News A Russian Suggests Using Shuttles for Flights to the Moon

Wally

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A St. Petersburg dweller Andrei Butakov suggests using American shuttles, which stop flying from 2012, in space without returning to the Earth.

You can get a glimpse of the inventor’s idea of RosCosmos’s website, where he suggests that shuttles can be used for flying to the Moon, for delivering goods from the ISS to Earth’s natural satellite, and etc.

NASA’s Mark Bowman (Deputy Director, Human Space Flight Program - Russia at NASA), however, says that shuttles cannot be used for missions to the Moon. Shuttles weren’t designed to spend more than several weeks in space – they are protected from micrometeorites and hard radiation. In order to stay in space, a shuttle needs refitting.

Sources: RIA Novosti, Russia Info Center
 

IgnoreThisBarrel

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Maybe we should reuse the old Saturn V launch vehicles with the Shuttles.

/sarcasm

I love how even with my limited knowledge of orbital mechanics and the human ability to survive in certain environments I can see what's wrong with idea. Perhaps Mr. Butakov should play some Orbiter.
 

halcyon

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So he's just simply "a Russian"?
Not a scientist or professor?

How did this even make news.
Hey tomorrow I'm going to mail a letter to CNN that old baby diapers can be reused as the next renewable energy source.
 
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Wishbone

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In fact, old baby diapers ARE reused. Municipal solid waste...
 

N_Molson

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Yeah, looks like he forgot that a Shuttle+Payload = 125 tons... Even the SaturnV could send "only" 40-50 tons to the Moon... :facepalm:
 

DanM

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I think I read a similar article which suggested using two shuttles for a one way Mars mission. They would rendezvous in NEO, then a truss with a propulsion system in the payload bay and a tunnel would connect the shuttles. They would rotate en-route for artificial gravity. A hab module like spacehab would be put in the cargo bay of one shuttle, while landing equipment (chutes, gear, etc) would be in the other. One of the shuttles would land on Mars.

http://www.space.com/6288-mars-trip-proposed-space-shuttles.html


I don't really think it's all that good of a plan, but it has more merit than the plan posted here.
 

Eli13

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yeah its a pretty bad idea, but it does have some thought behind it and may be a baby-step foward in sending men to mars.
 

T.Neo

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It is pretty much silly nonsense. For one, the orbiter vehicle is not designed for the thermal environment of interplanetary space (in the middle of nowhere you are not shadowed by the Earth for half the time). I'm also skeptical of the ability of the orbiter vehicle to withstand such a long time spent in space, regardless of whatever 'stuff' you bolt onto it... Soyuz for example has a limited "shelf-life" docked to the space station.

Secondly landing a shuttle on Mars would probably be impossible without major alterations; even with a large deployable parafoil, you have problems... you certainly cannot land on the wings, they are far too small to provide effective lift.

A shuttle also weighs around 110 tons. Add another 15 tons for spacehab and other equipment, and you get 250 tons. Add maybe 35-40 tons for the connector truss (based on the ITS of the ISS; it is not specified how long the truss connecting the two shuttles would have to be, but it is certain that to provide considerable artificial gravity it would have to be quite long and also sturdy- connecting two 125 ton masses together is no easy feat. Of course, such a truss would probably be quite heavy) and you get nearly 300 tons of mass... I cannot think of any existing rocket stage that could propel that amount of mass, if you could somehow get an S-II (!) into orbit all by itself, you could potentially propel the stack to Mars on a hohmann trajectory (I forgot the actual value, so I may be wrong), but this is also disregarding docking systems and on-orbit propellant storage systems.

And of course, there is one more, tiny problem: You lack a return capability entirely.

Sending people to their deaths is not an achievement, not scientifically, technologically, or politically.

EDIT:

Mr. Butakov's suggestion sounds like a joke. For one, this paragraph is completely unreadable:

"I propose to consider the use of the shuttle in space (flight to the moon, the delivery to the lunar station equipment used ISS), return it to Earth. I believe that for a lunar launch enough vertical separation, or at an angle,"

However since this was translated from Russian, it might be the fault of the translator and not the originator... here is the Russian text, maybe someone can offer a better translation:

"Предлагаю рассмотреть вопрос по использованию шаттла в космосе (полеты на Луну, доставка на лунную станцию использованного оборудования МКС), не возвращать его на Землю. Полагаю, что для лунного старта достаточно вертикального отрыва или под углом"

I really wonder what this guy's claim to fame (other than suggesting the use of space shuttles as cislunar vehicles) is... I mean, if this guy can do it, maybe I can approach CNN or NASA with my 'space flight concepts'... what a pity that they would either kill their astronauts or technicians, or both. Maybe they'll kill me as well. :p
 
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SiberianTiger

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Don't try to find a meaning where there's no one. Doctors have long records confirming that spring months is a high risk time for people ill of schizophrenia. They suffer from delirium and become active. At the same time, the number of nuts coming to spaceflight forums with really crazy ideas and projects, booms.

How could one make a headline at website of Roscosmos, that's another thing.
 
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T.Neo

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Of course there is a meaning to his comments. It is just not a useful one to any intelligent spaceflight discussion.

It does have amusement value though.

I would not go as far as to say that this person is schizophrenic. But he certainly knows very little indeed about spaceflight.
 

Mojave

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Shuttles to the moon!?! Impossible, outragous, stupid, obtuse, and even crazy. The shuttle is incapable of performing that kind of mission.
 

Urwumpe

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Well, using a Space Shuttle for on-Orbit assembly of a lunar spacecraft would be much smarter. ;)

And why not think about a Space Shuttle II? Even if you want to keep the aerodynamic shape (which is obviously pretty close to optimum for the role), you can do many improvements to the concept. After all the Space Shuttle is still just a prototype, a first generation space plane. There is a lot of room for making it better.
 

Rtyh-12

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Sure, let's say you can send a Shuttle in lunar orbit. From there it can deorbit itself. I can imagine the discussion going on inside...

Houston: 3... 2... 1... and MECO.

Commander: Roger MECO.

Pilot: Yes! We are on the way to land! But...

Commander: Yes?

Pilot: How are we going to land it?

Houston: Oops... I'm afraid we didn't really think about this...

Pilot: Ohh :censored:
 

Fabri91

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There was a .pdf posted around here about a study of feasibility to use the Orbiters as Low Lunar Orbit resupply ships, but it would have required something like 13 to 15 shuttle C launches to refuel the external tank in orbit. Needless to say, the idea was completely dismissed.
 

N_Molson

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I wonder if it is very efficient to use a lifting body for anything else than LEO missions. I mean, the wings, aerodynamics control systems & heat protection and all that stuff are extra weight and are useful only inside Earth atmosphere. I'd say that the capsule design is better fitted for interplanetary mission.

Now what would be very interesting is to :

1) build an interplanetary ship (space only) in LEO
2) Shuttle flight 1 : transfer the crew in the ship with a shuttle.
3) let the interplanetary ship accomplish its mission (Moon, Mars...), then come back to LEO
4) Shuttle flight 2 : transfer back the crew to Earth.

This way you could re-use all the hardware, provided you can refuel the interplanetary ship into orbit and perform maintenance on it.
 

Mojave

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What if they just launched shuttle C's to lunar orbit. They could configure them to bring payload to the moon, if they configured the launch stack.
 

Urwumpe

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What if they just launched shuttle C's to lunar orbit. They could configure them to bring payload to the moon, if they configured the launch stack.

Only possible if you launch directly to the moon without coasting phase (parking orbit). The SSME is not restartable and making it restartable isn't a easy task, it is possible but requires serious engineering work.
 

Radu094

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After all the Space Shuttle is still just a prototype, a first generation space plane. There is a lot of room for making it better.

Alas, I'm afraid there will be a loong time before someone (realistically) even starts desiging a new space plane:(
 
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