fredinno

What if the Saturn-Shuttle was built instead of what we got?

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 mmv3ia.jpg

 

This is a modified version of the Saturn-Shuttle concept: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn-Shuttle

 

NOTE: The version shown uses J-2S engines, but have been changed back to SSMEs for the increased thrust!

 

The Saturn-Shuttle was a concept to launch the Space Shuttle on a modified Saturn V. For this version, I modified the original design (which had a payload capacity of 60.5 T to LEO) to instead use a 6.5m diameter external tank (the same diameter as the S-IVB, reducing costs for new infrastructure) and slightly shorter, to be only slightly longer than the Shuttle itself. The top of the tank would contain a payload fairing for higher-risk or oversize payloads, like space station modules, or Shuttle-Centaur missions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaur_%28rocket_stage%29#Shuttle-Centaur.

 

Meanwhile, the S-IC would be kept, but with 3-4 F-1A engines instead of 5 for the reduced mass of the upper stages. The center engine would do the reentry and landing burns, before the S-IC propulsively lands on a barge for reuse. This would make use of the extra S-IC performance to reduce the costs of this system (instead of using the hard-to-reuse SRBs). Larger fins may be added to increase this launch system's stability.

 

Lastly, it can also launch unmanned- as the development money for the SRBs and 8m diameter External Tank is instead of modifying the Shuttle to be unmanned. Ejection seats and pressure suits would always be worn during manned missions. A preliminary launch payload capacity and first launch date of 30T to LEO and 1982-1983.

 

A heavy-lift version could be made by first dumping S-IC reusability, then removing the Shuttle, instead placing the now air-started SSMEs on the side of the rocket, where the Shuttle was. The payload would be carried in the 6.5 meter diameter fairing, which can be increased to 8 meters if necessary, and would target a payload capacity of 90T to LEO, possibly increasing to 95T with the Centaur-Shuttle upper stage. A larger upper stage, and another F-1A engine added to the core stage, would increase the payload to 130T to LEO.

 

How much would thus reduce launch and development costs of the Space Shuttle if it was developed like this in the first place? Would it work?

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16 minutes ago, fredinno said:

Would it work?

No.  The F-1A wasn't throttleable.  And large fins on the S-IC likely render it uncontrollable in a tail-first reentry and landing configuration anyhow.  And you'd likely still need the fifth F-1A because while you've gotten rid of one upper stage, you've added a heavy Orbiter.

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I think they shouldn't have even gone for the shuttle. The Saturn IB had the same payload, and it already existed... It could've been upgraded over time. Like Soyuz. A monoblock first stage, F-1 engine instead of H-1s, and an HG-3 on the second stage. All would've ended up bumping the payload to nearly 30 tonnes. And the same engines could've been out on the Saturn V, improving payload further. 

But sadly, this couldn't happen. They we're ordered to stop building Saturns in 1968...

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The concept appeared early in the Shuttle program and was immediately discarded. The whole point of the Shuttle was to replace the Saturn V, which was considered too expensive. The Shuttle was supposed to fly often, so using a Saturn V to launch it would be totally counter-productive.

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1 minute ago, Nibb31 said:

The concept appeared early in the Shuttle program and was immediately discarded. The whole point of the Shuttle was to replace the Saturn V, which was considered too expensive. The Shuttle was supposed to fly often, so using a Saturn V to launch it would be totally counter-productive.

A reusable saturn V stage might work though.

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5 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

The concept appeared early in the Shuttle program and was immediately discarded. The whole point of the Shuttle was to replace the Saturn V, which was considered too expensive. The Shuttle was supposed to fly often, so using a Saturn V to launch it would be totally counter-productive.

The shuttle was designed to function within a huge logistics system, which had space tugs and space stations in many places.

But, only the shuttle portion got funded. It wasn't a replacement, it was for a new program entirely. But the program was never fully approved. 

The problem with the shuttle was its huge complexity and cost vs its payload. It's basically a Saturn V with the payload of a Saturn IB. It makes no sense.

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12 minutes ago, fredinno said:

A reusable saturn V stage might work though.

The only problem with the Saturn Shuttle concept was that it used Saturns, which they stopped building in the 60s. Restarting the priduction line would've been too expensive, especially if you modify the S-IC.

I almost think the DC-3 was th best proposal...

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1 hour ago, Bill Phil said:

I think they shouldn't have even gone for the shuttle. The Saturn IB had the same payload, and it already existed... It could've been upgraded over time. Like Soyuz. A monoblock first stage, F-1 engine instead of H-1s, and an HG-3 on the second stage. All would've ended up bumping the payload to nearly 30 tonnes. And the same engines could've been out on the Saturn V, improving payload further. 

But sadly, this couldn't happen. They we're ordered to stop building Saturns in 1968...

http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=208954

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1 hour ago, Bill Phil said:

I think they shouldn't have even gone for the shuttle. The Saturn IB had the same payload

It had the same payload - but a fraction of the capability.

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1 hour ago, Bill Phil said:

The shuttle was designed to function within a huge logistics system, which had space tugs and space stations in many places.

But, only the shuttle portion got funded. It wasn't a replacement, it was for a new program entirely. But the program was never fully approved. 

The problem with the shuttle was its huge complexity and cost vs its payload. It's basically a Saturn V with the payload of a Saturn IB. It makes no sense.

This is true, however the shuttle has an huge build in inefficiency in having to take the 60 ton plane to orbit each time. 
This idea looks much better, an reusable first stage, then an smaller drop tank I would also use an smaller shuttle, shuttle would need smaller engines as its just upper stage, 
I liked the idea of an optional fairing on top of drop tank for oversize cargo. Yes this require that you take the tank to orbit unless its an independent cargo but let you get away with an smaller shuttle. 

This might also open up for an tiny unmanned shuttle who basically is an engine module. This takes the drop tank and cargo up to orbit or almost to orbit, cargo carries on, drop tank deorbit and shuttle lands. 
You reuse the expensive engines, the shuttle design on engine module will protect the engines during reentry and it shares lots of part with the shuttle. 

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8 hours ago, Bill Phil said:

The only problem with the Saturn Shuttle concept was that it used Saturns, which they stopped building in the 60s. Restarting the priduction line would've been too expensive, especially if you modify the S-IC.

I almost think the DC-3 was th best proposal...

Well, I can understand for a Saturn-SLS hiatus, but a hiatus of 10 years isn't really that bad. We have a hiatus of 8-9 years from Shuttle to SLS, which is very similar to Shuttle in terms of the rocket (not orbiter), but inline.

This was supposed to be built in the 70s, with a first flight in the 80s. The S-IC production lines ended in 1968- and the first Shuttle flight was in 1981- a hiatus of 13 years. I think revivals would have been possible at that point. 

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16 minutes ago, fredinno said:

Well, I can understand for a Saturn-SLS hiatus, but a hiatus of 10 years isn't really that bad. We have a hiatus of 8-9 years from Shuttle to SLS, which is very similar to Shuttle in terms of the rocket (not orbiter), but inline.

This was supposed to be built in the 70s, with a first flight in the 80s. The S-IC production lines ended in 1968- and the first Shuttle flight was in 1981- a hiatus of 13 years. I think revivals would have been possible at that point. 

I seem to recall that they destroyed the Saturn tooling.

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9 hours ago, Bill Phil said:

I think they shouldn't have even gone for the shuttle. The Saturn IB had the same payload, and it already existed... It could've been upgraded over time. Like Soyuz. A monoblock first stage, F-1 engine instead of H-1s, and an HG-3 on the second stage. All would've ended up bumping the payload to nearly 30 tonnes. And the same engines could've been out on the Saturn V, improving payload further. 

But sadly, this couldn't happen. They we're ordered to stop building Saturns in 1968...

No, the Shuttle could actually launch ~8-10 T more, as S-IB carried 18T to LEO, and the Shuttle carried 27T, though this depended on which Shuttle you used.

Also, the HG-3 actually evolved into the SSME- which used the same technology. HG-3 seems to be a staged combustion engine, like the Shuttle- which (for H2 O2) are very expensive and so are a bad idea for an expendable use. The mostly-new design J2-X had a 10s lower isp, and is made with modern technology, while designed to be relatively cheap. So HG-3 is a bad idea. J-2S would have worked, though, and improvements over time may have led to a J2-X like ISP.

A monoblock first stage is definately a good idea, increasing the payload capacity using the same diameter as the S-IVB. But a F-1 engine is a bad idea- though the thrust is fine, and the ISP is better, it would be a LOT more expensive- H-1 was also used on Delta, but the Saturn V was almost certainly doomed to retirement as Congress wasn't willing to fund any more of them- thus ending the F-1 line. Not to mention lower ISP is OK in this case, as S-IB was already OP for LEO Apollo and the S-IVB might be stretched down to make the rocket cheaper overall...

Also, the S-IB was already expensive. Making it MORE expensive for higher performance (that was unnessary) seems counterproductive.

 

7 hours ago, magnemoe said:

This is true, however the shuttle has an huge build in inefficiency in having to take the 60 ton plane to orbit each time. 
This idea looks much better, an reusable first stage, then an smaller drop tank I would also use an smaller shuttle, shuttle would need smaller engines as its just upper stage, 
I liked the idea of an optional fairing on top of drop tank for oversize cargo. Yes this require that you take the tank to orbit unless its an independent cargo but let you get away with an smaller shuttle. 

This might also open up for an tiny unmanned shuttle who basically is an engine module. This takes the drop tank and cargo up to orbit or almost to orbit, cargo carries on, drop tank deorbit and shuttle lands. 
You reuse the expensive engines, the shuttle design on engine module will protect the engines during reentry and it shares lots of part with the shuttle. 

The SSMEs actually were used to keep the Shuttle upright during the first stage of flight (booster flight). It would have to be throttled down for upper stage use, and the center engine might have to be shut down, but otherwise, he rocket might just explode. And the use of the fairing was based off a concept on the OTL Shuttle to launch payloads beneath the Shuttle ET- as the cargo bay wasn't always enough space. 

 

And I like for idea- abandoning the huge and heavy cargo bay to launch everything on the even bigger fairing. Wait, I'll get that idea drawawn out...

7 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Yes, only there is a payload fairing at the top, and there is not second stage.

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10 hours ago, fredinno said:

 mmv3ia.jpg

 

This is a modified version of the Saturn-Shuttle concept: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn-Shuttle

 

NOTE: The version shown uses J-2S engines, but have been changed back to SSMEs for the increased thrust!

 

The Saturn-Shuttle was a concept to launch the Space Shuttle on a modified Saturn V. For this version, I modified the original design (which had a payload capacity of 60.5 T to LEO) to instead use a 6.5m diameter external tank (the same diameter as the S-IVB, reducing costs for new infrastructure) and slightly shorter, to be only slightly longer than the Shuttle itself. The top of the tank would contain a payload fairing for higher-risk or oversize payloads, like space station modules, or Shuttle-Centaur missions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaur_%28rocket_stage%29#Shuttle-Centaur.

 

Meanwhile, the S-IC would be kept, but with 3-4 F-1A engines instead of 5 for the reduced mass of the upper stages. The center engine would do the reentry and landing burns, before the S-IC propulsively lands on a barge for reuse. This would make use of the extra S-IC performance to reduce the costs of this system (instead of using the hard-to-reuse SRBs). Larger fins may be added to increase this launch system's stability.

 

Lastly, it can also launch unmanned- as the development money for the SRBs and 8m diameter External Tank is instead of modifying the Shuttle to be unmanned. Ejection seats and pressure suits would always be worn during manned missions. A preliminary launch payload capacity and first launch date of 30T to LEO and 1982-1983.

 

A heavy-lift version could be made by first dumping S-IC reusability, then removing the Shuttle, instead placing the now air-started SSMEs on the side of the rocket, where the Shuttle was. The payload would be carried in the 6.5 meter diameter fairing, which can be increased to 8 meters if necessary, and would target a payload capacity of 90T to LEO, possibly increasing to 95T with the Centaur-Shuttle upper stage. A larger upper stage, and another F-1A engine added to the core stage, would increase the payload to 130T to LEO.

 

How much would thus reduce launch and development costs of the Space Shuttle if it was developed like this in the first place? Would it work?

[Facepalm] Here we go again.

I just want to remind everyone that the Saturn is a 50 year old rocket, we are talking a half of a century ago. Why don't we talk about a double decker DC3 in stead of a 747, lol.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, PB666 said:

[Facepalm] Here we go again.

I just want to remind everyone that the Saturn is a 50 year old rocket, we are talking a half of a century ago. Why don't we talk about a double decker DC3 in stead of a 747, lol.

 

 

I meant this to have been built in the 70s, not today. Of course I know that today it'd be better to use Shuttle/SLS tech.

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Iirc, the only reason that they build the Space Shuttle in the first place was to smuggle one particularly sensitive spy satellite into orbit using the very, very large cargo bay.

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34 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Iirc, the only reason that they build the Space Shuttle in the first place was to smuggle one particularly sensitive spy satellite into orbit using the very, very large cargo bay.

And that could have been done, and was later done, with an expendable vehicle.

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

No, the Shuttle could actually launch ~8-10 T more, as S-IB carried 18T to LEO, and the Shuttle carried 27T, though this depended on which Shuttle you used.

Also, the HG-3 actually evolved into the SSME- which used the same technology. HG-3 seems to be a staged combustion engine, like the Shuttle- which (for H2 O2) are very expensive and so are a bad idea for an expendable use. The mostly-new design J2-X had a 10s lower isp, and is made with modern technology, while designed to be relatively cheap. So HG-3 is a bad idea. J-2S would have worked, though, and improvements over time may have led to a J2-X like ISP.

A monoblock first stage is definately a good idea, increasing the payload capacity using the same diameter as the S-IVB. But a F-1 engine is a bad idea- though the thrust is fine, and the ISP is better, it would be a LOT more expensive- H-1 was also used on Delta, but the Saturn V was almost certainly doomed to retirement as Congress wasn't willing to fund any more of them- thus ending the F-1 line. Not to mention lower ISP is OK in this case, as S-IB was already OP for LEO Apollo and the S-IVB might be stretched down to make the rocket cheaper overall...

Also, the S-IB was already expensive. Making it MORE expensive for higher performance (that was unnessary) seems counterproductive.

 

The SSMEs actually were used to keep the Shuttle upright during the first stage of flight (booster flight). It would have to be throttled down for upper stage use, and the center engine might have to be shut down, but otherwise, he rocket might just explode. And the use of the fairing was based off a concept on the OTL Shuttle to launch payloads beneath the Shuttle ET- as the cargo bay wasn't always enough space. 

 

And I like for idea- abandoning the huge and heavy cargo bay to launch everything on the even bigger fairing. Wait, I'll get that idea drawawn out...

Yes, only there is a payload fairing at the top, and there is not second stage.

Actually, saturn IB had 21 tonnes of payload.

The HG-3 evolced from the J-2, and was an experimental engine testing high pressure combustion.

Using the H-1s was a stop gap measure anyways, they wanted the E engines, which weren't avaiable. F-1 would've been a better engine to increase payload. Better volumetric efficiency and better ISP would increase total payload. 

Actually, it was expensive because of all of the separate engines it used. H-1s, which weren't even similar to the S-V's engines, a lot of more specialized hardware, etc etc. The idea would be incremental upgrades. Monoblock first, then F-1, then HG-3. Upgrading the F-1 could have been a possibility too.

And even if it is super expensive, it's still cheaper than the shuttle, which was a brand new launcher. If Atkins laws have taught me anything, it's that you shouldn't want a new launcher development program.

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1 hour ago, Bill Phil said:

Actually, saturn IB had 21 tonnes of payload.

The HG-3 evolced from the J-2, and was an experimental engine testing high pressure combustion.

Using the H-1s was a stop gap measure anyways, they wanted the E engines, which weren't avaiable. F-1 would've been a better engine to increase payload. Better volumetric efficiency and better ISP would increase total payload. 

Actually, it was expensive because of all of the separate engines it used. H-1s, which weren't even similar to the S-V's engines, a lot of more specialized hardware, etc etc. The idea would be incremental upgrades. Monoblock first, then F-1, then HG-3. Upgrading the F-1 could have been a possibility too.

And even if it is super expensive, it's still cheaper than the shuttle, which was a brand new launcher. If Atkins laws have taught me anything, it's that you shouldn't want a new launcher development program.

Hmm, Wikipedia lists it as 21T, but Astronautix lists it as 18.6T. Maybe the 21T number is for Saturn IB +Centaur? Who knows.

 

HG-3 was the SSME predecessor, and had similar Vaccum ISP and conditions (high pressure) to SSME. It almost cetainly would have cost almost as much as, or as much as SSME (though HG-3 was designed exclusively for Upper Stage use. So yes, they would cost a LOT.

 

The E-1 was cancelled long before 1968 anyways. 

And H-1s could be mass-produced, unlike F-1s, since you used so many on the Saturn IBs (8!) , and Delta woulend up using it (a very successful rocket line until Delta III). So yes, they would likely be cheaper overall. Conmmonality with F-1 matters little when Saturn V would never launch any more than the original block buy. Not to mention you could use a 1x H-1 upper stage for a smaller, 14-15T LV, and still carry Apollo. Space station modules can be carried up with Titan III-derived SRBs.

As I said earlier, Saturn IB was OP anyways, lowering costs is a lot more important than increasing efficiency for that rocket. 

People discussed this on NASASpaceflight forums. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39117.0

And F-1 upgrades were considered. The F-1A would have had higher thrust. However, using F-1A instead of H-1 increased payload to almost 20T to LEO.

H-1s were also upgraded over time- aka RS-27. The final evolution of RS-27 had 10s higher ISP in vaccum, with the same ISP in surface, and 150kN more thrust.

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The concept came around in order to keep Saturn V production going, so we could use it for a future return to the moon. It was deemed too expensive and so it was replaced by the rather inexpensive SRB's. Lowering the costs by doing this allowed for Nixon to approve the shuttle program. It's a pretty interesting but impractical design, and the concepts of mounting payloads on the top and bottom of the EFT  were studied for the finalized shuttle design, but they were thrown away after the Challenger disaster.

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1 hour ago, gooddog15 said:

The concept came around in order to keep Saturn V production going, so we could use it for a future return to the moon. It was deemed too expensive and so it was replaced by the rather inexpensive SRB's. Lowering the costs by doing this allowed for Nixon to approve the shuttle program. It's a pretty interesting but impractical design, and the concepts of mounting payloads on the top and bottom of the EFT  were studied for the finalized shuttle design, but they were thrown away after the Challenger disaster.

I'd imagine if they got rid of the idea of restarting Saturn V production, they could keep costs down (no need to make new SRBs) and have lower cost per launch (LRBs are cheaper to reuse.)

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7 hours ago, fredinno said:

The SSMEs actually were used to keep the Shuttle upright during the first stage of flight (booster flight). It would have to be throttled down for upper stage use, and the center engine might have to be shut down, but otherwise, he rocket might just explode. And the use of the fairing was based off a concept on the OTL Shuttle to launch payloads beneath the Shuttle ET- as the cargo bay wasn't always enough space. 

And I like for idea- abandoning the huge and heavy cargo bay to launch everything on the even bigger fairing. Wait, I'll get that idea drawawn out...

I know the SSME was used for this, however in this setting it would be an upper stage engine only. 

Note that this idea only makes sense over the existing shuttle if you reuse the huge first stage. 
This technology was not on the table during the shuttle development, it would require reusable and restartable engines independet flight controll for first stage and so on. 

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Hmm, all this Saturn story is very strange. Why they dropped totally succesful Saturn V and fired Wernher von Braun ?

You know, N-1 failed in 7 launches or so...  Saturn V was total success and F-1 engines was so cool, but never used again?

For me it looks like they simulated all the moon stuff, then like "oh no, wrong concept, we need something completely different - a Space Shuttle". 

Too expansive? Shuttle development and exploitation was also expensive.

The most obvious reason for this - Wernher von Braun and Saturn V actually ... failed. May be...?

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38 minutes ago, evileye.x said:

Hmm, all this Saturn story is very strange. Why they dropped totally succesful Saturn V and fired Wernher von Braun ?

Von Braun wasn't fired, he resigned because he didn't agree with the direction NASA was heading.

Saturn V was cancelled because Apollo was cancelled and there was no need for it any more. Apollo was cancelled because it had served its purpose, and public apathy, and Viet Nam.

Quote

You know, N-1 failed in 7 launches or so...  Saturn V was total success and F-1 engines was so cool, but never used again?

So what? Nothing lasts forever.

Quote

For me it looks like they simulated all the moon stuff, then like "oh no, wrong concept, we need something completely different - a Space Shuttle". 

Rubbish. 

Quote

Too expansive? Shuttle development and exploitation was also expensive.

It was supposed to be much cheaper and to make routing access to space affordable. From there, they could build space stations and return to the Moon for a fraction of the price. That was the plan anyway.

Quote

The most obvious reason for this - Wernher von Braun and Saturn V actually ... failed. May be...?

Most obvious? Failed what? Grow a brain cell or two...

Edited by Nibb31

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