NASA Ground Space Shuttles

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by IdleAdjt, Jul 28, 2005.

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  1. BBC News

    Pure brown trouser time for those lucky people who have just blasted off.

    I appreciate that space travel is fraught with many dangers but I think that it is irresponsible of NASA to lauch a shuttle when they are plauged by so many on-going safety concerns. Those poor sods sat up in orbit will hardly be comforted by the NASA clain that they are pretty sure that the shuttle is undamaged. After what happened on re-entry last time, I for one would be docking with the International Space Station and refusing to come down until they sent up a fully functioning shuttle to collect me.

    I get the feeling that NASA were not entirely happy about sending the shuttle up but political pressure from Georgie Boy made them crack on.

    Here's hoping for a safe return.
  2. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Looks like it's time to get the spacesuit on and the tube of Polyfilla out. I should imagine re-entry will be a somewhat 'fixed grins and tuneless whistling' affair.
  3. How long does it take an organisation the size and scale of NASA to put right a problem of this magnitude? They have done it before and will do it again, but i think they have lost some of their ambition and daring. I personally think the excuse about the 'fuel guag malfunction' was a front for the problems they knew they were having with the insulation and surface coatings.

    Perhaps time to look into expanding the scramjet test programme? :wink:
  4. The ironic thing is that if NASA had gone with the original plan to launch shuttles from a specially designed high-altitude aircraft (basically a huge flying wing) none of the fuel tank or booster related problems would ever have happened. At the time the expense of designing and building such a vehicle was considered prohibitive, even though individual launch costs would have been considerably cheaper. I bet all the messing about with the external baggage over the last twenty-odd years plus the loss of two orbiters has cost far more than a proper design would have.
    IIRC BAe had a space plane design that could be launched from the back of an Antonov at a fraction of the price of a Shuttle mission but the idea was scrubbed due to lack of funding and American pressure, which pretty much sums up the British space programme.
  5. " I get the feeling that NASA were not entirely happy about sending the shuttle up but political pressure from Georgie Boy made them crack on."

    How true, very bold man with other peoples lives, a real War Hero is King George II.
  6. There were two BAe proposals. MUSTARD which was a series of lifting bodies with an orbiter - all fully recoverable. And the one you describe -HOTOL - a single stage to orbit space plane. I beleive the Rolls Royce RB-545 engine design for HOTOL is still classified
  7. classfying it as military secret killed it .Hope they get to build another launch vechicle after the shuttle has gone to the boneyard.
    We do engineering well in this country and exploring why dont we do space .Anyway if we had our own launch vechicle launching undesirables at the sun would be real possbility :lol: .
  8. Thje HOTOL story's a trajedy of classic UK proportions. Just like Blaqk Knight, Blue Streak and TSR 2. There was a poxy little pretender with about 10% our level of technology that the Frogs were building called Arianne when Black Knight was dumped. The secret thing in HOTOL is a practical solution to something horrible in the obscure world of Thermodynamics - makes a graph with a nasty curve go straight, or something like that. Anyhow, they classified the solution to the critical problem, not just "an engine", which means there can never even be a work-around until someone else in another country figures out the physics for himself. And fat lot of good UK will get from that. Idiocy of the very highest order.
  9. Have a look at this:
  10. Seems Burt Rutan is onto a winner. Look what he has done with a minute fraction of NASA's budget. The trick for NASA in the next phase of development is to try and keep Congress from meddling too much.
  11. De Haviland were working on a Nuclear Powered Blue Streak. Didn't get past the advanced studies stage though, as it was shitcanned with the rest of the project.

    Blue Streak was quite a beast. It went on to be the first stage of the ELDO rockets which eventually morphed into Arianespace.

    There is a study that concluded that using a mixture of Blue Streak and Black Arrow the UK could have put an astronaut into circumlunar orbit around 1968.
  12. Thanks Fozzy, Sabre was was the engine I was waffling about. Had an interesting chat with Alan Bond about it some years back. You know how SF blokes all have really heavy strip-like mascara in the pics in the middle of Andy McNab books... Well Bond's "detailed" engine picture had one of those right in the middle.
  13. Fozzy, you ever read up on the US "NERVA" tests? There has been some recent talk of resurrecting the idea. There are the occasional studies still of gas core reactors and all sorts of things I'd prefer didn't fly over my house...
  14. Yes - interesting stuff. As you say the US are looking seriously at Nuclear powerplants again for deep space missions. Ever read about Project ORION? Atom bomb powered space ship to visit the outer moons of Saturn.
    Also Project PLUTO a nuclear powered cruise missile is worth a Goggling
  15. Cooo - colour me impressed! Shame we can't use the technology - Skylon would be a worthy successor to the Shuttle