Author Topic: Early Space Shuttle concept as ambulance/hospital or for Red Cross?  (Read 2212 times)

Offline Zero-G

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I recently stumbled over this artwork in a McDonnell Douglas ad from the 1970s of a Phase B orbiter concept. The prominent Red Cross markings puzzled me.
What is the story behind these markings? Have there ever been proposals or plans to use the Space Shuttle as "space ambulance" or "space hospital", that would mandate such markings, or even with the Red Cross organisation itself? What was the rationale for this?
Or is it just the result of an artist's phantasy running wild?

Same artwork can also be found on page I-240 in volume 1 of Dennis Jenkins' three-volume Space Shuttle book.
« Last Edit: 02/25/2022 03:27 pm by Zero-G »
"I still don't understand who I am: the first human or the last dog in space." - Yuri Gagarin

Offline RonM

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There was an amazing level of overconfidence in what the proposed program could do. Incredibly cheap access to space would lead to space stations, resources, industry, and thousands of people living in space. If those flights of fantasy came true then space ambulances would be reasonable. Of course, that didn't happen and it seems ridiculous to us today.

Offline libra

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That's an understatement. One flight per week, 52 flights per year over 1978-1990: that would have been 624 flights.
Put otherwise: at 52 flights annually, the Shuttle 135 flights we got in the end would have been spread, not over 30 years (1981-2011) but in a bit more than 2.5 years ! (52+52+26 = 130). 3 years instead of 30 years: that's 10X times the flight rate we got.

Offline Vahe231991

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I found another photo of the McDonnell Douglas Phase B design study for a space shuttle configured for use as an ambulance/hospital at Flickr.

« Last Edit: 09/14/2023 10:24 pm by Vahe231991 »

Offline Jim

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I found another photo of the McDonnell Douglas Phase B design study for a space shuttle optimized for use as an ambulance/hospital at Flickr.

"optimized"? how about just configured.

Offline Barley

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The Red Cross is not a symbol for a hospital or ambulance.  It has a couple of very specific meanings.  Protection under the Geneva conventions, or disaster relief and similar directly under the Red Cross organization.  A shuttle properly using the red cross is even more preposterous than a shuttle marked as an ambulance.


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