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Fraser
2003-Oct-24, 05:19 PM
SUMMARY: Alliant Techsystems performed the first static test of a new five-segment solid rocket booster for the space shuttle. This new booster gives approximately 10% more thrust than the four-segment boosters that the shuttle currently flies with. If these new boosters are installed on the shuttle it would have a few benefits: the shuttle would have enough thrust to still reach orbit if its main engine fails, it won't have to make an emergency landing; or it could be used to let the shuttle carry an additional 10,500 kg of cargo.


Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Blake Goddard
2003-Oct-25, 12:14 AM
I got to see the test that was performed at 13:00 on October 23 about 30 miles north of Ogden, Utah (north of Salt Lake City). This is where ATK Thiokol has its facility. The burn lasted for just over two minutes. The viewing area had thousands of people watching. The hill behind the booster was on fire after the burn. A smoke and dust plume ascended miles into the sky. It was loud and very much worth the trip. My kids were asking when the rocket would come back down (we fly model rockets and they assumed that if a rocket was launched it shoul be coming back down) I look forward to seeing the shuttle using the longer booster.

kashi
2003-Oct-25, 02:29 AM
Think of all that pullution.

Matthew
2003-Oct-25, 06:36 AM
NASA could use it t make the Shuttle safer. But I would like to see the extra power of these boosters used to carry heavier loads into space. Heavier sattelites, more supplies for the ISS. Maybe a duel mission, launch a satellite, resupply the ISS in one mission.

But these new solid boosters wouldn't be limited to the shuttle. Couldn't the Ariane rocket use these more powerful boosters to get too space?

Haglund
2003-Oct-25, 09:55 AM
Good news, I hope they will use those boosters to increase theshuttle's capacity.

Fraser
2003-Oct-25, 07:08 PM
I wonder if the Shuttle could fly with just the boosters and not use the big fuel tank at all? Wouldn't that simplify things?

Planetwatcher
2003-Oct-25, 08:07 PM
I wonder if the Shuttle could fly with just the boosters and not use the big fuel tank at all?
As I understand, the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) compensates for the external fuel tank.

If the shuttle had a means of propulsion which didn't require the bulk and weight of the fuel it currently uses then the SRBs would not be needed at all.
But I believe the main engines are still much more powerful then the combined thrust of the new SRBs.

So I don't think the SRBs alone would take the shuttle from the launch pad all the way to orbit, even if the external tank was not attached.
Especially since the SRBs expend their fuel and are jetisoned long before fuel in the big tank is depleted.

But if a less bulky means of main propulsion is ever implimented, those SRBs are still handy to carry heavier payloads, and faster initial launch accelerations.

Fraser
2003-Oct-25, 09:30 PM
But the press release said that the SRBs could compensate if the main engine went down so it wouldn't have to do an emergency landing.

I guess I'll have to ask them.

Planetwatcher
2003-Oct-25, 10:14 PM
I would tend to think that to mean after launch while in flight.
Once the motion is started it takes a great deal less energy to continue that motion or to even accelerate then it does to start the motion to begin with.

Matthew
2003-Oct-26, 03:20 AM
Fraser I think it would still require the initial thrust of the liquid fuel, but after that, maybe the liquid engines could be shut down, or reduce the amount of fuel being used. Since I think solid fuel can't be used in space because it doesn't have an oxidiser, the oxidiser is the air. So the liquid fuel would then be required out in space, or when the oxygen density becomes too low.

imported_Zepp
2003-Oct-26, 05:13 PM
Right... let me have a bash at the Space Shuttle... I've seen the original designs (FAR superior) and IMO the space shuttle was doomed from the start by lack of funding and was always obselescent even before its intial launch. As a result of serious design flaws and a lack of intelligent, yes I'm sorry, but INTELLIGENT AND FORWARD THINKING ground-crew, the world has lost 2 of these flawed machines. Simply adding a new engine on will not solve anything, BRING IT OUT OF SERVICE!

Haglund
2003-Oct-26, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by Zepp@Oct 26 2003, 05:13 PM
Right... let me have a bash at the Space Shuttle... I've seen the original designs (FAR superior) and IMO the space shuttle was doomed from the start by lack of funding and was always obselescent even before its intial launch. As a result of serious design flaws and a lack of intelligent, yes I'm sorry, but INTELLIGENT AND FORWARD THINKING ground-crew, the world has lost 2 of these flawed machines. Simply adding a new engine on will not solve anything, BRING IT OUT OF SERVICE!
I have two ideas on what might be good as replacement of the shuttle.

The first one is to develop a smaller reusable capsule for transfer of people to and from orbit. This capsule could also be versatile so that modules can be added under it so it can land both on Earth and on the moon. To launch cargo, use cheaper rockets, of different kinds.

My other idea is to build a modulebased launchsystem. There would be one module for crew and one or more for cargoe, and then you put them together in the event you would need to launch cargo and crew at the same time as with the current shuttle. For example, put together them like crew+cargo or crew+cargo+cargo or perhaps crew+crew. I'm not sure if this would be possible though.

Josh
2003-Oct-27, 03:25 AM
The SRBs are able to compensate for the SSME should they fail and still get the shuttle to orbit. Does this mean that the SRBs aren't going to be jettisoned as they used to be?

Matthew
2003-Oct-27, 08:14 AM
I don't think the liquid fuel rockets have enough thrust to launch the shuttle into space, thats why they need the solid rocket boosters. If the liquid fuel rockets failed the solid boosters could keep the shuttle going, maybe even getting it out into space. But if the solid boosters don't have an oxidiser then they would be useless in space. But to push the shuttle in space would pull the boosters too far into space to be jettisoned (as I believe), but they shuttle isn't designed to have to SRB to be brought back to earth on the shuttle. Maybe it could cope, maybe it couldn't, I don't know. If not they would have to be jettisoned in space to be burnt up by the atmosphere.

imported_Zepp
2003-Oct-27, 08:30 PM
like the modular idea... personally i have a grudge against the space shuttle... (i) because im anti-american.. DONT KILL ME... and ii) because its CRAP..
15/m/uk

Haglund
2003-Oct-28, 10:11 AM
Actually it does seem like the design of the shuttle could have been made much better, but budget cuts made it what it is today.

Fraser
2003-Oct-28, 06:44 PM
So, I talked to Alliant about our questions on the forum, and here's what their representative had to say:



Fraser,

In answer to your questions, the main engine is a critical component of the
launch and is definitely necessary. The Reusable Solid Rocket Motors add
significant thrust to the Shuttle, but they can not put it into orbit alone.
The second question, therefore, is a moot point. The RSRMs are programmed
to burn for 123 seconds. Then, a series of eight booster separation motors
kicks in and gently pushes each RSRM away from the main engine and the
shuttle itself.

The test was designed to stress the RSRMs in order to validate the current
safety models and in that respect, all of the preliminary data looks very,
very good. While a five-segment booster could add an additional 23,000
pounds of payload to the Shuttle, or, give the crew an abort-to-orbit option
in the event of a main engine failure after launch, we do not believe that
NASA has plans to begin flying five-segment motors at this time.

Alliant Techsystems


So, there you go. They couldn't carry the shuttle to space on their own, and NASA probably doesn't have plans to use them any time soon.

Kevin
2003-Oct-28, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by Zepp@Oct 27 2003, 08:30 PM
like the modular idea... personally i have a grudge against the space shuttle... (i) because im anti-american.. DONT KILL ME... and ii) because its CRAP..
15/m/uk
anti-american? You can be anti US policy without getting shat upon. But not anti American. I am more than a little confused by your comments. A grudge against the Shuttle because you don't like Bush. Geesh guy give your head a shake.

A Canadian

imported_Zepp
2003-Oct-28, 10:52 PM
didnt directly relate my personal dislike of Bush with the shuttle... what i mean is that various factors IN GOVERNMENT affected the design of the shuttle during its development phase in the 70's...

Remarks have been removed from this section becuase they are counter-productive to the discussions in this forum. - Josh

Oh i've rambled.. sorry...

Zepp... or Duncan as he is commonly known.

15/M/UK

adriaanbw
2003-Oct-29, 12:19 AM
The basic principle behind getting into orbit is that you need multiple stages. If you do he math the result you get is that its just not possible.

Reason: Chemical rockets require fuel and a pressure vessel inside which they ignite and burn. Hence, you have a lot of mass right there. Combine that with the payload and you need at least one more stage.

The idea is that as each stage burns out its dumps its mass making it more possible for the rest of the vehicle to push into orbit. Each stage can be tailored to provide different levels of thrust and different nozzle designs. The amount of thrust you get from a particular nozzle is actually a function of altitude.

Thats the _basic_ gist of things anyway. I don't think i have made any errors. Please correct me if I have.

Luke
2003-Nov-24, 09:43 AM
We should be updating the shuttle in every possible consivable way rather than looking to replace it with something less attractive and less flexable. For a start lets rip out all the tubed TV's and monitors and replace them with the more reliable colour flat LCD TV's that are better than and way less than what is currently being used. :ph34r: