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View Full Version : Could the shuttle be kept and coexist with the CEV?



Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-23, 03:16 PM
Okay, I know that the CEV is a replacement for the shuttle and it has a lot of advantages. It (should) be cheaper. It's simpler and hopefully safer. It has the ability to be used for lunar missions and adapted for other sorts of missions.

However I cannot help but feel disipointed in the capabilities lost. The Shuttle is very expensive and has a rather bad safety record. However it can do things that the CEV never will be able to. It can not only carry payloads to orbit but also retrieve them. It can conduct external in-orbit experiments such as deploying retrievable satellites and has been used for things like solar panel experiments and the teather satellite (which admittedly didnt go as well as hoped).

Biggest thing of all though is the ability to service satellites in orbit. A level of orbital servicing capability no other vehicle has come close to. Additionally it has much greater capacity. For Space Station missions it can bring up external components and replacement parts. The only alternative would be to use a dedicated launch for things like medium-sized external replacement parts. It can even carry ISS modules, making it an important player in the maintiance of the space station.

The CEV system used a lot of shuttle technology. The solid rocket booster is essentially the same, at least the majority of the sections. The liquid tanks are based on the shuttle's external fuel tank. It uses the same launch pads.


Would it be possible and worthwhile it switch to the CEV for the majority of space exploration but to keep one shuttle in fight-worthy status and the others in semi-mothballs? The remaining shuttle might fly, say, once or twice a year, mostly for space station support and also remain if needed for some other mission.


I have heard that nasa plans to shut down a lot of the shuttle support facilities, however does it really cost that much to keep the capability if much is shared with the CEV? What is the price of keeping a hanger tooled for servicing the shuttle if one considers that it won't actually be used for the work nearly as often as in the past and will often just sit idle for most of the year?

I suppose I could see how the fuel tank fabrication capability might cost something. It's not that much different than the Ares fuel tanks. I suppose NASA could have several fuel tanks fabricated to keep as a supply for a few years of possible missions without having to retool to manufacture more.

Doodler
2007-Oct-23, 03:22 PM
Nice in theory, but maintaining ground facilities for two systems isn't practical.

Larry Jacks
2007-Oct-23, 05:22 PM
If money were no factor, then sure, you could keep a Shuttle and the CEV. Unfortunately, money is always a factor. The Shuttle requires a large ground support staff of trained personnel. You need people to prepare all of the Shuttle systems, update the software, and perform mission control.

A Shuttle also requires a lot of dedicated equipment and facilities. Some of those facilities will be converted for CEV operations (just like how the Saturn V launch pads were converted for Shuttle operations), so you'd either have to build duplicate facilities or somehow modify them to serve both vehicles. All of this costs money that NASA doesn't have, so it isn't going to happen.

As for the Shuttle's unique capabilities, the ability to return stuff from space is probably the most overrated. It is almost never cost effective to fly a Shuttle mission to retrieve something from space. It was done for the LDEF because the mission was specifically designed that way. They retrieved a small number of satellites (2 or 3 IIRC) that were left in useless orbits and brought them back so they could be launched again. However, the taxpayers heavily subsidized those recoveries.

antoniseb
2007-Oct-23, 05:33 PM
While the cheap robotic servicing capability has been slow to show success, it is something that is under development, and has much greater likelihood to be less expensive than launching a whole new replacement satellite *and* won't be restricted to fixing low Earth orbit things.

neilzero
2007-Oct-23, 05:34 PM
Many airports have ground facilities for a dozen aircraft types, so NASA should be able to handle two or three. Obviously NASA should make sure the new system is really better before they retire the shuttles. The shuttle needs to fly more than once per year, or sufficient ground personel with experience won't be available just before flight time. Is there any chance a shuttle could be stationed at the ISS to use for emergencies? With the solid state boosters leaving from ISS, the shuttle could likely land at a moon base in hours instead of days. Neil

NEOWatcher
2007-Oct-23, 05:42 PM
Many airports have ground facilities for a dozen aircraft types, so NASA should be able to handle two or three.
So; If NASA can launch a few hundred flights every day, then I would have no problem giving them multi-platform capabilities.
(Anyway, don't they already support Delta and other unmanned launchers as seperate vehicles?)

My garage at home can also support two vehicles. Do I have use for 2? No.

Sorry to be snippy, but the scales are so vastly different that there is no comparison.

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-23, 05:45 PM
Nice in theory, but maintaining ground facilities for two systems isn't practical.

Two questions:

1. Do you necessarily need two entirely sets of separate facilities for two systems which share a large number of components?

2. How much does it cost to "maintain" all the shuttle facilities, assuming that they are not in operation to the extent that they were at the time of the shuttle program's most activity.

Does it cost anything to have a runway for the shuttle? It's already there. It's very thick concrete so it ain't going anywhere.

Does it cost that much to have the equipment for tile inspection and repair retained? What is the price of having some shuttle-speffic maintenance equipment sit in the back of the hanger under a tarp for most of the year?

I assume Nasa isn't so pressed for space that they simply to not have the room to keep such things and have no alternative but to throw them out or sell them for next to nothing at a government auction.

Obviously there are some shuttle-speffic facilities which would require money to keep in operation. But really, does it cost *that* much to have them for one or two missions a year?

The employees who are already trained in prepping the shuttle cannot also handle the CEV?

antoniseb
2007-Oct-23, 05:57 PM
2. How much does it cost to "maintain" all the shuttle facilities, assuming that they are not in operation to the extent that they were at the time of the shuttle program's most activity.
Refurbishing the shuttle after a flight requires a lot of highly skilled, highly specialized labor. One of the hope of the CEV is that this kind of maintenance will no longer be needed, and the staff to support it should be *much* smaller.

AtomicDog
2007-Oct-23, 06:46 PM
Many airports have ground facilities for a dozen aircraft types, so NASA should be able to handle two or three. Obviously NASA should make sure the new system is really better before they retire the shuttles. The shuttle needs to fly more than once per year, or sufficient ground personel with experience won't be available just before flight time. Is there any chance a shuttle could be stationed at the ISS to use for emergencies? With the solid state boosters leaving from ISS, the shuttle could likely land at a moon base in hours instead of days. Neil


The Shuttle has a limited on-orbit lifetime. Stretching the consumables to the utmost, you're not going to get more than a month of life out of it. After that, the Shuttle dies.

Larry Jacks
2007-Oct-23, 07:01 PM
Many airports have ground facilities for a dozen aircraft types, so NASA should be able to handle two or three

Weak comparison. Aircraft don't need dedicated runways - just about any plane that meets the weight and size constraints can take off from any runway. The same isn't true for launch pads. Aircraft have standardized many factors like fuel types and fueling system, baggage handling, etc. None of that is true for rockets.

Is there any chance a shuttle could be stationed at the ISS to use for emergencies?

This was discussed in a recent thread. In short, the answer is no. The Shuttle wasn't designed to be left on orbit for extended periods of time. Many of the systems (e.g. the fuel cells) aren't designed to be used for more than a couple weeks.

With the solid state boosters leaving from ISS, the shuttle could likely land at a moon base in hours instead of days.

The idea of using a Shuttle SRB in orbit to speed up a Mars trip was discussed just a week or so ago. The first problem is that a single 4 segment SRB weighs something like 1.2 million pounds. There's no booster on Earth powerful enough to launch even a single SRB segment into orbit much less an entire SRB.

1. Do you necessarily need two entirely sets of separate facilities for two systems which share a large number of components?

There can be some commonality but probably not much. For example, look at the geometry of the Shuttle verses the Ares I (the "Stick"). The launch pad will probably have to be modified. The crawler will probably need specialized equipment to move the Ares to the launch pad. The launch tower will be different. The list goes on. The equipment to stack a 5 segment SRB for the Ares I will likely be similar to that used to stack a 4 segment SRB for the Shuttle. The upper stage engine on the Ares I burns the same propellant (LH/LOX) as the SSMEs but the engine is completely different. The software won't be the same. The processing procedures won't be the same. The amount of commonality is actually pretty limited.

There appears to be more commonality between the Ares V and the Shuttle. The geometry is similar so the pad, crawler, and perhaps the launch towers wouldn't require too many changes.

2. How much does it cost to "maintain" all the shuttle facilities, assuming that they are not in operation to the extent that they were at the time of the shuttle program's most activity.

If I'm reading you correctly, it seems you're asking how much it would take to put the Shuttle facilities in either a caretaker status or to operate them at a lower activity level. I don't have the answers. Every building requires a certain amount of maintenance. Physical equipment needs to be maintained whether its used or not if you hope to use it again in the future. The big issue is that most of the facilities will be converted for use by the new vehicle(s) so they won't be available for the Shuttle anymore. There's also the other support equipment such as the simulators and training aircraft that exist to train Shuttle astronauts. The simulators for the CEV will either be adapted from Shuttle hardware (seems unlikely) or will replace the Shuttle equipment. The training aircraft won't be needed anymore. It takes a lot of expensive equipment to keep the Shuttle pilots proficient. That's true whether they're flying 1 mission a year or 6.

Does it cost anything to have a runway for the shuttle? It's already there. It's very thick concrete so it ain't going anywhere.

It isn't like they're going to rip out the runway when the Shuttle stops flying. However, it's likely that the runway deteriorates due to exposure to the elements whether it's used or not. I've seen photos of abandoned runways at closed airports. After a few years, many of them appear to be in pretty bad shape.

Does it cost that much to have the equipment for tile inspection and repair retained? What is the price of having some shuttle-speffic maintenance equipment sit in the back of the hanger under a tarp for most of the year?

I assume Nasa isn't so pressed for space that they simply to not have the room to keep such things and have no alternative but to throw them out or sell them for next to nothing at a government auction.

It isn't as if NASA has a bunch of empty buildings sitting around where they can store stuff. Most of their buildings are already being used for one purpose or another. How much sense would it make to build a building to store equipment that you're not likely to use again?

Obviously there are some shuttle-speffic facilities which would require money to keep in operation. But really, does it cost *that* much to have them for one or two missions a year?

The employees who are already trained in prepping the shuttle cannot also handle the CEV?

It does cost a lot if you have to build new buildings to have enough room to handle all of the support equipment and personnel needed to maintain both vehicles. As for the employees, consider the people who refurbish the SSMEs and the Shuttle's tiles. Those components are highly specialized and won't exist on the CEV. You have to pay the workers the same salary regardless of whether you're flying 1 (or zero, as when the Shuttle was grounded) or 6 missions a year. Keeping that workforce on hand to support that few missions per year is an expensive proposition. The same goes for the mission controllers. The vehicles are so different that it'd be challenging to train the mission controllers to handle both types. Would you keep a full complement of mission controllers on staff when you're only flying 1 mission per year?

SirThoreth
2007-Oct-23, 07:23 PM
With the solid state boosters leaving from ISS, the shuttle could likely land at a moon base in hours instead of days. Neil

The solid rocket boosters used by the Shuttle are high thrust, which is great for getting the Shuttle and its external fuel tank off the ground, but have very poor efficiency in general, and in a vaccuum in particular. They're also incredibly massive, massing roughly 590,000 kg each. By way of comparison, the ISS currently masses 232,693 kg currently. How many flights did it take to put those ISS components in orbit?

NASA actually produced a 10-page study on using the Shuttle for missions to the Moon. Their plan called for a Shuttle carrying its EFT all the way into orbit with it, and then leaving it there, while cargo flights then carry up the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen needed to refuel it - that's 106,261 kg of liquid hydrogen, and 629,340 kg of liquid oxygen. With no "Shuttle-C" cargo vehicle, the Shuttle itself could deliver 24,400 kg of cargo each flight, while a Delta IV Heavy can deliver 23,040 kg. So, we're talking roughly 30-31 flights between the two to fill it.

It gets better - they estimated a 3-ton payload to the Moon. That's not much.

URL for the study can be found here:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19910014907_1991014907.pdf

PDF is 1,141 KB.

Noteworthy quote:



The results of the analysis indicate the Shuttle orbiter would be a poor vehicle for payload delivery missions to lunar orbit. The maximum payload to a circular 100 km lunar orbit is only about 3.2 mt. This performance is particularly when it is noted that the initial mass in earth orbit is in excess of 846 mt.

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-24, 12:45 AM
Actually, on a somewhat related note (The deployment of the CEV) can we get that thing possibly flying in the more near-term by going with the capsule and for the time being sticking it ontop of an atlas or even a delta or something?

Maybe even get some CEV orbital missions before the shuttle retirement deadline is up.

(oh yeah... not human certified... is it that much easier\faster to make a whole new launch platform than to assure an existing one is adequately safe)

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-24, 09:08 PM
Whatever happened to those cool digital vehicles you used to see in magazines that would be just like airplanes, instead of needing the extra tanks like the Shuttle?
Man, I felt so old writing that.

Noclevername
2007-Oct-25, 12:07 AM
Whatever happened to those cool digital vehicles you used to see in magazines that would be just like airplanes, instead of needing the extra tanks like the Shuttle?
Man, I felt so old writing that.

How do you think I feel? I've been seeing those same "any day now" spaceplane illustrations since before they were digital!

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-25, 12:13 AM
How do you think I feel? I've been seeing those same "any day now" spaceplane illustrations since before they were digital!
Ah, we both remember those days- four Harry Potter books, 150 Pokemon, President Clinton, the first plans for ISS... why did I have to grow up?

Noclevername
2007-Oct-25, 12:21 AM
Ah, we both remember those days- four Harry Potter books, 150 Pokemon, President Clinton, the first plans for ISS... why did I have to grow up?

Try 1970's. The basic concepts aren't new, just repainted and with the serial numbers filed off.

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-25, 12:27 AM
Try 1970's. The basic concepts aren't new, just repainted and with the serial numbers filed off.
I was joking before.
But I'm all for Orion, let's go, go, go!

Noclevername
2007-Oct-25, 12:34 AM
But I'm all for Orion, let's go, go, go!

Yes, as long as they pick one and stick with it, it's a good thing!

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-25, 12:35 AM
Yes, as long as they pick one and stick with it, it's a good thing!
Ita vero!
("Yes, indeed!" in Latin.)

jlhredshift
2007-Oct-25, 12:59 AM
When I was 12 or 13 I drew the X-15 with a booster being dropped from an upscaled B-58 hustler, Ahh childhood dreams.

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-25, 01:03 AM
I drew cute versions of Sojourner, Voyager, Cassini and Viking.
I also drew a Sputnik one, but not in the same notebook.

Noclevername
2007-Oct-25, 01:15 AM
I drew the little triangle ship from the Asteroids game...

cudachaser
2007-Oct-25, 01:55 AM
After working over 30 years on the shuttle program...She is one fantastic bird. I feel the shuttle should be brought to to 2007 standards and continue flying for at least the next 30 years

An aircraft that is brought into service goes through 1000's of test flights. The shuttle was deemed operational after just 5 flights. We never took the shuttle to it's engineering limits.

Joe

Skyfire
2007-Oct-25, 09:10 AM
After working over 30 years on the shuttle program...She is one fantastic bird. I feel the shuttle should be brought to to 2007 standards and continue flying for at least the next 30 years

An aircraft that is brought into service goes through 1000's of test flights. The shuttle was deemed operational after just 5 flights. We never took the shuttle to it's engineering limits.

Joe

I agree she is a looking craft. However, do you remember the quote from "The Right Stuff" about what makes these things go up?

FUNDING. That's what makes these things go. If it is removed, or phased out, then the shuttle will no longer fly. End of story.

Funding may be directed to something else, but at the same time it will be removed from the shuttle. A fact of financial life. Unfortunately.

cjl
2007-Oct-25, 09:22 AM
What makes you think that the shuttle is a better way to go than the Orion however?

It is inherently less safe due to the relative positioning of the components, it is much less efficient than the potential replacements, and it is certainly more expensive per pound of payload than anything else currently around. Yes, it is a wonderful engineering feat. However, it is simply far more expensive than originally expected for what it was designed it to do.

Sticks
2007-Oct-25, 02:11 PM
This could be moot, when both the CEV and shuttle are cancelled due to budget cuts and a "Need to prioritise spending" to seemingly more worthy causes, such as hospitals, schools, feeding the hungry, fixing our planet first yar-de-yar etc. I remember when the rovers first landed, there was an initial outcry in our local rag's letter page at the outrageous cost :rolleyes:

I think I mentioned elsewhere, I was speaking to a visiting American the other week, and their expectation was that the CEV would be cancelled and that the US will be pulling out of human space flight due to cost. (If I heard them correctly)

Ilya
2007-Oct-25, 03:56 PM
This could be moot, when both the CEV and shuttle are cancelled due to budget cuts and a "Need to prioritise spending" to seemingly more worthy causes, such as hospitals, schools, feeding the hungry, fixing our planet first yar-de-yar etc.

For several years you've been prophesying every NASA mission to be canceled (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/39389-dawn-may-back-business.html#post705384) for "hospitals, schools, feeding the hungry". None of them were. Give it up.

I remember when the rovers first landed, there was an initial outcry in our local rag's letter page at the outrageous cost :rolleyes:

What does NASA or US Congress care about local rag is in Britain?


I think I mentioned elsewhere, I was speaking to a visiting American the other week, and their expectation was that the CEV would be cancelled and that the US will be pulling out of human space flight due to cost. (If I heard them correctly)

I am sure you can find "a visiting American" who expects that. You can also find a visiting American who expects aliens to take him on board Comet Halley in 2012. Both are about equally likely to happen.

Judging from your posts over the years, you have very selective attention. You notice what fits your preconceptions (namely, all spaceflight is a political non-starter and will soon be gone), and ignore all the evidence to the contrary.

Sticks
2007-Oct-25, 04:29 PM
He seemed to be straight down the line and was not in the woo-woo fraternity as far as I could tell. (I think he may have been republican, but can not be sure of that), I just assumed as he came from across the pond, he was closer to how things I was. It all seemed depressing that the bean counters were getting their way again, just like the way they killed Apollo.

As for the local rag, we have problems with its reporting, and it's sister paper where I work, I thought you ought to hear what small mindedness out there.

Doodler
2007-Oct-25, 04:42 PM
We may not go to the Moon again according to Bush's timetable, but you can bet every square acre of agricultural land in Britain that both houses of Congress and the Executive branch will add a vow of poverty to their oaths of office before we'll abandon manned spaceflight with a hundred billion dollars of inhabitable real estate going round and round.

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-25, 05:11 PM
Whatever happened to those cool digital vehicles you used to see in magazines that would be just like airplanes, instead of needing the extra tanks like the Shuttle?
Man, I felt so old writing that.

Yeah I remember those my entire life. It was the NASP for a while that was going to do what the shuttle promised: cheap routine access that would be on par with an expensive aircraft like the blackbird. Then they went to the DCX and the Venturestar and such.

Same basic idea, but some were vertical and many were based on the concept of hybrid scramjet/rocket propulsion. That's been the "just around the corner" and the "easily accessible spacecraft of tomorrow" for as long as I can remember.

But that sort of thing is only good for LEO. We decided that the moon's where it's at, so why even bother with a useless system like that when you can go with little semi-throw-away capsules sitting on big dumb throw-away boosters? That'll take you to the moon... a few times...

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-25, 05:20 PM
Maybe I should add that I have a very very large difference philosophy wise with NASA.

To make an analogy: Apollo was a Lewis and Clark expedition. Not sustainable. Not designed to set up any lasting presence. Basically live lightly and carry what you can. Carry stuff in boxes then use the boxes as boats then over turn them into shelters and finally burn them as firewood. Stretch things as far as you can and then get back on what supplies you have left. The purpose was exploration.

But to build a two-coastal country you don't just keep mounting such one-shot survey parties. You need to build a railroad. Once you have a way to get there that's reliable like that you can begin to really utilize the area.

The initial cost is high, but once completed the benefits are vast and travel becomes easily obtainable.

What Nasa is basically saying is that they want to go back to the moon and the only way to do it is with CEV-like vehicles. So building a reusable SSTO or spaceplane is useless.


That would be like saying in the early/mid 1800's "We can't build a trans-continental railroad right now because we don't have the resources. So we shouldn't build any"

My response would be "No, we can't go to California just yet. But we can build rails to Chicago. And then we can build rails to St. Louis. And then we can open up those parts of the country to easy transportation. That won't get us to California, but in a couple of decades, if we start by going to St. Louis, we'll be able to cross the Rockies"

And they did, of course.


But Nasa thinks differently. They would rather send some scouting parties to the moon again. We may learn a few new things. Collect some unique samples we didn't have before. But we know what's there. I don't see any point. This assures we will never progress to using space for it's full potential.

IsaacKuo
2007-Oct-25, 05:42 PM
What Nasa is basically saying is that they want to go back to the moon and the only way to do it is with CEV-like vehicles. So building a reusable SSTO or spaceplane is useless.

The real problem with a SSTO or spaceplane isn't what NASA says about it. It's the harsh realities of chemical rockets and Earth's gravity well.

Building an SSTO is HARD, and for the same amount of money/time/resources you can get a lot more payload with a multi-stage launcher. That's the real reason why every successful launcher so far has been multi-stage, and why every attempt at developing an SSTO has failed.

If you want cheap access to space, you've got to start looking outside the limitations of traditional chemical rockets. The two approaches I favor are laser thermal rockets (these require several orders of magnitude more powerful lasers), and Lune-Orion (this requires development of a specialized lunar mini-missile factory). Another possibility might be a space elevator. In all cases, we're talking about technology that's decades away, at best.

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-25, 06:13 PM
The real problem with a SSTO or spaceplane isn't what NASA says about it. It's the harsh realities of chemical rockets and Earth's gravity well.

Building an SSTO is HARD, and for the same amount of money/time/resources you can get a lot more payload with a multi-stage launcher. That's the real reason why every successful launcher so far has been multi-stage, and why every attempt at developing an SSTO has failed.


Well that depends on how you define SSTO. There are rockets which are capable of making it to orbit in their entirity without relying on multiple stages. The early Atlas is the classic example. It's sometimes called "Stage and a half" because it jettisons two of the engines. It could take them to orbit, but there wasn't any point to carrying that weight when the payload was limited as it was. A similar system today could probably do better with the same design and lighter materials.

Of course that was nearly 50 years ago, and it was one-shot, which would defeat the purpose. But that was 50 years ago.




If you want cheap access to space, you've got to start looking outside the limitations of traditional chemical rockets. The two approaches I favor are laser thermal rockets (these require several orders of magnitude more powerful lasers), and Lune-Orion (this requires development of a specialized lunar mini-missile factory). Another possibility might be a space elevator. In all cases, we're talking about technology that's decades away, at best.

I am highly skeptical about the idea of a space elevator. Having looked at some of the numbers we are at least many decades away from that sort of capacity to create suitable material and the other myriad of challenges faced.




I will give you that it is hard. It's not just hard, it's really really hard. It's never been done. It's something that would require new systems, new technologies. It would mean developing something who's basic nature is not even agreed upon. It's downright futuristic and almost science fiction. It would require making something that has been though of as a fantasy of the future actually happen and push technology to it's limit.


So that's not something nasa can do? Remind me again, why do they exist?

IsaacKuo
2007-Oct-25, 06:21 PM
Isn't Atlas the most expensive launcher ever used, in terms of costs per kilogram lofted into orbit?

Like I said, you get more payload with a multi-stage rocket. Why throw away just the engines when you can get more of a performance boost by throwing away empty fuel tanks while you're at it?

BTW, I'm also skeptical about the space elevator. It's not any more efficient than laser thermal, but requires much more infrastructure costs (even assuming the required materials are developed). It's even less efficient than Lune-Orion, which gets 10 joules of energy from the gravitational potential energy of the Moon for every joule of energy pumped into the mass launcher.

Larry Jacks
2007-Oct-25, 06:25 PM
Building an SSTO is HARD, and for the same amount of money/time/resources you can get a lot more payload with a multi-stage launcher. That's the real reason why every successful launcher so far has been multi-stage, and why every attempt at developing an SSTO has failed.

The rocket equation is unforgiving especially when you're talking about SSTO. Reusable SSTO is even more challenging. IIRC, to achieve SSTO with a rocket, you'll have to have at least 89% of the liftoff mass be propellant. That leaves 11% for structure, payload, and everything else. With the best of today's technology, you just can't get there from here.

Ideas like scramjet powered spaceplanes that can accelerate to a high fraction of orbital velicity are an old dream. However, the aerodynamic and heating conditions of such a flight have proven far more challenging than our technology will support.

Partial reusability like what Kistler (RIP) and SpaceX have tried seems like a better approach. SpaceX plans on reusing the first stage. IIRC, Kistler also wanted to reuse the second stage. However, they're having serious funding issues and their future is in doubt.

Noclevername
2007-Oct-25, 06:38 PM
This assures we will never progress to using space for it's full potential.

"Never" assumes that NASA is the only means to get people into space. It isn't, and will be getting even isn'ter in the next few decades.

Yes, I said isn'ter. And I stand by it.

AtomicDog
2007-Oct-25, 09:23 PM
I will give you that it is hard. It's not just hard, it's really really hard. It's never been done. It's something that would require new systems, new technologies. It would mean developing something who's basic nature is not even agreed upon. It's downright futuristic and almost science fiction. It would require making something that has been though of as a fantasy of the future actually happen and push technology to it's limit.


So that's not something nasa can do? Remind me again, why do they exist?


NASA has tried for over twenty years, and found that they can't do it with the resources they have. They have been mandated to resume exploring space, with no increase in those resources,so they go back to what they know works. You want to resume SSTO? So would NASA. Tell Congress to pony up the bucks.

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-26, 01:28 AM
Too bad that VentureStar is taken, it was such a cool name. If I ever live-off world and have any sort of flying vehicle, I'll name it that.

Drbuzz0
2007-Oct-26, 01:35 AM
NASA has tried for over twenty years, and found that they can't do it with the resources they have. They have been mandated to resume exploring space, with no increase in those resources,so they go back to what they know works. You want to resume SSTO? So would NASA. Tell Congress to pony up the bucks.

Well not necessarily an SSTO, that would be ideal, but something like the "piggyback" concept that floated around for a while (ram/scramjet "first stage" to launch manned and unmanned orbital missions from the upper atmosphere at high-supersonic to low hypersonic. Or possibly something like a hybrid system using a flyback boosters and a reusable central componet. Or system with is basically an SSTO except for the use of a relatively cheap "dumb" booster to get it off the ground. Or a system that relies primarly on air breathing jets to get to 100,000 feet and mach 6 or 7 and the remaining with rocket.

I mean there are a bunch of ways to attack it. If the goal is to make a space shuttle which actually does what the space shuttle was supposed to "Shuttle" meaning something akin to a simple express quick turn-around, reliable, means of getting to space. Or at least, to make it as much like that as possible...

That is something I would entirely support. However the "return to the moon" is just another exploratory "use your ship for firewood" one-shot sort of deal that you can only do so many times and when done you have nothing to show for it except for some rocks and measurements which probably could have been done remotely.

Will it increase scientific knowledge? Yes, I'm sure. We'll refine the theories of how the moon was formed. We'll learn more about the early earth, but I'm not expecting anything "revolutionary" to completely re-write the text books. You end up at the end with no new capability. No "express" to space.

All you have are scorched capsules to put in a museum. Pure science for science sake is great and all, but actually developing new technologies that are a significant step toward something useful is great too.

In any case. I have aproximately zero interest in nasa's plans now. Actually I prefer not to think about them *too* much because it makes me feel very disheartened about what has happened to the program and where my tax money is going.

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-26, 01:37 AM
In any case. I have aproximately zero interest in nasa's plans now. Actually I prefer not to think about them *too* much because it makes me feel very disheartened about what has happened to the program and where my tax money is going.
From that video Neverfly sent me:
"It's a shame that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud over all we have known
Unaware that their ranks have grown
Led on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In our dream of the proud."

NEOWatcher
2007-Oct-26, 12:21 PM
It all seemed depressing that the bean counters were getting their way again, just like the way they killed Apollo.
Yes; this is the same situation.
Apollo was killed in support of the new vehicle and new strategy, and that is what we got. It was not to kill human spaceflight, but to redirect the funds to the new program.

Remember, the first shuttle design contracts (http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4219/Chapter12.html) went out before Apollo 11.

I see no historical evidence of congress trying to kill human spaceflight.
Making it difficult? Certainly, but not kill.

Ilya
2007-Oct-26, 02:43 PM
As for the local rag, we have problems with its reporting, and it's sister paper where I work, I thought you ought to hear what small mindedness out there.

I hear. You certainly made it clear in this post (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/29748-has-katrina-finally-put-end-us-personned-spaceflight-2.html#post553620). And my response still applies.

mugaliens
2007-Nov-01, 08:43 AM
Not economically, no. The CEV is, per pound to orbit, much cheaper than the shuttle.

So was Apollo.

Sticks
2007-Nov-01, 09:37 AM
Has anyone ever done an Environmental Impact Assessment (http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planning/sustainabilityenvironmental/environmentalimpactassessment/) of the CEV versus the Shuttle?

publiusr
2007-Dec-07, 07:29 PM
I haven't. As far as a capsule/shuttle combo--that was exactly what was being proposed for the Energiya Buran system..

R-7 and Proton would at some point be discontinued. Zenit strap-ons would be EELV type vehicles and could launch the Zarya type capsule seen on the cover of Popular Science. Buran would fly to LEO to dock with Energiya launched Mir 2 modules visited by capsules for the most part.

MAKS would be used as a minispaceplane, using AN-225 that transported Energiya and Buran.

It all would have fit together well.

One good thing about side payload-mount is that it allows outsized payloads.

A hypersonic boilerplate (near Buran size) would be released from AN-225 for low speed tests--then released from Energiya in space for PROLONGED heat tests--of an actual airframe--not an ingot like X-43.

The modular approach would have worked quite well--but the Soviets wanted to spend more money on a foolish war in another country--than on a good space program.

Sounds familiar...

Energiya
http://www.amazon.com/Energiya-Buran-Soviet-Shuttle-Springer-Exploration/dp/0387698485/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197055876&sr=8-1