Re: Solar sailing

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 22:35:07 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> Nothing. In principle this scheme would provide thrust, but its not clear
> the advantage of having the propellant in a solid form to start with.
> Why not just use the standard liquid fuel with the energy to drive
> the propellant stored in the propellant itself?

Flinging rocks off the stern of a big rock still might make sense.

> The SSTO guys seem to
> think the ultimate goal is SSTO. My observation only, but it leads me
> to post my own slogan, which should be my sig line:
> Anything that can be done with one stage can be done better with two. spike

We've known that you need a comfortable Isp margin for SSTO since at
least von Braun and Heinlein. Single-H or fission (yeah, as if!). That
advanced materials tech might eventually permit SSTO with conventional
chemical power doesn't mean you'll have, e.g., anything like a useful
bring-down weight. People have solo sprint summited Mount Everest, too,
but that doesn't make it anything other than a spectacular stunt.

I let myself get suckered into hoping, a bit, for Rotary and the DC-X.
Neither of which horse got backed long enough to even fail gloriously,
and both of which were shoestring operations compared to the X-33 and


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