Author Topic: OV-201  (Read 14674 times)

Offline stefan1138

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OV-201
« on: 08/03/2007 08:51 PM »
Hi Everybody,

I wondered if NASA gave any consideration to the proposal from Boeing to build an updated Orbiter in 2003. Here is the old story from space.com:

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/space_congress_030430.html

Was this just PR from Boeing or did someone at NASA really look at this?

Thanks Stefan :)

Offline mdmcgrory

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #1 on: 08/03/2007 10:01 PM »
I don't know but I always thought an updated Mark II Orbiter was a very logical idea. Simply because what's the point in going into space if you can't bring anything heavy or large back? If we're going to be exploring the solar system, we have to bring stuff up & down. We have to have a shuttle of some kind.
Let's not celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landing in a conference room on Earth!

Offline wingod

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #2 on: 08/04/2007 02:37 AM »
Quote
stefan1138 - 3/8/2007  3:51 PM

Hi Everybody,

I wondered if NASA gave any consideration to the proposal from Boeing to build an updated Orbiter in 2003. Here is the old story from space.com:

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/space_congress_030430.html

Was this just PR from Boeing or did someone at NASA really look at this?

Thanks Stefan :)

NASA did an extensive look at upgrades to the existing orbiters (referenced in the article) that would really cut the turn around time and make them more usable.

New orbiters could be built that would incorporate all the changes as well.  At least one of the changes from a study a few years ago (Led by Mike Coats) is being incorporated into the design of the ARES 1 SRB.  This is the change to the thermal battery and other changes to the TVC system.  Interestingly, these changes could be tested on the existing STS stack and would increase the payload of the orbiter, up to the maximum RTLS weight.


Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #3 on: 08/04/2007 03:12 AM »
Had NASA treated the shuttles as the experimental vehicles that they were (and are), instead of rushing to proclaim them to be as safe and routine as a slightly exotic airliner, it might have been easier for the public to accept and pay for several iterations of the design by now. We should have flown "block I" orbiters for a few years (say from 81 to 91) and then transitioned to a "block II" design. By now we should have been on a "Block III" orbiter.

We did not, in the 1940's, build five bell X-1 planes and then declare them operational and fly them for 30 years. We built a couple X1's then X1-A's then X planes all the way up to the X-15. (yeah, I know there have been many more recent X planes, but they are not in the same category)

We probably should not have built more than three of each generation: fly each gen for about 5 years, then start building next gens from lessons learned while continuing to fly another 5 yrs, then switch to newer set and repeat. Our knowledge and capabilities in re-usable orbiters would have grown by leaps and bounds and I doubt any of us would at this point say that we had wasted 30 years in LEO. Instead of telling the taxpayers we were doing science on each flight of a fully operational space shuttle, we should have told the people we were developing and refining the future of space travel and getting a little free science as a bonus on each X-Plane test flight.




Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #4 on: 08/04/2007 06:47 AM »
It is non viable  The X-planes are not a good analogy

15 billion dollars of orbiters?  not to mention ET and SRB changes
only 3 did fly for the first 25 flights in 5 year (OV-104 had very few flights)

Actually, the shuttle after 51-L could be call rev B


Offline oscar71

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #5 on: 08/04/2007 07:59 AM »
Jim has a point, upgrading the orbiter through a series of new constructions would be pointless if you didn't upgrade the launch system (ie, getting rid of the solids).  On the other hand, I would have loved to have seen an orbiter like this fly:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=780

Offline stefan1138

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #6 on: 08/04/2007 09:47 AM »
As far as I remember one of the arguments against crew escape was that either the airframe of the existing orbiter would have to be cut open or a complete new orbiter would have to be constructed (with crew escape system being installed during construction) - depending on the grade of complexity of the modification.

Offline psloss

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #7 on: 08/04/2007 10:32 AM »
Quote
MrTim - 3/8/2007  11:12 PM

Had NASA treated the shuttles as the experimental vehicles that they were (and are), instead of rushing to proclaim them to be as safe and routine as a slightly exotic airliner, it might have been easier for the public to accept and pay for several iterations of the design by now.
The shuttle program was sold politically as being very much like an exotic cargo airliner.  As much as public support is important to the U.S. government space program, the lobbying and approvals have mostly been top-down, rather than grass-roots/bottom-up.

Offline brahmanknight

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #8 on: 08/04/2007 12:37 PM »
After reading Jenkin's History of the Space Shuttle Vol 1, there is no way it could have been sold as an experimental system.  It would not have recieved the funding.  It was sold to be everything to everybody.  They got maybe a third of the promises.....

I think any serious proposal for an upgraded shuttle has to start with the TPS, SRB's, and crew escape.  Any other upgrade would be moot.

Offline wingod

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #9 on: 08/04/2007 05:49 PM »
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brahmanknight - 4/8/2007  7:37 AM

After reading Jenkin's History of the Space Shuttle Vol 1, there is no way it could have been sold as an experimental system.  It would not have recieved the funding.  It was sold to be everything to everybody.  They got maybe a third of the promises.....

I think any serious proposal for an upgraded shuttle has to start with the TPS, SRB's, and crew escape.  Any other upgrade would be moot.

Oh there are a lot of things that could be done to the existing STS configuration to make it better and  cheaper to operate.  The ASRM's would have been a really nice upgrade that almost made it to flight.  Even better was the Liquid Flyback booster.

There are a lot of things that could be done to the Orbiter to make it a more operations friendly system.  I truly fear that when the orbiters are gone that in 20 years there will be engineers poring around on the ones in museums to figure out how to build new ones.  We are really going to lament the loss in capabilities that the orbiters provide.


Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #10 on: 08/04/2007 09:07 PM »
I seriously doubt it.  Also still wouldn't be a need for it then.  More missions were found for the shuttle vs doing the missions more efficiently.  Sat delivery, station module delivery (MIR method), crew exchange could be done better by ELV's

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #11 on: 08/05/2007 01:01 AM »
STS is cool and impressive, however the mass required just to bring the mass back safely is certainly technical follie that only the richest country in history could afford.  I don't see much of anything other than Astronauts and Helium 3 needing to come back.

The Ants sorting screws experiments that have been flying on Shuttle aren't worth launching and certainly aren't worth bring back.  Some things certainly but not many and nothing that can justify launching 200,000 pounds into orbit to bring it back.

There  are neat things that you could do to the shuttle but that doesn't mean it should be done.  

Capsules or lifting bodies work for me.  If you are going to put 200,000 lbs into orbit you better leave 95% of it up there.
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline Orbiter Obvious

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #12 on: 08/05/2007 04:44 AM »
I love Shuttles, but even I can understand that after Columbia, with the VSE, there was no point building a new one.

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #13 on: 08/05/2007 06:47 PM »
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stefan1138 - 4/8/2007  2:47 AM

As far as I remember one of the arguments against crew escape was that either the airframe of the existing orbiter would have to be cut open or a complete new orbiter would have to be constructed (with crew escape system being installed during construction) - depending on the grade of complexity of the modification.

Yeah, simple systems like ejection seats would "work" in only a few small parts of the flight while adding a lot of mass and cluttering-up the interior to an unacceptable degree. ( I put the word 'work' in quotes for a reason... look-up what John Young said about the idea, and that is from a guy who made no such comments AFAIK about ejection seats on the Gemini ) Also, finding a way to eject crew members from the mid deck would be interesting (they'd probably need to go sideways or something which I think has never been done before).

About the only solution would have been separation of the entire crew cabin as an escape module ( like an F-111 Aardvark ) this is pointed to by the evidence of how intact the crew section was as it departed from the Challenger explosion, but to really be useful would require a more robust structure, some pyros to separate, some sort of recovery system (almost certainly huge parachutes) and possibly also beefing-up the structure around the modules so that THAT structure would not crumple and hang-up on the departing module. Might also need SOME amount of TPS to deal with departures at high mach numbers on ascent and possibly give some chance late in a reentry. All of this would add mass and take-up space, thereby reducing the useful mass each orbiter could take to orbit and either changing the OML of the orbiter (probably totally unacceptable as it would invalidate all the aerodynamics work done during development) or reducing internal usable volume. Would also change the mass distribution of the orbiter, probably requiring changes in payload positions and altered flying characteristics (weight & balance issues as with any other aircraft).

Systems like that really need to be designed-in from the beginning. NASA has IMO done exactly what it had to do with this situation ... Live with the fact that you cannot have a real escape system, and focus on giving the astronauts as much of a chance as you can in the parts of the flight where you can give it (launch & entry suits, individual chutes, escape pole, etc.)  

Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #14 on: 08/05/2007 07:45 PM »
Quote
psloss - 4/8/2007  3:32 AM

Quote
MrTim - 3/8/2007  11:12 PM

Had NASA treated the shuttles as the experimental vehicles that they were (and are), instead of rushing to proclaim them to be as safe and routine as a slightly exotic airliner, it might have been easier for the public to accept and pay for several iterations of the design by now.
The shuttle program was sold politically as being very much like an exotic cargo airliner.  As much as public support is important to the U.S. government space program, the lobbying and approvals have mostly been top-down, rather than grass-roots/bottom-up.

I KNOW how it WAS sold... I did indicate that this was part of the problem. As for the notion that it HAD to be sold that way, well, sorry I just don't buy it; The "I had to do it that way" excuse is one of those things people who KNOW they are wrong resort to (with their success at getting away with whatever they did as evidence in their favor).

I say the evidence is actually the opposite. After Challenger was lost there was much fretting in the press etc about the public losing faith in NASA and perhaps the end of manned spaceflight, but there was NO public outcry by the masses against NASA (and indeed little or no opposition from the public to buying a new orbiter). Even now, in the aftermath of Columbia (when the head of NASA has told the people that the orbiters are really just big X-Planes and NASA was wrong to sell them as anything else) do you see the public storming Capitol hill demanding heads? Nope. Are the public upset that we are shelving the orbiters and spending billions to develop not one, but two new experimental vehicles? Nope. In FACT, people are more likely  to be ticked at NASA for lying to them about the orbiters in the first place. Had NASA been honest with the people in selling the things in the first place, they would surely have needed good arguments and more time up-front to get the funds (would have been healthy, since they would have had to get their act together and have good rational reasons for their plans, good answers to the questions of their opponents) but I  say the public would have supported them, been less stunned by the Challenger & Columbia, and would look more favorably on the institution now.

The public were excited by the series of X-planes. You never heard one peep of upset by the public as plane after plane were built and flown (and in some cases crashed). Each new plane needed to look NOTHING like the previous one, Some were even serious flops. The public "got it" because they were told that these were brave test pilots pushing the frontiers of flight for the benefit of the American people. Everyone understands that test pilots and x-planes are risky but necessary for advancement. It WOULD of course have required NASA and it's backers to very vocally remind the public over and over again about the advancements being made AND the TINY fraction of the national budget that goes into all this. We all know NASA has been totally incompetent at this form of communication for much of its life. As supporters of spaceflight we all need to step-up to the plate to inform fellow citizens, bug legislators and perhaps even push NASA to kill-off the PAO and hire General Mills to do the job. (I figure a breakfast cereal company  marketing department might do a better job than the morons who have been getting paid to do it these past decades).

Oh, and as to the need to make changes in the pad infrastructure for different gens of orbiters... um... did you notice the changes needed to adapt normal Saturn V pad to Skylab station launch? then to support Skylab crew launches? how about the changes from Apollo1 to Apollo7 to Apollo8? Changes from mercury redstone to mercury atlas? From mercury to Gemini? Changes to handle the 1-time-only dummy MOL Titan launch? It's not like the federal government has never paid to change a pad, and I am certain there are a bunch of steel workers in Florida with the experience and willingness to to the job. ( Plus with even the most BASIC planning, the original STS pad changes could have been flexible enough to support a couple gens of orbiters with minimal changes )

Offline psloss

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #15 on: 08/05/2007 08:18 PM »
Quote
MrTim - 5/8/2007  3:45 PM

I say the evidence is actually the opposite. After Challenger was lost there was much fretting in the press etc about the public losing faith in NASA and perhaps the end of manned spaceflight, but there was NO public outcry by the masses against NASA (and indeed little or no opposition from the public to buying a new orbiter).
Reagan said as much the day of the disaster:
http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/challenger.asp

Quote
I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
Doesn't mean that the Gregg Easterbrooks out there didn't have their say, but being before Iran-Contra broke hard, I think Reagan's words, coming less than 6 hours after the disaster had a muting impact on that political impulse.

Offline stefan1138

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #16 on: 08/05/2007 08:51 PM »

Quote
MrTim - 3/8/2007  11:12 PM





Oh, and as to the need to make changes in the pad infrastructure for different gens of orbiters... um... did you notice the changes needed to adapt normal Saturn V pad to Skylab station launch? then to support Skylab crew launches? how about the changes from Apollo1 to Apollo7 to Apollo8? Changes from mercury redstone to mercury atlas? From mercury to Gemini? Changes to handle the 1-time-only dummy MOL Titan launch? It's not like the federal government has never paid to change a pad, and I am certain there are a bunch of steel workers in Florida with the experience and willingness to to the job. ( Plus with even the most BASIC planning, the original STS pad changes could have been flexible enough to support a couple gens of orbiters with minimal changes )


In respect to your point of a new generation of orbiters, I read on another board that after the Challenger desaster Rockwell offered NASA 3 new orbiters for the price of 2 (on the condition that the internal systems would be completely redesigned). Apparantly NASA declined and opted for one last traditional orbiter (which became Endeavour). What do you think of that?

Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #17 on: 08/05/2007 09:11 PM »
Quote
psloss - 5/8/2007  1:18 PM

Reagan said as much the day of the disaster:
http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/challenger.asp

Quote
I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
Doesn't mean that the Gregg Easterbrooks out there didn't have their say, but being before Iran-Contra broke hard, I think Reagan's words, coming less than 6 hours after the disaster had a muting impact on that political impulse.

Ah, there you have an example of political leadership ( for any anti-Reagan readers, I am NOT generalizing about his administration, just this singular item in the context of this thread )
What the public thinks matters, and good LEADERSHIP can LEAD ... by framing the argument, giving it some context, and getting the average folks to say "yeah, that's what I think too" and giving them a worthy vision of the future.

good post, psloss, I had forgotten those words.

Offline psloss

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #18 on: 08/05/2007 09:23 PM »
Quote
MrTim - 5/8/2007  5:11 PM

good post, psloss, I had forgotten those words.
I still get chills when I hear the end of the address, which Peggy Noonan wrote.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/columbia/story/0,,889192,00.html

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The broadcast ended with a quite magical final sentence: "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'" The concluding quotations were taken from the sonnet "High Flight" by a Canadian pilot, John Gillespie Magee, who flew Spitfires during the second world war. It was a poem that both Ms Noonan and President Reagan were familiar with, but, according to Ms Noonan, it almost got changed by a junior National Security Council staffer to "reach out and touch someone - touch the face of God." He felt this was eloquent. He'd heard it in a commercial.

Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #19 on: 08/05/2007 09:38 PM »
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stefan1138 - 5/8/2007  1:51 PM

In respect to your point of a new generation of orbiters, I read on another board that after the Challenger disaster Rockwell offered NASA 3 new orbiters for the price of 2 (on the condition that the internal systems would be completely redesigned). Apparently NASA declined and opted for one last traditional orbiter (which became Endeavour). What do you think of that?


I had not heard/read that. I would be a bit surprised if that were the case. I believe (but somebody here could certainly prove me wrong) that Rockwell had already disposed of the capacity to make more orbiters from scratch by that time which is partly why the one replacement needed to be assembled from spare parts (and there were not enough parts on the shelf to build a few more units). This is part of the problem with government agencies like NASA and DoD contracting to buy n number of an item, rather than contracting for an assembly line and n per year from that line until contract termination. When you just buy n, you get all dev costs divided into that number and congress carps about the costs (and then cuts the number to be purchased, thereby jacking-up the unit cost and giving critics room to complain that an evil contractor has raised his prices) and you also lose lots of options should you need replacements or want more because you found more uses for the item.

HOWEVER, had we treated the orbiters as the primary x-planes of the 80's & 90's we would not have wanted to buy more anyway. We would have contracted Rockwell (or somebody else) to produce the 1st 3 ( or 2 or 4 or whatever number was deemed ideal) and then to maintain them and help analyze their performance and design and build 2 or 3 generations of follow-ups at regular intervals using the same people at the same facilities. This would have provided stability in the project, predictability, etc. and would have made sense to the taxpayers. Some sort of baseline dev & support contract with a tightly-coupled cost-plus contract on each new bird to be rolled off the line.

One of my fears on Aries is that NASA will do the dumb thing: contract for, say, 10 Aries V launchers at 2 per year and then the vendor will do the smart thing (make parts for all 10 as fast as possible before shutting down the line and laying-off the people to reduce costs and maximize profits) ... and NASA will end-up EXACTLY where it did with Apollo: a fixed number of boosters to use and then no options. This is one reason I like an RLV and generally dislike an ELV. I wish we had transitioned to a big cargo capable lifting-body and away from a fragile winged RLV. Would like to have seen NASA end up with 2 general vehicles ( a big lifting body, and a small people-only one ... sized about like an X-38) with occasional contracting for any big ELV we might occasionally need ( for those times when you want to put something really big up there, or you just feel compelled to throw something away as an industrial-strength stress-reliever ). Oh, and for small stuff like mars probes... buy a Delta or an Atlas and don't even show-up for the launch, just keep cheap and simple...give the payload to the vendor and say "launch it into this orbit on this date!".

(oops... sorry... corrected a typo or two of yours while cleaning up mine prior to posting... intended you no disrespect but do not want to be misleading in the attribution)

Offline stefan1138

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #20 on: 08/05/2007 10:36 PM »
Tim, no problem with in respect to my typos. I am more than happy that you corrected them, somehow I took the german word for disaster which is desaster... anyway English is not my mother tongue...)

I try to come up with a link concerning the Rockwell offer. I read it in several discussions on the google Space Shuttle newsgroup. I will search for the proper thread...

Stefan :)

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #21 on: 08/05/2007 10:52 PM »
Stefan,

Guten Tag! ( sorry, could not resist   )

I did not notice your location when I posted, and your postings do not make it obvious... you communicate better in English than many of us native-speakers. Never hesitate to get into a good discussion in English! ( I promise not to try the equivalent in German ... the results would be somewhat like a trainwreck )
 

Offline stefan1138

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #22 on: 08/05/2007 10:57 PM »
Thanks Tim!

Offline stefan1138

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #23 on: 08/05/2007 11:04 PM »
In the meantime I found the thread concerning the Rockwell offer (long Link). Look out for the Message from Henry Spencer on 13 July 2001 at 17:40:

http://groups.google.com/group/sci.space.shuttle/browse_thread/thread/1d9b87996820ff6c/471dd48710a6b1cb?lnk=gst&q=ov-106&rnum=18#471dd48710a6b1cb

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #24 on: 08/05/2007 11:20 PM »
Thanks for the link.

As he explains it, it sounds plausible though I'd love to see some evidence of it. It WOULD have been very hard at that point for Rockwell to build more identical orbiters (other than as they did by using spare parts) so it would have been more practical to build to the same OML and mass distributions etc. so that new ones would fly the same even though they were internally different. It would also make sense that NASA might turn down such an arrangement because they would end-up with a very small number of very different birds ( each of which would have its own spare parts needs, maintainence, test, and flight proceedures, etc. ) NASA would not have wanted to be in that position then, because it was in serious denial at the time about these vehicles each being very special, unique, test and research vehicles. It is a breath of fresh air that Mike Griffin and his people have come right out and said that these are essentially research craft. ( and the world did not end and the population did not arise to chase them with burning torches and pitchforks when they said it )

Just because something is plausible, however, that does not make it true. It would be interesting to see if anybody has more on this subject.

Offline stefan1138

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #25 on: 08/05/2007 11:24 PM »
Yes I would also love to see more on that. Maybe someone from Rockwell / Boeing here on the board can tell us more?! Stefan:)

Offline Jim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #26 on: 08/05/2007 11:45 PM »
Quote
MrTim - 5/8/2007  3:45 PM

1.  did you notice the changes needed to adapt normal Saturn V pad to Skylab station launch?
2. then to support Skylab crew launches?
3. how about the changes from Apollo1 to Apollo7 to
4. Apollo8?
5. Changes from mercury redstone to mercury atlas?
6.  From mercury to Gemini?
7. Changes to handle the 1-time-only dummy MOL Titan launch?


1.  Minor change on a LUT, just the crew access arm was moved
2.  Cost saving move that allowed LC-34 and 37 to be shut down. So the changes in one LUT and firing room was cheaper than keeping a whole launch complex ready for 5 years.  Also this was done sequencially (Apollo to Skylab) vs being cut in in the middle of a operational program
3.  None.  S-IB's were launched from LC34/37 and S-V from LC-39
4.  None, see above
5.  none (on the same pad), they were on different launch vehicles and therefore different pads
6.  None, see above
7.  None

Offline Jim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #27 on: 08/05/2007 11:55 PM »
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MrTim - 5/8/2007  5:38 PM


1.  HOWEVER, had we treated the orbiters as the primary x-planes of the 80's & 90's we would not have wanted to buy more anyway. We would have contracted Rockwell (or somebody else) to produce the 1st 3 ( or 2 or 4 or whatever number was deemed ideal) and then to maintain them and help analyze their performance and design and build 2 or 3 generations of follow-ups at regular intervals using the same people at the same facilities. This would have provided stability in the project, predictability, etc. and would have made sense to the taxpayers. Some sort of baseline dev & support contract with a tightly-coupled cost-plus contract on each new bird to be rolled off the line.

2.  One of my fears on Aries is that NASA will do the dumb thing: contract for, say, 10 Aries V launchers at 2 per year and then the vendor will do the smart thing (make parts for all 10 as fast as possible before shutting down the line and laying-off the people to reduce costs and maximize profits) ... and NASA will end-up EXACTLY where it did with Apollo: a fixed number of boosters to use and then no options. This is one reason I like an RLV and generally dislike an ELV. I wish we had transitioned to a big cargo capable lifting-body and away from a fragile winged RLV. Would like to have seen NASA end up with 2 general vehicles ( a big lifting body, and a small people-only one ... sized about like an X-38) with occasional contracting for any big ELV we might occasionally need ( for those times when you want to put something really big up there, or you just feel compelled to throw something away as an industrial-strength stress-reliever ).

3. Oh, and for small stuff like mars probes... buy a Delta or an Atlas and don't even show-up for the launch, just keep cheap and simple...give the payload to the vendor and say "launch it into this orbit on this date!".

1.  the orbiters were like the  "primary x-planes of the 80's & 90's"  they were dead ends and did not lead to followon contracts.
Your idea of continuous orbiter production is fantasy. No on would have that much money.  They were to be RLV's and fly more than the 5 missions nor so in  your scenario.  If that much production is required, then an ELV would be better and cheaper.  

2.  Most ELV contracts are like that.  And it isn't the ELV contractor that is the issue but the subcontractors.  They build their items in blocks.  Can't get around it.  Flight rates aren't high enough for continuous production

3.  close to already being done.  And what is being done is cheaper than launch insurance.  These aren't commercial comsats

Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #28 on: 08/06/2007 12:23 AM »
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Jim - 5/8/2007  4:45 PM

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MrTim - 5/8/2007  3:45 PM

1.  did you notice the changes needed to adapt normal Saturn V pad to Skylab station launch?
2. then to support Skylab crew launches?
3. how about the changes from Apollo1 to Apollo7 to
4. Apollo8?
5. Changes from mercury redstone to mercury atlas?
6.  From mercury to Gemini?
7. Changes to handle the 1-time-only dummy MOL Titan launch?


1.  Minor change on a LUT, just the crew access arm was moved
2.  Cost saving move that allowed LC-34 and 37 to be shut down. So the changes in one LUT and firing room was cheaper than keeping a whole launch complex ready for 5 years.  Also this was done sequencially (Apollo to Skylab) vs being cut in in the middle of a operational program
3.  None.  S-IB's were launched from LC34/37 and S-V from LC-39
4.  None, see above
5.  none (on the same pad), they were on different launch vehicles and therefore different pads
6.  None, see above
7.  None

Jim, I was making a quick, off-the-top-of-the-head list of pad changes (some were mods to particular pads, and some were moves to new pads, etc.) to make the point that NASA has been willing to modify/change/switch pads in the past when it suited them. And, quite frankly, since NASA never went down the path of multiple orbiter revs we will never know what changes would have been needed. Properly done, the change from one rev to another might have required nothing more than moving an access arm with whiteroom or an arm with a LOX feed line... neither of us could possibly know today from where we sit now just what changes would have been needed, but a little intelligent planning would have helped minimize. I think you jumped a bit too quickly to write "none" by many of these, but I may have caused that by not being sufficiently clear that I was painting in broad strokes (where "change" could mean mod, or switch) where you were apparently only focused on jobs that required welding.

BTW: I would not have thought of the whole milkstool launch pad mod (#2) as a cost savings measure, but your post was interesting in that it implies they would have gone back to the old pads to shoot the Skylab crews (something I had not considered since it was not part of LC39) so from that perspective... I see your point, the milkstool would be a cost reduction.

Offline MrTim

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #29 on: 08/06/2007 01:20 AM »
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Jim - 5/8/2007  4:55 PM

1.  the orbiters were like the  "primary x-planes of the 80's & 90's"  they were dead ends and did not lead to followon contracts.
Your idea of continuous orbiter production is fantasy. No on would have that much money.  They were to be RLV's and fly more than the 5 missions nor so in  your scenario.  If that much production is required, then an ELV would be better and cheaper.  

I HAVE been saying that the orbiters are and were X-planes... but that NASA did not TREAT them as X-planes. As far as most of the public is concerned, the X-planes of the 80's and 90's were the ones the government slapped X designations on ( X-29 through X-43 and possibly others ) NASA probably SHOULD have actually given the orbiters X designations to really make the point (both to the people AND to anybody at the agency who would be tempted to get complacent) I agree that what you have called a "continuous orbiter production" is indeed a fantasy ( we are frequently engaged in "what-ifs" on this site ) but not necessarily undoable or unprecedented or unaffordable. It would use a smaller staff of dedicated people who would be contracted to do work for the Government much more like Lockheed's skunkworks, and much less like the Boeing 777 production line. Each orbiter that we DID get was handbuilt anyway, so we could have had a much smaller team building one at a time over the course of years while ones that had rolled off the line were off doing "research and test" flights). I agree it would be insane to contract to build several unique birds at ten year intervals on a standard production line with normal run-of-the-mill business arrangements... but that's just NOT what I suggested. As for the oft-recited issue of flight rates, well some x-planes flew very few missions and others, like the X-15s, flew far more than most people remember. The x-planes were all hand-build one-off (or very low numbers) birds with lotsa unique parts, proceedures etc. and I doubt there were many predictions of flight rates and economy on them prior to their 1st flights ( and yes, I  KNOW orbiters are higher-profile and in a much higher budget category...but they're still TINY blips in the US budget) Were the x-planes cost-effective? VERY tough to answer that one... on many levels the answer is a resounding "NO" but in some ways the answer is a thundering "YES" ( we leaned a lot even from the failures ) But this again is part of the problem. With NASA pushing the orbiters as space-borne pickup trucks, they INVITED all the questions about cost-effectiveness. I bet that nowhere in the congressional record is there a fixation on the "cost-effectiveness" of the X-3 or the X-14.

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2.  Most ELV contracts are like that.  And it isn't the ELV contractor that is the issue but the subcontractors.  They build their items in blocks.  Can't get around it.  Flight rates aren't high enough for continuous production

Again, just because most such contracts ARE that way does not mean they HAVE to be that way. If NASA is going to be dumb enough to write and sign contracts like that then they might as well pack it in and announce that they have become too dumb to explore the solar system. Any contract can say anything as long as all parties agree to it. My experience with suppliers is that they prefer long-term contracts that allow them to predict and plan over one-off "build me a hundred of these and then toss the molds" type contracts. I agree that subcontractors build custom items in blocks...at very low numbers there's no practical alternative for them, BUT when you contract to buy a guaranteed number every year with a certain delivery date, they can plan to setup, build, re-tool for their other work and save the tools and documentation etc for the next year. This works remarkable well in many areas of American industry and has become very common practice in the past thirty years (along with other things like "just in time delivery", "overnight mail", etc.) The things exist and NASA and its contractors can certainly take advantage of them. In fact, I would be SHOCKED if ALL our major aerospace firms did not do this with their subcontractors right now ( I personally know of one who does ). And please, we are in the realm of "what-if" and "if-only" and "wouldn't it be great if" here, so let's not get too picky about the distinction between contractors, sub-contractors, etc. I was (as I often do in these fantasy discussions) not trying to get to the level of numbered parts on fantasy blueprints and names for the mythical employees. General conversations call for generalizations.

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3.  close to already being done.  And what is being done is cheaper than launch insurance.  These aren't commercial comsats

And that's great! More power to them and the vendors. I hope the vendors can get a 100% success rate while operating with efficiencies and competencies that put the rest of the world to shame and offering NASA phenomenal prices. We should get to a point where NASA barely needs to sweat about sending a space probe to any place in the solar system they want to... they should spend all their (robotic space team) blood sweat & tears on the probes themselves and the missions after Earth departure.

Jim, please don't get too heated-up by these discussions, your comments are good, you often provoke thought and clarification, and if my responses to you seem a bit sharp ... well it's just that I'm getting into a discussion with you, and you and I probably just have different temperments and ways of communicating. I actually look forward to your critiques...and some of the information you can provide.



Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #30 on: 08/06/2007 01:43 AM »
NASA contract for launch services (note, not a launch vehicle) using IDIQ contracts.  New missions are added as they are ready to start integration which is a few a years.  NASA doesn't have enough missions to justify block buys.  It tried it with Delta II and it is biting it is the ass.  NASA leverages off the DOD and to a lesser degree commercial missions production rates

Offline Steve G

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #31 on: 08/09/2007 03:29 PM »
The only real seamless evolution of human spaceflight within NASA was Mercury to Gemini.  Other than that, it's always been these giant leaps.  Imagine if Apollo had evolved to Orion, the Saturn 5 upgraded, the Saturn 1b evolving to the Saturn 1C using a throtlable F1 engine, a Saturn 2 using 2 F1 engines for additional cargo, and the J2 evolving to more capable incarnations.  That could have been incorporated into a shuttle had development been held off for 15 years.  The same applies for the shuttle.  Had there been a more evolved approach there would have been no hiatus as we saw in the late seventies and we're up against again.  But the only sense the shuttle's design had was for bringing back payload had there been some kind of space manufacturing bonanza that was promised back then but never came close to materializing.

Offline meiza

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #32 on: 08/09/2007 04:18 PM »
The problem in the bigger picture is that Apollo was a very successful project done very quickly with a huge amount of money, and people were left with unjustified expectations of the future after that - there was not going to be so much money, and there was not going to be such quick progress.
The space shuttle was a big ambitious hope that turned out to be quite expensive.

What is a common view by some space experts that I can agree with is that perhaps a slower program with a bigger number of smaller steps (modestly ambitious X vehicles for example) could have yielded a system that was cheaper to operate.

But NASA could not have done that in the political climate - they had to deliver some instantly operational system to keep USA in space - the Apollo legacy was and still is a big stony sled of huge expectations. It will still haunt them.

Offline wingod

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #33 on: 08/09/2007 04:22 PM »
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stefan1138 - 5/8/2007  5:36 PM

Tim, no problem with in respect to my typos. I am more than happy that you corrected them, somehow I took the german word for disaster which is desaster... anyway English is not my mother tongue...)

I try to come up with a link concerning the Rockwell offer. I read it in several discussions on the google Space Shuttle newsgroup. I will search for the proper thread...

Stefan :)

in the early 80's the CEO of Rockwell offered to build an orbiter for commercial purposes but NASA shot him down so hard that he still feels the blow.


Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #34 on: 08/09/2007 05:08 PM »
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MrTim - 5/8/2007  1:47 PM

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stefan1138 - 4/8/2007  2:47 AM

As far as I remember one of the arguments against crew escape was that either the airframe of the existing orbiter would have to be cut open or a complete new orbiter would have to be constructed (with crew escape system being installed during construction) - depending on the grade of complexity of the modification.

Yeah, simple systems like ejection seats would "work" in only a few small parts of the flight while adding a lot of mass and cluttering-up the interior to an unacceptable degree. ( I put the word 'work' in quotes for a reason... look-up what John Young said about the idea, and that is from a guy who made no such comments AFAIK about ejection seats on the Gemini ) Also, finding a way to eject crew members from the mid deck would be interesting (they'd probably need to go sideways or something which I think has never been done before).

About the only solution would have been separation of the entire crew cabin as an escape module ( like an F-111 Aardvark ) this is pointed to by the evidence of how intact the crew section was as it departed from the Challenger explosion, but to really be useful would require a more robust structure, some pyros to separate, some sort of recovery system (almost certainly huge parachutes) and possibly also beefing-up the structure around the modules so that THAT structure would not crumple and hang-up on the departing module. Might also need SOME amount of TPS to deal with departures at high mach numbers on ascent and possibly give some chance late in a reentry. All of this would add mass and take-up space, thereby reducing the useful mass each orbiter could take to orbit and either changing the OML of the orbiter (probably totally unacceptable as it would invalidate all the aerodynamics work done during development) or reducing internal usable volume. Would also change the mass distribution of the orbiter, probably requiring changes in payload positions and altered flying characteristics (weight & balance issues as with any other aircraft).

Systems like that really need to be designed-in from the beginning. NASA has IMO done exactly what it had to do with this situation ... Live with the fact that you cannot have a real escape system, and focus on giving the astronauts as much of a chance as you can in the parts of the flight where you can give it (launch & entry suits, individual chutes, escape pole, etc.)  

I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.

Supersonic ejections at sea level are survivable. This was the point of Colonel John Stapp's rocket sled experiments back in the fifties. Since a shuttle is already at 30,000 feet by the time it hits Mach 1 (Max Q), it never goes through dynamic pressures as high as what jet fighters see everyday.

When a shuttle is rolling down the runway at 200 mph it sees about the same dynamic pressures as it does at 13,000 mph at 200,000 feet.

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #35 on: 08/09/2007 05:13 PM »
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Steve G - 9/8/2007  10:29 AM

The only real seamless evolution of human spaceflight within NASA was Mercury to Gemini.  Other than that, it's always been these giant leaps.  Imagine if Apollo had evolved to Orion, the Saturn 5 upgraded, the Saturn 1b evolving to the Saturn 1C using a throtlable F1 engine, a Saturn 2 using 2 F1 engines for additional cargo, and the J2 evolving to more capable incarnations.  That could have been incorporated into a shuttle had development been held off for 15 years.  The same applies for the shuttle.  Had there been a more evolved approach there would have been no hiatus as we saw in the late seventies and we're up against again.  But the only sense the shuttle's design had was for bringing back payload had there been some kind of space manufacturing bonanza that was promised back then but never came close to materializing.

The fifteen by sixty foot cargo bay was a political payoff to the Air Force to get their support for shuttle.

Offline Thorny

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #36 on: 08/09/2007 05:45 PM »
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Franklin - 9/8/2007  12:08 PM

I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.

Except that a huge number of aircrew never managed to get out of their crippled aircraft. B-24s seemed to be particular deathtraps when things went bad. Waist gunners tended to be able to get out, flight crew, bombardier and tail gunner had a lot more difficulty.

And then there was all the debris in the sky with them.

And the lack of oxygen at high altitude which thankfully probably rendered the crew unconscious long before impact.

And no one is sure the crew compartment did, in fact, stablize on the way down.

And...

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #37 on: 08/09/2007 06:00 PM »
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Thorny - 9/8/2007  12:45 PM

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Franklin - 9/8/2007  12:08 PM

I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.

Except that a huge number of aircrew never managed to get out of their crippled aircraft. B-24s seemed to be particular deathtraps when things went bad. Waist gunners tended to be able to get out, flight crew, bombardier and tail gunner had a lot more difficulty.

And then there was all the debris in the sky with them.

And the lack of oxygen at high altitude which thankfully probably rendered the crew unconscious long before impact.

And no one is sure the crew compartment did, in fact, stablize on the way down.

And...

Actually, people are sure. I have a copy of an engineering paper written by a member of the RCA team that did the radar/ballistic analysis used to guide the recovery teams searching for Challenger debris. That plus the fact the condition of the crew cabin when it was recovered told NASA its attitude when it hit the water.

The point Kittinger was making (which you're missing) is that the g-forces and aerodynamic loads encountered in the Challenger disaster were so utterly survivable they were well within the envelope of emergency egress technology that had already been developed.

Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #38 on: 08/09/2007 06:21 PM »
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Franklin - 9/8/2007  1:08 PM

1.  I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.


2.  When a shuttle is rolling down the runway at 200 mph it sees about the same dynamic pressures as it does at 13,000 mph at 200,000 feet.

1.  They would have not be able to bail out.  No open hatch and they would have pinned inside just like most bomber crews were in spinning aircraft

2.  Doesn't matter, there still would be heating.

Offline Franklin

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #39 on: 08/09/2007 06:38 PM »

http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=mtgpaper&gID=50065

For anyone interested, a copy of the paper by the RCA team is available from the AIAA.

Offline henrycheck

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #40 on: 08/09/2007 07:08 PM »
Why would anyone believe Joe Kittinger? He’s only done it. THREE TIMES!

May have been a long shot but better than no shot at all.

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #41 on: 08/10/2007 01:17 AM »
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Franklin - 9/8/2007  10:08 AM

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MrTim - 5/8/2007  1:47 PM
NASA has IMO done exactly what it had to do with this situation ... Live with the fact that you cannot have a real escape system, and focus on giving the astronauts as much of a chance as you can in the parts of the flight where you can give it (launch & entry suits, individual chutes, escape pole, etc.)  

I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.

Supersonic ejections at sea level are survivable. This was the point of Colonel John Stapp's rocket sled experiments back in the fifties. Since a shuttle is already at 30,000 feet by the time it hits Mach 1 (Max Q), it never goes through dynamic pressures as high as what jet fighters see everyday.

When a shuttle is rolling down the runway at 200 mph it sees about the same dynamic pressures as it does at 13,000 mph at 200,000 feet.

Well, there are really two VERY different issues here:

Yes, the Challenger crew COULD have bailed out and parachuted to safety IF they were awake,
IF the tumbling capsule did not pin them to the walls, deck, overhead, etc., and IF they had chutes and such, and IF the cabin door had been designed to allow them out, and IF the capsule was not seriously penetrated by debris (not to put too ugly of a point in it here, but NASA has never discussed the evidence of whether they could tell if anybody aboard was , well, HARMED by parts of the vehicle (orbiter, ET, etc) BEFORE hitting the water). This would have been possible because the cabin had departed from the rest of the vehicle and was slowed to only a couple of hundred mph, and was falling well-clear of the burning SRBs. Also, at 73 seconds, the STS stack was not yet really moving REALLY fast yet... fast by civilian standards, yes, but not fast enough to require lots of thermal protection for the atmospheric frictional heating.

In MOST failure scenarios, things would not have been expected to go that way. In an intentional abort, on ascent with ejection seats, John Young said, in effect,  he did not expect to survive being that close to fully operational SRBs and SSMEs in an ejection seat. For an intentional abort, you must assume that the crew needs to get a way in a hurry from a worst-case setup (all engines running or an explosion) or from a reentering vehicle engulfed in hot plasma. If you separate from the vehicle during re-entry, then you too become a high mach number object being decelerated by the air and you get your own happy ball of plasma.

This is why for a real survivable abort scheme; a newer version shuttle probably would have called for an ejecting crew compartment.

Remember that those early REALLY high altitude parachute jumps were by guys jumping from essentially stationary balloons to see how HIGH you COULD jump from, and NOT how HIGH and FAST you could jump or whether you could jump that way with in or near an explosion, near running rocket motors, or while engulfed in plasma hot enough to melt many metals.

I suppose the idea you expressed is fine if all you want to do is go back in time and save the crew of Challenger; but that's not the most-likely abort scenario and is not likely to be helpful in any other besides, perhaps, bailing out of a nearly perfect bird (good enough to have made a good reentry) just before landing.

Context is EVERYTHING.
 

Offline Jorge

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #42 on: 08/10/2007 02:26 AM »
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henrycheck - 9/8/2007  2:08 PM

Why would anyone believe Joe Kittinger? He’s only done it. THREE TIMES!

Kittinger missed an important detail. He wore a pressure suit for his jumps. The Challenger crew did not.

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May have been a long shot but better than no shot at all.

A long shot with suits (all the other factors others have cited would then come into play). Without suits, no shot.
JRF

Offline MKremer

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #43 on: 08/10/2007 02:27 AM »
I agree - a hell of a lot of "ifs", and who knows just how many, or few, individuals would have not only been able to exit the 'capsule' but survived overall?

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #44 on: 08/10/2007 02:54 AM »
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MKremer - 9/8/2007  7:27 PM

I agree - a hell of a lot of "ifs", and who knows just how many, or few, individuals would have not only been able to exit the 'capsule' but survived overall?

As to what somebody else said about suits, YES, that's a given and I presumed that the poster referring to Joe Kittinger's jumps was aware that the gentleman wore a pressure suit and was assuming a shuttle screw equipped to jump would be, well, equipped as the current crews are ( with pressure garments). Indeed, if memory serves properly, Joe lost pressure in a glove and ended-up with a bit of a medical condition with that hand. There is no telling how many pressure suit perforations could occur in a Challenger-like event if debris from the orbiter and/or ET penetrated the cabin and possibly the personnel. This whole thread is getting perilously close to the morbid and I do not think further delving into Challenger is useful; the friends and families of these people are still alive and must still have bad dreams about the possibilities. The past cannot be undone, and I only point out as much as I do because the situation is more complex than some readers looking for happy answers might be thinking. Believe me, the people who design the next one will be thinking about these issues, just as the people who designed STS did... it's just that the STS designers were coming off of the highly successful Apollo project and they had LOTS of confidence that they were designing a FAR better and safer vehicle; they REALLY DID feel they were providing a shirt-sleeve environment like the airliners have.

Look, the more and better the survival options the better... except that each adds complexity, cabin clutter, mass, restrictions to crew member mobility, cost, proceedures, inventory items, etc. and you hope to never use ANY of it, but some options are more likely to be useful than others. SOMEBODY has to select the balance point (how much the crew gets while still having a system that is capable of, and worth, operating) for ANY system. Pre-Challenger, NASA was a bit too much like the British general said to have decided against parachutes for his WWI flyers because it might be bad for pilot morale (indicating lack of confidence in the airplane on the part of the commanders). Everyone agrees the wrong point was selected pre-Challenger when NASA was selling the thing to the public as being more like the shuttle in 2001 than like Apollo, so the crews had motorcycle helmets an a little smoke protection. As I indicated earlier, I think NASA has it now about as good as it can be with this architecture. If some future shuttle is designed, people then will get to re-make those decisions, hopefully with better options in materials, techniques, etc. BUT it is unlikely to happen in any of our lifetimes without some major even that re-focuses national attention on BIG space projects with tons of money.


Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #45 on: 08/10/2007 04:53 AM »
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MrTim - 9/8/2007  8:17 PM

Quote
Franklin - 9/8/2007  10:08 AM

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MrTim - 5/8/2007  1:47 PM
NASA has IMO done exactly what it had to do with this situation ... Live with the fact that you cannot have a real escape system, and focus on giving the astronauts as much of a chance as you can in the parts of the flight where you can give it (launch & entry suits, individual chutes, escape pole, etc.)  

I once had a conversation with Joe Kittinger where he commented if the Challenger astronauts had simply been equipped with parachutes like the system he tested back in 1960 they could have just waited until the crew compartment stabilized and bailed out of it like a WWII bomber crew.

Supersonic ejections at sea level are survivable. This was the point of Colonel John Stapp's rocket sled experiments back in the fifties. Since a shuttle is already at 30,000 feet by the time it hits Mach 1 (Max Q), it never goes through dynamic pressures as high as what jet fighters see everyday.

When a shuttle is rolling down the runway at 200 mph it sees about the same dynamic pressures as it does at 13,000 mph at 200,000 feet.

Well, there are really two VERY different issues here:

Yes, the Challenger crew COULD have bailed out and parachuted to safety IF they were awake,
IF the tumbling capsule did not pin them to the walls, deck, overhead, etc., and IF they had chutes and such, and IF the cabin door had been designed to allow them out, and IF the capsule was not seriously penetrated by debris (not to put too ugly of a point in it here, but NASA has never discussed the evidence of whether they could tell if anybody aboard was , well, HARMED by parts of the vehicle (orbiter, ET, etc) BEFORE hitting the water). This would have been possible because the cabin had departed from the rest of the vehicle and was slowed to only a couple of hundred mph, and was falling well-clear of the burning SRBs. Also, at 73 seconds, the STS stack was not yet really moving REALLY fast yet... fast by civilian standards, yes, but not fast enough to require lots of thermal protection for the atmospheric frictional heating.

In MOST failure scenarios, things would not have been expected to go that way. In an intentional abort, on ascent with ejection seats, John Young said, in effect,  he did not expect to survive being that close to fully operational SRBs and SSMEs in an ejection seat. For an intentional abort, you must assume that the crew needs to get a way in a hurry from a worst-case setup (all engines running or an explosion) or from a reentering vehicle engulfed in hot plasma. If you separate from the vehicle during re-entry, then you too become a high mach number object being decelerated by the air and you get your own happy ball of plasma.

This is why for a real survivable abort scheme; a newer version shuttle probably would have called for an ejecting crew compartment.

Remember that those early REALLY high altitude parachute jumps were by guys jumping from essentially stationary balloons to see how HIGH you COULD jump from, and NOT how HIGH and FAST you could jump or whether you could jump that way with in or near an explosion, near running rocket motors, or while engulfed in plasma hot enough to melt many metals.

I suppose the idea you expressed is fine if all you want to do is go back in time and save the crew of Challenger; but that's not the most-likely abort scenario and is not likely to be helpful in any other besides, perhaps, bailing out of a nearly perfect bird (good enough to have made a good reentry) just before landing.

Context is EVERYTHING.
 

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.

"Remember that those early REALLY high altitude parachute jumps were by guys jumping from essentially stationary balloons to see how HIGH you COULD jump from, and NOT how HIGH and FAST you could jump or whether you could jump that way with in or near an explosion, near running rocket motors, or while engulfed in plasma hot enough to melt many metals."

MORE MISUNDERSTANDING. Kittinger and the engineers behind Project Excelsior believed aircraft operations in that altitude range would soon become commonplace, and so sought to develop a parachute system that would prevent the lethal flat spin the human body goes into under those conditions because the air is too thin to stabilize it.

Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #46 on: 08/10/2007 11:28 AM »
Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  12:53 AM

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.


It is not a fact.  just one study.  Not independently verified.
Quit spouting your warped opinions as FACT.

Offline henrycheck

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #47 on: 08/10/2007 11:53 AM »
Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  7:28 AM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  12:53 AM

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.


It is not a fact.  just one study.  Not independently verified.
Quit spouting your warped opinions as FACT.


Ouch! Take out the “warped” and then think “physician heal thyself.”

Offline henrycheck

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #48 on: 08/10/2007 11:53 AM »
The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.

If I had been on the flight deck of Challenger that day, alive, awake, and watching the water come get me, I would not have been thinking “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have a parachute.”

The issue here is an isolated one and is presented in the context of “What have we learned from thirty years of winged spacecraft operations?” From Challenger, NASA learned to give the astronauts partial pressure suits and parachutes.

Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #49 on: 08/10/2007 12:02 PM »
Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  7:53 AM

The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.


They did not have personal parachutes

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #50 on: 08/10/2007 05:16 PM »
Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  6:28 AM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  12:53 AM

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.


It is not a fact.  just one study.  Not independently verified.
Quit spouting your warped opinions as FACT.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/

You don't actually read books, newspapers or magazines do you?

Offline Jim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #51 on: 08/10/2007 05:31 PM »
Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  1:16 PM

Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  6:28 AM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  12:53 AM

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.


It is not a fact.  just one study.  Not independently verified.
Quit spouting your warped opinions as FACT.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/

You don't actually read books, newspapers or magazines do you?

I did better. I worked on the investigation and had friends that did too.  Did you?  

I never debated that the crew was alive. Just your point that the cabin wasn't tumbling.  You can keep citing internet site and books but have you done anything yourself?

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #52 on: 08/10/2007 06:16 PM »
Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  6:53 AM

The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.

If I had been on the flight deck of Challenger that day, alive, awake, and watching the water come get me, I would not have been thinking “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have a parachute.”

The issue here is an isolated one and is presented in the context of “What have we learned from thirty years of winged spacecraft operations?” From Challenger, NASA learned to give the astronauts partial pressure suits and parachutes.

The first X-15 spaceflight was about one year after the first Mercury spaceflight, so the question should be "What have we learned from over 45 years of winged spacecraft operations?"

Offline henrycheck

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #53 on: 08/10/2007 06:20 PM »
Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  8:02 AM

Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  7:53 AM

The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.


They did not have personal parachutes

"Instruction was provided to the astronauts to develop techniques and procedures for using the personal parachute as an additional safety feature in the Mercury program. This parachute was only used during the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) mission manned by Alan Shepard."


NASA Space Task Group, Project Mercury [Quarterly] Status Report No. 9 for Period Ending January 31, 1961.

Looks like we're both right and both wrong. Was used. But only once.

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #54 on: 08/10/2007 06:21 PM »
Quote
Franklin - 9/8/2007  9:53 PM
The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.

I was answering much of the rest of his question and accepting his spinning/tumbling cabin idea, in part because this discussion is related to this thread by being at least related to possible scenarios involving possible future orbiter designs. In point of fact, however, you were WRONG to stomp here unless you have irrefutable proof that the cabin never spun, rolled or tumbled during any point of its essentially ballistic arc. The earlier poster was NOT arguing to such a fine level of detail as to say how many degrees-per-second, along what axis, or between which seconds MET.

I am fixing the thread quoting marks below for clarity for the benefit of readers:

Quote
Franklin - 9/8/2007  9:53 PM
Quote
MrTim - 9/8/2007 8:17 PM
"Remember that those early REALLY high altitude parachute jumps were by guys jumping from essentially stationary balloons to see how HIGH you COULD jump from, and NOT how HIGH and FAST you could jump or whether you could jump that way with in or near an explosion, near running rocket motors, or while engulfed in plasma hot enough to melt many metals."
MORE MISUNDERSTANDING. Kittinger and the engineers behind Project Excelsior believed aircraft operations in that altitude range would soon become commonplace, and so sought to develop a parachute system that would prevent the lethal flat spin the human body goes into under those conditions because the air is too thin to stabilize it.

Nope. Pay attention before you start jumping up & down. I did not misunderstand Kittinger's excellent work... I reminded the poster of (or got him to go look-up on his own) the limitations of that work to possible orbiter bail-out scenarios. Has NOBODY on this sight EVER tutored junior engineers????? Give pointers...stimulate some thought... subtle encouragement to do personal research... not wasting time on minor nit-picking details unless necessary...

 ;)

From a spaceflight point of view (this IS  a space site and the discussion WAS about bailing out from a hypothetical future orbiter with reference to Challenger) Kittinger's balloon was, as I said, ESSENTIALLY standing still. His tests had NO serious sideways velocity. He was only investigating the fact that when you jump from so high that there is essentially no air, you are not limited by air friction to the sort of terminal velocity that you would achieve in a normal skydiving adventure, and you ALSO do not have enough air to easily right yourself using your arms and legs for drag control. (so the worry was that you could end-up SERIOUSLY out of control before reaching thicker air and might even be dead or out-cold).
 
I was trying to explain to the earlier poster that in many ways the Kittinger jumps might have applied to the rare event of a Challenger incident, but were NOT good analogs to most aborts where one might want to eject or bail-out. Kittingers jumps were not just about "flat spins" though a brief plaque on a museum display might say that somewhere; they were about the USAF proving that a man could survive and overcome a whole range of issues relating to very-high altitude ejections as part of an effort to see if man could have a role in future bombers that were going higher and faster with each new generation up until the XB-70. You will note that the research never resumed after the XB-70 (the USAF no longer viewed higher & faster as the future for its bombers since these wacky new things called surface-to-air missiles had arrived).


Offline henrycheck

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #55 on: 08/10/2007 06:21 PM »
Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  2:16 PM

Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  6:53 AM

The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.

If I had been on the flight deck of Challenger that day, alive, awake, and watching the water come get me, I would not have been thinking “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have a parachute.”

The issue here is an isolated one and is presented in the context of “What have we learned from thirty years of winged spacecraft operations?” From Challenger, NASA learned to give the astronauts partial pressure suits and parachutes.

The first X-15 spaceflight was about one year after the first Mercury spaceflight, so the question should be "What have we learned from over 45 years of winged spacecraft operations?"

Hey! I'm on your side.

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #56 on: 08/10/2007 06:23 PM »
Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  12:31 PM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  1:16 PM

Quote
Jim - 10/8/2007  6:28 AM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  12:53 AM

The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.


It is not a fact.  just one study.  Not independently verified.
Quit spouting your warped opinions as FACT.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/

You don't actually read books, newspapers or magazines do you?

I did better. I worked on the investigation and had friends that did too.  Did you?  

I never debated that the crew was alive. Just your point that the cabin wasn't tumbling.  You can keep citing internet site and books but have you done anything yourself?

You mean aside from being one of only two people who played a significant role in getting Mike Adams added to the Astronaut's Memorial? Or helping write the display text for the X-15 exhibits at the Smithsonian's NASM?

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #57 on: 08/10/2007 06:30 PM »
Quote
MrTim - 10/8/2007  1:21 PM

Quote
Franklin - 9/8/2007  9:53 PM
The Challenger crew cabin wasn't tumbling. It's called fact, like the way gravity is a fact. It stabilized in a slightly nose down attitude many tens of thousands of feet before it hit the water. The idea it was "tumbling" is in the realm of urban folklore, i.e. myth.

I was answering much of the rest of his question and accepting his spinning/tumbling cabin idea, in part because this discussion is related to this thread by being at least related to possible scenarios involving possible future orbiter designs. In point of fact, however, you were WRONG to stomp here unless you have irrefutable proof that the cabin never spun, rolled or tumbled during any point of its essentially ballistic arc. The earlier poster was NOT arguing to such a fine level of detail as to say how many degrees-per-second, along what axis, or between which seconds MET.

I am fixing the thread quoting marks below for clarity for the benefit of readers:

Quote
Franklin - 9/8/2007  9:53 PM
Quote
MrTim - 9/8/2007 8:17 PM
"Remember that those early REALLY high altitude parachute jumps were by guys jumping from essentially stationary balloons to see how HIGH you COULD jump from, and NOT how HIGH and FAST you could jump or whether you could jump that way with in or near an explosion, near running rocket motors, or while engulfed in plasma hot enough to melt many metals."
MORE MISUNDERSTANDING. Kittinger and the engineers behind Project Excelsior believed aircraft operations in that altitude range would soon become commonplace, and so sought to develop a parachute system that would prevent the lethal flat spin the human body goes into under those conditions because the air is too thin to stabilize it.

Nope. Pay attention before you start jumping up & down. I did not misunderstand Kittinger's excellent work... I reminded the poster of (or got him to go look-up on his own) the limitations of that work to possible orbiter bail-out scenarios. Has NOBODY on this sight EVER tutored junior engineers????? Give pointers...stimulate some thought... subtle encouragement to do personal research... not wasting time on minor nit-picking details unless necessary...

 ;)

From a spaceflight point of view (this IS  a space site and the discussion WAS about bailing out from a hypothetical future orbiter with reference to Challenger) Kittinger's balloon was, as I said, ESSENTIALLY standing still. His tests had NO serious sideways velocity. He was only investigating the fact that when you jump from so high that there is essentially no air, you are not limited by air friction to the sort of terminal velocity that you would achieve in a normal skydiving adventure, and you ALSO do not have enough air to easily right yourself using your arms and legs for drag control. (so the worry was that you could end-up SERIOUSLY out of control before reaching thicker air and might even be dead or out-cold).
 
I was trying to explain to the earlier poster that in many ways the Kittinger jumps might have applied to the rare event of a Challenger incident, but were NOT good analogs to most aborts where one might want to eject or bail-out. Kittingers jumps were not just about "flat spins" though a brief plaque on a museum display might say that somewhere; they were about the USAF proving that a man could survive and overcome a whole range of issues relating to very-high altitude ejections as part of an effort to see if man could have a role in future bombers that were going higher and faster with each new generation up until the XB-70. You will note that the research never resumed after the XB-70 (the USAF no longer viewed higher & faster as the future for its bombers since these wacky new things called surface-to-air missiles had arrived).


Project Excelsior had no other objective than to test the stabilizer chute system designed by Beaupre.

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=562

Pressure suits could be tested in vacuum chambers.

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #58 on: 08/10/2007 06:41 PM »
Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  1:21 PM

Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  2:16 PM

Quote
henrycheck - 10/8/2007  6:53 AM

The Mercury flights carried personal parachutes and the Mercury pressure suit would not have maintained pressure or oxygen flow after it was disconnected from the capsule.

If I had been on the flight deck of Challenger that day, alive, awake, and watching the water come get me, I would not have been thinking “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have a parachute.”

The issue here is an isolated one and is presented in the context of “What have we learned from thirty years of winged spacecraft operations?” From Challenger, NASA learned to give the astronauts partial pressure suits and parachutes.

The first X-15 spaceflight was about one year after the first Mercury spaceflight, so the question should be "What have we learned from over 45 years of winged spacecraft operations?"

Hey! I'm on your side.

Roger that.

Offline MrTim

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #59 on: 08/10/2007 06:49 PM »
Quote
Franklin - 10/8/2007  10:16 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/

You don't actually read books, newspapers or magazines do you?

Ok, now this is just getting annoying.

You cite an internet column by NCB guy Jay Barbree (which does nothing to disprove a tumbling cabin) as a way to make a drive-by attack on other posters, EVEN to the point of questioning whether people here read books. I presume you are relying on the Overmeyer quotes and doing some extrapolating. Did you KNOW Bob? Ever talk with him? Just relying on an edited website piece like that (a story that has some raw info but is fleshed-out with dramatic narrative by a jounalist writing for the masses) is mighty poor. I did not know him well, but Bob was a good guy and his words should NOT be used that way, particularly when he is no longer with us to respond or clarify. I would never presume to use the man's words on the matter to say anything other than precisely what he said. This just TICKS me off.

 :angry:

Offline Jester

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #60 on: 08/10/2007 07:53 PM »
*glances at the topic*

Can we get back on topic please?, or if you want to voice an opinion about 51L. open another thread...?
Thanks

Offline Franklin

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Re: OV-201
« Reply #61 on: 08/10/2007 09:09 PM »
Quote
Jester - 10/8/2007  2:53 PM

*glances at the topic*

Can we get back on topic please?, or if you want to voice an opinion about 51L. open another thread...?
Thanks

It's on topic. The circumstances of the Challenger breakup point out the relevance of the Project Excelsior achievements and raise the question of whether this technology should be applied to SpaceShipTwo as well as other private aerospaceplanes now in the planning stages or under development.

Offline James Lowe1

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RE: OV-201
« Reply #62 on: 08/10/2007 09:11 PM »
This thread is deleted back due to personal insults. Looks like it might need deleting back some more, or deleting and people can start again on the topic of OV-201.

Insults from any member of this site's forum is not acceptable. We will ban people if this continues, regardless of who the poster is.

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