Author Topic: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?  (Read 4434 times)

Offline Graham2001

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I've found a techno-thriller called 'The Hunting of Salyut 7'.

Front Cover


It seems to be one that was going to be released in 1979 to coincide with the planned first flight of Columbia, but was delayed to 1981.

The only truly interesting aspect of the novel is that the RMS system on the shuttle ('Orbiter 102') is fitted with a grasping claw arrangement rather than the system actually used.

Was this arrangement (which can be seen in the cover scan) ever contemplated for the shuttle, or is it just an authors flight of fancy?
« Last Edit: 12/23/2008 07:24 AM by Graham2001 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #1 on: 12/22/2008 01:18 PM »
fancy

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #2 on: 12/23/2008 12:30 AM »
fancy

I'm not so sure. I found the NASA artwork attached while checking my book collection. It would suggest something similar might have been under consideration at one point.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #3 on: 12/23/2008 05:43 AM »
Haha...that's awesome. I had to enlarge it just to see if Dale Brown was the author (although it's probably a few years before he was popular).

It also ties in nicely with the article mentioned recently in the Buran thread about how the Soviets were going to steal Skylab.

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #4 on: 12/23/2008 07:22 AM »
Haha...that's awesome. I had to enlarge it just to see if Dale Brown was the author (although it's probably a few years before he was popular).

It also ties in nicely with the article mentioned recently in the Buran thread about how the Soviets were going to steal Skylab.

Well the novel does not have the Americans trying to steal an entire Salyut. ;)

Just the bit with the nice shiny particle cannon.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2008 07:23 AM by Graham2001 »

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/2009 12:34 PM »
fancy

It looks like it may not have been.

The NTRS just uploaded a report on the preliminary RMS design that came out in January of 1972.

In the third volume (Link which deals with the proposed design is a list of the planned first ten shuttle missions (See Picture Below). The list shows that at that time it would appear that they were going to use a claw on the RMS.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #6 on: 01/10/2009 08:09 PM »
That's interesting.

Is there a history of the RMS?  The reason I ask is that in January 2008 at the AIAA history symposium at MSFC I believe that I heard a history talk about the use of shuttle for on-orbit servicing.  If I remember correctly, the speaker said that the original concept for the shuttle did not include an RMS.  He talked briefly about how the shuttle would actually dock with payloads in order to retrieve them and showed some artist illustrations of how this was supposed to work.

I can say that it surprised me at the time, but unfortunately I don't remember much about that talk.  The symposium had really poor audio and video and scheduling, but some great talks.

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #7 on: 01/10/2009 10:33 PM »
That's interesting.

Is there a history of the RMS?

I don't know, the design of the shuttle was fairly fluid until until about 1971 I think.

The attached picture comes from a McDonnell-Douglas study (Link to Volume 2.) dating from 1969, it shows the methods of getting the payload out considered during that period. Note one of them involves a manipulator arm mounted on the space station.

Offline lemranger

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #8 on: 01/10/2009 10:46 PM »
I remember visiting the Spar site near Toronto in late '75 and they were already looking at the can with snare wires. I'd only seen the artwork from NASA/Rockwell with the claw, but I'm nearly sure that was only a guess. Us concept artists are always making things up!

--Paul

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #9 on: 09/27/2009 01:46 PM »
I know this is an old thread, but I've just stumbled across another novel dating from the 1970's that has a shuttle orbiter fitted with a grasping type mechanism.

The novel is Harry Harrison's 'Skyfall' (1976) it deals with a disastrous attempt to launch a 2000 ton Orbital Power Station core which results in the payload being placed into a decaying orbit. Two of the crew are killed trying to solve the problem and third dies converting the spacecrafts Nuclear-Thermal engine into a bomb to destroy the ship before it impacts with the ground.

The three survivors are rescued by a space shuttle shortly before the explosion.

The following comes from Page 244 of a paperback version released in 1986.

Quote
The remote manipulator arm ran almost the length of the cargo bay, a jointed tube fifty feet long. It was absurdly thin for its length and the motors in its joints were scarcely able to move its own weight now. Because it was designed for operation in space only, in free fall, beyond the reach of gravity. At its far end was a jaw-like mechanism designed to seize cargo and lift it free.
Harry Harrison, Skyfall, Grafton, pg 244, 1986
« Last Edit: 09/28/2009 12:46 AM by Graham2001 »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #10 on: 09/27/2009 04:02 PM »
Okay, maybe this is heading off in a tangent, but is Skyfall the first fictional portrayal of space based solar power?

Somebody asked me awhile back if the idea originated in fiction and then transitioned to more serious engineering literature, as many space ideas have.  I believe the first serious discussion of SPS was in the late 1960s or so (I'm too lazy to look it up).  Did any sci-fi writers mention it before then?

Offline William Barton

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #11 on: 09/27/2009 04:11 PM »
Okay, maybe this is heading off in a tangent, but is Skyfall the first fictional portrayal of space based solar power?

Somebody asked me awhile back if the idea originated in fiction and then transitioned to more serious engineering literature, as many space ideas have.  I believe the first serious discussion of SPS was in the late 1960s or so (I'm too lazy to look it up).  Did any sci-fi writers mention it before then?

Isaac Asimov's "Reason" (1941) is the oldest story I could remember offhand, but I'm sure it goes back much farther than that. A lot of the SF I write is fairly recursive (i.e., mentions earlier uses of similar ideas within the story), so I do a lot of research, and frequently find out ideas can be very old indeed. Most ideas are older than the name "science fiction" (or its ancestor, "scientifiction"), and many go back so far as to become untraceable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason_(short_story)

Offline William Barton

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #12 on: 09/27/2009 08:01 PM »
It looks like the idea of power transmission originated with Niccola Tesla, in 1904, amazingly enough! It's not SPS, but Tsiolkovskii was writing around this same time (Tesla was born in Croatia in 1856), and H.G. Wells was dominating the best seller lists, so it's easy to see how the idea would have evolved in the pre-SF era.

http://www.tfcbooks.com/tesla/1904-03-05.htm

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Was the RMS ever planned to be fitted with a claw?
« Reply #13 on: 09/28/2009 12:44 AM »
Okay, maybe this is heading off in a tangent, but is Skyfall the first fictional portrayal of space based solar power?

Somebody asked me awhile back if the idea originated in fiction and then transitioned to more serious engineering literature, as many space ideas have.  I believe the first serious discussion of SPS was in the late 1960s or so (I'm too lazy to look it up).  Did any sci-fi writers mention it before then?

Isaac Asimov's "Reason" (1941) is the oldest story I could remember offhand, but I'm sure it goes back much farther than that. A lot of the SF I write is fairly recursive (i.e., mentions earlier uses of similar ideas within the story), so I do a lot of research, and frequently find out ideas can be very old indeed. Most ideas are older than the name "science fiction" (or its ancestor, "scientifiction"), and many go back so far as to become untraceable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason_(short_story)

"Reason" is the earliest one I know of, the next (to my knowledge) is Arthur C. Clarke's "Islands In The Sky" (1952). It features a decommissioned SPS that is used in the filming of a science fiction movie, on location in space.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islands_in_the_Sky )

The design of the SPS is one where mirrors concentrate sunlight onto boilers to make steam, this is a power generation design which was used on various space station proposals in the 1920's & 30's

''Skyfall'' is the only novel I've seen where an attempt is made to launch the whole thing in one go, Clarke's station, from memory was put together in orbit.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2009 12:54 AM by Graham2001 »