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"Pulled The Plug"?

This headline seems a little misleading. When I first saw it, I thought that it meant that the Air Force had given up on orbital refueling, but all it means is that the experiment was largely successful, and is over.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 26, 2007 01:13 PM
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People talk about the "giggle factor" associated with doing anything new in space. Thankfully there's little of that with on-orbit refueling or orbital fuel depots.

But imagine being the one trying to convince the Air Force to adopt mid-air refueling decades ago...

"We're going to fly two aircraft - with totally different flight characteristics - really close to each other. Then, while they're bouncing around in each other's turbulence, we're gonna try to extend a boom from one aircraft into a hole in the other aircraft behind the cockpit window which neither pilot can see, without the boom going *through* the cockpit window in all the excitement. Then, with the boom being flexed and pulled every which way by the moving aircraft, we're gonna thousands of gallons of flammable jet fuel through it."

"Then we're gonna have kids right out of college with only a few hour of flying time to do it."

"Then we're gonna do it with a helicopter."

Orbital refueling seems so *rational* by comparison.

Posted by Roger Strong at July 26, 2007 03:05 PM

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