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On The Verge?

Jeff Foust has a report on the propellant depot panel at Space Access a few weeks ago, in which he asks whether their time has almost come. I hope so, because they are critical infrastructure for opening up space, in a way that HLVs are not.


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Jeff Mauldin wrote:

This is very interesting. I know you've talked about the depots before, and it's always seemed like a good idea.

For some reason this stuff about fuel depots is rekindling a bit of the excitement I had about space as a young kid. Maybe that's because it seems to me like it could really happen.

Who knew? Fuel depots in space = hope for the dreams I had as a kid.

And for goodness sake, if refueling in the air makes sense for aircraft, how much more sense does refueling in orbit make for spacecraft?

Jonathan Goff wrote:

I need to start posting some more of my latest thoughts on depots. It may be another week or two--I'm busy, and I need to consult with some of my unindicted propellant depot coconspirators on what I should and shouldn't blog about...


Tom wrote:

Probably a big factor in the development of air refueling was how low-tech the early demos were. They literally ran a hose from one plane to another. The guy in the back seat of the 'target' plane reached out, grabbed the hose, and refilled the tank. This is a picture of some later activity, when the target plane stayed up for 4 days:

Brock wrote:

Another advantage of having space depots is they allow the design of space-only transplanetary vessels (such as a VASIMIR propelled craft) that are much more efficient at moving people and payload around the solar system then something designed to escape Earth's gravity well.

Ideally once a large vessel capable of interplanetary missions is in space the only thing that needs to land/take off is the people.

Josh Reiter wrote:

"Tom wrote:
They literally ran a hose from one plane to another.
May 12, 2008 9:59 AM"

Actually the verrrry first mid air refueling was an aerial stunt. A popular wing walker of early flying circuses made his name with a daring stunt. He would jump from one biplane to another biplane while in flight. I guess he wanted to demonstrate the usefulness of this ability. So, he latched a can of gas to his belt. Jumped from one plane to another and poured an entire gallon of gas into the tank. Then, gave the pilot a hot dog, a slurpee, and a nude magazine. That guy rocked!

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on May 12, 2008 7:53 AM.

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