Incoming

Discussions in the vein that would most interest those looking for the "meat and potatoes" of Townsend Brown's scientific work.

Re: Incoming

Postby Linda Brown » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:30 am

Regarding Dads' design..looking at the depiction of the ship....that he had drawn by Thomas Williams in 1955....the little knob on to was for seeding Cesium.....which I an sure had something to do with " field shaping"...or would I be wrong?
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Re: Incoming

Postby nate » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:14 am

Linda Brown wrote:Regarding Dads' design..looking at the depiction of the ship....that he had drawn by Thomas Williams in 1955....the little knob on to was for seeding Cesium.....which I an sure had something to do with " field shaping"...or would I be wrong?


I'm guess it would, but I don't know enough to figure what it would do. I think it would create positive ions, which may well do something to the field (help capture stray electrons maybe?) above and beyond the 'brute force' application of cesium ions as particles hurled out the back in the 1950s-60s ion thruster experiments. Which I still wonder what was going on and why it took 50 years to get from there to the Deep Space 1 probe in 1999:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... 06apr99_2/

Dr. Wernher von Braun, a rocket scientist from Germany, was first introduced to the possibility of electric propulsion in the 1930s, through his mentor, Dr. Hermann Oberth. But von Braun started his career working on chemical propulsion systems.

At the end of WWII in 1945, von Braun and hundreds of other German rocket experts surrendered to the Americans. They were sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, to develop rocket technology for U.S. Army research. While von Braun and his team continued to work on the V-2 rocket at Fort Bliss, von Braun dreamed about developing a rocket that could travel to other planets.

With that thought in mind, he approached Ernst Stuhlinger, a member of the original "Rocket Team" that had emigrated to Fort Bliss. Von Braun asked Stuhlinger to review the research by von Braun's mentor, Oberth.

"Professor Oberth has been right with so many of his early proposals," von Braun told Stuhlinger in 1947, "I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we flew to Mars electrically."

Stuhlinger immersed himself in electric propulsion theory. He found a copy of Oberth's book, "Possibilities of Space Flight." Published in 1939, Oberth devoted a chapter to the various problems of electric propulsion systems, envisioning one design that might carry a 150-ton payload. In studying the origins of interest in electric propulsion, Stuhlinger learned that the American rocket pioneer, Dr. Robert Goddard, had examined the subject as early as 1906. Goddard had mentioned the possibility of accelerating electrically charged particles to very high velocities without the need for high temperatures.

Studies in electric propulsion became more frequent following WWII, and in 1955 Stuhlinger presented a paper at the International Astronautical Congress in Vienna entitled, "Possibilities of Electrical Space Ship Propulsion." During his presentation, Stuhlinger discussed a proposal made by von Braun two years earlier, to use chemical propulsion to send a spaceship to Mars. In von Braun's proposal, Stuhlinger noted that the ratio of take-off weight to final weight after propellant consumption was 25-to-1. Stuhlinger argued that lighter-weight electric propulsion systems would make such planetary trips more feasible than they were with chemical propulsion.

Work on electric propulsion in Huntsville centered on ion engines. In April 1958, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville initiated its first electrical propulsion contract. Stuhlinger and his fellow scientists selected Electro-Optical Systems (EOS), Inc. to investigate ion thrust devices.

James A. Downey, a NASA retiree who started with the Army rocket team, traced the Army's and NASA's development of electronic propulsion. He reported that the most imposing problem in the early development of ion engines was proving that injecting electrons could neutralize an ion beam. Continually spewing positively charged ions will leave a spacecraft with a negative charge so great that the ions are attracted back to the spacecraft. The solution is an electron gun that dumps the electrons into the ion stream, thus neutralizing both spacecraft and exhaust. But the beam's interaction with the walls of even a large vacuum chamber makes it very difficult to conduct meaningful beam neutralization experiments on Earth. According to Downey, these uncertainties led to considerations for flight testing electric engines.

Downey said another challenge of electronic propulsion involved developing an efficient technique to produce ions. Working at NASA/Lewis, Harold Kaufman invented an electron-bombardment technique to ionize mercury atoms. At NASA/Marshall, they were developing a process where cesium atoms would become ionized upon contact with a hot tungsten or rhenium surface.

Marshall's major development in electrical propulsion centered, however, on a 30-kilowatt ion engine development contract, initiated in September 1960 with Hughes Research Laboratory in Malibu, Calif. At first, Marshall directed Hughes to design a laboratory model of an ion engine. The 0.01 lb.-thrust model would be followed by the development of a 0.1 lb.-thrust engine. Marshall later modified the Hughes contract to include a flight test model ion engine, primarily to determine whether a beam neutralization problem existed in space.

On Aug. 1, 1961, NASA awarded a contract to the Astro-Electronics Division of RCA to design and build a payload capsule for flight-testing electric propulsion engines. The program called for seven capsules, three for ground tests and four for actual flight tests. Each capsule was expected to carry two electric engines. The first was expected to carry one cesium-fueled ion-engine representing Stuhlinger's design with the Hughes engine. The second was expected to carry one mercury-fueled ion engine representing Kaufman's design with the Lewis engine. Plans called for the engines to operate from 1 to 2 kW of power.

Hughes demonstrated an ion engine on Sept. 27, 1961, at its research laboratories in Malibu. Stuhlinger was among those on hand to greet the scientific and technical writers who attended the event. The group gathered to watch the engine actually operate in a vacuum chamber intended to duplicate the conditions the engine would encounter in space.

Less than two months after the demonstration, however, NASA announced the consolidation of its nuclear-electric propulsion programs at Lewis. Nuclear-electric propulsion work at the Marshall Center's Research Projects Division, directed by Stuhlinger, moved from Huntsville to Cleveland. Stuhlinger, though, stayed at NASA/Marshall and worked on other projects.

"The urgency of Marshall's work on NASA's lunar and manned space flight programs prompted the decision to employ Stuhlinger's group exclusively on those projects," one agency report stated. The nation was focused on sending a man to the moon using chemically propelled rockets.


Emphasis mine.

So they got the prototype built and then just... shut the project down? Right about when JFK started locking down secrecy around the Department of Defense space missions? And around when, I think, the bugs were being finally worked out of CORONA and the next generation of spy satellites were being designed.

Is it likely that NRO switched to ion drive systems on their spy sats? Dunno. Possible, certainly, but it would require a fair bit of deception. According to this 1998 paper:
http://web.mit.edu/course/22/22.033/www ... Wilbur.pdf

both mercury and cesium ion thruster research did continue in the 'white' space world during the 60s and 70s:
THE operation of ion thrusters in space began in 1964 with the launch of two thrusters on a brief ballistic flight designated Space Electric Rocket Test I (SERT I) . 1This test and similar Soviet tests 2 that were carried out at about the same time demonstrated 1) that a beam of high-velocity positive ions could be ejected continuously along with
low-velocity electrons that neutralized the ion current and space charge and 2) that thrust was produced. Subsequent experiments like SERT II 3 and an Advanced Technology Satellite (ATS 6) 4 launched in 1970 and 1974, respectively, were intended to demonstrate the long lifetimes in space that would be required to accomplish missions of interest. The two SERT II mercury ion thrusters each performed properly for several months before high-voltage shorting problems developed and limited testing that could be done with ion beam extraction. Successful lifetime and functional tests of many thruster systems and components continued to be performed periodically, however, as long as the mercury propellant supply lasted (11 years). Even after that, periodic tests continued to be performed on some components such as heaters. Successful tests were conducted with SERT II for almost 22 years and 5792h of full-power thrusting were accumulated on the two thrusters. 3

The 1974 launch of the ATS-6 satellite with its two cesium ion thrusters was not as successful. Both thrusters failed to restart after a brief period of operation, apparently because of failures in the cesium feed system. 4 Before this event most people in the ion thruster community anticipated that opportunities to use ion thrusters would evolve rapidly toward the high total impulse missions where the high specific impulse capabilities of these thrusters would be most beneficial. However, potential users of this new technology were cautious; they desired a more mature product and the failures may have reinforced a general concern among them that ion thrusters were too complex. Also, few spacecraft could provide the power required by ion propulsion without major redesign. In this climate a period of declining interest in the technology evolved. The ion propulsion community in the U.S. is, however, quite tenacious, and over the intervening period of almost 25 years researchers and technologists continued to refine their product for auxiliary and primary propulsion applications and to address user concerns. In particular, the SERT II thruster was scaled down to produce the Ion Auxiliary Propulsion System (IAPS) suitable for north–south stationkeeping of a U.S. Air Force satellite and scaled up to produce the Solar Electric Propulsion System (SEPS) for primary propulsion applications. 5 Both of these systems were the subject of extensive ground-based lifetesting, even though neither was used in space. During the IAPS and SEPS programs, extensive supporting experimental work was done and models of thruster processes were developed and applied to analyze thruster problems. In addition,the community began to pay greater attention to matters of cost, compatibility of thruster and spacecraft, reliability, and lifetime. Presently, interest is high in NASA’s Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) thruster for the New Millennium Deep Space-1 (DS-1) mission, 6 the Xenon Ion Propulsion System (XIPS-13 )7 is being marketed and deployed for near-Earth applications on a regular basis, and the XIPS-25 system 8 is coming on line. It appears that the ion thruster community goal of widespread user acceptance is near.


So that's the conventional cesium ion thruster story anyway: it slowed down in 1961, wasn't as good as mercury, was almost shelved in 1974, and finally regained ground in the late 90s, but this time with xenon. Was that all just a cover story for 'happy intelligence customers using them for 25 years'? Dunno. The problem is, I don't really trust any part of the conventional space story anymore; there've been too many lies already.

Again, these brute-force ion thrusters seem very different in character to Townsend Brown's discs, with or without a cesium-seeding knob on the top. But Townsend Brown was sure getting interested in cesium ions for space propulsion quite a few years before that became the state of the art.

Regards, Nate
Last edited by nate on Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:57 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Incoming

Postby G-Man » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:23 am

Did your father note which isotope of caesium was used? I'm suspecting 135Cs, which has a half-life of over 2 million years and which decays to 135Ba by low energy beta decay, making it a handy source of electrons...

Someone on Wikipedia wrote:...the primary generator consists of a capacitor which is charged by the current of charged particles from a radioactive layer deposited on one of the electrodes. Spacing can be either vacuum or dielectric. Negatively charged beta particles or positively charged alpha particles, positrons or fission fragments may be utilized.

Although this form of nuclear-electric generator dates back to 1913, few applications have been found in the past for the extremely low currents and inconveniently high voltages provided by direct charging generators. Oscillator/transformer systems are employed to reduce the voltages, then rectifiers are used to transform the AC power back to direct current.

English physicist H.G.J. Moseley constructed the first of these. Moseley’s apparatus consisted of a glass globe silvered on the inside with a radium emitter mounted on the tip of a wire at the center. The charged particles from the radium created a flow of electricity as they moved quickly from the radium to the inside surface of the sphere. As late as 1945 the Moseley model guided other efforts to build experimental batteries generating electricity from the emissions of radioactive elements.


Hmmm. I suspect your father would not have considered the voltages generated by this device as "inconveniently high", perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here

[edit] Damn, that boy can type quick :). The gadget above described sounds like a thermionic generator
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Re: Incoming

Postby fruitbat » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:13 pm

Yeah, I was just remembering that your TV valves ("toobs" to our american cousins) work by heating up a tungsten wire (the filament) which is surounded by a caesium sheath (the cathode) which boils off a cloud of electrons when heated.
Said electrons are then induced to move towards a high voltage (the anode) or made to stay close to the anode (as required for the electrical function the valve is performing) by means of a grid placed around the cathode which can be charged negatively and hence BLOCK the rush of electrons from cathode to anode.

It can probably be seen that we call them valves by way of describing what they do, whereas the US version of English describes how they look, tubular. However we lose the etymological highground in a trice when once considers what the americans call "fenders" and we for some reason I do not yet understand call "wings". Personally I like to look forwards to the day when we all speak "terran", we use the same money, and all share a common morality. Diversity is great to look at, but in my opinion not always so great to work with.

And we need to stand and work together to face the grey and green alien menace, of course. (Unless we are plannig to work along side them. Oh great, more fricking diversity... :c)

For the avoidance of doubt the last line was tongue in cheek humour.

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Re: Incoming

Postby Linda Brown » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:02 pm

I adore all of you. I hope that translates properly.

Again.... LEWES.

Helen Towt and Charles Miller meeting at the " Shore" I had always hoped that their relationship was a matter of the heart...but perhaps it was a common mission. that was cut short. she definitely was changing her life drastically on that fatal trip to our doorstep.
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Re: Incoming

Postby G-Man » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:30 pm

That translated very well indeed, hon.
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Re: Incoming

Postby mark moody » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:04 am

Correct me if I'm wrong,
But isn't cesium referenced in one of Mr. Brown's patents?
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Re: Incoming

Postby mark moody » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:31 am

Can a ducted fan be made to pull instead of push?
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Re: Incoming

Postby fruitbat » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am

Sucks at the front, blows out the back.
fb.
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Re: Incoming

Postby mark moody » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:58 pm

Buckle up everybody!
I got a very " HOT" lead on some never before mentioned info!
Those who know me, know me.
I promise you that that NO stone will be left unturned.
Before anyone goes to bed this Saturday night I will post what I found.
It has to be this time frame because Saturday is when I'll receive the info.
Hint?
Is this a gravy train?
Hahahahahahahaha!
Stop your grinnin & grab your linen.
I promise y'all that this will be one for the books & will be better than........
Oops, I almost let the cat out the bag!
Ok, only because I love y'all.
This will be better than the info at the Gray Barker library!
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