The time has come to post some links. Some may be useful, others may just be fun. Still others may just be symptomatic of mental illness on my part :).
Rocketry and Spacecraft
The first thing in the Rocketry and Spacecraft department is bad news and related whinging. The NTRS site has been down for quite awhile. Supposedly in response to the recent espionage charges against Bo Jiang. Seems like a lot of the stuff from the sixties, at least, should have been cleared for ITAR a long time ago. I think its more of an opportunity action by people hostile to open government. Hopefully it’ll all be back up on wikileaks pretty soon ;).
Speaking of Wikileaks, they have the full text of Appendix 6 of the NASA Exploration Systems Architectural Study with lots of juicy details on the various launch vehicle alternatives that were looked at in the study. I especially appreciated the, presumably accurate, weights and measurements of the Atlas and Delta evolution phases. It’s a welcome and useful addition to the rest of the report openly published, here. I’m a fan of the nasaspaceflight.com site, and I’d love to get an L2 account if I ever have that kind of money to spare, but I think this is exactly the sort of information that NASA should have been publishing openly on its own…
Alternate Wars has a nice set of tutorials on the design and modeling of imaginary rockets. The tutorials are intended for modders of the Kerbal Space Program game, but the information on creating 3d rocket models in Blender and figuring out propellant and tank weights is useful to anyone with an interest in this sort of thing. Previously, I used the tank sizing rules from Steven Pietrobon’s Analysis of Propellant Tank Masses(grab that before some Congress-critter decides its a security risk and disappears the thing). One thing I hadn’t been too sure about was how tank masses would vary with propellant density. Pietrobon was looking specifically at hydrolox applications, so I didn’t know how that would vary with kerolox or other propellant combinations. The picture to the left, which I took from Alternate Wars has alleviated my confusion.
In a loosely related vein, this thread has some more pictures of the ‘realistic’ Star Trek DY-100 posted by Winchell Chung(right purdy, those). Samples shown above and to the right. How cool is that? I’m feeling a need to build spaceships! Future post idea!
Stars and Planets
Landon Noll posted a nice table showing stellar parameters by HR and Luminosity class. I like it. It’s a good expansion upon the similar table in 2300AD. Also like the 2300AD table there’s a clear problem with this kind of chart: try as I might, I can’t find any giant stars with masses similar to Sol. This is kind of an argument in favor of the GURPS Space 4th ed. rules for generating stars that start with mass and age and determine HR spectrum and Luminosity class from that. I still like this kind of chart and I’ll likely be using it frequently. It’s just necessary to use a bit of care when considering the parameters of non- main sequence stars.
Even more useful to me was this page by Larry Bogan. I already had the formulae for determining the luminosity of a star from its temperature and radius(and other combos of those values), but the formulae for Color Index and Bolometric Correction are sure nice.
Not that I haven’t had algorithmic simulation of social attributes swimming around in the back of my mind since long before I was inspired to make this post, by a post on Sword vs Dagger about population distribution, but it has been bubbling up a lot lately. Back in the ’80s I played a game on my Amiga called Balance of Power. This was a game about playing power politics without immolating the Earth in nuclear fire! I usually failed on both counts… In spite of that, I was fascinated by the idea of simulating global politics on a computer. I’ve been wanting to do something like GDWs Great Game(Check out the map) for two centuries now.
The way things in life seems to focus on an idea makes me believe in synchronicity. Although, as I’ve said, this idea has been at the back of my head for a long time, but just lately it seems to have come to a head. So I was trawling Atomic Rockets(Winchell Chung again…) looking for stuff on interstellar colonization. This leads me on into his history stuff: Future History, Alternate History and (especially)Modeling History. In the last, Chung brings up Balance of Power and a book detailing something about the internal algorithms of the game. Well after a bit of digging I find a copy of that book right here on the internet. Posted by the author no less.
In another tab, I’m looking at SFRPG forum, mostly to see if Constantine Thomas has anything new going on. There I find a thread on Taxonomies of Governments. I think it’s about time to get my thoughts together and write a post on this particular subject…
GIS, Terrain Generation and Visualization
Another field that needs a bit of love lately. I haven’t done much in this area, but I did run across a couple of good bits. Genesis 4 is a terrain visualization tool that I had a good deal of interest in awhile back, but not enough to loosen the clawlike grip I maintain on my not terribly heavy wallet. Now it’s altogether free. Just look for the registration name, key and validation on the linked page. I’ve messed around a bit with Landformer, but this is nice to see. On the down side, it probably doesn’t bode well for the financial health of the producer or the programs future updatage. Always a cloud…
Next time I boot up Windows, I’ll also try out Nem’s Mega 3D Terrain Generator. Should be good for a lark at least.
Thank you for reading,