Rocket Shots
September 29, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Soyuz rocket rolls to launch pad. A fine photoset of an otherwise routine Russian rocket rollout. I can tell that photographer Bill Ingalls loves rockets. His favs.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (34 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
eponydissonant
posted by DU at 10:44 AM on September 29, 2009


Nice. I love the design of Russian space hardware, it has such a different look that NASAs stuff. The Soyuz has such a no nonsense industrial feel to it, it looks right a home on top of that transport train.
posted by octothorpe at 10:48 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nice. Now I am wondering if he the guy behind photos of this I've seen previously.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on September 29, 2009


Man, when you said the rocket's rolling to the launch pad I was thinking "really? well I guess the thing's cylindrical"... whew!... well, good thing either way then.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:56 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Shuttle rollouts are done with a pair of immense, custom-built crawlers.

I love the Soviet/Russian solution; a train! It seems so obvious and reasonable, and so much less expensive. You could probably outright replace the locomotive every few years for what it costs to maintain those crawlers. The parts must be crazy expensive.

The Wikipedia description makes it sound like the crawlers were a super-high-tech solution, in 1965 terms, to maintain a nearly perfectly level platform on the way to the launch pad. It doesn't look like the Russian locomotives do anything like that, but the requirement for such a stable platform seems rather strange to me. Wouldn't it be smarter to use the cheaper transport, and design your spacecraft to be slightly tiltable?

It'd be interesting to find out what the thought process was, and why they believed it was worth that much money and engineering effort for a very, very flat transport.

Since I won't likely find that out, I'll simply appreciate the simple beauty in using a technology from the 1830s to move a spacecraft in 2009. :-)
posted by Malor at 11:00 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


In this picture (closeup of the final stage fairing), whose is the logo just under the Russian flag near the top? It doesn't appear to be Energia.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:07 AM on September 29, 2009


It's kind of like the high tech NASA pen that could write in zero gravity and cost N thousand dollars to create - the Russian solution was a pencil.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on September 29, 2009


It's kind of like the high tech NASA pen that could write in zero gravity and cost N thousand dollars to create - the Russian solution was a pencil.

By which you mean, an urban legend?
posted by bondcliff at 11:12 AM on September 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Wouldn't it be smarter to use the cheaper transport, and design your spacecraft to be slightly tiltable?

In fairness, the crawlers were designed to transport the Saturn V, which utterly dwarfs a Soyuz launcher. In this picture which purports to be to scale, the Soyuz is the bottom row third from the left and you can probably pick out the Saturn.

Presumably the Saturn would have to be strengthened if you wanted to lie it down, transport it horizontally, and then tilt it up, and all that strengthening is less mass to the moon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:13 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Artw: Except not really: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
posted by Authorized User at 11:13 AM on September 29, 2009


the Russian solution was a pencil.

Not quite.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on September 29, 2009


Nice. I love the design of Russian space hardware, it has such a different look that NASAs stuff. The Soyuz has such a no nonsense industrial feel to it, it looks right a home on top of that transport train.

That last photo in particular is amazing. You're right that it seems very industrial -- like an oil rig -- but there's also something oddly organic about the lines. It seems like something a production designer might come up with for an "Alien" movie.
posted by brundlefly at 11:25 AM on September 29, 2009


Along with the weight issue ROU_Xenophobe is talking about, remember that the "race to the moon" aspect was more important than cost at the time. Knowing that you've got this ultra stable, almost perfect transport has got to ease a lot of design requirements on other parts of the system. The insanity of a design process like that isn't lost on me, the Russian approach is better in many ways. Once you've committed to an insane goal, though..
posted by Chuckles at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2009


Nice. I love the design of Russian space hardware, it has such a different look that NASAs stuff.

Wait 'till you see what they almost took to the Moon.

The most amazing thing to me about their lander was that it only held a single cosmonaut. As isolated as Neil and Buzz were, imagine being the only person on the entire Moon?
posted by bondcliff at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Continuing to use that same system for a launch vehicle that was going to be flown once a week (as was the original intention of the Shuttle Program), that as a whole new level of insanity.
(I was just looking for what they planned on doing at SLC-6. It seems they were planning to move the building instead of moving the spacecraft!)
posted by Chuckles at 11:47 AM on September 29, 2009


Looks like the N1, the Soviets' failed moon rocket, which was roughly the same size as the Saturn V, was rolled out horizontally on three train tracks. They reused the idea for their space shuttle Buran. Awesome!
posted by zsazsa at 11:52 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


In this picture (closeup of the final stage fairing), whose is the logo just under the Russian flag near the top? It doesn't appear to be Energia.

It's the logo of the Russian Federal Space Agency.
posted by zsazsa at 11:56 AM on September 29, 2009


That train looks abso fucking lutely crazy. Love it! The red nozzle cluster and the guy with the hat and mustache and the little train going under it. AAaaarrghh!
posted by krilli at 11:58 AM on September 29, 2009


I like that old time rocket roll!
posted by The Deej at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Presumably the Saturn would have to be strengthened if you wanted to lie it down, transport it horizontally, and then tilt it up, and all that strengthening is less mass to the moon.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Question probably answered.
posted by Malor at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2009


Don't the Russians have their own word for STOP?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:22 PM on September 29, 2009


In this picture, that ROU_Xenophobe already linked to, y'all catch the American flag on there? Fills my heart with joy to see that. Would love to see a multinational effort launched from the U.S.
posted by Xoebe at 12:29 PM on September 29, 2009


Damn you Snopes, that was a good story!
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on September 29, 2009


(Back to using the T-34 versus the Tiger tank as an illustration of the superiority of simple approaches to design challenges and the glorious might of the Soviet Union)
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2009


It's the logo of the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Thanks!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:38 PM on September 29, 2009


routine russian rocket rollout
routine russian rocket rollout
routine russian rocket rollout
routine russian rocket rollout
routine russia rocka rollout
rousheen rosha rocka rolla
&$#&$%$!
posted by Kabanos at 2:06 PM on September 29, 2009


Another variation: At the Delta launch pad in KSC, the support gantry is on tracks and they roll it away to launch. Photos (In French, but good photos)
posted by smackfu at 3:09 PM on September 29, 2009


Wait 'till you see what they almost took to the Moon.

Yeah, but look at what they did land on the moon!
posted by Thorzdad at 3:23 PM on September 29, 2009


It'd be interesting to find out what the thought process was, and why they believed it was worth that much money and engineering effort for a very, very flat transport.

NASA wrote everything down. The trick is finding it. Here you go: Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations, particularly Chapter 6.

One notable thing is that the stabilized crawler was an existing industrial crawler-shovel design that NASA had customized. Also that both rail and barges were considered, and the engineers didn't really like either option, so the crawler was a godsend. And that these guys were pretty obsessed with keeping costs down, but were also expecting to be doing 20-30 Apollo launches a year.

Presumably the Saturn would have to be strengthened if you wanted to lie it down, transport it horizontally, and then tilt it up, and all that strengthening is less mass to the moon.

What NASA said too: "A bending moment due to tilting the very tall vehicle away from true vertical will result from a wheeled transporter traveling up a slope or from a water-borne transporter under high wind loading... The bending load must be considered additive to the wind load, and will add structural weight to the flight vehicle."
posted by smackfu at 3:51 PM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


When you remember that the O-ring problem was what ditched Challenger, you'll realize that bending a rocket carries risks.

y'all catch the American flag on there? ... Would love to see a multinational effort launched from the U.S.

Technically, every ISS orbiter flight is a multinational, and we frequently ferry ESA and RSA crew members to and from ISS.

The logo is on there in large part because we bought the Soyuz at about $50M per seat -- and after Shuttle is retired, well, there's no other way up there.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on September 29, 2009


I'm just curious as to why they go to the effort of painting the inside of the thruster-exhaust-flamey-rocket-jet-outlets bright red (pic). Like isn't the paint isn't going to be scorched off within a nanosecond of ignition?

Or do red ones go faster?
posted by bright cold day at 7:33 AM on September 30, 2009


Purely as a guess, bright cold day, I think those might be caps on tubes that are much deeper. They look very shallow.

The red paint would be a signal that they need removing.... "Detach before firing". :-)
posted by Malor at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2009


Plus stuff you don't paint tends to rust.
posted by smackfu at 9:02 AM on September 30, 2009


Makes sense. Thanks guys.
posted by bright cold day at 9:48 AM on September 30, 2009


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