Scramjet Rail-Gun

NASA Engineers Propose Combining a Rail Gun and a Scramjet to Fire Spacecraft Into Orbit

Rev Up The Rail Gun
A 240,000-horsepower linear motor converts 180 megawatts into an electromagnetic force that propels a scramjet carrying a spacecraft down a two-mile-long track. The craft accelerates from 0 to 1,100 mph (Mach 1.5) in under 60 seconds— fast, but at less than 3 Gs, safe for manned flight.

Fire The Scramjet
The pilot fires a high-speed turbojet and launches from the track. Once the craft hits Mach 4, the air flowing through the jet intake is fast enough that it compresses, heats to 3,000ºF, and ignites hydrogen in the combustion chamber, producing tens of thousands of pounds of thrust.

Get Into Orbit
At an altitude of 200,000 feet, there isn’t enough air for the scramjet, now traveling at Mach 10, to generate thrust. Here spaceflight begins. The two craft separate, and the scramjet pitches downward to get out of the way as the upper spacecraft fires tail rockets that shoot it into orbit.

Stick The Landing
The scramjet slows and uses its turbojets to fly back to Earth for a runway landing. Once the spacecraft delivers its payload into orbit, it reenters the atmosphere and glides back to the launch site. The two craft can be ready for another mission within 24 hours of landing.

24 hours! Hahahahahaha! They said that about the Shuttle, too... Still, what's not to love about maglev scramjets? It's even fun to say!

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How to dance to IDM

(Man, I just can't tolerate anything Autechre did after 1996...)
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Brazilian clown secures congress seat after literacy test

There is no part of this that isn't great.

A television clown elected to Brazil's congress can take up his lawmaker duties after barely passing a literacy test, the judge overseeing the exam said Wednesday.

Francisco Oliveira, a 45-year-old comic better known by his stage name Tiririca, demonstrated "a minimum of intellect concerning the content (of a text) despite difficulties in writing," the Sao Paulo regional electoral court judge, Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira, said.

That result sufficiently disproved critics who had claimed Oliveira could neither read nor write as required of a member of congress under Brazil's constitution, according to the judge.

"The electoral court considers someone to be ineligible only if they are totally illiterate," he said in an official statement.

Oliveira was elected as a Sao Paulo federal representative in October 3 legislative polls with 1.3 million ballots -- the most of any of candidate across the country.

He ran a humorous television campaign dressed as a clown with a blond wig and colorful costume, and spouting riffs like "What does a federal deputy do? I have no idea -- but vote for me and I'll let you know."

Detractors, including several longtime lawmakers, said Oliveira was bringing Brazil's congress -- known for its many corruption scandals -- into disrepute, and challenged his candidacy on literacy grounds.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a former shoeshine boy and metalworker, called the demand for the test an "idiocy" disrespecting those who voted for Oliveira.

He added: "Tiririca is the face of society."

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