Talk:1461: Payloads

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:55, 17 December 2014 by (talk) (T-Rex date a Jurassic Park reference?)
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It's possible he's talking about this comic. 07:20, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

I think he used horses as a reference to the unit of work, horse power, but in this case instead of being the 550 foot pounds per second, it is the force required to put a horse at that altitude 08:10, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The top one clearly says "Spacecraft mass" and the bottom says "Capacity" (which is normally either the mass or volume something can hold), so I don't think either refers to force. 08:32, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Horses might also be used as a length unit... I am wondering if this is somehow related to the size of SRBs [1] ;-) -- Ld75 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

There is the famous tail (no pun intended) of how the width of the Space Shuttles SRBs are related to the width of a horses, er, um, butt -- which apparently is not true. However, similarly to the "Upgoer Five", Randall may just be trying to relate a very difficult to grasp concept (weight of a huge object) to something that with which a large number of people may be familiar. Jarod997 (talk) 14:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

A few mass calculations: (All masses from wikipedia)

  • ISS - 450,000 kg / 932 Horses = 483 kg/Horse
  • Skylab - 77,088 kg / 171 Horses = 450 kg/Horse
  • Mir - 129,700 kg / 286 Horses = 453 kg/Horse
  • Shuttle Payload - 24,400 kg / 54 Horses = 452 kg/Horse
  • Compton GRO - 17,000 kg / 38 Horses = 447 kg/Horse

It looks like Randall probably used 450kg as a standard horse, which seems like a fairly average weight for a horse. --Pudder (talk) 09:06, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Curious: the Atlas-Centaur rocket is listed as lifting Centaurs, not horses. 09:11, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Plus the Pegasus rocket is labelled as lifting one (mythical, horse-sized?) Pegasus. I took this as synchronicity, but currently someone (who missed the Centaur reference in the part of the main text about "joke additions/deviations") who edited the the main text seems to think that it's purely a mythical reference. 13:27, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The Keyhole captions are wrong; assuming 450 kg/horse, 40 horses for the Keyhole 7 would be around 18,000 kg. Documents declassified a couple of years ago give the mass as around 2,000 kg. The Keyhole 3 was even smaller. The mass and dates are about right for Keyhole 11 satellites but I don't know where the 3 and 7 have come from (the dates are wrong for the third and seventh Keyhole 11s) 09:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Initially I thought that the position of 'T Rex' along the X axis (approx 1985) may be a link to the band T.Rex, but according to wiki that was 1967-1977. I guess it could be a random date, but thats not usually Randall's style... --Pudder (talk) 10:51, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The T Rex "Sue" was discovered in August 1990. Not quite right, either. 11:10, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps a reference to the date of 'Jurassic Park'? Not sure exactly when that came out but I think it's in the right range. 14
55, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The Oldsmobile is probably a reference to the movie Mom and Dad Save the World. The title characters' station wagon was from around that era -- and it did go into space in the movie. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 11:47, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Terrastar may be referring to TerreStar-1, with a launch mass of 6,910 kg, divided by 15 horses is about 460 kg/Horse. This is consistent with the above calculations. Jarod997 (talk) 14:23, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Based on that and its accurate position on the X axis, I would agree with you. I've added it to the table, with a note below. --Pudder (talk) 14:38, 17 December 2014 (UTC)