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BigJim
2003-Apr-07, 01:20 AM
Buran was the Russian space shuttle. You can go to k26.com/buran/ and www.astronautix.com/craft/mancraft.html for information about it.

How do you think Buran measures up to the space shuttle? Should it be revived in some form (I say some form because the original Buran was crushed in a roof collapse at Bakinour about a year or two ago)? Is Buran or Soyuz more efficient?

In a similar vein, what do you think about NASA's verses Russia's manned space programs? Is NASA's $600 million a flight reusable space shuttle fleet or Russia's cheap and reliable but expendable Soyuz better? Both have had accidents...

Soyuz accidents (that I know of)
Soyuz 1 - capsule crashed, killing Vladimir Komarov, the cosmonaut
Soyuz 11- capsule depressurized on reentry, killing the 3 un-spacesuited cosmonauts.
Soyuz 19 (if I am wrong on the number of this one, correct me) - forced abort and landing in Ural mountains, no injuries

Shuttle accidents
Challenger
Columbia

skeptED56
2003-Apr-07, 01:47 AM
The shuttle, while a marvel of engineering, is just not worth it. It is reusable, but so much material gets used replacing parts, tiles, that fact that the external fuel tank gets dumped and is unreusable means that, material wise, the shuttle is no better of preserving resources than a soyuz (worse because of the number of people it takes to maintain it). An advantage to the shuttle is its big cargo space, but a much cheaper and reliable booster could be made to take station parts into orbit (right now the shuttle is the only thing that can take up station parts). If we had used BDBs or Big Dumb Boosters like the soyuz we wouldn't have nearly the casuality rate, 14 astronauts. I think if we hadn't spent all the money we did on the shuttle, we would have more money to build space stations, plan manned mars missions, and research overall better technologies. A shuttle still uses chemical fuel and launches like a rocket, and even when it lands its just a controled glide. Investment in technologies such as magnetic rails that would propel a payload/vehicle into orbit, very high pressure water rockets, or vehicles that are able to be launched using a special laser. All are being researched and could offer a more reliable and cheaper access to space.
In short, regular boosters and capsules (like the soyuz) are more reliable and cheaper than the shuttle, and using them would free up more recourses to build stations that would open up access to regions of space beyond LEO and afford the oppurtunity to do more science than 2 week shuttle missions or the ISS in which astronauts spend most of their time keeping it working than doing science, and research technologies which would be truly different and better than what we have been using.

That's just my opinon though :D

nexus
2003-Apr-07, 01:49 AM
I'm just amazed that the Soyuz has been around as long as it has, didn't they first come out with it in the mid 60's or so? Seems like eventually it would be more affordable to go with a reusable craft. It also seems like it would be a lot safer, because you don't want to spend the money to but a lot of equipment in a one-use-craft.

Colt
2003-Apr-07, 06:37 AM
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/buran.html

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/soyuz.html

http://www.buran.ru/htm/molniya.htm

http://k26.com/buran/Info/A_Comparison/a_comparison.html

Links from your firearms finatic Alaskan friend. :wink:


IMHO I believe that the Buran is better. It is truly reusable and the comptuers onboard it are more advanced (no 8088s!)

Not feeling well right now so I am just dropping you a few links and a quick line. -Colt

This Is Your Brain On FOX
2003-Apr-07, 09:02 AM
As I understand the Soviets intended Buran to be a weapons platform, but when it became clear the Space Shuttle wouldn't be used as such they lost interest in it.

The Russians don't do technology for the sake of technology - if something works they are usually happy with that.

Hopefully the Russians will eventually get their act together and get their Space program back into Soviet form

crazy4space
2003-Apr-07, 07:54 PM
I would like to know what the acronym STS stands for?

daver
2003-Apr-07, 08:06 PM
I would like to know what the acronym STS stands for?

Space Transportation System. "System" seems a bit of an exaggeration.

As long as we're on the subject, IUS pre-challenger was Interim Upper Stage. Post-challenger, Inertial Upper Stage.

BigJim
2003-Apr-07, 08:08 PM
I would like to know what the acronym STS stands for?

STS stands for the Space Transportation System, the official name of the shuttle.

In reference to the comment about the Shuttle using 8088s, (it was actually upgraded to 386s in 1997- only 8 years behind the technology available at Radio Shack) I used to disagree with the low level of technology also, but recently I read an article saying that for shuttle systems, it takes time to get them onto the shuttle because they must be "rad-hardened", or strengthened for exposure to the high radiation levels.

I agree that the Soyuz and Buran is better. Buran would have been more efficient and cheaper than the STS, and the Soyuz has had at least 200 missions (correct me if I'm wrong) with only two failures. The STS has had about 120 missions with two failures, and is far mote expensive. I don't really see why we even use reusable spacecraft, since the goal was cheaper spacecraft, but the Shuttle is more expensive than Soyuz per flight!

Glom
2003-Apr-07, 08:41 PM
BigJim, there have only been around ninety manned Soyuz launches. The Soyuz booster however is also used to launch other payloads, which does make it a better investment than the Shuttle LV.

The one thing to remember about the Space Shuttle is that it is far more versatile than other spacecraft, that is you can do a greater variety of stuff with it. Von Braun's design for the Integrated Space Program called for the Space Shuttle to serve as a workhorse between the surface and the Skylab Superstation. The abilities of such a vehicle were specified. The problem with the Space Shuttle was that it went overschedule and overbudget in its development and then turned out to need greater maintenance than anticipated.

BigJim
2003-Apr-07, 08:54 PM
BigJim, there have only been around ninety manned Soyuz launches.

Sorry. I think I got confused it the number of Soyuz booster launches - does anyone know how many of those there have been?

ToSeek
2003-Apr-07, 09:42 PM
I would like to know what the acronym STS stands for?

STS stands for the Space Transportation System, the official name of the shuttle.

In reference to the comment about the Shuttle using 8088s, (it was actually upgraded to 386s in 1997- only 8 years behind the technology available at Radio Shack) I used to disagree with the low level of technology also, but recently I read an article saying that for shuttle systems, it takes time to get them onto the shuttle because they must be "rad-hardened", or strengthened for exposure to the high radiation levels.

And the more advanced the microprocessor (specifically, the denser the components are), the harder it is to radiation harden it.

tracer
2003-Apr-07, 11:54 PM
The shuttle, while a marvel of engineering, is just not worth it. It is reusable, but so much material gets used replacing parts, tiles, that fact that the external fuel tank gets dumped and is unreusable means that, material wise, the shuttle is no better of preserving resources than a soyuz (worse because of the number of people it takes to maintain it).
As far as per-mission costs go, the biggest culprit isn't the tiles or the external fuel tank.

It's those darned Main Engines on the back of the orbiter.

You see, although the Main Engines are officially "reusable", they have to be rebuilt from the ground up between each flight. This is because a shuttle launch operates them at 104% of their designed maximum efficiency rating, thus putting stresses on the engines beyond what they were designed to handle.

One commentator was of the opinion that if NASA were to throttle back those main engines to a mere 100% of their designed maximum efficiency rating, and thus sacrificed 15% of the shuttle's payload capacity, the cost per shuttle flight would be cut in half. I don't know if said commentator was correct, though.

Reacher
2003-Apr-08, 03:33 AM
above a craft fired by a special laser was mentioned. I saw a documentary on it discovery about it. How amazing! For those who dont know, its shaped roughly like two cones stuck together. A laser is fired from the ground at the bottom of it. the air explodes, driving it upwards, and any upwards moving heated air is caught by a little rim, and produces further upwards motion. it contains no moving parts, but dont get excited - it flashed annoyingly, is noisy, has immense trouble flying horrisontally if not attatched to a string or cable, and the biggest model so far is only about a foot long... mmmm... foot-long sub..... mmmm

David Hall
2003-Apr-08, 03:06 PM
It's been mentioned here before (and often) that "cutting edge" hardware is not what you want to use on spacecraft. What you need is tried and true, stuff that's known to be reliable and adaptable to the special needs and conditions of spaceflight. Besides, they aren't running Winblows up there. They're using specially-written programs designed to be small and efficient. No need to for a Pentium4 2.4ghz when a 386 will do the job nicely.

kucharek
2003-Apr-08, 03:18 PM
You see, although the Main Engines are officially "reusable", they have to be rebuilt from the ground up between each flight. This is because a shuttle launch operates them at 104% of their designed maximum efficiency rating, thus putting stresses on the engines beyond what they were designed to handle.
AFAIK, 100% just means the thrust of the original design of the engine. Later, improved design enabled a higher thrust. So, when a current engine runs at 104%, it is not beyond its designed maximum, it just gives 4% more thrust than the original design.

Harald

ToSeek
2003-Apr-08, 03:49 PM
You see, although the Main Engines are officially "reusable", they have to be rebuilt from the ground up between each flight. This is because a shuttle launch operates them at 104% of their designed maximum efficiency rating, thus putting stresses on the engines beyond what they were designed to handle.
AFAIK, 100% just means the thrust of the original design of the engine. Later, improved design enabled a higher thrust. So, when a current engine runs at 104%, it is not beyond its designed maximum, it just gives 4% more thrust than the original design.

Harald

I think there's still a good point here. The shuttle engines are run right to the edge of their design capability, not quite redlined but almost. Contrast that with driving your car - I don't know about you, but I'm usually less than halfway to redlining my tach. Until we develop a rocket engine with the same reserve capacity, space flight is going to remain an expensive, scary, high-maintenance practice.

BigJim
2003-Apr-08, 09:34 PM
The shuttle engines are run right to the edge of their design capability, not quite redlined but almost. Contrast that with driving your car - I don't know about you, but I'm usually less than halfway to redlining my tach. Until we develop a rocket engine with the same reserve capacity, space flight is going to remain an expensive, scary, high-maintenance practice.

I think that this was one of the inherent advantages of the Buran design.
It was twofold:

a) The expendable Energia had the engines, and on the first flight they were not reused.

b) The Energia that was going to be eventually reused would basically just need refueling.

The Buran combined the best of the STS and Soyuz - the reusablity of the STS (Actually more so) and the partial expendability and lower costs of the Soyuz.

Cloudy
2003-Apr-14, 07:10 AM
b) The Energia that was going to be eventually reused would basically just need refueling.

----

We don't know that. We never will unless someone builds one of these things and launches it a few times. It is far easier to predict the performance of a rocket (or just about anything, for that matter) than its reliability or reusibility. Even in areas like aircraft and auto design - where we have a lot of experience - it is difficult to predict reliability and maintanence costs. Its even tougher when you are making something entirely new like a reusable space shuttle.

The space shuttle was also supposed to require minimal care between flights. The many, many problems with the thermal protection tiles were not found out until they actually had to refurbish the shuttle in order to launch again. The same can be said for many other systems on the shuttle.

Also, the Soviet space program was able to hide its problems for a long time. Most of the US shuttle's problems were public knowledge. This can lead to further unfair comparisons.

That being said, the Buran program does not make NASA look good. The Soviets thought the claim that the Shuttle would save money had to be a cover story - they believed the real purpose was secret. They thought there is no way any sane and knowledgable person could ever really believe that claim to be true. They were wrong. The mistake they made was to assume that the people pushing the Shuttle program were sane and knowledgable.

The Soviets saw us jumping over a cliff thinking we could fly. Since they thought we were smart, they jumped over a cliff after us. Arguing over whether the STS or the Buran is better is like watching two people jump over a cliff and then arguing over who is best as flailing their arms in the air.