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Brazil Successfully Launches Its First Rocket To Space

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the nasa-will-keep-making-spaceporn dept.

Space 309

thatshortkid writes "The Washington Times is reporting on Brazil's first successful space launch. Since it is closer to the equator, the task of getting up to space is easier, meaning much more cargo room over fuel. Hello commercial launch market! With this development, along with China's expanding space program, India making moves to space, and our own homegrown (ok, still growing) private space industry, where does this put NASA? Does it take a load off of them to pursue bigger endeavors, or will NASA slowly decline in relevance?"

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Good for them... (-1, Troll)

Effofx (640933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615679)

But bottle rockets don't really count!

Re:Good for them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615947)

Haha teh US-boi trys to be funnay haha

People said they were crazy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615681)

It turned out they were just Brazil nuts.

Whew! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615682)

FP.

Whew ! What a load of my chest.

The space club (-1)

Vlion (653369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615684)

Welcome to the space club.
Join us in the ring of nations that are slowly spacing out...wait...that was for the LSD association....

Re:The space club (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615738)

Where can I sign up? Do members get rabates?

Confused (3, Insightful)

Rand Huck (821621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615686)

...can anyone tell me how being close to the equator makes it easier to get to space?

Anyway, great for Brazil! Hopefully the US won't look down on them like they did the Chinese.

Re:Confused (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615699)

A rocket being launched from the equator is less affected from the earth's gravitational pull.

Re:Confused (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615748)

A rocket being launched from the equator is less affected from the earth's gravitational pull.

One might wish to review the definition of 'sphere.'

Advance students can move on to 'spheroid' and consider the consequences.

KFG

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615937)

That is actually a correct observation. The distance from the center of mass is greatest at the equator, precisely because earth is not a sphere but a spheroid. But the difference is only about 20 kilometers at most and there are more important advantages to launching from the equator than that.

Re:Confused (5, Informative)

thorndt (814642) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615708)

You get a bigger boost from the rotation of the earth near the equater. Sort of a slingshot effect.

Re:Confused (1, Funny)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615728)

sept without McCoy and Scotty telling you about transparent aluminum or having to shuttle whales back and forth...

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615764)

Escape velocity is going to be the same anywhere on earth.

The earth does not impart energy to the rocket as it heads to orbit.

Rather, launching near the equator makes it easier to reach a more convenient orbit, esp. on the return to earth.

Re:Confused (2, Informative)

dustman (34626) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615797)

If you're standard directly on the earth's axis of rotation (at the north or south pole), then you are not moving with respect to the center of the earth (although you are rotating once per 24 hours).

If you stand on the equator, then you are moving at speed ((circumference of the earth) / 24 hours), which is roughly 1000mph, with respect to the center of the earth.

Re:Confused (4, Informative)

NarrMaster (760073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615800)

Narr [northwestern.edu]

Re:Confused (1, Redundant)

apanap (804545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615803)

Earths rotation DOES help. A point on the equator moves at something like 450 m/s, for a low earth orbit you have to reach a (horisontal) velocity of about 7500 m/s. So assuming the desired orbit is in the directon of earths rotation these 450 m/s will be "for free". It's also convinient for GEO satellites or any other equatorial orbit since a launch from a more northern/southern launch spot would reqiure a plane change after launch, which can require quite a lot of extra fuel for a large satellite. For polar orbits a launch pad closer to the poles is often better.

Re:Confused (5, Informative)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615828)

No, the rotation (rpm) of the earth is the same everywhere, but the diameter varies- the equator is further from the axis than nearer the pole. So it rotates in the same time, but has further to go- so it is going faster- about 300 m/s faster.

Now, the escape velocity is the same everywhere, but you get a headstart.

It is also true that launching nearer the equator helps with orbits- it's only possible to launch to an orbit that passes over the launch site (without doing a 'dogleg' which wastes lots of fuel.) All orbits cross the equator, so it's the best place to launch from that point of view. However, the equatorial orbits don't pass over, say, Kazakhstan or New York, so you can't as efficiently launch from there to Geosynchronous orbits or other near-equatorial orbits.

Re:Confused (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615887)

Nobody's trying to escape earth these days. We're also not shooting things into orbit with slingshots. Instead we pretty much continuously propel our objects until they reach the desired orbit, and yes, since the angular speed of the earth is the same everywhere on earth, resulting in lower linear speed for smaller surface "orbits", a launch vehicle has a head start at the equator.

Don't believe me? Try an experiment: Sit on an office chair so that rotational friction is minimal. With your arms pointing to the sides, hold something heavy in your hands and have someone put you into rotation. Now pull the heavy objects closer to you. Observe that your angular speed increases the closer you hold the heavy objects to the center of rotation. That is an effect of the conservation of energy. It works like that the other way around too. To end up with the same angular speed at orbit distance (arms stretched), you have to start with a faster rotation if you hold the satellite (heavy object) closer to the center of rotation (further away from the equator -> closer to the earth's axis). This isn't possible on earth because the angular speed is the same everywhere, so the lack of momentum from the earth's rotation has to be compensated by additional fuel. More fuel is an expensive choice because it isn't linear: More fuel means heavier rocket, means even more fuel.

Re:Confused (-1, Flamebait)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615773)

Sort of a slingshot effect

That's kinda like all the power of the slashdot effect, only harnessed for good[1], not evil.

(Anything that gets more brazilians off this planet must be a good thing, right?)

Re:Confused (3, Insightful)

Colonel Cholling (715787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615864)

Anything that gets more brazilians off this planet must be a good thing, right?

So the Brazilians are smart enough to launch a rocket into space, and your best comeback is a display of racist ignorance straight out of the nineteenth century?

Re:Confused (4, Informative)

Turing Machine (144300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615830)

Yes. Note that almost all existing spaceports are close to the equator (or as close as is practical given national boundaries). The United States launches from Florida. Russia launches from Baikonur in Kazakhstan (not all that far south, but about as far as you can get and still be in the boundaries of the former Soviet Union). The European Space Agency launches from French Guiana in South America.

Re:Confused (2, Informative)

igny (716218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616054)

See also Sea Launch Project [energia.ru] , a joint venture by American, Russian, Ukrainian, Norvegian, British companies.

Re:Confused (3, Interesting)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615846)

Which makes me wonder why NASA doesn't launch from Guam, which at only 12 degrees 75 minutes north is, as far as I know, the closest US territory to the equator. They already have two air force bases there (Anderson and another which I can't be bothered to look up). Do you think it is because of environmental concerns or simply the logistical effort required to ship all the hardware to the midle of the Pacific?

Re:Confused (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615722)

The Earth bulges at the equator, so you're closer to space!

Re:Confused (4, Informative)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615725)

Most of the effort in getting into space is not in getting up, but in getting enough speed. You have to be going several km/sec to stay in low earth orbit. The Earth spins pretty fast, about 0.4km/sec at the equator, and getting less and less as you get farther away, finally resulting in zero speed at the poles. Every bit of speed you gain from the Earth's spin is a bit of speed you don't have to provide with your rocket. This means you need less fuel, can carry greater payloads, etc.

Re:Confused (3, Insightful)

marktaw.com (816752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615726)

Because the closer you are to the equator, the faster you're moving already. Once you leave the ground, the fact that the Earth is spinning has little to do anything you might be doing, but the fact that you were spinning faster when you left means you have more momentum already and it's easier for you to achieve escape velocity

Think of an ice skater spinning on the ice. If they held their arm out and dropped a ball, it would go flying. If it fell off of their head it would just drop to the ground. That same force created by the spin of the earth slingshots the spacecraft into space.

Someone with more of a scientific background may be able to fill in the technical bits.

It does not make it easier to get to space (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615860)

Being near the equator doesn't make getting into space easier. However, it does make it easier to get into a low-inclination orbit. Polar orbits are actually harder from the equator.

(Note to other commenters: The business about the Earth's equatorial bulge is mostly a red herring. Launching from a mountain or a plateau would have a much stronger effect, but no-one really bothers to do that.)

Re:Confused (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615938)

The Earth is taller than it is wide, that is, the circumference is less along the equator than pole to pole. What this is means is there is more stuff underneath you the closer you are to a pole, so gravity is higher. It's actually enough to be measured by a conventional scale. At a pole, Earth's gravity pulls at 9.83 m/s^2. At the equator it pulls at 9.78 m/s^2.
This isn't the only reason, however.

Argentina (2, Informative)

Beuno (740018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615691)

Over here in Argentina there have been numerous atempts to do this, having the same advantage as Brazil. Our goverments havent been able to succesfully do anything, so congrats to Brazil!

Re:Argentina (0, Flamebait)

saden1 (581102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615792)

Didn't your economy partially collapse? Argentina simply doesn't have the financial means to support a space program, especially when the general public is having a hard time paying their utility.

Re:Argentina (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10616048)

Didn't your economy partially collapse?
You Americans sure are unusually cocky these days, considering the Dow can't break 10,000 (no matter how many scams attempt to inflate corporate profits) and the US dollar has plummeted this year. FYI, US quit serious funding to NASA some time ago - shuttle program is dead; new R/D is struggling; and the government sees NASA at best as a military asset.

Re:Argentina (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616051)

Well, argentina has developed its own technology in a few areas, the invap company has built a few satellites as well as nuclear reactors for export.

Re:Argentina (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615948)

>> Over here in Argentina there have been numerous atempts to do this, having the same advantage as Brazil.

And that same advantage would be?

Because, if you're talking about the geographical advantage (i.e., launching at the Equator), well... you don't have it. Argentine is too far to the South.

Argentinians tipically have great culture and would never make such a mistake, maybe you're talking about something I don't understand...

Dear Slashdot (5, Funny)

Letter (634816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615692)

Dear Slashdot,

Brazil has certainly taken over Orkut. NASA is clearly the next logical step.

Letter

Future of NASA... (-1, Redundant)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615693)

I depends, of course. USA have the quite excluseive choice of letting NASA be a spearhead of research into outer space with all the cool tech that will follow. Or letting it rot in irrelevance and slowing down the progress of science.

Fly me to el munio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615694)

T(r)opical - no? Geez, tough to get a laugh round here... :)

Much later than I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615705)

And all this time I thought the Moonraker was launched from somewhere around there back in the 70s.

wasn't Nasa supposed to head to Mars? ... (3, Funny)

xlyz (695304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615714)

... to search for the missing WMD?

NASA relevant? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615715)

"...or will NASA slowly decline in relevance?"

Maybe NASA will actually acquire enough technology from private enterprise to actually put a man on the moon!

Re:NASA relevant? (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615798)

You mean like all the Apollo and Mercury and Gemini gear that was built by NASA didn't...wait, that all was private enterprise at work there too.

Do people really think all that stuff was built by NASA? Well, if you do, it wasn't. Boeing, Lockheed,North American, and the list goes on. IIRC the LEM had over 4000 subcontractors sending things into Lockheed for the assembly of it.

Look here
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP -4009/ v1p3a.htm

"In addition, the Apollo Project Office, which had been part of the MSC Flight Systems Division, would now report directly to the MSC Director and would be responsible for planning and directing all activities associated with the completion of the Apollo spacecraft project. Primary functions to be performed by the Office would include:

Monitor the work of the Apollo Principal Contractor NAA and Associate Contractors."

Principal contractor NAA, well that means North American Aircraft, because they were building it and developing the technology.

Sorry to snap, but wow it's annoying when people accuse NASA of falling behind because they've not outsourced, when in fact, that's what NASA does to get stuff built.

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-420 4/ ch9-1.html

List of big contractors and agencies.

Em portugese (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615719)

O sao Luis, Brasil, outubro 24 (UPI) -- Brasil lançou seu primeiro foguete no espaço, um feat que viesse apenas 14 meses depois que seu programa do espaço devastated por um acidente mortal da almofada do lançamento.

Os oficiais brazilian do espaço estão esperando que um vôo de teste bem sucedido do foguete ajude ao rebound do programa do espaço de nation's do último acidente de year's em que muitos de cientistas e do pessoal superiores do espaço de Brazil's foram matados quando um foguete fundiu acima no centro de Alcantara durante o liftoff.

Ajudaria também a Brasil promover Alcantara como um venue ideal para as missões multinacionais futuras, como sua proximidade ao equador -- dentro de um par dos graus -- makes para uns lançamentos mais fáceis no espaço. A terra move-se mais rapidamente no equador.

Os veículos necessitam conseqüentemente menos empurrado para começar no espaço, permitindo que carregue mais carga no lugar do combustível adicional.

Re:Em portugese (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615811)

Uhhh...yo no comprehende.

No Leif Eriksen in Outer Space (0, Offtopic)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615723)

Since it is closer to the equator, the task of getting up to space is easier
That explains why Iceland doesn't have a space program. Plus it's really hard to get off the ground with geothermal power.

Cash (4, Insightful)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615724)

Talk about a growth market. Poor country, cheap ground for large launch facilities, decent tourist(y) spots along the coast... If they can attract the market, they're in to make some money.

Whose stock do I buy?

Re:Cash (1)

Matheus Villela (784960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615872)

You can't buy stocks, this has nothing to do with money, it's about technology, government technology.

the Brazilian female astronauts suits! (-1, Troll)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615730)

Aye carrumba!!! Aye-eee!!!! Enough to make a man want to go to Mars ;-)

-psy

Re:the Brazilian female astronauts suits! (4, Informative)

keeboo (724305) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615843)

Aye carrumba!!! Aye-eee!!!!

No need to mock Brazil with Mexican-ish expressions.
As if everything below Texas were some sort of uniform Hispanic cultural goo. People don't even speak Spanish in Brazil.

Re:the Brazilian female astronauts suits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10616050)

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend the Frenchies.

Re:the Brazilian female astronauts suits! (2, Informative)

Matheus Villela (784960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615889)

Brazilians speaks portuguese [wikipedia.org] , not spanish [wikipedia.org] .

Re:the Brazilian female astronauts suits! (0, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615925)

Yeah, carnival time. Yeah hah.

Poor NASA (4, Funny)

Cat9117600 (627358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615733)

Looks like NASA's relevance is going the way of NASA's funding! Ooh. Zing!

Ok, but where (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615747)

I swear to god, I'm Brazilian and I CAN'T FIND IT!

Where is it??? No one reported it!!!

I checked the newspapers, I cat' find a single word.

add one more country (4, Insightful)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615754)

...to the list of those on pace to beat the US in sci/tech within 30 or so years.

Re:add one more country (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615992)

Don't add Brazil in this case.


They are using a booster provided by an former USSR missile manufacturer, not an independently produced launcher. And we already know that the former USSR could launch satalites.

Re:add one more country (5, Insightful)

Temporal Outcast (581038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616067)

Hmmm, I do not quite understand the preoccupation that the US needs to be numero uno in everything.

Yes, I'm from the US myself - but I would much rather see humanity go somewhere, than just this country.

Germany was once the world's leading hub of sci-tech for a while, then it was Russia and now it is the US. We may be the number one, or we may not - nobody knows yet. However, that does not mean we have to look at it from the perspective of the US being beaten by someone or the US beating someone.

It's all for science's sake and humanity's sake!

So here's three cheers for Brazil :-)

NASA still has an important role. (1, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615761)

We should allow private enterprise to develop space travel. The free market (notwithstanding the Mexican government intervention generating hordes of illegal aliens flooding into the USA) has repeatedly shown that it is better at creating commercial solutions than the public sector.

The government should, in general, exit the free market and should stop funding technology projects. The only role that government should play is in funding pure-science projects. Commercial companies do not have the spare change or time horizon (i.e. shareholders expecting results each quarter) to invest in studying, for example, "The Theory of Everything".

Thus, NASA still has a role. NASA should focus on long-term projects like sending exploratory probes or people to Mars. The American government should spread its largesse to the physics department at top universities. Supporting the pure sciences requires government support.

By the way, exiting the free market also means that the American government should force the Mexican government, the Chinese government, and the Indian government out of the free market and should force them to enforce Western standards of human rights, workers' rights, and environmental and consumer protection, shutting down the H-1B program. If they do not comply, then we kick the Mexicans, the Chinese, and the Indians out of the American market. Free trade means that that we trade only with other nations who support free trade.

Re:NASA still has an important role. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615903)

Wow....+5 Interesting. Moderators must be asleep at the swtich today. This thing reeks of troll from here to southern Alabama.

Re:NASA still has an important role. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615950)

>the American government should force the Mexican government, the Chinese government, and the Indian government out of the free market

The american goverment should just fuck itself and all of it mega-fat citizens

I'm all for the US goverment enforcing death penalty for everyone over 220lb

How about your people force your goverment to tell the truth? To not rig votes?
You are a fscking third world country by all standards.

should stop funding technology projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10616030)

Wow, what a brilliant idea!

Re:NASA still has an important role. (2, Informative)

mks180 (442267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616093)

"The only role that government should play is in funding pure-science projects." I guess you don't work at a NASA center. There's significant pressure on NASA researchers to bring in outside customers to cover their salaries and costs of running facilities, which implies not doing pure-science research. There's some interesting dynamics playing out: government researchers trying to get funding from the private sector while the private sector tries to get funding from the government.

While it may affect NASA (5, Insightful)

marktaw.com (816752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615770)

While it may affect NASA, I doubt it will cripple them. Commercial flights are going to focus on getting people in to space (for large sums of money). NASA will focus on sending large, heavy payloads in to space, like communications satellites. It may actually be beneficial for NASA to partner with, say, Brazil to get the advantages of their location (though transporting all those sensitive things would be a royal PITA), but I don't think the advantage will be so large that they'll do it.

Plus, NASA has a research focus, sending things to Mars or the Moon, which simply isn't commercially interesting right now. Maybe when we discover oil on mars (because, you know, they had dinosaurs) or some benefit that would intrigue the medical research corporations, Mars or the Moon may become interesting, but until then, nobody is going to sponsor all the research NASA does. And since experimentation in a weightless environment wasn't too terribly fascinating for them, I don't think Mars would be either.

So I think NASA will pretty much stay put, but the competition will 1) make them step up their game a bit, and 2) allow them to focus their resources on the things nobody else is currently doing.

Re:While it may affect NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615916)

What are you talking about? Nasa's prerogative has always been to give private industry the technology to become self-perpetuating. Just going into space can 'de-risk' and provide private industry with the confidence they need to get finance. Nasa has no business going to Space! The US government want to get private industry (preferably American..) up there as soon as possible.
For this reason, if Nasa is successful, it will cease to exist. So talking about Nasa's declining because of its failure is really missing the point.

Re:While it may affect NASA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615965)

> Maybe when we discover oil on mars
There must be oil on mars, how else would you explain Bushs support for going there?

I'm sure Halliburton is already waiting, rubbing their hands

WalMart rocket in every garage (1, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615788)

The solution is obvious: offshore NASA to cut costs!

Third World (1, Troll)

Shadwell (709447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615791)

Why are millions and millions of dollars being poured into space programs when Brazil, China and India are all considered Third World Countries. (China may be on the fence.) Wouldn't this money be better spent on social programs?

Re:Third World (3, Informative)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615835)

Not commenting about China or India, but see this [bbc.co.uk] coverage on BBC. Notice the phrase "Brazil hopes the successful launch will push forward its plans to sell 15 of its VSV-30 rockets to the European Space Agency." Perhaps selling those rockets/renting launch facilities will provide more money to spend on social programs?

Re:Third World (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615841)

chuinf, cry a little tear bastard!

Re:Third World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615853)

"A First World Country was one that was industrialised and had generally accepted the concept of capitalism and world trade, a Second World Country was one that was equally industrialised but had rejected capitalism, notably in favour of communism or marxism, and were more self focused while the Third World Countries were simply those that didn't fit either of these two models"

China would be a Second World country...

Re:Third World (1)

Shadwell (709447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615971)

Actually, that was the second generationd definition of Third World, etc. The first was used during the French Revolution to describe the church, the royalty and everybody else. Your definitions were used during the Cold War to define sides; Communist, Capitalist and those on the fence. Today only Third World is really used and is used to describe very poor and underdeveloped countries.

Re:Third World (2, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615871)

no it wouldn't.

besides.. this is a social program of sorts.. it's meant to generate money AND jobs.. a stable source of income - THAT'S what helps people.

Re:Third World (5, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615876)

Why are millions and millions of dollars being poured into space programs when Brazil, China and India are all considered Third World Countries. (China may be on the fence.) Wouldn't this money be better spent on social programs?

Perhaps because this will also create native technology and bring more jobs (directly and indirectly)?
I do not think that merely producing tons of sugar and coffee each year will be enough to improve the conditions in any country.

Re:Third World (3, Insightful)

invisik (227250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615994)

Yes, I find that to be a trend, somewhat reverse of what you'd think should be done. The government can't come up with the funds to provide the social programs, so they make some big money in some business venture to fund the social programs. It'll be interesting in the next 5-10 years to see how some of these countries are doing with this tactic...

-m

Re:Third World (1)

Shadwell (709447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615997)

Would anyone care to explain how this is flamebait? I really am wondering why countries that don't have much in the way of resources are developing a space industry instead of a more 'tried and true' form of industry.

ESA (5, Insightful)

mchinand (22369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615794)

The European Space Agency has been taking advantage of an equatorial launch site for 40 years in French Guiana [esa.int] . NASA has managed to remain relevant during those 40 years, so I don't foresee Brazil's recent launch changing that.

Re:ESA (1)

apanap (804545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615847)

Both NASA and ESA have Really Expensive Rockets [tm] though. If Brazil can lower the prices enough, they might end up with a big chunk of the cake for commercial satellites...

Why did they choose this type of rocket? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615812)

I have heard a lot about how you can save on fuel by flying an airplane as high as possible and launching a much smaller rocket from the air into space. If you recall, this is exactly what the Space Ship One team did to win the X Prize. Would anyone happen to know why we don't see more nations investing on this technology? It sounds like a better solution for commercial launches. Why China, India, and Brazil insist on investing on this "land-to-space" type of rockets?

Re:Why did they choose this type of rocket? (2, Insightful)

kd5ujz (640580) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615940)

I would guess a leo or higher orbit would be hard to calculate frome a moving airplane. On a fixed launch platform, you can set a windows for a launch that will not slam your new super duper seeformiles spy satellite into HBO1 or MTV7. ( made up satellite names). In a plane, you would need some pretty nifty navigational computers, plus acurate time, altitude, longitude, latitude, wind direction, and whatever else would be required to put a bird into orbit. On the ground you just have to worry about the weather. Lon,Lat, ALT will not change. Space ship one can do what they do because they are not going into orbit. just going up, and falling back down. This info could be total bullshit, I dont know, just some thoughts I pulled out of the air.

Re:Why did they choose this type of rocket? (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616097)

Maybe for strategic reasons Historically the first rockets in space exploration were basically modified icbms, from a militaristic viewpoint those who can launch a satellite into orbit can launch a warhead everywhere in the planet more or less.

The problem with NASA (3, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615822)

NASAs biggest problem is that it took its eye off the ball and lost direction. I think after they got to the moon they didn't really know what to do next so they just went to the moon a few more times rather than expanding their horizon and maybe trying to push on to Mars. They had something that captured the publics imagination with the HST but have now cocked it up to the point where the average person is just confused.

I admit you have to do some science to justify the expense of space missions but Jo Public only understands pictures and the science leaves him bored. Jo Publics attention span is also only just longer than that of the average goldfish so you have to keep the thrills coming. People will wait maybe a year for something amazing but they won't wait 10 years. NASA has got to remember that the public are funding them so they had better put on a good show.

Boom in Brazil (3, Insightful)

daperdan (446613) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615832)

I'd love to see a technology boom in Brazil. What a perfect place to live. Beautiful country. Beautiful weather. Perfect beaches. I'd never choose a position in Brazi over India. Brazil wins hands down. Let's hope technology continues to boom in Brazil! I'd relocate in a second if the opportunity existed. Beleza Pura!

Re:Boom in Brazil (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615964)

and it's MUCH easier for a native english speaker to learn Portugese than Hindi, too

didn't brazil elect a pinko-terrorist leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615840)

we should invade them before they manage to aquire weapons of mass destruction

Re:didn't brazil elect a pinko-terrorist leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615939)

Why invade? NK, pakastan, and shortly Iran are building them. Soon, any tom, dick, and osama will be able to buy them. And with the US sitting with 1/2 of the troops in Iraq, just about everybody will.

But the question is... (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615842)

...did Sam Lowry escape on the rocket?

Pretty quick comeback. (3, Insightful)

praedictus (61731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615851)

As I had commented earlier today in another story, what's more impressive is the rapid recovery from last year's explosion. Funny the Brazilians are fond of conspiracy stories about that. (Quite a few think the CIA had something to do with it - leftover distrust from the era of military rule) This launch was not as ambitious as the craft which was destroyed, but at least Brazil didn't stay paralyzed after the tragedy. Hopefully they can keep up the momentum - without attracting too much attention. Certain parties might view the recent nuclear developments (new enrichment technology) in association with the rocket program and start thinking Brasil is developing ICBM's

Off topic aside - I had thought about posting this story but I had submitted one about Operacao Cavalo de Troia II - 53 phish scammers busted for over 30M in bank fraud -19 of them in the interior city where I work, I had some relatively inside information on the bust. But no I'm not bitter :P

Re:Pretty quick comeback. (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615942)

I wondered about that too, sort of. WHether or not Brazil thinks they could build a nuclear ICBM, what's the chance that they would accept a contract to launch someone else's payload?

Re:Pretty quick comeback. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615973)

Quite a few think the CIA had something to do with it - leftover distrust from the era of military rule)

You do know that Alcantara (where the rocket was launched from) is controlled by Americans, don't you? But it seems taht our (Brazil's) current governement will (or already did) cancel that contract.

great (-1, Flamebait)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615855)

more unregulated space junk.

I think we need a very strong Earth orbit governance body with the US and Russia as permanent members (were we were the first up there).

Re:great (1)

kd5ujz (640580) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615978)

Russia was the first into orbit, and it scared the shit out of the USA.

Re:great (2, Insightful)

doshell (757915) | more than 9 years ago | (#10616070)

I think we need a very strong Earth orbit governance body with the US and Russia as permanent members (were we were the first up there).

Why not make all countries of the world permanent members, instead of Russia and the USA solely?

Latest pools shows... (0, Offtopic)

Ismenio (629516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615867)

... that 73% of Brazilians approve this endeavour and want the space program to continue. The other 27% want the Brazilian space agency to stop faking it! :)

Not an orbital launch (4, Informative)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615869)

This wasn't a launch to orbit. It was a large suborbital rocket, just going up and down again.

The US calls these sounding rockets.

Hopefully Brazil will get its satellite launch program back up and running. It was severely damaged when one of the solid rocket motors ignited in a rocket being set up on the pad for launch, which destroyed the pad and killed the technicians working to set it up.

Off Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615893)

Miller called Pike 'Unix Co-Creator'. He's only been using Unix since - 1998? Go to his website. Look at the whiskers on that buzzard.

He's some kind of ASS.

Now every second country... (1, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615894)

...launches a space program, but honestly its nothing but fragmenting resources. Countries need to team up and do make ONE common space program. Its time to put away national pride, propaganda etc, because let's face it: a country in itself be it even the USA is small to run a space program. We need two things: the international science community to work together and nations to work together (giving funding to ONE common space program). We are 15 years after the cold war and we dont need to compete with other nations. Its high time the countries join together, create an international organization leading the project and start pumping money only there...this organization should work on developing all the new stuff and pioneering space travel and aswell trying to figure out how to formalize commercial space travel, we do need some rules and regulations in it. I can imagine it like an international agreement signed by the countries who would like to let companies into space. Well i dont expect this to happen all at once, but -imo- this is the logical thing to do.

Did i mention the expression space program yet? ;)

Whats with all the anti-Nasa remarks?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615902)

Can't we all just get along?

nasa to outsource to remain in the game. (1)

C_REZ (568254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615931)

closer to equator - easier to get out? oh no! space travel and research - another american industry potentially to be outsourced. can u imagine a nasa logo stamped on space crafts made abroad and manned by outsourced astronauts - who are trained in nasa approved training programs - and who are just as qualified if not more so in some aspects as their expensive american counterparts.

Pretty confused article (5, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615949)

The summary is pretty bizarre. Brazil's launch is to a viable commercial launch system what the Wright Flier is to a 747. It was quite an accomplishment (coming after the previous accidents) but hardly anything more than a promising start along a 15-20 year road, with optimism. RTFA.

Additionally, the development of more commercial launch capability is essentially absurd - given that there is a huge overcapacity in commercial launch capability.

Moreover, NASA has had very little or nothing to do with commercial launch for many, many years. Private companies have been doing this essentially on their own for a long time. They use the same launchers and use Cape facilities. But NASA pays just like everybody else, when they use expendable vehicles. So the relevance of even more commercial launch capability would have no effect in any way on NASA - even assuming that this was what the Brazilians were doing - which they are not.

As far a "looking down on the Chinese" - well, given that they have had exactly one manned launch with capabilities similar to a Gemini flight from 40 years ago, (and an incredible string of accidents including dropping fully-fueled boosters into innocent villlages, destroying them almost completely, and then doing theor utmot to cover it up, and crashing a film return capsule into someone's house just last week) I thought that NASA's reaction was quite charitable. Given the problems in trying to run an international program with the highly-experienced Russians, and the apalling technology-transfer implications, it's hard to see how it would be a wise idea to jump on the Chinese bandwagon with the ISS or other international cooperation projects.

Other than that, excellent summary of the original article.

Oh that was it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10615952)

I heard the thing going up with a noisy samba rumbling noise.

Get ready to receive BSS your Brazil soccer station 24/7.

Shut Down NASA or Scale it Way Back (1, Troll)

notestein (445412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615989)

I've reached a point where I don't think NASA should be in manned space flight or commercial launches.

I think that it should either be shut down or just focus on unmanned scientific missions and some basic materials and propulsion research.

Let the commercial sector do what it does best, take risks in money making ventures. Though we do need to keep the tort lawyers out.

Fold manned space flight and other such ventures back into the DOD where they make sense to pursue in national defense. They will take the risks that NASA can't stomach.

Thank goodness... (0, Flamebait)

Stratis_Gus_Aftousmi (822829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615996)

...someones going into space!
I was befuddled when the NASA "space dog" project
failed...(dog died)

I have a pretty good feeling Brazil is
going to pick up the slack! I'll have to
consider Brazil my next travel destination,
"been to space!" always helps with that decision.

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