Deputy PM says Russia aims to end ISS participation in 2020

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Brolan, May 14, 2014.

  1. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You mean the planets—let's not get carried away here. With that sort of hyperbole, Apollo-Soyuz was the first international mission to another star.

    As for the external fuel tanks, STS was already lofting a lot of excess baggage into orbit every time, namely the shuttle itself. The tanks were so stripped for efficiency that NASA stopped painting them to save weight. I doubt a metal shell with a few slosh baffles in it would make much of a space station.

    Skylab was essentially a modified fuel tank from the third stage of a Saturn V. If you've read anything about how difficult it is to work in a spacesuit (such as simply driving screws when repairing Hubble), you'd know that repurposing spent shuttle tanks in orbit is highly impractical.
     
  2. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    OK, party killing hair splitter - fine, planets. BTW, coincidentally I saw on the news this morning that Space X has made considerable progress in their, 'Dragon,' launch program and much closer to putting humans into the capsule.

    Dragon

    LATIMES
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  3. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They could have launched the fuel tank empty and already modified for human use without the shuttle attached, and then have sent up another shuttle to dock with it later. My point is that they already had the infrastructure to do this without building anything new.
     
  4. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If it was already modified, then it would have been a space station, not a tank. And why send up a shuttle to dock with it? Why launch an over-upholstered SUV when a couple of rolly office chairs would have sufficed?

    The shuttle was a solution looking for a problem.

    A point already made abundantly clear by many people in another thread.
     
  5. RobertVA

    RobertVA Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm having trouble giving these proposals about using a Space Transportation System external tank much credibility.

    It would be expensive to design the modifications and implement them'.

    The modified tank probably wouldn't be serviceable as a propellant tank, so getting it into orbit becomes an issue. The solid boosters used in the normal STS stacks only operated about two minutes, insufficient to get the tank into orbit. The tank and boosters relied on guidance systems in the orbiter, which of course couldn't come along because an empty tank lacks propellant for the orbiter's main engines.

    In a STS launch the tanks were jettisoned in an orbit that was low enough the tanks reentered the atmosphere in about half an orbit. The orbiter itself accelerated further with the maneuvering thrusters.

    With their electrical power dependent on cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen supplies the shuttles wouldn't have the ability to remain in orbit long enough for their crew to make much progress moving equipment into a tank to make it habitable. The cryogenic temperatures of the propellants in a tank probably wouldn't be compatible with many of the materials that would have made it usable as an orbiting habitat. There' would also be issues of highly flammable hydrogen remnants in the larger liquid hydrogen tank.

    To me it doesn't look anywhere near as practical as building a module on the ground and carrying it into orbit in the orbiter's payload bay, as was done with the non-Russian segments of the ISS. Some of those were launched with empty equipment racks that were filled from cargo modules that were launched on subsequent shuttle flights.
     
  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Er, yeah, that was my point.

    Because it then would have been a Skylab-like space station.

    What does retiring the shuttles have anything to do with what I wrote? I was talking about using the fuel tank as a space station when we were actively launching shuttle missions.