Skip to comments.We need more giant leaps for mankind
Posted on 07/25/2005 7:10:57 PM PDT by KevinDavis
How significant is NASA's delay of the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery?
Certainly NASA can be expected to be especially cautious when trying to return to flight for the first time since Columbia and its intrepid crew were lost during re-entry in February 2003. This tragedy came 17 years after Challenger suffered a similarly televised demise with the violent loss of another seven crew members.
But no amount of engineering caution can make space flight perfectly safe. The speeds and heating rates are extreme, and the technology is unavoidably pushed close to its limits. Every human flight carries a potentially deadly risk. Thus, every human space flight must pursue mission objectives worth dying for.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
I appreciate your threads. Thanks again.
I wish I were waking at midnight and suiting up!
I think one of mankind's greatest, under-reported space leaps was just a few months ago. Back when Burt Rutan and Co. captured the X-Prize. His genius designs got his ship up into the "wild black yonder" with a proportionally small budget and no heat tiles for the return. Was a stunning thing to behold.
Anyone know if we have plans to build a non-atari powered shuttle in the near future? I know of the mission to the moon/mars and a space worthy C130 is certainly in order if we are to populate the moon.
I think what they did was great for an exclusive private venture, but what they did would have been impossible had NASA not paved the way through its innovations over the past 40 years.
In short, Rutan went to incredible heights...but only because he stood on the shoulders of giants.
Hear, hear. If NASA was serious at all it would put Rutan in charge of its spacecraft program.
That's a great shot of Columbia at liftoff. Columbia was the only orbiter that had the photo pod on the tail fin.
Good luck and Godspeed to the crew of STS-114 Discovery.
Bah. Rutan has only recently done what NASA did 40+ years ago with 1960s technology.
Let me know when Rutan gets a man on the moon and returns him safely to the Earth. Then we'll have something worth talking about.
Yeah, but what did Rutan spend vs. what NASA spent?
So you're telling me the latecomers who follow what the inventors and developers did are on par with those who actually did it first?
So, in your book, anyone who understands the theory of Relativity is as much a genius as the man who first conceived the idea?
As I've said before: Rutan only went as high as he has because he stood on the shoulders of giants. If NASA hadn't paved the way, he wouldn't have been able to skateboard on it.
It appears there will be two derivative vehicles based on Space Shuttle tech to a degree, but both would be far more robust than the Space Shuttle. One would be man-rated and would carry crew to and from orbit and also to the moon and return. The other would be an unmanned freighter with a large throw weight.
It can also be said that NASA stood on the shoulders of giants. The big deal with Rutan is speed, efficiency, innovation, and enthusiasm.
Which giants? Name them.
The big deal with Rutan is speed, efficiency, innovation, and enthusiasm.
Yeah...and going from earthbound to landing on the moon in eight short years is the work of slackers. Sure...
Let's talk about what they are doing now. NASA spends its time flying a 35-year-old spacecraft that probably costs as much just to launch as it would take Rutan to build one of similar capability from scratch.
If NASA intends to be the world's elite space program, it needs as many Rutans as it can find. Another shuttle launch doesn't give much confidence that they're on the right track.
I didn't say NASA didn't have a great accomplishment with the Apollo program. It did. It also had a blank check and all the resources of the country. As I stated in my post, Rutan's achievement was done in a different way.
Yes, Goddard's work was original and inspiring and it was by Goddard's white papers that Wernher von Braun based his work. This is openly acknowledged by...gee...naming a NASA center after Goddard (GSFC).
But it was von Braun's genius that made the Saturn V possible. This was above and beyond Goddard's work and the suborbital nature of ICBMs.
Rutan's achievement was done in a different way.
I don't discount Rutan's achievement...but claiming he should be heading up the space agency because he was able to reach an altitude of 377,000 feet is nonsense.
"...put Rutan in charge of its spacecraft program."
I'd like to see what that fellow could do with a larger checkbook. :)
"Let me know when Rutan gets a man on the moon and returns him safely to the Earth. Then we'll have something worth talking about."
First, let me say that I've always stood in awe with what NASA has pulled off. The achievements boogle the mind if you get into the nuts and bolts. I was trying to focus some attention where it was lacking. Toward Rutan. Sure NASA has sent all kind of manned craft up and back again. Most, if not all, has had to have heat tile to survive reentry. Rutan's brilliant design got a three man payload up and back without the big burn in. His feathering mechanism not only kept the reentry temps down, it made the return self righting. At that point the pilot doesn't even have to touch the controls. Just that little detail is a pure, beautiful (and cost effective) thing. NASA has it's giants, but I'd put Rutan up against any one of them.
"The big deal with Rutan is speed, efficiency, innovation, and enthusiasm."
Amen to that.
Burt Rutan was able to use the data from the billions of dollars spend by the NACA, NASA, USAF, and private contractors over more than 50 years to achieve what he did. I am certainly not dissing Rutan. NASA cheered him on like everyone else did. However a suborbital up and down is not the same as achieving orbit with a payload capability that the Shuttle has.
myheroesareDeadandRegistered - "and no heat tiles for the return."
The Delta-V required for orbit is quite different for a suborbital up and down. Rutan's ship was not designed to withstand an atmospheric entry from orbit.
No it's not, but I don't recall anyone downplaying Alan Shepard's suborbital flight.
I wasn't downplaying anything. However, that flight reached an altitude of 115 miles.
But Shepard had to land on the water and wait for someone to pick him up like a helpless kitten.
Actually, Rutan did have to deal with heat. Not as much as as a vehicle that went higher, or faster, but the problem was there. Rutan's success was that he did just enough to allow him to accomplish his goal, and that along with his innovation is why he came in first, and why people are so impressed.