How complicated is Rocket Science?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Captain Kremmen, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    When I hear the phrase "It ain't rocket science", I have to resist the urge to punch the speaker into unconsciousness.

    But just how complicated is rocket science?
    Isn't it just basic Newtonian mathematics?
     
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  3. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_science

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    It's a hang-over from the Cold War, when geeks (specifically rocket scientists) were cool, and national heroes to boot.
     
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  5. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Tell you what, why don't you design, build, and fly a rocket capable of reaching space, and let us know how hard you found it?
     
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I might just do that.
     
  8. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    It is not complicated. Just like brain surgery...
     
  9. codanblad a love of bridges Registered Senior Member

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    the phrase probably carries more weight outside of the science sub-forum, where basic newtonian mathematics doesn't exist.
     
  10. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

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    You got it. But no need to punch anybody out dude. :bugeye:

    Rocket science is estimated to have begun hundreds of years BCE in China. You know, black power or gunpowder type small rockets for warfare.

    Chemical rockets are so outdated for space travel it is pathetic.
     
  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Depends on the part of the rocket your working on.
     
  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    You're right.
    I'll try not to, but when they say it they just look so smug, as if they've said something original.
     
  13. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

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    Apparently Rocket Science is less complicated then Brain Surgery as I have over heard Rocket Scientist say it is Rocket science and not Brain surgery.
     
  14. Uno Hoo Registered Senior Member

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    Yes. In the extreme.
     
  15. Uno Hoo Registered Senior Member

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    Your post is ambiguous, as you almost certainly intended. Your post implies that such feat is phenomenally hard so that you yourself are unable to possibly do such a thing.

    Do you consider you, yourself, as having such retarded technological ability that you could not do such a thing?
     
  16. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Ambiguous? No. It's clear. If he's really curious, he should try it.

    No it does not. At no point in my post did I reference myself, so you are stretching to say the least, that it somehow reflects on me.

    No, because I've made and flown model rockets, was a member of an amateur rocketry society and used to work in aerospace, with guys that made instruments that got launched on real rockets.

    Also, using the word 'retarded' just seems inflammatory.

    Here's a question back at you. Do you think you could single handedly produce a rocket capable of reaching space?
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    If in the UK you tried to build any rocketry equipment, even something as simple as a rocket for the moon, plod would be on your doorstep within hours carting it all away on an anti-terrorism charge.
    Perhaps in the US, the land of the free, things would be easier.
     
  18. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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  19. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't realise British amateur rocketry was so advanced.

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  20. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    I used to be a member of the UKRA and attended a couple of big launch days. Sure, there's some paperwork to get clearance for high powered/high altitude flights, but that is the same everywhere.

    Oh, and you need a license to own larger rocket engines, as they are technically an explosive, although the Nitrous/ABS Plastic engines didn't need that, you just needed to convince BOC to sell you nitrous/oxygen.

    Despite all that though, if you want to launch a big rocket, and more importantly, do it safely, and retrieve your investment, you do need a fair bit of science. Power/weight/thrust/drag/fin size calculations for a stable flight and to calculate your apogee, avionics to measure acceleration/altitude, so you know your rocket isn't under power when you try and deploy your 'chute, and some tracking device as it's going to drift a long way on that 'chute. Oh, and some calculations to make sure your airframe can handle the acceleration. Some fun can be had sticking a 'D' engine in an Estes Quark, and watching the shards fall back to Earth when it breaks up at speed.
     
  21. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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  22. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    You still do have an official space program, the British National Space Centre. It is laughably small, but you do have one.

    Off-topic, but I'll get back on topic:

    The reason it is laughably small (0.035% of the total national government budget) is because back in the 1980s, your Parliament banned UK governmental involvement in human space exploration. They did this at the behest of your country's space scientists/ Those space scientists thought that this ban would mean that all the monies that were to be wasted on human space flight would flow their way.

    That did not happen. Parliament spent the monies that were targeted for human space exploration on everthing but robotic space exploration. Your space scientists did not see any increased funding. They saw just the opposite. Funding for UK's unmanned space program has dropped dramatically since that decision.

    In countries that do have a vibrant human space exploration program (US and Russia; France and Canada to a lesser extent), the unmanned program gets an additional motivational boost: These programs are necessary because humans one day might follow. This motivating factor is non-existent in the UK, and hence space science has to compete with other sciences for funding. Unmanned space exploration is extremely expensive compared to sending a bunch of graduate students out into the field. Space science cannot compete on its own merits.

    Back on topic: Politics ain't rocket science. That's why rocket scientists make for such lousy politicians.


    Addendum
    A bit over a year ago the BNSC indicated it might revisit that 1980s decision. This is now official as of yesterday (Dec 10). The BNSC is recommending a human space exploration aspect of the British space program.

    Space Exploration Review, http://www.bnsc.gov.uk/13440.aspx
    The report recognises the importance of both robotic and human space exploration and will be used to inform future decisions and international discussions with other space agencies.
     
  23. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Yup.
    I meant to say that we'd got out the (independent) launcher business, as opposed to the whole thing.
    Beagle!!!

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