As I understand things, the wings cause a lot of problems. They are useless dead weight until the last minutes before landing. To keep them from ripping off on ascent, you have to do deep throttling around MaxQ, build them extra strong (and therefore heavy), or both. The wings go to orbit, so every pound put into the wings detracts from upmass. I do wonder what Max Faget's orbiter would have been like to operate. Maybe it would've still had those cursed SRBs and the icy-foam-ET-next-to-delicate-thermal-protection problem. Did the DC-3 get far enough along that a TPS for it was baselined?I need to read The Space Shuttle Decision; but Jenkins' book and this forum give some excellent insights. I love the Shuttle as much as the next guy (possibly more), but I don't think the final product was a good idea.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's wrong to do an expendable design, I just believe, if we look at what one would do NOW, it would not look the least like Energia, maybe like a half-size Energia.Even if you want a large crew cabin, glider for cross-range and all of that, you'll be fine with something twice the size of a Zenit or so to get that thing into orbit, gives you 25t to LEO, should be fine for a crew vehicle. Or something like Energia-M with around 30t. That's four times the weight of a Soyuz.Reuse? May or may not be, you can decide on that later.That same, still much smaller-than-Energia launcher that uses 1/3 of the number of engines the "big" Energia could be used for cargo launches as well with a similar payload capability to the "shuttle" systems. OK, now you need two launches but even together they still use fewer of your expensive components (engines) plus all your infrastructure can be much smaller and you gain flexibility.And how many payloads that exceed 30t and really need to be brought up in one piece will you ever have?No, had they built Energia-M instead of the big thing right away, we would probably see it fly even today (political issues between Russia and Ukraine aside).
Well, I think a reusable, large capsule would be fairly easy to do. Itís an efficient and simple design, and easy to make robust without adding a lot of mass, unlike a space plane. A large version of the Gemini or Dragon capsule, except with all the features of the Shuttle cabin, plus an integral, internally stowed manipulator arm. I think Orion is around 8mt, so Iíd think you could do something like that for 20mt. Give it a very strong and well fueled RCS/OMS system so that it can maneuver itself and large payloads and act as a tractor/tug. With a wall angle closer to Dragon than Apollo, the LAS/landing engines could act like SMME/OMS engines. It would need to be designed to have enough fuel for OMS maneuvers, as well as land.
How does the Shuttle Super Light Weight Tank compares to Energia's core ?Is/was a SLWT even an option for Energia ?Energia boosters were lifting from bottom, or from top ?
If I were to choose a new design for the shuttle with I'd use the McDonnell Douglas concept as a starting point.Though I'd change a few things such as the first stage would be hydrocarbon vs hydrogen fueled.
Quote from: Lobo on 04/03/2012 05:03 PMWell, I think a reusable, large capsule would be fairly easy to do. Itís an efficient and simple design, and easy to make robust without adding a lot of mass, unlike a space plane. A large version of the Gemini or Dragon capsule, except with all the features of the Shuttle cabin, plus an integral, internally stowed manipulator arm. I think Orion is around 8mt, so Iíd think you could do something like that for 20mt. Give it a very strong and well fueled RCS/OMS system so that it can maneuver itself and large payloads and act as a tractor/tug. With a wall angle closer to Dragon than Apollo, the LAS/landing engines could act like SMME/OMS engines. It would need to be designed to have enough fuel for OMS maneuvers, as well as land.I like that too. Basically a F-X heavy and dragon 2. Picturing a dragon 2 as using methane also though, and with a taller mould line (for when long "umbrella" satellites are in it). Crew version would seat 25 or so. But I would rather see this bypassed for a reusable F-XX heavy and "really big" dragon 2 combo. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21981.msg682814#msg682814 There's a big debate in this thread about capsule vs. wings for larger sized stuff. The link pretty much arrives at the opening salvo.
IMO, Shuttle was probably hurt more by the decision to use an ET than anything else. It was the longest lead time and most expensive item. Even if every other system had worked flawlessly, ET's would have limited the flight rate to 24 per year.
This would have been the ultimate shuttle (in concept)Now let me get out of here before Jim starts throwing things
How important was being able to return payloads? I would think it would make more sense to have internal fuel tanks (in a series staged design so that you need much less fuel in the orbiter) and external payload. Then the expendable part of the design would just be a payload fairing. Picture the payload attached to the belly (like the ET is only much smaller). Then a payload fairing over it for ascent that can be jettisoned when high enough. There would be a robot arm stowed that could reach around the bottom for deployment. If there was really a need to return payload you could bring up a reentry pod as a payload that would basically be an ablative heat shield and parachute with some thrusters for reentry. The shuttle could grab the satellite, put it in the reentry pod and then the payload would enter and splash down somewhere.The orbiter itself could have a small payload bay like a pickup truck bed.Seems to me that it would be more cost effective to expend simple cheap payload fairings than complicated and expensive fuel tanks.
Although somewhat fictional, this was what I had in mind for a next generation shuttle. Definitely have to get away from the side mounted orbiter so I thought one mounted at the apex would allow for some sort of escape. And again probably do not need a huge payload bay.Keithhttp://www.keithmcneill.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Omega1g%20-%20small.jpghttp://www.keithmcneill.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Omega3l%20SMALL.jpghttp://www.keithmcneill.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Omega12h%20SMALL.jpg