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Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 04:16 PM   #1
 
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Shuttle

I know this is probably terribly unfair and demonstrates great ignorance, but

Shouldn't we be able to make a space vehicle that doesn't shed pieces of debris when it takes off? Would that really be so difficult?
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: Shuttle

Especially since we had this specific problem last time and stopped to think about it for two years
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 04:55 PM   #3
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Re: Shuttle

Seeing the numbers of people involved in building one, I surprised they fly at all.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Would that really be so difficult?
You're a software guy, right? The shuttle is a complex system. They tried to reduce the number of newly introduced unknowns by leaving components alone that "weren't broke." They obviously went a little too far in assuming what wasn't broke.

Good article on the problem here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/sc...ce/31foam.html
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I know this is probably terribly unfair and demonstrates great ignorance, but

Shouldn't we be able to make a space vehicle that doesn't shed pieces of debris when it takes off?* Would that really be so difficult?
Difficult AND expensive.

"Things falling off of aircraft" is a regular paragraph of the Naval Safety Center's weekly message.

Unclemick2, was that one of your tiles?
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 08:20 PM   #6
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I know this is probably terribly unfair and demonstrates great ignorance, but

Shouldn't we be able to make a space vehicle that doesn't shed pieces of debris when it takes off?* Would that really be so difficult?
I don't understand. What's the big deal? Don't the astronauts have access to duct tape? They know where all the loose stuff is hanging out. Tape those babies back onto the craft and bring her on home.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 08:39 PM   #7
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by riskaverse
Seeing the numbers of people involved in building one, I surprised they fly at all.* *
Me too!
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I know this is probably terribly unfair and demonstrates great ignorance, but

Shouldn't we be able to make a space vehicle that doesn't shed pieces of debris when it takes off?* Would that really be so difficult?
The shuttle should be scrapped- it is old technology and has only acted as a hindrance to the progression of space travel. In a previous job of mine, my manager was a former astronaut (flew on the Discovery the first mission after Challenger actually), and had made similar comments whenever the topic came up, so I know that i'm not way off base in my beliefs
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Re: Shuttle
Old 07-31-2005, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: Shuttle

Well, the logical thing to do would be to scrap manned spacecraft altogether.* *But space exploration isn't about logic.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 08:17 AM   #10
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Re: Shuttle

Wab

The space program isn't about logic - originally about beat those Ruskie's (Sputnick et al), a tint of hormones(climb that mountain) and a tad of curiousity.

I worked on the original bid for Shuttle(teamed with Grumman) circa 71 -72 - we lost to the other guys. But the design was the configuration flying today. Pretty old.

"If it looks ugly, it flies ugly."

"A compromise designed by a committee."

Quotes by certain individuals I worked with in the 70's.

BTY - the debris was there from the first launch in 1981 and has gotten better over the years. The design driver for the foam - originally was to prevent debris aka 'hard ice' forming on the launch vehicle (like Saturn days) and hitting the delicate tile of the orbiter. Any foam debris was considered 'soft' - not expected to be a problem in comparasion to the 'ice/frost' design issue.

The rest - they say is history.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 08:22 AM   #11
 
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Re: Shuttle

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scrap manned spacecraft altogether.
Yes, that's the smart way. In the 60s you needed a person up there, but with robots today...
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 08:31 AM   #12
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by wabmester
Well, the logical thing to do would be to scrap manned spacecraft altogether.
I believe our President thinks that the space program provides a wonderful distraction goal for the country. Plus, it stimulates the both the economy and the deficit.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 09:10 AM   #13
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Re: Shuttle

Personally, I like to see humans in space- it gives me a feeling that we're still good for something, and that robots can't do everything... yet. Humans are also allowed to be spontaneous whereas a rover's every move is choreographed. Some may argue whether that's a good thing or not, but some of the most important scientific discoveries have been made by chance (or while loaded on LSD in the case of PCR)

I wonder if a robot could have fixed Hubble as well as a human did. I read a story awhile back (I can't find a link) where two teams explored an area- one by rover, and another on foot. The rover folks found some interesting things, but also missed a lot of things the humans on foot found (some lichens growing on a rock, or something like that).
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 10:54 AM   #14
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Yes, that's the smart way.* In the 60s you needed a person up there, but with robots today...
Wendy Lawrence, one of the shuttle's mission specialists and a Navy helicopter pilot, might disagree with you. As would her father Bill Lawrence and her grandfather.

The most expensive thing in a military aircraft is the pilot-- training $$ and salary, even before they get their bonus $$ or get killed for that expensive life insurance. With expensive personnel incentives like that you would think that the military would have found a way to get them out of the cockpit a long time ago.

Today's computers may be more capable and more durable, but I think that they're also a lot more suspceptible to the law of unintended consequences. If DARPA can't find a vehicle to drive a few miles across the desert on its own, then they're not ready to tackle the third dimension at supersonic velocities.

But that's probably just my lingering memories of the Terminator III movie...
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 01:23 PM   #15
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Re: Shuttle

Having spent the bulk of my career - with Manned Space Systems written on my trusty baseball cap - you know where my sympathy lies.

A good program - undersea wise - not space - is the Bob Ballard story(don't know the exact name of the program) - on PBS or cable. He tells tells a good story - on the trade off's between man and technology. Makes some good points on how to make both work together.
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-01-2005, 03:04 PM   #16
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Re: Shuttle

I saw the shuttle on display in Houston in....1981. Now, 24 years later we are using the same basic design. Hmmm...
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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-03-2005, 08:03 PM   #17
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Re: Shuttle

I worked advanced aircraft vehicles for my career.* The reusable shuttle had an expected cost and operational advantage over the single-use rocket-and-capsule systems of the 60s and 70s.* The much lower than expected usage rate of the shuttle means that the whole infrastructure cost is divided by fewer launches and so it costs an arm and a leg for each pound that gets to orbit.* Additionally, the original shuttles are getting older just sitting mainly on the ground;* any vehicle gets less reliable as it is not used.*

Maybe manned space exploration needs to be rethought, maybe new vehicles need to be designed and built, or maybe other approaches to the shuttle for getting people and equipment out there.* Who knows what would come from a fresh look now 35 years after the original shuttle considerations.

One of the most intriguing ideas is the space elevator - just google space elevator for yourself - this concept apears to have the potential to deliver a payload to space at a very, very small fraction of the costs/pound of the shuttle.* Nice to think about way-out ideas that just may work.* The first country to do it would have a significant advantage over all others.

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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-03-2005, 08:14 PM   #18
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP

One of the most intriguing ideas is the space elevator - just google space elevator for yourself - this concept apears to have the potential to deliver a payload to space at a very, very small fraction of the costs/pound of the shuttle. Nice to think about way-out ideas that just may work. The first country to do it would have a significant advantage over all others.
Hmmmm.... United Technologies, an aerospace company who also happens to own Otis Elevator. Coincidence or a leading edge example of synergy at its best? Can you say "investment opportunity"?

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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-04-2005, 09:26 AM   #19
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP
One of the most intriguing ideas is the space elevator - just google space elevator for yourself - this concept apears to have the potential to deliver a payload to space at a very, very small fraction of the costs/pound of the shuttle. Nice to think about way-out ideas that just may work. The first country to do it would have a significant advantage over all others.
Yep, we'll just paint a big bullseye on the cables for the terrorists to aim at.

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Re: Shuttle
Old 08-04-2005, 02:44 PM   #20
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Re: Shuttle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
I saw the shuttle on display in Houston in....1981.* Now, 24 years later we are using the same basic design.* Hmmm...
I can go onboard the USS BOWFIN, commissioned 1943, and find much of the same equipment now in use aboard today's "modern" submarines.*

If it works, don't fumble with it unless you can afford to fix it or buy a new one...
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