Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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Saturday, June 5, 2010


Falcon 9 launch, photo
SpaceX's Falcon 9 put a dummy payload into orbit yesterday afternoon. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. It's one thing to launch something that will reach outer space, which is what the commercial tourist rides are promoting. Actually being able to put something into orbit is an order of magnitude more difficult. The Redstone rockets that boosted the first astronauts into space reached a velocity of 5,000 MPH. The Atlas rockets had to boost those same Mercury capsules to over 17,000 MPH, over three times faster, in order to put them into orbit. Okay, three times is not an order of magnitude, but let's look at the launch weights (which are 90% fuel). A Redstone rocket weighs 30,000 pounds. An Atlas weighs 260,000 pounds. That's almost a factor of nine, which is almost ten, which is an order of magnitude.

Update September 2016 replaced missing picture.

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