches buttons and flips switches constantly, and hands-on flies a piece of metal or carbon composite across the skies or into orbit does not mean they should HAVE to. Let the computer run that big bad puppy. Sit back and enjoy the view. THAT's technology. That's when we ALL will be able to do it.

Getting there is not the end goal, making "getting there" easy; that's technology triumphant. The X Prize is only a small step (albeit a compelling and exciting one) in our journey to the stars.

Fun, ain't it? :)

--Ralph

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Post Re: Simplicity of flying   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 4:06 pm
author wrote:
"Airplanes STILL aren't as simple as getting into the family car and they've been around for a hundred years."

Well, they should be, could be, and certainly WILL be ... look at projects like Paul Moller's flying car (http://moller.com).

And, yeah, I saw the POPULAR MECHANICS covers during the 1950s showing we would all have flying cars by now.

I just wanna know, WHERE'S MINE! :P

But my point remains valid... just because a highly trained pilot or astronaut reads a plethora of blinking displays, punches buttons and flips switches constantly, and hands-on flies a piece of metal or carbon composite across the skies or into orbit does not mean they should HAVE to. Let the computer run that big bad puppy. Sit back and enjoy the view. THAT's technology. That's when we ALL will be able to do it.

Getting there is not the end goal, making "getting there" easy; that's technology triumphant. The X Prize is only a small step (albeit a compelling and exciting one) in our journey to the stars.

Fun, ain't it? :)

--Ralph


No astronaut launching from Kennedy Space Center has ever gotten INTO space as a pilot. Every single astronaut going up from Kennedy has entered space as a PASSENGER.

It says something that the Rutan team decided the best use of computers for SpaceShipOne was in DESIGNING it not flying it.


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Post agreed but 5th orbit, men's wear..   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 4:21 pm
You are correct, RocketGuy... and Rutan has done good, very good in design (and has decades of laudable and creative aircraft design work behind and, we hope, also ahead).

I am simply suggesting that design carry on to more highly automated levels. Let us liken spaceship design to elevators, for example. You step in on the ground floor, press the button for the orbit you wish. Step off onto an L5 or other space habitat for a day of shopping and relaxation.

The X Prize and privatization of space is early days yet.

But, yep, you're right... computers do a lot more than they get credit for. :)

Meanwhile, back to handicapping the current X Prize. If the next X Prize is orbital and the one after that is landing on the moon... perhaps someone could offer a prize similar to horse racing's Preakness, where if Burt takes all three, Scaled gets an even greater prize.

Think that would get the general public's attention? :lol:

--Ralph

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Post Computers   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 5:24 pm
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/modern_flight/mf34.htm

http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/AC/aircraf ... o/info.htm

There are also ways of doing vertical launch and vertical landing without computers.


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 5:54 pm
Heh, now all we need is a competition similar to the X Prize, only for engineers to design the fastest, longest lasting, and most feasible powerplant to transport a ship to another planet. That would be r0x0rz... just because I enjoy reading about all the new experimental engine technologies out today.

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Post Re: Computers   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 6:53 pm
Rocketguy wrote:
There are also ways of doing vertical launch and vertical landing without computers.


Yes, and those were interesting sites. But as one of them says: "Judicious use of the throttle controlled the rate of descent, though it also took considerable pilot skill..." ... Looking at the pics, I believe "considerable" to be an understatement. :lol:

My point is, in the long run, to empower everyone to be their own pilot, which will definitely require computers.

For example. One could, give the time and equipment, climb to the top of the Empire State Building on the outside. It would take a lot of skill and daring (or to be a very large monkey). Or one could, as I did last time I was in New York, stand in line and take the elevator. A great difference in skill, yes, however I prefer the latter--far more comfortable and efficient. That's the difference in levels of technology.

But... back to our regularly scheduled X Prize now in progress.

--Ralph

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Post Re: Computers   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 7:30 pm
author wrote:
Rocketguy wrote:
There are also ways of doing vertical launch and vertical landing without computers.


Yes, and those were interesting sites. But as one of them says: "Judicious use of the throttle controlled the rate of descent, though it also took considerable pilot skill..." ... Looking at the pics, I believe "considerable" to be an understatement. :lol:

My point is, in the long run, to empower everyone to be their own pilot, which will definitely require computers.

For example. One could, give the time and equipment, climb to the top of the Empire State Building on the outside. It would take a lot of skill and daring (or to be a very large monkey). Or one could, as I did last time I was in New York, stand in line and take the elevator. A great difference in skill, yes, however I prefer the latter--far more comfortable and efficient. That's the difference in levels of technology.

But... back to our regularly scheduled X Prize now in progress.

--Ralph


Not everybody WANTS to be empowered. This is why airliners were invented.

And when you look at the number of licensed drivers who should be taking a bus or taxi, maybe not everybody should be empowered.


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Post doesn't matter who pushes the button   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2004 9:01 pm
Ummm... I think we are both making the same point here...

doesn't matter who pushes the button to start the elevator so long as all of us can go up. :D The key is having elevators that are easily accessible, safe, convenient, and that go up... and come back down as well. That's all.

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Post Re: Computers   Posted on: Thu May 20, 2004 1:02 am
Rocketguy wrote:
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/modern_flight/mf34.htm

http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/AC/aircraf ... o/info.htm

There are also ways of doing vertical launch and vertical landing without computers.


Might I note here that the Convair Pogo was insanely hard to fly and would have benefited greatly from flight control computers such as are in the F-117 and B-2.

author is making the argument for fully automated space transport, via either nearly-sentient individual ships or a nearly-sentient centralized traffic-control network (the latter is nearly impossible for space travel, but theoretically works nicely for intra-planetary transit). This is computer with possible manual override. The pilot's either nonexistant or for show only.

Most of the rest of you are thinking more along the lines of current jetliner and fighters: pilot with computer assist.

Two different critters, folks.

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 20, 2004 1:30 am
And, in fact, current airline pilots dont really have too much flying to do, either... so many new tracking systems (including new and improved differential GPS) and all sorts of ILS goodies I have to do more research on, aircraft can literally fly and guide themselves for long stretches... so it kind of becomes a computer with pilot assist :shock:... I'm not gonna have a job to apply for by the time I get my ATP liscence... :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 20, 2004 3:20 am
I have a thought. All major modes of transportation involving the moving of humans from one place to another have had and continue to have a human pilot or engineer at the helm. Someone has got to be able to hit the 'manual overide' button when the computer can't FEEL the vehicle's response but rather simply responds to conditions it detects with it's probes and sensors - which could either be malfunctioning or be wrongly interpreted by centralized systems. One guarantee I offer (and many, many lab hardened researchers have also observed) is that the more you have of 'something', the larger chance you have of something not working properly.
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
Rutan is right on-track for the school of space access enthusiast that got into this arena because they had dreams of piloting a spacecraft. You all know who you are...nearly all of you that post here.


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Post    Posted on: Thu May 20, 2004 9:43 am
Its all about pushing a button... vibrating like a crazy something... hoping the whole thing doesn't explode and THEN having 8G try to push your brain out of your ears.

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