Launch of space shuttle

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  • #76
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Ivan Seeking said:
I

It has also been suggested that any future shuttle launches, if there are any more, may be unmanned.

you beat me to it, i just wanted to post the same thing.
 
  • #77
BobG
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RonRyan85 said:
Speaking of designing a new space shuttle. How about letting
Burt Rotan try his ideas out and see what he comes up with?
Seems like his team has had pretty good luck so far with his
Space Ship One. One more question: How does the Russian supply
ship work with no problems? Or do they have trouble with the
"Tiles" coming off and they are never reported? Or do they
even have tiles on the Russian ships? How do they prevent
the supply ships from burning up on reentry?
They use traditional expendable rockets instead of a reusable shuttle.

Here's a couple of links explaining the Soyuz rocket and TMA manned module:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/iss_soyuztma2.html
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/soyuz/index.html

The problem with the Shuttle is that we had this idea that we should develop a reusable space vehicle that be more cost effective than the expendables. The ability to carry satellites into orbit would mean that the shuttle could pay for itself. That really wasn't a viable option at the time, but instead of scrapping the idea, it evolved into "we have to succeed at building a reusable spacecraft and damn the cost". It's just a dog of a spacecraft.

Regardless, the possibility of scrapping future launches would be pretty disappointing. The US would have no manned space program until a shuttle replacement was developed - a new design that would face the typical possibility of delays in development.

It would impact more than just the US manned space program. The Columbia accident already resulted in a decision not to support the Hubble space telescope anymore. No shuttle at all will jeopardize the future of the International Space Station, as well.

It's hard to say there's a real tangible benefit to having a manned space program. Early on, it was the image of man in space that gripped the public's imagination and made it possible to fund unmanned programs. Now, there's a base of unmanned programs, both government and civilian, and they have established their worth well enough that they'll continue regardless of whether or not there's a manned space program.

It still feels like humans, or at least the US, is descending from a peak in their existence.
 
  • #78
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I think with all the recent troubles that have been found with the space shuttle they should scrap it. It doesn't seem very cost-effective to keep using the shuttle given its failures and costs of lives and ultimately fund investigations afterward. I think we could spend more time and exploring deeper ranges of space by using the rocket or something analogous to it in order to facilitate the future goals of space exploration.
 
  • #79
Moonbear
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BobG said:
It's hard to say there's a real tangible benefit to having a manned space program. Early on, it was the image of man in space that gripped the public's imagination and made it possible to fund unmanned programs. Now, there's a base of unmanned programs, both government and civilian, and they have established their worth well enough that they'll continue regardless of whether or not there's a manned space program.

I have to agree on this, that a manned space program is more for PR than anything practical, and if anything, the focus on it may be diverting money from programs that could deliver more useful information. It's very limiting to only go as far as man can travel and safely return. If you really want to explore space and not just appease the TV viewers, unmanned craft seems the way to go. I'm not overly enthusiastic about the international space station project either. I see no need for it and really don't think it's worth the expense to keep sending people into space. People like to think "Oh, how cool would it be to someday vacation in space?!" But, in reality, is it worth all this expense for 1) a new tourist attraction and 2) one that requires years of training to visit and weeks to months of recovery time once returning? You may have all noticed that astronauts don't just walk off the shuttle when they've been on these extended missions, they get carried off.

If the idea is to someday find another place to colonize in space (do we really need this?), then we're doing it arse-backward to start building space stations and manning space travel before we even know where we're going to send people from there. NASA should spend their money working on the robotics that can accomplish missions without men on board, and then at least the robotics could be useful to those of us on Earth as well. And if the real objective is to explore and learn more about space and the universe we live in, then it seems that could be accomplished far more effectively with missions that can go beyond the limits of where men can go.

Of course, as a biologist, I'd rather see all that money being spent on research focusing on keeping our own planet habitable rather than giving people the idea we'll just make this one disposable and when we've used it all up, we'll find another one to live on. Though, for skeptics of evolution, the founder effect on anyone attempting to colonize space sure should become quickly apparent, if reproduction can occur at all in microgravity (I wonder about everything from whether an ovum would make it into the oviduct or float off into the abdominal cavity, to whether sperm would know which way to go, to whether the fertilized embryo would make it to the uterus and implant properly, and would the embryo/fetus develop normally, to whether the fetus would be positioned correctly for delivery, whether women's abdominal muscles would remain strong enough for a vaginal delivery without the aid of gravity, etc.).
 
  • #80
AtomBeam
Discovery and the Prandtl-Glauert condensation cloud

Here's something that happened shortly after the launch that many people may have seen, but didn't know what it was:

Space Shuttle Discovery generates a Prandtl-Glauert cloud (via Linkfilter.net)
http://linkfilter.net/?id=90041

Shuttle makes spooky-cool Prandtl-Glauert condensation cloud (via Boing Boing)
http://www.boingboing.net/2005/07/27/shuttle_makes_spooky.html [Broken]

If you look through the pages listed in the above linkfilter.net URL you'll find a photo of a Saturn V rocket with an impressive Prandtl-Glauert cloud.
 
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  • #81
saltydog
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Way to go guys. Knew you could do it! :smile:
 
  • #82
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Thats one cool cloud AtomBeam !

WooooooT for woman drivers!
 
  • #83
russ_watters
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I didn't see the cloud in the video, but it can't possibly be a transonic region breaking-the-sound-barrier cloud 50 seconds into the launch: the space shuttle takes off at about 3 g's and breaks the sound barrier in about 12 seconds.

One of the links explains that such vapor clouds happen in a wide variety of conditions, not necessarily just in the transonic region. One example given is of a B-2 with a rounded cloud (ie, not cone-shaped) - the B-2 is strictly sub-sonic.

Nevertheless, cool pics.
 

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