2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-23 12:26pm

Ok Simon I've PMed you the introduction to the piece and outlines of the next three sections. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Especially since my muse has re-appeared for one of my old sci-fi stories as well. It's a busy Sunday here.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Beowulf » 2014-11-23 12:45pm

Simon_Jester wrote:What makes the Star Rover/Caravan special is that the launch infrastructure is extremely cheap. you need the cryogenic liquid oxygen and helium to refuel it, a concrete pad, and a hangar structure no more than about 40 meters tall, which does NOT have to be able to do the elaborate assembly work of NASA's VAB. That turnaround time is short (potentially a few days or at most a week). And that flights are relatively cheap.


Helium? That's a kinda strange fuel...

But since no one said they had an SSTO hopper rocket like this, including people who talked a fair bit about their space programs...

I hope no one will object if I get to declare this a Umerian first that has their country really really proud and singing and dancing in the streets?

Is that OK? Or must my parade be rained on? I'd be okay with that though it would make me a bit sad.


Tianguo probably could have done so, but the numbers get kinda iffy. You end up with kinda crazy amounts of propellant (92% or so of GLOW is fuel), and the engineering gets hard because the weight margins are thin. Also, you tend to have dead weight on the way up, because you need to reduce thrust on the way up, or you over-G your payload. And most engines don't throttle down too well, so you need to shut them down entirely. They decided to go with rather more robust TSTO rockets, that land on their tails like God and Heinlein intended. (Well, the civilian side did. The Mil side went with a spaceplane.)
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-23 01:19pm

Orion has some crazy advanced projects connected to spaceflight...but they're classified so black that the King can't mention it to his son and Heir, or to any Ministers besides Defence and Director Greer...paranoia is a fun place to be :D

Incidentally, I'm surprised no one here has commented on the strange fact that my Palace is armoured against attack, and the the conference room turns into a reasonable bunker. Or have I written Orion has sufficiently crazy-prepared that no-one is surprised? :D
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-11-23 02:03pm

As I mentioned earlier, the space programs run by San Doradan corporations focus on two things: mainstream commercial lift (hopefully to be expanded into ludicrously profitable near earth asteroid mining) and rocket planes. The latter is run under the name CROSSBOLT, with the Arion family of experimental vehicles resulting. Specs continuously evolve and are kept under wraps, although I expect there are enough radars pointed at anything going into LEO that it's not feasible to keep capabilities fully secret.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-11-23 04:01pm

Beowulf wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:What makes the Star Rover/Caravan special is that the launch infrastructure is extremely cheap. you need the cryogenic liquid oxygen and helium to refuel it, a concrete pad, and a hangar structure no more than about 40 meters tall, which does NOT have to be able to do the elaborate assembly work of NASA's VAB. That turnaround time is short (potentially a few days or at most a week). And that flights are relatively cheap.
Helium? That's a kinda strange fuel...
OOPSETH.

Typo. That was "liquid hydrogen." Sorry; my morning coffee hadn't kicked in yet.

But since no one said they had an SSTO hopper rocket like this, including people who talked a fair bit about their space programs...

I hope no one will object if I get to declare this a Umerian first that has their country really really proud and singing and dancing in the streets?

Is that OK? Or must my parade be rained on? I'd be okay with that though it would make me a bit sad.
Tianguo probably could have done so, but the numbers get kinda iffy. You end up with kinda crazy amounts of propellant (92% or so of GLOW is fuel), and the engineering gets hard because the weight margins are thin. Also, you tend to have dead weight on the way up, because you need to reduce thrust on the way up, or you over-G your payload. And most engines don't throttle down too well, so you need to shut them down entirely. They decided to go with rather more robust TSTO rockets, that land on their tails like God and Heinlein intended. (Well, the civilian side did. The Mil side went with a spaceplane.)
Fair enough; I just like the idea of Cool SSTO Look What We Did!

And basically just cloned the entire Delta Clipper proposal verbatim.

It may be optimistic to assume that would work, but given that McDonnell-Douglass sincerely thought they could deliver on the program in the '90s, and that the overall level of technological sophistication on SDNW6 Tellus appears to be a bit in advance of that found on 2014-era Earth, I figure it's reasonable that Umeria could make it work in the 2010s.

Siege wrote:As I mentioned earlier, the space programs run by San Doradan corporations focus on two things: mainstream commercial lift (hopefully to be expanded into ludicrously profitable near earth asteroid mining)
I was aware of Helix Highpoint's commercial rocketry. Note that in my visualization, they may actually take a ding in their business model for at least a few years between the time that the Bureau of Celestial Pathfinding starts offering to launch satellites up to 5-10 tons into LEO on their Star Caravans, and the time at which San Dorado acquires the same capability.

It will definitely be cheaper to launch such payloads on Star Caravans than on conventional rockets like the Proton, the Delta IV Heavy, or even the Falcon 9. So that's a temporary advantage, although it only lasts until Helix and friends duplicate the rocketship. Which really won't be that hard for a bunch of people with good old San Doradan knowhow and ten years to think about it.

On the other hand, Highpoint presumably has rockets that can lift more and lift higher than anything a Star Caravan can even fantasize about doing. Plus, they'll launch payloads the Bureau of Celestial Pathfinding wouldn't. So it's not like they're going out of business.

All this assumes, of course, you didn't already have something closely equivalent to the Delta Clipper and were just waiting to trot it out, which would be reasonable although I'd feel like my thunder had been stolen a bit. :(

The latter is run under the name CROSSBOLT, with the Arion family of experimental vehicles resulting. Specs continuously evolve and are kept under wraps, although I expect there are enough radars pointed at anything going into LEO that it's not feasible to keep capabilities fully secret.
I myself do not know what they are capable of, and was in fact not aware of their existence.

Note that the Umerians aren't aiming for "outperforms everything." They're aiming for "economical, short-turnaround space travel." That is what makes Delta Clipper (or rather, Star Rover/Star Caravan) special; it's a space pickup truck, not a space hotrod. Cheap, practical, good performance, easy to maintain and operate out of relatively limited technical infrastructure once you've got the thing built.

Now Champa, and perhaps even Belkan, can have a spaceport! :D

Anyway, I imagine that an Arion spaceplane is in many ways superior to Star Caravan for a variety of purposes- but that Delta Clipper might well excel in the "space pickup" role that it was explicitly designed for by a large group of pragmatic and intelligent engineers. Since that is basically the only cool thing Umerian space design is going for.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-11-23 04:58pm

To be honest the market for inserting single satellites, space tourism and other manned near earth activities that Star Series vehicles would excel at strikes me as rather marginal. There's so many space programs and so many competing launch platforms... How big a profit margin can there be in such a competitive market, and would development of a noticeably cheaper vehicle offset development costs? From a purely capitalist standpoint I doubt it makes sense to develop something like that.

So no, I'm quite happy to let the Umerians have their moment here. It's a nice job, but for Helix Highpoint's purposes a 5-10 ton to LEO vehicle is pointless. Helix' goal is to not doodle around in earth's immediate vicinity but to get at the valuable stuff that's farther out there with robots. That's where their money is going. Manned spaceflight is an afterthought, it's not something they're very keen on. So their focus remains on medium and heavy/superheavy lift, and with maneuvering upper stages Highpoint rockets can insert several satellites in different orbits in one go, which is something I figure the Umerian space truck cannot do.

Coldstream Delta's Arion meanwhile isn't even a single vehicle: it's a family of wildly varied high tech testbeds that, much like X-planes, have little to do with each other beyond the designation. The goal there isn't to arrive at a practical vehicle, it's to test various aspects of CD's experimental technology. As a result OGRE may have a handful of bleeding edge orbital fighters stashed away somewhere, but that is a happy accident more than a desired end product. So CROSSBOLT is very different from the Umerian project indeed; Space Trucks versus Space Batmobiles, really.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-11-23 10:55pm

The only reason why the UOCSR would indulge in a vehicle of this sort is only because we need a vehicle to service our satellites in orbit.

If this was a nuclear world, we'd have gone full ahead for orbital delivery systems of nukes. But since there are no nukes, there's very little need for a small one.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-11-23 11:11pm

Don't worry, you can rent time on ours for cheep!

Siege wrote:To be honest the market for inserting single satellites, space tourism and other manned near earth activities that Star Series vehicles would excel at strikes me as rather marginal. There's so many space programs and so many competing launch platforms... How big a profit margin can there be in such a competitive market, and would development of a noticeably cheaper vehicle offset development costs? From a purely capitalist standpoint I doubt it makes sense to develop something like that.
In the long run, profit is likely to be found in providing 'shuttle bus' services for passengers to LEO. For satellite launch, Star Caravan's cost per pound really blows conventional rockets (including good, reliable ones) out of the water if the studies done on Delta Clipper are to be believed. Other SSTO-type technologies can compete, but in many cases Star Caravan manages to outcompete even them by being simpler. In particular, the groundside infrastructure requirements for Star Caravan are more like the needs of an airliner, and less like the needs of the real life NASA space shuttle.

So what it does is
1) The craft is relatively flexible, simple, and easy to maintain.
2) It bypasses and leapfrogs over a lot of other things in terms of raw cost per pound, while getting useful payloads into orbit. For some applications that's what counts. Cheap costs of launch per pound also mean you can build the payloads themselves to be more rugged, which makes them even cheaper; there's a synergy effect.
3) Star Caravan can be developed into an extremely cost-effective space taxi. Or suborbital "ninety minutes from Tokyo to Paris" craft, although in that case a purely air-breathing scramjet might win out.
4) Because the launch infrastructure for it isn't demanding, Star Caravan provides accessible space travel for nations and organizations that can't afford to blow several billion dollars building their own space launch infrastructure before they even begin getting significant payloads into orbit.
5) The technology also lends itself to development into very effective lunar/Mars lander craft, although that's not a major objective of the Bureau of Celestial Pathfinding.

So basically, Star Caravan does indeed wind up being sort of the spacegoing equivalent of the Toyota Hilux, I guess.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-11-24 03:44am

Simon_Jester wrote:In the long run, profit is likely to be found in providing 'shuttle bus' services for passengers to LEO.


That is not an analysis Helix shares. A significant profit margin on these activities will last only as long as no-one reproduces the engineering. Considering how simple you say this thing is and how many nations run advanced space programs Mr. Mortimer's guess as to how long the Umerian edge will last is 'not long'. When the world catches up competition kicks in, the margin vanishes and Umeria will likely still be billions down on R&D.

That's not a big issue for a state, especially not if it really needs a shuttle bus to orbit or a cheap independent means of satellite insertion. The utility and national prestige may be sufficient return on investment. But it isn't for Helix. Hence the aforementioned focus. Helix is good in heavy lift and robotics and as the old San Doradan mantra goes: when ahead, get further ahead.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-25 11:50am

Siege: A couple of thoughts. While I'm happy to see that the Service guys haven't been forgotten story-wise, the name isn't a typical Orion one. For Orion names, think current-British or early 20th century British.

Plus, The Service doesn't have ranks. The most he would count himself as is Agent.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-11-25 05:43pm

'Kay, I made a suitable edit to account for this.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-25 05:58pm

That works, thanks :)
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-29 04:26pm

Just a a heads-up, I am working on the interrogation pots to wrap up the Olympus has Fallen stuff, but work these last two weeks has been kicking me in the face.

On another note, does Tellus have an equivalent to the Outer Space Treaty stopping space-based weapon develeopment?
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-11-29 06:49pm

My first impulse is to say 'no, that would be boring'. If you want to orbit a death ray, then by all means let people react to the fact that you're doing so.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-11-29 06:51pm

As cool as an orbiting death ray is I have no idea how one could be feasible. I was thinkign more liek orbital annti-satellite weapons or Rods from God.

EDIT: I did have a few hints in my history posts and OrBat about armed satellites, so at least it's out there :D
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Beowulf » 2014-11-29 07:43pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Just a a heads-up, I am working on the interrogation pots to wrap up the Olympus has Fallen stuff, but work these last two weeks has been kicking me in the face.

On another note, does Tellus have an equivalent to the Outer Space Treaty stopping space-based weapon develeopment?


I'm going to go with no, simply because without nuclear weapons, the potential damage they can do is much more limited.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-11-29 09:36pm

Even if there was one, the UOCSR will not be a signatory to one.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby TimothyC » 2014-11-30 01:35am

I had an outline of this post in my head for the last few months.

Beowulf wrote:Helium? That's a kinda strange fuel...


Isn't it obvious? He's making Helium Hydride ions.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby TimothyC » 2014-12-02 04:53pm

Seige, nice post. I'm sure most of the asteroid can be used by someone.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-12-02 06:53pm

Indeed. Other people would still have to find it though. Meanwhile Helix and Acheron stock prices just went through the roof. PROFIT! And all it took was a single piece of leaked paper...
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby TimothyC » 2014-12-02 06:56pm

Why would they have to find it - they can just buy the material from Helix and Acheron. Say 20% down and 80% on delivery.
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2014-12-02 06:58pm

That is also true :).
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-12-09 11:37am

Well, the first half of the interrogation scene is up. My thanks to Simon for his help writing it (and improving on what I had written). My apologies it's taken so damn long, work has been kicking me in the face lately.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2014-12-09 05:17pm

The President of Fuso offers his (belated) thoughts on the anti-terrorism conference attacks. He's not exactly the most eloquent or inspired orator.

In tangentially-related news, Air Force One was on AMC last night. Remember how Agent Gibbs caused the whole thing to begin with? Remember how I said I had plans for Tatsuya that require him to be free in the short term? Will something actually come of those plans?
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Re: 2014 STGOD OOC Commentary Thread 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-12-09 05:40pm

Well we'll be questioning him about his involvement in the incident, but since our evidence at present amounts to "he swiped a knife" and "the bad guy felt betrayed by him" we can't hold him. Plus I suspect as a member of your delegation he probably has immunity of some form.

Give me until the weekend to throw together the rest of the interrogation with Simon, then he's all yours.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.


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