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Was the Shuttle really worth it?

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posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 01:54 PM
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crazyewok

JadeStar

For without the Shuttle or another mostly re-usable vehicle, it's hard seeing a space station as large as the ISS being built, both from a practical and political standpoint.

But MIR was built without a shuttle. surely if the shuttle had not existed another launch vehicle could have been devloped.


Mir was much smaller than the ISS as seen here:



It would have taken many more missions with an American "Soyuz" style space craft to build the ISS. We must remember, space is still a very dangerous place, even though I thought Gravity was a pretty weak movie, it does serve to illustrate a real danger.

The more spacewalks, the more chance someone dies.

Here's another size comparison of the ISS with other spacecraft.



And with a football field....



It's truly massive.

And just for fun though..... we could build a solar system travelling Enterprise for about 50 billion US dollars....



The ISS's total cost was $150 billion US dollars (in 1990s dollars)

Your other points are valid. But again, it was a trade off between cargo capacity and re-usability.
edit on 4-2-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:02 PM
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JadeStar

crazyewok

JadeStar

For without the Shuttle or another mostly re-usable vehicle, it's hard seeing a space station as large as the ISS being built, both from a practical and political standpoint.

But MIR was built without a shuttle. surely if the shuttle had not existed another launch vehicle could have been devloped.


Mir was much smaller than the ISS as seen here:



It would have taken many more missions with an American "Soyuz" style space craft to build the ISS. We must remember, space is still a very dangerous place, even though I thought Gravity was a pretty weak movie, it does serve to illustrate a real danger.

The more spacewalks, the more chance someone dies.

Here's another size comparison of the ISS with other spacecraft.



And with a football field....



It's truly massive.

And just for fun..... though we could built a solar system travelling Enterprise for about 50 billion US dollars....



The ISS's total cost was $150 million US dollars (in 1990s dollars)

Your other points are valid. But again, it was a trade off between cargo capacity and re-usability.
edit on 4-2-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)


O im not denying it had a use in the ISS. Just not 100% sure it was invaluable. The ISS may have had to have gone through some design changes but Im sure we would still have it. Though albit with a bit more danger behind its construction.

BTW thanks for the scale picture. I didnt know SKYLON was going to be tht big !



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:03 PM
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crazyewok
The aims of the shuttle for NASA was to bring cheap affordable reliable space travel.

I gotta stop you right there, because the Shuttle was developed as a weapons delivery system. There is nothing cheap about the Shuttle, and it's hardly affordable either.

As for what the Shuttle helped achieve, I don't think they would get those huge ISS modules to LEO without the Shuttle's payload ability. The Shuttle has the advantage of delivering a large heavy payload AND a crew of 7. The Hubble Telescope wouldn't be repairable without it. The Shuttle also served as an orbital habitat and science lab for astronauts, providing more space and capabilities than, say, the Soyuz can. By the way, the Soyuz also suffered fatal accidents, but that doesn't detract from its value.

As for going to Mars instead, that's too far a target to reach, both distance-wise and technology-wise. We needed to spend time "conquering" LEO, learning to live in space, researching and testing new technologies, etc.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:03 PM
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Did'nt the Russians have a copy of the Shuttle themselvescalled burran. Did they ever use it?



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:07 PM
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crazyewok

BTW thanks for the scale picture. I didnt know SKYLON was going to be tht big !


Yes!

Most of us space geeks are REALLY looking forward to Skylon flying for that reason. It's going to be a huge spaceplane.

If and when it ever flies it will be a remarkable feat of British engineering. Scramjets will be the future.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:14 PM
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EnigmaAgent
Did'nt the Russians have a copy of the Shuttle themselvescalled burran. Did they ever use it?


Yes and Sort of.

They did a umanned remote test. And it worked. Trouble is the USSR collapsed and funding dried out.

They actually had a sound plan. Like NASA they knew the fragile heatshield would be problem. The plan being if a tile broke off they would recover the crew with a soyuz and try and land the Buran remotley,



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 02:20 PM
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The aims of the shuttle for NASA was to bring cheap affordable reliable space travel.
I gotta stop you right there, because the Shuttle was developed as a weapons delivery system. There is nothing cheap about the Shuttle, and it's hardly affordable either.

Your correct I was just pointing out the original plan. What NASA ended up with was the monetry blackhole that me and you know. The original plan is alot diffrent to the plan congress and the military ended up forceing on NASA.


wildespace
I don't think they would get those huge ISS modules to LEO without the Shuttle's payload ability.

Well there some pretty heavu unmanned lifters. If Russia could design the proton which cost half as much in KG to LEO costs Im sure the USA could too!



wildespace
The Hubble Telescope wouldn't be repairable without it.

As been pointed out hardly a cost efficient use of the shuttle to spend a 200 bilion craft to repair a 1,5 billion telescope.


wildespace
As for going to Mars instead, that's too far a target to reach, both distance-wise and technology-wise. We needed to spend time "conquering" LEO, learning to live in space, researching and testing new technologies, etc.

Well seeing as the shuttle sucked up so much of NASA money we wont know. Maybe the extra money could have been used for better programs in LEO? Mars was just a example.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 04:34 PM
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The question is hard to answer.

I think that the shuttle's design was screwed in its development.

between having to support the NASA/Nasa-Contractor infrastructure, which is usually located in the districts of congressmen who give nasa it's funding, and having to appease the airforce, which had some pretty hard-to-meet requirements regarding payload, and cross-range capabilities. Basically it made for a highly compromized design.


However it's important to remember nasa wouldn't have gotten the money anyway if it weren't for these factors that led to the compromised design. Nasa's budget is controlled by congress in a really direct manner, and congresspersons, are well, easily swayed by lobbyists for companies like ATK, and Lockheed-Martin, ect. since those companies have a lot of employees who would be quite annoyed if they got laid off.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 04:44 PM
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I have to say that one time long ago.. I was watching Buck Rodgers just before the
news channels started showing the first ever re-entry of the first Shuttle.

Back then I was very impressed and excited by this (almost plane) coming in from orbit and landing on a runway.
I had high hopes back then about the next chapter in space flight.

35 years later.. nothing has developed from that first flight.
There was 35 years of the same stuff .. ending with ..well nothing else.

How disappointing.

By now I think I expected something that could zoom down a runway and then go ballistic to space.
Sadly we are back to rockets.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 04:54 PM
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rigel4

By now I think I expected something that could zoom down a runway and then go ballistic to space.
Sadly we are back to rockets.


Most likley not for long.

10 years 20 tops and you will likely a REAL space plane. Look up SKYLON, they are makeing huge progress on something that will make the shuttle look like a toy. On top of that theres some big things comeing from boeing in the next decade.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 06:25 PM
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I think it was worth it, I remember sitting waiting for the first shuttle getting to lunch, it was the best technology we had at the time and it was delayed, I can't remember what for weather or a glitch, but it went up. Like anything else we (USA) have tried we have had accidents but we learn from them.

The shuttle program was worth it, but we need to ask why it got so expensive, and why did they retire the program, I rather see my tax dollars go to this then some third world country crisis.



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 06:34 PM
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19KTankCommander
I think it was worth it, I remember sitting waiting for the first shuttle getting to lunch, it was the best technology we had at the time and it was delayed, I can't remember what for weather or a glitch, but it went up. Like anything else we (USA) have tried we have had accidents but we learn from them.

The shuttle program was worth it, but we need to ask why it got so expensive, and why did they retire the program, I rather see my tax dollars go to this then some third world country crisis.


Why was it worth?

Ehy not use a more cost effective system?



posted on Feb, 4 2014 @ 08:55 PM
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rigel4
I have to say that one time long ago.. I was watching Buck Rodgers just before the
news channels started showing the first ever re-entry of the first Shuttle.

Back then I was very impressed and excited by this (almost plane) coming in from orbit and landing on a runway.
I had high hopes back then about the next chapter in space flight.

35 years later.. nothing has developed from that first flight.
There was 35 years of the same stuff .. ending with ..well nothing else.

How disappointing.

By now I think I expected something that could zoom down a runway and then go ballistic to space.


You mean like this?






I guess you missed that.

It may make its first flight this year.




Sadly we are back to rockets.


HEY! Robots are cool!

And can do a hell of alot more than us in hostile environments and potentially outlast us humans. Don't discount them. The first thing to leave the solar system last year was a robot after all.....

Your kids, quite likely could end up being part robot.... just saying...
edit on 4-2-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 12:50 AM
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I think the Shuttle was the right vehicle for the right time, but realistically? It's 'time' probably passed somewhere around the early 90's at the latest. Not in concept but in actually using the same airframes and craft. They didn't make a fleet of Shuttles. They made a precious group of prototypes which simply never found the funding, courage or both to develop beyond orbital truck drivers.

There isn't any real comparison between the Shuttle and MiR because they each did totally different things for contributing to the science of space. MiR made the ISS possible or more likely to happen by lessons learned (many the hard way as the books about it really go into) and the Shuttle supplied short term flights with science experiments contained within the ship, not a Space Station. A trade off on both, IMO.

What it's become now is just pathetic tho... NASA, always an orphan child in budgetary consideration, is limping along with 17 billion or so a year for the whole agency. That's crumbs off the table compared to the "sexy" agencies like DHS and DOD. Those who the leaders really like and get excited on........and we really do have ignorant leaders, don't we? Science isn't their strong suit. Either ideology or side of the spectrum. Action movies are more the speed of current world leaders ..not non-fiction science for the joy of learning.



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 03:16 AM
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crazyewok

wildespace
The Hubble Telescope wouldn't be repairable without it.

As been pointed out hardly a cost efficient use of the shuttle to spend a 200 bilion craft to repair a 1,5 billion telescope.

Science made possible by the Hubble is priceless. It isn't just some communications satellite, it's our eyes into the universe.

I agree that the Shuttle proved to be too much expensive to be feasible for an ongoing use, and had to be retired sooner or later. But it helped us achieve so much in a shorter space of time. Russia's heavy rockets cannot provide a crew of 7 along with the payload, and the Soyuz only provides for a crew of 3, with very little room for scientific payloads, experiments, or spacewalks. The Shuttle was so much more usable and adapatable. Heck, if it were a lot cheaper it could have become the first orbital hotel for space tourists.



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 04:26 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


My point about the hubble was for the money saved from the shuttle when the hubble broke another similar space telescope and maybe a better one could have replaced it.



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 07:11 AM
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reply to post by crazyewok
 


It's more of a shame that there weren't continual redesigns of the shuttle that would have improved that particular system rather then just sticking with one model and using it until it became unsafe due to age.



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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reply to post by EnigmaAgent
 


I believed they used it once and then shelved it due to costs.



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by crazyewok
 


It will take a few more decades until it will be recognized that the shuttle was a death trap as already proven by the simple facts. Of course, that will never be admitted, but the circumstances will show why we were allowed to suffer through with the thing.

Once the US government admits fully to the existence of the black triangle craft that have been over the . of Americans in plain sight for over two decades, then the truth may dawn upon the average brain. Then again the spin on the whole business of UFOs, our versions of them, and the half a century of coverups will be too much for that average brain to wade through and it will say, "Whatever...."



posted on Feb, 5 2014 @ 12:57 PM
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727Sky

crazyewok
The aims of the shuttle for NASA was to bring cheap affordable reliable space travel.

But with 2 fatal accidents, a 1kg to LEO that was $10,000 (compared to protons $4000kg to LEO or Soyuz $5000) and a program cost of $209 Billion could the money have been better spent? Would carrying on the Gemini or Apollo craft have been cheaper?
Could we have been on mars by now? Did the 2 catastrophic faluires result in public opinion souring and budgets being cut?


I would say yes to the above and that the shuttle set NASA back 3 decades.


sources on figures:
source
source


As in many things the promise does not resemble the actual outcome. Hind sight/history seems to repeat time after time, No? I agree that the shuttle was a huge waste of money that at the time seemed like a good idea; or so the sales pitch went.

I have never understood why a large transport aircraft is not used to take a space vehicle to 40 or 50 thousand feet where it is released and powered to space by rockets. We were doing that with B-52s and the X-15 back in the early 60s..

Burt Rutan seems to be using that method for his launches and certainly makes sense to me because of the astronomical fuel used just to get a payload to those low altitudes.


They were in a hurry - the Russians were a. of the Americans, so the Americans had to do something pretty quick. The only solution was to build a spacecraft out of whatever technology they already had.

The space shuttle itself doesn't look too different from what the SpacePlane looks like. They got that bit right - something launched into space by a secondary craft, then is able to glide back down to Earth.

They did actually have a carrier plane for the Space Shuttle - that was used during tests.

Imagine if they had combined that launch vehicle with the engines of a SR-71 Blackbird. Then it would have been able to transport the shuttle up into space.




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