PDA

View Full Version : So what's going to be the Space Shuttle's Replacement?


Mr. Anderson
May 21, 2003, 12:48 PM
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/osp_debate_030521.html

It will be interesting to see what they end up going with - personally I think the capsule idea is a step backwards. The one on the bottom right looks best to me.

D

iGav
May 21, 2003, 01:35 PM
I've seen a program on Sky about something that is similar to the top left thingy.... and how it is capable of landing itself, smoother, safer etc etc.... I'd go for something like that....

I'm still hoping that I'll get to see a Shuttle launch though before they're decomissioned....

szark
May 21, 2003, 01:40 PM
I'd support either one of the designs on the right. The top left is too toy-like, and I agree with D that the capsule would be a GIANT step backwards.

Mr. Anderson
May 21, 2003, 01:43 PM
The top left is a modified design of the lifting bodies that were tested in the 60s. It does look a little silly - who knows.

And even though something like one of these will be the Shuttle's replacement, its not a single stage to orbit vehicle - that's really what we need and until that comes along space is going to be out of reach of most people.

I've been following the X-Prize a bit and there are some cool designs - its going to be great when someone finally wins that.

D

szark
May 21, 2003, 01:49 PM
True, we really do need a single stage to orbit vehicle.

iGav: I lucked out one year and got to see a night launch. :D

yzedf
May 21, 2003, 02:17 PM
Lifting body is the most interesting to me, from a technological standpoint. That would seem to be the easiest, and later on, cheapest way to do it. Easy being more beneficial of course.

phgreer
May 21, 2003, 02:35 PM
I hope they don't use the one on the top left. That's the one Steve Austin crashed in.

Mr. Anderson
May 21, 2003, 02:43 PM
Regardless of what ever one they go with - the thing that is missing is the booster section. That's going to be important to see what they look like as well and how well the Space Plane 'fits'.

All of these ships are smaller than the current shuttle, btw.

D

Dont Hurt Me
May 21, 2003, 04:00 PM
i think a newer smaller shuttle say holds crew of 4 plus cargo area that can hold a satellite is needed. It also has to be simplified so we have a cheaper way to space. The most critical thing is getting the thing to orbit and back safely with a quick turnaround time say 2 weeks. Once we have a economical/cheap way to orbit space will open up. i like the 2 on the right, throw out the capsule that is a step backwards.

bennetsaysargh
May 21, 2003, 04:43 PM
i like the one on the top right. the two on the left are bad, and the bottom right loks to fat. i can't wait to see space first hand. maybe my generation will get to see space as a people, not online and what-not.

Angelus
May 21, 2003, 09:07 PM
I would pick one of the one's on the right.
I feel that its better to fly into the upper atmosphere and then use rockets to enter orbit. I'm no rocket scientist but would it not be easier and cheaper to go into space that way.These two factors would play a large role if man should ever decide to build a launching platform in earth orbit since it must be easy and cheap to fly up parts and supplies.
Please correct me if my suggestion is flawed.Would flying up a certain height before engaging rockets be easier than launching from the ground?

MacBandit
May 21, 2003, 09:12 PM
The X33 will be the replacement. It has not been scraped like some news agencies have been reported. Yes it's a lifting body but it's a lifting body with a butt load of scram jets capable orbital flight.

http://www.edwards.af.mil/articles98/docs_html/splash/dec97/cover/x33_future.html

By the way a lot of the testing for this project has been in Australia and about a year ago there was a lot of evidence of a mid-flight failure. There were scraps of a strange plane found all over the place in the outback.

Mr. Anderson
May 21, 2003, 09:17 PM
Ha, well, it would be great to see the X33 become the next version of the shuttle - but I'm thinking that it won't happen soon enough and that a 'space plane' like the ones above will have to be made in the mean time.

There hasn't been a truly successful test of a scram jet yet, as well. But when they do get it to work, it will truly be a single stage to orbit vehicle, significantly reducing the price of getting to orbit.

D

MacBandit
May 21, 2003, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
Ha, well, it would be great to see the X33 become the next version of the shuttle - but I'm thinking that it won't happen soon enough and that a 'space plane' like the ones above will have to be made in the mean time.

There hasn't been a truly successful test of a scram jet yet, as well. But when they do get it to work, it will truly be a single stage to orbit vehicle, significantly reducing the price of getting to orbit.

D

I don't know about that. Do a search of the net for X33 and you will come up with a lot of peole that have pictures that they swear are teh X33 in testing. Reminds me a lot of back before the stealth bomber was made public. I am not usually a person to fall into these stories of mystery and cover up but I do believe that the X33 is flying at least in prototype form. Now as to what it's using for propulsion that's anyones guess.

iMook
May 21, 2003, 10:54 PM
Unless there was a major design revision since news of the VentureStar scrapping, I believe that it doesn't have scramjets (which are still in early prototype stages).
Rather, it has aerospikes, which are much more similar to conventional engines, just that the anatomy's inverted (sorta hard to explain, esp. since I'm not very clear on them myself. It's been a while)

Also, that is one massive plane. (with a rather small cargo bay)

Here's an idea: why doesn't NASA buy Russia's giant Antonov, refine it, and use that as a first stage for the new spaceplane? seems like what they're going for anyways, if VentureStar is indeed scrapped.

Also, there's talk of a nanotube space elevator that this guy (too lazy to look up his name) claims he can build that'll basically be a tethered satellite in geosynchronous orbit. It'll have solar cells on the elevator lifts (which use rollers to grip the tether to travel up/down), powered from the ground by high-powered lasers to ferry equipment to the top end of the tether, where they'll be launched.
Sounds like BS to me, since geosynchronous orbit is few times higher than his proposed height, and winds are a b---- with such large equipment. Also, since carbon nanotubes are extremely good conductors, wouldn't their movement through Earth's nonuniform magnetic field create current up and down the tether? New source of clean power? (Big phallic symbols, too)

MacBandit
May 22, 2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by iMook
Unless there was a major design revision since news of the VentureStar scrapping, I believe that it doesn't have scramjets (which are still in early prototype stages).
Rather, it has aerospikes, which are much more similar to conventional engines, just that the anatomy's inverted (sorta hard to explain, esp. since I'm not very clear on them myself. It's been a while)

Also, that is one massive plane. (with a rather small cargo bay)

Here's an idea: why doesn't NASA buy Russia's giant Antonov, refine it, and use that as a first stage for the new spaceplane? seems like what they're going for anyways, if VentureStar is indeed scrapped.

Also, there's talk of a nanotube space elevator that this guy (too lazy to look up his name) claims he can build that'll basically be a tethered satellite in geosynchronous orbit. It'll have solar cells on the elevator lifts (which use rollers to grip the tether to travel up/down), powered from the ground by high-powered lasers to ferry equipment to the top end of the tether, where they'll be launched.
Sounds like BS to me, since geosynchronous orbit is few times higher than his proposed height, and winds are a b---- with such large equipment. Also, since carbon nanotubes are extremely good conductors, wouldn't their movement through Earth's nonuniform magnetic field create current up and down the tether? New source of clean power? (Big phallic symbols, too)


Yes, space elevators are not going to happen not for very very very long time. Also the Antonov had serious problems. Number one is we want safety and the prime means for lift on the Antonov was solid fuel. The problem with solid fuel is once it's lit there's no putting it out. So if there is a problem with the launch your screwed your a go and there's no stopping it even if it's pointing at the ground. The problem with the shuttle as we know it is tha in Nasa's early days they wanted to build a small orbital vehicle and basically start off at a crawl before going for the full blown run. Well Nasa needed money and the Airforce came in and said they would help out but they wanted a few things in return. Namely the orbital craft had to be able to haul a certain amount of payload. At first Nasa refused but due to budgetary problems conceded and that is why we have the most complex machine ever created by man and also why the space program hasn't progressed much since the shuttle first launched. The reason is that just launching the suttle costs so much they have little over for development of other more efficient space craft. If Nasa had been allowed to progress at the rate they wanted to there is little doubt in most eperts minds that we would have a single stage to orbit reusable craft by now.

The Aerospike is a great idea but isn't very efficient and is very costly to use. It is still a very simple idea though. It's kind of like a turbine engine but it compresses the air coming in much much more so that it can use everything it can get.

dabirdwell
May 22, 2003, 09:36 AM
Haven't I seen a spacetrain version of the elevator concept?


Also, why do we need to be doing so much with manned space flight now? We aren't going to have the means to travel great distances for a while at least, and I think unmanned research could yield much greater results for the money spent. Plus, we have progressed in the natural sciences so much faster than we have been able to progress in the social sciences. I think we need to understand ourselves a lot better before we venture out, we are still quite primitive in that respect.

dabirdwell
May 22, 2003, 09:57 AM
I also like iMook's idea about harvesting the magnetopshere. Could the current generated be stored and used to power the magnetic rail spacetrain?

MacBandit
May 22, 2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by dabirdwell
I also like iMook's idea about harvesting the magnetopshere. Could the current generated be stored and used to power the magnetic rail spacetrain?

Harnesing gravity and being able to use it for energy is definitely what we need to be able to do someday in the future if we ever plan on traveling outside our solar system. At the moment though I wouldn't even call it a pipe dream.

dabirdwell
May 22, 2003, 12:20 PM
Why, isn't gravity the weakest of all natural forces?

MacBandit
May 22, 2003, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by dabirdwell
Why, isn't gravity the weakest of all natural forces?

Yes, but it is everywhere. Do you really think that photons streaming from the sun are more powerful?

Gravity is everywhere and passes through everything. If you can harness the power of it you will have an infinitely powerful powersource. It's not about how strong the power is (the pressure of it) it's about how much volume there is. You have to collect it all and store it somehow to make it useable just like electricity. Actually if you could somehow create artificial gravity then you just need to reverse the charge to go anywhere. Also the longer you have the charge reversed the faster you will travel. I don't believe anyone has ever measured the rate at which the cause and effect of gravity travels. I wouldn't be surpised if it's up there with the speed of light or greater.

Mr. Anderson
May 22, 2003, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
Harnesing gravity and being able to use it for energy is definitely what we need to be able to do someday in the future if we ever plan on traveling outside our solar system. At the moment though I wouldn't even call it a pipe dream.

I think you've got it wrong here - the magnetosphere protects the earth from cosmic and stellar radiation created by the earth's magnetic field. There was a tether experiment done from the shuttle a few years back (one of the guys at my office was involved in the development of it). Basically, by dropping a conductive wire a few miles down towards earth you could generate a current as you move through the magnetic field. It worked so well it heated up the wire enough to severe it.

Gravity isn't involved here as a power source.

D

MacBandit
May 23, 2003, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
I think you've got it wrong here - the magnetosphere protects the earth from cosmic and stellar radiation created by the earth's magnetic field. There was a tether experiment done from the shuttle a few years back (one of the guys at my office was involved in the development of it). Basically, by dropping a conductive wire a few miles down towards earth you could generate a current as you move through the magnetic field. It worked so well it heated up the wire enough to severe it.

Gravity isn't involved here as a power source.

D

Okay yeah I understand. Do you know where to get more information on the research or what search terms to user? I'm curious about the wire gauge and length and current developed the altitudes and speeds etc., etc.

iGav
May 23, 2003, 03:01 AM
Originally posted by szark
iGav: I lucked out one year and got to see a night launch. :D

That's so cool.... it's one of the things I'd loved to do/see before I'm 30...

I've got relatives that live in Florida not too far away from the launch site... they have launch parties in their garden!!