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banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Sep-11, 10:40 AM
There seems to be more talk about extending the shuttle program. If they do, could the shuttle be made safe(r) to fly? Can a shuttle be taken apart (completely) and put back together again from ground up? There was (is) worry about internal wiring that has been used since the shuttles were orginally built (inaccessible to people) that could potentially short out some day during a critical part of ascent. Is robot tech. and remote manipulators to the point that stuff like that could be easily fixed?

samkent
2009-Sep-11, 11:43 AM
I would guess the cost to tear down, x ray and all the other things that would be needed to fully check out a shuttle would approach replacement cost.

IMO the wiring thing is more a fear of the dark than anything concrete. Since they can’t reach some of the wires, they wonder what condition it is in. Perhaps if they completely broke down the oldest shuttle they would have more confidence in the remaining two. Plus a few spare parts.

Ronald Brak
2009-Sep-11, 12:05 PM
The way to make the shuttle safe is to throw away the orbiters and replace them with an uncrewed disposable cargo module. This triples the amount of payload the shuttle (unshuttle?) can carry into orbit and eliminates the chance of any crew members dying. It's a fairly cheap option too as only the cargo module has to be designed and built.

Nicolas
2009-Sep-11, 12:46 PM
And "only the cargo module" still would need rocket engines, and a thrust, weight and aerodynamics package that keeps the stack stable, resulting in a high development cost and long development time, while its purpose would be to close a time gap for manned spaceflight which it doesn't both in time and capacity (unmanned) and free up funds which it does neither...

Swift
2009-Sep-11, 02:26 PM
Could it? Sure. Would it be economical, compared to other options: I don't know, but I kind of doubt it. And, IMHO, the shuttle is pretty safe to fly now, so it becomes a question of how safe do you want it, and how much are you willing to spend to do so.


There was (is) worry about internal wiring that has been used since the shuttles were orginally built (inaccessible to people) that could potentially short out some day during a critical part of ascent.
Really? I don't recall hearing that. Do you have a reference?

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Sep-11, 03:47 PM
it was during the launch of the Chandra X-Ray telescope that there was a near miss during launch and it stopped the whole program for several months (I think it was the better part of a year)....it was mentioned in the media that there are wires so deep inside the shuttle that there would be no way to tell what condition they were in because even the smallest person could not reach them...and that it was matter of hoping that one of these wires didn't choose to short during a critical launch moment (sorry for poor grammar/writing)....

Ronald Brak
2009-Sep-11, 03:56 PM
And "only the cargo module" still would need rocket engines, and a thrust, weight and aerodynamics package that keeps the stack stable, resulting in a high development cost and long development time, while its purpose would be to close a time gap for manned spaceflight which it doesn't both in time and capacity (unmanned) and free up funds which it does neither...

Well yes. It would be much cheaper to simpy use Soyuz and Proton, but the OP was about how to make the shuttle safe.

Glom
2009-Sep-11, 04:49 PM
I would guess the cost to tear down, x ray and all the other things that would be needed to fully check out a shuttle would approach replacement cost.

IMO the wiring thing is more a fear of the dark than anything concrete. Since they canít reach some of the wires, they wonder what condition it is in. Perhaps if they completely broke down the oldest shuttle they would have more confidence in the remaining two. Plus a few spare parts.

But they did take apart the oldest shuttle. The wiring was found to be in a terrible state.

*a little black humour for you, ladies and gentlemen*

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Sep-11, 04:49 PM
I think I may have my history "facts" somewhat mixed-up. I'm pretty sure this happened but not in the way I remember STS 93 did have an issue but it was later in the launch phase it didn't seem to involve wiring...

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Sep-11, 04:52 PM
But they did take apart the oldest shuttle. The wiring was found to be in a terrible state.

*a little black humour for you, ladies and gentlemen*

is that a joke about what I think it is about????? BBP may be slow .... but that may just be sick

nauthiz
2009-Sep-11, 05:46 PM
But they did take apart the oldest shuttle. The wiring was found to be in a terrible state.

*a little black humour for you, ladies and gentlemen*

They also found the same situation when they took apart the second oldest shuttle, now that you mention it.

Weakly Interacting MP
2009-Sep-11, 06:03 PM
ewww....:doh::hand::sick:

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-11, 08:12 PM
There seems to be more talk about extending the shuttle program. If they do, could the shuttle be made safe(r) to fly? Can a shuttle be taken apart (completely) and put back together again from ground up? There was (is) worry about internal wiring that has been used since the shuttles were orginally built (inaccessible to people) that could potentially short out some day during a critical part of ascent. Is robot tech. and remote manipulators to the point that stuff like that could be easily fixed?

Space flight is dangerous! But there's been only two major accidents in 127 flights for the current space shuttle. And there has not been a launch accident for the shuttle since 1986. There will always be some problems with the thermal tiles. However, there has only been one fatal accident related to the thermal tiles in 127 flights.

The shuttle orbiters are old, however. So there's always the possibility that some age related malfunction could crop up. The best way to make the current shuttle safer is to simply replace the old shuttle orbiters with brand new ones.

Antice
2009-Sep-11, 08:20 PM
well.. replacing them has some issues too. like the fact that there currently exist no such manufacturing facilities. the shuttle line was shut down a long time ago once the number of shuttles they wanted was done building.
So not only do you need to rebuild the manufacturing facilities to make the new hulls. you also have to swap out more or less every major system because those sub systems are no longer being built either. All of these new subsystems and the newly made assembly lines would have to be certified. just as if you were building a brand new vehicle.... sounds to me that starting with a brand new design might be almost as fast. not to mention it may actually end up being safer that way once the lessons from the shuttles are used in the new design.

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-11, 10:39 PM
But they did take apart the oldest shuttle. The wiring was found to be in a terrible state.

*a little black humour for you, ladies and gentlemen*
Uh, no, because Enterprise is the oldest shuttle. (You could argue for Pathfinder, too.)

Nicolas
2009-Sep-12, 09:27 AM
I'll tell you more, every shuttle apart from Discovery is currently found to be in a terrible state.





Florida.


(you may want to push the red button (http://instantrimshot.com/))

Glom
2009-Sep-12, 09:55 AM
I'll tell you more, every shuttle apart from Discovery is currently found to be in a terrible state.





Florida.


(you may want to push the red button (http://instantrimshot.com/))

LOL. That like the joke in Only Fools and Horses when Del was on that game show with Jonathan Ross and Ross asked the question, "What state was President Kennedy in when he was asssasinated?" Del answers, "Well he was in a terrible state. He died!"

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-12, 06:46 PM
I'll tell you more, every shuttle apart from Discovery is currently found to be in a terrible state.





Florida.
Well, being in Florida and too big to fit through the gates at Disney World does sound rather unpleasant.

joema
2009-Sep-12, 11:16 PM
There seems to be more talk about extending the shuttle program. If they do, could the shuttle be made safe(r) to fly?...
The shuttle is far safer today than in the 1980s. The main problem isn't safety but economics -- it's expensive to fly and maintaining the aging vehicle for (say) 10 more years would be even more expensive.

There were various further safety improvements in the pipeline before Columbia and the decision to curtail the program in 2010. E.g, better health monitoring on the main engines, eliminating the hydrazine-powered auxiliary power units, etc. Those won't be done now.

If the shuttle program were extended significantly, several of those safety improvements could be resurrected.

However as already stated -- the manufacturing line for SSMEs, external tanks, etc is already shut down. Probably the same with many other smaller subsystems.

During the Columbia accident hearings, they discussed several times how the Air Force keeps the B-52 safely flying after 57 years, and whether this was applicable to the shuttle.

The answer was the B-52 is basically torn down and rebuilt from scratch -- new wiring, fatigued metal replaced, super-thorough checks of every inch. It's very expensive.

The same would be possible for the shuttle but would be similarly expensive. It's probably cheaper to just build a new vehicle.

Jordaan
2009-Sep-13, 08:25 AM
I'll tell you more, every shuttle apart from Discovery is currently found to be in a terrible state.





Florida.


(you may want to push the red button (http://instantrimshot.com/))

I wouldn't doubt it, it's time for NASA to retire this fleet which is what they're doing in 2010... They did a job well done but they're way past their expiration date. Didn't NASA say their design was outdated in 1990?

zerocold
2009-Sep-13, 12:17 PM
2 of 5 shuttles lost, and just 120 missions, i thing the original goal was 100 flights per shuttle..

An orion capsule on the shuttle launcher with a detachable/disposable multi-role cargo pad (for satellites or research load) makes more sense than the orbiter or the Ares program, wonder if such configuration has been studied, the launcher has the capability of 80 TM to LEO, enough for 3 or more missions per launch

So in this way , the launcher could replace the delta/atlas rockets as well, the problem should be the programming, joining manned and non manned missions in the same launch

Bigger launchers are more efficient, this concept will probably decrease the launching costs

djellison
2009-Sep-13, 01:32 PM
safe(r)

Define safe(r)

samkent
2009-Sep-13, 03:21 PM
wonder if such configuration has been studied, the launcher has the capability of 80 TM to LEO, enough for 3 or more missions per launch

It has been mentioned in various forms. But you still have to design it mostly from scratch. Then test it. This all takes money which is in short supply.

Jordaan
2009-Sep-13, 04:47 PM
LOL did anyone see pictures of Discovery when it landed, ahhh man it looks horrible, all burnt and dirty and just looking at it, it appears old.

NASA is going to retire these bad boys in 2010 with "Project Constellation"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Constellation

I checked on the NASA website to confirm this and they claim to have a successful test of the Ares motor in its first stage.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/index.html

mugaliens
2009-Sep-14, 05:57 AM
And "only the cargo module" still would need rocket engines

Got 'em.


and a thrust, weight and aerodynamics package that keeps the stack stable, resulting in a high development cost and long development time...

Since the design phase began in the 1970s, with NASA's blessing and contractor (Martin Marrietta) input, your "high development cost and long development time" appears to assume they would have to start from scratch.

That's not the case, by more than three decades.

[/quote]free up funds which it does neither...[/QUOTE]

As the option uses existing components, it's a lot cheaper than Constellation, and can be fielded in a 1/3 the time.

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-15, 01:34 AM
LOL did anyone see pictures of Discovery when it landed, ahhh man it looks horrible, all burnt and dirty and just looking at it, it appears old.
Yes, she certainly took a beating, but she still looks beautiful underneath the dirt.

Siguy
2009-Sep-15, 02:07 AM
LOL did anyone see pictures of Discovery when it landed, ahhh man it looks horrible, all burnt and dirty and just looking at it, it appears old.

No spacecraft look too pretty after reentering the atmosphere. Even when they're brand new.


NASA is going to retire these bad boys in 2010 with "Project Constellation"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Constellation

I checked on the NASA website to confirm this and they claim to have a successful test of the Ares motor in its first stage.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/index.html
Um, where have you been exactly? A cave?

Jeff Root
2009-Sep-15, 02:48 AM
And "only the cargo module" still would need rocket engines
Got 'em.
How many do you have? Do you have a supply of fuel pumps and
oxydizer pumps, too?




and a thrust, weight and aerodynamics package that keeps the stack
stable, resulting in a high development cost and long development time...
Since the design phase began in the 1970s, with NASA's blessing and
contractor (Martin Marrietta) input, your "high development cost and
long development time" appears to assume they would have to start
from scratch.
Pretty much, yes. I'm sure it would be much faster this time around
and might not require any wind tunnel testing.



That's not the case, by more than three decades.
I think you didn't *quite* get what Nicolas was saying...




free up funds which it does neither...
As the option uses existing components, it's a lot cheaper than
Constellation, and can be fielded in a 1/3 the time.
Possibly. But it wouldn't be able to carry people into space or return
them to Earth, which of course is Constellation's purpose.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jens
2009-Sep-15, 03:16 AM
This triples the amount of payload the shuttle (unshuttle?) can carry into orbit and eliminates the chance of any crew members dying.

"Eliminates" is a pretty strong word. "Significantly reduces" I'd buy.

Nicolas
2009-Sep-15, 10:33 AM
Ronald's proposal was unmanned. We can safely assume that making a craft unmanned pretty much eliminates the chance of any crew member dying. ;)

Antice
2009-Sep-15, 10:44 AM
removing crew from the inside of the vehicle does not preclude deaths among crew on the ground.

Nicolas
2009-Sep-15, 01:00 PM
If deaths among crew on the ground is the criterium, the shuttle doesn't need to be made any safer than it is, does it? Or did I miss a history of ground crew deaths?

Jeff Root
2009-Sep-15, 03:11 PM
One or two people died of asphyxiation inside a Space Shuttle compartment
that did not have breathable air in it. I presume that was inside an orbiter.
There could easily have been others who I did not hear about.

I just recently learned from Jay Utah here that a worker at Grumman was
killed when a lunar module leg deployed while he was in the way.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Nicolas
2009-Sep-15, 03:25 PM
There's worse ways to be killed than by the foot that put us on other worlds...

Antice
2009-Sep-15, 03:50 PM
Industrial accidents do happen unfortunately. and even an unmanned vehicle can potentially kill someone if it's not built well enough. the danger involved in rocketry is not just the launching of humans. but also in all stages of preparation and manufacture of the needed components.
Just think about it. some of the chemicals involved are very reactive and are potentially lethal to those working with them if something bad happens... and that includes being overdosed by dihydrogen monoxide during a swim.

Nicolas
2009-Sep-15, 04:23 PM
You mean the same chemical that is found in large quantities in contaminated waters all over the world?

Kansan52
2009-Sep-15, 09:53 PM
Check out Kapton wiring. That's the worry on the orbiters wiring. The nitrogen tanks are also a worry concerning possible ruptures.

I remember the same STS design manager asking the Challenger board and the Columbia board to discover who changed the rules from the initial requirement of nothing striking the orbiter on launch to over a 100 strikes as acceptable.

Of course, the answer is always money. Less expensive to repair the damage than to fix the problem.

Kansan52
2009-Sep-15, 10:04 PM
Just located this on Wikipedia about Atlantis. A more detailed explanation than I had heard. Talks about the whole fleet.


Aging

NASA announced that 24 helium and nitrogen gas tanks, named Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessels, in Atlantis are older than their designed lifetime (designed for 10 years, later cleared for another 10 years but in service now for 22 years). NASA said it cannot guarantee any longer that the vessels on Atlantis will not burst or explode under full pressure. Therefore, the vessels will only be at 80 percent pressure as close to the launch countdown as possible, and the launch pad will be cleared of all but essential personnel when pressure is increased to 100 percent. A launch pad explosion could damage parts of the shuttle and even wound or kill ground personnel. An in-flight failure to the vessels could even result in the loss of the orbiter and its crew. Because the original vendor is no longer available, the vessels cannot be rebuilt before 2010, when the shuttles are scheduled to be retired. NASA analyses originally assumed that the vessels would leak before they burst, but new tests showed that they would burst before they leak. The new launch procedure, of clearing the launch pad of all but the essential personnel and pressurizing the tanks to 100 percent as late as possible, will now be conducted during the remaining Atlantis launches if no other resolution is found. Atlantis will have to fly at least one more time in this setting. It is unclear, but possible, that Discovery, which will launch another five or six times, has the same problems and if the same launch procedure needs to be conducted with Discovery. Since Endeavour, which will launch another six or seven times, was built much later, around 1990, it is possible that Endeavour does not have the same problem.[9]

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-16, 11:45 PM
Um, where have you been exactly? A cave?
Go easy on him, he's new.

Jens
2009-Sep-17, 06:14 AM
Ronald's proposal was unmanned. We can safely assume that making a craft unmanned pretty much eliminates the chance of any crew member dying. ;)

Ah hah. I somehow missed the "uncrewed" part. Gotta learn to read more carefully. :doh:

Jordaan
2009-Sep-17, 07:00 AM
No spacecraft look too pretty after reentering the atmosphere. Even when they're brand new.

Um, where have you been exactly? A cave?

Sadly yes... I haven't kept up with Astronomy in awhile, you'd be surprised how many people don't have time to check out what's new and going on in the Astro world! :eek:

All I knew was they were retiring the fleet but I didn't know when and that they had a program already in beta form..

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-18, 12:46 AM
Sadly yes... I haven't kept up with Astronomy in awhile, you'd be surprised how many people don't have time to check out what's new and going on in the Astro world!

All I knew was they were retiring the fleet but I didn't know when and that they had a program already in beta form..

It's okay, you're new and we all come here to learn.