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First commercial Moon landing gets go-ahead
WorldNetDaily ^ | 05 September 2002 | KENDALL POWELL

Posted on 09/06/2002 7:15:16 AM PDT by Onelifetogive

First commercial Moon landing gets go-ahead
Small step for commercialization of Moon surface.

The first private Moon landing has won government authorization. The decision opens the door to the commercialization of the Moon's surface.

The US State Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have granted TransOrbital, Inc. of La Jolla, California, permission to send its TrailBlazer probe to map the surface of the Moon and photograph Earth. The launch is scheduled for June 2003 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"The Moon is ripe for commercial development," says Dennis Laurie, head of TransOrbital. "It's a lot closer than you think, at least in travel time, which is four days."

The permit process took more than two years and twenty centimeters of paperwork to complete. TransOrbital had to prove it would not contaminate the Moon with biological material, pollute the surface, or disturb any historical landing sites.

Laurie predicts that the Moon will support similar activities to today's Earth satellites. In the long term, TransOrbital hopes to develop communications and navigation systems for Moon exploration and tourism. "Costs [of Moon travel] will be coming down and opportunities going up," says Laurie.

Several other private companies are pursuing Moon missions. LunaCorp of Fairfax, Virginia, hopes to put SuperSat, a high-bandwidth live video satellite, into Moon orbit in 2003. The company's president, David Gump, says LunaCorp also plan to send their IceBreaker rover into "craters where the sun doesn't shine" in search of lunar polar ice.

But Wendell Mendell of NASA's office for human exploration at the Johnson Space Center in Houston contends that public efforts will make it to the Moon before commercial endeavours, and cites European and Japanese trips scheduled for the next year.

NASA is showing renewed interest in the Moon since the Lunar Prospector mission of 1998-99, he adds. The mission aided technologies for the Mars missions and found hints of water at the lunar poles.

"The Moon is going to get some due, no matter what," says Mendell. He thinks funding will be a significant obstacle to commercial enterprises. Lunar Prospector, which was similar to TransOrbital's TrailBlazer, cost $63 million.

TransOrbital and LunaCorp intend to fund their endeavours through corporate endorsements and by licensing video footage and images obtained by their spacecraft for advertising, education and entertainment - such as immersive video games that leave players feeling as if they've been to the Moon and back.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: moon; nasasucks; notworldnetdaily; one; small; step; thenextstep
It seems to me that the Space Shuttle would be a perfect vehicle for a "modern" trip to the moon. It has the range for an extended time in space (14 days or so.) The shuttle could carry in the cargo bay a lander(or two). Seems that a moon trip would be very "cheap", using many existing components. The only new stuff would be the landers and any drilling, sampling, scientific equipment.

I can't see how a moon landing would be dramatically more expensive than any other mission. Each current mission usually involves a payload bay full of stuff developed for that trip. This would be no different.

1 posted on 09/06/2002 7:15:16 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: Onelifetogive
Another moon landing would be a great shot in the arm for NASA. Especially if they could do it "on-the-cheap."

Do we really know everything there is to know about the moon? We have physically explored it for a grand total of a few days. Imagine what results drilling could produce. We learn tons about the earth from drilling.

2 posted on 09/06/2002 7:18:43 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: Onelifetogive
This would be great. I would love to pack all those "The Moon Landing Never Happened!!" feebs onto the shuttle and take them on a tour of the Apollo landing sites.
3 posted on 09/06/2002 7:21:01 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: Onelifetogive
I'm just curious why a private company needs permission the the State Dept.(what-in case they meet any little green men?) and NOAA (no ocean, no atmosphere on the moon) to do this.
4 posted on 09/06/2002 7:28:50 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: Onelifetogive
Well, it isn't a perfect vehicle, but it is currently the only one able to carry a human-cargo mission at the moment. Other than that, just the launching of the wonderful beast is a huge money hit.

Don't get me wrong, there are plans in place to do such things, but until commercial interests build the cargo and habitation vehicles to put into the shuttle bay, there are no suitable existing components.

If you would like to help bring the equipment into existence, go here:

http://www.moonsociety.org/

They're on track. (And it's the place where TransOrbital started.)
5 posted on 09/06/2002 7:31:55 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: GATOR NAVY
I'm just curious why a private company needs permission the the State Dept...

I guess they would need permission from every State Department on earth. All 200 or so. If ours has jurisdiction, they all must.

6 posted on 09/06/2002 7:32:06 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: GATOR NAVY
"permission from the..."
7 posted on 09/06/2002 7:32:23 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: GATOR NAVY
The launcher is an old Russian ICBM, and some of the program team is international. It brings up export control issues. The process of approval took so long because no one successfully charted those legal waters in the past. TransOrbital was the pioneer.
8 posted on 09/06/2002 7:33:34 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Onelifetogive; RightWhale
It seems to me that the Space Shuttle would be a perfect vehicle for a "modern" trip to the moon.

Its a matter of fuel mostly, and would probably require some major edesign of the Shuttle, like the fuel system (You'd probably need to keep the external fuel tank for the majority of the flight, and that would have to be modified, yadda yadda..). You'd need to accelerate the shuttle from a low earth orbit, to escape velocity, which is not a trivial matter for a vehicle of that weight. I dont know the velocities and masses off hand, so I couldn't do the calculations.

What you could do is use "off the shelf" shuttle parts and perhaps construct a vehicle to go there. No need for the wings to make the trip to the moon, amongst other things.. I am sure some rocket heads have been thinking about this already.

(I believe Right Whale is a space nut, so I've flagged him on this post, maybe he could add something.)

9 posted on 09/06/2002 7:35:15 AM PDT by Paradox
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To: Onelifetogive
Nope. The US has the most to lose in space technology transfer. The rest of the world says: "Sure, come work with us! Hey, show us how you made that again..."
10 posted on 09/06/2002 7:35:29 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Frank_Discussion
There's also The Artemis Society, also working for a private, for-profit manned moonshot. . .
11 posted on 09/06/2002 7:35:59 AM PDT by Salgak
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To: GATOR NAVY
Groovy.
12 posted on 09/06/2002 7:36:00 AM PDT by SerpentDove
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To: Paradox
Go to the site I posted, and you'll be able to see the "Reference Mission" which currently uses the Shuttle to deliver hardware to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for later travle to the Moon.

The Shuttle is NOT a good platform to modify for Lunar transit and exploration. Even with all the control surfaces removed, it is far too heavy for any propulsion technology available.
13 posted on 09/06/2002 7:38:49 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Salgak
The Artemis Society is essentially the technical end of the Moon Society. The Moon Society came into being as more of a cheering section and public outreach focus. Joining the Moon Society means joining Artemis.

I've been with them since they're inception, and it's been fascinating to watch the progress we've made. It's been slow, but it has never lost ground.
14 posted on 09/06/2002 7:41:19 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: GATOR NAVY
I'm just curious why a private company needs permission the the State Dept.(what-in case they meet any little green men?) and NOAA (no ocean, no atmosphere on the moon) to do this.

I'll chime in to say I was wondering the exact same thing.

15 posted on 09/06/2002 7:41:31 AM PDT by gdani
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To: Onelifetogive
It seems to me that the Space Shuttle would be a perfect vehicle for a "modern" trip to the moon

There are several problems with sending a Shuttle to the Moon. Most significantly, when the Shuttle reaches orbit, it has no fuel to thrust its way out of low Earth orbit. Thus, you would need another, separate booster, fully fueled, in orbit already to strap on to the Shuttle.

I assume that you would want to make this a round-trip. That brings up your next problem -- even if you simply looped around the Moon (the lowest fuel-cost option), you would need to re-enter Earth's atmosphere to slow yourself down on the way back. Although hypersonic re-entry flight with the Shuttle has been demonstrated from low Earth orbit, coming back from the Moon, you are traveling half-again as fast as in low Earth orbit. It's not clear that the Shuttle could withstand those temperatures on aerocapture.

Best solution? Assemble a Moon craft in orbit, using Shuttle to transport from Earth to orbit -- and no further, as it was always intended to do.

16 posted on 09/06/2002 7:42:30 AM PDT by Cincinatus
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To: Onelifetogive
While I share your enthusiasm for space exploration, the STS is not designed for use as a booster system for deep space exploration. STS is incapable of launching liquid fueled rockets. All satellites in the cargo bay have solid fuel rockets. Attempts at placing liquid fueled boosters in the shuttle's cargo bay failed in the early 1980's due to the major engineering required to safely deploy those spacecraft.

Use of STS in it's extended duration mode causes substantial tradeoffs in cargo capacity. The pallets required to extend the orbiter to such duration exist, but they are really designed to function in conjunction with a low-earth orbit mission.

In the late 1980's NASA had developed a heavy-lift launch vehicle concept called Shuttle Z. Shuttle Z featured an extended external tank which could provide additional fuel to the system. To send an orbiter to the moon essentially requires a doubling of the velocity of the spacecraft, which is more than double the mass of the fuel to send the system to low-earth orbit.

Moreover, the orbiter main engines are not designed for reignition on the same flight. The engines are designed for one time use and shut-down during any one mission. The refiring of SSME's is hypothesized, but the flight rating needs to be upgraded to permit refiring on the same flight. Interestingly, the SSME's are refired on multiple missions after inspection. Production of SSME's for such reuse would be possible with more extensive testing and design of the engine. NASA would need to make such R&D a priority.

Shuttle Z required the orbiter to be inserted into a higher orbit and then fire the main engines to insert the package into translunar flight. Refiring the SSME's in lunar orbit would be required at least twice. Once to slow the trajectory and permit the moon's gravity to catch the spacecraft and a second time to return the spacecraft to Earth. The injection of the package into trans-Earth flight would require substantial fuel because the orbiter is substantially larger than the Apollo C/SM.

17 posted on 09/06/2002 7:50:46 AM PDT by bonesmccoy
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To: GATOR NAVY
I'm just curious why a private company needs permission the the State Dept...

We spent $200 billion to plant the US flag there, that's why...

The moon is ours to ravage as we see fit.


BUMP

18 posted on 09/06/2002 7:52:59 AM PDT by tm22721
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To: gdani
Maybe the State Dept knows the real truth and are afraid that they will discover what really happened with the Mars Lander.

THE MAR'S SURPRISE

19 posted on 09/06/2002 7:53:06 AM PDT by stlrocket
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To: Onelifetogive
Oh Great.

Now we're going to start Lunar Warming!!!

20 posted on 09/06/2002 7:57:54 AM PDT by aShepard
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To: SerpentDove
What a coincidence-I drink a pot of coffee a day and Clapton is God...
21 posted on 09/06/2002 8:00:21 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: Cincinatus
Couldn't they just re-manufacture the 3rd stage of the Saturn 5? The design has been proven and there could be substantial weight saving just by upgrading the on-board computer, electronics and fuel cells. I don't know if it would fit in the shuttle's cargo bay, but I'm sure that it (the 3rd stage w/LEM) could be modified to fit or brought up seperately. Contrary to popular myth, the blueprints to the Saturn 5 were not all lost or destroyed. Why spend the money to design and build an entirely new vehicle when the big dollars and hard work were done 30 years ago?
22 posted on 09/06/2002 8:07:44 AM PDT by Orangedog
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To: Onelifetogive
Now how, pray-tell, does the shuttle get to the Moon? It barely has enough boost to get itself into a low orbit.
23 posted on 09/06/2002 8:07:44 AM PDT by Junior
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To: Frank_Discussion
Ok, maybe I can grumpily see the the State Dept. input now, but where does NOAA come in? I notice the article didn't say where they plan to launch from.
24 posted on 09/06/2002 8:13:51 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: aShepard
'Bout dang time, too! Fire up the boilers, that 14-day lunar night is a-comin', get downright cold!
25 posted on 09/06/2002 8:20:31 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Orangedog
Why spend the money to design and build an entirely new vehicle when the big dollars and hard work were done 30 years ago?

Your point that we once had a working, heavy-lift launch vehicle is well taken and yes, we could re-manufacture Saturn V. However, it would require an entirely new launch infrastructure at the Cape, whereas we already have a working STS processing, assembly, and launch facility available. Also, Saturn V, while a superb machine, was even more labor-intensive than Shuttle (the S-II second stage was (literally) hand-made -- thousands of man-hours work in each one. And those guys were not paid minimum-wage).

NASA has an architecture in hand that could return us to the Moon within 5 years, using existing STS and Delta-IV launches and other easily made, Shuttle-derived hardware.

And it even uses the Space Station, too! :-)

26 posted on 09/06/2002 8:28:28 AM PDT by Cincinatus
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To: Orangedog
"Contrary to popular myth, the blueprints to the Saturn 5 were not all lost or destroyed."

Actually, the bulk of the documentation was warehoused and govenment excess some time ago, but excessed items are often destroyed after a time. Very DAMN sad. NASA didn't realize they had a national treasure on their hands.

"Why spend the money to design and build an entirely new vehicle when the big dollars and hard work were done 30 years ago?"

It could be reverse-engineered without the bulk of the blueprints, but it would be expensive. And the tooling to build the Saturns is pretty much gone or beyond the ability to refurbish.

Besides, new technology has already proven to be better in the commercial sector. A guy named Andrew Beal built and tested with his own capital an engine at the same power as the Saturn V main engine. He was aiming at a sattellite market saturated by the government, though, and realized he would never be able to compete. Much sheaper than NASA's development, and actually a simpler design, to boot.

27 posted on 09/06/2002 8:28:50 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Junior
Now how, pray-tell, does the shuttle get to the Moon? It barely has enough boost to get itself into a low orbit.

I have been wondering about the physics of this. It has engines, fuel (does it need in space refueling?).

Additional boosters would be a deal-killer.

Is it unable to achieve escape velocity?

28 posted on 09/06/2002 8:34:20 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: Onelifetogive
Is it unable to achieve escape velocity?

That'd be the case. Orbital velocity, IIRC, is 8000 m/s. Escape velocity is 11,000 m/s. That extra three kilometers per second is the real killer.

29 posted on 09/06/2002 8:39:28 AM PDT by Junior
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To: WyldKard
This would be great. I would love to pack all those "The Moon Landing Never Happened!!" feebs onto the shuttle and take them on a tour of the Apollo landing sites.

They wouldn't believe they were on the moon even if you took 'em. They'd say the Gov't had built a very realistic model and taken them there (or something). Like the warden in Cool Hand Luke said:

"Some men you just can't reach..."

30 posted on 09/06/2002 8:42:50 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Onelifetogive
Professional point-missers like this are the reason why the US space program has declined:

"But Wendell Mendell of NASA's office for human exploration at the Johnson Space Center in Houston contends that public efforts will make it to the Moon before commercial endeavours, and cites European and Japanese trips scheduled for the next year."

Yeah, Wendell, keep cheering on those "public efforts." We were on the moon what, 30 years ago? Haven't been back since. And then he cites the success of "foreign" "public efforts." We were way ahead of the curve and now we can only point to the successes of other governments because govt. employees like him seem to be completely content sitting on earth collecting a "public" paycheck.

What a knee-jerk socialist response from our space agency. Instead of promoting a US company's efforts to explore space (NASA's mission), he tries to downplay it -- by pointing to the success other government's are having. What a moron.

31 posted on 09/06/2002 8:50:55 AM PDT by Gothmog
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To: Prodigal Son; WyldKard
LMAO-in the late '70s I had a girlfriend whose father thought the moon landings were a hoax-or maybe he was just messing with my head. He also liked to eat raw onions like apples...
32 posted on 09/06/2002 8:51:46 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: GATOR NAVY
Well, if they were Vidalia onions it's ok. Matter of fact I wish I had one of those right now (never seen 'em here in the UK)- I sure do miss 'em.

I used to know an old fellow that thought the Earth was flat. He said everybody that's ever circumnavigated the globe in a commerical airliner was flat out lying- no joke. He of course didn't believe in the moon landings either.

33 posted on 09/06/2002 8:56:11 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: GATOR NAVY
BG
34 posted on 09/06/2002 8:56:43 AM PDT by SerpentDove
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Prodigal Son
No, I think they were Walla Walla Sweets
36 posted on 09/06/2002 8:58:54 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: Gothmog
I met Mr. Mendell some years ago, and he's actually quite a nice fellow, and very intelligent. It just goes to show that even very educated people can be fitted for blinders.
37 posted on 09/06/2002 8:59:55 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: GATOR NAVY
>> LMAO-in the late '70s I had a girlfriend whose father thought the moon landings were a hoax-or maybe he was just messing with my head. He also liked to eat raw onio<<

I had an aunt who thought the moon landings were fake, but that wrestling was real.

(actually, that's a joke I heard somewhere...)

38 posted on 09/06/2002 9:01:43 AM PDT by SerpentDove
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To: SerpentDove
?
39 posted on 09/06/2002 9:02:04 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: GATOR NAVY
>>?<<

The coffee & Clapton reference. "Big Grin"

41 posted on 09/06/2002 9:03:03 AM PDT by SerpentDove
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To: AllSmiles
I said her father thought that, not her. Don't mess with my high school memories of first love ;-)
42 posted on 09/06/2002 9:13:24 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: SerpentDove
Ok, got it now. BG confused me.
43 posted on 09/06/2002 9:15:05 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: Frank_Discussion
Yeah, I'm just pissed because Wendell doesn't realize that he should be talking to the reporter from Moonbase Reagan and touting the success NASA is having exploring Mars.

Without having to spend resources fueling launches from the earth it would be a lot cheaper exploring the rest of the solar system from the moon.

44 posted on 09/06/2002 9:16:09 AM PDT by Gothmog
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To: Onelifetogive
Awesome!

I want to be a lunar tourist someday.
45 posted on 09/06/2002 9:18:13 AM PDT by The FRugitive
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To: Gothmog
"Yeah, I'm just pissed because Wendell doesn't realize that he should be talking to the reporter from Moonbase Reagan and touting the success NASA is having exploring Mars."

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

"Without having to spend resources fueling launches from the earth it would be a lot cheaper exploring the rest of the solar system from the moon."

Yes and No. If that's it's only use, no. Compared to transit from Earth to Somewhere Else, you still have to expend more energy to go from Earth to Moon, then Moon to Somewhere Else. BUT, if you are building a sustained base of settlers, tourists, and researchers with industry and commerce beyond a refueling depot, then the picture changes into a big fat yes.
46 posted on 09/06/2002 9:25:41 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: The FRugitive
"I wanna be a spaceman ranger..."
47 posted on 09/06/2002 9:26:15 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion
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To: Frank_Discussion
I Want To Be a PowerPoint Ranger
48 posted on 09/06/2002 9:44:59 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: Frank_Discussion
The Shuttle is NOT a good platform to modify for Lunar transit and exploration. Even with all the control surfaces removed, it is far too heavy for any propulsion technology available.

Way to heavy indeed. The layman might confuse weight with mass, and while the Shuttle is "weightless" out there in space (orbit), its mass is the same as on the ground, and it is a heavy mofo.

49 posted on 09/06/2002 10:51:58 AM PDT by Paradox
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To: Paradox
the Space Shuttle would be a perfect vehicle for a "modern" trip to the moon

It could be done, but it would need some modifications, mostly in the fuel capacity as you say.

If it is to be launched from the ground like Saturn, it would need a new first stage, and it would be really, really big, like 1000' feet tall. Or the Space Shuttle could be refueled in earth orbit; that would be much more likely to happen. Then when the Space shuttle returns to earth, it wouldn't be able to come directly back through the atmosphere; it would have to be slowed to earth orbit speed first. More fuel.

An earth-moon shuttle is the best way for regular flights from earth orbit to moon orbit and back, but the Space Shuttle carries a lot of excess weight in those wings and airframe that a true space shuttle wouldn't need.

50 posted on 09/06/2002 12:26:58 PM PDT by RightWhale
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