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Apollo on tranquilizers

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PDR
957946.  Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:21 am Reply with quote

Oooh - a flounce! Haven't seen one of those for a while.

Gruff - I haven't joined any club, and you will find that I'm more likely to be on the opposite side of a debate with the Doc than not.

I don't choose a "side"; I comment on the specific issues under discussion.

A spacecraft designed to take two mice to the moon and return them safely to earth would still require life-support, navigation, propulsion, communications and self-diagnosis/rectification functions. Of these only the life-support functions would be smaller in scope (less food/water, less oxygen, less waste disposal, smaller cabin and less in-flight entertainment). But most of the space/mass on the craft is consumed by the other functions anyway so the gain would be smaller than you might think.

If we designed a spacecraft to go to the moon today it would indeed be smaller than the one designed in the 60s, mainly because the size and mass of the electronic systems have reduced dramatically and their reliability has increased (requiring lower levels of redundancy). The Constellation programme (america's next space programme) has gone for a two-rocket approach rather than a space-shuttle for reasons that are interesting (but that's another thread) but the actual rockets are of a similar size to previous ones.

But the point is that the gains from reductions in crew size/mass are insignificant in comparison to the technological gains (which amount to several tons for a moon-shot vehicle) and the crew size doesn't influence as much of the vehicle design as you feel it might.

PDR

 

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