Space shuttle

Ian Molton spyro at f2s.com
Wed Feb 5 15:24:23 PST 2003


On Wed, 5 Feb 2003 21:41:38 +0000 (UTC)
do3 at mail.inf.tu-dresden.de (Dan Osterrath) wrote:

> You would
> have to redesign a shuttle. (for more than a billion of dollars)

Its about time. 22 years old is OLD for any vehicle, let alone our only
route into space.

> > Or how about a low-orbit fuel storage reservoir (I dont know if that
> > is practical, though).
> 
> That's what the ISS will become when its ready in 2006. (OK, let's
> estimate tha date laterm, now.)

Why could that not have bee one of the earlier parts?

> > Very true. however, I would be willing to bet that there is
> > SOMETHING that could be done to at least improve the odds of
> > re-entry survival.
> 
> Yes, there's one solution. To break the shuttle in space already by
> breaking thrusters. But this would need as much fuel as id needed for
> the start. You can imagine how much this would be when you look at the
> shuttle rocket which is full of fuel for the start only.

solar sails, ion thrusters under nuclear power... (yes I know nuke
reactors are big).

there ARE solutions to these problems. chemical rockets arent the only
kind. Powerful, yes. the only kind? no.

> > materials science has moved on a LOT since the shuttle was designed
> > - perhaps we even have some fabrics that could be affixed somehow.
> > or a heat-resistant foam that could be sprayed into the damaged
> > area.
> 
> I think you have been watching StarTrek for a too long time. :-)
> The prof I was listening researched in Stuttgart in the field of
> thermal shield for about 10 years. He said that there are newer
> materials but they are some kind of impracticable.

So spend some military cash developing flame-retardent personell
protection suits or something and MAKE them practical...

> > The Russian soyuz seems to be a far simpler device. Simple can be
> > good.
> 
> This is not as flexible as the shuttle.

No, but I bet its a LOT cheaper.

> And it's a one-way system - you can not reuse it.

So save it for emergencies. If ISS had one, it might have been able to
effect a rescue.

> > No, I think NASA and the government it struggles under both have a
> > lot to answer for in this case. NASA need to say 'NO! it cannot be
> > done safely'. The government needs to wise up.
> > I have every respect for the work done by nasas scientists and
> > engineers. The respect ends with the people who control how the tech
> > is deployed. Their attitudes stink.
> 
> The problem is simply money. You would have to create a new shuttle
> for billions of dollars or use the existing that have been designed
> for 100 starts.

No, the problem is government. as someone else said, look at the
military budget - its stupendous. Im amazed the military didnt make it
to space first.
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