Jimbobq11

What if the Space Shuttle Program had done its job?

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As the title implies, this thread is about the space shuttle and what you think space travel would be like if it had accomplished its goals of being a cheaper, more reliable launch vehicle with fast turn-around times. Discuss!

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it did do its job (sorta)...

before the Shuttle there was no reusable space launcher so it did do its job of being a cheaper (for Humans atleast, not cargo), more reliable launch vehicle (2 catastrophic failures) with with a turn around time.

now in the spirit of the thread,

the shuttle was supposed to launch every week... A goal that in retrospect was crazy, the issue was the ground processing that took way to long and was overly complex, NASA expected a airline type of turnaround

also here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Space_Shuttle_program

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I always tought it was quite succesfull. It's been used for quite a long time

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I always tought it was quite succesfull. It's been used for quite a long time

so has the Soyuz... but that was not the promised goals at the beginning of the program

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you realize that the space shuttle was made originally for the military right so if it had done its job originally than you would have either heard about( or not heard considering it would be classified) about the usage of a reusable war plane flying( or orbiting) over your heads....

but if it had actually worked as a reusable transport than that would have been great for the space program

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you realize that the space shuttle was made originally for the military

uuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, it most certainly was not, now the military had a hand in it becasue NASA got some legislation that said all US Satellite launches were to be done using the Space Shuttle... but they did not have too much of a part in it, and it was most certainly not made for the military originally.

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you realize that the space shuttle was made originally for the military right

No, wrong.

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I am aware of its military applications though I don't believe that it was a complete military vehicle from the start. I think that the air force wanted their own orbiter for military use from Vandenburg.

EDIT: Double Ninja'd!

Edited by Jimbobq11

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Really? I thought they did

nah it was considered way to expensive to build a second copy of the infrastructure out at Vandenburg

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if the space shuttle had done its job, it's have been replaced by Venturestar ca. 1980 and we'd have 2-3 generations improvement on that by now.

We'd also have launch cost to LEO similar to the price of an airplane ticket, so less than $1 per pound.

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not necessarily, the VentureStar was originally designed to use an Aerospike engine, whihc was untested and had issues although I agree with your plane analogy

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To me Dreamchaser is sounding more like the shuttle was, as far as I'm aware, originally supposed to have been.

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the dreamchaser is ridiculous and has the same flaws as the Shuttle did

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nah it was considered way to expensive to build a second copy of the infrastructure out at Vandenburg

They got pretty far into the process, wasn't it just cancelled after Challenger due to safety, fewer abort options from there?

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no they really didnt get that far in to the process although that was one of the reasons and from Vandeburg you can only do retrograde or polar launches not prograde like kenedy and the economies of space flight would not have supported the shuttle on polar or retrograde missions

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the dreamchaser is ridiculous and has the same flaws as the Shuttle did

I'm intrigued. What flaws do they share?

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not necessarily, the VentureStar was originally designed to use an Aerospike engine, whihc was untested and had issues although I agree with your plane analogy

yes, the original would not have had an aerospike, but by now that engine would have been well developed and tested as it would have been the logical step up for powering an SSTO (or the upper stage of a fully reusable two stage version, most likely a piggyback style thing which was considered very seriously for both the STS and various competitors like Hotol).

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What is truly sad about the Shuttle's 2 fatal failures is that BOTH were 100% preventable. We may have STILL lost the Columbia itself, but not her crew had they just tasked a satellite to snap pictures of her in orbit. They could have then either launched an emergency mission to rendezvous with it and take the crew down in multiple missions then sent columbia on a fatal reentry or increased orbit up to the ISS to try to make repairs with stuff sent up on a progress ship, either way, we messed up by not checking out Columbia when it was clear it took a massive hit during ascent. As to Challenger? Had the Shuttle Program just listened to Morton Thiocol and NOT launched as they were protesting them to NOT do that day, perhaps we could have NOT lost Challenger. A simple O ring got too cold and failed to contain the fury of an SRB.

Those 2 disasters aside, it was a relatively successful vessel.

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In my opinion the program was flawed from conception: why do you need astronauts to launch satellites? so perhaps there ought to have been two versions of the orbiter, one completely automated with no life-support for the quick turnaround satellite launches, and the manned one for the jobs it's ideal for - orbital construction, repair and retrieval. A non-human-rated orbiter would have been rather simpler so perhaps they might have come a bit closer to the launch rate... maybe enough to support having to run one and a half programs instead of one.

The losses of lives - at least Challenger - were caused by management decisions, but the root cause of both was initial design choices. I'm not sure Columbia could have got to the ISS though? there may not have been a way to get that crew back, but from what I've read about it the upper decision makers seem to have given up before they even looked. Still, perhaps there really was nothing.

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I'm intrigued. What flaws do they share?

I think he means the weight, it's dry mass on average is twice as much as standard manned spacecraft.

And that's all because they want a glider and cargo supply in one vehicle.

I think there's no reason for the added weight if you don't make a single stage to orbit.

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Well the millitary had a pretty big hand in its design. The wings on the space shuttle were a military requirement so that'd if have cross range capability, (So it could land at another airfield if the one it took off from had been taken out of action). If it wasn't for the military it would have probably been a lifting body or more capsule like design, removing the need for the dangerous heat tiles it used and a lot of the cutting edge requirements to lift those enormous wings.

Since the inspection and replacement of tiles was one of the biggest processing jobs, in a way the military was the main reason for the shuttles failure.

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What is truly sad about the Shuttle's 2 fatal failures is that BOTH were 100% preventable. We may have STILL lost the Columbia itself, but not her crew had they just tasked a satellite to snap pictures of her in orbit. They could have then either launched an emergency mission to rendezvous with it and take the crew down in multiple missions then sent columbia on a fatal reentry or increased orbit up to the ISS to try to make repairs with stuff sent up on a progress ship, either way, we messed up by not checking out Columbia when it was clear it took a massive hit during ascent.

No, we could not have reasonably launched a rescue mission - there was no Shuttle even close to ready. Nor could it have gone to ISS.

As to Challenger? Had the Shuttle Program just listened to Morton Thiocol and NOT launched as they were protesting them to NOT do that day, perhaps we could have NOT lost Challenger. A simple O ring got too cold and failed to contain the fury of an SRB.

Umm... it's not quite so simple as that. People seem to forget that Morton Thiokol had been telling NASA for years that the O-ring was safe. (Despite ongoing problems caused by joint rotation which arose from a faulty joint design. O-ring failure was a symptom, not the cause.) NASA was understandably confused when they changed their tune and recommended against launching - but couldn't actually provide a rationale for the change.

Well the millitary had a pretty big hand in its design. The wings on the space shuttle were a military requirement so that'd if have cross range capability, (So it could land at another airfield if the one it took off from had been taken out of action). If it wasn't for the military it would have probably been a lifting body or more capsule like design, removing the need for the dangerous heat tiles it used and a lot of the cutting edge requirements to lift those enormous wings.

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. While the military requirements did set the final dimensions of the wing, the Shuttle had already more-or-less reached a configuration not too far from the one actually flown. Not only did wings feature in the design from very early on, NASA kept pushing for increasing cross range because it opened up launch abort opportunities and widened the landing windows.

What screwed up the Shuttle wasn't the military, it was mission creep. The Shuttle was originally intended to shuttle - shuttling crew and light cargo back and forth between the ground and a Saturn V launched space station. When that station was cancelled, the Shuttle began it's inexorable transformation into an all-in-one space truck... because otherwise it had no justification for existing. That transformation vastly increased it's complexity and cost - leading to NASA pleading with the DoD for support to avert cancellation.

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