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« Missing The Point | Main | Extrapolation »

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

"Fortune Favors The Bold"

That's apparently the motto of the new Exploration Office, complete with logo.

Hmmm...tell it to the Islamonutballs who attack our forces in Iraq and other places, and get generally slaughtered. Methinks that it's one of those things that's a necessary, but not sufficient condition. Smartness is required as well as boldness.

[Hat tip to emailer Ken Talton]

Posted by Rand Simberg at May 20, 2004 02:12 PM
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Well, obviously "fortune favors..." doesn't mean "success is guaranteed to..."

Fortune does favor the bold. Fortune also favors the smart, the quick, the rich, and the sexy.

Yet there are bold, smart, quick, rich and sexy people in the world who are losers from the get-go. Fortune's favor's fickle.

(Sounds like a title for a Shakespeare play, doesn't it?)

Posted by McGehee at May 20, 2004 06:14 PM

Dr. Simberg, regards the PDF powerpoint in that link, can you explain to a laygeek such as myself what the difference is between initial flight testing and the first unmanned flight? Does the biolerplate version not count as a flight test or will they be using condemmed men 'till they get the auto-pilot working. :)

Seriously, although there is much talk in the presentation of aggressive scheduling, I wonder if the aggression is not misplaced...that is there looks to be a rush to let contracts this year and then the program settles down to what seems a VERY pedestrian pace (2020 for the Marsshot?) OTOH this is the first I've seen where there is actual talk of using the develpments of the Constellation designs for exploration of the outer moons (page 22 of the pdf). Working on JIMO as you are, what are your thoughts on that?

Posted by Ken Talton at May 20, 2004 07:39 PM

I ain't Rand but I'll give it a go...

IIRC, Broilerplates can be used to test overall aerodynamic configuation, launch escape systems and other subsystems as well as integration with the mother vehicle, stresses and loads on the booster, etc. It will almost certainly not have any life support capabilities and proabally not have the ability to conduct anything but short duration flights due to limited power generation capability.

Broilerplates were used extensively in the Apollo program. IIRC, they were used to test the heat shield and with the Little Joe II, to test the launch escape system across the proabable abort envelope.

You might be able to find more at

My understanding is they are somewhere between ture flight hardware and a dummy payload. Proabbaly a little closer to dummy payload.

Posted by Mike Puckett at May 20, 2004 07:48 PM

To Add:

The unmanned test would proabally be an all up test of production flight hardware that would actually be capable of supporting a crew during a reference mission. In other words, everything is real and works (or so the test flight will hopefully prove).

The First Shenzoyu might have been what we would have classifed as a broilerplate as it lacked a functional life support system but the last non-manned Shenzoys, Shanzyou 4 had all the systems needed to support an actual crew.

Posted by Mike Puckett at May 20, 2004 07:52 PM

Thanks for the quick response!

I figured it was something like that but the presentation just seemed odd.

Posted by Ken Talton at May 20, 2004 07:57 PM

I apologise if I misspelled Shenzyou. I am on the edge of crashing.

I hope the dope I gave you was right. If not, somebody please feel free to correct/add to my response.

Posted by Mike Puckett at May 20, 2004 08:06 PM

The motto is Fortune Favors The Bold. Not Fortune Favors The Fanatic.

A very common misconception is that Bold implies Reckless. This is in fact almost always not the case.

Posted by Jmike at May 21, 2004 05:10 AM

'Fortune Favours the Bold' is one literal translatin of a line from Virgil's Aeneid. Material or social fortune is transient. So the only real fortune is the courage itself.

Posted by Matt at December 6, 2005 02:41 AM

"Audentes Fortuna Javat". Has the Clan McKinnon of Scotland been informed of the use of their clan motto, which is where this saying originates. Put it in perspective.... Scotsmen fighting English invaders.. Get a life !!!

Posted by Cameron McKinnon at May 5, 2006 04:27 AM

Regarding "Audentes Fortuna Juvat". The postings are interesting...and entertaining. But I believe the term represents the inclusion of smartness, intellect, etc. as "boldness' absent the appropriate intellectual evaluative skill, i.e., "smartness" not boldness at all, but rather "stupidity"...

Posted by Dr. Berry at June 3, 2007 12:29 PM

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