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Old May 19 2014, 09:24 PM   #16
Yanks
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Metryq wrote: View Post
Yanks wrote: View Post
I don't think the program should have been scrapped unless there was one in place to replace it.
Respectfully suggest that you have that backwards: a replacement should have been in the works long before it became necessary to retire the active system.
It is sad there wasn't an updated program ready to go.

Seems to me, the technology is available to create a system like this:

http://www.universetoday.com/73536/n...-to-the-stars/

You could eliminate the need for huge chemical rockets all together.

This was almost there:
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Old May 19 2014, 09:47 PM   #17
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

I remember reading a DC-X advocate who explained problems with launch rails. To be taken with a grain of salt of course, but...
Rail types http://web.wt.net/~markgoll/mg3.htm http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind...?topic=16553.0


Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post

Not remotely NASA's fault. Blame Congress for dicking NASA around for decades.

That and the United States Air Force, which insisted on messing with the shuttles size--over HEXAGON http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind...?topic=29244.0

The entire Space Shuttle stack was a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV, HLV, etc).

The problem was that 100 tons or so was the dead mass on orbit orbiter.

Now that isn't necessarily a bad thing. A big shuttle has mass to help hold station modules--the dog is still waging the tail, as it were.

Remember what happened to the out of control Gemini when it released the Agena? It just made things worse.

The problem is that the right country made the wrong shuttle.

I have always loved the modular Energiya Buran, a true space transportation system.
http://www.k26.com/buran/ http://www.buran.ru/htm/history.htm http://www.buran.ru/htm/mtkkmain.htm

You had liquid fueled strap-on boosters that, had they not been Ukrainian, would have replaced R-7 and UR-500 Proton.

These Energiya boosters, with upper stages, are known today as Zenit--named after a Vostok-based spysat of the same name. These are the LVs used by Sea Launch.
The engine is a four nozzle RD-170-series. Cut two nozzles off, and you get the half-strength RD-180, that Atlas V uses--and is the source of much contention with SpaceX vs ULA.

The RD-170 has as much thrust as Saturn V first stage F-1 engine, and Zenit was to launch a Super Soyuz called Zarya:
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/zarya.htm

Zarya now refers to an ISS segment.

The difference between Energiya and the American shuttle is this: The orbiter had three big hydrogen engines (SSMEs), that fed from hydrogen and oxygen from the big organge External Tank--meaning you had to launch that orbiter just to get 20 tons of payload up there--about as much as Delta IV, Ariane V Titan IV, etc.

Thus the External Tank was very like the drop tank on WWII fighters, or on the Hustler bomber. Since the orbiter had the big hydrolox engines, they could be returned to be refurbished. They took up so much space in the aft boat-tail that it forced the OMS pods into those bumps to either side of the tail fin. The propellant tanks inside them?

--about the size of beach balls.

That is all the fuel that orbiter had to use in space. The three SSMEs were dead once that External Tank blew off.

The Soviet design was better.

They had liquid Zenit strap-ons--so no Challenger disaster, and the hydrogen engines were under the External Tank itself.

This made the orbiter much simpler. No, you couldn't re-use the hydrolox engines, but they were too much of a bother to deal with any way.


The important thing to remember is that Energiya was an Ares V/SLS launch vehicle in its own right. It could carry a simpler orbiter with an aft boat-tail full of fuel, so Buran would have been a more capable orbiter, with nearly 30 tons of payload--or the orbiter could be swaped out with a 90 + ton payload pod like Polyus, even simpler than Shuttle C, which was pretty much just an unmanned orbiter without wings.

And the number of Zenits could be dialed up, to surround the engine equipped Energiya core block, to form Energiya Vulkan, a near NOVA class HLLV.

So the EELV-class Zenit liquid fueled boosters could replace R-7 and Soyuz, you had a heavy lifter for Moon missions, and a shuttle orbiter. A true system.

Since the External Tank had the big engines, the orbiter could fly in a heads up attitude, and there would be no need to have propellant lines run along the surface of the ET, shedding foam on an underslung orbiter, like Columbia.

With Energiya you could launch 90 ton station modules, and a big orbiter to bring 30 tons of raw materials to one side of a space factory, and return 30 tons of processed goods from the other end.

The modular nature allowed greater flexibility--and what is more, this would have helped hypersonic research.

With Energiya's SSME type engines under the External Tank itself, the orbiter could be switched out with hypersonic boilerplanes of near orbiter size..

One orbiter might have a faget straight wing, another might be a giant lifting body, you could have, say a waverider scramjet craft tested at full scale.

Had the United States gone with tis design, the 747 orbiter ferry could have releases a NASP test article for low speed tests, and released the boilerplate from an Americanized Energiya for high speed re-entry tests.

Once the perfect spaceplane design is found, the orbiters would be retired, and the spaceplane scaled up for a true SSTO, TSTO, or whatever.

The Energiya HLV remains, and is used for BEO, station segment launch, etc.

The largest SSTO would have been Star Raker, with 100 tons to orbit. Then, all expendables can finally die, but only after serving as a means to an end--the STS acting as a giant Navaho, allowing full scale tests.

Airbreathing scramjet test articles now are about the size of surf-boards--closer to warheads than airframes.

Energiya Buran was the right STS, but made by the wrong country. Had it been the other way around, 14 astronauts would still be alive, we would have operational RLVs, and mean would be back on the Moon, if not Mars.

We are finally putting SSMEs underneath our External tanks, but keeping an Apollo type capsule atop the External tank.

This is now SLS, the space launch system:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/index.html
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/...maiden-flight/

I'll take what I can get.

Without the orbiters, things are a bit simpler now.

Here is a brief history on shuttle derived heavy lift
http://chapters.nss.org/ny/nyc/Shutt...20Modified.pdf
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/sdv.html

An Americanized Energiya was proposed http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/ca...9910018890.pdf
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19...atchallpartial
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=6348.0

Take a look at figure 21 in the big pdf below
https://www.aiaa.org/uploadedFiles/A...sFinalAIAA.pdf

This worked out very nicely...The subsonic L/D increased to an estimated 6.02 as a result

Other spacecraft concepts
http://www.buran.ru/htm/family.htm the АКРК Т-4 launcher looks interesting, if a bit small

On the other hand...

http://www.buran.ru/htm/foto9.htm#tupolev_aks

Last edited by publiusr; May 19 2014 at 10:30 PM.
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Old May 20 2014, 03:48 AM   #18
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

A rail launcher may not be the answer, but the concept is in the right direction. What's the biggest problem with rockets? They are largely parasitic weight. How does one eliminate that problem? By externalizing most of the mass. Leave the engine behind (why move it?) and throw the payload into the sky. "Economy of scale" would make such a big stay-at-home engine practical. Variants on the idea include beamed energy engines and the Bussard ramjet.
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Old May 20 2014, 05:17 AM   #19
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Holy something Batman, we're all on the same page regarding the Shuttle, except perhaps for Publiusr who has always been a bit out there with the links.

When every side of the TrekBBS agrees on an economic and engineering question, from arch conservative to wild eyed liberal, I think we have reached a definitive judgment. I couldn't even find a comment to nitpick, because they were all dead on target.
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Old May 20 2014, 10:45 AM   #20
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

^
KIRK: Well, this is an Enterprise first. Doctor McCoy, Mister Spock and Engineer Scott find themselves in complete agreement. Can I stand the strain?
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Old May 20 2014, 01:31 PM   #21
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

While we are on the topic of space etc... I'd just like to submit the next project that should be undertaken...

We need a frelling garbage scow up there. Something that can be remotely piloted and it's sole purpose is collecting space debris.

The whenn the thing is full, point it towards the sun and let'er go.

Too damn much crap floating in orbit up there.
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Old May 20 2014, 02:35 PM   #22
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

feek61 wrote: View Post
Metryq wrote: View Post
Yanks wrote: View Post
I don't think the program should have been scrapped unless there was one in place to replace it.
Respectfully suggest that you have that backwards: a replacement should have been in the works long before it became necessary to retire the active system.
The lack of NASA's vision is disturbing. How in the world can a system that was designed in the early 1970's and operated for over 30 years NOT have ANYTHING to replace it? Pathetic!!
feek61 wrote: View Post
True, basically I was talking not specifically about NASA but the country as a whole. Sorry it was worded so badly, lol.
There were plenty of ideas, but no money to get any of those ideas past the planning stages. NASA's budget is only 16 billion dollars, or a .25% of the entire federal budget.

Most people just assume NASA has all the money they want but outside of a few Florida congressmen, Congress just doesn't care.
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Old May 20 2014, 03:40 PM   #23
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

This might be a good thing, if the dispute with Russia gets congress to better fund our next manned system (whatever that is) as a sort of "up yours" to Russia.
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Old May 20 2014, 05:13 PM   #24
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

^I'd prefer if some private enterpriser did it for reasons other than transient political grandstanding. Being goaded into massive projects is not rational. But then angry people don't think clearly.
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Old May 21 2014, 07:03 AM   #25
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Metryq wrote: View Post
^I'd prefer if some private enterpriser did it for reasons other than transient political grandstanding. Being goaded into massive projects is not rational. But then angry people don't think clearly.
The US space program exists because of political grandstanding.
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Old May 21 2014, 10:08 AM   #26
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

^ Exactly. And what has it amounted to, other than a few brief reconnaissance raids to the Moon? Please don't use the spin-off argument about non-stick frying pans and smartphones. We could have had those things without sending people 400,000 km away.

The people with the same mindset today advocate a direct jump to Mars with no other prep, and for what? Flag planting? At least the private enterprisers aiming at Mars want to achieve a permanent presence there.
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Old May 21 2014, 11:06 AM   #27
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Metryq wrote: View Post
^ Exactly. And what has it amounted to, other than a few brief reconnaissance raids to the Moon? Please don't use the spin-off argument about non-stick frying pans and smartphones. We could have had those things without sending people 400,000 km away.

The people with the same mindset today advocate a direct jump to Mars with no other prep, and for what? Flag planting? At least the private enterprisers aiming at Mars want to achieve a permanent presence there.
Basic human curiosity? Without goals that push our limits we wouldn't be where we are.

Our economy system is designed in a way that huge costs always require a guaranteed payoff ( or at least calculable risk/potential situation). With space travel that was not guaranteed in the 40s and 50s when it was all set into motion because it was a new technology with many flaws and uncertainties.

So it fell to the nations and their national organizations to make the first steps which were also fueled by the political climate back then that led to them spending huge amounts of money to be the first to plant a flag somewhere and declare supremacy.

However even after several decades the running costs were still enormous. I seem to remember that the whole process of launching and retrieving a shuttle was a billion dollars just for putting a new satellite in orbit, repairing one or resupplying the ISS.
Today technology is abloe to reduce costs significantly and private enterprises have entered the market to compete and make profit which is possible today.

All this is only possible because nations took the financial hit for a low return (and i doubt the return was low but you casually dismiss the benefits which are not confined to Teflon or smartphones) for political reasons and because people said "I want to do this because no one has yet! I want to know what's there!"

I don't want to step on your toes but your attitude is a prime example of short sightedness which, if given free reign, could doom us as civilization because we would become content with how we are and wouldn't strive to learn and experience more and if history has shown us anything that stays still is ultimately doomed to fail.

It's also ironic you post something like this on a Star Trek board, a show which central theme is to boldly go where no one has gone before.
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Old May 21 2014, 12:36 PM   #28
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

FPAlpha wrote: View Post
It's also ironic you post something like this on a Star Trek board, a show which central theme is to boldly go where no one has gone before.
I'm not saying that urge to "boldly go" should not be fed, but it had nothing to do with the "space race" of the '50s and '60s. That's why the whole build up of infrastructure—the space ferry, a station, and then the Moon—was completely bypassed. The only reason Skylab happened at all is because Apollo was cut short and NASA still had a spare Saturn V on hand.

I'm not sneering at those frying pans and smartphones, either. Military tech has been responsible for many "spin-off" benefits throughout history. But those spin-offs are not the urge to explore, either.

You'll also note that my comment about political grandstanding was in reply to someone else suggesting we "stick it to the Russians." How does that follow the example set by STAR TREK? The Prime Directive: sticking it to the other guy. Us vs. Them.

As for irony? I'll give you irony. Much of 20th century physics was given to wild fantasies supported only by Pythagorean notions of mathematics. Most TREK fans seem to eat it up—black holes, worm holes, time travel and all other manner of techno-babble. These same fans will staunchly defend Einstein on one hand, yet blithely accept FTL (with, or without space-warping drives) on the other. But if some "alternative" approach to cracking the mysteries we still face is proposed—no matter how radical or conservative—many sci-fi (fantasy) fans are the first to dig in their heels and defend the party line.
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Old May 21 2014, 06:18 PM   #29
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

That's because sci/fi fans get how science works.
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Old May 21 2014, 07:34 PM   #30
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Metryq wrote: View Post
Yanks wrote: View Post
I don't think the program should have been scrapped unless there was one in place to replace it.
Respectfully suggest that you have that backwards: a replacement should have been in the works long before it became necessary to retire the active system.

Either way, we needed the have a suitable replacement before the shuttle was scrapped - maybe something along the lines of the *original* "lifting body" shuttle design.

On the upside - and the Russian threat to stop carrying astronauts to the ISS by 2020 (or course who know what the political climate will me by then - ideally, by some miracle Putin would be replaced by a more progressive leader..but I don't see that happening short of assassination - or an early death by Putin...and he is fit as an OX.)

This new NASA Orion system - if it's ever build and not axed when the Reps take both houses in the next election - has advantages...and can do a lot that the shuttle couldn't...built at the same time...there is a lot the shuttle could do that these vehicles *can't* - like build something like the ISS - or service something like the Hubble.

In my dreams, but NASA and the private sector would have a fleet of different vehicles for different purposes. But I don't see the money of the willpower being there from the US gov...so it's up to the private sector to save space travel...and maybe that is how it should be...
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