Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hubble: Back Online and Cookin'

If there was ever proof in the pudding that we should not be going back to a capsule, and ishould nstead focus on creating the next generation Shuttle (lighter, better, faster, stronger), the Hubble Telescope is that proof.

If it were not for the Shuttle, Hubble would have been a dead duck after day one (remember the messed up lens right away?), and Hubble's upgrade/repairs would never have happened.

Our technical ability to travel around in LEO and fix things, plus jaunt back and forth to the ISS for scientific research, is a clear indication of our need to move forward with our spacecraft, not backwards. Every time I think about the direction we're going, I need a Tylenol.


Marcel F. Williams said...

I think a Sidemount-HLV cargo carrier could do it. You could place the cargo arm within the cargo framework structure. The Sidemount-HLV could also launch much larger telescopes into orbit than the current space shuttle.

But I'm against getting rid of the Space Shuttle. I still think the military should take over the shuttle program as a launcher and rescue vehicle launched out of Florida and California. The military can afford to build two or three brand new shuttle orbiters to reduce risk to military astronauts and a $3 billion a year space shuttle budget. The military, especially the Air Force, always wanted to be Space Cowboys anyway!

Douglas Mallette said...

I have a whole different setup.

1. Nuclear or SBSP powered Maglev Mass Driver Launcher facility in NM or TX 100 miles long with a 65 degree exit ramp. Slow incline to limit g-forces. Drive Shuttles (cargo, crew and refueling) to 2,000 mph upon ramp exit.

2. 3 Shuttle systems, all light, about the size of a Learjet 85, with 3 different task sets. One passenger shuttle to carry 6 people and 2 crew (pilot and co-pilot) with minimal cargo. One cargo shuttle, automated and gutted to fit the most stuff. One refueling tanker shuttle, automated and gutted to fit the most fuel (H only or O only, not a combo craft).

3. Ramp propels shuttles to 2000 mph. Shuttles reach 50,000 ft. and then kick in their engines, saving the hassle of having to break inertia to get the shuttle off the pad. They rendezvous with an orbiting refueling station in LEO (already stocked by a previous launch of refueling shuttles) and then go on their merry way to the Moon.

4. The Moon also has an orbital refuel depot, stocked again by the automated refueling tankers, but also has landers attached to it. Shuttle docks, people xfer to landers and go to Moon.

Reverse the process for a return trip home.

Marcel F. Williams said...

My main attraction to the current shuttle is the fact that it can return 20 tonnes of payload back to Earth. This might come in handy someday when we do start to import materials processed from asteroids or the moons of Mars such as-- platinum.

In 2006, 239 tonnes of platinum were sold. I think platinum is currently worth about $40 million per tonne. So a shuttle returning with about $800 million worth of platinum might be a very interesting enterprise.

Speaking of military shuttles. Any comments about China's plan to launch a military space station in orbit in 2010?

Douglas Mallette said...

That's one of many ways to make a profit in space, once we get there. lol. I'll have to research that China thing and get back to you later. Bed time now. lol.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe we can get the necessary change but the reason there will be no high school classes graduating from schools on the Moon and Mars in 2045 are mostly political. The Tylenol might not be strong enough for me.