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Why do we use the shuttle at all?

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:34 am
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Why do we use the shuttle at all? 
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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:51 pm
On the November 13 Space Show, Monte Davis says that the only thing wrong with the shuttle is we didn’t spend enough money on it. He contends that developing a good reusable orbital vehicle is several times as difficult as the whole Apollo program, and the real problem is that only about half the Apollo budget, in inflation adjusted dollars, was spent on developing the shuttle. He also said that as a first attempt at a reusable orbital vehicle it is pretty good, but we will need about 10 more iterations to get the vehicle we all want.

By the way, if you think I am good at throwing cold water on your dreams, listen to Monty do it way better on the show.
http://thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=413


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:51 am
At the going rate, that should only take us another 300 years. No more STS iterations, please! I was 5 when it first flew, I'll be 35 when it finally dies. Let's go back to the darn Moon already.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:44 pm
Amen!

Let's field a new vehicle. I want to see a sunrise from the surface of Mars before I die. That's my goal, and the STS ain't helping me get there.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 3:45 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Let's field a new vehicle.
Monty says we should field lots of new vehicles, one after another, each a little better than the one before, but it will be expensive and take a long time.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:44 pm
I meant a new vehicle, not a newer iteration of an old one.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:50 pm
The difference between new and newer iteration is open to interpretation. Falcon is not new, it is an iteration. X43 is really new. Somewhere in between is what I have in mind as the next attempt at a reusable LEO transport. Without easy access to LEO we are going nowhere fast. Just think of all the wonderful things we could do if we could just start in LEO instead of on the ground!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:56 pm
And if there wasn't enough projects named "Falcon" out there, look at page 57 of the Nov 14, 2005 AV Week & Space.

The Falcon Hypersonic Transport Vehicle.

The recent Pop Sci article has what looks to be a "Hyper-Soar" type craft. No doubt, the Air Force will try to call it a possible first stage of a TSTO NASA vehicle and will try to influence NASA, just like it did with STS.

It's going to happen all over again if we're not watchful.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:55 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
The difference between new and newer iteration is open to interpretation. Falcon is not new, it is an iteration. X43 is really new. Somewhere in between is what I have in mind as the next attempt at a reusable LEO transport. Without easy access to LEO we are going nowhere fast. Just think of all the wonderful things we could do if we could just start in LEO instead of on the ground!


No argument -- I just think that taking a system like the STS and trying to refine it into something useful is counterproductive. It'd be far easier to just scrap it and start with a clean sheet of paper.

publiusr: if you're worried about the AF influencing NASA, get on the horn to Griffin and tell him. That's the man who can change things.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:46 pm
With all the trouble the White House is in, Griffin is sadly too far down the list.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:29 pm
Why not reduce the number of shuttle flights by using itas a tug to collect additional ISS components already placed into orbit by other launch vehicles.

You could use a support cannister mounted atop an Ariane V or similar launch vehicle to place parts into suitable orbits then go to collect them with a shuttle equipped with extra fuel tanks. In this way each shuttle launch would allow more than one large ISS component to be assembled.

This would cost extra to develop a cannister and modify the shuttle but this would probably be cheaper than flying all the proposed shuttle missions. It would also create hardware that could be used to boost additional component after the shuttle retires (collections could be made by the Russian Parom vehicle).

Here are some rough dimensions for current fairings compared to the shuttle cargo bay.

Ariane V : 5.4m (Diameter) x 6.4m (Length over widest diameter)
An overall length of 12m tapering to 1.5m.

Falcon IX : 4.6m (Diameter) x 7.5m (Length over widest diameter)
An overall length of 12.2m tapering to 1.3m

Shuttle : 4.5m (diameter) x 15m Approx (length actually 18m but
restricted by equipment in cargo bay)

There doesn't seem to be that much in difference for payload volume to me.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:55 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

I can't but assist you in this and agree to your post this way.

It meets something I have said in two or more other threads formerly. One time I said that a vehicle could be kept in space to move payloads from a low orbit to its destined orbit and I seem to remember that I posted another time that the Shuttles could be kept in space for tasks like this. May be there were nore such posts and ideas.

It would be the beginning of a real infrastructure that could reudce costs.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:13 pm
Don't forget that the shuttle also has the ability to pick up from orbit and transport back to Earth. The heavy lift and hypersonics craft can't do that! The Shuttle is old, and could do with replacing, but not it's many roles.

This has been an interesting thread so far.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:33 pm
Sean - thats nice in theory, except that, I don't believe Nasa has ever used transport and return in a large capacity. Thats been one of the issues with Hubble. A lot of people would like to see Hubble brougt back to earth, but I believe Griffin (or it might have been O'keefe, I don't remember) nixed the idea.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:15 pm
Yes, we will miss that big cargo bay and robotic arm after the shuttle is retired.

However I don't see any reason to bring Hubble back to Earth. If it needs repair, it is designed to have that done in orbit. If it is to be retired, a special shuttle flight to bring it down intact would just be a waste of money, IMO.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:26 pm
While it's not a reason to continue having the shuttle or the big bay, I think it's getting to the point now that we can't just keep abandoning our trash in orbit. If the shuttle is up there, perhaps they could start modifying their missions to pick up defunct sats.

Yeah yeah, I know, it's not as easy as that. But still...

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