Just read this if you have any interest in space/old rockets/3D printing/3D imaging/NASA/etc. Really, just read it.
The Apple Rocketship
Random thoughts on capital expenditures and space travel.
Horace Dediu, on Apple’s PP&E:
This means that Apple intended to spend $8 billion, actually spent $8.3 billion and realized a net asset gain (after depreciation) of $7.7 billion.
Coincidentally, according to Claude Lafleur of The Space Review:
The US has spent $486 billion over 57 years on human spaceflight, an average of $8.3 billion a year.
In real dollars, the Apollo program cost about $109 billion over 15 years. A billion dollars less per year.
Really, really cool looking. Can do both historical modeling and forward predictions. Awesome stuff, and it looks pretty too.
One of the best things about FACET is that it doesn’t need supercomputers to run, even when asked to crunch data from thousands of flight plans. The software can operate on a single computer, which was a big leap forward that really helps researchers. FACET can model current traffic patterns to see where improvements could be made, or model entirely new patterns that result from new flight operations techniques, like new merging and spacing rules, weather avoidance techniques, or approach patterns into airports.
How does it work? FACET uses aircraft performance profiles, airspace models, weather data, and flight schedules to model trajectories for the climb, cruise, and descent phases of flight for each type of aircraft. Then a graphical interface displays the traffic patterns in two and three dimensions, under various current and projected conditions for specific airspace regions or over the entire continental United States. You’ll see examples of all of these different models in the video linked from this page.
Sad, but poignant. Plus science!
You should see this. Why NASA doesn’t do more like this on their own, I don’t know.