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View Full Version : Putting a new slant on manned spaceflight



John Kierein
2002-Mar-25, 06:38 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1892000/1892598.stm

Azpod
2002-Mar-25, 06:48 PM
On 2002-03-25 13:38, John Kierein wrote:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1892000/1892598.stm


More power to 'em! Hope they make it to the Moon, too. Maybe that'll restart the space race, to land someone on Mars.

Here's to hoping! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Comixx
2002-Mar-26, 02:22 AM
I hope they do go...and I really hope they bring modern video cameras with them so we can see some visuals that arent as grainy as the old footage is. The stills are clear, but I was raised on moving pictures /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Chip
2002-Mar-26, 06:11 AM
The article states: "Space officials have said that a goal of China's space program is to put a Chinese astronaut on the Moon one day."

I wonder if they have all the NASA tech data from the Apollo missions. I bet they do. Why not? It's 30 years old and probably none of it is classified. I think it's great someone is planning to return. I hope the statement is not just public relations. If they do eventually go, they'll probably send a crew of at least three, rather than "one" astronaut.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chip on 2002-03-27 01:17 ]</font>

Argos
2002-Mar-26, 10:23 AM
On 2002-03-25 13:38, John Kierein wrote:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1892000/1892598.stm

More power to 'em! Hope they make it to the Moon, too. Maybe that'll restart the space race, to land someone on Mars.



And new members are coming to join the club, as Japan, Brazil, India develop their "cheaper" space programs.

Bob
2002-Mar-26, 01:19 PM
Is the title of this string a racial pun coming in under the BA's radar screen?

John Kierein
2002-Mar-26, 02:47 PM
I have a friend who says their anthropometry allows them to cheat.

Chip
2002-Mar-27, 06:12 AM
On 2002-03-26 09:47, John Kierein wrote:
I have a friend who says their anthropometry allows them to cheat.


"Antropometry" = a psuedoscience based on skull measurements, "allows" [Chinese astronauts] to "cheat"?

What is that supposed to mean? And I didn't notice the silly implication of the title you gave your first post until someone pointed it out. It's nice to place a link to a story about how China might be sending people to the Moon, but your own cryptic comments and follow-ups, without further clarification, seem irrelevant and sophmorically offensive to me.

John Kierein
2002-Mar-27, 11:52 AM
My definition of anthropometry is the measurement of human factors. NASA uses such standards to make manned space equipment. It defines the size of spacesuits, seats, door openings, crew weight, arm reach, etc. My friend's point is that the Chinese are generally smaller than the NASA standards and allows them to make such human accommodations smaller and lighter. He thinks that's "cheating". This is reminiscent of early Japanese cars that many complained were too small for Caucasians.

John Kierein
2002-Mar-27, 12:01 PM
By the way I drive a Nissan and had a Toyota station wagon back in the 70s. My friend who drove a Volvo thought I was crazy to own one of those little cars.

Argos
2002-Mar-27, 12:18 PM
On 2002-03-27 06:52, John Kierein wrote:
My friend's point is that the Chinese are generally smaller than the NASA standards and allows them to make such human accommodations smaller and lighter.


Judging for what I see in the streets, I think that the Chinese are indeed very tall, besides being a beautiful people (I confess i get a kick from the chinese women). Not that this means something. When it comes to space travel, a small human body is much more suitable.

Donnie B.
2002-Mar-27, 12:28 PM
Somebody has said that the perfect astronaut is a paraplegic (of the legless variety). Why lug around two useless and heavy lumps of flesh?

I say we start the amputations tomorrow.

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

By the way, John, Asian eyes are not slanted.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-27, 01:22 PM
On 2002-03-27 07:28, Donnie B. wrote:
Somebody has said that the perfect astronaut is a paraplegic (of the legless variety). Why lug around two useless and heavy lumps of flesh?


There's a fairly recent science fiction novel in which people have been genetically engineered for space - so they all have four arms and no legs.

_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-03-27 08:23 ]</font>

Chuck
2002-Mar-27, 01:42 PM
Why aren't paraplegics being hired as astronauts now? It costs something like $10,000 per pound to put something into orbit. The weight of legs and space suit pants would easily top 100 pounds saving over $1,000,000 per mission.

SeanF
2002-Mar-27, 02:08 PM
There are lots of other physical and mental requirements for being an astronaut (as opposed to a "space tourist" like Tito or Bass, or even McAuliffe, for that matter). I would think that only a small portion of the population is qualified to be an actual astronaut . . . which means that only a small portion of double amputees would meet the other qualifications. And, since there are significantly fewer double amputees than "regular people", the pool of qualified candidates is probably vanishingly small.

BTW, a "paraplegic" is simply somebody who is paralyzed from the waist down, not somebody who has actually had legs amputated . . .

Donnie B.
2002-Mar-27, 09:18 PM
BTW, a "paraplegic" is simply somebody who is paralyzed from the waist down, not somebody who has actually had legs amputated . . .

Right you are. My sleep-fogged brain failed to dredge up the phrase "double amputee". Oh well...

In any case, your argument about other qualifications wouldn't prevent us from amputating the legs of people who have already qualified... now would it?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Donnie B. on 2002-03-27 16:20 ]</font>

Chip
2002-Mar-28, 04:56 AM
On 2002-03-27 06:52, John Kierein wrote:
"...My friend's point is that the Chinese are generally smaller than the NASA standards and allows them to make such human accommodations smaller and lighter..."

Granted that as I read further, I found that "anthropometry" can have a broader definition as applied to design factors accommodating human beings, as you pointed out. However, your friend is quite wrong about Chinese people being smaller than Westerners. I worked in various Chinese cities through the 1990s and generally speaking Chinese people are the same size as modern Americans and Europeans. Chinese and Europeans have been approximately of similar size for centuries. (Including the fact that in a very general sense, people worldwide tended to be smaller in the past.)

The Japanese car analogy doesn't work for your friend either. The Japanese auto industry was modeled basically after British licensed designs (Hillman and Austin) who's cars tended to be small. Yes, Japan has a smaller sense of space, and the Japanese were in fact smaller in stature than Americans in the recent past, (they're getting taller with each generation).

How does this figure in spacecraft design? Perhaps the Asian tradition of smaller living quarters would mean that Asian astronauts would be able to live more comfortably for long periods in confined quarters. But in reality, efficiently designed crew quarters and command centers in future spacecraft will, I believe, leave physical stature and ethnic background completely irrelevant.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chip on 2002-03-28 00:00 ]</font>

Argos
2002-Mar-28, 10:27 AM
On 2002-03-27 09:08, SeanF wrote:
There are lots of other physical and mental requirements for being an astronaut



Do you mean that Laika, the first living being in space, had special talents? I don't think so.

Astronauts are normal people. Say the contrary and you will imply that they are super-men (or super-persons). I don't want to consider myself an inferior person because I did not fly at 300 km altitude. An astronaut is only somebody who had a chance to do that kind of job. There's just nothing to it.

By the way, they used to say the same about the primeval sea men and airplane pilots. Now the world is just choke full of them. And I can assure you there is nothing special in them.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-28, 12:04 PM
On 2002-03-28 05:27, Argos wrote:


On 2002-03-27 09:08, SeanF wrote:
There are lots of other physical and mental requirements for being an astronaut



Do you mean that Laika, the first living being in space, had special talents? I don't think so.

Astronauts are normal people. Say the contrary and you will imply that they are super-men (or super-persons). I don't want to consider myself an inferior person because I did not fly at 300 km altitude. An astronaut is only somebody who had a chance to do that kind of job. There's just nothing to it.

By the way, they used to say the same about the primeval sea men and airplane pilots. Now the world is just choke full of them. And I can assure you there is nothing special in them.


It is probably reasonable to suggest that NASA could successfully send less qualified people into space than it does. We end up sending such good people because so many people want to do it, so you can pick the very best. Still, I find most astronauts pretty impressive, fulfilling the "sound mind in a sound body" maxim. We're talking about the sort of people capable of doing original scientific research and of running a marathon. So I would argue that they are exceptional.

The analogy to Laika is bogus: Laika was just a passenger. Every astronaut that flies has a serious job to do.

The analogy to early seamen and airmen is kind of bogus, too: thanks to modern technology, ships and planes are much, much easier to fly these days.

Argos
2002-Mar-28, 12:27 PM
thanks to modern technology, ships and planes are much, much easier to fly these days.



So will the spaceships be. The proof is the successful automatic probes we launch.

To me an astronaut is the one who's able to dominate all aspects of space flight. Mission specialists are kinda passengers too, trained for specific tasks. In this sense, only 10% (maybe less)of the people who went to the space are astronauts. And they are indeed impressive.

I laugh at those who demerit the "tourist" Tito. I think he performed very well. We have to careful to analize the role of people onboard space vehicles. I don't believe in supermen. I'm sure I would behave very well in space, having the adequate training (as I think you would too)./phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

SeanF
2002-Mar-28, 01:54 PM
On 2002-03-27 16:18, Donnie B. wrote:

In any case, your argument about other qualifications wouldn't prevent us from amputating the legs of people who have already qualified... now would it?



Nope, but the fact that they still spend the vast majority of their lives here on Earth, where legs do come in quite handy, would probably make it undesirable for them . . .

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

SeanF
2002-Mar-28, 02:00 PM
On 2002-03-28 05:27, Argos wrote:

Do you mean that Laika, the first living being in space, had special talents? I don't think so.



I don't either. If you read my post, you could probably figure out that Laika would be included along with Tito and Bass as a "space tourist" . . . she wasn't flying the thing, just along for the ride.

Space travel is certainly becoming more and more "commonplace" and more the kind of thing that "anybody can do." But if that's the case, then why are we even talking about the advantages of being a double-amputee?

Doesn't it seem kind of contradictory to say that the fact that special attributes are no longer necessary to be an astronaut is a contributing factor to why we should be focussing on people with specific special attributes?

ToSeek
2002-Mar-28, 02:07 PM
On 2002-03-28 07:27, Argos wrote:


thanks to modern technology, ships and planes are much, much easier to fly these days.



So will the spaceships be. The proof is the successful automatic probes we launch.

To me an astronaut is the one who's able to dominate all aspects of space flight. Mission specialists are kinda passengers too, trained for specific tasks. In this sense, only 10% (maybe less)of the people who went to the space are astronauts. And they are indeed impressive.



We could probably argue quite a bit about which job is tougher, flying the space shuttle or spending several eight-hour shifts replacing equipment in HST. I don't know enough to decide on that.

The automatic probes are successful, but they aren't human-rated, either. I wouldn't want to entrust my life to one, even if I did have a chance of a great view of Mars!

Argos
2002-Mar-28, 06:14 PM
On 2002-03-28 09:00, SeanF wrote:

Doesn't it seem kind of contradictory to say that the fact that special attributes are no longer necessary to be an astronaut is a contributing factor to why we should be focussing on people with specific special attributes?


Ok, Sean. I accept the contradiction. But let us not make a fuss of it. I meant that no special attributes are necessary for anyone, not even those special attributes which are positive for long space travel and space living, as being impaired. I meant that no superman/woman is required for performing space activities. All you need is a sharp intelligence and a minimal physical capability. These attributes are found everywhere in this planet, maybe next door./phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

roidspop
2002-Mar-30, 06:20 AM
Does anyone have a take on how serious the Chinese (or anybody else) might be about the industrialization of space, specifically the construction and operation of power satellites? It seems that this would be of great interest to them; certainly they have a political system that could accomplish such an undertaking without being unduly hampered by little concerns such as public opinion or the degradation of the environment. But there doesn't seem to be any movement on their part toward developing the necessary heavy-lifters that would be required for the job. Any observations on this?

Chip
2002-Mar-30, 06:57 AM
On 2002-03-30 01:20, roidspop wrote:
"Does anyone have a take on how serious the Chinese (or anybody else) might be about the industrialization of space...?"


During the first century of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) the Chinese had the most advanced sailing ships on Earth. (They even designed a new kind of sail based on the principle of controllable slatted blinds that remained far superior to the European cloth sail.) They set out on seven long range voyages into the Indian Ocean, the coast of Africa, the Red Sea, and possibly even South America. They brought back samples of plant life.

In 1415 they had outposts in Japan, Korea, and the Eastern African coast. The advanced fleet, with supply ships, and a gigantic flagship with many advanced features including hidden cannons for defense, was commanded by Admiral Zheng He, and nothing like this had been done on this scale before. Whole new ship technologies were invented, designed, and developed. By way of analogy, it would be much like a country today deciding to establish a colony on Mars, and doing it right now based on today's technology!

Yet in 1433 the Chinese decided to end these voyages. The reasons have been studied for years and are beyond the scope of my little post here. A Chinese friend and I visited a museum in Hong Kong that displayed a giant model of the Admiral's flagship. She explained the complex reasons had to do with Chinese culture, philosophy of life, and the politics of the time. The voyages were not motivated by the Western philosophy of discovery for discovery's sake (though Eastern philosophy doesn't completely exclude this very human attitude). So the short of it is, yes, the Chinese (or somebody else, including the Americans), might surprise the world with a leap forward yet again!



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chip on 2002-03-30 02:03 ]</font>

John Kierein
2002-Apr-16, 05:35 PM
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/china_station_020415.html