ltbewr
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Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:33 pm

Fortuntally today's landing of the Space Shuttle, after the first flight of them in 2 1/2 years, was safe and successful. Despite this, there are many questioning the continuation of the program for many reasons, mostly as to the safety for the human astronauts and the costs. There are many sound and desirable reasons to send humans into space vs. unmanned spacecraft, but the costs and risks to the astronauts may not be worth it. There seems to be several basic options:
1) Make incremental improvement to the current shuttle units, and keep them operating for maybe 5 years and in the meanwhile consider replacement or new policy
2) If the improvements are too expensive, impractial, or still leave an unacceptable risk, then end the program now and replace with unmanned spacecraft.
3) Send astronauts via the Russian rockets. They seem to have a reliable system.
4) Develop a new Shuttle. Of course, this would make Boeing and all other aerospace companies drooling with anticipation for the huge contracts it could get as well as make a lot of politicans fight for the contracts for the bribes...uh campaign contributions...and to promote the 'high quality employment' from whom ever gets the contract.
No matter what, a decision has to be made soon to continue sending people into space. What do you all think?
 
TedTAce
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:37 pm

I have already suggested this thread be moved.. "Belongs in military space"
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ArmitageShanks
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:44 pm

I think it should end not because it is unsafe, but because we should move on to "bigger" and better things with regards to space exploration. aka the Moon and Mars.
 
TedTAce
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:53 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Thread starter):
the continuation of the program

I suggest you read this: New CEV/Future Vehicle Details (by DfwRevolution Jul 2 2005 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

A lot of your questions are answered in that thread.
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texdravid
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:46 pm

I think this should be the last flight of the space shuttle. Instead of taking it back to Canaveral on the modified ex-AA Nasa 741, they should take it to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum!!

There is nothing more to be learned from this spacecraft.
It has been a money pit since its inception. It has not provided any significant info/products. It has not been a particularly good supply craft or satellite launcher. It is certainly not reliable.

Let's end this charade. I'm not saying end the space program entirely. But, focus attention on other endeavors. If we are going to spend money on the U.S. space program, let us spend it wisely, not to throw it down the shuttle pit.

Ideally, the whole space thing should be shut down and the enormous savings should be used to finance universal health care, improving national security, and bulking up social security. All liberal things, I know, but at least helpful and practical.
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
searpqx
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:00 pm

If we're going to have a manned presence in space (Space Station), we have to have a vehicle capeable of getting men there and back. Until an alternative is available, we're sorta stuck with the shuttle.

I skimmed through the other thread, but didn't notice any time estimates. What are estimates to build, test and put into production a replacement?
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:02 pm

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
Ideally, the whole space thing should be shut down and the enormous savings should be used to finance universal health care, improving national security, and bulking up social security. All liberal things, I know, but at least helpful and practical.

The amount of the federal budget that NASA gets is a piss in the ocean to what's being pissed away on current do-nothing social programs, congressional pork programs, the unjustifiable amount that congressmen and the President make in salary, and that debacle in Iraq.  Yeah sure

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
It is certainly not reliable.

It's a spaceship, not an airliner.  Yeah sure Believe it or not, manned spaceflight is STILL in its infancy...why it keeps taking events like Apollo 1, Apollo 13, Challenger and Columbia to remind the public of this, I have no clue. The shuttle has at the very least provided us with valuble insights for the next generation of manned space vehicles. But to say that something whose very mission is fundamentally risky and dangerous is unreliable is clutching at straws. You want to see an American flag planted on Mars? Get ready for more Astronaut deaths...that's the price of human endeavours into the unknown.

Know this, the current STS can be likened to Concorde...ahead of its time and truly an advanced marvel. The long run of human spaceflight WILL see a return of reusable spacecraft as the only truly feasible and sensical way to venture into space.

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AirWillie6475
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:17 pm

I agree with Texdravid, this should be the last flight of the STS. What the hell are we spending billons of dollars on the space shuttle for? I think the space shuttle is out-dated and NASA should start a new program. So much has to happen in order for a craft just to land. The crew can't even come out of the shuttle after they land for 45 minutes because of all the checklist work and checks. We are a long way from those crafts in StarWars where you can just hop in and go planet hopping.
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:32 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 7):
I think the space shuttle is out-dated and NASA should start a new program.

Out-dated is interesting. Just what manned spacecraft program out there today makes the OV's out-dated? None.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 7):
much has to happen in order for a craft just to land.

That has always been the case...spacecraft need TPS if they're going to venture beyond sub-orbital flights...and that will not change. Reentry isn't like dropping the gear, lowering the flaps, greasin' it, and leavin' for the bar soon after. It'll never be like that. The Physics of reentry say so.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 7):
The crew can't even come out of the shuttle after they land for 45 minutes because of all the checklist work and checks.

And? Mercury, Apollo, Gemeni all landed in the ocean and needed to be picked up by an aircraft carrier. Long and cumbersome, I must say. At least when finally stepping off the orbiter the crew is on dry land.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 7):
We are a long way from those crafts in StarWars where you can just hop in and go planet hopping.

No kidding. And such will remain the case till around the end of our grandchildren's lifetimes. Hate to ruin Star Wars for ya, but space craft will never make noise in space like say those TIE fighters either. Sound needs a medium to be transmitted. A vacuum has no medium.

A new CEV is a must to continue NASA's mission. Sure enough we cannot hang onto the shuttle forever, and it does have its flaws. But the shuttle bashing is getting old.

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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:33 pm

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
Ideally, the whole space thing should be shut down and the enormous savings should be used to finance universal health care, improving national security, and bulking up social security.

Enormous savings? Try less than 1% of the Federal budget. And I've got a sneaking suspicion that that less than 1% would go to the DoD.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
Banco
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:36 pm

I can't believe the space shuttles are now at least 20 years old. It's incredible when they talk about them being a bit elderly now. I can still remember the brave new world of re-usable spacecraft that day Columbia went up for the first time. It's a bit sad.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Twistedwhisper
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:49 pm

Every now and then it seems to me that science and development take a few steps back.

Example 1.
July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon. A handful of people do this after him, but none has set foot on the moon since December 11, 1972.
33 years later we are actually talking about deserting the space shuttle program? I know it does not mean that we will never return to the monn, but come on, we're not making any progress in this matter...

Example 2.
October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager was the first man to fly supersonic.
On October 1, 1969, Concorde first flew supersonic. Some 30 years later, when concorde went out of service, there's still no aircraft to really replace it...

I think it's sad...
Read between the lines.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:14 pm

It seems to me that everyone jumps the bandwagon right now just to say the shuttle is old, which is true but only to certain extent.
AFAIK, the Challenger disaster was a result of gross negligence on the part of NASA, but the Columbia disaster and the trouble with the Discovery mission were caused by a phenomena which has been happening ever since the first flight and is caused not by age of the shuttle but by negative side-effect of the its design and it seems to me natural that the lower part of the shuttle is vulnerable to impact by pieces of debris when huge structures such as the booster rockets and the fuel tank.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
It has been a money pit since its inception. It has not provided any significant info/products. It has not been a particularly good supply craft or satellite launcher. It is certainly not reliable.

That's just nonsense.
Has it not provided any significant info? It's the FIRST reusable spaceship, which allows if needed to bring back satellites from the orbit.
Not a good supply craft or satellite launcher. I don't know what the expectations were, but since both Mir and the ISS were supplied by personnel and supplies using the shuttle I think it proved itself to be a capable of such missions
Of course, that a dedicated "cargo" spaceship will be able to carry more payload, but it is lacking the versatility of the shuttle.
Not reliable? As someone said, space flight is not an airliner flight from London to Paris and most likely it will never be - and even airliners suffer from malfunctions and defects the only difference is it usually does not make headlines.
 
777236ER
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:24 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 6):
Know this, the current STS can be likened to Concorde...ahead of its time and truly an advanced marvel.

Bullshit. The Saturn V was ahead of its time, and truly an engineering marvel. The Shuttle is a compromise too far. Can anyone actually envisage an RTLS abort actually working? Two out of five shuttles have crashed. No Saturn Vs have crashed. 14 people have died thanks to the Shuttle. Three people died on a Saturn V...due to something completely unrelated to the vehicle itself.

Serious work should start on a Shuttle replacement. This time they should actually fund it correctly. Look at all the money NASA has spent on the Shuttle post-Challenger and post-Columbia, and look at all the money they spend on every single launch. If they'd spent that money in the first place, then they'd have a reliable, cheaper vehicle that wouldn't have killed 14 people.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
cfalk
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:52 pm

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
Three people died on a Saturn V...due to something completely unrelated to the vehicle itself.

Nobody ever died on a Saturn V. Apollo I was fitted on top a much smaller one, a Saturn 1B.

I would remind everyone that man's future lies beyond the Earth's atmosphere. Don't kill NASA, but start working of the STS's successor. The STS's basic design specifications dates to the late 60's, early 70's. It's like an airline still operating DC-8s.

Charles
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
OV735
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:00 pm

While it would be possible to continue the program with three shuttles left, I really can't see why there is a need to haul a hundred-and-ten ton piece of sophisticated and (as experience shows) fragile equipment up there just to get two or three persons to the ISS and back.

I think the future belongs to the likes of SpaceShipOne. And until these come available, the Soyuz, which is a lot simpler and more reliable design, can be used.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:16 pm

ESA has already spent 3 billion Euro on the Columbus Laboratory, a science module for the ISS. Columbus has a ten years lifespan and was scheduled to be launched this year. Since NASA had halted the Shuttle program, Columbus is now already two years late. Japan develops another laboratory for the ISS.

If NASA refuses to stick to international contracts, they would certainly receive (not so) nice letters from their European and Japanese colleagues.
I support the right to arm bears
 
777236ER
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:32 pm

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 14):
Nobody ever died on a Saturn V. Apollo I was fitted on top a much smaller one, a Saturn 1B.

Well there you go.

If NASA don't get thinking about what they're doing, the Chinese and the private sector will become the dominant force in space.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:29 pm

Obviously, at least for Bush, it is more glamourous to be the person who initiated a new national program to get to the moon and Mars, than to finish an international project, like the ISS.
It has been said that the ISS has shown very little profit so far, but the big problem is that the ISS got stuck through the shuttle problems. The crew on board is essentially just a caretaker crew, to keep the ISS going. The real scientific modules, where the work is supposed to be done in, are still standing mothballed in Germany and Japan, because the shuttle is not available to transport them to the ISS.
The modules the ISS consists of now are basically just the crew living quarters and the control mudule for the station's basic systems.

The shuttle is needed until all existing modules for the ISS are in space.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:43 am

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
There is nothing more to be learned from this spacecraft.

Oh? If they had all the answers, it would be the perfect spacecraft and no other types of vehicles would be needed.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
It has been a money pit since its inception.

It's a government program. The two are synonomous with each other. Nuff said.

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 6):
Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
It is certainly not reliable.

It's a spaceship, not an airliner.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
I'm not saying end the space program entirely. But, focus attention on other endeavors. If we are going to spend money on the U.S. space program, let us spend it wisely

Gotta agree with you somewhat here. Spend the money on expanding and improving the ISS. There have been countless benefits to humans from studies/experiments that have been conducted in the weightlessness of space. I see no benefit whatsoever to us by going to the Moon or Mars other than to say we did it.


Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 8):
A new CEV is a must to continue NASA's mission. Sure enough we cannot hang onto the shuttle forever, and it does have its flaws.

Agreed. The new CEV program should absolutely happen. I also believe that the Shuttle should remain an option as a suppliment to the new CEV program for any "specialized missions" that would not be possible with any CEV vehicles. I.E. bringing back a space component for repairs/modifications.

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 8):
But the shuttle bashing is getting old.

Absolutely. Dispite it's age, it is still probably the most advanced machine ever built by man to date. The thing is simply awesome.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
Boeing4ever
Posts: 4479
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:50 pm

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
Bullshit. The Saturn V was ahead of its time, and truly an engineering marvel. The Shuttle is a compromise too far. Can anyone actually envisage an RTLS abort actually working? Two out of five shuttles have crashed. No Saturn Vs have crashed. 14 people have died thanks to the Shuttle. Three people died on a Saturn V...due to something completely unrelated to the vehicle itself.

The Saturn V is 60's tech. And expensive...NASA doesn't have the huge budget it had during the Space Race. And to insist that these vehicles were safe is idiocy. Spaceflight is risky chief. The reason we haven't seen losses on Apollo spacecraft like we have seen on the STS is...

1)The number of missions flown by Apollo is shit compared to the 114 flights now done by STS.
2)Three or fourteen doesn't matter. The shuttle carries 7 for a crew...compared to Apollo and Gemeni, the shuttle is the freakin' 747 of space right now. If a 747 blows up by bomb and 450 people are killed while two 737s go down to rudder failure killing 200, is the 747 considered less safe?

Three people did die on a Saturn IB, burned in an Apollo Command Module Oxygen rich atmosphere after an electrical spark IIRC. It's tragic, but again, the price of human endeavour.

Finally, has anyone even seen the Apollo launch tower abort system work? Nope. We never will. We've seen three astronauts cooked by Apollo 1 and nearly had another three die from suffocation. Remember Apollo 13? Apollo 12 was struck by lightning during liftoff.

A spacecraft that can launch, land, and launch again is far more advanced than the throw away capsules of Apollo. In the long run, reusable spacecraft such as the shuttle will be the standard.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
Serious work should start on a Shuttle replacement. This time they should actually fund it correctly. Look at all the money NASA has spent on the Shuttle post-Challenger and post-Columbia, and look at all the money they spend on every single launch. If they'd spent that money in the first place, then they'd have a reliable, cheaper vehicle that wouldn't have killed 14 people.

On the first point I agree...work on the Shuttle replacement should begin now to ensure a quicker transition. The rest is pure bullshit. You act as if we should have everything nailed down, and that accidents can never happen. Spaceflight isn't like driving to the store for milk. Never will be. And cheap? Please. It's more difficult to progress with spacecraft development than with aircraft development. Space is a whole different animal, and you're dangerously naive. In order to achieve the "reliable", "cheap" vehicle we're going to have to pay some sort of a price. In an environment such as space...human lives unfortunately are a part of that price.

Get a degree if Aerospace Engineering 777236ER...then I'll take you more seriously. Right now, you're an armchair Gene Kranz...

 airplane B4e-Forever New Frontiers airplane 
 
texdravid
Posts: 1394
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Thu Aug 11, 2005 3:47 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 6):
The amount of the federal budget that NASA gets is a piss in the ocean to what's being pissed away on current do-nothing social programs, congressional pork programs, the unjustifiable amount that congressmen and the President make in salary, and that debacle in Iraq.

Hey, I agree that there are plenty of pork projects that should be axed. Let's start with the Space Shuttle. Government employees like Senators, Presidents, etc making too much money? Alright, let's cut that. Too much money on defense? Probably. Look, the point is that there is soooo much pork around, let's just start cutting and cutting... BTW, Universal health care is NOT pork!!

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 12):
Not reliable? As someone said, space flight is not an airliner flight from London to Paris and most likely it will never be - and even airliners suffer from malfunctions and defects the only difference is it usually does not make headlines.

Yes, and until space flight is as routine, simple and safe as a flight from LAX-JFK, then space exploration will always be in doubt. Why settle for unsafe, unreliable machines? Why, just so more astronauts can die?

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
Bullshit. The Saturn V was ahead of its time, and truly an engineering marvel. The Shuttle is a compromise too far.

You got that right. The Saturn V was, and still is an engineering marvel. Strong, powerful and very reliable. The space shuttle on the drawing board was supposed to be much better than the spacecraft we actually had. Budget cutbacks and shortcuts were severely used in the early 70's to prevent the whole program from being shut down, a la the Boeing SST concept. Thus, right from the get go the shuttle was a inferior, compromise ship. Let's call a spade a spade.
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
Citation X
Posts: 46
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:29 pm

Me things that the space shuttle is a wonderful spacecraft with lots of capabilities and abilities. The future should by right belong to the shuttle and not the likes of cev. But, before that can happen, do bring down the cost of operating it dramaticaly, up the simplicity, reliability and safety. Now that would be the true sts. Thank you.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:43 pm

After having read both the reports about the Challenger accident and the Columbia accident, I think NASA's main problem is not the Shuttle technology, engineers can get this fixed if given free reign.
The problem seems to lie in NASA's political culture, where the paperpusher repetely overrode worries and decicions made by the technicians to look good in PR. As Prof. Feynman stated in his report to the Challenger commitee, engineers at both NASA and the booster's manufacturer knew that there were problems with the seals, but their recommendations were ignored by those further up, who wanted to show the appearance of having everything under control and to stick to a launch schedule on paper. The manufacturer, because he didn't want to get fined for not delivering as agreed and the NASA bosses took avoidable risks to please their bosses in the White House.
Both accidents could have been avoided.

Now the management is pushing the responsibility to the engineers and technicians.
It is just a big "pass the buck" game.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ltbewr
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:21 am

Thank you all for your comments. What I am really suggesting is that we need a serious debate on the Space Shuttle program and it's future. There are many factors that need to be considered from the operations of NASA to the technology to be used, and so on as noted in the above posts, but in the end most of us still want a human presence in space as can observe and work far better and faster than machines in many parts of science. It's too bad in the USA that good science is being crippled by the 'holy rollers' ('intellegent design', against stem cell research for examples). Let the debate continue and hopefully a sound and better answer can be found.
 
GDB
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:02 am

Run Shuttle until ISS is completed to an acceptable standard.
Push hard on CEV and an unmanned heavy lifter, (which NASA seem to be at least trying to do).

CEV missions should be, ISS ops (basically a much better Soyuz), including unmanned 'cargo' flights (a much better Progress vehicle), ops to the Moon (starting with orbit, then being the ascent to orbit, return to Earth component of Lunar missions), eventually a CEV version could also be the Mars crew's transfer to Earth orbit, then return to Earth at the end of the mission.
CEV would in effect be an 'Apollo CSM-NG'.

Heavylift vehicle (from Shuttle components like modified ET, SRB's, along with post Shuttle, but proven RS-68 engines).
Missions would include new ISS modules (for a role in supporting Lunar, later Mars missions perhaps), Lunar missions, Mars missions.

NASA has sorely lacked a dedicated Heavy Lifter, had the proposed Shuttle C been built, ISS construction would have been cheaper, quicker and safer.
Not to mention Lunar missions being possible well before now.

If you really think ending NASA/manned spaceflight would have improve your life or people in the 3rd world, you are deluded, Nixon slashed NASA to the bone after 1970 after all, the world and it's problems still carried on.

Give NASA the mission, give them the funding (and you won't need a huge hike, Apollo built most of the infrastructure after all.)
If the US don't, China will, maybe India in time as well.
 
DiscoPete
Posts: 8
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:00 am

IMHO

I would agree that the STS is obsolete technology and should be retired as soon as possible. Some funding should be devoted to next generation expendable boosters for the heavy lift missions. However the real need is for a totally reusable manned system. Like others have mentioned the aerospace establishment is likely to dither and spend vast sums with less than spectacular results, so the project should go to a consortium of new players like Scaled Composites who built the recent Ansari Prize winning Spaceship one and the people at JPL who built the amazingly successful mars rovers.
A space semi truck is not necessary as a space pickup truck will do fine for STS support.
I don't support a return to the moon unless significant scientific results can be obtained and the only project that I can think of that might qualify is a radio telescope on the far side. Mars is just a flag planting exercise as the science can be done robotically there far more efficiently and cost effectively.
However I would support a space tug that could home base at the ISS and be able to operate anywhere from Low earth orbit to lunar orbit and could provide service and retrieval missions to satellites Clarke orbit.
The mars and other missions to the outer planets should wait until the technology matures enough to make manned space flight safer and more cost effective.
 
jrw261
Posts: 35
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 7:21 am

I personally think Bush's agenda when that comment was made was to get the public excited again about the space program and to hopefully point some funds NASA's way. As to actually going to mars, thats a big step considering they havn't exactly been able to land Unmanned vehicles too well lately... even though they should have.

As for axing the shuttle program right now just because its difficult and costs money.. I think thats dumb. Let the shuttle run until its replacement is built... but at the same time.. Lets build the darn thing and not dream about it.

As for the comments about space flight being too dangerous for humans. Then when someone asks you to be an astronaut, say no. I'll say yes, and so would thousands of other people. Its not like they are forceing people in to these things..

As for the shuttle being a complete waste. I think you couldn't be more wrong. The bird was designed to be a heavy lift vehicle doing what no other could at the time. Yeah, looking back its easy to say why didn't they do this or that. But no one knew what our technological capabilities would be at this time, especially in the unmanned arena. Just look at how long it takes to develope a fighter jet and its pretty obvious that onces it enters service, its obsolete on paper.

I also dont see the private sector getting too far into manned space flights. Yeah sure, it looks all hunky doory when they are successful but the minute something bad happens the media is going to try and bury that company or program. Thats basically why this conversation is happening right now.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:00 am

>> As to actually going to mars, thats a big step

It really isn't. The technology exist today, you heard me today, to send a modest crew to Mars and stay longer than a "flag and footprints" mission. In many ways, it would be less complicated than the ISS we intend to complete.

>> thats a big step considering they havn't exactly been able to land Unmanned vehicles too well lately... even though they should have.

Huh? The two MER rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed safely on Mars in January 2004 and have opperated to this date. January 2004 was our last window to land payloads on Mars, so what failures of late are you referring to?

>> Lets build the darn thing and not dream about it.

Final bids have already been accepted and we intend to select a contractor in the next 6 months. To my knowledge, there have been no leaks as to one bid being prefered more than the other. There are also some indication that the first manned flight of the CEV may be moved-up from 2014-2015 to 2010-2011.

Personally, I'm a fan of the Boeing design. The lifting-body configuration of the Lockheed design just seems like dead weight for beyond-LEO flights.

>> However the real need is for a totally reusable manned system.

I would strongly disagree. One of the crippling features of the Shuttle is that it is reusable. Building a vehicle to be totally reusable adds complexity, weight, and inhibits your ability to upgrade.

NASA is taking the route of partial reusability for the CEV. The launcher will be thrown away (at least for now) and the vehicle will be reused several times, approx. 5 flights. This saves the cost of a new capsul every single flight, but allows NASA to take advantage of a production line.

Now, if you need a new capability, you can add it to the next unit coming down the line rather than stripping down and rebuilding an existing ship.

>> Mars is just a flag planting exercise as the science can be done robotically there far more efficiently and cost effectively.

Studies done indepedantly of NASA show that a human being on the surface of Mars can accomplish over 8 times the productivity per hour than any robotic technology expected to be developed near-term. Apollo 15 was a perfect example, James Irwin noticed out of the corner of his eye a rare mineral. A robot wouldn't have had that instinct.

This is especially true with the delay in direct communications between Earth and Mars. Putting a crew on Mars would allow instantaneous control of rovers on other parts of the planet (telerobotics) in addition to the areas available for them to explorer in person. This would expand the reach of the crew and put eyes on the surface.

Besides, when are we going to wait to get off this planet? We can do it today, we can do it cost effectivly today, so it's as good as time as any.
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:08 pm

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 21):
Hey, I agree that there are plenty of pork projects that should be axed. Let's start with the Space Shuttle.

Let's start with your pet's war in Iraq...that'll save us ten times as much as eliminating a program intent on peaceful purposes...

Let's see, end the pointless war in Iraq, save a shitload, or mothball the shuttle and save only pennies in comparison...yeah that choice is real hard.  Yeah sure

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 21):
You got that right. The Saturn V was, and still is an engineering marvel. Strong, powerful and very reliable. The space shuttle on the drawing board was supposed to be much better than the spacecraft we actually had. Budget cutbacks and shortcuts were severely used in the early 70's to prevent the whole program from being shut down, a la the Boeing SST concept. Thus, right from the get go the shuttle was a inferior, compromise ship. Let's call a spade a spade.

Reliable? Strong? Powerful perhaps, but it has one use, get us to the moon and back. Had we not done the shuttle and stuck with Apollo I can say with certainty we would have lost around 12 astronauts by now due to various accidents and you'd be in here shouting for that 60's relic to be mothballed. And crying that NASA's lost its way on top of that. Call a spade a spade, Saturn V is a 60's relic. Anybody with a little cash can build a disposable rocket. Making a spacecraft that can be used again is a different feat. The shuttle is more capable than Apollo ever was and could ever hope to be.

With its flaws yes...but as I've told you again and again, manned spaceflight is still in its infancy. It's a spaceship, not an airliner.

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GDB
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:39 am

To be fair, Saturn V also launched Skylab, could of/should of, launched a successor, (part of which is in the Smithsonian in Washington).

But there was a push, (not least by the USAF), to get back into the 'spaceplane' game, after the stalled X-20.
By a compromised, roundabout route, we got to the Shuttle.

NASA are not planning a flags and footprints Mars mission, they've adapted Robert Zubrin's 18 month surface stay Mars Direct plan, since 1992.
Yep, the NASA who never listen to outsiders, the NASA who always go for the most expensive, most complex option, which Mars Direct is certainly not.
Funny how real life collides with lazy, usually ignorant, media soundbites that worm their way into the wider public's consciousness.
Like the 'Teflon' Apollo spinoff BS.

I would like to see the simplest CEV option, trying to create a mini-Shuttle at the same time will be another compromise.

As for the private sector, look, the Rutan/X-Prize thing was important, was significant, but for space exploration?
It effectively repeated Alan Shepard's suborbital Mercury flight in May 1961, nothing more.
There is a long, long way to go before such schemes, whatever their merit otherwise, can be rivals to NASA in space exploration, or even servicing ISS.
 
Thorny
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 13, 2005 8:47 am

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 21):

You got that right. The Saturn V was, and still is an engineering marvel. Strong, powerful and very reliable.

And very, very lucky. Saturn V only flew 13 times, and in those 13 flights had one near-disaster (Apollo 6) one very close call (Apollo 13), and a bunch of smaller problems any one of which could have caused disaster. The unmanned Apollo 6 got into orbit, but just barely and facing the wrong way when it did so! It had parts of the Spacecraft/Launch Vehicle Adapter (which covered the Lunar Module at launch) fall off. It had one engine fail in the second stage, but the engines were miswired so the computers shut down a perfectly good engine by mistake (luckily, the failing engine shut itself down in an orderly manner and didn't blow apart.) With two engines out in Stage 2, the guidance system for the rest of the ascent fought an internal war in which part of it thought it was going too fast (because the remaining three engines fired alot longer than they were expected to) while another part thought it was too low (because gaining altitude was taking alot longer) and it ended up reaching orbit while desperately trying not to. And then the third stage refused to fire up again when it was supposed to later on. By any measure, that Apollo 6 got into orbit at all was a miracle. Apollo 13 came seconds away from blowing itself apart in Stage 2 (long before the famous oxygen tank explosion in the SM) due to the pogo effect. It had one engine shut down for other reasons, which fortunately eased the pogo effect and prevented catastrophe. SkyLab made it into orbit even though the huge interstage ring between the first and second stages failed to separate. SkyLab was relatively light and only going into Earth orbit. Had this happened to the previous launch (Apollo 17, right at Saturn V's performance margins) the mission would have been forced to abort.

In many ways, Saturn V got by on brute force, not finesse. NASA knew about these problems (a result of the very short development timetable and not enough testing) and sweated every launch (that's why there was an internal debate about flying the last two Apollos, instead of universal desire to fly them) and planned to remedy a lot of them in the Saturn VB, but that was abandoned after Apollo 11.

Anyway, 13 flights is not enough to warrant a claim to reliability. Shuttle was also perfectly safe and reliable after its 13th flight. Even after the 24th flight. The 25th flight, however... a really bad day.
 
Thorny
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 13, 2005 9:09 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 28):
It really isn't. The technology exist today, you heard me today, to send a modest crew to Mars and stay longer than a "flag and footprints" mission. In many ways, it would be less complicated than the ISS we intend to complete.

Well, not quite... but close. Life support and spacesuits are two of the most notable deficiencies. Russia's experience with its regenerative life support system is so far not all that promising (last I heard, the one on ISS is still broken.) Making spacesuits that are reliable long-term in dusty environments (moon and Mars) is a major challenge.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 28):
Huh? The two MER rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed safely on Mars in January 2004 and have opperated to this date. January 2004 was our last window to land payloads on Mars, so what failures of late are you referring to?

Evidently, he's talking about NASA's Mars Polar Lander (1999). Since then, NEAR-Shoemaker (asteroid Eros), Spirit and Opportunity (Mars), and Huygens (Titan) have all set down on other worlds. However, Britain's mother-of-all-shoestring-budgets Beagle 2 vanished without a trace while trying to land on Mars in late 2003.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 28):
NASA is taking the route of partial reusability for the CEV. The launcher will be thrown away (at least for now) and the vehicle will be reused several times, approx. 5 flights. This saves the cost of a new capsul every single flight, but allows NASA to take advantage of a production line.

Evidently, Boeing and Lockheed have both determined that the sweet spot is around 10 flights per CEV. There has already been one space capsule launched twice (Gemini 2).

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 28):

Studies done indepedantly of NASA show that a human being on the surface of Mars can accomplish over 8 times the productivity per hour than any robotic technology expected to be developed near-term.

Absolutely. It is amazing how over-estimated robotic technology is today. Simple, repetative tasks are right up robots' alleys. Even remote operation has it advatanges. But serious, advanced field work is going to require humans on the ground for the foreseeable future. One look at Opportunity, which spent a month stuck in a sand dune that a human would have avoided with a simple glance is all the proof of that we need.
 
SATL382G
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 13, 2005 10:51 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
SkyLab made it into orbit even though the huge interstage ring between the first and second stages failed to separate. SkyLab was relatively light and only going into Earth orbit. Had this happened to the previous launch (Apollo 17, right at Saturn V's performance margins) the mission would have been forced to abort.

Analysis indicated that this failure was due to damage from Skylab Micrometeoroid shield debris. Since Apollo 17 did not carry a Skylab this failure mode would not have been applicable.

I agree though -- Apollo Saturn would have had a bad day eventually
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:43 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Anyway, 13 flights is not enough to warrant a claim to reliability. Shuttle was also perfectly safe and reliable after its 13th flight. Even after the 24th flight. The 25th flight, however... a really bad day.

It's nice to know someone gets it. Kudos to you. Seriously. And I didn't even know about Apollo 6. You learn something new everyday. Thank you.

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texdravid
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:34 am

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 29):
Let's start with your pet's war in Iraq...that'll save us ten times as much as eliminating a program intent on peaceful purposes...

Let's see, end the pointless war in Iraq, save a shitload, or mothball the shuttle and save only pennies in comparison...yeah that choice is real hard.

Why do you have to ruin your argument with your self-serving political statements? Your points were made, then just sit back and have others make theirs. No need to personally attack either me or Bush. But then again, maybe that's just too easy for you.

I never once talked about putting more money in Iraq while pinching NASA. Not once. So for you to juxtapose Iraq into a discussion about NASA is completely out of line.

What I said is that I'm for saving money from a whole host of government programs and high politician incomes and other sources. Everything should be on the table, including military spending AND NASA.
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:54 am

>> Well, not quite... but close. Life support and spacesuits are two of the most notable deficiencies.

True, but these two problems are somewhat exaggerated though.

The ISS and Mir have demonstrated systems that can opperate without failure over durations long enough to support a Mars mission. The ISS has even been recycling water with enough efficency to support a crew of about 3-4 on a long-duration Mars mission. The problem being, NASA does not want to send a crew of 3-4, they would prefer a larger (and more complicated) crew of 6-8.

In regards to space suits, it's case of NASA wanting too much when a simple solution will suffice. The biggest problem with suits is (1) mobility and (2) keeping parts clean of dust. At the pressure NASA wants the suits to hold, the only solution to make mobile suits require joints that are easy to clog with dust. If NASA would accept a lower-pressure suit and a non-rebreathing configuration (in which exhaled breath would simply be vented to Mars, sort of like SCUBA gear) then the complexity of the suits could be greatly reduced.
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:18 am

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 35):
Why do you have to ruin your argument with your self-serving political statements? Your points were made, then just sit back and have others make theirs. No need to personally attack either me or Bush. But then again, maybe that's just too easy for you.



Quoting Texdravid (Reply 35):
I never once talked about putting more money in Iraq while pinching NASA. Not once. So for you to juxtapose Iraq into a discussion about NASA is completely out of line.

What I said is that I'm for saving money from a whole host of government programs and high politician incomes and other sources. Everything should be on the table, including military spending AND NASA.

You said the shuttle wastes money. I merely pointed out that the shuttle is money better spent than say that which is spent on Iraq.

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texdravid
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:35 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 37):
You said the shuttle wastes money. I merely pointed out that the shuttle is money better spent than say that which is spent on Iraq.

Again, I kept the discussion on topic...the shuttle and the space program.
No need to bring a political hot potato like Iraq into it.
IMHO, I believe that neither is worth spending on, OK?  Wink
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:09 pm

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 38):
Again, I kept the discussion on topic...the shuttle and the space program.
No need to bring a political hot potato like Iraq into it.
IMHO, I believe that neither is worth spending on, OK?

And on topic it stayed. I pointed out that the shuttle is far more reliable than some care to realize, and adding to that, while the orbiters can't make it to Mars, their intended use was the build space stations. Those and other such long standing space platforms will be necessary for a trip to Mars.

Safety and reliability-wise, comments on that matter seem to fail to take into account that the shuttle doesn't do what a typical airplane does. And the reason why it's 14 astronauts dead (number wise as some claim this number qualifies it as a death trap...see my 747 analogy as mentioned to 777236ER) doesn't have to do with the accidents (Challenger and Columbia) is that no other launch vehicle carries such a large crew. 114 flights and only two losses vs. Saturn V's flights not even ranging above 25 (Challenger disaster being the 25th flight)...no sense in comparing to two.

But when it comes to something that's federally funded, you can expect a bunch of political hot potatoes to get chucked around.

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Alessandro
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:03 am

Thorny, thank´s for the comparision between the space-shuttle and the Apollo-project, people tend to forget how complicated it´s to fly into space...
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
Thorny
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:23 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 36):
The ISS and Mir have demonstrated systems that can opperate without failure over durations long enough to support a Mars mission.

No, they haven't and that's exactly the problem. Mir used those oxygen candles extensively when Elektron failed (which was often.) The fire aboard Mir in 1997 was due to an oxygen candle malfunction. Almost as bad, when Elektron failed on ISS recently, forcing the crew to start using oxygen candles again, they found that somewhere around 30% of them were duds. This is not a situation you want to have when you're halfway to Mars or only halfway back. Mir and ISS got by with frequent resupply by Progress and Shuttle to bring up replacement parts or more O2 Candles. That's a luxury Moon/Mars won't have, and this will have to be addressed. (I believe that is exactly why the US hasn't backed out of ISS entirely. We'll need it as a proving ground for Moon/Mars technology... especially life support.)

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 36):
If NASA would accept a lower-pressure suit and a non-rebreathing configuration (in which exhaled breath would simply be vented to Mars, sort of like SCUBA gear) then the complexity of the suits could be greatly reduced.

Of course, suits like that which can work in hard vacuum (the Moon) and temperature variations from +250F to -250F would have to be invented first. The US doesn't have them. Russia doesn't have them. And China is planning to use the Russian model for Shenzou spacewalks. Hence my pointing out that we don't have everything we need today.

And the dust problem is almost certainly going to be a challenge no matter what the pressure. The last Apollo flights starting pushing the limits of the suits, and they were identified as a major obstacle to longer-duration lunar exploration then. Nothing has changed since.

Quoting Alessandro (Reply 40):
Thorny, thank's for the comparision between the space-shuttle and the Apollo-project, people tend to forget how complicated it's to fly into space...

No problem. Apollo was a spectacular achievement, but folks today tend to forget that it had huge teething problems, many of which were solved simply by throwing tons of money at them (the mantra at the time was "waste anything but time".) We don't have that luxury today.
 
bmacleod
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RE: Should The Space Shuttle Program End Soon?

Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:15 am

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
enormous savings should be used to finance universal health care

Universal health care right now is a mess here in Canada. Long surgical waiting lists, inadequate number of beds, hospitals closing down, the government saying they can't give out any more...

On the other hand the few private-run clinics here can book you for an appointment within a week or two. More are opening up as option for those willing to pay and fed up with being on waiting lists for 6 months or so.

Can universal health care work? If it's organized and managed properly yes.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
Ideally, the whole space thing should be shut down

Sorry to disagree, but the knowledge we've learned from the past 40 years in space exploration is too critical for our future to be just put aside.
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