DailyDirt: Actually Getting People Into Space...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There are only a handful of vehicles that have launched people into space (or even just provided shelter) for space-faring people. A few more ships and space stations would be nice to see, and there are a few in various stages development (unfunded proposals, ahem). If you're interested in people (not just robots) exploring outer space, here are just a few links on some of the ships that might transport more folks to at least the edge of space. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
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Filed Under: dream chaser, elon musk, jeff bezos, lifting body, manned missions, re-usable rockets, rockets, space, space exploration, spacecraft, suborbital
Companies: blue origin, nasa, sierra nevada, spacex


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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 8 Apr 2016 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    That reminds me of an anecdote I just read in IGNITION! - An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants - by John D. Clark.
    Many of those propellants are more than a tad dangerous, including Chlorine trifluoride, or "CTF"...
    All this sounds fairly academic and innocuous, but when it is translated into the problem of handling the stuff, the results are horrendous. It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water —with which it reacts explosively.
    It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals — steel, copper, aluminum, etc. —because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.
    And even if you don't have a fire, the results can be devastating enough when chlorine trifluoride gets loose, as the General Chemical Co. discovered when they had a big spill. Their salesmen were awfully coy about discussing the matter, and it wasn't until I threatened to buy my RFNA from Du Pont that one of them would come across with the details.
    It happened at their Shreveport, Louisiana, installation, while they were preparing to ship out, for the first time, a one-ton steel cylinder of CTF. The cylinder had been cooled with dry ice to make it easier to load the material into it, and the cold had apparently embrittled the steel. For as they were maneuvering the cylinder onto a dolly, it split and dumped one ton of chlorine trifluoride onto the floor. It chewed its way through twelve inches of concrete and dug a three foot hole in the gravel underneath, filled the place with fumes which corroded everything in sight, and, in general, made one hell of a mess. Civil Defense turned out, and started to evacuate the neighborhood, and to put it mildly, there was quite a brouhaha before things quieted down.
    Miraculously, nobody was killed, but there was one casualty — the man who had been steadying the cylinder when it split. He was found some five hundred feet away, where he had reached Mach 2 and was still picking up speed when he was stopped by a heart attack.

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