APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
Greyhawk
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by Greyhawk » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:01 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Greyhawk wrote:NASA as an organisation is still productive but its manned program seems to be either defunct or no longer a priority. Probes are good but its manned missions that we need to fire up the imagination. Thats the technical/biological/psychological/chemical challenge - at least to me.
I believe you are correct that the focus will necessarily shift away from manned space flight. I think that's a good thing, but everybody has their own opinion on that matter.
I just think thats the easy way out. As JFK said, we are going to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard. 9 years later they were there. Political motivation or not thats still an astounding achievement. Which makes the Shuttle retirement even more poignant to me. It feels like the US is giving up. If ever we needed a global space agency, its now.

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by neufer » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:07 pm

Greyhawk wrote:
If ever we needed a global space agency, its now.
Isn't the ISS the product of a global space agency?
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by rstevenson » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:29 pm

BMAONE23 wrote:As you stated, the problem with a rail gun is "From the bottom of our atmosphere". The trick is to get the outlet of the Rail Gun system above 18,000' then, atmospheric thickness wise, it is already 1/2 way there.
The potential solution could be to bore through and insert the rail gun launch system into Mt Kilimanjaro. With the top at 19,000+ feet, you are already 1/2 way through the atmospheric thickness (drag) by the time you reach the outlet. The Mtn. is also conveniently located near the equator for directional launch to most any orbital plane.
You'd have to pump out most of the atmosphere from the tunnel, to keep air resistance to a minimum, and then flip the door open at the last second. (Interesting engineering problem. :mrgreen: ) That's one of the issues with rail guns; they're so fast you need to worry about heat during launch. Not to mention protecting the fragile crew from becoming uncanned Spam due to the acceleration forces. But it would likely be practical for unmanned supply launches.

Rob

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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:50 pm

rstevenson wrote:You'd have to pump out most of the atmosphere from the tunnel, to keep air resistance to a minimum, and then flip the door open at the last second. (Interesting engineering problem. :mrgreen: ) That's one of the issues with rail guns; they're so fast you need to worry about heat during launch. Not to mention protecting the fragile crew from becoming uncanned Spam due to the acceleration forces. But it would likely be practical for unmanned supply launches.
Still problematic. Even from 18,000 feet, you need major heat shielding to get out of the atmosphere ballistically. I doubt rail guns will ever be used for Earth-based launches.
Chris

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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:55 pm

Greyhawk wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:I believe you are correct that the focus will necessarily shift away from manned space flight. I think that's a good thing, but everybody has their own opinion on that matter.
I just think thats the easy way out. As JFK said, we are going to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard. 9 years later they were there. Political motivation or not thats still an astounding achievement. Which makes the Shuttle retirement even more poignant to me. It feels like the US is giving up. If ever we needed a global space agency, its now.
I'm not sure what "easy way out" means. In my view, giving up on manned space exploration is the right thing to do, and I'd consider that a step forward. But I understand that everybody sees this in different ways. (And in fact, I don't think the U.S. is giving up on manned space flight, considering the systems under development. Getting rid of the dinosaur shuttle and using the much cheaper and largely better Russian rockets for our short term ISS commitments frees up a lot of resources.)
Chris

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BMAONE23
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:13 pm

rstevenson wrote:
BMAONE23 wrote:As you stated, the problem with a rail gun is "From the bottom of our atmosphere". The trick is to get the outlet of the Rail Gun system above 18,000' then, atmospheric thickness wise, it is already 1/2 way there.
The potential solution could be to bore through and insert the rail gun launch system into Mt Kilimanjaro. With the top at 19,000+ feet, you are already 1/2 way through the atmospheric thickness (drag) by the time you reach the outlet. The Mtn. is also conveniently located near the equator for directional launch to most any orbital plane.
You'd have to pump out most of the atmosphere from the tunnel, to keep air resistance to a minimum, and then flip the door open at the last second. (Interesting engineering problem. :mrgreen: ) That's one of the issues with rail guns; they're so fast you need to worry about heat during launch. Not to mention protecting the fragile crew from becoming uncanned Spam due to the acceleration forces. But it would likely be practical for unmanned supply launches.

Rob
Actually, all it would take is an air lock system that retains surface pressure in the loading / launching chamber until ready to launch then equalizes ambient exit point altitude pressure within the lock prior to launch. You might even be able to modify the launch system to utilize MAG LEV technology and electromagnetic propulsion to the exit point.

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:19 pm

Unmanned brings up another thing...
All those UFO's that are reported as making unrealistic maneuvers. We say impossible because the "G" forces involved would crush the occupants... Well why do they need to be occupied? They could be remotely piloted probes much line the Predator Drones in the US air arsenal