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Discussion in 'Current Events' started by iGav, Oct 30, 2004.
next May or early June...
This has to be done to finish the space station but one problem, how old are these shuttles and the technology they are using. Its past time for a shuttle replacement. These things were dreamed up in the late 60s and 70s...... I imagine if we didnt squander 200 billion in Iraq we could have a nice new system that could run circles around the shuttle and actually reach high orbit or more. We can do better.
They need a replacement and I hope that some work has been done on them past the drawing board. But I also think it will be up to the President after the election to handle directly and might be one reason nothing major has happened yet on that.
Especially in light of the X-Prize recently, there should be some renewed interest in keeping NASA ahead of the future competition.
Or it may be a reason for NASA to let the market take the lead, and let NASA manage the space program in general.
I know we have talked before about this but it seems a big problem with Govt is the staggering amount of money wasted on design,redesign,paperwork and more paperwork. They should use a govt sponsered program of getting manufactors involved in a contest to produce the next best thing. have it partially funded by the govt but let private enterprise design and build it. Remove as much beauracratic waste as possible. If govt does it it will cost us all 10 -100 times what it should. Just like shuttle did.
Apparently the recent hurricanes have caused the delay of March to June. I pray that the problems of Columbia have been properly fixed. Also that NASA is working on a replacement to the shuttle.
The problem wasn't as much of Columbia as it was the external tank. But the bigger problem was the escape plan that was nonexistent, with no way to get to the ISS in the event of a massive problem.
I think one of the problems with Nasa today is the lack of adventure. Almost the lack to take risks. Something needs to happen to re-ignite them. As for a shuttle replacement I think we would get more for our money buy just paying Lockheed or boeing to build it rather then letting the government.
Well at least there is something to watch from the window again...
We need to upgrade the shuttles with G5s.
I agree the shuttle needs a replacement... rather old. Works quite well. Kinda. You get the idea.
Yeah, the Space Shuttle is the DC-3 of the space age. Not the greatest in technology, but it gets the job done.
Um, the idea is to lower the risk
But the only way to re-ignite the dream is to have a goal...there really isn't a big one right now do to money concerns. NASA put its money into the shuttle and it really wasn't a cheap solution to get things to orbit. Once we have a decent/affordable way to get to orbit, then we can work on getting back to the Moon and on to Mars without breaking the bank.
We need a logical long term approach and it starts with a better,( cheaper ) safer and more reliable way to orbit using todays technologies. And like Mr. Anderson says then do the other stuff. We should have a Super Xprize for a new 4 person plus small cargo to high orbit machine. Send large freight through unmanned rockets or even modified shuttle. Make this a govt sponsored deal but not designed by the govt. sort of this is what we want and go to it boys. Shuttle is only getting older meaning less safe.
sending anyone to space at anytime is a HUGE risk! its amazing that NASA has been able to make space travel seem routine, but there are ALWAYS risks...
Yah, but we seem to have become risk adverse. After Columbia, I heard a lot of people asking what we were doing in space anyway.
So we rework NASA into the FAA of Space and let private industry go at it?
I could not agree more.
Been catching some of the shows on Discovery Wings lately. It is amazing the money that the government has spent on technology that lead to no where so far. Back in the mid-80's Reagan promised development of the HyperSonic Transport within 10 years.
Then we have the Lockheed VentureStar, a shuttle replacement vehicle. Then you have to look at the SpaceShip One from the XPrize. where was the money spent done the best work.
Spaceship one is being turned into this sort of use without the need for a new Government X-Prize. The new version is to hole 4 people so they can charge for rides into space. The next step is obviously cargo.
They've got a long way to go before they get into orbit - and Spaceship One is extremely light, not really a heavy duty workhorse you'd need to make routine orbital flights. Especially since the cargo weight is limited and many satellites that are put into orbit with more conventional means weigh much more than Spaceship One itself.
Very true but it's a developement cycle and they are continuing to develop it not because of a government prize but because of commercial enterprise. This is a good thing.
Don't kid yourselves, Spaceship One is only just barely a "spaceship". I don't want to downplay it's significance, but the Space Shuttle is several orders of magnitude more capable. For one thing, it is capable of achieving and maintaining orbit around the earth with a large cargo, whereas Spaceship One can only just nip into space briefly with several passengers.
Spaceship One was quite an achievement, but, like someone said earlier, many people have gotten so used to the Shuttle that they overlook the fact that it remains unique in its capabilities to this day. All other nations/groups capable of manned space flight (Russia, China, the EU though they haven't tried yet) have for generally financial reasons restricted space vehicles to the capsule type. Yeah, the shuttle is EXPENSIVE.
People question whether we NEED the space shuttle anymore. Well, no, we never NEEDED it. we didn't NEED to land on the moon either. For the US, space travel was a matter of national pride, a way to compete with the Soviets during the cold war, and a new method of scientific exploration. There have been many commercial benefits to us as a result, but they were not the initial purpose.
As for age, yes the shuttles are old but they are essentially rebuilt after each flight. They are very complex and require constant attention but their design is sound. Airframes can lead very long lives - look at the B-52 fleet, those aircraft won't be retired until they are over 80 years old!
I do agree that we need to begin work in earnest on a replacement for the shuttle, simply because what the shuttle does can be done today cheaper and safer if a new orbiter were to be designed.
With regards to the fact that there is no escape method in the shuttle: the reason is that when the shuttle is entering or leaving the atmosphere it is traveling at the hypersonic speed of around 18,000 mph (Mach 25!), and current technology has not developed method for safetly bailing out at that speed. An "escape pod" type of device would add too much weight.
We are still at the Kittyhawk stage with Spaceship one. It is going to take time and patience. Just look at what our scientific ingenuity has done to this point. Sadly we just don't have the public support that was there for the man on the moon project.
I have to wonder if maybe the era of US dominated space is over. As a culture, we seem to have lost an edge. We don't have the national spirit that was there in the 60's when we felt it was imperative to beat the Soviets into space. It's not just NASA not wanting to take risks, it's the entire country.
Don't expect the US to be the first to break the next frontiers in space. We may see Europe, China, or possibly some transnational private enterprise beating us to it.
Or better yet look at my comment about the DC-3. I flew one on a "commuter" flight just under 10 years ago.
Yes Chip NoVaMac, you are a bit better at being succinct than I.
I guess I've just heard too many people saying that the STS is too old to do its job anymore, whereas its really more a case nowadays that we want something that will do more for less.
The shuttle's probably due for an avionics/mission computer upgrade at any rate. How 'bout an "Astro Xserve G5" ?
I think the case is that we would not want to take the DC-3 across the Atlantic or cross country. Not to say that it would not do the job, but it would not do the job well.
We do need to look at doing a better job in getting in to space and back. How we do that is open to very much discussion.