atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,


Not surprisingly, NASA doesn't want to spend $1,500 million per launch, so they're requesting advice on how to save money. Their SLS--an old-fashioned, totally disposable launcher--runs a cool $1.5 billion per flight. That's being generous, as the conservative estimates only rise from there, to $2.5 billion per launch.

NASA is a textbook example of how government does things. I seem to recall that SpaceX has gotten to where they are spending $500 million, and that includes about 20 launches this year alone.

Further: SLS is supposed to have a payload of about 130 tons. That's good, that's Saturn V territory, but at $1,500 million per launch, it's simply cost-prohibitive. Meanwhile, if Falcon Heavy works, it will deliver about 50 tons to orbit for $90 million, so for the cost of one of NASA's SLS flights, you can launch sixteen Falcon Heavies, and have $60 million left over. Which sounds more efficient to you: 800 tons to orbit, or 130?

Government cannot do things efficiently. As you can see, the new tram system is a minute or so slower than walking, and that check wasn't even done at rush hour. I bet it's worse when there's lots of traffic.

...because it runs on rails set in the pavement, the same pavement used by cars and trucks and buses.


* * *

Today's tasks are myriad and assorted, but it's not even 11:30 yet and I've already got the errands out of the way. I need to change the Jeep's oil, then go do some shopping.

Last week's windstorm destroyed the fence in the front yard. To be fair it was already failing, so losing what was left of it was not terribly surprising. I'm going to tidy things up a bit, but I won't be replacing the fence until spring. The same windstorm ripped the lid off the post light such that I will be securing it to the thing with screws, and replacing the fixture come spring, as well.

* * *

Watching a video with plenty of wintertime fails in it, I'm reminded of the time a friend of mine and I wanted to go sledding after it snowed like crazy one year. The forest preserve with the sledding hill was closed (WTF Fungal Vale) so we went out to the woods near the bunker. There are some good hills there, and at the time an empty subdivision had just gone in, so we were able to park Dad's pickup truck nearby and had to hike only a short distance to the sledding hill. My friend's dog Diva, a shar pei, had come with us; and she was so excited to be out in the woods that upon reaching the bottom of the hill she leapt--with wild abandon--into the creek. The water was supercooled and snow had made a slushy layer across the top of the water, making it look like a solid surface. It wasn't. Sploosh.

Laughing, we took the poor dog back to the truck to get her out of the cold. As I recall we didn't sled very much because we were worried about the animal, so after a few runs we returned home. Still, a worthwhile outing.

* * *

Man, it's sunny out there.

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