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#1 2006-12-10 06:38:20

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

.

I think that retire the Shuttles in 2010 and use only some SMALL (and POOR) crew/cargo capsules is a BAD idea!

The Space Shuttle is an old machine but its main problem (compared with past and future capsules) is that it has NO ESCAPE SYSTEM so, if something goes wrong after lift-off (like in the Challenger accident) the crew has no way to survive.

Then, in my new article (with animation) "The SAFE Space Shuttle" http://www.gaetanomarano.it/articles/01 … uttle.html I suggest to MODIFY the Shuttles to fly WITH a crew but SAFELY.

.

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#2 2006-12-10 11:45:34

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

In a few words not a chance that Nasa will alter the shuttles. No ifs, no ands and no buts for it is to late to have done this at this point.

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#3 2006-12-10 12:07:29

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

There is no way to add an escape system to Shuttle without deleting something else: since the Shuttle is already on the lean side and the ISS payloads push the cargo capacity to the limit, that means the added mass of an escape system will make sure Shuttle CAN'T complete ISS construction. Ain't happening. Your design would call for the addition of two heavy inch-thick aluminum bulkheads, escape rockets that have no place to fit, and no place to store the bulky parachutes.

Not to mention the fantastic cost of even small modifications to Shuttle due to its complexity, and the impracticality of hypersonic separation & reentry in a capsule that would fit within Shuttle mold lines. A blunt-nosed capsule like that would surely be destroyed unless it were used in the brief moments before going supersonic during launch. And no heat shield for the capsule? In the event of abort from or near orbit you'd be toast. Oh, and don't forget that big vertical tail is back there, which you would hit too.

Oh and one more thing, that if you DID "punch out" on or just above the launch pad due to a pad fire (and the impending tactical nuclear-scale explosion), where would the pod fall? Thats right, close to the launch pad, since it would eject horizontally and not vertically... right within the radius of the steel-melting inferno about to sweep over them.

And a main Shuttle shield with no tiles? What else would you use?


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#4 2006-12-10 14:52:15

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

In a few words not a chance that Nasa will alter the shuttles. No ifs, no ands and no buts for it is to late to have done this at this point.

I'm aware that NASA plans are completely different than my proposal (that is ONLY a "concept", like other articles on my website) however, we must imagine a (possible) worst scenario thatmay happen if COTS vehicles don't works as expected and the Orion/Ares will have a Shuittle/ISS-like delay (3, 5 or more years over the planned 2015)

.

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#5 2006-12-10 15:11:18

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

And a main Shuttle shield with no tiles? What else would you use?

my idea is only a concept that will never come true, but modify the Shuttle is not so complex with to-day's technologies
I've used the standard Shuttle cabin only to draw the image for the article, but, of course, the real ejectable module must be different (and with a shape that can avoid the problems you quote, including a vertical ejection)
about the weight, I think that a new cabin can weigh less than the old Shuttle cabin exactly like the new Orion will be lighter compared with the smaller Apollo
the ejectable cabin must be used only from lift-off to SRB separation, while, after it, the Shuttle can simply have a standard abort mode with a separation from the ET and a landing
in my article I've already suggested to add a second thermal shield (for a Columbia-like abort scenario) and the propellent must be sufficient for a safe abort from launch pad reaching the altitude for parachutes
about the new Shuttle thermal shield, I suggest to use new materials and big, thick, fixed modules instead of small tiles
(however, remember it's only a concept...)

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#6 2006-12-10 21:50:41

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

No no, there is no need for a contingency plan in the event that Ares-I (or whatever rocket NASA uses to put crews in orbit) fails, because if it does then NASA is doomed anyway. Manned spaceflight will shrivel up and only robots will venture beyond Earth orbit for a very long time.

I think that a new cabin can weigh less than the old Shuttle cabin exactly like the new Orion will be lighter compared with the smaller Apollo

I don't agree, you are talking about adding two new bulkheads running the length of the cabin, plus escape rockets/parachutes (which will weigh up to a few tonnes as in Orion), and a second heat shield. You'd also need a dedicated RCS system to orient the pod for the heat shield to work properly too. All these things add up, I don't think that its fair to compare this pod and the top half of the old Shuttle crew cabin with Orion/Apollo, since the Shuttle pod needs so many things that the regular Shuttle does not.

Also, the Shuttle's abort option at high speed/altitude but while still in the atmosphere is very "scary" and would probably wind up getting the whole crew killed. Its much safer for a capsule, since it is "pointy". If the pod can't work in this situation, that severely detracts from its usefulness.

And a final note, separation during reentry, that sounds very scary too. Plus, how do you know when you need to punch out in such a situation?

These "big thick sections" will of course be very heavy: I don't think you really appreciate how light weight the Shuttle tiles are, they are just a foam, but a foam made of glass. So heavy that the Shuttle will surely have no payload left for crew/cargo.

The solution to fixing the Shuttle and making it safe is simple: get rid of the Shuttle and put the crew on a capsule. Problem solved.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#7 2006-12-11 06:45:27

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

The CIAB recertification for safety, what would make a shuttle safer?

Leveraging the shuttle hardware for the future of the ISS with a goal of commercial use.


Ok I will play along so as all play nice.



web site

Last, but not least, use the Shuttles after 2010 (instead of retire them) may fill the gap of an autonomous american access to space between 2010 and 2015 (when the Orion, finally, will fly).

Yes this would be nice if there was something to fill the gap of 2010 until first flight but where as the true shuttle costs are not really known how can we move forward with continued shuttle accounting...

If the Shuttles would be sold then true accounting could be implimented.


web site

The main problem of the Shuttle (compared with past and future capsules) is that it has NO ESCAPE SYSTEM, so, if something goes wrong after lift-off (like in the Challenger accident) the crew has no way to survive.

Then, my idea is to modify the Shuttles crew's cabin to be ejectable. If necessary, the crew cabin can be ejected and goes away from Shuttle, then lands softly in the ocean with parachutes and floats thanks to some inflatable airbags (that can be used also for a soil land).

I think on the first few flights there were ejection seats but they were removed. Also since there is a mid deck they could have only been of use for the piloting crew.

Now ejecting only a portion of the nose becomes undueable because of the mid deck. Thou the entire nose would work with changes to how the shuttle attaches to the cargo bay.

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#8 2006-12-11 06:52:54

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

The cost of recertifying the Shuttle and keeping it flying beyond 2010 will be enormous. Currently it consumes about $5 billion a year and there's no reason to believe it will become any cheaper. If that money is taken from Orion/Ares I development they will never fly. 2014 is the must fly date, NASA are pushing for at least 2012 and earlier if possible.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#9 2006-12-11 07:08:51

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Just the reason why selling it off for commercial use might be in order since there is a ton of wasted cash in the standing army that is just waiting around. Consolidation of operations to a private corporation would end all this bloat.

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#10 2006-12-11 07:53:58

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Selling it off? More likely NASA would have to pay a commercial company to take it on .


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#11 2006-12-11 08:07:52

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Nobody would possibly buy the Shuttles for anything other than an amusement park or a museum; first off the Shuttle pad 39B is due to be converted for Ares rockets and the old 39A retired. 39A would be the only pad compatible with Shuttle, and so a private company would have to prop this old facility up if they wanted to fly Shuttle. Not to mention, what happens if a private Shuttle flight assembly got in the way of an Ares assembly in the VAB? The Shuttle has to wait of course! And what kind of an arrangement is that, especially with time-critical launch windows for the ISS. Then there is the issue of how much a private company will pay for access to the VAB and other KSC facilities. Oh, and don't forget having to pay to build a separate tank construction line at Michoud since the present 8.4m one is slated to be replaced by 5.5m and 10m ones.

And I reject this notion that simply privatizing Shuttle will be akin to waving a magic wand and making the bureaucracy all better: thats a pipe dream, so much of the care for Shuttle is already contracted out, and replacing all these just isn't realistic. And who is to say that even all the "bloat" under one roof would magically evaporate? You need a large number of people to launch a Shuttle, yet if you are not launching often then you would have to keep them employed yet doing nothing. You can't have "part time" Shuttle techs a month or two out of the year. Much of the "Shuttle Army" problem is because the system is complex and was intended to fly much more often, hence increasing efficiency to a half-sane level, but that is not going to happen under a private scheme any more than under NASA.

Recertification is also going to cost a boat load of cash, perhaps billions per orbiter, and thats not counting the regular ~4-5Bn/yr program cost. I just can't see any company outside the big-name aerospace giants shelling out this money... oh, and don't forget that Boeing/Lockheed already run Shuttle for NASA (or at least 80-90%), plus the contracts for Ares parts... why would they be any cheaper to fly if wholly owned by them?

The notion of having Shuttle on hand if Ares-I fails (or whatever rocket is selected for the task) is kind of silly, that if NASA can't deliver than NASA is doomed and talk of a contingency plan is meaningless. And if there is a scary "Shuttle like delay?" Big deal, then the worthless ISS might languish a little, no big loss.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#12 2006-12-11 08:13:58

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

The CIAB recertification for safety, what would make a shuttle safer?
I think on the first few flights there were ejection seats but they were removed. Also since there is a mid deck they could have only been of use for the piloting crew.
Now ejecting only a portion of the nose becomes undueable because of the mid deck. Thou the entire nose would work with changes to how the shuttle attaches to the cargo bay.

the Shuttles need a recertification only if they will have some major changes
the question is: "are the Shuttles safe to fly?"
NASA has already given its (positive) answer with three launches this year and 12-13 planned in the next four years
then, if NASA thinks the Shuttles are SAFE, they can accomplish another dozen (or more) of flights in 2011-2015 (and after, for ISS) with (only) a standard maintenance
the Shuttles can't fly forever, but (if they are still safe) can fly more than planned
stop in 2010 or continue to fly is ONLY a political decision (that, your next President can change, giving the funds for more flights)
I know that, in the first few flights, the Shuttles have had ejectable seats
add ejectable seats is the simplest fastest and chepest way to save the astronauts life, but it can be used only between lift-off and 5-10 km. (that, however, is the most dangerous part of a flight)
about the changes to add ejectable seats... that seats (clearly) can't be used for 7-8 astronauts but for crews of 4-5 astronauts all in the top floor of the crew cabin
(this is not a problem since the finished ISS will need less missions' specialists per flight)

.

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#13 2006-12-11 08:39:50

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

The cost of recertifying the Shuttle and keeping it flying beyond 2010 will be enormous. Currently it consumes about $5 billion a year and there's no reason to believe it will become any cheaper. If that money is taken from Orion/Ares I development they will never fly. 2014 is the must fly date, NASA are pushing for at least 2012 and earlier if possible.

the current price per launch of a Shuttle is (only) around $600M including ALL costs while EACH Orion/Ares-I launch may cost over $1 billion (including shared R&D costs)

the amount you quote is the fixed costs of operation for the manned programs and that costs will remain unchanged with the new vehicles (and may increase, with TWO different rockets to support) also, in 2010-2015 (with zero Shuttle or Orion fligts) that fixed costs (infrastructures, emlpoyees, etc.) will be paid for NOTHING

and... NEVER FORGET that one Orion can launch ONLY 3 astronauts (for ISS) OR 3 mT of cargo while ONE ($600M) Shuttle launch can send in orbit TWICE the astronauts AND (up to) EIGHT TIMES the payload

then, ONE ($600M) Shuttle flight EQUALS up to TEN cargo/crew ($1B each) Orion flights with a total saving-per-(Shuttle)-flight of $10B - $0.6B = $9.4 billion

last, the Shuttle-truck has/can do things capsules will never have/can do: airlock, canadarm, assemply, disassembly, repair, maintenace, spacelab, sat-probes launch, big payloads/modules, big cargo return,etc.

.

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#14 2006-12-11 08:44:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Recertification is also going to cost a boat load of cash

So what did Nasa do to recertify them in each decade?

As for Launch pads, isn't there one at Edwards?
Granted its not Ideal in safe being launched over water not populated areas...

The having Shuttle on hand if Ares-I fails, would not be practical since it takes so long to refurbish them between launches.

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#15 2006-12-11 16:12:05

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

You are simply wrong gaetano, the Shuttles are recertified regularly as a standard engineering practice for old machines, and is very much not political. I gather that the recertification process involves an analysis of wear-and-tear on the Shuttle, which will involve partial dismantling to get at all the pieces, and then a lengthy engineering study to estimate and project the remaining life of the components (witness Discovery's electrical trouble). When you have a vehicle with part counts measuring above the million mark, a vehicle that has to resist such incredible stresses and conditions, and a vehicle that is so old this process by necessity costs a very large amount of money and time. Not after a major change, this is a normal requirement for the reliable flight.

EACH Orion/Ares-I launch may cost over $1 billion (including shared R&D costs)

Then comparisons with Shuttle's cost are stupid if you are going to include R&D. Furthermore, Ares/Orion will be flying quite a few missions over its life, and so your $600M per flight aggregated R&D cost is wrong and stupid.

You really have to get over this "DEVELOPMENT COSTS ARE TEH EVILLL!!!!!!!!" stuff gaetano

I reject the notion that the Shuttle Army will be any bigger under the Ares rockets than it is for Shuttle, since the complexity of both the new rockets combined is still much less than the Shuttle. You really must understand, the Shuttle is the most complex machine ever made by man, without equal. The Ares rockets are comparatively as complicated as rocks.

Orion can launch four astronauts to the ISS, just like it can to the Moon, and the raw tonnage of cargo delivered to the ISS is not the only benchmark of performance, the volume of the vehicle is just as or even more important. Much of the cargo delivered to the ISS is bulky but light (clothes, food, experiments) too. Also, don't forget, that Ares/Orion are being built with significant mass margins, which might be "nudged" a little for unmanned payloads versus crewed capsules.

The Shuttle has an airlock and a robot arm and a cargo bay, swell, but the fact is that none of these things are worth much, except for construction of the worthless ISS or the bad investment of fixing Hubble. Due to the $600M price tag of a single launch (plus a few hundred mil more for a mission), then there is no conceivable space asset that can't be replaced for less than or the same cost of a Shuttle mission. Neither is there any "BIG CARGO" that needs to be retrieved from orbit, which is a good thing since Shuttle can't return heavy things anyway. And no launch vehicle in the world is as expensive as Shuttle for launching satellites, thats just stupid gaetano. Even the Titan-IV is better! ...Which is why the USAF abandoned Shuttle and developed it instead, and its just an overgrown missile!


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#16 2006-12-11 16:39:04

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Yes the old "what about the development costs" argument. Well that's one thing governments are good for, providing seed money for doing things no sane business would ever think of doing.

Now imagine this. A fresh graduate engineer goes for their first job and the question of salary comes up: "well i paid for 4 years of college plus the cost of 12 years of school, plus my food and expenses, oh and the hospital fees .. okay so let's prorate that over the two years you want to contract me for .. that'll be $200,000 a year please."

Some good news for GCNRevenger, the Orion spec calls for six crew to ISS (there's even hints that it can carry 10 crew down from ISS as a lifeboat).


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#17 2006-12-18 21:51:56

Dayton Kitchens
Member
From: Norphlet, Arkansas
Registered: 2005-12-13
Posts: 183

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

What about flying the shuttle unmanned if its really needed for some reason.

The Soviets had few troubles flying Buran to orbit and landing it unmanned. 

Why nearly 20 years later would it be that difficult for NASA to do the same with the shuttle?

And if landing an unmanned shuttle is too risky, why not launch unmanned then put a two person astronaut crew aboard from the ISS to land it?

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#18 2006-12-18 22:28:49

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Needed for what? There is nothing up that warrants keeping the eye-watteringly expensive Shuttle program alive.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#19 2006-12-18 22:42:31

Dayton Kitchens
Member
From: Norphlet, Arkansas
Registered: 2005-12-13
Posts: 183

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Needed for what? There is nothing up that warrants keeping the eye-watteringly expensive Shuttle program alive.

Just a hypothetical GCN.

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#20 2006-12-19 20:13:20

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

GCNR: What if we all chipped in and sponsored you as a guest space tourist up to spend a week on the International Space Station. Would you accept?

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#21 2006-12-19 21:31:48

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

What any one person wants is irrelevant, the ISS produces a huge net negative for all the people.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#22 2006-12-24 12:27:50

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

That's a cop-out answer, and you know it. Seriously now: would you accept such an offer to experience a week or so in orbit, doing what you with your knowledgeable background might contribute to human challanges to living off the earth, instead of (dare I venture to say it?--okay I will) carping from the sidelines, when others are risking their all to take advantage of what admittedly could have been a better planned space programme, but soldier on with what after all will be their only chance in a lifetime. Wouldn't you jump at the chance?

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#23 2007-01-06 16:57:10

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Shame on me, for following up on my own post ... but it's another year, so how about it: would you accepts a week in LEO if you were the winner of a lottery (say) that "your friends" won and gave to you as a gift, GCNR?

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#24 2007-02-08 11:04:31

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

Space Shuttle program

Costs
The total cost of the Shuttle program has been $145 billion as of early 2005 , and is estimated to be $174 billion when the Shuttle retires in 2010. NASA's budget for 2005 allocated 30%, or $5 billion, to Space Shuttle operations; this was decreased in 2006 to a request of $4.3 billion.

Per-launch costs can be measured by dividing the total cost over the life of the program (including buildings, facilities, training, salaries, etc) by the number of launches. With 115 missions (as of 6 August 2006), and a total cost of $150 billion ($145 billion as of early 2005 + $5 billion for 2005, this gives approximately $1.3 billion per launch. Another method is to calculate the incremental (or marginal) cost differential to add or subtract one flight — just the immediate resources expended/saved/involved in that one flight. This is about $60 million.

Early cost estimates of $118 per pound ($260/kg) of payload were based on marginal or incremental launch costs, and based on 1972 dollars and assuming a 65,000 pound (30 000 kg) payload capacity. Correcting for inflation, this equates to roughly $36 million incremental per launch costs. Compared to this, today's actual incremental per launch costs are about two thirds more, or $60 million per launch.

Lots of good stuff for the hidden costs associated with shuttle
HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT FISCAL YEAR 1996 ESTIMATES

This one talks about recertification and how the flights have differing Labor hours are shown in a chart.
Number of components with demonstrated high reliability

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#25 2021-07-27 19:43:26

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: 2010 shuttle recertified, What's needed to fly safely?

sort of the thoughts for why it could not be used for hubble in the future

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