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  #1  
Old 09-11-2009, 08:43 AM
cscmc1's Avatar
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To the moon! By balloon?

This is pretty cool! Promo video at the link below...

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2009/09/romania_to_the_moon_by_balloon.html

Romania's moon balloon dreams draw near! - September 10, 2009


The Indian moon probe has failed; the future of the US space programme is in question; low-earth orbit is littered with junk. But at a time when there are so many reasons to say "no" to space, Romania is saying "da!" (that's yes in Romanian).

The brave members of the non-profit Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA) are determined to get to the moon in a balloon. Yep, a balloon. According to Xinhua (sadly about the only non-Romanian outfit to cover the story), they are planning a test launch next month!

Regular readers of the blog already know of my moon-balloon obsession. It sounds insane but it's not: The idea is to launch a balloon with a rocket hanging from the bottom. Once at altitude, the rocket will fire, carrying a bizarre beach-ball probe on its glorious mission of seleno-Carpathian conquest.

This rocket-balloon trick was briefly tried by the Americans in the 1950s, but it was eventually abandoned in favor of other kinds of rockets that couldn't be blown off the test range by a strong gust (not kidding!).

ARCA is too bold to be deterred by these problems. Yesterday they announced that their first moon-balloon prototype will launch in October. Once again, they're bristling with innovation: Rather than working with costly staging systems of the sort that keep causing Korean satellites to crash, the Romanians have a plan. They're going to tie the second and third stages to the first with a bit of cable. Once the first stage is done, they'll cut the cable and fire the second. When that runs out, they'll cut the cord and fire the third! If you're in doubt about whether this can work, ARCA has created another incredible video for you to watch that shows just how it will happen (see below).

Once again, there is some method to this madness: The team hopes that the dangling weight of the second stage and payload behind the first will help to stabilize the rocket and keep it pointing straight away from the earth. Assuming all goes well the Romanians will launch a suborbital probe from the Black Sea next month.

Joking aside, there is something about the wacky sincerity of ARCA's plans that makes me really hope this works. I'm very excited to see what will happen!
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2009, 09:23 AM
dynalow's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cscmc1 View Post
This is pretty cool! Promo video at the link below...

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2009/09/romania_to_the_moon_by_balloon.html

Romania's moon balloon dreams draw near! - September 10, 2009


Regular readers of the blog already know of my moon-balloon obsession. It sounds insane but it's not: The idea is to launch a balloon with a rocket hanging from the bottom. Once at altitude, the rocket will fire, carrying a bizarre beach-ball probe on its glorious mission of seleno-Carpathian conquest.

This rocket-balloon trick was briefly tried by the Americans in the 1950s, but it was eventually abandoned in favor of other kinds of rockets that couldn't be blown off the test range by a strong gust (not kidding!).

ARCA is too bold to be deterred by these problems. Yesterday they announced that their first moon-balloon prototype will launch in October. Once again, they're bristling with innovation: Rather than working with costly staging systems of the sort that keep causing Korean satellites to crash, the Romanians have a plan. They're going to tie the second and third stages to the first with a bit of cable. Once the first stage is done, they'll cut the cable and fire the second. When that runs out, they'll cut the cord and fire the third! If you're in doubt about whether this can work, ARCA has created another incredible video for you to watch that shows just how it will happen (see below).

Once again, there is some method to this madness: The team hopes that the dangling weight of the second stage and payload behind the first will help to stabilize the rocket and keep it pointing straight away from the earth. Assuming all goes well the Romanians will launch a suborbital probe from the Black Sea next month.

Joking aside, there is something about the wacky sincerity of ARCA's plans that makes me really hope this works. I'm very excited to see what will happen!
Hope is not a plan, unless you are talking American politics

I assume this is a one way trip?
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2009, 03:15 PM
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wow, I could see this thing dropping on a city, what guides the descent?
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