Sounds like a promising concept and new direction for the agency but it could easily get whittled away to nothing in the usual congressional budget shenanigans. Well, I'll cross my fingers for it anyway. I still think it may be a mistake to completely retire the shuttle, which could be flown autonomously without a crew and used as a logistical support vehicle to ferry sections of a manned lunar or Mars transit vehicle into orbit for assembly, mitigating the need for many expendable ocket launches to complete the same task. Stripped of all of its' crew furnishings and life support, the shuttle could haul even more poundage to orbit than currently. If a shuttle was damaged in a Columbia style accident, it could be deorbited safely.
AvObserver From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 2481 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (12 years 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1497 times:
The problem with reintroducing the Saturn V is that it's old technology and it would cost too much just to restablish production, let alone updating it. The shuttle-based heavy-lifter would use components still IN production and updates could be done as running changes with the existing design. Too bad, though that Russia's massive Energia booster is no longer made; that was even more powerful than the Saturn V; buying some of those would help fill the bill, if they were still around.