0
$\begingroup$

This question already has an answer here:

I want to write a young adults fiction book about a girl who buys an astronauts helmet from EBay and decides to see if she can then build a rocket to get to the moon. I'm a materials engineer, and with aircraft salvage yards and other resources I would think it is (just) within the realms of possibility if not probability, but obviously there are massive risk/barriers/etc. But, hypothetically, if you were to try it, what would you need. What would be the biggest hurdles, how you be creative to get around them.

$\endgroup$

marked as duplicate by a CVn, Hohmannfan, Nathan Tuggy, PearsonArtPhoto Mar 10 '16 at 15:18

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Astronaut Farmer is a movie about a DIY astronaut. Not realistic of course. Copenhagen Suborbitals might also be of interest, and maybe microlaunchers. I think the complexity of space flight makes it too hard for it to work by improvizations with mixed second hand components. Even building a toaster from scratch is really hard. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Mar 10 '16 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Based on the comments & answers so far making a rocket is difficult. One line of attack for your story could be that a very capable girl starts designing a rocket & builds some components, someone from a rocket company or NASA sees her work, is very impressed, offers her a job & short tracks her career to being the commander of a lunar landing mission. $\endgroup$ – Fred Mar 10 '16 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Also related: Could I home-brew my own rocket fuel? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 10 '16 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred Except that the kind of people needed to engineer the spacecraft would be very different from the kind of people needed for the actual landing mission. You could plausibly get the main character fast-tracked up to some early test flights, but beyond that, I think it would be too much of a stretch to also put the same individual on a lunar landing mission. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 10 '16 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Sally, they won't help you with this particular question, but you may also be interested in the Writing and Worldbuilding Stack Exchange sites. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 10 '16 at 14:44
1
$\begingroup$

Sadly not, the time is against you.

It took the labour of 200,000 people several years to accomplish the Apollo lunar landing. If you were to do that all by yourself, it would take you pretty close to 1 million years. Even if you could live for that long, the part of the rocket you started with would have rusted away long ago when you are finished.

As people have pointed out in the comments, the Apollo program was far from bare bones, and a lot of those person-years was used on research. But even if you could cut down the time 500x, the argument still holds.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In all fairness, a lot of what went into the US moon landing program of the 1960s was research and development, which our protagonist could reap the benefits of without having to put in all the effort. While it would still take a very long time even given today's knowledge, I think simply counting man-years (person-years?) is oversimplifying it quite a bit. Then again, some things would be quite difficult to do alone, even given infinite time; I'm pretty sure handling a F-1 isn't something you'd want to do by yourself, for example. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 10 '16 at 14:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would think a more realistic cost would be that of, say, Crewed Dragon/ Falcon 9 heavy, which was more of a team of up to 10 thousand several years. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Mar 10 '16 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ As a starting point, you might consider the time/cost to build a high-performance homebuilt aircraft, like the Lancair Evolution: flyingmag.com/aircraft/turboprops/lancair-evolution Then consider that for a rocket, even if you could salvage all the parts needed to build it, you'd have a really major problem getting fuel. Afout the only way to make it possible (in your fictional universe) is to invent some sort of anti-gravity or reactionless drive. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 11 '16 at 5:05
0
$\begingroup$

It's not possible for a single person to make a moon mission.

The Apollo program is estimated to have taken somewhere around 15.5 billion man hours, even though some of the problems would be easier to solve now it would still take hundreds of millions of man hours (at least) to do it again. It takes engines providing millions of pounds of thrust, 7 million pounds of fuel and oxidizer, and vast amounts of specialized knowledge in hundreds of fields to make something like that work. None of that's on eBay.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.