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What do you think of the New Space Shuttle, should we invest more so we can have it by 2011?

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posted on May, 3 2006 @ 09:34 AM
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Oh, shuttle first. I was joking about Soyuz; you'd probably want bigger payload capacity, more advanced cargo handling, better manoeuvrability and so on. Besides, I can't see NASA or the US government (or for that matter the US public) being willing to depend on the Russians for this.

Anyway, there are a host of technological questions that need to be solved before we can build a reliable elevator cable 23,500 miles long. Certainly you can't build it out of wire.

A more interesting question is that of finance. I'm sure the cost of building a space elevator and keeping it running cannot be justified on the grounds of space exploration and scientific research only. In fact, I'm pretty sure it can't. The elevator will only come into being when (perish the thought) there's military demand for it, or, more healthily, when there's a market for it. The market will emerge when companies start to see profits in space -- from things like mining, materials processing and manufacture, tourism and real estate development... or something entirely different.

Think about how transportation and commerce propelled one another's development on earth. The first steps in the European conquest of the globe were taken by ridiculously brave (and greedy) men in primitive, inefficient, unsafe ships. But the voyages of these cockleshell sailors were enough to reveal huge potential riches in foreign lands. These riches could not be gained without better transportation and communications, so technology advanced rapidly to supply the demand: bigger, faster and safer ships, deepwater ports to accommodate them, canals like Panama and Suez to obviate the need to circumnavigate whole continents. On land, the same demand built railways and metalled roads and invented the automobile. Later still came the airplane. Once they were invented, all these technologies developed rapidly in response to market (and, one is forced to add, military) demand.

In offworld transport technology, we're barely at the Santa Maria stage. But as our explorations continue, we'll find ways of making money out of outer space. When that happens, the whole thing will just blast off -- literally.

I don't know when it will happen. But I do know that if and when the space elevator is built, it will be built by private companies and paid for by shareholders and venture capitalists. As it should be.




posted on May, 3 2006 @ 01:26 PM
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if we rely on Businesses to take us into space I predict that not only will myself, my children, and my grandchildren will never have the opportunity to experience it, not that anyone cares.

Would you support a Big National Investment into alternative methods to propel Space Craft and Shuttles?

I know the rich will be able to see low orbit space in a few years and if that is true Im guessing the general public is at least 100 years away from it.

What do you think?



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 02:36 AM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Would you support a Big National Investment into alternative methods to propel Space Craft and Shuttles?

Sure, because I'd like to see humanity move into space as quickly as possible. But how would you justify such an investment to the taxpayer?


I know the rich will be able to see low orbit space in a few years and if that is true Im guessing the general public is at least 100 years away from it.

I don't know about a hundred years. Maybe twenty.

Frankly, the thought of outer space filled with polyester-clad, hyperpygious yokelry gives me urticaria. Call me elitist, call me a snob if it makes you happy but I can't bear humanity en masse. I avoid beaches covered with bodies and historical monuments overrun with yahoos; I take my holidays in the wilderness. I deplore mass tourism. I think people ought to deserve the significant experiences they are vouchsafed by being capable of appreciating them.

Having said all that, I wouldn't dream of holding back the process. I may not love my fellow man much, but I believe in democracy, including the democratization of opportunity and experience.

I certainly hope you get there some day, since you so evidently would like to. For myself, while I believe human destiny lies Out There, personally I'd rather stay on Earth and let others bring the stars to me.

[edit on 4-5-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 10:17 PM
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where to start, where to start...

ok, the Space Elevator will be 62,000 miles long...not 23,500 miles. The "true" zero gravity point is around 22,300 miles...any thing put in that orbit will stay there, you wont need rockets or thrusters to help it sustain its orbit. The reason the cable longer then that is simple...because you want to lift something. Its kind of like a tug a war, the (in space) counterweight wants to pull the (on earth) platform right off the planet, but the platform doesn't go flying into space because the earths gravity wont let it go.

If you want some big advances in space...your not going to get it by handing huge amounts of cash to huge corporations, giving small amount to several smaller companies is where you want that money to go, thats where the best innovation lies. I'm not saying big companies like Lockheed, Boeing, & Northrop cant build great things, I'm just saying that there price tag is always very hefty. Northrop have a new concept that uses a 2-stage launch system to get the payload into space, The first stage has wings and it brings the upper stage (which is piggybacked to it) to mach 7 at 150,000 feet and then releases it, then the upper stage kicks in and it lifts it the rest of the way up. Its called Hybrid Launch Vehicle (HLV). Northrop says it will reduce launch costs, making it 2/3 cheaper then traditional rocket launches.

I'm a big fan of the space elevator, and believe one will be operational with in 15 years. and once one is built...it will be used to build another, and another one, etc. Then on the Moon, and then on Mars.

But, as much as I love the Elevator, I would still spend money on other forms of propulsion. In case the elevator fails (which I doubt would happen), you need other methods to put spacecraft in space. I like mothership type of ideas: some bigger craft that brings the payload to a higher altitude...whether that be a normal jet engines or a PDE, or even a scramjet. I think Scramjets are needed in order to make spaceflight (for people and items) feasible. But you will likely still need good ol' fashion chemical rockets to get a scramjet spacecraft into orbit...and I'm talkin LEO...not GEO. I'm not sure on how fast scramjets can go, but I believe its around mach 15...you need mach 25 to achieve the same level that the ISS stays at.

If you have a space elevator you dont need chemical rockets...at all. Because it can lift you payload to where ever you want it...if its a Space station component...you simply bring it up to around 250 miles, and then it uses its own thrusters to bring itself to the spacestation itself. Or lift it 12,000 miles to drop off a GPS satellite, Or go higher yet and go to Geo orbit...which is a good place for telecommunication sats, since at that height they are at a perfect zero G, and they move at the same speed the earth rotates, making them appear to hang over one spot on the globe. The space Elevator can keep traveling past GEO, and continue on until it reaches the end of the cable...62,000 feet. At that point there is the same amount of gravity on the lifter & satellite as there would be on earth...only its in the opposite direction. All you need to do is time it right and you can "throw" the spacecraft towards your destination, hopefully only needing to use its thrusters for minor directional changes throughout its journey.


low orbit
How much are we investing in the new Shuttle, I'm guessing 2-3 billion?

lol...umm, yeeeeaaaaah.
Last year Nasa spent 4.5 billion on the Space shuttle, this year there expecting to spend around 4.2 billion. The number will continually fall as it get closer to 2010...when its finally retired. I'm unsure on the costs of all the new systems...But to build it all and go to the moon, your probably going to spend anywhere from 50-100 billion. Nasa's annual budget is over 16 billion.

I think they are spending Ridiculous amount of money on the space shuttle, that money should be going to the CEV and other projects related to Nasa's plan.
The only reason the shuttle is still the top priority on Nasa is because of the International Space Station. Its not yet finished, and the Shuttle is the vehicle that most of the components yet to be attached are designed to be lifted by it into space.

They should contract the ISS lifting out to companies like Boeing and Lockheed, since they both have heavy lift rocket setups that could lift most of the ISS payloads, and the payloads that are the most expensive and biggest and specifically designed to fit perfectly into the shuttles bay...should be done by the shuttle...I would only do around a half dozen more shuttle flights.

To see how far the Space Elevator has come, stay tuned...In early August Nasa will have its second Centennial Challenge for the Tether & Beam Power competitions.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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Thank you, Murcielago, that was a very good post indeed.

Of course, the fact that I agree with pretty much everything you say might make me a wee bit biased.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 10:22 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
ok, the Space Elevator will be 62,000 miles long...not 23,500 miles. The "true" zero gravity point is around 22,300 miles...


While I like the idea of a Space Elevator, it's my belief that we don't possess the technology to accomplish this engineering feat.

First of all, it would have to be built of a material with a tensile strength we don't have. Nanotubes? While they may be rigid, they may not be strong enough to sustain the forces that will be constantly exerted on the elevator.

Second, the shape of the elevator will be similar to 2 extremely long, tapered needles joined together on their large ends. Now lets consider the diameter. The small ends would have to be large enough to carry tractor-trailer size loads and then the total length of the mega-structure would be an undertaking that would make the Great Wall of China look like a first-grader Tinker Toy project.

Above all, this structure would have to be built in geo-syncronous orbit 'parallel' to the Earth's surface above the Equator, turned 90 degrees upon completion and then lowered to the Earth's surface to be anchored in place.

After this is accomplished, any 'space'-traveler would have to trek to either Africa or South America to ride this elevator to space.

While it sounds good in theory, practical use would be impossible.

I'm still a fan of a 'saucer-shaped' vehicle with super-conducting materials along it's outer edges utilising the planets magnetic feild for lift and propulsion. This was a study conducted by Boing engineers over 20 years ago. I read this in an article discussing the probabilities of building a working 'UFO' type craft.

I'm going to sleep now, but I'll try to find a link to back up my claim tomorrow.

BTW, great post Murcielago!


[edit on 9/5/06 by Intelearthling]



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 10:53 PM
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Technology will only improve for nanotubes. I think you are being a bit too much of a nay sayer about the space elevator.

Do you have a link to the boeing "saucer shaped" craft?



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 12:05 AM
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O Nameless Dove, your post describes some valid obstacles in the way of realizing the Elevator of Heaven, but they are merely that -- obstacles. Engineering problems, to be accurate. It would be unwise, I think, to assume that they cannot be solved.

Remember Clarke's Second Law: "When an elderly and eminent scientist says something can be done, he is almost certainly right. When he says it cannot be done, he is almost certainly wrong." Empirical proof of this statement is not lacking.

Far though it be from me to suggest that you are either elderly or a scientist (or even particularly eminent), I must regard you as an unduly pessimistic sort of bird. The obstacles will be overcome and per ardua ad astra we shall undoubtedly go.



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 12:42 AM
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Originally posted by Intelearthling
While I like the idea of a Space Elevator, it's my belief that we don't possess the technology to accomplish this engineering feat.

First of all, it would have to be built of a material with a tensile strength we don't have. Nanotubes? While they may be rigid, they may not be strong enough to sustain the forces that will be constantly exerted on the elevator.


Don't quote me, as it's late, but off the top of my head, the Space Elevator requires a 62ish GPa(i think that is the unit in questions, again very tired while writing this)> Single Walled Nanotubes have demonstrated that they can achieve at least a theoretical 40ish range, and when you add in more walls, the stronger the graphene rolls become. (With a theoretical maximum of over 100+)



Second, the shape of the elevator will be similar to 2 extremely long, tapered needles joined together on their large ends. Now lets consider the diameter. The small ends would have to be large enough to carry tractor-trailer size loads and then the total length of the mega-structure would be an undertaking that would make the Great Wall of China look like a first-grader Tinker Toy project.


The scale isn't the issue when we get the robotic technology down. If you examine the different plans for the project in question, then the primary building phase will happen on the ground and a single roll of the ribbon will be launched up and when the designated orbit is reached, the spacecraft will literally become a satellite counterweight which is built with several docking mechanisms which will accomidate several more spacecraft/satellite(spacecraft in the sense that once it's boosted into orbit[Using the shuttles boosters w/o the shuttle attached] it disoconnects to the boosters after a certain distance and those drift down on parachutes and are recoverd for future use), to expand the counterweight/spacestation.

After the first tether is up and running a series of robots will interweave the subsequent layers to the tether building up tensile strength to the point where it will be able to launch small payloads(like additional weaver 'bots) to cut down on launch expenses via chemical means. As the tether builds up strength more and more of the materials needed for construction of the space tether the more acceleated the building becomes and when the point arrives to when it's ready for humans, have a big innagural launching, maybe called the Neo Apollo mission or some such and everyones happy for a much better reason then the "piddly" Moonshots. This will leave a much longer lasting impression then the Apollo missions as it will invariably change the entire world!



Above all, this structure would have to be built in geo-syncronous orbit 'parallel' to the Earth's surface above the Equator, turned 90 degrees upon completion and then lowered to the Earth's surface to be anchored in place.


You're thinking as if this will be an actual rigid elevator, it will not be, it will be a ribbon launching up in fair sized rolls, not much bigger then those huge rolls of copper wire you used to see at large-scale building sites.



After this is accomplished, any 'space'-traveler would have to trek to either Africa or South America to ride this elevator to space.

While it sounds good in theory, practical use would be impossible.


It cuts down the cost of access from thousands of dollars per pound, to hundreds of dollars per pound. There are a lot of people out there who will put a second mortgage on their house just to have the opportunity to go out into space and I'm one of them. That's not the points though, it's not going to be a "Tourism Elevator," it will more closely resemble an Industrial/Freight elevator with a huge end payload capacity. Once the technology and building process is perfected, then additional points of access will start to go up lowering the cost furter, potentially to the level of trans-atlantic flight. Access to these points will be a paramount strategic military choke-point in the late 21st and early 22nd as it will be the easiest and cheapest way to get into space. Think about that for a second. What country wouldn't love to have a way into orbit that cost literally several magnitudes of order cheaper then a conventional chemical rocket engine. Think of the resources on the moon alone, unlimited supply of nearly every element you can think of in our solar system and the sooner we learn how to mine, smelt, and manufacture in orbit the better we will all be off in the long run(at least those countries that control the most choke points).



I'm still a fan of a 'saucer-shaped' vehicle with super-conducting materials along it's outer edges utilising the planets magnetic feild for lift and propulsion. This was a study conducted by Boing engineers over 20 years ago. I read this in an article discussing the probabilities of building a working 'UFO' type craft.


How high would it go? I assume that such a craft would need several methods of propulsion in order for it to become a cheap and effective means of gravity well escape plus vacuum travel. Not to mention the issue of, we don't know wether that will work or not.

EDIT: Though for this to be complete in 5 years, it would take a miracle. I would target 2030 cor completion and setup the program similiar to the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo programs and maybe even use those names for the various stages in the project. I see this as a very effective tool to galvanize a Space-Bored populace in the Western World.

EDIT2: Here is an excellant article about the Space Tether.


spectrum.ieee.org...











www.abovetopsecret.com...

[edit on 10-5-2006 by sardion2000]

[edit on 10-5-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 01:14 AM
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i dont really follow nasa,but to me which doesnt mean much it looks just what we used to get to the moon. at the shuttle was like a plane and look modern. i was hoping we could come out with a thing that could fly to space and land like a plane.Could someone please explain to me what the differnce is between this and the rockets we took to the moon. I mean to me it looks like we are going backwards.



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 06:54 AM
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Gosh, Sardion2000, what an enlightening post (and what great pictures).

You've made us all want to go up in the elevator now. Even me.



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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Excellant post sardion2000,
but concepts have unforseen flaws.

While the rigidity of nanotubes exceed anything made in nature or anything we've made to date, you've got to remember, the harder and rigid a substance is, the more brittle it becomes and is more likely to fracture.

While the concept of anchoring one end of this space cable to Earth's surface and letting the other end 'hanging' out past GSO to maintain tension, any substantial weight close to Earth's suface and any substantial weight past GSO will add to stress on the cable.

Please excuse me.

Something has come up and I have to log off for a while.

I'll get back to this discussion momentarily.

U2U sent for hidden name

[edit on 10-5-2006 by masqua]



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 06:11 PM
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While the rigidity of nanotubes exceed anything made in nature or anything we've made to date, you've got to remember, the harder and rigid a substance is, the more brittle it becomes and is more likely to fracture.


Don't you know anything about Nanotubes? They are hardly rigid, which is one of the reasons why people are so interested in using them as a photoemissive element on EPaper. Each layer of the ribbon will be Microns thick and able to support several orders of magnitude it's own weight.



but concepts have unforseen flaws.


All concepts have unforseen flaws. The Shuttle for instance is proof enough of that, but that doesn't stop an Idiotic NASA from propping it up and continuing to use it well past it's prime. Same goes for Hubble, when we launched it, it was completely useless to us, until we fixed it, and we have a lame-duck NASA who wants to keep it operational well past it's prime. Then we have the people who want to turn back the clock and go back to a Capsule system that is completely unreusable.

Some of your arguments are valid but you seem to think that just because a concept will have some problems that we should just forget about it and go an unproven rout of using "Superconducting UFO's" to get into orbit.


The fact stands that this is the best way to get into orbit. Anti-gravity is still a myth. Chemical Rockets are horribly inefficient and Nuclear rockets will never fly with a Nuke Weary public.

Here is what a Nanotube ribbon looks like in case you're wondering. We can now "spin," them at 7 meters per second now and can hold many times their own weight already!

www.sciencemag.org...

www.guardian.co.uk...

Here is a link that displays just how flexible a cnt sheet really is.

www.sciencemag.org...

Intelearthling, I mean no disrespect with what I say, I just see that you havn't done your homework on this issue and that irks me somewhat.





[edit on 10-5-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
Intelearthling, I mean no disrespect with what I say, I just see that you havn't done your homework on this issue and that irks me somewhat.


sardion2000,

It's not my intention to irk you and yes it is true that I haven't kept up with the progress in manufacturing large quantities of nanotubes.

Your postings are quite informative and greatly appreciated.


From what I've read on these nanotubes, they're very rigid at the microscopic scale. Somewhere I'd read that layers upon layers of the material would be harder than diamonds. That's just my argument on building this elevator out of this material and it ending up almost 9 times the diameter of Earth itself. On top of all this, it would have to be built on GSO so that it could maintain it's position at a given point above the surface of the Earth.

Given all this, we'd have to send up the raw material and machinery to GSO so the constrution of the elevator could begin, and we'd have to do it with conventional rocket power.

I'm not trying to downplay this idea by no means. I think it's a great idea and I'll do some research on the advancements they've made in this area. That's a promise.

But as far as the 'saucer-shaped' vehicle with super-conduting material along the edges to ride on the magnetosphere of the Earth, this was a real article studying fictional spacecraft (example: Starship Enterprise) and the reality of physics.

There was one fictional spacecraft that got it right and it was the spaceship on 2001 Space Odessey, though the article said the engines were a bit overkill.

Then it went on to say that a group of engineers at Boeing was doing some research and they said that a 'saucer-shaped' craft would be the ultimate design for traveling through an atmosphere such as Earth's and add super-conducting material along it's edges, it would be able to manipulate the Earth's magnetosphere for propulsion and lift. I'm pretty sure that a craft of this type would be able to exit the atmosphere.

I've tried to find some information related to this study but to no avail. BTW, it was almost 15-16 years ago when this article was written (my oldest son was just an infant then) so I'm not making this up.

And not to get off topic, NASA could've come up with a better design for the shuttle replacement than the CEV. What did we do?
Steal it from China?


I, for one, don't like it. It's seem like it's a major step backward in the progress to maintain technological superiority in what's become an international endeavor.

I'll do some research and sorry if I irked you or anyone for dissing this idea.

[edit on 10/5/06 by Intelearthling]



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