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Ugandan Seeks To Build Backyard Space Shuttle

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-are-the-dreamers-of-dreams dept.

Space 136

An anonymous reader writes "Who says that only big, militaristic states are capable of manned space flight? The BBC reports on an attempt by Chris Nsamba to build what he hopes would be the first crewed spacecraft designed and built in Africa. Not that Nsamba, the Ugandan founder of the self-styled African Space Research Program, doesn't have any good role models. NASA's first African American flight director, Kwatsi Alibaruho, traces his roots to Uganda." Hopefully the press will help Nsamba's cause. I sincerely hope he makes it into space one day.

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simulating zero gravity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222088)

A lack of local facilities is hampering the project and I asked Chris Nsamba how he plans to simulate zero gravity, for example, in Kampala.

"Easy" he said. "I've got a jet engine on order so I'm planning to build a tunnel, put the engine at one end and when I throw a guy in he'll float in a similar way to how he would in space."

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222110)

"in a similar way," yeah, similar in that they're both dead now.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

thehickcoder (620326) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222126)

and he will cook in a similar way to how he would on re-entry without a heat shield.

Re:simulating zero gravity (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222152)

I was assuming the engine will be above/after the "skydiving area" with a grate to keep people out, and it would draw in fresh air from outside. That could work. But it's still not a zero-G simulator, it's a falling at terminal velocity simulator.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222404)

But it's still not a zero-G simulator, it's a falling at terminal velocity simulator.

Nonsense! It just means the Ugandans will be prepared for those windy days on the ISS.

Re:simulating zero gravity (-1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222696)

falling at terminal velocity simulator.

That's EXACTLY [wikipedia.org] what NASA uses as their primary zero-G training tool.

Re:simulating zero gravity (0)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222762)

But there's no wind inside that airplane.

Re:simulating zero gravity (-1, Flamebait)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223054)

Learn to comprehend what you read and properly maintain context.

When I posted that I thought it possible someone my dumbly jump all over this and then I thought - naw, this is slashdot, the people here should be able to maintain and comprehend such a small, simple context. Giving the benefit of doubt on slashdot once against proves to be a dumb idea. Go figure.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223150)

But there is gravity inside the air plane.

Re:simulating zero gravity (3, Informative)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222776)

No. Completely different. Not even similar. What he's talking about is a wind tunnel that's turned up on its side, so that it's blowing upward rather than sideways. This way, people "float" around. It's nothing like a zero-G simulator. It's a skydiving simulator. NASA's vomit comet actually takes people up in in the body of a jet, and then goes into a calculated free-fall for a few seconds so that the plane, the pocket of air inside the plane and the people inside are all falling at the same rate, opposite the acceleration of gravity. This is what happens when a spacecraft is in orbit around Earth, except they can fall almost indefinitely because they fall at the same rate as the curvature of the earth.

Re:simulating zero gravity (-1, Troll)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222952)

Please learn to maintain context and comprehend what you read.

Re:simulating zero gravity (0)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223098)

Yes because a polite post pointing out that someone didn't maintain context and/or comprehend what they said is SOOOO entirely trollish.

Holy shit slashdot is dead.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223904)

Why are you replying to yourself?

Re:simulating zero gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223064)

Stop being so f*~@ing stupid in your eagerness to damn. It is not, "completely different" and there are similarities. Maybe a banana is 'completely' different, or a pro forma invoice, or hot larva emerging beneath the ocean or an aardvark playing backgammon - but a wind tunnel used to simulate terminal velocity - allowing individuals to 'float' in the air - and an aircraft flying a parabola to simulate zero g - allowing individuals to apparently 'float' in the air - are not 'completely' different. There are some similarities. In fact, in the grand scale of things, taking a large chunk of what I have seen and experienced of the world, they have quite a lot in common.

That's not to say that there aren't some very important differences.

Re:simulating zero gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223140)

Maintain fucking context your fucking idiot.

Holy shit you all are complete fucking idiots. CONTEXT IS WHAT I FUCKING QUOTED! Its not fucking hard. Holy shit you guys are completely fucking stupid. You want to read what you WANT TO SEE, not what is actually fucking there. You arrogant, dumb fucking idiot. Asking politely to pull your head out of your ass does nothing - but initiate more trolling from more dumb fucking idiots.

Holy shit you guys are really fucking dumb. The context if really fucking simple. The context was FUCKING QUOTED. Holy shit you are fucking stupid. You can't fucking read and you blame ME for YOUR stupidity. Holy shit you are a dumb fucker.

Slashdot is dead.

Slashdot - news and discourse for complete fucking idiots!

I'm done. I can not stand what /. has turned into. Home of the dumb fucking idiot who thinks they are entitled to everything, having never earned anything, and generally with a below average IQ who think they are really fucking smart because they found a website they, themselves, helped completely fucking ruin.

Disgusting.

Re:simulating zero gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223570)

I've got such a hilarious mental pictures of you right now. But anyway. You seem eternally frustrated that the entire world is not, in fact, you. This somewhat disregards the fact that if everyone in the world were, in fact, you, then we'd all be dead within a single generation. Hurr durr, 'murka, fuck yeah etc.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223102)

EXACTLY? You might want to brush up on the definition of that word. Or actually look at the link that you posted.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37224208)

No, that's the vomit comet, it has a two jet engines but uses a parabolic flight path to achieve free fall. I believe that what the guy was describing is more like Indoor skydiving [youtube.com] .

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222924)

Assuming they're getting a turbofan: You can always direct the turbine exhaust elsewhere so that it doesn't mix with the fan air. Fan air can go through a heat exchanger if you really need to cool it down, I don't think it'd be necessary.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222134)

Sounds like he's building something like a "skydiving tunnel" but that's not exactly a zero-G simulator...

Re:simulating zero gravity (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222536)

Sounds like he's building something like a "skydiving tunnel" but that's not exactly a zero-G simulator...

Yeah. As any skydiver will tell you, what we call "free fall" is not the same physicists call free fall. We're definitely not at zero-g (we don't feel like we're falling, just like there's a lot of wind), and we most certainly don't move in the same way astronauts would move at zero-g. It's more akin to how a plane flies...you change your body position in relation to the relative wind, and that causes the wind to turn / move you. That training wouldn't help at all.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222642)

It's actually not difficult to generate 'zero-G' environment. Built a tall tower, and dig a deep vertical tunnel underneath it. Install an elevator, that can go up, then fly down in a free fall but at some point engage engines to come to a smooth stop. If the tower and the tunnel are very tall/deep, you can have a few seconds of 'zero-G' happening. Don't know how useful that is, but it can be done without jet engines.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

kanguro (1237830) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223716)

All of that must be in a vacuum (or very thin atmosphere) to work as intended.

Re:simulating zero gravity (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37224044)

Not necessarily, if the elevator is used, then it can be accelerated downwards beyond normal free fall by motors and the air friction would be overcome really easy.

why does remind me of "Free Willzyx" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222090)

What he needs is... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222094)

an adorable sidekick, like a bonobo or a kitten or something.

Then he can easily get the popularity and funding to make this happen.

Backyard Space Shuttle.... (3, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222100)

These guys [topgear.com] already beat him to it...

Re:Backyard Space Shuttle.... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222736)

Calling one of those turds a "car" was mighty generous of them.

Re:Backyard Space Shuttle.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223194)

Lets be fair, even with the immense combined engineering talents of James May and Richard Hammond, they couldn't quite get into orbit. Or space, for that matter. Still, did it at least once... [wikipedia.org]

CmdrTaco's new job! (3, Funny)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222118)

Test pilot!

Maybe someday... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222140)

he'll make Captain.

He'll plow a field and plant food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222290)

long before he ever thinks about a space shuttle being built in Africa.

This Ugandan must be some sort of prominent well-fed individual, because 95% of all the other Africans are thinking about food because they are the ones that couldn't migrate to the former Rhodesia region Zimbabwe where the Afrikaaners created farming communities.

Re:He'll plow a field and plant food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222730)

Actually those Zimbabweans are thinking about food yet again since Robert Mogabe's government forcefully removed all those farmers and mobs destroyed the farms.

I do. (3, Insightful)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222138)

I have no doubt they have the ability to make a "spacecraft".

Actually getting that in to space, particularly with squishy meat bags on board that don't want to go "pop", is another story.

Re:I do. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222264)

Wouldn't that be a meat popsicle?

Re:I do. (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222420)

Heh.

Police: Are you classified as human?
Korben Dallas: Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Re:I do. (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222348)

Bono was on tv this morning asking people to save their old rubber bands for the propulsion system.

Re:I do. (0)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222430)

I'm surprised he doesn't power the whole thing by himself by all the hot air he produces...

Why the idle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222142)

People have touched the edge of space with lesser requirements than your typical huge roaring rockets.
Can't a man dream anymore?
Are you just automatically assuming that, because they are in Africa, they have no chance?

Almost seems insulting.

Re:Why the idle? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222170)

Are you just automatically assuming that, because they are in Africa, they have no chance?

Almost seems insulting.

If you looked at the pic of the "shuttle" in TFA you'd understand. I want the guy to succeed too, but...just look at that sorry thing...

Re:Why the idle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222206)

It isn't a shuttle. It's a proof of concept aircraft, aka, a glider, to show they can get the aerodynamics right.

Looks absolutely like what it should look like, for what it is. People build backyard gliders all the time.

You're just racist, and refuse to read.

Re:Why the idle? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222240)

I'll admit I didn't finish RTFAing. If it's a glider then it looks sufficient.

I'm racist you say? LOL

Re:Why the idle? (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222636)

This whole endeavor seems a bit like a cargo cult [wikipedia.org] to me. I see no signs of actual scientific rigour, and instead just a "let's build things that superficially look like things we've seen before" attitude.

Re:Why the idle? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223146)

It isn't a shuttle. It's a proof of concept aircraft, aka, a glider, to show they can get the aerodynamics right.

Looks absolutely like what it should look like, for what it is. People build backyard gliders all the time.

You're just racist, and refuse to read.

Well, he isn't even close for aerodynamics. Look at that thing and look at your classic glider. See a few differences? If you're looking for something that might have some sort of horizontal movement if dropped off a B52, it's remotely possible that it would not drop straight out of the sky, but I doubt it.

I also don't see the DC3 they're planning on using as the drop ship. Yeah, it's nice to dream, but those acetone fumes are a real bitch.

Re:Why the idle? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222218)

I know it is bad form to RTFA, you're only supposed to look at the pictures, but reading the captions at least seems acceptable.

The pictured craft is not the space shuttle, it is an airplane being built for engineering practice.

That said, WTF is with said picture being where the category picture is supposed to be? The Big Taco is gone for one day and they've already trashed the place. If they think this is a news site, I've got news for them; it's a dreadful one!

Re:Why the idle? (1)

txghia58 (951109) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222248)

If you had read TFA you would have realized that the picture was of a standard airplane they are building to test their skills. They can't do any worse than this http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078681/ [imdb.com]

Re:Why the idle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222392)

Good, I heard Andy Griffith needed a new role.

Re:Why the idle? (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223082)

Exactly! There is nothing wrong with what they are doing. The air plane is not for going in to space. It's how they will sharpen their skills. Then they will move on. This clean slate method can work. I don't know how long it will take and at some point they will need to procure a lot of fuel and materials but the project is in its planning stage. Good luck to them.

Spiritual sequel to (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222150)

I hope they do it and then years from now I can watch about it in movie form, it will be the spiritual sequel to the movie Cool Runnings.

Re:Spiritual sequel to (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222246)

Sanka... you dead?
Ya, mon.

Re:Spiritual sequel to (1)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222756)

Sanka last seen observing local high school science class Egg Drop day with great interest.

Re:Spiritual sequel to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222328)

Well... Lets hope it doesn't end in a malfunction and crash like in Cool Runnings. Hard to spin a happy ending out of a crater.

Re:Spiritual sequel to (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222494)

...crashed, creating a huge crater. Initially, everyone was very sad... but then, when the children of the lost astronauts were dedicating a monument to their parents, they found gold deposit in the crater!

Then, in the sequel.... turns out the gold was really pyrite, and no one had the heart to tell the kids. So they got a free jet trip home, and grew up to make flimsy, unspaceworthy craft - just like their parents. Just so heart warming. And there's a really cute dog involved.

[curtain draws to a close to an inspiring crescendo of melodic log-drumming]

Re:Spiritual sequel to (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223092)

... years from now I can watch about it in movie form...

You already can! [wikipedia.org]

Cardboard boxes (1)

BoogeyOfTheMan (1256002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222174)

When I was a kid, I used to build shuttles in my living room all the time.

Black NASA (0)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222188)

On a related subject, don't miss the Black NASA [youtube.com] documentary.

South Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222192)

Who else thought of the Mexicans in Free Willzyx? $200 for a trip to the moon? No problem.

Background in astronomy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222198)

That is NOT adequate to teach "the dangers of re-entry".

I'd bet that they won't even get off the ground, much less into space, and it's a good thing too because there is NO way their project would survive re-entry.

And yes, I understand that the photograph is a plane, not a space-ship. They haven't started building the space-ship.

To quote a Turkish Footbal team director in his (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222214)

half-assed, self-taught english :

"Everything is something happened" Fatih Terim, Technical Director

(he is trying to say better to have any result than nothing at all).

funny tho it is, this guy have directed various turkish premiere teams, turkish national teams, ac fiorentina, ac milan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatih_Terim [wikipedia.org]

he insisted in talking his half assed self-taught english despite everyone told him to use his assigned translator. ill leave you with another quote from his splendidly horizon-widening english :

"I want to look front - i dont want to look back"

(he means to say he wants to concentrate on matches are to come, rather than dwelling on results of past matches).

Re:To quote a Turkish Footbal team director in his (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222668)

The bad part is I understood exactly what he was talking about.

Four to Six years (2)

markg11cdn (1087925) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222258)

I asked Chris how far away he thinks he is from his dream of sending a manned shuttle into orbit. "Let me tell you", he replied, "building a space shuttle is a big job." He thinks he'll have it done in four to six years.

Maybe they'll beat NASA back to space?

Re:Four to Six years (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222292)

I think two kids, a wagon and a few bottle rockets could beat NASA back to manned space flight.

Top Gear Top Tip: (2)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222280)

Don't use a Reliant Robin.

http://www.topgear.com/uk/videos/space-robin [topgear.com]

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222470)

Although to be fair it did launch pretty well, which is impressive considering, well, its a Reliant Robin. I have no idea how they thought they could get it to land, though.

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222734)

I know! I was watching with bated breath, and was sad to hear that they were done in by one release mechanism. Oh well, it was an amazing episode regardless, and a valiant effort, despite the horrible aerodynamic qualities of the Robin.

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223998)

I was watching with bated breath

Bated! He said bated, not baited! (Bursts into tears of happiness)

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (2)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222844)

Had it not failed to separate from the large fuel tank, then they might have had a chance.

The RC Reliant glider model, while not exactly making a smooth landing, wasn't going very fast when it hit the ground.

After the perfect separation of the SRBs you might suspect that it was rigged to fail, for television.

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223072)

I was suspicious, too, of the big fireball when it hit the ground. What the heck burned so violently? It should have had no fuel of any kind left at that stage? Or were there boosters that would activate once the tank had separated?

Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223144)

Good point, but as a viewer, I would've been much more satisfied had they succeeded. I know that Top Gear often tweaks reality on their shows, but the only entertainment value gained (that I can make out) by blowing the thing up would be the fireball. My guess is that it would've been much less work (and money) and much more climactic to just let the thing succeed.

Getting it into space is one thing.... (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222308)

and getting it back safely to Earth is another. I wish 'em luck.

Re:Getting it into space is one thing.... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222368)

Yeah a reusable shuttle as a first step seems like an unnecessarily massive and risky undertaking...a rocket w/ Apollo-style return module would be a better idea.

Re:Getting it into space is one thing.... (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223114)

but that doesn't sound as good when you get the email asking for donations and reserve your spot when it's flying. Sounds like a scam to me and IMO it's not really news if all they are doing is hoping to do this, that, and the other thing. Lots of people hope to do things which never happen but the cardboard mock-ups look fun.

LoB

Re:Getting it into space is one thing.... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223172)

Yeah a reusable shuttle as a first step seems like an unnecessarily massive and risky undertaking...a rocket w/ Apollo-style return module would be a better idea.

Looking up some thing in the Estes model rocketry [estesrockets.com] catalog would be a better one.

Who says? (1)

andresambrois (1235832) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222316)

Who says that only big, militaristic states are capable of manned space flight?

Gravity. That's who.

Dear Sirs (5, Funny)

bill-kellerman (1063892) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222360)

FROM: Mr. Chris Nsamba

TO: Dear Sirs

Madam:

                I have been requested by the African Space Research Programme to contact you for assistance in resolving a matter. The Programme has recently finalized a large number of contracts for space exploration, in time producing moneys equalling US$40,000,000. However, because of certain regulations of the Ugandan Government, it is unable to move these funds to another region.

                You assistance is requested as a non-Ugandan citizen in moving these funds out of Uganda. If the funds can be transferred to your name, in your United States account, then you can forward the funds as directed by the African Space Research Programme. In exchange for your accomodating services, you will to retain 10%, or US$4 million of this amount.

                Please call me at your earliest convenience. Time is of the essence in this matter; very quickly the Ugandan Government will realize that the Programme will be maintaining this amount on deposit, and attempt to levy certain depository taxes on it.

Yours truly, etc. and so forth.

Chris Nsamba

Re:Dear Sirs (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222574)

lol

Re:Dear Sirs (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222682)

I can help you with that. Send me the money and I'll make sure it gets transfered properly.

Re:Dear Sirs (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223058)

For that kind of money dear sire, you can get half a payload on Falcon 9, and have plenty leftover for kickbacks :)

Re:Dear Sirs (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223128)

BINGO!

LoB

Size & militarism (1)

leandrod (17766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222450)

Who says Uganda is small & peaceful?

Haven't I seen this before? (2)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222468)

I can't help but feel this will end up something like Zambia's space programme [youtube.com] from the 60's.

Good luck, but learn from the big guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222572)

I hope they aren't seriously considering the shuttle design. It was an expensive lesson for a big country. 1. The vehicle was below the boosters, and easily damaged. 2. The promise of quick turnaround with a reusable vehicle never materialized. 3. You need top notch pilots and/or very reliable computer systems to deadstick land every time.

They should work their way up the ladder of rocketry (sounding rocket, space rocket, satellite, manned satellite). It's a proven path to success.

It's a long way to space (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222628)

They won't get there with paint brushes and sandpaper. Space is a long way. They've not even built a working rocket engine yet, and a small team of engineering students? and he thinks he can do it in 6 years? I'm wishing it was possible too but it isn't.

Re:It's a long way to space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223552)

These people don't know what they're doing.

They're so ignorant of the problem that they don't even comprehend how difficult it is. Their proposal to use a wind tunnel to simulate zero g conditions indicates that a good high school student knows more physics than their principal researcher.

Re:It's a long way to space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37224134)

They won't get there with paint brushes and sandpaper. Space is a long way. They've not even built a working rocket engine yet, and a small team of engineering students? and he thinks he can do it in 6 years?

I'm wishing it was possible too but it isn't.

Sure they can! With enough dynamite, anything can get into space.

"I sincerely hope he makes it into space one day." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222634)

I hope he makes it back ... alive.

I heard... (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222652)

That they've retained Billy Bob Thornton as a consultant.

So that's where the Nigerian 419 money went! (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222662)

They were covertly funding a space program!

Re:So that's where the Nigerian 419 money went! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223908)

Because Uganda... Nigeria... it's all the same, right?
Just like the USA and Cuba. Can't tell the difference, right?
Or a spanked monkey and yo mom. Ok that actually really is the same thing. :D

Cargo cult? (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 3 years ago | (#37222784)

Build it, and they will come [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Cargo cult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37224130)

That describes Space Nuttery no matter what country you're in!

A Real Project for Real Teaching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37222806)

A real project is a terrific way to enhance the teaching of engineering, both concepts and practical mechanics. It is the next step after the story-problem, that puts calculations into application formats.

In addition, "insurmountable" barriers are the best incentives to innovate. Consider the "barriers" that the builders of the Paul Allen Spaceship One confronted, and devised solutions for, including a workable para-wing re-entry speed modulating system, in lieu of the ceramic heat-shielding tiles and surfing to hold shy of burn-up.

Even if the Ugandan engineering students never get into space, for having done worked from math to hands-on application they willl have more engineering education than those math-centric 'engineers' who only imagine an idea, draw a concept, look up material and load limits and transfer-calculate them, then go to the machine-shop and say, "Make something like this. Change what you need to.", or ask "Can you make this so it will work for us?"

This is a joke. (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 3 years ago | (#37223168)

It's far from complete, there's still no engine...

Bah! Details, details.

he's been teaching them how to calculate the distance between planets for example

Why? This thing will be lucky to not fall apart before it reaches the upper atmosphere, let alone travel to another planet.

I asked Chris how he plans to simulate zero gravity: "Easy" he said. "I've got a jet engine on order so I'm planning to build a tunnel, put the engine at one end and when I throw a guy in he'll float in a similar way to how he would in space."

Except for the small fact that you have high velocity air screaming at you and every small movement will change your attitude, direction, etc. due to that wind. And this is the guy in charge.

Re:This is a joke. (1)

ZigMonty (524212) | more than 3 years ago | (#37224124)

Wow... this guy is going to get people killed...

Give the guy a chance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223176)

He has little money. They don't have the experience to complete the task. It's my guess that they will not succeed but I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

But they are giving it a go. Instead of insulting the man why doesn't someone on Slashdot with some basic skills or knowledge of the subject offer to lend a helping hand. Maybe some of the amateur rocket scientist could take their knowledge and understanding and help. Perhaps there could be some mutually beneficial outcome.

I have got more sympathy for this man than any of the fat slobs who sit pontificating about the failings of the project or taking easy pot shots.

Re:Give the guy a chance. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223698)

You're an idiot. A moron. A fool.

"Give the guy a chance."

How is anybody here STOPPING him?

The only thing stopping him is the fact that he is BLACK, and therefore not intelligent enough to build a space shuttle.

Or hadn't you noticed?

Why are you suggesting somebody here help him? Why can't Africans help themselves? Gee... could it possibly be because they are significantly LESS INTELLIGENT than white people?

You moron.

"I sincerely hope he makes it into space one day." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223328)

Why? Space is even more hostile than Uganda.

Blacks are just as intelligent as whites... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37223334)

... the TV told me.

Over and over and over, as a matter of fact.

Continuously, every day, for the past fifty years...

And my boss will sack me and ruin my life (i.e. I won't be able to get another job, because I've been sacked for being a 'racist'), if I even begin to broach this subject...

Because, as EVERYBODY on Slashdot knows, blacks ARE NOT as intelligent as whites. Or any other race, for that matter.

Which is why we are all laughing at these black idiots' attempts to build a space shuttle, because we know they can't even build A CAR, for god's sake.

Yet still we have to pretend that they are somehow 'enriching' OUR countries, and pretend that nothing is going to happen when they become 20% of the population, then 30% of the population, then 50%. No, of course not. Because "We're all the same"... as the TV kept telling me, over and over and over again...

Hello, Cargo Cult Science (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37224160)

Constructing an imitation of an existing craft (Scaled Composites): check

No engineering, or even basic science, experience: check

No budget: check

No materials: check

Friends of the guy pretending to do work for the reporter: check

It's just a typical African publicity prank/scam, just more ambitious in premise than usual.

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