grakenverb - 20/2/2007 4:55 PMWhat would a Saturn V have cost today had the program continued? Would a launch have cost less than a shuttle launch, given all the time it takes to refurbish a shuttle for launch? In other words, would we have been better off if we had just continued manufacturing Saturns?
Malderi - 21/2/2007 5:37 AMBut for things that need a crew - like, say, building a space station - the shuttle works pretty well.
CuddlyRocket - 20/2/2007 11:53 PMQuoteMalderi - 21/2/2007 5:37 AMBut for things that need a crew - like, say, building a space station - the shuttle works pretty well.No, it doesn't. The optimum strategy is a large launcher for the pieces of the station and a small launcher for the crew (which is what the Russians did, albeit by necessity). The ISS would have been built far quicker and for much less money using the Saturn V, IVB and Apollo than it has been using the STS. The only reason it has been built using the current methodology is to give the STS something to do.
nobodyofconsequence - 21/2/2007 3:30 AMThe irony with the Shuttle and the Russians was the rush to do Buran, because of the fear that Shuttle re-usability would put them at an economic disadvantage, and the irony for the US was the inability to keep a good design evolving. While the Shuttle is a magnificent design, both US and Russia spent themselves into a hole for a "reusable" system.
nobodyofconsequence - 21/2/2007 2:30 AMCould it be that the Shuttle was an attempt to do "too much, too quickly" at the time, where waiting off a decade would have made a difference?...Or was the flexibility of the Shuttle just too much of a compromise any way you slice it?...
JonSBerndt - 21/2/2007 12:05 PMISS has been built by shuttle because it's all we've got right now.
... I would agree with Malderi that shuttle actually does work pretty well for building a space station.
One launch takes up the crew and payload. Is it the safest way to go? Maybe not.
Are there better ways? There are probably several alternative histories which if we had had the foresight to follow one of those would have resulted in a better situation - or simply a different set of problems.
But, that doesn't in itself negate the value of the shuttle.
Given the goals we have at this time and the tools we have available, the shuttle is uniquely well-suited to carrying out a space station construction endeavor.