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#1 2004-01-28 10:19:33

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

This news item states that NASA is looking at options for using the shuttle main tank even after the orbiter is retired. If true, then Delta IV & Atlas V will not be the only US launch system. This is a necessary discussion, IMHO, since I believe America needs a bigger booster than Delta or Atlas. I also agree with RobertDyck that the CEV should be designed to be launched on various versions of Delta & Atlas & any new HLLV.

I have loudly asserted that a full shut down of the shuttle infrastructure (Michoud & Kennedy) would be a foolish waste of existing resources however it is precisely that shut-down which frees up $4 to 6 billion per year to transfer to the new Bush vision.

Therefore * IF * a shuttle variant (B or C?) becomes part of the plan doesn't it make sense to move in that direction sooner rather than later? Since the fixed costs associated with shuttle (to a large extent these are the salaries of the people working at Kennedy Space Center) can ONLY be justified by a program with high operational tempos, a shuttle derived system needs lots of launches to be economical and stay within the Bush budget numbers.

Two or three annual orbiter flights might well incur similiar fixed overhead as eight or ten or more shuttle C or shuttle B. Staff paid to maintain and operate KSC will be paid the same whether 3 launch stacks lift off, or 9 launch stacks lift off each year, right?

Once again, if the orbiter is a lame duck crew platform why delay the inevitable?

Stand down the orbiter now and get on with the future, sooner, and reassure these 2000 New Orleans employees that their jobs will remain secure.

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#2 2004-01-28 10:59:19

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

This is a necessary discussion, IMHO, since I believe America needs a bigger booster than Delta or Atlas.

For what?

I also agree with RobertDyck that the CEV should be designed to be launched on various versions of Delta & Atlas & any new HLLV.

Sound in principle, but how do you design the CEV to be compatible with any future launch system? Isn't that a rather tall order?

I think it would make more sense to develop any future launch systmes to accomadate the exsisting hardware, not the other way around.

Two or three annual orbiter flights might well incur similiar fixed overhead as eight or ten or more shuttle C or shuttle B. Staff paid to maintain and operate KSC will be paid the same whether 3 launch stacks lift off, or 9 launch stacks lift off each year, right?

And it might well incur greater costs. What then?

Once again, if the orbiter is a lame duck crew platform why delay the inevitable?

A bird in the hand is worth....

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#3 2004-01-28 13:46:05

RobS
Member
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

I agree, a shuttle-derived lifter really would help a lot. We can probably build deep space vehicles with small EELVs, but it has a tinker-toy feel to it, and all the complexity that multiple launches (some of which will fail) and on orbit assembly will bring.

I suspect the $4-$5 billion per year is mostly needed to maintain the orbiter, and the only part of the orbiter needed by a heavy lifter is the engines. So retiring the shuttle will save a lot of money even if the tank and solids are still used to launch cargo.

Replacing the current shuttle with a heavy lifter requires a year or two of planning:

1. What heavy lifting will be needed?

2. Can the current plans for the ISS be redesigned for a heavy lifter? I bet a lot of them can't because the modules are already designed for a certain mass and diameter. As a result, one would have to use a heavy lifter to put a series of puny things into orbit one at a time. And since some of those modules were designed by Europeans and Japanese, we would be effecting their wallets, not just NASA's.

Item #2 probably explains why we can't dump the shuttle now.

        -- RobS

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#4 2004-01-28 14:43:39

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Item #2 probably explains why we can't dump the shuttle now.

Shuttle C can lift something shaped very much like the orbiter, just without wings, tiles, and the like. One fellow suggested that we use the same molds that were used for building the orbiter to build a shuttle C cargo module. Back in 1992, the shuttle C idea was to use worn out SSMEs for one last mission, with the payload bay being an exact replica of the orbiter payload bay.

Even if the shuttle C payload bay exactly replicated the orbiter payload bay, the weight savings would allow additional mass to be carried in variosu nooks and crannies, allowing the delivery of extra food, water, batteries, computers and lots and lots of little things we do not currently have the mass budget to lift but which could be useful to the ISS astronauts.

If CEV intends to use inflatable crew quarters (see the Boeing drawings) it would seem useful to modify ISS to again include TransHab based crew compartments even if SpaecHab needed to design a new payload fairing to allow shuttle C to carry them up there.

If ISS is supposed to be a test bed, we need to get stuff up there to test, right?

1. What heavy lifting will be needed?

Throw CEV modules to the moon sooner than under the Bush plan, yet all within the same basic budget.

John McCain said this today:

"Vision without strategy is illusion."

I say, few strategies are incapable of improvement.

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#5 2004-01-28 15:03:21

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

= = = SPACE TOURISM ALERT! = = =

What if?

Stand down orbiter today. Replace with shuttle C. Shuttle C payload modules are built on the orbiter molds so the cargo bay EXACTLY matches current orbiter payload bay. Because we save lots of weight by avoiding the orbiter, additional components can be added outside the standard payload bay envelope.

Then deliver ISS components in uncrewed launches saving money as discussed before AND we have this cargo module in a safe orbit adjacent to ISS.

New point - if these shuttle C cargo modules were built sufficiently robust, then there would be no immediate need to incinerate them through re-entry.

NASA sells the emptied payload modules to a space tourism operation. 4 or 6 payload modules having the basic dimensions of the orbiter payload bay are connected by truss and accessed by Soyuz for routine space tourism flights.

How much could NASA sell such a cargo module for and couldn't that money be plowed back into CEV and ISS operations?

No more fighting about whether tourists are allowed on the ISS. Starsem can fly tourists to orbit once a week if desired.

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#6 2004-01-28 15:11:32

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Nice idea Bill, but not practical.

Astronauts would have to connect the truss's, right? Who would be responsible for supplying these things? Wouldn't that space, if pursued, be better used to do scientific tests related to human exploration of space? Who would be resonsible for deorbiting them safely? Who would, and what would be the saftey requirements for visiting tourists? Do we need life-boats?

I think you may end up creating a beast that consumes more than it creates...

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#7 2004-01-28 15:20:28

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

What if you launch a Shuttle Derived Vehicle that has the external tank, SRBs, 3 main engines, OMS pods for orbit circularization, but no cargo bay at all. Just put a fairing around a station module. Pack a module with equipment that would normally be launched in a logistics module, that would double the mass without increasing aerodynamic drag. Stack two modules on top of each other. Total launch mass to orbit: 5 times what the shuttle orbiter can deliver. Let that drift in orbit some significant number of degrees of orbit away from the ISS, then send a manned Shuttle orbiter to rendezvous with it. The orbiter could carry more cargo, but less than full capacity so it would have significant on-orbit manoeuvre capability. Then grab the cargo that was previous launched, and pull it over to ISS. Use the CanadArm on Shuttle and CanadArm2 on ISS together with astronauts in suits to assemble all the pieces together. This would reduce 6 manned assembly flights to just one.

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#8 2004-01-28 15:28:36

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Nice idea Bill, but not practical.

Astronauts would have to connect the truss's, right? Who would be responsible for supplying these things? Wouldn't that space, if pursued, be better used to do scientific tests related to human exploration of space? Who would be resonsible for deorbiting them safely? Who would, and what would be the saftey requirements for visiting tourists? Do we need life-boats?

I think you may end up creating a beast that consumes more than it creates...

Let a private funded company try. If they fail? Its the investors, not the taxpayers who lose out. Sell the modules to the Russians (a private venture) and let them worry about the details.  big_smile  And if they will pay anything for stuff NASA intends to dump in the Pacific Ocean, it offsets the costs NASA incurs in delivering ISS components.

The paperwork means NASA transfers ownership and the "hotel" is paid for completely by private money.

Forget the trusses. A short walk to Starbucks distracted me from a minor tooth filing and it dawned on me that the shuttle C payload could include a universal docking module on the end.

(Bad ASCII art has been deleted)

Then a private company pays Russia to lift a central ring or cube studded with 4 or 6 universal docking ports. After the shuttle C payloads are unloaded, ownership is transferred to the private company and the payload module is docked with the ring.

Additional docking ports allow access by Soyuz for touists who enter and leave by the central ring and ccupy "staterooms" at the front of each module. A 7 crew capacity CEV would be great.

Emergency egress? Marriott or Hilton or whoever funds completion of an X-38 style escape craft without all the bells and whistles that killed the "real" X-38.

= = =

We need to start looking for "two for one" deals to reduce the cost of space access. Having a payload module serve two purposes allows the cost of launch to be shared among more users.

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#9 2004-01-28 16:18:04

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

So when does this circus open up, P.T.?  big_smile  :laugh:

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#10 2004-01-28 17:28:43

Ad Astra
Member
Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

At least with the orbiters being retired you could use their engines and OMS pods for building Shuttle-C.  After we run out of engines and cannibalized orbiter components, we'll have to turn to "Shuttle-D" or another configuration that uses Delta IV components for the engine assembly.


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#11 2004-01-28 17:43:41

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

At least with the orbiters being retired you could use their engines and OMS pods for building Shuttle-C.  After we run out of engines and cannibalized orbiter components, we'll have to turn to "Shuttle-D" or another configuration that uses Delta IV components for the engine assembly.

Whether its better to use RS-68 engines (Shuttle B) or build more SSMEs (Shuttle C) is best decided by the accountants, right?

:;):

This is a nice summary of shuttle derived variants first posted in another thread.

I believe we should develop different payload configurations to allow flexibility. Check out page 12 of this pdf.

Modified "wingless orbiters" with or without main tanks could be used to rapidly deploy additional space stations and if a wingless orbiter carried up an ISS component first, the costs to finish ISS can be greatly reduced.

Once the orbiter program is scrapped and that albatross removed from the space program, lots of cool ideas become possible, IMHO.

President Bush proposes to spend $35 billion on STS between now and 2010/2011 and all we get for that money is ISS completion. If a shuttle derived program (B/C) can complete ISS and also deliver additional value for that same $35 billion, well, why not?

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#12 2004-01-28 20:47:28

Michael Bloxham
Member
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Registered: 2002-03-31
Posts: 426

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

President Bush proposes to spend $35 billion on STS between now and 2010/2011 and all we get for that money is ISS completion. If a shuttle derived program (B/C) can complete ISS and also deliver additional value for that same $35 billion, well, why not?

Exactly. Ditch the ISS, build the Shuttle C, launch a one piece ISS2 (i.e Skylab).

And all for less than keeping ISS.

Unfortunately, politics and common sense NEVER hold hands. Will private industry or the Russians (Chinese?) be first to Mars?  'Cause it sure aint gonna be NASA. Well... Not if they continue to think like this (refering to CEV, Hubble).

PS: Isn't Mars Direct $35 billion?


- Mike,  Member of the Clean Slate Society

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#13 2004-01-28 21:47:42

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Another shuttle C article.

Full scale shuttle C mock up photo.

Interesting quote:

Martin said some studies completed regarding a return to the Moon mission would require launching 265,000 to 440,000 pounds (120 to 200 metric tons) just to get the project started. The goal would be to launch that weight in as few missions as possible hoping to minimize risk and cost -- but there's no easy answer.

* * *

The space shuttle as it is today is designed to carry up to 65,000 pounds (29,480 kilograms) to a low inclination, low Earth orbit. That number quickly shrinks when flying into the higher inclination orbit where the International Space Station circles the planet.

By comparison, the most powerful version of the Atlas 5 is advertised as being able to lift 45,238 pounds (20,520 kilograms) to low Earth orbit.

Here is the key:

It's interesting to note that while space advocates lament the loss of the heavy lifting Saturn 5 Moon rocket, many fail to appreciate the shuttle is, in effect, a heavy-lift booster in the Saturn 5 class. It's just that 100 tons of that cargo is in the form of the reusable winged orbiter.

Scrap the returnable orbiter and STS lift capacity jumps by 100 tons, with everything else being equal.

Shuttle C exists and almost was built, except back in the early 1990s there was no mandate for humans to leave LEO and therefore no need for all that heavy lift. Launch the ISS in 3 or 4 throws and the shuttle would have had no purpose.

Now that George W. Bush has given us the mandate, well, we now need that lift. And I believe we can do it within the Bush budget numbers. (Well, maybe add a billion here and a billion there. . .)

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#14 2004-01-28 21:57:32

Ad Astra
Member
Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

I liked the Power Point presentation that promoted "Shuttle B."  I do see a problem with side-mounting the OSP on a Shuttle-B, because it would not be able to clear the stack should the ET explode.  The tank needs to be re-stressed to allow the OSP (now CEV) to sit on top.  Still, it's a great start for a future launcher.  If only somebody with a position of influence within NASA could see it...


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#15 2004-01-29 10:11:30

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Okay Bill, you are winning me over. However, putting the SHuttle down now would mean the US has no capability to move humans in and out of space until a man-rated CEV is available.

That means we might be without this capability for 6-10 years. What do you think of that?

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#16 2004-01-29 13:43:50

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Does the fact that they keep testing the Shuttle engines has anything to say about future plans, or am I just 'seeing things'?


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#17 2004-01-29 18:49:39

Ad Astra
Member
Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

However, putting the SHuttle down now would mean the US has no capability to move humans in and out of space until a man-rated CEV is available.

One advantage to Shuttle B or another SDV is that you could operate both vehicles side-by-side.  After all, there are two shuttle launch pads; why not devote one to the unmanned SDV?  Little to no modification would be needed on the pads, and with modest changes the shuttle processing facilities could be used for SDV.  If the shuttle program is capable of twelve launches per year (as was the pre-Challenger goal,) it would be reasonable to launch five manned missions and seven cargo missions per year until 2010 when the orbiter is retired.


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#18 2004-01-29 19:37:16

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Shuttle-C or Shuttle-Z or Ares do not require any modification to the existing launch infrastructure. If Shuttle-B or Magnum relocates the engines to the underside of the tank instead of the side, then exhaust holes and hold-down clamps will have to be moved. That requires change to the Mobile Launch Platform; not to the launch pad, crawler, or vehicle assembly building.

NASA has gotten the message. Read this article in Florida Today

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#19 2004-01-29 19:47:48

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Shuttle-C or Shuttle-Z or Ares do not require any modification to the existing launch infrastructure. If Shuttle-B or Magnum relocates the engines to the underside of the tank instead of the side, then exhaust holes and hold-down clamps will have to be moved. That requires change to the Mobile Launch Platform; not to the launch pad, crawler, or vehicle assembly building.

NASA has gotten the message. Read this article in Florida Today

big_smile - - great article

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#20 2004-01-30 03:16:14

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

That's what I'm talkin' about! big_smile


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#21 2004-01-30 15:15:16

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Okay Bill, you are winning me over. However, putting the SHuttle down now would mean the US has no capability to move humans in and out of space until a man-rated CEV is available.

That means we might be without this capability for 6-10 years. What do you think of that?

clark - having read the Hubble thread here at NewMars and after reading a recent report that shuttle will not participate in ISS crew rotations, I don't understand why you think we Americans have a genuine abilty to put people in LEO now.

Even if CAIB is fully implemented, the shuttle will remain a crippled bird. For all the same reasons clark gives for letting Hubble die.

Spend that $35 billion budgeted to finish ISS using shuttle B/C. It appears we can generate costs savings and then use those savings accelerate man-rating the CEV as well as doing the work needed to carry CEV on the shuttle stack.

No need to demolish the orbiters. Keep them in a warehouse until the CEV comes on-line or some emergency requires American lifted humans in space.

But man-rate that CEV sooner rather than later. Why do we need to wait until 2014?

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#22 2004-01-30 15:39:57

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Even if CAIB is fully implemented, the shuttle will remain a crippled bird. For all the same reasons clark gives for letting Hubble die.

No fair using my own reasons against me!  tongue  big_smile

Very well, let's put on my favorite hat....

We ground the Shuttle today, and pour more money into the SDV, whatever it may be. We have shut down the launch pads and the factories that supported the Shuttle. All those workers get a pink slip until we have an actual working SDV. Afterall, what are they going to do while we are testing the SDV? So, now we have trained workers leaving in droves- exspressley what NASA is trying not to do.

We have also agreed to only allow two astronauts to remain on the ISS at any given time for the next 6-10 years. We cannot have more than three unless we complete a CRV- which we are planning to provide sometime after 2008, but before 2014 (the CEV is man rated in this timeframe, which then allows the full compliment of people on ISS). We can't have more than 2 if we can't supply the ISS with Shuttle sized loads. That's why we reduced the crew to two- becuase the Shuttle can't deliver supplies and we need to conserve supplies up there.

If there is a problem with developing an SDV, that directly relates into costly time over-runs on completing the ISS, which eats into the overall effective lifetime of the ISS. We may very well find ourselves completing the ISS only to have to sink it a year later becuase the intital portions have been in space longer than their planned lifetime.

Development of an SDV by NASA also continues the old paridigm of the govn'ment being in the Heavy launch business, instead of just being a customer. Everything else about the current Space policy plan is about transitioning NASA into a customer, not a producer.

We wait until 2014 for a man-rated lunar capable CEV.

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#23 2004-01-31 11:33:23

Ad Astra
Member
Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

The model for Delta IV and Atlas V should be applied to SDV.  NASA should request a proposal for a launch vehcile that can launch an 80+ tonne payload and "make maximum use of existing launch infrastructure."  The Boeings and Lockheeds of the world will respond, and the best SDV design will (hopefully) win out.  The SDV would be owned by the manufacturer (the shuttle facilties being sold back to and operated by the manufacturer.)  Then the SDV could be used for commercial, military, or NASA launches.  In addition to missions beyond LEO, the SDV could be used for giant space telescopes and space laser demonstrations.


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#24 2004-01-31 18:39:52

Michael Bloxham
Member
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Registered: 2002-03-31
Posts: 426

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

I just had this thought: How many tonnes of hardware could we have launched to LEO if the shuttle had been a shuttle C all along?  Let's see... Shuttle C: 80 tonnes X 120 flights = 9600 tonnes. That's nearly 10,000 tonnes!   yikes


- Mike,  Member of the Clean Slate Society

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#25 2004-02-01 08:16:14

Vir Stellae
Member
From: Cow Hampshire, USA
Registered: 2003-12-08
Posts: 83

Re: Space shuttle variants - Options?

Yep with that tonnage we could've probably built a "2001" giant wheel space station...

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