Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by 2takesfrakes, May 19, 2014.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Neither does time travel, but that doesn't stop sci-fi fans from believing it's possible.

    I agree with Metryq that sci-fi fans are not all that good at distinguishing science-fiction and science-fact, and I'm pointing out that this is mainly the fault of science fiction writers.
     
  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    They're apparently better at it than you think since Metryq seems upset that sci/fi fans don't go in for Electric Universe theory. Which is what he is really upset about, not whether sci/fi fans believe everything self admitted fiction writers come up with.

    Then again, there's nothing wrong with believing something is possible. It's when you start thinking its probable that you have to start backing up your claims.
     
  3. MANT!

    MANT! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To get back on topic,
    Yes the Shuttle needed to be retired, but as NASA's budget since Apollo 11 has been
    choked back by Congress, the USA has to stop flights by the prior manned spaceflight system (between 1975 and 1981 there were no US manned spaceflights due to the cost of developing the STS) we HAD to retire the STS in order to develop the newer system..

    Now I'm laying odds the Space X's Dragon-rider ends up being the only US manned spacecraft flying, as I think Orion will be given the heave-ho before it flys (typical Lockheed cost overruns)...and the COTS manned component will be whittled down to just one winning company..
     
  4. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Wait, you guys don't like Michio Kaku either? And here I thought I was the only one...

    --Alex
     
  5. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Enough! One thing I can not stand is so called hardcore Sci-Fi "purist" telling me what is or isn't acceptable. What you enjoy DOES NOT indicate your level of education or general intelligence (and yes I know some NASA engineers who love ST:Voyager and yes even Enterprise).
     
  6. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah How dare he use Science Fiction to promote Science. What a jerk :rolleyes:
     
  7. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Although the Space Shuttle might not have been the best option, it did give us access to the space station. Why don't we put several space stations into orbit--at intervals--and use them as stepping-stones across our solar system? Then, we wouldn't need to build long-term-mission ships.
     
  8. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You lost me there. How can a bunch of stations—all in Earth orbit—act as stepping stones across the Solar system?

    Or are you recommending the grid of barges anchored across the ocean idea suggested as a solution to the longitude problem in the 1700s?

    The problem of the retired shuttles is that the US government no longer has access to orbit (except through private enterprises). So how would a bunch of stations in orbit, or strung out across the Solar system, help when the government couldn't get to them?
     
  9. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Sky hook could give you some delta-v boosts, but you'd still need a "long term" ship.
     
  11. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Skyhooks and space elevators sound very clever, but they are still far beyond any engineering we have or can foresee. Environmental factors may also be more complicated than anticipated.

    I was surprised to see skyhooks mentioned in the Wikipedia article for STAR WARS. I don't know anything of the expanded universe stuff, but skyhooks sound so quaint for a civilization that has anti-grav (Luke's landspeeder, Cloud City) and the kinds of spacecraft depicted in the movies. "Do you want a waterwheel with that skyhook, to go with the gas lights and steampunk robots?"
     
  12. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    ^^^
    A skyhook in Star Wars is totally unrelated to this kinda skyhook. It's a kind of repulsor craft for high altitude atmospheric flight. It has nothing to do with the other kind.

    --Alex
     
  13. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm just glad the shuttle program lasted long enough to do that last service-mission of Hubble. Hubble is probably the biggest success-story of the Shuttle program.
     
  14. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is a rather expensive way to service a space telescope, launching new ones would have been cheaper than having the Shuttle for it. :p

    I agree, though. Servicing a space telescope in orbit has got to be one of the coolest thing man has done, and something to be proud of. And one thing that the new launch solutions don't readily offer – the capsules could be modified to bring the service team there and back, but with no robotic arm, your repair abilities will be limited.

    On the other hand, when something really needs servicing in space, there will be enough tools on the spot to do it, and the something will most likely be manned. So even in that regard, I don't think we lost anything.
     
  15. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Do you mean simply reach out and grab a passing tool? Seems like enough stuff has been "dropped" in space to do that. :lol:
     
  16. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, it would be enough if the outpost exploded. There would be plenty of debris to grab on. :p
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which is beside the point: nobody has ever presented that theory has anything OTHER than an alternate cosmological model. People either find it credible or they don't.

    On the other hand, there's a persistent meme among sci-fi fans that wormholes are real things (they aren't) that could actually exist in a manner consistent with the current known laws of physics (they can't).

    If the Electric Universe theory was featured as a plot device on twenty different episodes of Star Trek Voyager, Sci-fi fans would probably believe in that too.

    Never claimed it did. I've known history professors who thought Monty Python was the best show ever made.

    Failing to recognize the difference between fantasy and reality has almost nothing to do with your education or intelligence, it's merely a question of your attention span. As a rule of thumb, it's hard to enjoy fiction AT ALL if you cannot suspend your disbelief, but certain shows (and certain genres) make this a lot more difficult to do than others.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How about we build a bunch of long-term mission ships and SEND them across the solar system? I've felt for years that the ISS could easily be converted into an interplanetary star cruiser if you stuck a big enough engine on the back of it.
     
  19. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Attach a reactor the size of the station itself and VASIMR will finally live up to all the claims.
     
  20. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    VASIMR looks like the best bet so far, since it can go to high thrust in a gravity well to maximize the Oberth effect, then switch to low-thrust, high specific impulse mode for the cruise. But to power it you'll probably need a liquid fluoride reactor, which has a good power to weight ratio.

    If you intend more than flags and footprints, you'll also need to spin the ship for artificial gravity, because although humans can somewhat adapt to zero G, very few other things can. Transporting crops and livestock (chickens and fish if nothing else) is extremely problematic without gravity to keep feed and poop from floating around. Plus, almost everything involved in daily life (cooking, washing, etc) is much easier with gravity.
     

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