connies4ever
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50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:57 am

As many (most?) of you know, Thursday October 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, officially propelling humankind into the "Space Age" -- although we'd been there for a while unofficially with ICBM development and ever more capable sounding rockets.

I remember as a young tad my Dad waking me in the middle of the night to go outside in my jammies and see Sputnik going overhead (more or less) Winnipeg. As I recall, it was going mostly North-South and seemingly moving at an incredible rate. I later came to the conclusion that what I actually saw was the spent upper stage, but never mind: it made a HUGE impression on a 6 year old. From that day forward I knew I was going to be involved in science one way or the other.

When Yuri Gagarin followed less than four years later, I was enthralled. With Apollo I watched transfixed as humanity went to another planet (arguably). I decided then, as I was about to enter university, that even though Canada didn't really have a manned space program, if I ever got the chance, I would try for it. I got my chance in 1983 and passed through to the 2nd last level in the selection process. Needless to say I was majorly disappointed, although I cannot argue with any of the choices: they were better qualified than me.

Anyone out there on A.net want to chime in on the Golden Anniversary of Sputnik ?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
redflyer
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:12 am

Quoting Connies4ever (Thread starter):
Thursday October 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik



Quoting Connies4ever (Thread starter):
it made a HUGE impression on a 6 year old

Don't forget to update your profile to reflect your true age.  stirthepot 

I wasn't born yet when Sputnik flew...ahem...but, as a fan of the space age, I followed with great interest both sides of the space race. When I was growing up, I remember some of the books I read at the time (books that were originally published in the early 60's) stated that the Russians had captured most of the German rocket engineers at the end of WW2, or at least the important ones. And that was the reason they pulled off so many "firsts". It was only later that we came to know that was not the case and it was probably just the official story line of an embarrassed U.S. government.

I think if anyone reads with any detail the story of the Soviet side of the race to space, you can't help but wonder in amazement at not only how clever they were, but persistent as well. And lucky, too, at times. And the entire early Soviet space program rested on the shoulders of a person who at the time was unknown in the West and even today few know of him: Sergey Korolev. Interesting how when he died suddenly around 1965 or 1966 it coincided with the same time that the Russian space program seemed to go off the tracks allowing the U.S. to beat them to the moon.

Quoting Connies4ever (Thread starter):
I got my chance in 1983 and passed through to the 2nd last level in the selection process. Needless to say I was majorly disappointed

That's quite an accomplishment and much to be proud of.  thumbsup   trophy 
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connies4ever
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:28 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
Don't forget to update your profile to reflect your true age. stirthepot

I'll do that straightaway! I'm actually 56 now. Thanks for the reminder.

As for the Soviets getting the best & the brightest of the Germans, I think the reality
is they got a lot of the mid/lower-level technicians. Don't forget: the Russians (or the
Soviets, if you like) were never dummies. They just never had a system that encouraged
risk-taking to develop new/advanced technology.

Korolev was really something, from what I've read. He had technical smarts and he had the vision thing.
And he always seemed to be able to work the political side of issues as well. Too bad he died too young.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ebj1248650
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:55 am

I'm 57 and remember Sputnik. Newspaper headlines in all of the world's papers, or so it seemed. I too remember stepping outside at night to see if I could see the thing.

Now, does anyone remember the Jupiter C rocket that launched Explorer 1, the first US satellite? And do you remember Project Vanguard, a Navy sponsored program also intended to get a satellite into orbit; conducted around the same time the Explorer project was going on?
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connies4ever
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:55 pm

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 3):
Now, does anyone remember the Jupiter C rocket that launched Explorer 1, the first US satellite? And do you remember Project Vanguard, a Navy sponsored program also intended to get a satellite into orbit; conducted around the same time the Explorer project was going on?

Yes and yes. Actually, von braun's team might have been able to orbit a satellite in 1956 if permitted, but the US government insisted on a 'civilian' program. I also recall when the 1st Vanguard attempt crashed & burned on the pad in Dec 57 it was referred to as 'Flopnik'.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:14 pm

Since I was only born in the Space Shuttle era, I only have pictures from the past. But it is so fascinating how much technical progress there was made in the 50s and 60s. Also, it is rather disappointing that after the Apollo missions were cancelled, there are no more Saturn rockets, and big visions had to be reduced.

However, the ISS is a great achievement, as well, and I hope that the Vision for Space exploration will see a return to the moon in the next 15 years...

BTW, there is a nice tribute on Sputnik on the Nasa web site. A very nice gesture, especially since Nasa usually focuses mostly on their own business.

[Edited 2007-10-01 12:24:34]
 
redflyer
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:27 pm

There's fascinating article on Space.com regarding Sputnik. Provides additional insight into the events leading up to the launch as well as some of the important players.

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/071001_ap_sputnik_secret.html

Quoting Connies4ever (Thread starter):
I later came to the conclusion that what I actually saw was the spent upper stage,

The article confirms that what you and the world saw was the spent upper stage.
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michlis
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:26 am

Quote:
Yes and yes. Actually, von braun's team might have been able to orbit a satellite in 1956 if permitted, but the US government insisted on a 'civilian' program. I also recall when the 1st Vanguard attempt crashed & burned on the pad in Dec 57 it was referred to as 'Flopnik'.

There is a story (basically a rumor) that Eisenhower wanted the Soviets to launch a satellite into orbit first because of unanswered questions about territorial claims to space. At that time, the Soviets claimed as their territory from the ground to space, including outer space above the Soviet Union. This view was not held by the United States. The Soviets set legal precedent when they launched Sputnik and it subsequently orbited above the "territory" of other nations (the Soviets tried to lawyer their way around this by saying Sputnik was actually stationary and it was the Earth that was rotating underneath and not vice vera.) After the Soviets set this legal precedent, the United States was free to exploit it and thus ushered in the Discoverer photo recon missions over the USSR to which the Soviets could make no political objection.

So, for all its political bravado, Sputnik's legal significance was really a "gift" to United States policies then and now.


(Edited for grammar)

[Edited 2007-10-01 18:41:12]

[Edited 2007-10-01 18:42:10]
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:56 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
I wasn't born yet when Sputnik flew...ahem...but, as a fan of the space age, I followed with great interest both sides of the space race. When I was growing up, I remember some of the books I read at the time (books that were originally published in the early 60's) stated that the Russians had captured most of the German rocket engineers at the end of WW2, or at least the important ones. And that was the reason they pulled off so many "firsts". It was only later that we came to know that was not the case and it was probably just the official story line of an embarrassed U.S. government.

Actually the Americans had the top scientists ( Von Braun and his closest co-workers fled towards the Americans), while the Russians actually took most of the equipement and had indeed the middle-class engineers.

Allthough born in the '80's I can actually get really emotional when I see films and pictures of those early days in space. Congratulations Sputnik!
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:47 am

One of the (peacetime) shocks of the 20th Century.
In fact, it lead to all too often a great deal of overestimation of Soviet capabilities, the false 'missile gap' being the most notorious.

The original plan was to launch a larger, proper scientific satellite, why Korolev's 'beg, steal of borrow' efforts could not prevent a delay with that payload, him also convinced that the US was about to beat him, that iconic simple metal ball and transmitter went instead.

No doubt Sputnik greatly focused US efforts, led to the vital formation of NASA, when Gagarin flew though, they still looked unbeatable.
But, his flight leading to the JFK challenge to land on the Moon by 1970, was to expose cracks in the Soviet programme.
(Had Shepard's modest sub orbital flight happened before Gagarin, there would have been no Moon race).

With NASA, the US had a clear organisation to propel the programme, ironically the communist USSR was the opposite, personal and design team rivalries, damaging political interference for spectaculars and a fraction of NASA's Apollo budget, doomed the Russian Moon programme before it even started.
(If you had written a 'what if' novel, before all this happened, most logically you would have the USSR with the single, integrated entity like NASA, the capitalist US with (corporate) in fighting and a more restricted budget).

However, I have to ask, had Von Braun ever succeeded in landing rockets on US soil in WW2, (like the idea of firing V2's from surfaced US boats that was planned-in range of the East Coast), would he have been so accepted after the war in the US.
Though some did object of course as it was.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:28 am

you forget to mention that the Soviets were well on their way to Mars. Once the US landed on the moon, the Soviets shifted their full attention to space-stations (which they absolutely dominated, and still do). At the end of the cold war, they had the experience with long manned missions in space, and the Rocket to get them there (Energya). They would have landed on Mars by now if all those programs weren't canceled with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
 
redflyer
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:29 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
had Von Braun ever succeeded in landing rockets on US soil in WW2, (like the idea of firing V2's from surfaced US boats that was planned-in range of the East Coast), would he have been so accepted after the war in the US.

Probably not.

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
Though some did object of course as it was.

There was a lot of speculation at one time regarding von Braun's culpability in forced labor during the building of his rockets and support facilities in Germany during WW2. Not sure what, if anything, became of it. But regardless of his possible involvement, it cannot erase his tremendous contribution to the U.S. space program.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 10):
They would have landed on Mars by now if all those programs weren't canceled with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I'm not so sure. To have landed men on Mars by now would have meant that the Russians would have had to pursue a landing with the same fervor as the American Apollo project. I have no doubt that the former Soviets were looking to regain their space glory by getting to Mars first, but they were sure taking their sweet time in doing so. Their accomplishments with their space stations were significant, but don't you think those endeavors were tiny steps in relation to the huge effort it would have taken to get to Mars and back by now?
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connies4ever
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:29 am

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 10):
you forget to mention that the Soviets were well on their way to Mars. Once the US landed on the moon, the Soviets shifted their full attention to space-stations (which they absolutely dominated, and still do). At the end of the cold war, they had the experience with long manned missions in space, and the Rocket to get them there (Energya). They would have landed on Mars by now if all those programs weren't canceled with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I think that's a stretch. One thing to bear in mind is that although the Salyut and Mir missions were long -- an achievement in and of itself -- very little real data was gleaned from them. I refer you to "Red Star in Orbit" and "The New race for Space", both by James Oberg.

As RedFlyer points out, to get to Mars requires a real long-term commitment, both financial and human. it requires technologies that do not yet exist in mature form -- closed-cycle environmental systems, nuclear propulsion, to name two. The psychological factors also need to be seriously looked at.

In 1969 I thought Mars would be 20-25 years away. I now hope I live long enough to see it.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:11 pm

maybe you guys were right. But I think the most important factors were having people living in space for a long long time, and a launcher to get the spaceship up. Today we can get a feeble 20 tons in orbit. The Energya was in the 300-600 ton range. Ofcourse there were other obstacles to be taken.

Anyway, I'd like to add one more thing to the discussion. I started reading a very interesting good book this week: Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle by Bart Hendrickx and Bert Vis. In it I read that a bloke named Fridrikh Tsander (born in Latvia in a German family, but eventually a Soviet Citizen due to the change in topography) was already working on rocket powered planes with the idea that when flying to space, a winged capsule would be able to glide back to earth much more efficiently. The started a research institute in the 1930's where young Korolev also joined.

In the years before the war they already built a lot of different rocket engines on their own, and ofcourse, the German research institute at Peenemunde was not matched by anyone, I would like to say that before the war already soviet scientists were looking at the heavens above and developing technologies to get there. They built several rocket powered planes, and ofcourse after the war, al lot of valuable data came in from Germany. Nevertheless, to say that the entire Russian space programme was only made possible by captured Germans and their equipement would not give enough credits to the visionary scientists of the Soviet Union. Uunfortunately a lot of them were killed during the purges of Stalin before the war or put in Siberian labour camps. Korolev was sent there just before the war and almost died. Near the end of the war they figured he might be usefull and was set free to continue his work.
 
Thorny
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:08 pm

Quoting Connies4ever (Reply 4):
I also recall when the 1st Vanguard attempt crashed & burned on the pad in Dec 57 it was referred to as 'Flopnik'.

The Vanguard team was placed in a horrible position. They weren't ready to launch a satellite in 1957, the launch that blew up on the pad on live TV was Vanguard TV-3, the first "all up" (all stages live) test vehicle. The chances of success were poor, but they put a satellite on it in case it did achieve orbit. Imagine the eyes of the free world suddenly on you as "America's response to Sputnik!" when you know damned well that the odds of success were not promising. But they did the best they could anyway, and TV-3 went "Kaputnik" all over the launch pad. Two months later, so did Vanguard TV-3BU, the backup. But Vanguard TV-4 in March 1958 made it to orbit, with Vanguard 1 becoming America's second and the world's fourth artificial satellite.

It is still up there, decades after the early Sputniks and Explorers fell out of orbit and burned up.

Quoting Michlis (Reply 7):
There is a story (basically a rumor) that Eisenhower wanted the Soviets to launch a satellite into orbit first because of unanswered questions about territorial claims to space.

That may have been part of it (sources differ on this point) but it is very clear that Eisenhower massively underestimated the impact the first satellite would have on world politics. Even after Sputnik, with the Soviets enjoying the greatest propoganda victory of the Cold War, he still was reluctant to beef up America's space efforts, and kept his emphasis on Vanguard. Only in the face of mounting international and national debate did he finally give Von Braun the go-ahead to launch a satellite atop a modified Redstone booster. Had he done so from the start, Von Braun could very possibly have launched a satellite in September 1956, over a year before Sputnik 1.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 10):
you forget to mention that the Soviets were well on their way to Mars. Once the US landed on the moon, the Soviets shifted their full attention to space-stations (which they absolutely dominated, and still do).

Uh, no. Not even close. Sure, the Soviets then pointed to flashy proposals for Moon and Mars missions... but so did NASA. NASA, Russia, and China all love to show off fancy proposals for ambitious missions that never had a prayer of being funded. Russia had nothing more ambitious than Mir 2 on its plate at the time the Berlin Wall fell, and even Mir 2 was in funding trouble (shifting back to Proton launch from the planned Buran/Energiya launch). And, of course, to land on Mars you have to first... uh, land on Mars. Something the Soviet Union/Russia has never successfully done. Their two Mars probes of 1988 both failed. They were a long, long way from Mars. Not "well on their way".

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 11):
There was a lot of speculation at one time regarding von Braun's culpability in forced labor during the building of his rockets and support facilities in Germany during WW2. Not sure what, if anything, became of it. But regardless of his possible involvement, it cannot erase his tremendous contribution to the U.S. space program.

Von Braun's biography was titled "I Aim For The Stars". His critics in the Army and NASA added "...But Sometimes I Hit London." He had his share or critics in America after the war, but nothing came of his participation in the Dora attrocities. It is generally accepted that he couldn't have done much, if anything about it anyway.

Quoting Connies4ever (Reply 12):
In 1969 I thought Mars would be 20-25 years away. I now hope I live long enough to see it.

The NASA plans at the height of Apollo called for a Mars landing in 1981.
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:12 pm

While the USSR did indeed get a vast experience in large orbital structures, long duration flight, I also think them ever getting to Mars was most unlikely.
The Politburo were not keen to stump up the cash for the Moon after all.

And long duration low Earth orbit flight is still a different prospect from going to Mars.
In LEO, any emergency, and it's get in the Soyuz and go home.
Not an option en-route to Mars, not even an option with Apollo lunar flights.

A host of new technologies would be needed, no frequent Progress flights for re-supply either unlike in LEO.
You'd need an environmental system a quantum leap from Mir, recycling of everything would have to be taken much further.

Then there was the Soviet record on unmanned probes, all failures, the US has managed just over a 50% success rate to date.
This raises questions about the state of electronic/computer technology in the USSR, we know it lagged badly behind the West.
Yet to successfully land on the Moon, the US had to master new technology in miniaturised electronics to land those Lunar Modules, and this was with a 1.5 second communications lag with mission control, I think the best you'd get at Mars in 8 minutes, in other words, you're on your own.

In 1969/70, NASA's proposed twin nuclear powered Mars ships, to land in 1982, or more likely 1986, would have had many of the same issues.
All for a 9 month journey for just 30 days on Mars.
But that plan was the most robust ever proposed, it was just too expensive, the programme beyond the electoral cycle of those in power who would have to fund, then justify it to taxpayers.

Clearly, Robert Zubriun's 'Mars Direct' proposal from the 1990's, looks a lot better on every count.
It is thought not as easy as claimed, with big questions over many of it's ideas, but it has been the basis of planning such that it is, ever since.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:30 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 14):
Uh, no. Not even close. Sure, the Soviets then pointed to flashy proposals for Moon and Mars missions... but so did NASA. NASA, Russia, and China all love to show off fancy proposals for ambitious missions that never had a prayer of being funded. Russia had nothing more ambitious than Mir 2 on its plate at the time the Berlin Wall fell, and even Mir 2 was in funding trouble (shifting back to Proton launch from the planned Buran/Energiya launch). And, of course, to land on Mars you have to first... uh, land on Mars. Something the Soviet Union/Russia has never successfully done. Their two Mars probes of 1988 both failed. They were a long, long way from Mars. Not "well on their way".

Depends on your perspective. Thing is, we will never know.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 14):
It is generally accepted that he couldn't have done much, if anything about it anyway.

That is the worst possible excuse. Allthough I admire Von Braun as a scientist and engineer, fact remains he was a nazi which has blood on his hands from all those forced labourers. US simply couldn;t afford ethics here, as they were in a space race. No argument will take away what he really did, or was responsible for.

Quoting GDB (Reply 15):
And long duration low Earth orbit flight is still a different prospect from going to Mars.
In LEO, any emergency, and it's get in the Soyuz and go home.

Sure, but as you know, every major space endeauvor is taken in steps. NASA had the vision that rendezvous en docking would be important for a lunar mission. That's why they slowly built up experience with the space programs preceding apollo. Having humans in space for long periods of time (so be it in LEO) was also a necesary step to be made. After you gain experience and assurance that your system works, you can try missions further from earth.

Quoting GDB (Reply 15):
Clearly, Robert Zubriun's 'Mars Direct' proposal from the 1990's, looks a lot better on every count.
It is thought not as easy as claimed, with big questions over many of it's ideas, but it has been the basis of planning such that it is, ever since.

Well, that's the same guy that proposed to nuke the hell out of Mars to start some sort of terraforming. The man does have some good ideas on propulsion though.
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:51 pm

I also see (Von Brauns) 1969/70 'Space Task Group' Mars proposal, as somewhat 'over-engineered', in the same way his initial 'Direct Ascent' ideas for the Moon were, with a stupendous 'Nova' rocket landing 60 tons of hardware on the Moon, return propulsion system and all.
(Imagine trying that on more difficult sites like where Apollo 15 landed).

A stripped down version, might have been more feasible.
So, no Space Shuttle, a series of longer duration Skylab style stations, through the 70's and early 80's, each getting nearer to how a Mars 'Mission Module' would be like.
Saturn V's still produced, including improved versions, some with much more lift capability with added Solid Boosters.
Apollo CSM's also improved, quite possibly enlarged some too.

For a 1985 LEO 'launch'.
Spacecraft being an orbited, modified Saturn 2nd stage, (launched on a boosted Saturn V, with two NERVA nuke engines fitted either side.
Then a 3rd NERVA stage, then a modified SIVB (back up for departure from Mars if 3rd NERVA stage fails), then for braking at Earth orbit, if that fails the modified Apollo CSM with a better heat-shield would re-enter, at 20% greater speed than from the Moon on Apollo.

After these propulsion units, the Mission Module, then a universal docking port for the CSM and the Mars Excursion Module, (this MEM looking rather like a wider Command Module).

In May 1985, the four man crew (not 12 in two ships as the 1969/70 plan), ignite the 2 NERVA's attached to the modded SII stage, after Trans Mars Injection completed, this SII stage with spent NERVA's, detaches but on a long tether, spins the whole stack to simulate 38% gravity, as on Mars.
(This has it's own challenges, but a long trip in zero G, with all the health issues, is not acceptable for a Mars landings).

Three months in, a Venus swing-by, (with hardened entry probes deployed to that planet's surface during the swing by).
This provides a tajectory boost, meaning fewer NERVA's needed for TMI as on the 1969/70 plan
In early Feb 1986, arrival at Mars, the tethered SII/NERVA de-coupled a day or so before Mars orbital insertion.
NERVA no.3 fires to insert into Mars orbit. If this fails, the SIVB could fire up for an abort, swinging around Mars for a direct route home without attaining Mars orbit.
The Von Braun plan had half the crew of each ship, staying in orbit, our plan has all 4 crew land.

But they are not alone, a single NERVA boosted Saturn VB on a faster trajectory, has put an unmanned, modified MEM in the landing zone area some weeks before they arrive.
They have pics of their landing zone before the manned attempt, radio nav. devices, this modded MEM houses additional equipment and stores, including two pressurised surface vehicles, the manned MEM having two open rovers rather like those used on the Moon. But using the latter, with Mars having stronger gravity than the Moon, would limit spacesuited crew to about 4-5 hours EVA, so the pressurised rovers allow much longer traverses.

Each of the MEM's, has an upper stage to reach orbit when leaving, not unlike how the LEM used the lower section as a launch platform, the one on the unmanned MEM, is a back up.
The Manned MEM having accommodation and basic lab facilities.
Use of this 2nd MEM, allows 4 men to stay on Mars for most of the 60 days the expedition will be in Martian orbit, before they have to return to Earth, for a 7 month journey home (zero G not an issue here, they are after all going home).

So, in Feb 1986, the manned MEM touches down very near to the unmanned MEM, with Commander John Young, MEM pilot Bob Crippen, Mission Specialists Tony England (a Apollo group 11 Geologist), and the multi disciplined 'Story Musgrave' who is also, the de-facto 2nd in command, are the first humans on Mars.

After 6 weeks on the surface, using both types of rovers, flying Mars gravity modified small unmanned sensor laden aircraft, drilling deep boreholes, collecting samples, and all the rest, the crew launch the upper stage of the MEM, to RV with the remaining stack in orbit.
Within a couple of days, they are on the way home.
To a splashdown on the blue part of their planet.
 
pelican
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:30 pm

Sputnik was quite an achievement. When I think how much years have gone by I'm amazed that men haven't reached other planets by now. I mean my father was a child when Sputnik flew and he was still younger than I'm now when the last man left the moon.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 8):

Actually the Americans had the top scientists ( Von Braun and his closest co-workers fled towards the Americans), while the Russians actually took most of the equipement and had indeed the middle-class engineers.

That is also not quite true. Both Nations got top scientists. Hellmut Göttrup (designer of the A4's guidance system) for instance preferred to stay in Germany instead of moving to America, so he worked together with Korolev.
The difference is that the Russians used those German scientists only for a short period of time until they could build their own rockets. And don't forget that the Americans reached Dora-Mittelbau (and I think also Peenemünde) before the Russians, hence they got a lot of equipment, too.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 13):
Anyway, I'd like to add one more thing to the discussion. I started reading a very interesting good book this week: Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle by Bart Hendrickx and Bert Vis. In it I read that a bloke named Fridrikh Tsander (born in Latvia in a German family, but eventually a Soviet Citizen due to the change in topography) was already working on rocket powered planes with the idea that when flying to space, a winged capsule would be able to glide back to earth much more efficiently. The started a research institute in the 1930's where young Korolev also joined.

You should take a look at Sänger's Silbervogel: http://www.luft46.com/misc/sanger.html

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 16):
That is the worst possible excuse.

Indeed.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 16):
Allthough I admire Von Braun as a scientist and engineer, fact remains he was a nazi which has blood on his hands from all those forced labourers.

Well, he was probably not a Nazi. He was even kept imprisoned for "undermining of military morale", because he was more interested in manned space vehicles than building weapons. He was an opportunist who didn't care how to achieve his goal - manned space flights.

pelican

[Edited 2007-10-03 15:40:02]
 
OlegShv
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:31 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 15):
Then there was the Soviet record on unmanned probes, all failures, the US has managed just over a 50% success rate to date.

Well, to be fair the Soviet space program had a number of successful unmanned missions. To name a few - multiple landings on the Moon, and two remotely controlled Moonrovers "Lunokhod". Several landings on Venus as well. The ones that went to Mars were not as successful.
 
rwessel
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:00 am

Quoting Pelican (Reply 18):
Well, he was probably not a Nazi.

As a party member (not to mention SS officer), he was by definition. Whether or not he was pressured to join.

He might well have been unenthusiastic about, or even actively opposed* to, Nazi politics and policies, but he still was a party member.


*Clearly not the case.
 
rwessel
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:06 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 14):
That may have been part of it (sources differ on this point) but it is very clear that Eisenhower massively underestimated the impact the first satellite would have on world politics. Even after Sputnik, with the Soviets enjoying the greatest propoganda victory of the Cold War...

Interestingly so did the Soviets at first. The successful launch of Sputnik was page 10 (give or take) news in the Soviet Union until everyone in the world was talking about it and sending the Soviets congratulations and singing their praises. IIRC, it was three or four days after the launch, and initial news reports, that Pravda and Izvestia ran big front page pieces proclaiming the huge accomplishment.
 
NoUFO
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 12:35 pm

And here you can listen to an authentic recording of the Sputnik 1 radio signal: Click me.
I support the right to arm bears
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:18 pm

OlegShv, quite right, but I was referring to Mars probes.
I think the landings on Venus by the USSR, were major achievements.
 
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LTU932
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 7:49 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
I think the landings on Venus by the USSR, were major achievements.

It's pretty interesting that the Americans never tried an unmanned landing on Venus as well, to follow the Venera missions suit. Granted, the outside conditions and the extreme air pressure on Venus aren't very friendly, but was it never done because of the technological difficulties regarding the building of a probe that can withstand at least 3 or 5 hours in an environment with an about 90 times higher pressure than on Earth, or was it just the usual reason (no funding)?
 
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:15 pm

Quoting Rwessel (Reply 20):
As a party member (not to mention SS officer), he was by definition. Whether or not he was pressured to join.

Semantics...

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 22):
Spu

Thanks for the link.

pelican
 
Thorny
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:26 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 24):
It's pretty interesting that the Americans never tried an unmanned landing on Venus as well, to follow the Venera missions suit. Granted, the outside conditions and the extreme air pressure on Venus aren't very friendly, but was it never done because of the technological difficulties regarding the building of a probe that can withstand at least 3 or 5 hours in an environment with an about 90 times higher pressure than on Earth, or was it just the usual reason (no funding)?

Partly, but Venus was also a much lower scientific priority. Venus's hellish environment (extreme heat and pressure) left zero chance of life or of it ever becoming a destination for human exploration. Orbital surveys seemed much more promising, so the U.S. concentrated on flybys, orbiters, and atmosphere samplers (Mariner 10, Pioneer-Venus) and much more emphasis was placed on Mars and the outer planets. After America's initial reconnsaisance of the solar system with the Mariners, Pioneers and Voyagers, it began more in-depth surveys, with Viking, and the long-delayed Galileo and Cassini. Venus did get serious attention, with the four-spacecraft Pioneer Venus mission in 1979 which dropped three probes into Venus's atmosphere, and the Venus Orbital Imaging Radar (VOIR) mission that eventually morphed into Magellan, but there was no scientific concensus for a Venus surface mission. The Russians did that and shared their information (as did America with Pioneer-Venus and Magellan) so there was no urgent need for a Venus landing. This is one area where two conflicting and competitive space programs ended up complementing each other quite well.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:33 pm

Sputnik was a HUGE success for the (then) USSR and their early space program. They certinately had better success than the US did then. Congradulations to Russia and their 50 years of space accomplishments. May you have at least 50 more years.
 
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LTU932
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:41 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 26):
Partly, but Venus was also a much lower scientific priority. Venus's hellish environment (extreme heat and pressure) left zero chance of life or of it ever becoming a destination for human exploration. Orbital surveys seemed much more promising, so the U.S. concentrated on flybys, orbiters, and atmosphere samplers (Mariner 10, Pioneer-Venus) and much more emphasis was placed on Mars and the outer planets. After America's initial reconnsaisance of the solar system with the Mariners, Pioneers and Voyagers, it began more in-depth surveys, with Viking, and the long-delayed Galileo and Cassini. Venus did get serious attention, with the four-spacecraft Pioneer Venus mission in 1979 which dropped three probes into Venus's atmosphere, and the Venus Orbital Imaging Radar (VOIR) mission that eventually morphed into Magellan, but there was no scientific concensus for a Venus surface mission. The Russians did that and shared their information (as did America with Pioneer-Venus and Magellan) so there was no urgent need for a Venus landing. This is one area where two conflicting and competitive space programs ended up complementing each other quite well.

Interesting. So there may be no real big future for a more elaborated surface mission to Venus other than the previous Venera missions the Russians operated then. Too bad, maybe with current technology, which is surely much more modern than the one used on Venera, a new probe could be built that could withstand the pressure of Venus for a longer mission on the surface. Oh well, there's still Venus Express right now.

I keep my hope that one day we'll have the necessary technology that will allow us to viably terraform Venus into a flourishing tropical planet. After all, size wise and surface gravity wise (which is just slightly less than on Earth), Venus could be more suitable for human colonisation than Mars would ever be. After all, a major problem for humans who want to colonise Mars is the surface gravity which is considerably lower than on Earth and or Venus and could cause health problems. But I guess we'll have to wait a few centuries for that to happen.  Silly
 
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:48 am

It's GMT -7 here in PHX so it's still October 4. I'd like to propose a toast to SPUTNIK. Not only did she launch humankind to the Moon and beyond, but she and her progeny launched my love affair of all things aerospace.

To her glory and those who created her...  birthday   candle   champagne   praise   present   trophy 
My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:19 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 17):
After 6 weeks on the surface, using both types of rovers, flying Mars gravity modified small unmanned sensor laden aircraft, drilling deep boreholes, collecting samples, and all the rest, the crew launch the upper stage of the MEM, to RV with the remaining stack in orbit.
Within a couple of days, they are on the way home.
To a splashdown on the blue part of their planet.

I'm afraid the'd have to stay a bit longer to wait for another opportunity to make a Hohmann transfer back. I believe it was 7 months or so.

Quoting Pelican (Reply 18):
You should take a look at Sänger's Silbervogel:

Thanks for the link. I am aware of the craft and actually today I read in the book I mentioned, that Stalin was that impressed by it that he sent an airforce-officer named Grigoriy Tokaty-Tokayev to France to kidnap Dr. Eugene Sänger (we should give credit to his wife Irene Brendt who was a mathematician and co-designed it) in France in 1948. In stead of bringing Dr. Sänger back, Tokayev took the opportunity to defect to the West.

Quoting Pelican (Reply 18):
Well, he was probably not a Nazi.

please read the next quote.

Quoting Rwessel (Reply 20):
As a party member (not to mention SS officer), he was by definition. Whether or not he was pressured to join.

Being a party-member is one thing (not everyone could become a party member), an SS officer is even worse (and even more voluntarily). Werner von Braun is probably the baddest brilliant scientist that lived. And he managed to live his dreams as well,in stead of rotting in jail (as he should).

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 28):
After all, a major problem for humans who want to colonise Mars is the surface gravity which is considerably lower than on Earth and or Venus and could cause health problems.

only if you want to come back to Earth  Smile

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 29):
It's GMT -7 here in PHX so it's still October 4. I'd like to propose a toast to SPUTNIK. Not only did she launch humankind to the Moon and beyond, but she and her progeny launched my love affair of all things aerospace.

Nazdravlje!
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:26 pm

F-27, I based that mission on the Steven Baxter novel, Voyage , an alternate history based on NASA going to Mars, in that time, but after NERVA on an Earth orbit test flight fails fatally some years before, using updated Saturn 5 chemical technology.
The author consulted NASA on times and trajectories, (his extensive research spawned a couple of other novels using Apollo technology, as well as a host of short stories and articles), however his mission took a year to reach Mars. He is also qualified in mathematics and aerospace engineering.
Using NERVA I shaved some time off the trip, but still used the basic profile including an e-route Venus swing by still, but this easier attempt (compared to a 1981/2 mission planned by Von Braun), allowed fewer NERVA stages.
Roughly balancing things out I hope!

But the return trip would have been the same, leaving at the same time as in Baxter's book, I made a mistake though, surface time being 56 days-8 weeks not 6, out of a Mars orbital period of 60 days, possible since 'my' mission got there sooner, but left Earth orbit two months later, so a similar 9 month trip out on the NERVA 1981/2 trip, also taking account the windows on Hohmann class missions last a couple of months either way.
Also a 60 day orbital period around Mars allowed a decent surface stay time.

On the 1981/2 mission, 80 days would have to be spent around Mars but the two separate manned MEM's only allowed a 30 day surface time with a larger surface team-meaning quicker use of consumables.
My use of a precursor unmanned MEM, allowing more consumables, surface equipment,
(In Baxter's book, NASA has to reduce the crew to 3, to enable a 30 day surface stay, on his lower powered, updated J-2 engines from Saturn mission).

But I do think something like a 60 day max would ever have been possible with a Hohmann class mission, Zubrins's proposals were a break from these limits, very sensible too.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:38 am

GDB, the point is only that it takes about 7 months for Mars and Earth to be alligned such to make the trip back again. I will look up the details and post them here later.
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:15 pm

Taking the details from the Novel, which cited NASA personnel in the acknowledgements in the planning of Baxter's mission;
Earth departure 22/3/85, Venus Swingby 8/9/85, arrive Mars 25/3/86, depart Mars 24/4/86 , Earth return 6/11/86.
This in the book, being powered by a modified SII Saturn stage, with 4 J-2S engines, (using external extra fuel tanks for TMI)
Baxter has the Earth Return powered by the modified SII (which he calls MS-II), using the fuel not expended it's use in Mars orbital insertion, with a single J-2S SIVB for braking into high Earth orbit.

'My' mission substitutes MS-II with two 200,000lb Nerva boosters, a similar output per booster to J-2S, but of course the nuclear engine was expected to provide twice the propulsive 'bang' for each lb of thrust 'buck' compared to Apollo era chemical engines.
It uses a 3rd, single NERVA for Mars orbital insertion, with the S-IVB as a back up if it fails, to enable a direct swing around for an immediate abort to Earth, I based this on studies in the 1960's, under the EMPIRE proposals, for Saturn/Apollo Applications derived manned interplanetary trips, but with only swing bys of Mars or Venus.

Baxter chose this period, 1985/6, since it was the best opportunity for a long time, before or since, for Earth-Mars Hohmann style missions.
The Von Braun proposals, better known, for 1981/2 were more demanding in this respect, hence the longer period in Mars orbit required for Earth return, and then using a Venus swingby on the way back.

I was also aware of a comment made by a senior Apollo era Astronaut, doing commentary for a Shuttle Launch in May 1985, 'just think, we could have been going to Mars right now'.

Baxter's novel did not play down that having to resort to chemical, after his NERVA accident in orbit, was a far more limited mission, with a longer outbound trip.
I'm no expert in orbital mechanics at all, but in using NERVA, also the outbound Venus slingshot, would shave time off any mission in this period, so 'my' mission leaves two months later, the faster transit also allowing arrival at Mars a month sooner, hence a 30 day period at Mars going to 60, but I had to have it leaving for Earth at the same time as described in Voyage .


Though just a novel, the book did include diagrams of the mission described within, with Earth and Mars positions at all major mission milestones, it's a Venus boosted chase across the inner Solar System.
I don't think it's unreasonable to speculate that a similar chase, but on a rather more direct trajectory, would have been possible with the much more efficient NERVA, that was of course it's major selling point.
The trajectory really becoming more direct after a Venus gravitational boost, from an already higher energy start (NERVA again).

But it's all fun speculation, for me, very much 'back of the envelope stuff'.
However, If NASA had gone in this direction instead of Shuttle, a 1985/6 Mars attempt would always have been the most likely, for funding, allowing the many new technologies to develop, to allow more time to get long endurance spaceflight experience and that this attempt was just easier to do, compared with earlier ones.

I put the idea in to provide historical context, a 'what if' had Apollo's momentum had carried on for longer.
Clearly that way is not the best method to get to Mars.

As an aside, Baxter describes the sacrifices made for the mission he describes, basically everything goes except for some Mars probes (but not including the expensive Vikings), so in his world, though humans get to Mars by 1986, we don't know anything more about the rest of the planets than we did by 1971, when in his world, the Mars effort is approved and everything else is axed, including the Voyagers, 2 Apollo J missions and the Space Telescope. Not worth it IMHO, and some of the characters in the novel think so too.
An enjoyable book though!
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:06 pm

Sorry for the late answer, but I was rather busy and I didn't have my own books around, so I had to google a bit to find it

I found a website that explains it quite allright

Quote:
What is the minimum stay time on Mars using the Hohmann Transfer trajectories?

c) from "The Astronomical Almanac" 2000 edition, on January 17, 2000, at midnight Universal time, the mean longitudes of Earth and Mars are:

Mars: 0.062454861 rads

Earth : 2.020063275 rads

for convenience, we extrapolate from this data, and using the mean motions of the Earth and Mars calculated above, that on January 1, 2000 at midnight, Universal time, the positions of Earth and Mars are:

Mars: -0.083874161 rads

Earth: 1.744824494 rads

the quantity that we are interested in is the relative positions of the planets:

Earth - Mars = 1.828698665 rads, with Earth leading

We need Mars to be leading by 0.773558256 rads for the launch window to occur, so we need to wait a time, t, defined by

t = [2p - (Jan 1, 2000 relative angular distance) - 0.773558256] / Nrelative

= 456.87 days, using January 1, 2000 as the zero-point of time

Each subsequent launch window occurs one synodic period, or 779.86 days, after the previous window.

now this doesn;t mean your assumption was wrong. As I googled a bit further there also seams to be a short-stay mission profile

Quote:
1) The Short-Stay Mission - often referred to as an opposition-class mission, this mission profile provides Mars stay times of 30 to 90 days with a round trip total time of 400 to 650 days. This mission class requires a large amount of energy to be expended in transit, even after taking advantage of either a Venus swingby (on either the inbound or outbound leg) or a deep space propulsive maneuver in order to limit Mars and Earth entry speeds.

which I found at a NASA website. There are however huge implications with using such a transfer.

Most of the time interplanetery missions are conducted with Hohmann transfers as they require minimum energy and are thus the lightest. That's why I was a bit puzzled at first by your short stay-time, as all other examples I've seen all assumed hohmann transfer.
 
GDB
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:49 pm

I know, it's fascinating stuff to speculate on.
Myself, I could have difficulty seeing NERVA ever being approved, a bad launch day, when one of them made up the 3rd stage of a Saturn, could smear radioactive debris over the Eastern seaboard.
Imagine also the politics after the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979.

In Baxter's book, NERVA is much delayed, with many technical and political problems, finally a manned test launch on a Saturn V in December 1980, leads to a disaster in orbit, this section being one of the most vivid, well done pieces of science fiction writing I've seen, not that I do read a lot of it, I prefer 'near term' SF, that is none of this voyaging to the stars stuff, even so, the use of so much familiar stuff, the Saturns, Apollos, with something that was seriously looked at and had some testing done, the NERVA, makes it all the more chilling.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:13 pm

how much radioactive material is in these NERVA's? Since today's RTGs are completely launch proof (just not fly-by, atmosphere burn proof)
 
connies4ever
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:04 pm

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 36):
how much radioactive material is in these NERVA's? Since today's RTGs are completely launch proof (just not fly-by, atmosphere burn proof)

I don't have the exact number for uranium content in the NERVA / SNCR (Solid Core Nuclear Rocket) but IIRC it would have been in the 10's of kg. I will try to find an accurate value for you.

Some useful information about NERVA here, if you haven't already visited: http://www.lascruces.com/~mrpbar/rocket.html

The gas core version of NERVA looks like it could have reduced Earth - Mars round trips to likely less than a year, entirely doable in terms of human factors. Had it been pursued more vigourously, we might already be there.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: 50th Anniversary Of Sputnik

Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:39 pm

thanks for the link!

10's of kilo's is still something that can be contained in a launch-proof canister. Would increase weight dramatically and ofcourse cost as well.

[Edited 2007-11-04 13:39:48]

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