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Resurrect the Space Shuttle ???


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I think mankind's final frontier is right here on Earth: to survive our own vulgar excesses. Our only functional reason to escape this Earth is to escape ourselves

Smoked it?

Here's a question, without the Shuttle, would Hubble still be struggling with a dodgy mirror, and would any of the subsequent servicing missions have been possible? That alone must be worth a huge amo

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Here's a question, without the Shuttle, would Hubble still be struggling with a dodgy mirror, and would any of the subsequent servicing missions have been possible? That alone must be worth a huge amount in terms of scientific value I would say.

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I think, without having a fag packet on which to work it out, that the cost of a few shuttle missions would have paid for a new Hubble Telescope, one made by Specsavers possibly:). As already noted, it was launched on a shuttle but presumably another vehicle could have done it. Other maintenance missions would have been difficult. I'm not sure they can spacewalk from a Soyuz craft, no suitable airlock and it just isn't a suitable mission platform, even if there was a means of capture or docking.

 

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The Elon Musk question is interesting.  If you analyse Elon Musk's successes there is a common theme whereby he takes an early stage technology, albeit proven in concept, and improves upon it or otherwise uses it in an original way.  This is true of the utilisation of solar power and battery technology or the commercialisation of space, or harking further back to where his real money was made, the globalisation of payment technology (again, being something which was acquired by one of this entities rather than developed by, at early stage). 

Elon Musk's innovations are in themselves original but he is standing on the shoulders of others before him (I'm not sure the guys at the Jet Propulsion Lab had as significant of an advantage) and while it is clear that in many ways Elon Musk is clearly a very talented individual, he is not, in fact, Iron Man.  It is interesting but not unexpected that Space X has been able to vastly reduce the cost of taking stuff up to orbit.  Primarily this is because it has been able to skip a big chunk of the learning curve through hiring people who have been there and done that and learned from their mistakes.  It is also interesting that Space X is moving further towards non-EVL rockets, albeit for unmanned payloads.

Setting all of that to one side though, to be a fair question it needs to be expanded to what would Elon Musk have done in the 1970's with the money, technology, and information available to him at that point (and political pressure)?  We will never know that but I suspect, and this is complete conjecture, that Elon Musk is a man of today more so than yesteryear. 

Whilst being successful now, Elon Musk is not the only innovator to have been successful.  Someone commercialised land travel, someone commercialised sea travel, someone commercialised air travel and so on, just in relation to transportation.  So you can distort the question to say, what would Henry Ford have done?  Or you can broaden the question to say, what would a person known to the public to have been successful in a particular era have done in another era and completely different circumstances? 

So while it is an interesting question, I personally don't find it to be a useful one.  

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James Webb telescope is launching just fine without a space shuttle. The space shuttle could barely reach the intended orbit of Hubble, that is why servicing missions were so hard to arrange.

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11 minutes ago, Ags said:

James Webb telescope is launching just fine without a space shuttle. The space shuttle could barely reach the intended orbit of Hubble, that is why servicing missions were so hard to arrange.

I guess we have to hope the get it right first time with JWST then! Without the Shuttle HST would never have been fixed.

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Cart, horse, put. The JWT has had to be designed to fit a conventional launcher, besides which it is going to the L2 point 1.5 million km from earth so will need additional boost from orbit.

I would like to see the X-33 revived, as the technology may have improved to allow a viable SSTO launcher.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_X-33

Hopefully the Skylon launcher can be upscaled to a 4-engine design with heavy-lift capability.

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Sticking with Elon Musk, who I don't hold in particularly high regard, indeed he is just an innovator. But he runs an efficient business too.

His launch vehicle success could have more easily belonged to NASA (or its contractors) but they were and continue to be bogged down with political and bureaucratic baggage, not to mention budget constraints. Musk captured public interest with the almost surreal images of the twin booster landings. That's the kind of bang for their buck that the US public want in space flight. It's an insight into what development could and should have delivered decades ago.

Who knows the actual purpose of the current ISS crew? Who's even watching once the Soyuz has launched? It just isn't delivering anything of use! At best it's a placeholder for something entirely different.

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And then there is the "Dreamchaser" wich I can't post a link on right now because of international web technical difficulties and of course craft like these at least currently can't get to L2 to repair the James Webb if needed, still in these types of designs + the X37B with it's future successers do seem to be the ghost in the machine so to speak and these apparitions are exceedingly shuttle like.

So maybe the shuttle program is really still here in a sence and maybe it's affect on future space travel is beyond our current rational.

 

 

 

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The Shuttle took Hubble into space and it could not have been done without it . And it could not have been repaired without it either . The Shuttle could take heavy payloads and then gently place them where they needed to be and re-catch them if required later. This is remarkable and as Astrologicophiles we owe the Shuttle a great deal indeed.

Hubble is the success story of the Shuttle.

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On 31/12/2018 at 20:44, Stu said:

I guess we have to hope the get it right first time with JWST then! Without the Shuttle HST would never have been fixed.

Hence them testing a hundred times and delayed for years.  Then testing again.  A repeat of the 1990 HST debacle will not go down well in congress.

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I was a fan of the shuttle from the start, and always will be. Looking at the history of payloads going from the start of the space race it was amazing to see it jump with the Saturn V then do it again with the shuttle.

Many of its returns flew close to where I live and it would bring a smile to my sleepy face when in the middle of the night I awoke to the double sonic booms.

My wife would ask "what was that?" and I would tell her, "The shuttles home!"

We have wasted enough money on different projects, not to mention things that would cross the political line here on this great forum to have already put a Starbucks on both the Moon and Mars.

Sadly, we'll keep doing it too.

 

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42 minutes ago, maw lod qan said:

Many of its returns flew close to where I live and it would bring a smile to my sleepy face when in the middle of the night I awoke to the double sonic booms.

Would love to have heard that, amazing stuff.

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49 minutes ago, maw lod qan said:

I was a fan of the shuttle from the start, and always will be. Looking at the history of payloads going from the start of the space race it was amazing to see it jump with the Saturn V then do it again with the shuttle.

Many of its returns flew close to where I live and it would bring a smile to my sleepy face when in the middle of the night I awoke to the double sonic booms.

My wife would ask "what was that?" and I would tell her, "The shuttles home!"

We have wasted enough money on different projects, not to mention things that would cross the political line here on this great forum to have already put a Starbucks on both the Moon and Mars.

Sadly, we'll keep doing it too.

 

I heard the "double sonic boom" of a shuttle return back 2009 when visting Florida. Last year I heard it again but this time it was the lower half of the Space-X Falcon 9 coming back down for the first time on land. 

Incidentally the lauch of the Falcon 9 seemed a peaceful and relatively quiet event compared with the fury of a shuttle or Saturn 5 launch.

 

 

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My biggest regret was never going to watch a shuttle launch. Saw many from across the state, but I always felt I could not count on them going up on schedule.

Remember as if was just yesterday, left work early on a frigid Jan 28th morning. Stopped at the gate of the farm I worked on just as the radio said the shuttle was about to launch.

I got out with my Minolta camera and telephoto lens, just to get the shots of it coming up over the trees 175 miles away. I only had a few shots to finish the roll of film.

As I saw it rise above the trees, the camera wouldn't auto focus. I clicked it to manual and focused just as the fireball erupted. Took all the images to the point I got boosters arching away and the trails from the debris field falling back to Earth.

I knew enough to know it wasn't going to be good.

It still brings me almost to tears.

 

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I thought the Shuttle was.an elegant space vehicle, and those awful accidents aside, but with great respects to those who perished in those tradedies, the vehicle did the job intended for it, namely the ISS. Not forgetting it's Hubble fix task.

The era of the Space Shuttle is over, and the needed technologies will take up the challenges that follow.

China's feat of putting a lander on the backside of the Moon heralds a new race in my estimation, and that includes Real Estate. There's no doubt that the Moon is the main attraction for a manned base, and I think urgency towards that end will increase.

Mars will also be in the calculations, but there are many advantages to be had from an established lunar complex.  An International endeavour would be the desired approach to this goal, but I think that old drawback pride will have a big effect on that possibility. We only have take an honest look at the International climate today, to get a clue as whether  common sense would prevail.   However looking at the expense of such a huge undertaking, could one nation afford it?

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The link I reffered to in the earlier post https://www.sncorp.com/what-we-do/dream-chaser-space-vehicle/

I guess I am more of the opin that cars resembled cars and planes resembled planes since their inception within specific design parameters and low earth orbital shuttle craft seem to be running that same evolutionary design gauntlet, as with the Dreamchaser now having folding wings for placing the vehicle inside the launch vehicle is just yet another adaptation of the shuttle designs core usage character.

It will be interesting to watch the shuttle continue on in the various forms and iterations of it's original design concept.

https://bgr.com/2019/01/01/dream-chaser-space-plane-snc-nasa/

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  • 2 months later...

Watched a documentary about USA in space the other day starting from the early days and one item was a fledgling shuttle designed by a couple of guys to prove the flying with no wings theory that they towed behind a car to prove the principle, this went through several incarnations before being adopted to build the shuttle which then sort of grew like Topsy getting more and more complicated and expensive but I think still worth every penny / $.

Millions spent building the non existent infrastructure much of which is till in use today for testing.

About the best program of its genre that I have seen.

Dave

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Like the ill-fated TU-144 "Concordski" there was of course the Soviet/Russian
"Buran" Space Shuttle clone. Also a bit "basic", but ever intrigued me anyway:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buran_programme#Fleet_status_and_locations
If you're Russian, worth checking the large shed at the bottom of the garden? ?

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My age means my boyhood daydreams of space travel, and the exploration of the moon and planets were funded by the likes of the Eagle comics.  Rocketry confined to Von Braun's V1 and V2 war weapons. Associating those with Space travel was hard to conceive at that time. 

Nevertheless, they did prove to be the springboard of that technology, that had grown and expanded in time that has been relatively short.. The achievements since those early years can only be described as miraculous. Those early stages of progress through Gemini and Apollo still give me goose bumps when I consider the bravery and courage of the scientists, engineers, pilots, and the pioneer Astronauts/Cosmonauts involved in the progressive road to where we are to date.              I have thoroughly enjoyed the trip to date, and my boyhood dream of man standing on another planet may not be realised, however, I am satisfied with witnessing the Moon landings, and conspiracy theorists can go fly a kite.   

The Shuttle I was thrilled with, a superb space vehicle which achieved so much.  Of course it cost lives, and that was so very sad. These things do happen, and sadly, in hindsight, the Shuttle losses could have been avoided. It can't be undone, but lessons were learned too late unfortunately.  

These are just my ramblings, and I do hope to see the completion of the James Webb Telescope project, and some of the results that come down from it's work. Should prove eye opening for sure.

There is a great deal going on in our spheres of interests guys and gals, let's all sit back and enjoy it.  

Ron.

 

 

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On 29/12/2018 at 20:33, noah4x4 said:

....what about Cavorite and gravity shielding technologies?

Last used circa 1964..... remarkable British lunar achievement.....

That was just a movie, it was 1901 when Cavor & co landed on the Moon? :icon_scratch:  And dont forget that grand Lancashire mission of 1989! ??

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Though the cost for the shuttle was very excessive and I can still feel  the emotion I felt with both losses of those incredible space craft when I think of it today, I try to temper all that with the thoughts of what was gained.

We seem to have forgot that with every new technology, there has been expensive learning curves and unfortunate loss of lives.

I think that if not for the mountain of rules, procedures and red tape, the last launch of the Dragon would have put astronauts into space.

We still have men and women that would gladly get in the seat and take hold of the stick to give something it's test, just like they had to do years back.

The only thing that will be anywhere close to 100 % safe is sitting on the couch. And even that's not 100% safe is it? Let alone fun and exciting.

 

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