Friday, February 15, 2008

Hydrazine Daze

Plans to shoot down an American satellite with its hydrazine tank intact brought back memories.

There are memories of American criticism of China for doing the same thing. That maneuver left 1400 trackable pieces of junk in low-space orbit.

There are memories of hydrazine and its high toxicity and high fun quotient.

But where did I first hear about mono-hydrazine and why will I never forget it? Step back to January 20, 1979 and the adventures of Harry Broderick as he built "The Vulture," an amalgam of a Texaco tanker with a cement mixer, powered by mono-hydrazine. Harry and his crew were headed to the moon to salvage the goodies left behind by the Apollo missions. Ladies and gentlemen, Salvage 1 lives in 2008.

Narrator: [opening narration] Once upon a time, a junkman had a dream.
: I want to build a spaceship, go to the moon, salvage all
the junk that's up there, bring it back, sell it.

Narrator: So he put together a team. An ex-astronaut. A fuel expert.
They built a rocketship, and they went to the moon. Who knows what
they'll do next

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