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From: "Paul F Austin" <>
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: The Containment of Communist China
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 19:04:54 -0500

"George Herbert" wrote in message news:87shh8$
> Diane Wilson <> wrote:
> >Russia never made anything as big as the Saturn V.  They tried
> >and failed; their technology wasn't up to it (among other problems).
> >Granted, we don't build Saturn V any more, either, but the reason
> >is simply that there's no demand for rockets that big.
> The Energia was Saturn-V sized.  Admittedly, it only flew twice
> (once with Buran, once with a test upper stage payload).  But it flew.
> The N-1 failed for numerous complex reasons, mostly having to do with
> budget... the fundamental technology and engineering appear to have
> been sound, but the details failed in ways which more R&D time and
> money would have found.  The US had that money and time and S-V
> worked right.  The Russians did not, and N-1 failed.  It can be
> argued that some of its technical design choices were too primitive
> and contributed, but the same sorts of tradeoffs were made on the
> R-7 launcher family and Proton and work just fine there.

The Russians have the best liquid fueled rocket motor designs in the
world. That was brought home to me, reading about L-M's experience using
Russian RD-180 engines in the new Atlas V.

The schedule for booster integration and checkout includes lots of time
for chasing leaks in the pipes between tankage and engines. L-M's people
put those steps into the Atlas V's schedule. The Russians said "what
leaks? Build the piping to our Interface Drawings and it won't leak." Sure
enough, L-M built to print and no leaks were found.

You can count the number of centerline rocket motor designs done in the
West with your fingers. The Russians have done many more and the
production volumes were lots higher, since Soviet spacecraft had short
mission lives. In consequence, the Russian (and Ukrainian) designers
learned to take the drama out of high performance turbo machinery and
liquid engines.

Conscience, that quiet voice that says "Someone may be watching"

Paul F Austin

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