The purpose of rockets

March 1957, Baikonur Kosmodrone, Engineering offices.

Gene, Wernher and the other engineers are all sitting in the large meeting room for another large meting to figure things out. As everyone sits down, Gene starts the meeting.

Gene: “Okay folks, this meeting is two-fold. Firstly we need to have a long hard look at basically everything since Jeb went to the moon – and secondly we need to evaluate our progress since the Illyrien television companies seem to provide us more news from over there than our Ministry of IT.”

Gene: “Wernher you’re up first, what has been going on with our orbital trainer rockets? The new guys are on the verge of not wanting to sit in a cramped capsule on top of a large, usually controlled, explosion?”

Wernher: “Well, it seems that while they’ve worked for a long time, trying to actually fly them efficiently has turned up a basic instability in the rocket after dropping the boosters. We thought the first time was a fluke, but after the second, we took a long har look at the numbers again.”

Gene: “And how are we solving this?”

Wernher: “We are not.”

Gene: “We’re not?”

Wernher: “No, we’re going to make a new Proton-2a variant instead, making a new, more efficient rocket able to take roughly the same payload to orbit. Until then we’re using our other rockets instead.”

Gene: “The Proton-3 last month didn’t fare much better Wernher.”

Wernher: “No, that was the old issue with our thrust plates coming loose, we’ve simply adopted a new philosophy of not using thrust plates to solve that problem, and the other Proton-series rockets are working perfectly now. The Mercury attempt was a long shot, and hinged on us getting to the correct orbit, which obviously didn’t happen with a loose thrust plate hampering our steering.”

Gene: “Right so all faulty things are fixed for now, how are we doing on the scientific front Bob?”

Bob: “Right, well on pure power, our F-1 engine is still ahead of the Illyriens in lift capacity, and we’re rolling out some new second stage engines, as well as starting to bite into Hydrolox. Solid ones initially, and advanced ones next year. Nuclear is a bit off as one of their politicians seems to like, but we don’t expect to need those before we go beyond Mars, possibly not even beyond Jupiter. Our Mercury attempt should be able to fly by any planet really.”

Gene: “Right, and I know we still have a lot of data to analyse, as well as planning further probe launches to obtain more as launch windows comes up, Venus and Mars at least over the next year and a bit – how about the last two candidates they had?”

Bob: “Well, mining and such is a bit off, but a habitable station able to recycle its supplies is the next step for us as well actually, we’ve been looking at it for a while now, and given our experience from getting to the Moon, and our upcoming extended stays in space to test out habitation over several weeks we’re starting to have some final plans for a first station.”

Jebediah: “Well, we can just put up something, can’t we?”

Bob: “Not entirely, as our work so far has showed, and that leads us into the last area – electronics, or rather power electronics. The fact is that we’re going to need better means of generating power – we’re having to plaster our current solar arrays all over our extended missions to keep power for the entire trip – this is probably something we need to look into sooner rather than later, although Bill says he has a few ideas.”

Gene: “Al-right meeting adjourned people – let’s get back to making functional rockets and guessing which schmuck the Illyriens elect as they next leader.”

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2 thoughts on “The purpose of rockets

  1. Thrust plates coming loose?

    Oh.. you made an attempt at reaching Mercury? Impressive that place is very expensive to get too!

    So Hydrolox engines. I look forward to hearing what you are going to to do with those, and how.

    “Wernher: “Well, it seems that while they’ve worked for a long time, trying to actually fly them efficiently has turned up a basic instability in the rocket after dropping the boosters. We thought the first time was a fluke, but after the second, we took a long har look at the numbers again.””
    Hmm, not really following what is happening here :/

    That would be President Schmuck 🙂

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    • Yeah, the thrust plates started their old “wobbling wildly when steering, causing oscillations and everything in the rockets. They’re realistic, but I’ve decided to just eschew them completely due to that buggy behaviour.

      And the Mercury launch would have worked, if not for that meddling thrustplate that prevented me from getting the perfect orbit (which was needed due to the dV price)…

      Hydrolox will have further news within the year 😉

      As for the Proton-2 it seems that after I detach the boosters, it’s not entirely stable, so I’ve got only a few degrees in the gravity-turn where it is actually stable – aiming for an efficient gravity turn is outside the stable area, and the while thing flips >_<

      Like

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