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What Is The Deal With The Space Shuttle?  
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7437 times:

After reading so much on it, as well as reading about Challenger, and Columbia, I have determined that to be the biggest hunk of crap I've ever seen in my life.

But the real reason I am making this post is to find out why NASA managers ALWAYS seem to give GO FOR LAUNCH, even when they KNOW something is wrong. In watching the documentary on Challenger, An engineer by the name of Roger Bouijolais (sp?) had warned Morton-Thiokol AND NASA NOT TO LAUNCH due to other mishaps in the SRBs. But they launched anyway.

Does NASA have a BAD case of Go-Fever? Why is it that they don't ever seem to care about anything except launching. Because they were so anxious to launch Challenger, when they were told not to, we lost 7 great Americans.

And then comes the Foam. It had been falling off of several missions for several years, and when they noticed it might have caused damage, they said "to hell with it, we can't fix it, so lets let them come back in, and see what happens." BOOM, 6 more great Americans, and 1 american-israeli GONE.

74 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePilotboi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2366 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 7394 times:

Lately, they've had a lot more Not-Go-Fever. They've been taking extra special care of every single detail, down to the most tiny thing. Currently, the shuttle is delayed because of some external fuel tank sensors. It was supposed to go up a month ago but at the last minute was cancelled because of these sensors. Then after looking more into it, they decided to bring it back to the building and look more into it.

User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3604 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 7384 times:

If you look at the incessant number of delays throughout its history, I'm not understanding how any reasonable person could come the conclusion of the original poster.

edit: unless you draw those conclusions from an hour of television.

[Edited 2008-01-06 21:22:18]

User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21552 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 7308 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
But the real reason I am making this post is to find out why NASA managers ALWAYS seem to give GO FOR LAUNCH

They certainly haven't done so of late. The failure of a backup system that probably wouldn't have been needed stopped the launch several times, and delayed it several weeks. I've seen three launches since moving down to Florida last August, and on two of them I had to come back a second day because the first attempt got scrubbed for various reasons. Your statement is not only untrue, but rather unfair to the team of people who are dedicated to keeping the shuttle flying safely. There have been mistakes made, certainly, but to say that NASA has a desire to maintain the schedule at the expense of safety is just wrong - if they did, Atlantis would have already launched, and likely would have been back on Earth already having completed its mission.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineSpruceMoose From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 7206 times:

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
In watching the documentary on Challenger, An engineer by the name of Roger Bouijolais (sp?) had warned Morton-Thiokol AND NASA NOT TO LAUNCH due to other mishaps in the SRBs. But they launched anyway.

Part of the frustration with both the Challenger and Columbia mishaps is that there were clear indications in both cases that something was wrong, but that information was not part of the 'go' decision. The gravity of the threat clearly got lost somewhere in the process.

Edward Tufte has some examples of really poor communication in both cases. Below is a link to an excerpt of an essay he wrote pointing out how the PowerPoint 'pitch' by Boeing led an insufficiently critical management team to the wrong conclusion:

http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-...fetch-msg?msg_id=0001yB&topic_id=1

(if that doesn't work, go to http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint and click on the link to the sample from the essay)

As for Challenger -- see Tufte's book "Visual Explanations" (2nd edition) pp 26 and 38-53. On page 26 is the fax from Thiokol recommending launch. On pages 46-48 are Thiokol's awful graphical representations of their blow-by data, and on page 45 is the same data shown in a way that, if available to NASA management at the time, would have made postponing launch a no-brainer. The difference is really stunning. I apologize for not having online links for this, but if you search around Tufte's web site you may find them, or visit your nearest engineering library.

In both of these cases you can go back and find someone somewhere who knew something was amiss. But you can also find lots of evidence to suggest that the people making the final decision thought they were operating within safe margins. The point is, it's a lot more complicated than 'go fever'. I've only scratched the surface in my readings on this and I'm no expert, but the fact that the shuttle flies as much and as safely as it does suggests that the people in the program are smarter and more careful than you're giving them credit for. That fourteen people have lost their lives suggests that even the smart and well intentioned make terrible mistakes, that complacency kills, and that we've always got to scrutinize the evidence to make sure we're not being fooled and that we're not fooling ourselves.

-SpruceMoose

[edited to clean up a little grammar]

[Edited 2008-01-06 22:53:15]


It flew at an altitude of six feet for a distance of four and a half feet. Then we discovered rain makes it catch fire.
User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 6982 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
But the real reason I am making this post is to find out why NASA managers ALWAYS seem to give GO FOR LAUNCH, even when they KNOW something is wrong.

Because nothing is 100% perfect. There is always something wrong... with everything. You have to decide what is an acceptable risk and what isn't, and unfortunately, that decision-making process broke down twice. It is marvelously easy to sit on the sidelines and say "they shouldn't have launched!". It is somewhat harder, of course, to make that decision beforehand.

A ship in port is safe, but that is not what a ship is for.

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
In watching the documentary on Challenger, An engineer by the name of Roger Bouijolais (sp?) had warned Morton-Thiokol AND NASA NOT TO LAUNCH due to other mishaps in the SRBs. But they launched anyway.

Is there a point to bringing this up 22 years later? There's hardly anyone left in the Shuttle program or its contractors who was around when Challenger was lost. And that might partly be why we lost Columbia 17 years later.

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
Does NASA have a BAD case of Go-Fever?

No. If they did, Atlantis would have flown last month, the Shuttle wouldn't have stood down after more foam problems on STS-114 in 2005, etc.

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
And then comes the Foam. It had been falling off of several missions for several years, and when they noticed it might have caused damage, they said "to hell with it, we can't fix it, so lets let them come back in, and see what happens."

Reference? Who said this? It certainly doesn't appear in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (independent of NASA) report.

The foam debris was a known problem, and had been occuring since STS-1. Fixes were in development after the STS-112 debris event was much worse than had been seen in many years (since STS-30) and had elevated the problem to a higher danger level, but it was still not believed to be a safety issue. The foam liberation and damage was widely believed (by both NASA and contractors) to be a maintenance issue, not a safety of flight issue. Even after Columbia was lost, it took a ground demonstration to show that fall foam really could punch a hole in the wing RCC panel. This was a gigantic shock to most NASA and contractor engineers.


User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 6970 times:
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Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
Even after Columbia was lost, it took a ground demonstration to show that fall foam really could punch a hole in the wing RCC panel. This was a gigantic shock to most NASA and contractor engineers.

The strange thing is that now everyone now accepts that foam fall is a bad thing, launching o-rings at a temperature outside of the experience base is a bad thing, and launching astronauts in capsule containing copious amounts of flammable materials and pressurized 100% O2 atmosphere is a bad thing. All 3 should have been obvious prior to the related accident and yet weren't...



Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 6967 times:

Another question I have is the Challenger launched at 53 degrees (or less). Were the O-Rings not designed for FREEZING temperatures? I mean, 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing, so why couldn't they have designed the O-Rings to deal with even sub-zero temperatures?

Slightly off topic, but there have been times when my CO2 tank for my paintball gun cracked and fell off after removing it?

And haven't there been launches where the O-Rings survived even at below 50?


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6942 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Reply 7):
Another question I have is the Challenger launched at 53 degrees (or less). Were the O-Rings not designed for FREEZING temperatures? I mean, 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing, so why couldn't they have designed the O-Rings to deal with even sub-zero temperatures?

No, the o-rings were not designed to work at freezing or below. The ill-fated Challenger launch had to be delayed until air temperature rose above freezing on January 28, 1986. That's why launch was at 11:37am and not 9:30am. They could have been, but with most launches in Florida, low-temperature operation was not a priority for funding.

The problem is that the cold temperature contributed to the o-ring failure, but was not entirely responsible for it. The field joint design was just very deeply flawed and the joints were behaving in unexpected ways at ignition. The joints had been suffering o-ring damage and blow-by even in much warmer conditions. The lower limit of 53 degrees that the engineers were fighting for was based on the previous low temperature for launch... STS-51C a year before the accident. But NASA and Thiokol management saw the paperwork saying that the SRBs were safe down to 36 degrees and demanded the engineers provide data indicating otherwise, something impossible to do in only a few hours.

The design flaw was solved by adding a "capture feature" and a third o-ring to the field joint. O-ring temperature performance was solved by adding heaters to the joints to keep the rings at 80 degrees despite outside temperatures.

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Reply 7):
And haven't there been launches where the O-Rings survived even at below 50?

No. But there have been test firings in Utah that cold. The joint heaters have solved the temperature problem for the o-rings.


User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4316 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 6716 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
Even after Columbia was lost, it took a ground demonstration to show that fall foam really could punch a hole in the wing RCC panel. This was a gigantic shock to most NASA and contractor engineers.

I recall in one of the early press briefings after the loss of Columbia, one of the senior project engineers was asked if the ship may have been lost as a result of the foam shedding (this was after video was made public showing the piece that came off and struck the wing). The engineer (you probably recall who it was) stated pretty emphatically that he didn't think that was a cause of the accident. I remember vividly his comment that a piece of foam the size that was shown in the video had such low mass that it couldn't have done enough damage to doom the ship.

My point is that even the best engineers are sometimes surprised by results. I think it stems from the fact that engineers deal almost exclusively with "knowns" -- hard data. At the time, there just wasn't sufficient data for them to draw the proper conclusions.

[Edited 2008-01-09 19:33:45]


I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 6709 times:

To be honest, I think they should have replaced the space-shuttle with a space-plane back in the eighties.

It would be a hell of a lot easier to operate for one if you didn't have to point the whole thing straight up on that huge vehicle that takes it out to the launch pad (That thing for one is gigantic and probably guzzles fuel to produce the power it does -- oddly nobody ever factored the fuel burn that gigantic machine must burn into the equation.) and instead just start her up on the tarmac and taxi her to a runway and takeoff. It would also be a lot easier to make a powered landing than make a crazy gliding landing on the runway. Additionally, there would be no need for booster rockets, no need for a gigantic fuel-tank that's actually bigger than the spacecraft itself that ends up burnt to a crisp and is not re-used (That tank is the only thing that isn't re-used to my knowledge).


Andrea Kent
Let's hope I don't get a heart-attack, disappear, get some incurable disease, or cancer, die-suspiciously, "commit suicide" etc. Should that happen, you know who to blame...


User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2338 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6696 times:
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Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
It would be a hell of a lot easier to operate for one if you didn't have to point the whole thing straight up on that huge vehicle that takes it out to the launch pad (That thing for one is gigantic and probably guzzles fuel to produce the power it does -- oddly nobody ever factored the fuel burn that gigantic machine must burn into the equation.) and instead just start her up on the tarmac and taxi her to a runway and takeoff.

The crawler burns about 350 liters/km, and it's only six or seven km from the VAB to the pad (depending on which pad). IOW, the fuel burn for that part of the trip is utterly insignificant.


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6687 times:



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
To be honest, I think they should have replaced the space-shuttle with a space-plane back in the eighties.

Space-planes seem to be the worst of both worlds. If you want to go into space, it is best to get out of the drag and heat-inducing atmosphere as quickly as possible (that is what the Shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters are for... accelleration to orbital velocity is mostly the function of the Main Engines over the succeeding six-and-a-half minutes.)

In any case, a space-plane (X-30) was attempted beginning in 1986, it was cancelled in the early 1990s after billions of dollars spent and lots of "gotchas" and "uh-oh's" thwarted progress. The technology simply was not, and still is not, there. It was suggested then and is now crystal clear, that we should have undertaken a series of much smaller, much less ambitious test vehicles (smaller X-planes) to get the various technologies (and there are many needed) up to what we need for a full scale space-plane. Today, programs like Hyper-X (X-43) and HyShot are finally doing what we should have done 20 years ago.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
Additionally, there would be no need for booster rockets, no need for a gigantic fuel-tank

Instead of those, you need an engine that can work as both jet and rocket. (That's hard). And you need some way to convert gaseous oxygen from the atmosphere into liquid oxygen for your rocket. And it has to be small enough to fit on a plane. (That's even harder.) And you still need a big tank for the hydrogen, so the plane is still going to be huge.

Worse, since your space-plane has to rely on oxygen from the atmosphere, the plane has to fly in the atmosphere almost all the way to orbital velocity (Mach 25) where we have trouble keeping planes from burning up at Mach 3.

This is just a sample of the problems the space-plane program faced and ended up failing to solve.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
It would be a hell of a lot easier to operate for one if you didn't have to point the whole thing straight up on that huge vehicle that takes it out to the launch pad (

The Crawler looks like overkill with today's low flight rates (4-6 per year.) But the concept was designed for much higher flight rates (50 per year.) Under those plans, the mobile launcher concept makes much more sense.

Quoting Rwessel (Reply 11):
The crawler burns about 350 liters/km, and it's only six or seven km from the VAB to the pad (depending on which pad). IOW, the fuel burn for that part of the trip is utterly insignificant.

And the cost is indeed factored-in as part of the KSC infrastructure.


User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 968 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 6690 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
To be honest, I think they should have replaced the space-shuttle with a space-plane back in the eighties.

Reagan instructed NASA to do precisely that. It resulted in an even more complex and more expensive vehicle that never flew: the NASP. What we should have done was realize that we bit-off more than we could chew with the STS program and take a few step backwards.

What we should have done before that was keep the U.S. manned space program flying on the Apollo CSM but with a more economical ELV than Saturn. And while doing that, we should have been testing more ambitions X-planes to test reusable space technologies one at a time, rather than loading them all onto a single project that never gets off the ground or never performs as promised (i.e. X-33 or STS).


Dang, beat to the punch by Thorny.  Wink

[Edited 2008-01-09 21:08:15]

User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3559 posts, RR: 29
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6648 times:

To me, it does not really matter to ask "what if the shuttle were replaced in the 80s", as the fact is that it wasn't. Instead, I think it is much better to look into the future.

Ares isn't flying yet, but maybe one should start with an outlook beyond the year 2025. What will we see beyond Ares I and V?


User currently offlineWvsuperhornet From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 6639 times:

When the first mission of an aircraft is to tae a full day to check to make sure your not going to blow up upon re-entry, then you need to retire it "Period"......

User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6619 times:



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 14):
Ares isn't flying yet, but maybe one should start with an outlook beyond the year 2025. What will we see beyond Ares I and V?

Assuming the Ares project moves forward under the next U.S. President (Obama has already said it won't under him) then 2025 will be when Ares V is just getting into its stride. There will be incremental improvements... probably Ares V-B and Ares V-C eventually. Possibly niche vehicles like Ares III (Ares V with no upper stage, used as a tanker) and Ares IV (Ares V with Ares I Upper Stage).

Quoting Wvsuperhornet (Reply 15):
When the first mission of an aircraft is to tae a full day to check to make sure your not going to blow up upon re-entry, then you need to retire it "Period"......

That's just political CYA.


User currently offlineChecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6614 times:

Bottom line is that anytime you strap people into/onto a rocket, there is risk. If anyone thinks there is some miracle system out there that is absolutely safe, they're living in a dream world. I don't mind when they no-go...it means people are doing what they're supposed to be doing. It means hopefully, we won't loose another vehicle or have any post launch aborts like with Challenger.

-Check


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6519 times:

I think the condition of NASA is a national embarrassment.

It took man about 58 years between the first powered flight and the first space flight. It took 8 years between the first flight in space and landing a man on the moon. Now in the absolute best case scenario a manned space mission to Mars will launch in 2020 (don't hold your breath) meaning that at least 51 years will have passed between the time we first stepped foot on the moon and when we explored the next heavenly body.

The space shuttle is a perfect example of how unfocused NASA has become. The STS never achieved its goal of being a dependable reusable LEO launch vehicle. It costs orders of magnitude more in terms of $ and human lives than all the previous US space efforts and has achieved comparably little in return.


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6499 times:



Quoting Pope (Reply 18):
I think the condition of NASA is a national embarrassment.

Yet NASA consistently is doing things that no other agency on Earth has ever done, such as successful Mars landers and probes to the outer planets.

Quoting Pope (Reply 18):
Now in the absolute best case scenario a manned space mission to Mars will launch in 2020 (don't hold your breath)

2030 at best. 2020 is return to the Moon.

Quoting Pope (Reply 18):
meaning that at least 51 years will have passed between the time we first stepped foot on the moon and when we explored the next heavenly body.

NASA can only do what it is funded to do. No U.S. administration or Congress has funded a human expedition to Mars. That includes the current one, which is funding only a return to the Moon (and barely funding even that.)

Quoting Pope (Reply 18):
It costs orders of magnitude more in terms of $ and human lives than all the previous US space efforts

No, it hasn't. Order of magnitude = multiply by 10. Apollo killed 3. Shuttle killed 14. Of course, Shuttle carries over twice as many astronauts per flight than did Apollo, and is closing in on an order of magnitude more flights to date. When compared to the number of flights and number of humans aboard those flights, Shuttle is only marginally more dangerous than Soyuz. Apollo's number of flights is so low that no statisically meaningful comparison can be made. (Although Apollo 13 came dangerously close to being fatal, and Apollo 6 would have aborted had a crew been onboard.)

Averaging over the length of the program, Space Shuttle costs about $500 million per launch. Titan IV was about $400 million each. Delta IV is around $250 million. But look at how much more versatile Shuttle is, with a crew of seven included in that cost. Saturn V was around $1 billion in 2004 dollars per launch. (Which is why LBJ and Nixon killed it in favor of something cheaper in the first place.) Shuttle didn't really increase costs over Apollo, but it failed to reduce them in any significant way.


User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3559 posts, RR: 29
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6495 times:

I would not call Shuttle an embarassment, more a symbol of different times.

Look how many test pilots died in the 1950s and 1960s. This would be completely unacceptable today, as the will to take risks has considerably decreased.

Apollo was extremely risky, nobody today would be willing to take this risk.

Shuttle is a symbol for this, it must be safe, everything must be checked, and thus, the smallest event makes launch impossible.

I think future missions must find a balance between shuttle and Apollo. Spaceflight IS risky. Nevertheless, the hardware must be more reliable than Shuttle. It is unacceptable that almost every Shuttle flight is delayed, while the (less capable, granted) Russians are able to fly on time.

So I think Ares is a good step forward. I hope the US doesn't cancel it. I am not an US taxpayer, but I would love to see the US back on moon with Ares V around 2020.

This is actually the biggest benefit for US foreign relations NASA can offer: Everybody wordwide is impressed and loves the US for their moon landing. NASA is popular. I hope future US governments keep this in mind when thinking about the budget.


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6456 times:



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 20):
Nevertheless, the hardware must be more reliable than Shuttle. It is unacceptable that almost every Shuttle flight is delayed,

Shuttle isn't quite that bad!

31.4% of Shuttle flights were launched on time. Another 24.7% launched late but still on the scheduled day. So about half of all Shuttle flights launched on the scheduled day.

Of the delays, 44.6% were due to weather.


User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6318 times:

If NASA thinks Constellation, even with the whole shebang as originally envisioned, is going to excite people not otherwise excited by space they are under a serious delusion. Spend what we would have spent on constellation on unmanned projects and we could have a lot more exciting stuff. We could have sample returns from all over the inner solar system and perhaps the outer solar system as well. We could take a peak under Europa's ice. Eventually, we could have a telescope capable of not only discovering Earth sized worlds around other stars, but even imaging them. We could more easily try out new tech since in unmanned exploration you can afford a few losses. We wouldn't need the standing army the shuttle needs just to survive. Instead, We would need engineers to design the spacecraft, and more scientists to interpret the data we would be getting. These people would be doing exciting new stuff all the time.

Unmanned probes, rovers, etc. are what can excite people now and do serious science. They do real exploration, going places it takes years to get to and returning images + data about things no one has ever seen before. You can do so many more, different things then manned spacecraft can given equivalent levels of funding. This gap grows with every technological advance since manned space flight has to be conservative to be safe and cheap enough to do. If you want to excite people using something close to NASA's existing budget, unmanned space is the way to do it. Man on the moon 2.0 is not.

A lesson can be learned from the Mars rovers - NASA got more attention for that than they got for the space station - which costs literally a hundred times as much.

Bottom Line - Unless NASA can get a budget many times that necesary for Constellation, there is no use having a real manned space program at all. Better to have a placeholder program, or even nothing, and put the money into what people really want to see. When people unfamiliar with space look at rovers on mars, they think science and progress. When they look at the Space Shuttle and the Space Station, they think of their tax dollars going down the drain. Mostly , they are right.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 21):
Of the delays, 44.6% were due to weather.

I was under the impression, however, that the shuttle suffers more weather related delays then other launch vehicles because of the need to keep open abort options. The shuttle not only needs good launch weather, it needs good landing weather at the launch site and several other possible abort sites.


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6276 times:



Quoting Cloudy (Reply 22):
Unmanned probes, rovers, etc. are what can excite people now and do serious science.

Messenger is presently passing a few thousand miles over Mercury, only the second spacecraft (and the fourth flyby) to do so. 50% of Mercury is still unknown to humanity. Yet the popular media has barely even noticed. Compare with Scott "Too Tall" Paracynski's repair of the station's solar wing last year.

Humans in space are an order of magnitude more popular and interesting with the general public.

Robots are excellent precursors, but that is all they are: precursors. They tell us where to look deeper, but we need humans nearby or on the ground to actually do the looking. Exploration of the moon and Mars will both require a consolidated manned/unmanned effort to succeed, even the moon is too far away for telepresence to be realistic in difficult terrain or complex tasks. Robotic technology is always vastly oversold by anti-manned space critics. "Just send probes to do it, it is easier and safer!" That's true, but it is also vastly less productive. One of the Mars Exploration Rover mission scientists pointed out that what Spirit did in a month, a human could have done in a day.

Quoting Cloudy (Reply 22):
I was under the impression, however, that the shuttle suffers more weather related delays then other launch vehicles because of the need to keep open abort options. The shuttle not only needs good launch weather, it needs good landing weather at the launch site and several other possible abort sites.

Correct.


User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3559 posts, RR: 29
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6260 times:

Also, human spaceflight is more than just science, it is also a highly political issue. This isn't necessarily always a good thing, but certainly, the PR gained from being the first on the moon can hardly be topped again.

The Shuttle and ISS are not as spectacular, as they might seem to only do something Gargarin did in 1961, orbiting the earth. Yet they are a huge step forward for science, and international cooperation in space.

Being the biggest international civil project ever undertaken IS something spectacular. But I really think time has come for the next step. If we can live in orbit half a year, I would love to see a permanent moon station.

Whether we will live to see a manned Mars mission is still debatable. I hope so. And who knows, maybe we will see a manned mission to Jupiters moons in some centuries...


25 Wvsuperhornet : Yeah Ok!!!
26 Nycbjr : and just what is he proposing to replace it with? alllow the shuttle to keep going? or stop man space flight in the US all together.. man is seriousl
27 Thorny : He said he would delay Constellation five years to pay for beefing up Education. There were few other details. A five-year delay would effectively ki
28 TheSonntag : How much is Constellation actually under way? Is ist still possible to cancel it without losing too much money? I mean, sometimes projects have gone s
29 Curt22 : What a fantastic quote! Much a more economical use of words compared to Teddy Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speech, but both the ship and this speec
30 Cloudy : I doubt he could do more than the hundreds or even thousands of rovers, etc. that could be sent for the price of getting him there, and all the scien
31 Post contains images TheSonntag : Maybe the question isn't "Is it really cost effective" at all. I think that the arguments pro human spaceflight are not really of economical nature,
32 Thorny : Your costs are a bit messed up here. Spirit and Opportunity, which spend most of their time charging their batteries, cost about $750 million, not in
33 Post contains links Michlis : Politics is always a fundamental in projects such as this, and my understanding is that the political atmosphere at NASA when the Space Exploration I
34 Post contains images Prebennorholm : None of us living on planet Earth today will ever witness a manned Mars flight. It is too far away. After almost 50 years of manned space flight we s
35 DfwRevolution : I'd take that bet, although I am in my twenties. I'd even wager someone my age could be a member of the crew. All the fundamental technology needed f
36 Post contains images Connies4ever : 1 - Don't be such a pessimist, and 2 - That's EXACTLY why we need nuclear propulsion for long-range missions. Using NP for a non-Hohmann transfer cou
37 Highlander0 : If I recall, it is only 62 miles from the surface of the Earth to Space (accoding to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). So fuel consumpti
38 Thorny : No it isn't. It is much farther away than the moon, but it is not a longer flight than cosmonauts already demonstrated on Mir. No, we don't. Readapta
39 Rwessel : Obviously you meant 6, not 16. That's not really a big problem. Any relays just need to be designed to operate on astronomically uninteresting freque
40 Pope : You make several excellent points. I stand corrected.
41 Post contains images Thorny : D'oh! You're right.
42 Prebennorholm : I really enjoyed reading those long posts with optimism about manned Mars flights, especially by DfwRevolution and Thorny. I really do hope that you g
43 Flighty : I think the triumph of NASA is really the Hubble Space Telescope. Nothing else really matches its contribution to science. What a great stroke of luck
44 Post contains links Thorny : VASIMIR is one interesting concept... http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/...pport/researching/aspl/vasimr.html We're not much better these days. Par
45 TheSonntag : And it had to be repaired by humans in order to work properly...
46 Prebennorholm : Sure! Very interesting. But it does not offer a gigant leap in engine efficiency. Engine efficiency which could change a Mars return flight to a hand
47 Rwessel : Two orders of magnitude increase in ISP isn't a giant leap?! What exactly are you hoping for? Even using a nuke to run a large-ish collection of ion
48 Flighty : The final Hubble servicing mission (#4) is scheduled for August or September 2008. 6 new guidance gyroscopes, re-boost to higher orbit, new battery, a
49 Thorny : They will also attach a docking apparatus so that a future unmanned spacecraft can safely de-orbit Hubble. The apparatus could also be used by a visi
50 Post contains images Prebennorholm : Dear Rwessel, we were discussing a fast manned Mars flight, a mission lasting a few months instead of years. That would enable crews "fit for fight"
51 Thorny : The other way to do it is to accept the long (9-10 months) flight with ordinary propulsion but use artificial gravity to produce 1/3 g on the trip, s
52 Post contains images TheSonntag : While the thread has drifted from the original topic, I like it very much. I have a question on the Mars mission. Will the spacecraft on the way back
53 Rwessel : But the point is that a significant increase in ISP is what will permit a fast path to Mars (or where ever) rather than a boring old minimum energy H
54 FXramper : I'd recommend checking out at the local library - Space Shuttle: The History of Developing the National Space Transportation System by Dennis Jenkins.
55 Prebennorholm : Here we have to go to the basics of space flight. All interplanetary space flight is done as some elliptical orbit around the sun. (Or hyperbolic fli
56 Post contains images TheSonntag : It does, and it reminds me of my physics teacher in Viborg at the year 2001... That has been quite some time ago My point simply is, as much as I lik
57 Flighty : OK definitely. We got pictures of freakin' Neptune in 1987. That was very very impressive. NASA can feel good about that. Still quite amazing that th
58 Prebennorholm : Is my brain fooling me when I say November 1989 ? Infancy? Maybe not. But certainly at childhood stage when the Voyagers were launched in 1977. At th
59 Thorny : August, 1989.
60 Post contains images Flighty : To me the Voyager images look dramatically better Yes I was wrong on 1987... Sorry Interesting point, very interesting. Having been talking about unm
61 Nycbjr : I just received this book from amazon ($15) thanks for the recommendation! while the shuttle might be a failure in its original mission (of cheap rel
62 DfwRevolution : Nor are we built to fly or travel across oceans, but they are activities integral to our modern society. There are so many obvious examples in life o
63 Chksix : I'm all for human exploration but it's not something that must happen asap since rushed programmes without a true goal won't lead anywhere. The Apollo
64 DfwRevolution : The Moon is a poor staging ground for anything other than doing stuff on the Moon. While the Moon has low gravity, the fact that it has gravity at al
65 Thorny : Baseline is a crew of six in most proposals. This allows three eight-hour shifts a day with two people working each shift (probably outside or remote
66 Chksix : Thorny, that's what I'm dreaming of happening in the future. It's just that the inevitable budget cuts will transform it into an "option 2" mission in
67 Nycbjr : So I've been reading the book.. and so far I'm impressed this guy did a great job.. covers allot. The thing that facinates me at the moment is that du
68 Prebennorholm : One obstacle is that LH2/LOX is not a store-able fuel. It can be used for getting on the way to Mars. For breaking to Mars orbit, landing on Mars, ta
69 Thorny : Not a problem. Storable propellant is less energetic, so you need more of it versus LOX/LH2, but it is also denser, so it can use smaller, lighter ta
70 DfwRevolution : Or you account for the predictable boil-off losses when designing the mission. Zubrin accounted for LH2 boil-off in his Mars Direct architecture and
71 Post contains images Chksix : I don't deny or wish for a small vehicle I'm just a bit pessimistic about congress and the international partner's willingness to go all the way and d
72 Thorny : That's close to the "Cycler Ship" concept advanced by Buzz Aldrin in the late '80s, early '90s. Not a Space Station in solar orbit, but a mothership
73 Cloudy : Most of the federal budget goes to entitlements(Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) and defense. The share of the budget taken by everything else (usually call
74 Post contains images TheSonntag : A very good analysis, which describes how the system works in every country. This is one of the reason why NASA needs ambitious programmes, which hav
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