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Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?

Posted by: SANEAlex - Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:52 am
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Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way? 
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Post Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:52 am
With NASA being closer to getting the extra space shuttle flight

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03596.html

My suggestion is to make the Shuttle Atlantis last trip one way.

Phoenix Project

Why not cram it to the gunnel's with supplies and other goodies and leave it there the whole ship not just the supplies i think more could be taken if it was not planned to bring it back. My suggestions are take a small linear accelerator and a roll of metal foil and a few parachutes and some extra space suits.

Fly minimal crew or even remote control if that's possible.

One of its jobs help boost the space station into higher orbit when atmospheric drag slows it down tho it can be done the ATV :-

http://www.universetoday.com/13889/atv- ... bit-video/

It would be useful to have an nearly always ready booster.

Use the remote control robot

http://www.tgdaily.com/space-features/4 ... ation-duty

To take off excess mass like the tiles( you might be able to recycle some of them into small emergency one man escape pods (old style heat shield space suit and a parachute)

Other excess mass could be wrapped in metal foil and accelerated away just using solar power running the small linear accelerator to keep the space station up and the waste would burn up in the atmosphere only using small pieces at a time if you timed it right you could have a spectacular government sponsored firework display on 4th of Julys ;-)

The above along with the extra living space, computer power, fuel cells etc that are contained in the main body of the Shuttle i think would be worth it. The pilot/s if it cant be flown by remote could come back on the soyuz along with the space station crew rotation one at a time if not enough seats.

Now for the Bonus :-

The stripped down shuttle i would suggest renaming it Phoenix could be used for away missions if an icy near earth object could be found in a low delta v orbit i would suggest a go fetch mission and you melt ice and turn it into fuel and bring as much back as possible for latter missions (4 space blankets made into the correct parabolic mirrors can melt granite(this is extrapolation the other day i saw a 2 metre mirror melt granite on the popular science programme bang goes the theory down here on earth so unrefined solar energy could be easily used)) or if an icy one could not be found a metal one could also be used as "fuel" with a solar powered liner accelerator. Practical science could be learned on what it takes to turn asteroids in to fuel and other useful objects. Water alone if it could be purified would be worth its weight in gold at our current launch costs.

What is the flaw in my thinking? I think that NASA could save money by only paying just for a one way trip the refund on the return would pay for a lot of the skills that we need to properly expanded into space i hear by open source this idea they are free to take a run with it at no charge as i genuinely believe that If humanity does not move into space soon whilst it still can it is likely to die a miserable death fighting over a diminishing set of finite resources down here when there is an almost infinite supply floating above our heads free for the taking with no known owners. The US has spent already about $900 Billion on just one of the recent "Oil wars" with tens of thousands of deaths and not much oil to show for it there are probably people on this forum who could name all those who have died getting into space i think space research is a much better investment in the short and long term for both the American tax payer and the rest of Humanity.

Anybody think the idea is worth while thinking about or is there some major flaw i have missed?

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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:41 am
The main problem is that NASA is "divesting" itself from the Shuttle system. If they kept one on orbit, that means it would have to maintain the systems experts, databases, and etc. etc. Just to support one hulk in space.

That is the main reason why it would never fly. Technical reasons would be that the orbiters were never designed to remain in space indefinitely. They are old and leaky. The ISS was also not designed with having an orbiter attached on a permanent basis. I doubt it can maneuver with one attached. The OMS isn't very powerful. It really can't be used to push the orbiters out of LEO. The Orbiters drag around a lot of structure that is worse than useless in space. etc. etc.


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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:09 am
JamesG wrote:
The main problem is that NASA is "divesting" itself from the Shuttle system. If they kept one on orbit, that means it would have to maintain the systems experts, databases, and etc. etc. Just to support one hulk in space.


Unfortunately this I could see as a draw back tho i would have thought that with the conservative nature of government space agency's that a lot of the systems like fuel cells air recycling etc would use "standard parts" in both the orbiter and the space station and i was not wanting to turn it into a hulk a museum piece floating around but recycle it into a useful tool.

JamesG wrote:
That is the main reason why it would never fly. Technical reasons would be that the orbiters were never designed to remain in space indefinitely. They are old and leaky. The ISS was also not designed with having an orbiter attached on a permanent basis. I doubt it can maneuver with one attached. The OMS isn't very powerful. It really can't be used to push the orbiters out of LEO. The Orbiters drag around a lot of structure that is worse than useless in space. etc. etc.


I thought the station was designed to have constant modular expansion and that one of the jobs of the shuttle has been to manoeuvre the station into higher orbits whilst attached to compensate for the lowering thru atmospheric drag over time. And i was suggesting that excess mass that was no longer needed for an away only in space shuttle(no need for a lot of the tiles only need for re-entry etc) was dismantled and if possible recycled for use on the space station and anything that could not be used turned into fuel equivalent for manoeuvring after all at current launch prices anything taken into orbit is worth its weight in gold and the shuttle weighs a few tons.

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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:35 am
They weigh a hundred tons.

The tiles are part of the Orbiter's heat/radiation shielding system and much less mass than all the other not-necessary-in-space parts like wings, tail, landing gear, etc.

The Orbiters were used to boost the ISS, but you are talking about adding it as a permanent or semi permanent addition. Where are you going to get the fuel to do this on a regular basis?

Better and cheaper to let them retire peacefully to museums and use the money building something newer/better/safer. Would have been nice if that something were available today, but there you go.


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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:50 am
Personal guess out of the blue:
Making all the necessary modifications on the shuttle to allow it to stay in orbit "permanently" would probably cost you more than building a new station module (and launching it) from scratch... maybe even two

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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:42 am
I'll be honest with my opinion. I say we crash it into the moon, all recorded somehow. Just for the heck of it! =)

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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:53 am
I would rather my children and grandchildren be able to see them intact on Earth, than twisted wreckage on the Moon.


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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:27 am
Interesting idea to keep it up in orbit and use it.. But as was stated earlier, all the support systems on Earth would have to be kept to support it while it stays up there.


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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:14 am
Mr. Harper wrote:
I'll be honest with my opinion. I say we crash it into the moon, all recorded somehow. Just for the heck of it! =)


Shuttle doesn't even have the ooomph to get out of low earth orbit, never mind get to the moon.

And, better on Earth as a museum piece I would agree. Use one to replace the mock up at Kennedy Space Centre.


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Post Re: Why not make the last Shuttle trip one way?   Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:10 am
If anyone is still interested in this topic, they answered a similar question in the november issue of PopSci magazine.


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