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The Saint
2006-Mar-15, 01:15 AM
It's been discussed here before and claimed that the Shuttle has the capability to fly round the Moon and back.

Would such a mission not be a cheap & effective propaganda preamble for Bush's plan to have men back on the Moon by 2015? Another Apollo 8-type Xmas-time "In the Beginning..." fly round would be fun for all.

Would such a lunar Shuttle trip require any modifications at all to it?

Metricyard
2006-Mar-15, 01:35 AM
Would such a mission not be a cheap & effective propaganda preamble for Bush's plan to have men back on the Moon by 2015? Another Apollo 8-type Xmas-time "In the Beginning..." fly round would be fun for all.

Nasa can barely keep the shuttles running as it is, let alone a trip around the moon.



Would such a lunar Shuttle trip require any modifications at all to it?

Yes, it would require major modifications. It was built for low Earth orbit use only, it was never ment to be a anything else. It would be much cheaper to build a new moon rocket from scratch.

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-15, 02:23 AM
I think it's a good question. It's not about using the shuttle as a lunar transportation system but as a PR stunt. If the shuttle can stay in orbit for two weeks it should be able to last the duration of the trip (3 there, 3 back, plus extra time in LEO). Could the orbiter store enough fuel in the bays to make the trip?

Romanus
2006-Mar-15, 02:29 AM
This question has come up frequently on the Space.com message boards. The consensus, IIRC, is that though it could be done, it would be extremely inefficient and costly. It would require a lot of extra fuel; furthermore, because the Shuttle was made for gliding reentry, it has a lot of useless mass that would have to be accelerated to near-escape velocity. A small capsule or SM-type vehicle--again, like Apollo--would be much better.

NEOWatcher
2006-Mar-15, 12:57 PM
And I haven't seen anyone meantion reentry. ~24kmph VS 17kmph. I would doubt that the tiles or the structure could sustain that.

Metricyard
2006-Mar-15, 06:56 PM
I think it's a good question. It's not about using the shuttle as a lunar transportation system but as a PR stunt.

So, do we remove more scientific probes and fire more people from NASAs list, just for a PR stunt? I think NASA has enough trouble trying to keep itself from total collapse as it is. No need to waste any more money that they don't have.



If the shuttle can stay in orbit for two weeks it should be able to last the duration of the trip (3 there, 3 back, plus extra time in LEO). Could the orbiter store enough fuel in the bays to make the trip?

It's not a matter if it could store fuel, it a matter have having to build a storage fuel tank, get all the plumbling working and tested, not to mention added shielding that would be needed.

Again, NASA has enough problems already trying to get the shuttle back into space without having to create more problems, especially for a PR stunt.

Damburger
2006-Mar-15, 07:05 PM
As has been stated above, it would require lots of fuel to push all that mass to the moon, and a lot of it (wings etc) wouldn't be any use there.

There is also the issue of reentry. You hit the atmosphere faster returning from the moon than you do simply decelerating out of LEO. I can't see NASA wanting to make a shuttle reentry any more dangerous in light of recent flights.

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-15, 07:24 PM
So, do we remove more scientific probes and fire more people from NASAs list, just for a PR stunt? I think NASA has enough trouble trying to keep itself from total collapse as it is. No need to waste any more money that they don't have.

Don't ask me, it's not my idea. I merely said it was a good question, I never claimed to have the answer.


It's not a matter if it could store fuel, it a matter have having to build a storage fuel tank, get all the plumbling working and tested, not to mention added shielding that would be needed.

Again, NASA has enough problems already trying to get the shuttle back into space without having to create more problems, especially for a PR stunt.

Added shielding for what? Thermal protection for the bay-mounted cryogenic fuel tanks? Or are you referring to radiation shielding? Can you tell me how much radiation shielding would be required to bring the shuttle up to Apollo specifications?


As has been stated above, it would require lots of fuel to push all that mass to the moon, and a lot of it (wings etc) wouldn't be any use there.

There is also the issue of reentry. You hit the atmosphere faster returning from the moon than you do simply decelerating out of LEO. I can't see NASA wanting to make a shuttle reentry any more dangerous in light of recent flights.

True, wings would not be of any use there, but they have not really been of any use ever. The OP was talking about a publicity stunt flyby, not a landing or repurposing of the Shuttle for lunar use. Could a shuttle aerobrake when it gets back to earth before aerocapture?

Damburger
2006-Mar-15, 07:29 PM
True, wings would not be of any use there, but they have not really been of any use ever. The OP was talking about a publicity stunt flyby, not a landing or repurposing of the Shuttle for lunar use. Could a shuttle aerobrake when it gets back to earth before aerocapture?

You mean a skip reentry? They did it for the Zond programme, but that was a capsule. Its an untried procedure for the shuttle, and as I said, NASA probably doesn't want to push their luck with the shuttles reentry right now.

Metricyard
2006-Mar-15, 07:55 PM
Added shielding for what? Thermal protection for the bay-mounted cryogenic fuel tanks? Or are you referring to radiation shielding?
That would be radiation shielding.



Can you tell me how much radiation shielding would be required to bring the shuttle up to Apollo specifications?

Not a clue. But the shuttle is well protected within the earths magnetic field. Move past that protection, you'll need more shielding.

Edit--fixed quotes.

Bob B.
2006-Mar-15, 08:06 PM
Lunar return velocity is about 40% greater than reentry velocity from LEO. The Shuttle isn't made for that. I suspect the thermal protection system would fail and the Shuttle would be destroyed during reentry.

I believe the modifications needed to pull off such a stunt are so extensive that it's ridiculous to even speculate about it.

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-15, 08:14 PM
That would be radiation shielding.

Not a clue. But the shuttle is well protected within the earths magnetic field. Move past that protection, you'll need more shielding.

I know, but that wasn't my point. My point is that it could simply be ignored as it has been before. Not the best idea, but historically, not a deal-breaker.

Metricyard
2006-Mar-15, 09:27 PM
I know, but that wasn't my point. My point is that it could simply be ignored as it has been before. Not the best idea, but historically, not a deal-breaker.

Why would you ignore it? When was it ignored before?

Unless you plan on sending the shuttle on an un-manned mission to the moon, radiation is most definitely a consideration. Not very good PR if you're casually exposing the astronauts to dangers just for some tv time.

Bob B.
2006-Mar-15, 09:41 PM
Unless you plan on sending the shuttle on an un-manned mission to the moon, radiation is most definitely a consideration. Not very good PR if you're casually exposing the astronauts to dangers just for some tv time.
Any PR stunt involving the Shuttle would be no doubt be pretty brief, probably not more than a couple weeks. For that amount of time the Shuttle's hull and insulation should be sufficient shielding against radiation. Apollo didn't provide any special shielding -- just the hull and the thermal protection system provide all that was needed. The same is likely true for the Space Shuttle.

Even in low Earth orbit the Shuttle still passes a low lying area of the Van Allen Radiation Belts, so the Shuttle is already capable of providing some radiation protection.

Sticks
2006-Mar-15, 09:44 PM
I thought it was the Russians who did publicity stunts (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/03/06/golf-war) :confused:

Anyhue this topic has been discussed on this thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=13210), so perhaps this one should be locked and discussion transferred over there. :naughty:

Swift
2006-Mar-15, 10:24 PM
The other argument I have against a PR stunt is that we don't need a PR stunt. We need the infrastructure and systems for a substainable effort to go to the moon and Mars. A one shot PR stunt, even if relatively cheap and easy, does not help us to do that.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-15, 10:39 PM
another issue is that it is not allowed to carry fuels or other combustibles inside the shuttle's cargo bay anymore. That rule gave some problems in the launch of GEO satellites counting on the shuttle + a booster stage (they had to look for a different launch rocket).