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New Shuttle concepts from Europe

  1. Aug 27, 2005 #1


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    After being surveying a bit I have found some other concepts of shuttle proposed by ESA-EADS and Russia. Some time ago I heard that ESA was testing a new unmanned RLV called Phoenix, which was an small scale model of Hopper. This model comes to substitute the Hermes, which was never built. It is said that Hopper could take off horizontally without the need of a rocket launcher. Unfortunately, EADS has recently shorten the budgets for space transportation systems, so it seems this project is a bit hold.

    Hermes: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Hermes-(shuttle)

    Phoenix: http://www.eads.net/xml/content/OF00000000400003/2/51/29508512.jpg

    Another concept I have seen is the Kliper (Клипер), which seems a project much more active. The main innovation here is the shape of wings.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2005 #2
    That's awesome, thanks for the links. It's about time some new shuttles were designed. Is it just me or is the Pheonix really funny looking?
  4. Aug 28, 2005 #3


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    The last time I saw it on TV, it was painted on blue color. That photograph is of the tests taken un Sweden in 03, I think.

    Phoenix has 3 Vulcanus engines (H2+LOx), the same ones of the second stage of Ariane launcher. The main purpose of this project is to have a reusable unmanned vehicle for supplying to ISS.
  5. Aug 28, 2005 #4
    I think that the Phoenix is funny looking; then again it is whether it can go to space and come back safely that is important.
  6. Aug 28, 2005 #5
    Whats wrong with the space shuttle? It has never gone bad so far! The only cause of these accidents has been the BOOSTERS! Why not design safer boosters, everyone talks about how "old" the space shuttle is and needs to be retired! There isint a better flying machine in the sky! Why cant the news media get anything right? Although those are nice clausius, I dont think they have the payload capabilities of the space shuttle. You wont fit a hubble space telescope into those :-). I donno, just seems to make more sense to me to remake the boosters. It woudlent make sense to replace the space shuttle with anything less or equally capable.
  7. Aug 29, 2005 #6
    Funny, I always thought that the main cause of trouble has been the shuttle-orbiter. It is mostly useless, dead weight. Get rid of the orbiter, you get rid of a whole series of problems.
    This is a very interesting consideration.
    If the boosters exploding is your concern, notice that the common Soyuz and the CEV depicted at the site both have escape towers. If the rockets beneath them start acting funny, they can just zip the astronauts and cosmonauts out safely. Try that with a space shuttle.
  8. Aug 29, 2005 #7


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    You're right about the payload capabilities. Well, Phoenix is an small scale model of Hopper, which has more payload (I don't really know how much). Anyway, I don't know if I'm wrong here, but I always thought that the last problems in Shuttle were caused by the Fuel Tank and its foam. It has never to do with boosters (SRB's). Maybe, building an unmanned spaceship and taking advantage of the non existant manned space inside it to put fuel tanks, the spaceship could be able to take off horizontally without the need of an external fuel tank. Although to say the truth this last statement could be true only for small payloads.

    I realised about another possible solution, which could be remove the tank, and attach shuttle to a more powerful SRB's with greater time of ignition. But all of this is imagination. If nasa engineers have not thought on this, then it is either more expensive or impossible.
  9. Aug 29, 2005 #8
    Honestly, Im not too worried about safety. I think the people that VOLUNTEER to go into space are willing to accept the risk of death. I think the cost of loosing a shuttle, is the main burdon on tax payers. (thats a kind of stinky attitude towards fellow citizens, I realize) But if I had the honor of going into space I would understand that it is a dangerous job, and I could die. I mean compare that to a coal miner or alaskan crab fisherman, its a much safer risk. I think we should have more than one space system though. Different platforms for different purposes. It would be like retireing the concorde, another sad day for aviation :frown:

    The first shuttle that blew up was due to a faulty o-ring on the booster. It was cold when they assembled the two boosters that are jettisoned. The cold temperature changed the material properties of the rubber o-rings so that they were no longer elastic but became stiff and brittle. On the section that leaked, they had to FORCE the two pieces together between the O-ring with a press because it would not fit. Normally they should just slide into place with small amounts of force. I think it was fieldman who in a press conference dunked a piece of o-ring into his ice water and noticed that it became brittle and stiff almost immediately. As for the second crash, that was on re-entry because the outer booster broke apart and struck the wing of the shuttle. But never has the shuttle itself been a reason for any crashes. The shuttle is very safe, and is the most sophistocated flying machine every built. Because of the oxygen rich enviorment, they could not afford to have any archs in the wires, so the wires were all cut using a machine that rotated the wire, and a lazer that made a perfectly even stripping of the wires. The ceramics on the shuttle were something never before used. I saw a video where the demonstrator made one side of the tile so many thousands of degrees, and put his bare hand on the other side. The tires cost something like 50k a piece, and are changed on every mission. I think some 250k in all. Yet the ignorant media always loves to claim its 30+ years "old" and is time to be replaced by something more "modern."
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
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