APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by APOD Robot » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:06 am

Image Orion Launch

Explanation: Headed for two orbits of planet Earth and a splashdown in the Pacific, Orion blazed into the early morning sky on Friday at 7:05am ET. The spacecraft was launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Its first voyage into space on an uncrewed flight test, the Orion traveled some 3,600 miles from Earth, about 15 times higher than the orbital altitude of the International Space Station. In fact, Orion traveled farther into space than any spacecraft designed for astronauts since the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Orion crew module reached speeds of 20,000 miles per hour and temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere about 4.5 hours after launch.

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Indigo_Sunrise » Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:28 pm

That video is freaking amazing!

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Guest » Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:02 pm

Awesome!!! The video is great too. It did make me wonder if this is an attempt to take the advantage of extra-orbital space adventures/glory away from the Chinese... Perhaps we are headed back to the moon before they can, mostly just to claim that we did? Another space-race starting up. First manned mission to a comet or asteroid to out-do the Apollo missions? I know the 'need' is to get to the space station, but the 'want' is national prestige... Right??? Regardless of the motivations, it is good to see advances in the program. Clear evidence that something bigger is in the works, but they will not tell us (yet). I wish that would change, I would like to know....

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by hoohaw » Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:04 pm

If this is possible, it may be possible, some day, for people to actually go to the Moon! Hard to believe!

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Guest » Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:17 pm

hoohaw wrote:If this is possible, it may be possible, some day, for people to actually go to the Moon! Hard to believe!
Who was Neil Armstrong??? :shock:

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by canopia » Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:40 pm

Great picture; it would not hurt to see metric units in the text.

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:59 pm

canopia wrote:Great picture; it would not hurt to see metric units in the text.
Curiously, NASA always uses miles, nautical miles, feet, and Fahrenheit when monitoring the status of launches. But yes, it would be good to see conversions to conventional units supplied, or the non-standard units simply replaced in APOD captions.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Guest » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:20 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
canopia wrote:Great picture; it would not hurt to see metric units in the text.
Curiously, NASA always uses miles, nautical miles, feet, and Fahrenheit when monitoring the status of launches. But yes, it would be good to see conversions to conventional units supplied, or the non-standard units simply replaced in APOD captions.
Just a quick FYI...

A nautical mile is a unit of measurement used by navigators in shipping and aviation. It is the average length of one minute of one degree along a great circle of the Earth at the surface. One nautical mile corresponds to one minute of latitude. Thus, degrees of latitude are approximately 60 nautical miles apart. By contrast, the distance of nautical miles between degrees of longitude is not constant because lines of longitude become closer together as they converge at the poles. In addition to being used in navigation and aviation, nautical miles are also used polar exploration and international laws and treaties regarding territorial water limits. Also, for reference, there is no metric conversion the for 360 degrees of a circle/sphere. And before someone mentions it, PI would still remain 3.14159265...... because it is a ratio and independent of the unit of measure (the units cancel)

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:27 pm

Guest wrote:A nautical mile is a unit of measurement used by navigators in shipping and aviation. It is the average length of one minute of one degree along a great circle of the Earth at the surface. One nautical mile corresponds to one minute of latitude. Thus, degrees of latitude are approximately 60 nautical miles apart. By contrast, the distance of nautical miles between degrees of longitude is not constant because lines of longitude become closer together as they converge at the poles.
That's true for all units of length- statute miles, meters, whatever.
Also, for reference, there is no metric conversion the for 360 degrees of a circle/sphere.
The standard metric (SI) angle unit is the radian. Radians can be converted to degrees and vice versa.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by orin stepanek » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:25 pm

The launch was shown on the news last night! It was awesome to watch! :D
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:27 pm

Just wondering this; How does the lift capacity (payload limit) of the current Delta IV rocket compare with the old Saturn V of the Apollo program? And is the new rocket designed to have more than two exterior boosters as payloads and target distances increase?

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:19 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:Just wondering this; How does the lift capacity (payload limit) of the current Delta IV rocket compare with the old Saturn V of the Apollo program? And is the new rocket designed to have more than two exterior boosters as payloads and target distances increase?
The version of the Delta IV used for the Orion test has about a quarter of the payload capacity of the Saturn V. It's hard to directly compare thrust values between different rocket designs. Burn time is also important.

The SLS rocket being developed as the next generation human-rated heavy lift launch vehicle has similar payload and thrust specs to the Saturn V. It will use just two external SRBs in all launch configurations, but can have additional upper stages attached.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by JihnD » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:26 pm

The capsule was described as 'empty', but I can't believe there was nothing in there.
Did it have the couches etc for the crew? And did those contain sacks of coal, or were there extra instruments. Surely some one could have done some study in two orbits?

BUT, this was clearly either an automated flight or controlled from the base station, which is rather discounts the achievement of the Gemini astronauts who refused to be "spam in the can". How much autonomy will the new astronauts have?

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by ta152h0 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:31 pm

should build two and send one to Mars, to see if it is actually possible ( and drop in some necessary payloads like a JD tractor ) and measure actual radiation levels.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:44 pm

JihnD wrote:The capsule was described as 'empty', but I can't believe there was nothing in there.
Did it have the couches etc for the crew? And did those contain sacks of coal, or were there extra instruments. Surely some one could have done some study in two orbits?
I think it was actually empty. The design process is very conservative. They don't introduce too many variables at once. This flight was about testing attitude control systems, the staging of things like the escape system, and the re-entry systems. There are years of testing yet before the crew module will be ready for use.
BUT, this was clearly either an automated flight or controlled from the base station, which is rather discounts the achievement of the Gemini astronauts who refused to be "spam in the can". How much autonomy will the new astronauts have?
Presumably, very little. As with most aircraft, pilots are a liability. I expect that in normal operation everything about the launch and landing will be automated.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by ta152h0 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:24 pm

I remember Gus Grissom expressing an opinion on this " automatic " stuff and it wasn't pretty.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:10 pm

ta152h0 wrote:I remember Gus Grissom expressing an opinion on this " automatic " stuff and it wasn't pretty.
Well, he came from the world of old school test pilots. His view wasn't surprising.

But today, our automatic systems are vastly superior to humans the great majority of the time. That is reflected in the degree to which automation is taking over both commercial and military aircraft, as well as spacecraft. Even where people fly them, they're really just providing a bit of direction for what are essentially automatic control systems.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Guest » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:41 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:The standard metric (SI) angle unit is the radian.
Radian describes the plane angle subtended by a circular arc as the length of the arc divided by the radius of the arc. A Radian can be described in the absence of a 360 degree circle whereas PI by definition requires the full circle (circumference)...

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:55 pm

Guest wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:The standard metric (SI) angle unit is the radian.
Radian describes the plane angle subtended by a circular arc as the length of the arc divided by the radius of the arc. A Radian can be described in the absence of a 360 degree circle whereas PI by definition requires the full circle (circumference)...
Your point escapes me. You seemed to be suggesting there was no metric conversion for degrees. That isn't the case.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Nitpicker » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:51 pm

Guest wrote:Just a quick FYI...

A nautical mile is a unit of measurement used by navigators in shipping and aviation. It is the average length of one minute of one degree along a great circle of the Earth at the surface. One nautical mile corresponds to one minute of latitude. Thus, degrees of latitude are approximately 60 nautical miles apart. By contrast, the distance of nautical miles between degrees of longitude is not constant because lines of longitude become closer together as they converge at the poles. In addition to being used in navigation and aviation, nautical miles are also used polar exploration and international laws and treaties regarding territorial water limits. Also, for reference, there is no metric conversion the for 360 degrees of a circle/sphere. And before someone mentions it, PI would still remain 3.14159265...... because it is a ratio and independent of the unit of measure (the units cancel)
The original reason the metre (or meter) was made the length it is, was so that the shortest distance along the Earth's surface, from equator to pole, could be expressed as 10,000,000 m, or 10,000 km. These days, the definition of the metre has been refined, and the nautical mile has been redefined in terms of the metre, so that neither are defined precisely by the Earth, but the circumference of the Earth is still pretty close to 40,000 km, or 21,600 nautical miles, no matter how you measure it.

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by khh » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:27 pm

Guest wrote:
hoohaw wrote:If this is possible, it may be possible, some day, for people to actually go to the Moon! Hard to believe!
Who was Neil Armstrong??? :shock:
He was on first. :mrgreen:

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by queationeer » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:38 pm

I have a question.
Is this the rocket system that will take marsonauts to Mars and bring them back to Earth?
How do engineers expect marsonauts to survive the five month journey to Mars and land them safely on that planet?
Because of the immense material and biological demands of a journey to Mars only a one way (non-return) trip to the red planet may be feasible. The mission may fail to include a return trip to the Earth. This does not mean that the marsonauts would be stuck on Mars..they can always catch a return trip back to Earth with the help of extraterrestrial aliens
Relying on rocket power alone to land human explorers on Mars and return them to Earth may not be possible due to the overwhelming material considerations of rocket propulsion - the issue of carrying fuel for the return trip. An alternative system must be devised.
Why not fly them to Mars
The space vehicle would be designed with wings so that it can be launched from a flying carrier at an altitude of 50 km. The Mars lander would simply fly into space and out into a Mars trajectory using both the lift of wings and rocket propulsion. On arrival to destination the Mars lander would employ wing dynamics to plunge through the Martian atmosphere and navigate for a proper landing site - preferably in the polar region of Mars. The Mars lander would have to be designed with skis so that it lands on ice in the polar region of Mars. After the mission is completed the Mars lander uses rocket aided propulsion to lift above the Martian atmosphere and return to Earth for a landing somewhere in the Arctic circle - the skis.

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:08 am

Chris Peterson wrote:As with most aircraft, pilots are a liability.
The passengers of the fight that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River sure didn't feel that way about Captain Scully and his co-pilot. Another of the many examples of pilots with the "right stuff" was the crew of Apollo 13.

Automated flight is fine when everything is clean and green, but unforeseen accidents happen, and when they do it helps to have smart, highly skilled, adaptable people on hand.

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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by geckzilla » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:17 am

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:As with most aircraft, pilots are a liability.
The passengers of the fight that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River sure didn't feel that way about Captain Scully and his co-pilot.
That was an exceptional and rare circumstance. It doesn't make the argument that sophisticated computers can fly better than human pilots untrue. Not being familiar with the operation of a large aircraft such as the one Sully ditched in the Hudson myself, I wonder how much assistance the computer offered during the effort. It is not as if the computer failed or turned off completely once the bird strike occurred.
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Re: APOD: Orion Launch (2014 Dec 06)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:24 am

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:As with most aircraft, pilots are a liability.
The passengers of the fight that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River sure didn't feel that way about Captain Scully and his co-pilot. Another of the many examples of pilots with the "right stuff" was the crew of Apollo 13.
And that's why there are still pilots on airplanes, although in reality, the number of accidents that would be avoided be eliminating cockpit errors probably exceeds the number avoided by a pilot taking effective emergency action. Computers are better pilots than humans.
Automated flight is fine when everything is clean and green, but unforeseen accidents happen, and when they do it helps to have smart, highly skilled, adaptable people on hand.
Actually, automated systems are generally much better than humans when things go wrong. Human pilots are fine when everything is clean and green.

Anyway, most modern high performance aircraft (and this presumably includes future spacecraft) physically cannot be flown by humans. They are not aerodynamically stable, and must be flown by computer. All the pilots do is basically point them in some desired direction. In the event of an automation failure, they become rocks, and there's nothing the pilot can do about it.
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