Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Shuttle redux, a simple plan [KISS principle]
Self

Posted on 02/03/2003 10:39:39 AM PST by det dweller too

As the information unfolds on the causes of the shuttle disaster, it is becoming likely that the left wing may have been damaged by ice/foam/whatever falling off the main tank at liftoff.


TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: nasa; shuttle
A simple way to protect the ceramic tiles from damage during liftoff, and even from meteors while in orbit, is to spray on a few inches of that structural foam on top of the tiles. Perhaps even add a harder thin second coat of tough plastic. This will protect the tiles from any damage prior to starting re-entry. During re-entry this foam anf plastic willl vaporize in a few seconds leaving the tiles to do their job undamaged. This idea should be doable at a very reasonable cost and will protect a major vulnerability of the tiles.
Comments?
1 posted on 02/03/2003 10:39:40 AM PST by det dweller too
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
This idea should be doable at a very reasonable cost and will protect a major vulnerability of the tiles. Comments?

Yes. This would change the aerodynamic properties of the wings in unpredictable, uncontrollable ways. All it takes is for a few unburned patches of the material to remain to make it very difficult to control the trim of the shuttle during re-entry.

I've seen a hard shield over key areas proposed that could be jettisoned, but that in turn could cause damage as it was jettisoned, along with leaving vulnerable points where it connects to the shuttle.

2 posted on 02/03/2003 10:43:45 AM PST by dirtboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
Look at the old DynaSoar project: a small shuttle mounted on top of the booster where nothing can strike the orbiter during launch. Heavy cargo can be launched by itself on big boosters without worrying about crew safety.
3 posted on 02/03/2003 10:44:05 AM PST by RightWhale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
Would work, but be very heavy. Even a coat of paint on something the size of the shuttle is hundreds of pounds.

And my theory, which I'm trying to get out, is that the doors were damaged where the attachments to the External Tank are made. There are several of these, and they MUST be closed after the ET is released.

I think these doors are hanging out in the breeze, and could easily have been damaged, or the space under them filled with foam trash.

4 posted on 02/03/2003 10:44:21 AM PST by narby
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale

Thanks for the reminder of this project. Another '60s space project that probably should have been implemented.

5 posted on 02/03/2003 10:51:25 AM PST by My2Cents ("...The bombing begins in 5 minutes.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: narby
"Would work, but be very heavy. Even a coat of paint on something the size of the shuttle is hundreds of pounds."

Which is why American Airlines doesn't paint its planes. Carrying around the weight of the paint eats up (some) fuel. American took it a step further when the No Smoking rule took effect. Someone added up all the weight of the seat-arm ash trays and calculated how much fuel would be used by the entire fleet to carry around the ash trays. It was some seemingly insignificant amount, but added up fleet-wide over the course of a year. So they had the cabin crew yank and discard all the ashtrays.

Michael

6 posted on 02/03/2003 10:51:29 AM PST by Wright is right!
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
Some are thinking along those lines. A smaller re-usable for manned flights with only passengers, and cargo being hauled up on bigger expendables. The idea of the shuttle was to have a flexible system that could do both. Then you have capabilities like Spacelab and the like. With the dual system, you'd have to put up the lab and leave it up there, and go with the reusable to return people and limited amounts of payload. Then you'd have the cost of those expendable boosters. The folks selling the re-usable concept back in the late sixties used to use pictures of the Saturn V as a whipping boy. Why spend all that money on a one-shot booster? Maybe we're going back to the future here...?
7 posted on 02/03/2003 10:53:31 AM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: My2Cents
It was dumped in favor of the one I worked on, which was dumped in turn.
8 posted on 02/03/2003 10:54:09 AM PST by RightWhale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: chimera
Then you'd have the cost of those expendable boosters.

There are designs that make the expendable boosters into recoverable and reusable boosters. They aren't as efficient as rockets, but cost is another factor.

9 posted on 02/03/2003 10:56:42 AM PST by RightWhale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: My2Cents
That is what I mentioned earlier. A much smaller version of the space shuttle that has just enough room on it for the atronauts. Leave the heavy lifting up to the unmanned rockets. Make the pilots chauffeurs instead of truck dtivers.
10 posted on 02/03/2003 11:01:28 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants
Personally, I think this is a great plan. Perhaps the US needs a new fleet of heavy-lift rockets to get large payloads into space. Look at the "Progress" module (I think the Russians call it) -- it remotely docks with the ISS. They don't even need astronauts to maneuver and "drive" this cargo vessel around. Some at NASA have suggested perpetually orbiting "space trucks" that are similar, I guess, to train engines that move boxcars around a rail yard. These could be piloted by astronauts to move large pre-fabricated space material into proper orbit, or to add to the construction of the space station. Why not make the space station the platform for all our space commerce? Expand it; add a "wing" as a base for astronauts to embark on other orbital missions, but ferrying them into and out of orbit should be by a simple (relatively speaking) space plane, something like Dyna-Soar.

This would require a major increase in NASA's budget, but frankly, I think the space program is one of the very few things the federal government does that is actually worth spending money on.

11 posted on 02/03/2003 11:27:33 AM PST by My2Cents ("...The bombing begins in 5 minutes.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
At this point the only thing that would make a drastic improvement, I think, would be going to titanium.

That would be expensive, and possibly more expensive than more system-wide alternatives.

System wide alternatives would include I would think a robotic shuttle (original shuttle concept was criticized for missing this possibility, if I recall correctly).

As a stopgap systemwide alternative, one idea I would think would be to have a linkup capability and a Soyuz on hot standby. This presumes loading the passengers into the Space Station is not feasible due to supply limitations (also, if the shuttle is incapacitated, it might not be able to rendezvous with the Space Station).

I wonder if the unmanned Soyuz launch was designed to be a day later than Columbia scheduled touchdown due to the remote possibility that a rendezvous and rescue attempt might have been called for (had NASA diagnosed a problem with Columbia while still in orbit).

12 posted on 02/03/2003 11:36:42 AM PST by SteveH
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: My2Cents; chimera; Blood of Tyrants; RightWhale
What about using parts from the shuttle program to build a heavy lift booster. I would think equipment capable of using existing shuttle infrastructure would be fairly inexpensive and quick to develop especially since quite a bit of work has already been done designing such equipment.


13 posted on 02/03/2003 11:40:37 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
So this looks like the shuttle except there is a sausage where the orbiter would go. What parts would you get back? Looks like those are the same SRBs. The sausage looks like it has the shuttle's main engines. You'd want those back. Does the sausage come back intact or just the engine pods? How do they survive reentry? Are we talking tiles again?

Looks like you've got everything there except a manned system. That saves costs and reduces risk of loss of life, but are we talking about an unmanned space program?

14 posted on 02/03/2003 11:49:37 AM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: chimera
Does the sausage come back intact or just the engine pods?

From what I have read, only the engines would come back. There are a couple of advantages to leaving the cannister in space. One is that you don't waste power launching mass that has to return to Earth. The "sausage" doesn't have to have the extra weight of heat shields to reenter the atmosphere.

The space shuttle weighs about 250,000 pounds plus it can carry a cargo of 50,000 to 60,000 pounds. If the space shuttle SRBs, fuel tank, and main engines were used to send up a non-returnable payload, NASA could launch 300,000 pounds of cargo into orbit in one launch. That means one cargo mission could replace six manned launches to supply the International Space Station. When you consider that we are averaging a shuttle lost per 50 missions, and the space station is expected to take 50 space shuttle missions, it is quite probable we could lose aother shuttle just hauling up modules for the space station.

Instead of risking 50 crews lifting modules up to the space station we could haul up the same equipment in six or seven cargo missions with hardware that we already have.

15 posted on 02/03/2003 12:16:47 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy
"This would change the aerodynamic properties of the wings in unpredictable, uncontrollable ways. All it takes is for a few unburned patches of the material to remain to make it very difficult to control the trim of the shuttle during re-entry."

Yes, and that is why I suggested that structural foam. If you ever saw that stuff burn it is amazing! It seems to vaporize. It will disappear completely at a fairly modest temperature, such that there will be nothing left of it long before it runs into any significant atmosphere. It might even need the second, harder outer coat to make it through takeoff. The big benefit is keeping the tiles covered and undamaged until they will be used and then completely disappearing long before the temperature gets high.

16 posted on 02/03/2003 12:22:59 PM PST by det dweller too
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
So you have a detachable engine pod in some kind of re-entry survivable form? That sounds a little tricky, but perhaps not unmanageable. You'd have pyrotechnics separate the engine pods from the cargo cannister, then some kind of enclosable heat shield to surround the engines and their nozzles. I guess a super heavy-duty parachute pack to get them down gently. You'd have to have some kind of retropack and alignment system on the engine pods to get the retros pointed in the right direction to de-orbit them.

No question something is going to have to be done to enhance the shuttle fleet survivability if NASA wants to stick with it. These things were designed to be used 100 times. Columbia made it to a quarter of that, Challenger even less. We're going to run out of these things if this keeps up. And I can't see Congress appropriating and more funds to build more orbiters that keep getting lost when the whole idea was that they would not be lost. Too much pressure to spend money elsewhere (e.g., entitlements).

17 posted on 02/03/2003 12:40:09 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: chimera
And I can't see Congress appropriating and more funds to build more orbiters that keep getting lost when the whole idea was that they would not be lost.

My approach would do away with the need for more orbiters while at the same time utilizing the infrastructure already in place for the shuttle program. In the near term we need to fix the safety problems of the shuttle. In the longer term, we need to get new hardware for getting humans to and from low Earth orbit, prerfably a system owned and operated by the private sector. NASA ought to be a research agency not a glorified trucking company.

18 posted on 02/03/2003 12:55:01 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
I had the very same thought about an hour ago...I also replied on one thread that a thin, strong lightweight netting over the upper half or so of the tank would help minimize "shedding".
19 posted on 02/03/2003 1:35:34 PM PST by Lurking2Long
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: chimera
"So you have a detachable engine pod in some kind of re-entry survivable form?"

Dunking SSMEs into salt water voids the warranty. You'd have to seal them somehow in a water-tight way.

--Boris

20 posted on 02/03/2003 2:49:03 PM PST by boris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Lurking2Long
"I had the very same thought about an hour ago...I also replied on one thread that a thin, strong lightweight netting over the upper half or so of the tank would help minimize "shedding"."

A sort of fishnet bra, eh?

--Boris

21 posted on 02/03/2003 2:50:00 PM PST by boris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
Get rid of the tile. Huge manufacturing costs, maintenance costs, and doesn't look too safe any more. Go back to a thick coat of paint like the Apollo program, now that's KISS.
22 posted on 02/03/2003 2:53:37 PM PST by sixmil (down with tariff-free traitors)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: boris; chimera
"So you have a detachable engine pod in some kind of re-entry survivable form?"

Dunking SSMEs into salt water voids the warranty. You'd have to seal them somehow in a water-tight way.

Why would they have to land in the ocean? If the engines were not detached till after the payload module acheives orbit, one could choose just about anywhere in the world to land them by parachute just by waiting for a suitable orbit to fire some retro rockets. Probably the ideal place to recover the engines would be in a desert like Death Valley, Callifornia where Edwards Airforce base is located. Also, considering there would be no live passengers aboard, it would not be necessary to worry as much about limiting the g forces it is subjected to during a re-entry and parachute landing.

23 posted on 02/03/2003 3:35:47 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Wright is right!
Someone added up all the weight of the seat-arm ash trays and calculated how much fuel would be used by the entire fleet to carry around the ash trays. It was some seemingly insignificant amount, but added up fleet-wide over the course of a year. So they had the cabin crew yank and discard all the ashtrays.

...and then it all went for naught when Hillary Rodman Clinton lugged her voluminous hindquarters on board for just one flight.

24 posted on 02/03/2003 3:39:08 PM PST by ErnBatavia ((Bumperootus!))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
I think your unmanned disposable orbiter idea is excellent. The major advantage of the current shuttle platform is that it is the world's only system for launching unusually large and heavy satellites. Since the manned orbiters are laid-up indefinitely, in order to keep the shuttle contractors in business, the unmanned orbiter should be looked into by NASA.

The MAJOR operating cost the manned orbiter is the fact that it has to support human life. By building a substitute disposable system that's inexpensive enough, NASA (or preferably someone else) can remain the business of launching very heavy payloads for communication companies, etc...
25 posted on 02/03/2003 3:53:53 PM PST by Anteater_4
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: boris
Maybe a "manzerre" or a "bro"...
26 posted on 02/03/2003 4:32:59 PM PST by Lurking2Long
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
Here's another shuttle variant HLV proposed in the 80's I believe.


27 posted on 02/03/2003 4:53:40 PM PST by Brett66
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
"Why would they have to land in the ocean? If the engines were not detached till after the payload module acheives orbit, one could choose just about anywhere in the world to land them by parachute just by waiting for a suitable orbit to fire some retro rockets. Probably the ideal place to recover the engines would be in a desert like Death Valley, Callifornia where Edwards Airforce base is located. Also, considering there would be no live passengers aboard, it would not be necessary to worry as much about limiting the g forces it is subjected to during a re-entry and parachute landing."

Rocket engines are pretty delicate and if you bumped one hard you'd probably need to tear it to bitsy pieces and re-assemble. Also, we will paint a big "X" in Death Valley and let you go stand on it to watch as the package comes in. Deal?

--Boris

28 posted on 02/03/2003 6:15:59 PM PST by boris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
Not a bad idea, but it could be possible to replace the underbelly of aluminium skin with a skin of Titanium which has a melting point much higher (over 3000 F -- Al is 1300F) Leave the tiles as a saftey feature... While Titanium weighs more than Aluminium, the safety factor would be huge... just a thoughts...
29 posted on 02/03/2003 6:28:12 PM PST by ARA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: boris
Rocket engines are pretty delicate and if you bumped one hard you'd probably need to tear it to bitsy pieces and re-assemble.

I'm with you on this one. My guess is that after a couple of good hard bumps the main engines would be in for a tough time. The SRBs are recoverable because they're very simple. Essentially a long, hollow tube stuffed with solid propellant. The liquid H2-burning main engines are like jeweled watches by comparison. They've got high speed cryo-turbo pumps, thrust throttle controls, gimbaling mounts, and a host of other precision gear that doesn't lend itself well to high-stress impacts. They do okay now because their ride back to Earth is relatively gentle. I'm not sure slamming them around in a high g-force landing will be all that good for them.

30 posted on 02/03/2003 6:48:51 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Brett66
That looks almost like a Proton ripoff. Are we into copying the Russians now? I guess turnabout is fair play since they built that Buran-US shuttle knock-off.
31 posted on 02/03/2003 6:50:29 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: chimera

One of the things you could do to solve the problem is to put the Shuttle on top of the Saturn I-B. The thing is a monster and you'd have all the gunk down by the engines, instead of right next to the Shuttle where the tiles can get slammed around like china in a shop full of bulls.

We could build the Saturns, again, but you'd spend a year getting the production line going. Remember, we started from scratch and built them.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

32 posted on 02/03/2003 6:55:50 PM PST by section9 (The girl in the picture is Major Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost In the Shell". Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
Another thing that could be done is to put that big fuel tank into orbit .... you could outfit a few of those and string them together ... move in some insulation and consumables and you have an instant space station with plenty of room.

How hard can this stuff be ??

33 posted on 02/03/2003 6:56:08 PM PST by Centurion2000 (The question is not whether you're paranoid, but whether you're paranoid enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too
It would turn into a roman candle until the combustables burned off. What if it lit up while still hooked to the fuel tank?

Lots of heat on launch as well.

34 posted on 02/03/2003 6:59:16 PM PST by Cold Heat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative

Another idea for that might be to mount a tiny dyna-soar type module for the crew so that a baby shuttle comes back. Maybe something like a 50,000 pound craft and 250,000 module for cargo.It doesn't have to go, but for missions with a human construction requirement it could be added.

35 posted on 02/03/2003 7:00:24 PM PST by Centurion2000 (The question is not whether you're paranoid, but whether you're paranoid enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: narby
And my theory, which I'm trying to get out, is that the doors were damaged where the attachments to the External Tank are made. There are several of these, and they MUST be closed after the ET is released.

I agree that the insuation theory is a red herring. The cause has yet to be found. My theory is like yours or perhaps space debris that was struck on initial re-entry or at any time during the 16 day flight.

36 posted on 02/03/2003 7:06:32 PM PST by Cold Heat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Centurion2000
Another thing that could be done is to put that big fuel tank into orbit .... you could outfit a few of those and string them together ... move in some insulation and consumables and you have an instant space station with plenty of room.

How hard can this stuff be ??

A lot harder than that. Empty fuel tanks do not a space habitat make. You need insulation, vacuum integrity, an accessway, electrical power generation and distribution, water, oxygen, CO2 scrubbers, heat, lighting, food storage, sleeping quarters, things to do to make it worthwhile being up there (i.e., research equipment), attitude controls, computers, gyros, communications gear, telemetry, antennas, sun shields, and a host of other things I've forgotten.

The original idea for Skylab was a converted SIVB stage. They ended up using the basic frame, but had to add a lot more systems than initially thought. That made it the most complex vehicle in its time ever assembled and sent aloft.

37 posted on 02/03/2003 7:13:36 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: section9
One of the things you could do to solve the problem is to put the Shuttle on top of the Saturn I-B. The thing is a monster and you'd have all the gunk down by the engines, instead of right next to the Shuttle where the tiles can get slammed around like china in a shop full of bulls.

It'd have to be an orbiter only without main engines. You don't want the current orbiter sitting on top of something. The main engine exhaust sluicing down the sides of a rocket would be ungood. The current design blows the exhaust out the bottom of the stack along with the SRB exhaust gases.

As I recall the S1B thrust was in the range if 1.5 million pounds. That would make for a much smaller orbiter with limited payload capacity. The S1B was sufficient to lift the Apollo command and service modules into low orbit, but when you added the lunar module you needed the Saturn V even for Earth orbit missions, like Apollo 9 did. My guess is the Saturn V would have to be resurrected if you want to fly anything like the current orbiter but without main engines. Then you're back into big, expendable boosters again and have gone back to the future, with the bean counters complaining about the cost of those one-shot big boys.

38 posted on 02/03/2003 7:21:18 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: chimera
Here's a picture of one of the proposed Orbital Space Plane concepts:


39 posted on 02/03/2003 7:23:18 PM PST by Brett66
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Brett66
OK, so that looks like the old DynaSoar vehicle attached to the tip of some kind of Saturn-class booster. Basically the flying bathtub concept (lifting body). The reusability of the different parts would have to be determined.

Remember the original selling point of the shuttle was the concept that essentially everything could be re-used and thereby saving the costs of fabricating a new vehicle for each mission. Can the proposed systems do that? If not, they'll come in for the same criticism as the launch systems of the mid 1960s. The bean counters will hammer them to death.

40 posted on 02/03/2003 7:39:34 PM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: chimera
Gawd, I hate the bean counters. But you're right, one has to live within one's means.

The Saturn V was a monster, but you're right, it would be the only way to go. And you're also right about the fact that the SV is a big, disposable monster as well. You couldn't just dump it in the ocean, either, as it would have to push the Shuttle high enough so that it would burn up on reentry from a low orbit.

The Enterprise had a booster cover, if you'll recall. One could probably remove the valves, then cover the ass end with the aerodynamic cover.

Speaking of which, do you think they'll have to pull Enterprise out of mothballs? At least to cover the shuttle missions that need to go up in future.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

41 posted on 02/04/2003 4:22:46 AM PST by section9 (The girl in the picture is Major Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost In the Shell". Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: section9
Speaking of which, do you think they'll have to pull Enterprise out of mothballs? At least to cover the shuttle missions that need to go up in future.

Hard to say. I don't think the Enterprise is capable of powered flight. Are the main engines functional or just mockups? It was used for glide tests. Are the heat shield tiles capable of reentry from orbit? I'm not sure, since those releases from the 747 it was tested with didn't generate a lot of heat.

My guess is that NASA will have to get by with a reduced fleet. After Challenger there was a strong sense in Congress to appropriate funds to get a replacement. But that was '86, pre-9/11 and Iraq was only a distant cloud on the horizon. I don't get the same sense today. Congress seems to be saying we'll give to a few pennies (comparatively speaking) to tinker with some safety improvments on what you have left, but as far as anything new goes, forget it.

But as I said earlier NASA is going to have to do something to cover their collective a$$ as far as assurring survivability of their existing vehicles goes. If they drop another of these things, they're going to be looking at having essentialy zero capability of any kind of sustainable manned program. Then, its robots away (I'm sorry to say)...

42 posted on 02/04/2003 5:48:00 AM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: chimera

Part of this problem goes back to the beknighted Seventies. Instead of a follow-on Mars Mission after the Apollo project, the budgeteers took over and gave us the Shuttle. Shuttle was supposed to be a means to an end, not an end in itself. As an aside, an engineer I once knew who graduated from Georgia Tech back in 1980 refused to even consider NASA, as he had heard the stories in the engineering community about the cutbacks and personnel layoffs that had occured after Apollo shut down.

Now we find only one alternative: the Orbital Space Plane concept, which will require some dandy engineering to get off the ground. For the time being, the remaining three shuttles will have to be watched and babied like hawks, and perhaps a polymer hardcoat put over the tiles as protection. Literally, it's all we've got. That 65 billion dollar ISS has to be serviced, after all.

Now, if someone would come up with the idea of using the ISS as a living quarter for construction crews who could assemble an interplanetary, nuclear powered Mars transit vehicle, then they'd be talking sense. A Mars transit vehicle is something you want built in orbit, not on the ground.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

43 posted on 02/04/2003 6:07:15 AM PST by section9 (The girl in the picture is Major Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost In the Shell". Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: section9
The fire has gone out of the program and a spark is lacking. The public thinks spaceflight is neat and all that but shuttle flights to the ISS or low earth orbit to go around and around without really going anywhere don't seem to ignite any excitement among the sheeple.

Everyone knows that the spur for Apollo was beating the Soviets to the moon. We did that and then what? Its like a runner winning a race and then standing around with his hands at his sides, wondering what happened.

During and for a short time after Apollo's heyday people in high places talked about flying to Mars. They were serious. Today you hear chit-chat about it but nothing really being talked about at the levels where something really could happen. Its all just robots and satellite cell phones and GPS.

The whole structure of spaceflight and space research is creaking and crumbling. We don't have a realistic plan to get back to the moon, or what to do if we got there, which would be a good thing to do first. Nobody talks seriously about mounting a Mars mission anymore. I'll never live to see it, I'm pretty sure. We don't have even a clue as to how to do extra-solar missions.

Its going to take someone with a real vision and the drive and commitment to see it through, push it until it gives, to turn this around. Given the present breed of political leaders (e.g., a bean counter heading up NASA), businessmen, and scientists, I'm not optimistic (I'll include myself in that third group since I opened my big mouth).

44 posted on 02/04/2003 6:41:00 AM PST by chimera
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson