Space Shuttle

this is a forum for people to discuss the space shittle oops i mean space shuttle the reason i say this is because i (and many others) believe that this was one of the least thought out project i think nasa has forgone for instance no bailout system, srb burnouts/the fact that their solid fuel to begin with, heat tiles either A) the same large surface area tiles apolo used or B titanium plates so on and so forth i don't mean to sound like i'm evil or anything im just trying to get my point accross.

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Whareagle10 years ago
Hey ya'll,
I know it's been a while since this thread had any activity, but I had a question or two and thought someone here could help.

First - is there any way the tiles could have been consolidated in to about 1/4th the overall number? I mean, all those 8 to 12 cm3 tiles being glued on... I would've thought that perhaps some 3m2 tiles on the bottom that were form-fitted might have worked better. But perhaps the tiles were just too brittle.

Thus I ask.

Second q: Was there ever an attempt to reduce the weight of the orbiter over the years? I mean, I know they dropped the paint scheme on the External Tank (though that may have come back to haunt them), and I know they changed the color of the tiles in the leading edge of the wings, but were there ever any attempts to replace hydraulics with fly-by-wire or something like that?

It's been a LOOONG time since SpaceCamp for me. Anyone still got a copy of the "Mars 1 Crew Manual" still around? Just what IS the global range of lift capacity to LEO for modern expendable rockets?

chase!!11 years ago
First, I'm no fan of the shuttle, but your raging against it is a little misguided.

The shuttle was never used as intended, NASA never got the funding it needed to do what the shuttles objectives were (which was to do many launches a year).

This brings up the first thing, the heat tiles are the shuttle were a fantastic idea given what the engineers in the 70s knew. They are theoretically reusable, but since NASA has been so conservative lately they just end up being replaced every launch. They deal with the unbelievable heat of reentry very well. Understand that without the tiles NASA would have needed to use an ablative [meaning the surface burns and produces a gas that pushes the shockwave off the body] system (like that on Apollo) which absolutely needs to be replaced every launch. Remember that the temperatures on reentry are on the order of a few thousand degrees Kelvin (no, I'm not kidding).

This brings me to my next point, the shuttle is designed the way it is to lower g-loading on reentry as much as possible to make space flight more accessible. Apollo capsules experience peak g-loading of ~8.5-9 more than once on reentry, the shuttle only experiences on the order of 3 g's. The trade off of the semi lifting body vs. a capsule is the heat fluxes are much, much, much higher. (Has to do with the bow shock formed in the hypersonic regimes, along with the ablative surface).

So in regards to the tiles and design of the shuttle it does basically what it was designed to do, it was not a failure.

In regards to the SRBs, they *are* the best choice in that application. Solid rockets are super simple, and they basically never fail even when stored for long periods of time. And you don't have to deal with a bunch of turbo machinery. Granted you can't stop them, or throttle them, but you can tailor the burn by the geometry of the propellant.

Oh, and to people complaining about the multisectioned SRBs, just remember that this has been a blessing because they're coming back for the CEV (but with an extra section)

I feel like i had more to deal with in this post, but I can't remember. I also never thought I'd be defending the space shuttle so much.
I also never thought I'd be defending the space shuttle so much.

Haha - I should have said the same thing :P To be fair (especially to the OP) -- here is my short list on what bugs me about the shuttle.

1. No air breathing engines (Hey, the Russians did it with their Buran spacecraft)
2. Engine layout -- want to avoid all of the foam technical difficulties? Put your vehicle above the danger zone :P
3. Reasons for abandoning Hubble <-- the last NASA administrator abandoned the Hubble telescope because it was too risky to go so far away from ISS (the ISS is used to survey the shuttle heat shield and as a lifeboat)
4. Must require a human to land -- really, why did they not connect the landing gear to the flight computer. That's one addition would allow autonomous landing possible (with programming of course :P)

If I had to pick the shuttle's best feature.... Software -- in the past three revisions of the shuttle's software -- there was 1 error in each (almost a half a million lines of code). In the 11 software revisions, a total of 17 errors. Amazing.
Re: 2) Before the first tile disaster the engineers didn't know about all the stuff flying near the foam because there weren't any cameras there. When I heard a NASA engineer talk about it, the collective reaction to the videos was "Holy shit!"
Good point and fair enough :D
chase!! chase!!11 years ago
I forgot that brackets add a link, so ignore that link, it doesn't go anywhere.
buildingteen (author) 11 years ago
so i would have to get ammonium percolate through like flin. and if not all bike tubes are rubber what can i use?
buildingteen (author) 11 years ago
ive been doingsome research and from what i can find the srb fuel makeup is 69.83% ammonium perchlorate, 16% aluminum, 12% rubber, 2% curing agent, and more or less 0.17% iron oxide catalyst. would you get similar results with 69G of amonium percholate (isnt that weed killer) 16G aluminium (dust) 12G rubber (like a bike tube) and like 2G thermite melting the rubber and pouring in the other ingrediants?
Perchlorate hasn't been used in agriculture in decades and is considered a dangerous contaminate by certain environmental groups. You're most likely thinking of ammonium nitrate which is used as a fertilizer. Also, don't try melting rubber inside ;-)
The rubber acts as a binding agent... it also acts as a non-essential fuel source. I'm no rocket materials scientist - but I'm pretty sure the processing is just as important as the materials themselves ;) Also, not all bike tubes are made from rubber ;)
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