Why the heck did we ever build the space shuttle?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Nasor, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Hopefully SB, those wrong hands will get ousted in the upcoming elections and someone like Kucinich will get in. (Okay, Kucinich is a long shot, but Clark isn't and he does support the programme). The kicker here is the Earth-to-LEO launcher. If they fund a larger version of the DC-X and an orbital transfer vehicle for the CEV, then wonderful - we have an SSTO launcher that's cheap and a CEV to go to interesting places. The problem will be convincing people to design one tool to do one job. I mean, you can make the world's best hammer if you try to make a hammer - but it's a bit difficult to make the world's best hammer also act as a magnifying glass, fruit juicer and two-way radio....
     
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  3. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    That is a good point. Do you think they've tweaked to design cycle to (while maintaining maximal economy) account for this problem. That's interesting. I suppose it's difficult to design around potential technology, but at the same time I'd think you could save the mostly likely advances for the last part of the design. Rather, maybe you could allow more loose parameters on processor speeds and memory etc. Hmm.. I'd think if you were modular, you could mostly build around processor/mem and just put in the best thing available at the time (speedwise) when you're finalizing the package. Hmm. Just a thought, that's probably a waste of breath when faced with the reality of trying to design for whatever they're doing.
     
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  5. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    I doubt it Wes. Maybe it's just the engineer in me talking, but the idea of designing around a not-yet-invented computer system is just a wee bit scary, especially when human lives are involved. Besides which, man-rating it would be damn tough unless you change the procedure for man-rating a vehicle. The best way to do it is the Soyuz approach - you can change the cockpit instrument panel, or small bits of a system, in a very conservative gradual approach, but you don't build it based on what computers will be able to do in a decade. Operational stuff always lags behind - thing is, it's not that worrying. The MER rovers each have more computing power onboard than the entire apollo space programme all lumped into one, ground computers included. So it's not a case of needing computing "oomph" and not having it. It's a case of running linux and having more "oomph" than is needed

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