back to article NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

If you have a hankering to watch eight minutes of billowing clouds of rocket exhaust, NASA's posted the video of the latest test of its RS-25 engine. The RS-25 is, as NASA-watchers know, the power-plant the agency is developing to shove its planned Space Launch System skywards. Yesterday's test was the third time NASA's run …

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

      All this talk of modern engine controllers make me think that if someone were to build an updated N1 it would probably work a lot better than the original (ie not blow up).

    2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

      Re: Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

      One model of Raspberry Pi got "space rated" (specifically for use on the ISS). I don't recall, off hand, which model, but it was either the B+ or the Pi2B. The former, I think, as it wasn't the current model when launched and the Pi3B hadn't come out yet.

  1. Zmodem

    easier to make a EM drive, 1600 KW, and you can have a 900 ton shuttle just take off and flying into space from the ground, taking a 300 ton payload

    behind EU space mining laws, and uk's space plane port, there is 7 years of MoD's missing money and black projects caught on camera all over europe

    here are the basic's https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2017/07/15/supersonic_shock_waves/#c_3243987

    1. Solarflare

      I'm sorry, what?

      1. Zmodem

        here are the basic's https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2017/07/15/supersonic_shock_waves/#c_3243987

        to work out your lbs of thrust, you press your thruster up to some kitchen scales if you make a dodgy scale model, or a big hydraulic press like for weighing trucks, and only do a single pulse

        you will easily be able to lift a whole pack of A4 paper with 200 watts

        1. Zmodem

          everyone can stick to their rubbish rockets, imposible drives, and ion drives

          multiply BAE System railgun spec's by 1000, and you will have 100 tons shooting off with zero acceleration at 256 million MPH if your up in space, from a single pulse of compressed retracting magnets as you do not need a rail

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            WTF?

            "shooting off with zero acceleration"

            To repeat another posters comment, errrr what?

            1. Zmodem

              when flying around and up into space, your magnets would be set to something like https://youtu.be/W2IKoxt16Ro?t=16s

              when you are in space, you compress them, to get alot more force while still using the same amount of electric like https://youtu.be/W2IKoxt16Ro?t=27s ,

              2 fixed magnets inside of a tube acting as a thruster, one of the fixed magnet's will be what pushes your craft along and creates thrust if you get the timings, distance and force/gauss correct

              after you have spent a billion or so rewriting all the math for thrust, and able to calculate all the velocities in space with all the physics and terminal velocities, and know the forces it takes to turn and accelerate within a given gravity, you have zero acceleration, just like an electric car has maximum torque all the time

              1. Zmodem

                the average amount of power you would probably need is 8000kW, as that is what the french TGV and germany's maglev train uses on average to reach 400mph

                8000kW would probably be the best place to start with a full prototype

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                WTF?

                "2 fixed magnets inside of a tube acting as a thruster, one of the fixed magnet's will be what pushes your craft along and creates thrust if you get the timings, distance and force/gauss correct"

                Oooookaaaayyy!. And if I stand on a sail boat, becalmed, I can make it move by turning on an electric fan and point it at the sails, yes?

        2. kmac499

          BIg problem with the all electric EM drive is the length of the flex, I just checked Maplin and most of their extension cables max out at about 20m.

          I'll put my money on a Skylon.

          1. Zmodem

            if you have government backing, the most you need is a 0.5MW nuclear reactor for a 900 ton shuttle full of 3d star map navigation, topologal radar navigation system and a full science lab with catscans etc in, if you not carrying a satellite etc

            you could easily generate 500,000KW from normal fuel, you just would'nt be able to go beyond the moon

            the average cargo ship on the sea's needs a constant 50->75MW

            1. Zmodem

              if a nuclear submarine in todays world cost £1bn, a new shuttle would be around £3.5bn, so for the cost of building another useless international space station, you could have 30 or more shuttles flying around the whole solar system doing real science, and destroying NEO's and fighting aliens with railguns and MoD's dragon fire microwave laser cannons

              1. davetalis
                Mushroom

                I laugh at you from my 8-million tonne Super Orion nuclear pulse detonation cruiser station built with 1958 technology :-)

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

            If only a few more companies would.

            1. Zmodem

              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

              skylon is all good as long as the SABRE engines fail in 2020, BAE Systems has some loose change hanging around, the british government handed over £120m, NASA and US Airforce joined the party

              the public design of skylon is a joke, the real skylon with EM Drive should be more like http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/aircraft/Lockheed-F19/IMAGES/Lockheed-F-19-Stealth-Fighter-Title.jpg

              so you can have nano tube force fields in toughened graphite hull you can fix with polymer from a tube, for small space debris not picked up on the topological radar system that is generating real time debris in the 3d star map navigation system

              a easy engine would be frontier elite dangerous, its all "1:1", if you put your vector math in from control gyroscopes, and able to keep adding your scanned planets into the database until you need DNA data storage

              submarine radars can easily pick up a gold fish 100 miles aways,

              the design would also need to be curved for solar storms to pass by smoothly, flying along in a brick will kill you through radiation and debris having nowhere to go, and then fold down the rear fins when in space

              1. Zmodem

                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                im going to get a job at reaction engines, i have NVQ level 2 in cleaning and a fork lift licence and years of experience with industrial cleaning

                https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/vacancy/cleaner/

                why work hard and get paid less, if you have to work, do the easy stuff with alot of money

                1. Zmodem

                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                  why a cleaning job get the thumbs down, its a easy £600 a month tax free if you live in the area or a comment moderator, your never allowed to touch nothing in machine shops or main offices except the floor

                  you can move on to cleaning aeroplanes at your local airport at night £15ph, then power stations for £25ph

                  1. Solarflare

                    Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                    I'm wondering whether you:

                    - have hit your head

                    - are trying to parody something

                    - are a confused bot

                    1. Zmodem

                      Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                      im perfectly fine, depending on the compound, toughened graphite can be upto 10x stronger then the carbon which holds a forumal 1 cockpit together during a 36G head on crash

                      if you have toughened graphite, which would probably be a classified compound on a shuttle, then aerogel, and then carbon, you will have a light weight super strong hull which would survive space which the US air force x-37b hull is probably made of. then if you spray with a silicon spray, your hull will then be tough like a diamond, and is generally the ultimate glue on a building site, so you will have to bring out blow tourches and drills to break through the stuff, which is also used to hold roofs together during a storm

                      if elite dangerous engine is 1:1 scale, it should be easy enough to make a scale model of you craft, and add your EM drive power and gyroscope vectors into it, so you know your position in the solar system beyond mars because the sun will just be a dot and you will easily be lost without a 3d star map

                      making a true 1:1 star map is all part of the real science you can do while having a shuttle that has some speed, and if a next gen shuttle was 900 tons, that would make it roughly 4.5x bigger then NASA old shuttle, and with no fuel in the wings, comes more food for the outter reaches

                      1. Zmodem

                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                        if you shoot off at 256 million MPH, it would take 16 hours to reach the edge of the solar system going half the speed of light, but even a months journey would still be better then the 30 years it took voyager to get there

                        if you went faster then 256 million MPH, you would outrun your radar navigation system and would'nt have any space debris being mapped

                        1. Zmodem

                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                          electro magnets can go upto 1MW, compressing those would give you more gauss then the gravity of a neutron star, there is no gravity in space that could make a simple retracting magnet truster become useless, cancelling out your thrusters magnetic fields

                          to hover, you just have to carry on with the jump jet hover and landing, which would also apply to re-entry of atmosphere's

                      2. cray74

                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                        if you have toughened graphite, which would probably be a classified compound on a shuttle, then aerogel, and then carbon, you will have a light weight super strong hull which would survive

                        .

                        Though I've worked with a range of graphite composites (carbon-carbon to carbon-reinforced bismaleimide) in my career, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. "Toughened graphite" isn't a standard material product, and any "toughening" of graphite is relative - graphite is always a soft, brittle material, even when its tensile strength heads for 1 million psi / 6,900 megapascals. I used to chop and prepare ultra-high strength, woven graphite sheets with common steel scissors. I never had to sharpen the scissors once, there was no wear of the steel from such brittle, soft materials. (I did learn to wear a filter mask after I began coughing and sneezing black snot while chopping the graphite, but that's a different matter.)

                        .

                        space which the US air force x-37b hull is probably made of.

                        .

                        The X-37B's outer skin uses conventional, shuttle-type heat shielding. The nose cap is a carbon-carbon composite with silicon carbide oxidation barriers, like the shuttle's leading edge. The belly is lightweight, fiber-reinforced silicaceous material, a modest improvement on the shuttle's tiles. The underlying frame is mostly polymer composite (where it's not aluminum) like high temperature bismaleimide-carbon composites. (I'm not sure of the exact choice of resin, but BMI functions up to 250C, better than conventional aerospace aluminum alloys, and is a good example for this discussion until I can confirm it.) So, the X-37B's framework is in the family of composites with the 787 and F-35 aircraft, not "toughened graphite and aerogel."

                        .

                        Given the X-37B's relatively restricted budget, you're not going to see a lot of exotic material choices - truly new material systems really take upward of 10 to 20 years to go from the lab to operational hardware.

                        .

                        then if you spray with a silicon spray, your hull will then be tough like a diamond,

                        .

                        1) Diamonds are not very tough; their KIC (K-one-cee, I need to learn HTML subscript codes) fracture toughness is low compared to metals and polymers. They are hard and can be quite strong, but "toughness" is not something usually associated with diamonds.

                        2) Spraying silicon onto carbon usually results in either carbon with silicon on it or - if you pick an exotic process like plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition - you can get a thin layer of silicon carbide below the excess silicon. It's usually better to deposit your final material (you seem to like silicon carbide) directly on the substrate rather than hoping for less-controlled reactions between raw elements.

                        .

                        The chemical vapor deposition industry has some precursor gases that will decompose and reliably produce silicon carbide on graphite. I used to do that when making carbon-carbon composites to track the speed of graphite deposition. To figure out graphite deposition speeds, we'd interrupt hydrocarbon flow through the reactor and flow...it was a pyrophoric methyl silane compound with some chlorine, but I don't remember the exact name, just the fireballs when it leaked into air...anyway, a silane compound that would break down and deposit silicon carbide. You'd have visually distinct SiC layers between graphite can could figure out the millimeters-per-hour of graphite growth. Or you could make graphite-reinforced silicon carbide and skip the graphite deposition, though that wasn't my employer's goal.

                        .

                        Speaking of reinforced silicon carbide, you might want to ask if carbon and aerogels are the way you really want to go. There are some fantastic high temperature materials out there, like the tantalum and hafnium carbides, and fiber-reinforced silicon carbides have been in limited production for decades.

                        1. Zmodem

                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                          i doubt the x-37b is made from alloy, for the size of it, the rest would have to be 50% copper to last 3 years in space and being smashed by all the debris

                          you have NASA working on carbon plane frames along with spaceX, the main reason why you would have toughened graphite is the ease of being able to fix it with a quick space walk with polymer from a tube as the fibres have no specific order, which would also help if a nano tube force world would be used

                          if a shuttle was able to hover, with a jump jet system, then you can use the same system for entering atmosphere's and would'nt need ceramic heat sheids to handle the 6000c plasma build up

                          as far as the drive goes, you have 1 fixed magnet

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                            Who you jivin' with that Cosmik Debris?

                            1. Zmodem

                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                              nobody, the damage on the windows of the ISS is what space dust can do while not travel at any great speeds https://youtu.be/gfLnvEFkfMc?t=2m41s

                              if you have a submarine topological radar like https://youtu.be/KnhBUb0P8GI?t=3m20s

                              then you will need something that can easily be fixed if you are travelling at X MPH after compressing magnets, even the best radar won't pick up dust and you also would'nt be able to navigate around dust

                          2. cray74

                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                            the main reason why you would have toughened graphite

                            The main reason you wouldn't is that "toughened graphite" doesn't exist.

                            is the ease of being able to fix it with a quick space walk with polymer from a tube as the fibres have no specific order

                            Aerospace grade resin systems typically require hours, if not days, in controlled environments for final cure to their specified strength. You don't squeeze a tube of goop and get a quick super-strong bond. You'd only do that for a cosmetic fix, like a scratch in a gel coat, or some non-strength critical application like encapsulating an electrical connector.

                            Real composite repairs tend to take three forms where I'm employed:

                            1) A little dab of adhesive on a carefully cleaned, scuffed, and primed cosmetic scratch

                            2) A large, carefully applied, overlapping patch of fibers and resin, to be followed by a 7-day cure (or 2-4 hours if the part can go in an oven)

                            3) No repair, scrap it. Most of our engineering for parts with damage to their fibers is to toss the part rather than repair it. But this is a production environment where we're building stuff, not a situation with fielded hardware.

                            i doubt the x-37b is made from alloy

                            Why? The running joke at my aerospace employer (in my materials engineering group, anyway) is, "Sure, you can make your part out of any material you want so long as it's 6061-T6," (a common aluminum alloy and temper.) The data requirements for introducing new materials into flight hardware are ludicrous, designers won't touch new materials until they have well-developed A- and B-basis values for the major properties. Aluminum alloys like 6061 and 7050 have well-known properties and are strong enough, tough enough, and cheap enough for the job.

                            Aluminum alloys are a workhorse in space. The International Space Station's modules have aluminum pressure vessels (mostly 6000- and 7000-series alloys) and even aluminum Whipple armor panels. The shuttle used aluminum for its frame - a major design driver in its heat shielding was to keep interior temperatures low enough that aluminum was acceptable for the wing spars.

                            I know The X-37B uses composites. The USAF and NASA brag about "expanded use of composites" in the X-37. But, given most of the work is done by Boeing and Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, you can take a guess that they're working with carbon fiber-epoxies like the 787 or carbon fiber-BMI like the F-35. And because those are the players, they'll be also be using predictable aluminum alloys in less critical areas, too.

                            1. Zmodem

                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                              alloy is a joke in space, its reinforced with 8 inches of copper on satellites so space dust cannot penetrate vital parts, and belongs in the 1990's, and would also be alot more weight having to carry extra alloy plating if abit of space debris between the size of dust and a minoe/goldfish, hits your hull with a terminal velocity of probably 200,000 MPH +. as man's first deep space shuttle would'nt just be shooting off at half the speed of light

                              having some modern classified toughened graphite compound would make alot easier when it comes to fixing a hull, as the hull would'nt be less then 1 inch thick

                              even if you beat a toughend graphite tennis racket with a hammer, it will end up in alot better shape then a alloy racket

                              1. Zmodem

                                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                you can do some dodgy physic, what goes through my quantum brain is too hard to explain

                                except in space everything is weightless, and gravitational fields are always changing unless you intersteller

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-QOfc2XqOk

                                1. Zmodem

                                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                  bottom line anyway, in todays world there are enough carbons, graphites and silicons, to which you should be able to make new hull material including some form of collision phsyic's if you are going to carry on using 6 -> 8 inches worth in depth

                                  1. annodomini2

                                    Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                    Someone's stopped taking their meds again by the sound of it.

                                    1. Zmodem

                                      Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                      no, the challenger 2 was industructable 30 years ago, the alloy and copper plating involves no physics, it just works and has been said in tv programs thousands of times

                                      a want to see a sweet new shuttle buzzing around the solar system painted with >> https://www.surreynanosystems.com/vantablack

                                      take on aliens with stupid glowing balls with absolute darkness

                                      1. jake Silver badge

                                        Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                        Out of curiosity (and I know I'm going to regret asking), where and how in the seven shades of hell did you come up with "8 inches of copper"? Do you have any idea what one square foot of copper, eight inches thick, would weigh? That's just about 373 pounds, or near enough 170 kilos. Can you point me at anyone lifting this kind of mass out of Earth's gravity well just for shielding?

                                        1. Zmodem

                                          Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                          its in TV programs that have been on since the 1990's, 5 copper plates 1/4 inch thick, 1 -> 2 inches apart, and that is used to stop space dust

                                          its just the same as this, so i guess they use ceramic nowadays https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/hypervelocity/mmod.html

                                          silicon and graphite and some colliision physic's would end up more like http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Debris/Hypervelocity_impacts_and_protecting_spacecraft

                                          1. cray74

                                            Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                            its in TV programs that have been on since the 1990's, 5 copper plates 1/4 inch thick, 1 -> 2 inches apart, and that is used to stop space dust

                                            The International Space Station's Whipple panels use sheets of 6061-T6 aluminum, usually with Nextel ceramic fiber sheets or Kevlar polymer fiber sheets in between the aluminum. I recommend reading the link - it's a detailed look at different models of the orbital debris threats that NASA used, the analysis techniques to develop armor including some coverage of the hydrocodes, and a discussion of the different forms of shielding on the station depending on location and anticipated threats.

                                            1. Zmodem

                                              Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                              and there are plenty of photo's which show's those panels do not work, NASA is useless and too poor and has falling a long way behind the rest of the world of doing any good, they have to spend most of their money on the useless SLS

                                              the ISS sheilding would be 100% useless on a shuttle which shoots off at a minimum speed of 200,000 MPH so you could get to mars in a few months or a day

                                              material using some kind of collision physic's will be like http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2013/04/Hypervelocity_Impact

                                              all of NASA's sheilding for every meter/sq would way around 8KG, while graphite/silicon based hull would be around 1KG

                                              1. Zmodem

                                                Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                                if a new shuttle shoots off at 200,000 MPH, it would take 170 hours to get to mars

                                                34,000,000 / 200,000 = 170

                                                170 hours is long enough in todays world, anymore and most people on the planet will get pandorum

                                                1. Zmodem

                                                  Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."

                                                  if you get the gauss and watts correct, you will have instant speed of anything you have calculated through the compression force of the magnets in your thruster

                                                  without needing a big distance to accelerate, the time it takes for something to reach its destination, is massively cut

  2. Porco Rosso

    RS-25 turbo pump

    has any one an idea how many liters per second the turbo pump of RS-25 pump ?

    just as an order of grandeur ...

    thanks

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: RS-25 turbo pump

      I think I read it recently in "Into the black" by Roland White...but I forget, sorry!

    2. Aladdin Sane
      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: RS-25 turbo pump

        What size family swimming pool though? Your linked piece doesn't answer that. So I googled a bit more.

        There are actually 4 turbo-pumps, 2 low pressure and 2 high pressure for fuel and oxidiser. And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar.

        I didn't easily find the answer in a few brief Googles. I think I found total propellant flow at 100% throttle, which is 1409 kg/sec. Which is both oxygen and hydrogen.

        Which is quite impressive - given the turbo-pumps only weigh something like 50kg.

        To put this into context, the UK rivers authority own 2 extra-large pumps for flood clean up. Each does 500 kg/sec - at much lower pressures too - and each completely fills the loadbed of a large articulated lorry.

        The pumpset for Wembley stadium does 60 kg/sec and is 16m long by 800mm wide by 1m high. I happen to know that, because we lost that contract...

        Oh, and the oxidiser high pressure turbo-pump is a mere 26,000 horsepower!

        The fuel pump is 70,000-odd.

        That's 35,000 Citroen 2CVs just to pump the fuel...

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar."

          What you've missed is that each of those pairs of turbo pumps operates in series.

          What you've listed is the output pressure from the Low Pressure Fuel & Oxdizer TP's.

          The "High Pressure" TP's are driven by the flow from the Preburner and are more like 7000psi (around 470bar) (to feed the Preburner) feeding the Main Combustion Chamber operating with a back pressure around 2-3000psi.

          Given that studies of engine costs suggest that development costs scale as the cube of maximum chamber pressure this may explain why SSME was such an expensive engine (it's also pretty big and uses liquid Hydrogen, neither of which help).

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: RS-25 turbo pump

          "To put this into context, the UK rivers authority own 2 extra-large pumps for flood clean up. Each does 500 kg/sec - at much lower pressures too - and each completely fills the loadbed of a large articulated lorry."

          To be fair, those include the generator, motor, fuel tanks and filters too. And they are built to last more than a few minutes of use.

  3. W Donelson

    Feeble compared to Atlas V from the 1960s. It could lift 118,000 kg to orbit.

    The new SLS can only lift 70,000 kg

    1. cray74

      Feeble compared to Atlas V from the 1960s. It could lift 118,000 kg to orbit.

      (Saturn V or Atlas V?) The Block 2 SLS is targeting a 120,000kg payload.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "(Saturn V or Atlas V?) The Block 2 SLS is targeting a 120,000kg payload."

        Indeed. That's the Saturn V.

        Atlas II (as the repurposed ICBM was called) was much smaller, and still used the pressure stabilized steel tanks developed by Karel Bosart.

        Nothing will get within sniffing range of the Saturn V until FH actually flies, hopefully later this year.

    2. annodomini2

      It's Saturn V and 140,000kg.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Heavy Rocketry

        The Russians will really have to up their game after SLS, FH and New Armstrong start flights in the next few years.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Heavy Rocketry

          The Russians do very well with the Soyuz. It's an old basic design and not terribly efficient, but it's been exceptionally reliable. NASA tends to design for maximum efficiency and reliability be damned.

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