Railgun hits Mach 6...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by cmartinez, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

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  2. JoeJester

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    There are and has been a lot of "war time" inventions that were useful after their debut since the beginning.
     
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  3. cmartinez

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    True... I think the jet engine (sadly used first by the nazis, adapted a bit later by the brits), synthetic rubber and nylon are among the list...
     
  4. JoeJester

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    The list is long for sure, but that's only since WWII. We tend to discount those that have been "useful" for centuries that started out in warfare.
     
  5. cmartinez

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    I'd like to hear @WBahn 's opinion, if he has the time.
     
  6. GopherT

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    Synthetic rubber, also a development by the the same group as the jet engine.

    I would like to see that rail gun adapted for civilian use as propulsion for a mag-lev train. New York to LA in under 30 minutes!

    They could also launch commercial gliders for short-range flights.
     
  7. WBahn

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    I completely agree. A huge number of inventions and developments were first developed for warfare and you can bet that goes back to prehistoric times. The reverse is also true in that things developed for non-warfare purposes were adapted for use in warfare. Dynamite comes immediately to mind.

    The common denominator is that people developed something in order to solve a problem. Once that something exists, people naturally look for other ways to use that something to solve other problems. What warfare brings to the table is a sense of urgency and criticality that makes it more likely that large amounts of money, time, and effort will be devoted to the endeavor which will result in more options being explored further and technology being pushed further than might otherwise be the case.
     
  8. GopherT

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    The name "Cold War" was a way of maintaining the urgency to develop science without an actual war. "Space race" had the same goal and was likely used as a moniker for NASA's efforts because the test market focus groups weren't getting behind the name "spy race".
     
  9. WBahn

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    I think that trying to claim that the Cold War and the Space Race were nothing more than marketing gimmicks intended to sway public opinion is way overly simplistic. The risk of the Cold War becoming anything but cold was very, very real for much of that era and things came close to boiling over on more than one occasion.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  10. MaxHeadRoom

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    Emphasized by the recent movie The Imitation Game covering the inventor of Enigma, a first computer.
    Conversely the development of Boolean Arithmetic by George Boole in the 1800's had no real great practical use until the development of the 20th century computer.
    Max.
     
  11. DumboFixer

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    Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was an English Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer air officer. He is credited with single handedly inventing the turbojet engine. A patent was submitted by Maxime Guillaume in 1921 for a similar invention; however, this was technically unfeasible at the time. Whittle's engines were developed some years earlier than those of Germany's Dr. Hans von Ohain who was the designer of the first operational jet engine.
     
  12. WBahn

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    People often claim that had Germany only introduced the Me-262 a bit earlier and in larger numbers that the outcome of the war would have been very different. I don't think that that is the case at all. The F-80 Shooting Star was in production before the end of the war and actually saw limited service in Europe (though no actual combat). The F-80 first flew in Jan 1944, five months before D-Day, and its performance was roughly comparable to the Me-262 but, IIRC, it had a much higher in-service rate because the reliability of the Me-262 engines was not very good at all.

    While the Me-262's operational history only went until 1951 (with the Czech Air Force), the P-80 and its variants saw service for decades. Several countries flew the P-80 as an operations jet fighter well into the 1970s. I worked on the T-33 in the mid-1980s (still an active Air Force aircraft at that time, though only in a training role) and the last T-33 was retired in 1997 but many T-33s are still flying today. I think that there is an Me-262 that is being restored to flying condition (and there are several reproductions that are flying.
     
  13. joeyd999

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    Here is my 15 minute claim to fame:

    My late grandfather was the first to apply digital (binary) encoding to topographic maps for use in sighting bomb drops during WW2, a technique he developed at Curtiss-Wright.

    You won't find his name tied to this anywhere. It was all top-secret stuff at the time.

    He'd be amazed (or maybe not) at Google Maps today.
     
  14. cmartinez

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    I read Von Braun's bio a couple of years ago and found it fascinating... after some consideration, I came to the conclusion that he was just an imaginative engineer who just so happened to have been born on the wrong side of the conflict.
     
  15. joeyd999

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    This is such utter and complete nonsense.

    I'm always mystified that otherwise intelligent people can exhibit the cognitive dissonance required to maintain such illusions.
     
  16. ISB123

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    Space race wasnt all about getting people to the moon.Soviets and Americans were using satellites to spy on each other.

    Me262 wasnt really the best thing they had,allies wanted to get their hands on V2 rocket.
     
  17. GopherT

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    I didn't say it wasn't a war, but the American public needed to be kept aware that it was a war and spending was necessary to stay ahead in the invisible battlefield. "Cold War" was the perfect term for it.
     
  18. joeyd999

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    But the war was not "invisible". Both US and USSR had enough nukes aimed at each other, ready at a moment's notice, for mutual annihilation.

    There were times during the cold war when the world was mere moments from total destruction -- a situation that did not exist during the course of any previous "live" wars.

    It was war. And it was real.
     
  19. GopherT

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    Right, American families did not see their children going off to war as those missiles were prepared and aimed. Therefore, it was invisible to the average American except for news broadcasts of what might happen, or who moved what weapon where. Therefore, the pointing building and aiming of missiles needed to be called a "war" for Americans to have the appropriate amount of fear and willingness to continue technological developments and maintain the popular opinion that those developments should be funded. Once popular support for anything goes away, the doves start getting elected and those doves start voting against funding and the war is eventually lost. Marketing to the voting public and support of the voting public is important - as we've seen recently.

    I really think we are on the same side here, I am simply saying it was not a typical war from the viewpoint of the AVERAGE American while you are clearly above average and were fully aware of the urgency of the US/USSR relationship and knew what needed to be done.
     
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  20. WBahn

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    To a large degree, the space race was about demonstrating to potential adversaries and allies alike who had the ability to drop nuclear weapons any place they decided needed them.

    There was a lot of German technology that both sides wanted and the V2 was very high on that list. The Me-262 did influence both western and soviet jet aircraft designs in pretty significant ways
     
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