Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

QotD: Milt Rosen on Rockets

 

Milt Rosen is far less famous than Wernher von Braun, but he played a major role in the early space program. I heard him speak at the Naval Research Lab’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1998 and briefly talked with him in 2009. He wrote an excellent book about Project Viking which he signed for me. Here’s Milt and Sally Rosen in 2008.

With SpaceX this week reusing a first stage for the third time and landing it intact, it’s easy to forget how challenging rocket development was in the 1940s-60s. Milt’s comment was:

Rockets are just another name for trouble. Either you just had trouble, you are having trouble, or you are going to have trouble.

Tomorrow is the 61st anniversary of the explosion of Vanguard TV-3. The Vanguard people thought that this first experiment of all three Vanguard stages live was unlikely to work perfectly and place the payload in orbit. Under pressure, the Eisenhower Administration announced that that would be the case. Flopnik was the result.

Here’s the satellite which obviously survived:

I discussed this last year on the John Batchelor Show.

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Member

    I enjoy this story about Simon Ramo, one of the founders of the now defunct TRW.

    Ramo’s comments are legendary for capsulizing some of the more complex ideas into off-the-cuff witticisms. During a series of key experiments of ballistic missiles in the 1950s at Cape Canaveral, Fla., at which Ramo and Air Force Gen. Bernard Schriever were observers, test rockets kept blowing up on their launching pads. When at last one missile rose about 6 inches before toppling over and exploding, Ramo reportedly beamed and said: “Well, Benny, now that we know the thing can fly, all we have to do is improve its range a bit.”

     

    • #1
    • December 5, 2018 at 9:48 am
    • 7 likes
  2. Thatcher

    Richard Easton: Rockets are just another name for trouble. Either you just had trouble, you are having trouble, or you are going to have trouble.

    Substitute the word “Rockets” with: women/men, cars, boats, airplanes, people, etc.


    There are 11 openings on the December Quote of the Day Schedule, the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. We’ve even include tips for finding great quotes, so join in the fun and sign up today!

    • #2
    • December 5, 2018 at 10:23 am
    • 4 likes
  3. Moderator

    @Richardeaston

    Did your father work with or mention a propellent chemist named John D. Clark? He wrote the famous book Ignition an informal history of rocket propellents and worked for the naval space program.

    • #3
    • December 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm
    • 3 likes
  4. Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    @Richardeaston

    Did your father work with or mention a propellent chemist named John D. Clark? He wrote the famous book Ignition an informal history of rocket propellents and worked for the naval space program.

    I will ask my Dad’s colleagues about this.

    • #4
    • December 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm
    • 1 like
  5. Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    They had problems landing the first stage in today’s Falcon 9 launch. You may get dizzy watching this.

     

    • #5
    • December 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm
    • 5 likes
  6. Contributor

    We eventually succeeded because failure was accepted rather than an excuse for shutting down for years and only restarting with additional layers of bureaucratic overhead.

    • #6
    • December 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm
    • 4 likes
  7. Member

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    They had problems landing the first stage in today’s Falcon 9 launch. You may get dizzy watching this.

    Apparently the grid fins not only lost hydraulic power, but at least one was stuck off center. It’s utterly amazing that they managed to plop the stage into the drink, more or less under control, with nothing other than thrusters and maybe a little main engine vectoring.

    As of now, they have the floating stage tethered to a boat, and may try to bring it into Port Canaveral for retrieval tomorrow.

    Be careful what you buy at Honest Elon’s Used Rocket Lot, you don’t know where it’s been!

    • #7
    • December 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm
    • 7 likes
  8. Member

    I love Milt Rosen.

    • #8
    • December 6, 2018 at 9:29 am
    • Like
  9. Coolidge

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    ago

    Was you dad the Tom Easton who wrote articles or stories that ended up in Analog Magazine, circa late 1970’s or thereabouts? (Sorry but I haven’t followed discussions of who your father was.)

    • #9
    • December 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    ago

    Was you dad the Tom Easton who wrote articles or stories that ended up in Analog Magazine, circa late 1970’s or thereabouts? (Sorry but I haven’t followed discussions of who your father was.)

    No, my dad was Roger Easton the inventor of GPS.

    • #10
    • December 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm
    • 2 likes
  11. Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    They had problems landing the first stage in today’s Falcon 9 launch. You may get dizzy watching this.

    Apparently the grid fins not only lost hydraulic power, but at least one was stuck off center. It’s utterly amazing that they managed to plop the stage into the drink, more or less under control, with nothing other than thrusters and maybe a little main engine vectoring.

    As of now, they have the floating stage tethered to a boat, and may try to bring it into Port Canaveral for retrieval tomorrow.

    Be careful what you buy at Honest Elon’s Used Rocket Lot, you don’t know where it’s been!

    You’ve probably seen this video SpaceX did of its landing challenges.

    • #11
    • December 7, 2018 at 6:55 am
    • 2 likes
  12. Member

    I ordered the book as a Christmas present to myself. Thank you for the link. I knew G. Harry Stine, who was a safety engineer for Viking.

    • #12
    • December 9, 2018 at 11:02 am
    • 1 like