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  #11  
Old 02-01-2019, 05:26 AM
Scott_650 Scott_650 is offline
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The Shuttle was an amazing technical achievement - but not a very good spacecraft. Of course hindsight is as they say 20/20 but the political landscape that led to the Shuttle as the primary component of the US space program may not have allowed anything else in its place. Sad but true that NASA is more about aerospace jobs/corporate welfare than it is about exploring and exploiting space!

Sure do wish wed lived in the alternate world JR outlined above though...
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2019, 07:38 AM
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What would have been awesome, but hugely expensive, would have been to keep the Saturn program alive and advancing, AND develop a shuttle. Since the Saturns would be available for large payloads, a smaller shuttle would have been easier to launch with a safer system and would have still been a very handy little piece of hardware.

The cool thing about a 3rd stage based large space station, is the launch system was darn near paid for already. We had leftover Saturn hardware and infrastructure to build more, which is a lot cheaper than designing a launch system from scratch. All they would need to do is develop the system to link those big "modules". Instead of strapping themselves to treadmills, they could have run in circles for cardio. Remember those Skylab videos?
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2019, 10:05 PM
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It's a shame that NASA became such a political football... In reality, I suppose, it always was, but the "lunar goal" cut through a lot of the political felgercarb. Once that was achieved, it was all downhill from there.

Ideally, that's what would have happened-- continue with Saturns while working on a small orbiter as a follow-on spacecraft, specifically for space station transport operations. In fact, this WAS one of the proposals that went up the chain to Nixon and his people. Bill Anders, LM pilot on Apollo 8 (he busted his chops to become *THE* expert on the LM, hoping it gave him the best chance of being on the first landing crew, but fate put him on the only lunar mission WITHOUT a lunar module... after that, he moved on, and actually ended up as a political consultant on the Shuttle proposals. He has written that basically after outlining all the choices, which varied from the most conservative, a smaller, simpler, reusable orbiter spacecraft that would be launched by a "low cost" launcher designed for the purpose (like many of the "low cost" launchers I've detailed in other studies), through a mid-grade proposal of a larger, more complex reusable orbiter with a partially reusable launch system, to the "whole hog" proposal, a large, complex orbiter and fully-reusable launch vehicle. The smaller, more conservative orbiter was intended to be a cheaper and faster to design system that would allow NASA to get practical experience on the complexities and problems associated with designing and maintaining and operating a reusable spaceplane-type orbiter, so that when they DID design a more complex follow-on vehicle at some point later on, they could incorporate those "lessons learned" into the larger, more complex replacement vehicle that followed. This was, in fact, the proposal that Bill Anders thought to be the best approach, certainly considering the budget climate that Nixon's people were proposing for financing a shuttle program. Of course he presented all the possibilities professionally but didn't hide his thoughts when asked. (IIRC).

Nixon's people gave him the "thanks and we'll let you know" speech and then retired to mull over everything and present it to the President... He heard nothing for a long time and then suddenly got a call from Haldemann (IIRC) asking him a question that took him aback... "which one is the most expensive??" "The fully reusable one" Anders said. "Which one will bring the most jobs and money to southern California?" (aerospace industry)... Unqeustionably this was "the big one" as he replied... "Okay, that's what we're going with! Thanks for your help!" and that was it... The shuttle decision had been made. (Anders wrote about this in a series of articles decades ago that I read awhile back).

Of course in time it became apparent that the "fully reusable" system was going to be TOO expensive and a bridge too far, and of course with the meager funding, NASA was forced into bed with the Air Force, after their two "blue suiters in space" programs had been cancelled-- first their "Dyna-Soar" spaceplane of the mid-60's, and then the "MOL" orbital spy station that replaced it. That basically put the Air Force into the driver's seat on "requirements" for the shuttle system, which forced the change from the smaller, lighter, "fluffier" straight winged with simple metallic heat shield Faget orbiter to the huge payload bay delta-winged orbiter capable of delivering the cross-range the Air Force supposedly needed for once-around polar launches (single orbit Vandenberg launches of the shuttle) and of course that shuttle was too "dense" (big and heavy) for the simpler metallic heat shield to work, forcing the change to the fragile tiles that would ultimately doom Columbia and drove up shuttle costs dramatically. It also drove the change to the "partly reusable" shuttle with a disposable external tank, and the decision to accept solid propellant boosters in lieu of a flyback booster stage.

Thus, the badly compromised shuttle we knew came to be...

Later! OL J R
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2019, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
"which one is the most expensive??" "The fully reusable one" Anders said. "Which one will bring the most jobs and money to southern California?" (aerospace industry)... Unqeustionably this was "the big one" as he replied... "Okay, that's what we're going with! Thanks for your help!"

And once again California screws the rest of the USA.
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  #15  
Old 02-03-2019, 08:55 AM
Neal Miller Neal Miller is offline
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This is a very interesting topic. the last posts is probably the closest to the truth.
the Space Shuttle program made a lot of the contractors, corporate officers , executives and politicians rich.

I guess that after all of the engineering and and testing (R&D) had been done for Apollo, supplying the hardware was not that profitable. So the Space Shuttle was the new cash cow.
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  #16  
Old 02-09-2019, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Miller
This is a very interesting topic. the last posts is probably the closest to the truth.
the Space Shuttle program made a lot of the contractors, corporate officers , executives and politicians rich.

I guess that after all of the engineering and and testing (R&D) had been done for Apollo, supplying the hardware was not that profitable. So the Space Shuttle was the new cash cow.


Yep, and the "shuttle mafia" is the gift that just keeps on taking...

How we're stuck with "shuttle derived" SLS when NASA's own RAC-2 studies proved a serially staged three stage kerolox first stage/hydrogen upper stages rocket (modern version of Saturn V) is actually the lowest recurring cost and most flexible way to do a Moon/Mars HLV rocket...

Politics trumps engineering!

Later! OL J R
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  #17  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
What would have been awesome, but hugely expensive, would have been to keep the Saturn program alive and advancing, AND develop a shuttle. Since the Saturns would be available for large payloads, a smaller shuttle would have been easier to launch with a safer system and would have still been a very handy little piece of hardware.

The cool thing about a 3rd stage based large space station, is the launch system was darn near paid for already. We had leftover Saturn hardware and infrastructure to build more, which is a lot cheaper than designing a launch system from scratch. All they would need to do is develop the system to link those big "modules". Instead of strapping themselves to treadmills, they could have run in circles for cardio. Remember those Skylab videos?
In C.B. Colby's book "Beyond the Moon," he reproduced NASA's early 1970s plans for these very things. They envisioned a fully-reusable Convair B8G winged booster (the one with the V-tail) with a Rockwell straight-winged orbiter (NASA preferred these lighter and cheaper low-crossrange orbiter designs, but the USAF insisted on high-crossrange delta-winged ones in exchange for its financial and political support). As an alternative, NASA also liked the McDonnell Douglas swept-winged, canard-equipped booster carrying another straight-winged orbiter design, and:

The Shuttle would handle light-to-moderate-weight low Earth orbit payload lofting (and return), and personnel transport (to a space station, eventually housing up to 100 people). Other Shuttle payloads would include radio-controlled, reusable liquid propellant upper stages that would boost large communications and meteorological satellites into geosynchronous orbit (or geosynchronous transfer orbit). The Saturn V was to be retained as a heavy-lift launcher, and for lofting large planetary probes and parts of manned interplanetary spaceships. Also:

A small, Marshall Space Flight Center "DC-3" (the original TSTO straight-winged-type booster/orbiter Shuttle, meant to loft 15,000 pounds of cargo and several people into orbit) type Shuttle, built using modern materials, electronics, and engines, could be a practical and economical space transporter.
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  #18  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
Continued...

First, a cutaway showing the interior of the Mission Module (MM). [SNIPPED, but only for brevity.]
Thank you for rescuing these manned flyby mission plans from their obscurity! Missions of this type are ^still^ timely, because no one has yet gone so far from the Earth. There are even YouTube videos on these proposed Venus (see: http://www.youtube.com/results?sear...lyby+mis sions ) and Mars (see: http://www.youtube.com/results?sear...lyby+miss ions ) manned flyby missions, *and*:

SpaceX's BFR could loft similar manned planetary flyby spaceships (Bob Bigelow's expandable modules might be ideal for their habitation modules). Also, David S.F. Portree's "DSFP's Spaceflight History" website (see: http://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.com/ ) contains historical articles--which often contain scale data!--about planned missions and hardware (including these Apollo-Saturn V-based manned Venus and Mars flyby missions [a December 1978 launch window would have allowed *both* planets to have been visited on the same flight!]) that never came to fruition.

I hope this information will be useful.
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  #19  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:02 AM
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BFR....I like that.
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
BFR....I like that.
Yes--I like the fact that "BFR" ("Big Falcon Rocket," or "Big 'For Unlawful Carnal...ing' Rocket") has two closely-related meanings, either of which can be used, depending on the audience or readership. :-)
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