Author Topic: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?  (Read 15036 times)

Offline Eerie

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Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« on: 09/12/2008 03:46 pm »
How much could it cost to make the Space Shuttle fly unmanned?

Offline clegg78

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #1 on: 09/12/2008 03:58 pm »
From my reading, the shuttle can now land automated via that fancy cable they carry along (for LON situations where the crew is offloaded yet NASA wants to chance landing the shuttle unmanned to possibly save the orbiter).

And Launch is almost entirely automated already, the area that I think the plan craps out is Orbit Ops.  The shuttle doesnt support remote operation of the RMS, and automated docking isnt implemented so getting to ISS would be sketchy or not possible.

Russia built the Buran to be nearly fully automated and almost every function could be controlled from the ground.  The first and only flight of it was unmanned.   It also would have had automated docking functionaltiy.
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Offline Launch Fan

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Offline William Barton

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #3 on: 09/12/2008 04:11 pm »
I had this sudden vision of a future in which the Shuttle flies unmanned, and a crew comes up (and goes home) on a Dragon (or whatever) for the on-orbit ops. What would it add to the program costs? 10% or so...?

Seriously, what would it take to add teleoperational capability to the Shuttle? RMS seems tailor made for it. Surely the control inputs are electronic (rather than cable)? Same with the OMS flight controls? Once they were wired for it, couldn't it be flown to docking by a pilot situated aboard ISS? It doesn't seem like that would require a great deal of sophistication. Although whether it would be worth the development effort is a good question.

Offline rdale

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #4 on: 09/12/2008 04:16 pm »
Although whether it would be worth the development effort is a good question.

...and a question you probably know the answer to without having to ask ;)

Offline Jim

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #5 on: 09/13/2008 01:42 pm »

Seriously, what would it take to add teleoperational capability to the Shuttle? RMS seems tailor made for it. Surely the control inputs are electronic (rather than cable)? Same with the OMS flight controls? Once they were wired for it, couldn't it be flown to docking by a pilot situated aboard ISS? It doesn't seem like that would require a great deal of sophistication. Although whether it would be worth the development effort is a good question.

Too much lag for teleops.   

All the onorbit ops are manual.  Payload bay door ops, attitude control, rendezvous and docking, oms burns, system reconfiguration, etc. 

The issue isn't computing power.  The problem is wiring.  The function of every switch need to be reconfigured to be done by avionics.

Put it this way, what would it take to make every light switch, every thermostat, every appliance controller, every door, etc in a house to be remotely operated from a PC.  The PC has the capability to do but the house doesn't

Offline STS Tony

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #6 on: 09/13/2008 08:49 pm »
The Astronaut Corp would never allow it anyway? Would put them out of a job.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #7 on: 09/13/2008 09:13 pm »
Too much lag for teleops.

Hmm, the Russians/Europeans did not seem to mind the lag too much when designing the Buran RMS/ERA

http://www.buran.su/buranvssts-comparison.php
« Last Edit: 09/13/2008 09:16 pm by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #8 on: 09/13/2008 10:02 pm »
Too much lag for teleops.

Hmm, the Russians/Europeans did not seem to mind the lag too much when designing the Buran RMS/ERA

http://www.buran.su/buranvssts-comparison.php

Be aware that this is a amazing people website, not an official website, so its claims should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Buran RMS never flew and how well it would have worked if teleoperated is purely speculative.
JRF

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #9 on: 09/13/2008 10:10 pm »
The Astronaut Corp would never allow it anyway? Would put them out of a job.

The Astronaut Corp is irrelevant to the issue since this idea is a non-starter for many reasons. It would be expensive, would take years to certify, would probably never be completely safe for ISS approach/docking ops, and in the end is just not worth doing. A large part of the value of the shuttle is its ability to deliver a trained assembly crew along with cargo and assembly elements. Once ISS assembly is complete there is no good reason for unmanned shuttle that would justify the colossal expenditures and the increase in risk to the ISS crew.
JRF

Offline AresWatcher

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #10 on: 09/14/2008 03:30 am »
Out of interest, will Orion be technically something that can fly unmanned?
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #11 on: 09/14/2008 04:12 am »
Out of interest, will Orion be technically something that can fly unmanned?

Yes.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #12 on: 09/14/2008 04:38 am »

Seriously, what would it take to add teleoperational capability to the Shuttle? RMS seems tailor made for it. Surely the control inputs are electronic (rather than cable)? Same with the OMS flight controls? Once they were wired for it, couldn't it be flown to docking by a pilot situated aboard ISS? It doesn't seem like that would require a great deal of sophistication. Although whether it would be worth the development effort is a good question.

Too much lag for teleops.   

All the onorbit ops are manual.  Payload bay door ops, attitude control, rendezvous and docking, oms burns, system reconfiguration, etc. 

The issue isn't computing power.  The problem is wiring.  The function of every switch need to be reconfigured to be done by avionics.

Put it this way, what would it take to make every light switch, every thermostat, every appliance controller, every door, etc in a house to be remotely operated from a PC.  The PC has the capability to do but the house doesn't

On the house example I was able to automate many functions in my house via X10 controllers and it was very easy.
 I did not have to rip out the walls etc the controllers use the existing AC wiring for communications.
It may not open every door but it does control most of the lighting and the thermostat.
The RMS already is computer controlled so just rewrite the software and send the control data on a serial link from the main com uplink to the arm controller.

I didn't have to rewire a keyboard to remote control a server all I had to do was enable SSH.

Though some functions on the shuttle may not be computer controlled such as deploying the landing gear so they had to use a cable.
I also don't know if the payload doors can be tele-operated but I suspect they likely could be.

As for the airlock you would not need it anyway if there is no one on board to use it.

As for lag it didn't stop NextSat and Astro from performing several operations it's only 320 milliseconds anyway at worst double it if the signal has to be bounced twice.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2008 04:41 am by Patchouli »

Offline rdale

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #13 on: 09/14/2008 04:44 am »
You didn't compare automating the shuttle, to adding X10 contollers to your lamps, did you?

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #14 on: 09/14/2008 04:47 am »

Seriously, what would it take to add teleoperational capability to the Shuttle? RMS seems tailor made for it. Surely the control inputs are electronic (rather than cable)? Same with the OMS flight controls? Once they were wired for it, couldn't it be flown to docking by a pilot situated aboard ISS? It doesn't seem like that would require a great deal of sophistication. Although whether it would be worth the development effort is a good question.

Too much lag for teleops.   

All the onorbit ops are manual.  Payload bay door ops, attitude control, rendezvous and docking, oms burns, system reconfiguration, etc. 

The issue isn't computing power.  The problem is wiring.  The function of every switch need to be reconfigured to be done by avionics.

Put it this way, what would it take to make every light switch, every thermostat, every appliance controller, every door, etc in a house to be remotely operated from a PC.  The PC has the capability to do but the house doesn't

On the house example I was able to automate many functions in my house via X10 controllers and it was very easy.
 I did not have to rip out the walls etc the controllers use the existing AC wiring for communications.

Good for you then. Not possible with the shuttle. Not only would they have to "rip out the walls", they would need to completely redesign the avionics. The current system is not up to the job.

Quote
It may not open every door but it does control most of the lighting and the thermostat.

Again, good for you. Not good enough for doing entire shuttle flights autonomously. *All* functions must be accessible from the computers.

Quote
As for lag it didn't stop NextSat and Astro from performing several operations it's only 320 milliseconds anyway at worst double it if the signal has to be bounced twice.

No, for continuous comm you need TDRSS and the one-way latency is around 6 seconds. The system was simply not designed for low latency. It could be upgraded but will cost $$$.

The original post asks the wrong question. There is no question that it is possible to "upgrade" the shuttle to operate unmanned. The real question is whether it is practical to do so and whether it is a good use of NASA's limited funds. The answer to both is "no".
JRF

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #15 on: 09/14/2008 04:54 am »
You didn't compare automating the shuttle, to adding X10 contollers to your lamps, did you?
I was just pointing out the house automation is a bad example since that is to do.
BTW I went a lot farther then a module controlling a lamp have the exterior lighting and HVAC controlled via computer as well as some blinds I had to make that part myself.
The shuttle would be far more complex then automating a house and more akin to making a computer able to be remote controlled who's OS does not have a TCP stack etc plus a little like making a car completely remote controlled multiplied by about 50x in complexity and demands.

The shuttle software supposedly has some tight timing loops and is written in an odd ball language called HAL/S that few people know how to program in.
Plus the hardware is very memory limited so any changes must be very well thought out.
But it would not be impossible not by any stretch the USAF sometimes makes existing planes into drones for example.

Though some stuff could be controlled in the manner similar to an X10 controller just make a harness and micro controller that plugs into the existing wiring harness to emulate the switches.
Then have that controller on the MDM data bus so it can be remote controlled.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2008 05:03 am by Patchouli »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #16 on: 09/14/2008 05:24 am »
Instead of asking can the shuttle be operated unmanned would about can it be operated with a minimum crew of only two or three and a soyuz DM carried for an escape capsule?

As for funds for exploring options including upgrading TDRSS which sounds like it can really use an upgrade just kill Ares and use Direct and the EELVs.

For just the development cost of  Ares I they likely could buy more then enough EELV heavies for the life of Orion.

I don't have any firm costs on Ares I something between 7B and 13B both are very high for yet another medium heavy class LV.

An Atlas 552 costs what 110 to 150M?

Offline Adama

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #17 on: 09/14/2008 07:32 pm »
If you carry a DM in the payload bay how are they supposed to get into it?

Other problems with this are - If you are carrying a Soyuz DM how do you use it? The payload bay doors are closed during entry. If you use it before hand how do you deorbit?

Hypothetically, something similar to Soyuz could replace the shuttle cockpit. An area that is sealed during the launch/landing and pyrobolts to separate it from the main vehicle.

That might have saved the Challenger crew, maybe Columbia crew as well, if it had been separated from the shuttle at the right time and with proper orientation.

One might describe that as "having the main controls in the escape pod". Much better solution than having the shuttle as it is, and a clumsy escape pod in the payload bay, which is not accessible when most needed.


Of course, this would require so much redesigning that the result wouldn't be anything like the shuttle or Soyuz is today...
But when somebody someday builds something similar to the shuttle/Buran architecture, this could be designed into the vehicle from the very first steps.

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #18 on: 09/14/2008 07:57 pm »
I believe such an escape pod concept was talked about before. High performance aircraft have used them, e.g. the XB70, IIRC.

On a more practical level, I remember asking a while back whether the shuttle could fall back to a four-person crew. This was before RTF, when the ISS was only 2-man. The idea was that a well-timed flight could have guaranteed crew return utilising the spare Soyuz seat already at the station, plus a second Soyuz flown unmanned to the station. If the shuttle flight was timed just before a Soyuz flight then there would be very little time waiting at the station. The real killer against this idea was that there wouldn't be enough manpower to do all of the cargo transfer and/or assembly work for the mission.
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #19 on: 09/14/2008 08:53 pm »
I believe such an escape pod concept was talked about before. High performance aircraft have used them, e.g. the XB70, IIRC.

They are expensive, heavy, and bottom line are just not that reliable - about 50/50. B-58 and F-111 did not have good experiences with them. They've been looked at for shuttle but it's a poor cost/benefit trade.
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Offline kraisee

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #20 on: 09/15/2008 01:04 am »
In particular escape pods are such heavy systems for seven crew that every option which has been studied would each have seriously reduced the payload carrying capabilities of the Shuttle - which aren't exactly massive anyway.

Essentially, trying to integrate such a system into the current Shuttle design would end up only making the vehicle a lot less capable and a lot less useful than at present - and that would only defeat the entire purpose of the Shuttle.

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Offline buran.fr

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #21 on: 09/29/2008 11:28 am »

Hmm, the Russians/Europeans did not seem to mind the lag too much when designing the Buran RMS/ERA

http://www.buran.su/buranvssts-comparison.php

Be aware that this is a amazing people website, not an official website, so its claims should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Buran RMS never flew and how well it would have worked if teleoperated is purely speculative.

Yes you're right the RMS never flew on Buran because it was not finished on 1988. The first tests were planned much more later.
(I should write it to avoid future misunderstand).

I tried to make an objective comparison between the two systems (I mean as objective as it it is possible to be about this subject).
There is sometimes discuntions on internet about the difference between the 2 systems and I wanted to group all the different points in one site.

If other points are not clear or lean to one or the other system tell it to me. Because I didn't want to make just a amazing people site that says that Buran is great and STS is Incorrect.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #22 on: 05/11/2009 05:00 pm »
A slight twist on this, and the answer is probably no, but might the following scenario work:

- shuttle is launched unmanned, perhaps with a payload, perhaps not
- shuttle waits outside the ISS approach ellipsoid
- Orion + (as yet non-existent) SSPDM + any downmass payload approaches the shuttle
- shuttle's cargo bay doors are opened remotely from the ground
- Orion docks with airlock (perhaps tailor-made == $$$)
or
- astronauts make EVA, perhaps assisted by robot arm on SSPDM, perhaps with MMU/SAFER
- astronauts enter the shuttle, deploy payload and/or take downmass on board
- astronauts return to Orion
- Orion returns to ISS with SSPDM + payload and hands it over to the ISS robot arm or returns empty if no payload
- shuttle cargo bay doors are closed from the ground
- shuttle lands autonomously

If this works, it would be a way to preserve the shuttle workforce (politics), and solve any downmass problems while not putting a replacement SDLV on the critical path. As I said, probably too difficult, dangerous or expensive. Any idea how difficult, dangerous or expensive?
« Last Edit: 05/11/2009 05:07 pm by mmeijeri »
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #23 on: 05/11/2009 05:08 pm »
A slight twist on this, and the answer is probably no, but might the following scenario work:

- shuttle is launched unmanned, perhaps with a payload, perhaps not
- shuttle waits outside the ISS approach ellipsoid
- Orion or Orion + (as yet non-existent) SSPDM + any downmass payload approaches the shuttle
- shuttle's cargo bay doors are opened remotely from the ground
- Orion docks with airlock (perhaps tailor-made == $$$)
or
- astronauts make EVA, perhaps assisted by robot arm on SSPDM, perhaps with MMU/SAFER
- astronauts enter the shuttle, deploy payload and/or take downmass on board
- astronauts return to Orion
- Orion returns to ISS with SSPDM + payload and hands it over to the ISS robot arm or returns empty if no payload
- shuttle cargo bay doors are closed from the ground
- shuttle lands autonomously

If this works, it would be a way to preserve the shuttle workforce (politics), and solve any downmass problems while not putting a replacement SDLV on the critical path. As I said, probably too difficult, dangerous or expensive. Any idea how difficult, dangerous or expensive?

Flying the shuttle unmanned saves little to no money over flying it manned. EVA transfer increases risk. If you're going to keep flying the shuttle at all, fly it manned.
JRF

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #24 on: 05/11/2009 05:10 pm »
Flying the shuttle unmanned saves little to no money over flying it manned. EVA transfer increases risk. If you're going to keep flying the shuttle at all, fly it manned.

I was thinking more of safety. Would the extra EVA and docking be more risky than manned launch and landing? And just out of interest: would this be technically possible?
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Offline Jim

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #25 on: 05/11/2009 05:11 pm »
"shuttle's cargo bay doors are opened remotely from the ground"

They need to be opened upon reaching orbit and now currently only by the crew.

Even the crew is needed to get to the ISS approach ellipsoid


The whole idea is too expensive

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #26 on: 05/11/2009 05:20 pm »
Flying the shuttle unmanned saves little to no money over flying it manned. EVA transfer increases risk. If you're going to keep flying the shuttle at all, fly it manned.

I was thinking more of safety. Would the extra EVA and docking be more risky than manned launch and landing? And just out of interest: would this be technically possible?

It might be possible with a few deltas. As Jim noted, the payload bay doors must be opened soon after insertion. You *cannot* wait until to close to ISS to do so. I believe MCC could command the doors remotely through the SM software; remote closing is part of the RCO plan. May need additional legs on the RCO cable to handle more switches. As for the ISS approach ellipsoid, the orbiter cannot get that close without a crew, period. The ground could get the orbiter to 40 nmi behind on the -Vbar and that is where the Orion would have to go. The extra EVA and docking *alone* would not have a risk comparable to a shuttle launch/landing but considering cumulative risk to the crew, *Orion* launch/landing *plus* extra EVA would be in the ballpark.

So even if it were possible the idea makes no sense. Safety is a wash and more expensive than current ops. This is a non-starter.
JRF

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #27 on: 05/11/2009 05:22 pm »
Thanks! A pity, but I'm consoled by the fact a rocket scientist says it woulda-worked. :)
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Offline William Barton

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #28 on: 05/11/2009 05:25 pm »
In particular escape pods are such heavy systems for seven crew that every option which has been studied would each have seriously reduced the payload carrying capabilities of the Shuttle - which aren't exactly massive anyway.

Essentially, trying to integrate such a system into the current Shuttle design would end up only making the vehicle a lot less capable and a lot less useful than at present - and that would only defeat the entire purpose of the Shuttle.

Ross.

I had an idea for a way to do that back when the Shuttle was still under development, very Rube Goldberg: Mount an Apollo capsule inside the (detachable) Orbiter nosecap, with a tunnel leading from the crew compartment to the capsule hatch. Attach a LAS tower to the outside of the nosecap with the idea if things went bad during launch, the LAS would extract the nosecap, capsule and all (caspule would then detach from nosecap and execute a normal entry/descent profile for an Apollo capsule). If things went wrong on reentry, nosecap and capsule would detach from failing orbiter, even if during aerodynamiuc breakup, and aero forces would turn the capsule heat-shield forward. Crew would ride in capsule up and down, of course. It would have been heavy, but not all that heavy. Doesn't the Orbiter already carry lead in its nose?

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #29 on: 05/11/2009 05:35 pm »
Plan B to avoid an extra EVA:

Remote control the shuttle's robot arm from Orion (no TDRS needed, low ping bastard scenario with no latency) or use the SSPDM's robot arm to get the payload from the cargo bay or to stick the download mass in. That last bit sounds especially tricky, given personal childhood experiences with jumping from a small boat onto a jetty. Or more accurately, not jumping onto said jetty. :)

Plan C to avoid cumulative risk:

Have a crew that's already going up to the ISS for another mission or the return crew do this.

Still doesn't solve the money problem of course.
« Last Edit: 05/11/2009 05:41 pm by mmeijeri »
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #30 on: 05/11/2009 06:30 pm »
 I had wondered about launching STS-135 since it would be ready to go anyhow. Maybe with a two man crew who could stay as part of the ISS crew, and landing the shuttle autonymously.
 
 "No, for continuous comm you need TDRSS and the one-way latency is around 6 seconds. The system was simply not designed for low latency. It could be upgraded but will cost $$$."

 I'm guessing you meant a one way latency of .6 seconds, and even then, wouldn't that add up to the two way time?
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #31 on: 05/11/2009 06:35 pm »
I had wondered about launching STS-135 since it would be ready to go anyhow. Maybe with a two man crew who could stay as part of the ISS crew, and landing the shuttle autonymously.
 
 "No, for continuous comm you need TDRSS and the one-way latency is around 6 seconds. The system was simply not designed for low latency. It could be upgraded but will cost $$$."

 I'm guessing you meant a one way latency of .6 seconds, and even then, wouldn't that add up to the two way time?

No, I meant what I wrote. It's six, not 0.6. The system is old and has a lot of overhead that adds to the latency. Upgrading it will cost $$$.
JRF

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #32 on: 05/11/2009 06:36 pm »
Plan B to avoid an extra EVA:

Remote control the shuttle's robot arm from Orion (no TDRS needed, low ping bastard scenario with no latency) or use the SSPDM's robot arm to get the payload from the cargo bay or to stick the download mass in. That last bit sounds especially tricky, given personal childhood experiences with jumping from a small boat onto a jetty. Or more accurately, not jumping onto said jetty. :)

Plan C to avoid cumulative risk:

Have a crew that's already going up to the ISS for another mission or the return crew do this.

Still doesn't solve the money problem of course.

Shuttle arm cannot be remote controlled. It can be remote commanded but that is simply maneuvering to a point, not closed-loop flying. Upgrade will cost $$$. This will not happen.
JRF

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #33 on: 05/11/2009 06:55 pm »
No, I meant what I wrote. It's six, not 0.6. The system is old and has a lot of overhead that adds to the latency. Upgrading it will cost $$$.

And even if it were 0.6, that would be a lot. I read some research into remote surgery and the effects of latency the other day. IIRC 0.15 s is perfectly acceptable, but 0.4s seems to be about the highest latency that can be accommodated. The times needed to complete simple tasks goes up enormously when you get to 0.4s.
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #34 on: 05/11/2009 07:15 pm »
Quote from: Jorge link=topic=14322.msg401569#msg401569

No, I meant what I wrote. It's six, not 0.6. The system is old and has a lot of overhead that adds to the latency. Upgrading it will cost $$$.
Can't say I know the guts of TDRSS, but I'd assume any function like a remote control data link would get a real time circuit, and not pass through the store and foward junk. Any kind of voice communications would be pretty bad with that latency. It's not like you're trying to pass huge amounts of data to those Carter era systems.
 Granted, I might be completely off regarding the function and abilities of the TDRSS system.
« Last Edit: 12/03/2020 03:54 pm by Nomadd »
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Offline SirThoreth

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #35 on: 03/24/2010 01:10 am »
I had an idea for a way to do that back when the Shuttle was still under development, very Rube Goldberg: Mount an Apollo capsule inside the (detachable) Orbiter nosecap, with a tunnel leading from the crew compartment to the capsule hatch. Attach a LAS tower to the outside of the nosecap with the idea if things went bad during launch, the LAS would extract the nosecap, capsule and all (caspule would then detach from nosecap and execute a normal entry/descent profile for an Apollo capsule). If things went wrong on reentry, nosecap and capsule would detach from failing orbiter, even if during aerodynamiuc breakup, and aero forces would turn the capsule heat-shield forward. Crew would ride in capsule up and down, of course. It would have been heavy, but not all that heavy. Doesn't the Orbiter already carry lead in its nose?

Since the more recent Unmanned Shuttle thread linked to here, and since you've posted something related to a question I've had:

Rockwell came up with a similar idea once upon a time, evidently, using a modified Apollo CM with heat shield and RCS pack as an escape capsule for the Shuttle.  Obviously, they'd have to use it from orbit, but the thing that's always bothered me is...where the heck were they going to put the capsule?

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/aponcept.htm

Offline Jorge

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #36 on: 03/24/2010 03:22 am »
I had an idea for a way to do that back when the Shuttle was still under development, very Rube Goldberg: Mount an Apollo capsule inside the (detachable) Orbiter nosecap, with a tunnel leading from the crew compartment to the capsule hatch. Attach a LAS tower to the outside of the nosecap with the idea if things went bad during launch, the LAS would extract the nosecap, capsule and all (caspule would then detach from nosecap and execute a normal entry/descent profile for an Apollo capsule). If things went wrong on reentry, nosecap and capsule would detach from failing orbiter, even if during aerodynamiuc breakup, and aero forces would turn the capsule heat-shield forward. Crew would ride in capsule up and down, of course. It would have been heavy, but not all that heavy. Doesn't the Orbiter already carry lead in its nose?

Since the more recent Unmanned Shuttle thread linked to here, and since you've posted something related to a question I've had:

Rockwell came up with a similar idea once upon a time, evidently, using a modified Apollo CM with heat shield and RCS pack as an escape capsule for the Shuttle.  Obviously, they'd have to use it from orbit, but the thing that's always bothered me is...where the heck were they going to put the capsule?

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/aponcept.htm

In the payload bay. Obviously would not have worked with ISS as-designed, since several ISS modules and many of the truss segments took up most of the length of the bay aft of the ODS.
JRF

Offline SirThoreth

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Re: Unmanned Shuttle - is it possible?
« Reply #37 on: 03/24/2010 05:09 am »
I had an idea for a way to do that back when the Shuttle was still under development, very Rube Goldberg: Mount an Apollo capsule inside the (detachable) Orbiter nosecap, with a tunnel leading from the crew compartment to the capsule hatch. Attach a LAS tower to the outside of the nosecap with the idea if things went bad during launch, the LAS would extract the nosecap, capsule and all (caspule would then detach from nosecap and execute a normal entry/descent profile for an Apollo capsule). If things went wrong on reentry, nosecap and capsule would detach from failing orbiter, even if during aerodynamiuc breakup, and aero forces would turn the capsule heat-shield forward. Crew would ride in capsule up and down, of course. It would have been heavy, but not all that heavy. Doesn't the Orbiter already carry lead in its nose?

Since the more recent Unmanned Shuttle thread linked to here, and since you've posted something related to a question I've had:

Rockwell came up with a similar idea once upon a time, evidently, using a modified Apollo CM with heat shield and RCS pack as an escape capsule for the Shuttle.  Obviously, they'd have to use it from orbit, but the thing that's always bothered me is...where the heck were they going to put the capsule?

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/aponcept.htm

In the payload bay. Obviously would not have worked with ISS as-designed, since several ISS modules and many of the truss segments took up most of the length of the bay aft of the ODS.

Looks that way - the longest segments I've found thus far are the pieces of the Integrated Truss Structure, each section of which seems to have been 13.7 meters long.  Add another 4.2 meters for the Apollo CM escape capsule, and you're at 17.9 meters, which leaves you, what, 4 inches or so of spare space left over?

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