A proud chapter in space exploration floats to museum

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Soviet shuttle Buran (tail removed for transport) makes its way to its final home, a technology museum in Germany:

Image

To me this is a good thing. Buran was a remarkably advanced spacecraft developed at the very end of the Soviet Union. It stretched Soviet resources to the limit (indeed the author of the article I linked to gives the expense of the Buran partial credit for destroying the Soviet System), but it really was a well-designed vehicle. One model had jet engines (visible in the picture) to enable a powered landing (giving it the ability for a second go-round in case something went wrong with the first approach). Best of all, it had the ability to operate unmanned, even using automatic landing systems.

It made only one flight, launching, orbiting and landing without a hitch -- unmanned.

Image

The Soviets built it mostly to keep up with the Americans. Unfortunately they couldn't really afford it. They did have uses for it, however, unlike NASA -- it had been planned to expand and service Soviet space stations, which were already in orbit by the time the shuttle flew.

Anyway, the Buran shuttles have mostly been sitting around collecting dust. I think it's nice that one of them will get a bit of the respect they deserve.

I wonder what will happen to the remaining NASA shuttles?
dv
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Shnicky-Poo wrote:
I wonder what will happen to the remaining NASA shuttles?


They will probably also be shuffled off to musems or scrapped.

I'd hope the Smithsonian will get one.

I'd assume on will wind up west of Mississippi somewhere, and some private historical foundation will likely buy one, if NASA lets them. The rest? Boneyard.

It's probably too big for the Intrepid Museum, which is a shame.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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I thought Russia was trying to sell it to Tom Cruise....
dv wrote:
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
I wonder what will happen to the remaining NASA shuttles?


They will probably also be shuffled off to musems or scrapped.

I'd hope the Smithsonian will get one.

I'd assume on will wind up west of Mississippi somewhere, and some private historical foundation will likely buy one, if NASA lets them. The rest? Boneyard.

It's probably too big for the Intrepid Museum, which is a shame.


I don't see them getting scrapped. They'd be sold to private collectors long before that happens.

Though there only three left, it's not like there're hundreds of the things. And doesn't the Smithsonian have the Enterprise? The air-dropped non-launchable test vehicle from the 70s? Though I'm sure they'd love to have an operational one. Maybe they could stick it in the main atrium.
Conner Of Gallifrey
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They would never end up scrapped. Hell, NASA would probably park one out front first.
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
dv wrote:
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
I wonder what will happen to the remaining NASA shuttles?


They will probably also be shuffled off to musems or scrapped.

I'd hope the Smithsonian will get one.

I'd assume on will wind up west of Mississippi somewhere, and some private historical foundation will likely buy one, if NASA lets them. The rest? Boneyard.

It's probably too big for the Intrepid Museum, which is a shame.

I don't see them getting scrapped. They'd be sold to private collectors long before that happens.

Though there only three left, it's not like there're hundreds of the things. And doesn't the Smithsonian have the Enterprise? The air-dropped non-launchable test vehicle from the 70s? Though I'm sure they'd love to have an operational one. Maybe they could stick it in the main atrium.

The Enterprise is in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Personally I thought it was a big mistake for the Trekkies/Trekkers to lobby so hard to get that "first" shuttle named "Enterprise."
ukimalefu want, but shouldn't, may anyway
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DEyncourt wrote:

Personally I thought it was a big mistake for the Trekkies/Trekkers to lobby so hard to get that "first" shuttle named "Enterprise."


Why? Because it didn't go to space?
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
I don't see them getting scrapped. They'd be sold to private collectors long before that happens.

I see them getting scrapped and sold to private collectors.

"Now you too can own a piece of history with your own piece of SPACE-AGE heat-dissipating tile from a PATRIOTIC HERO OF THE UNION. THE UNITED STATES SPACE SHUTTLE!!"
Dan Airman Dan
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I find it interesting that you have so much respect for the soviet shuttle, when it is in nearly all aspects a duplicate of the US shuttle (even using stolen plans for many components), which you hate, Shnick.
DukeofNuke FREE RADICAL
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I love the way the Ruskies turn the nose cones of the boosters to bled into the fuel tank. Looks cool
In fact, the whole thing looks cooler than our shuttle, even if it was Shuttle Lite

BTW. the US shuttle can't land itself? WTF? A damn Boeing 777 can land itself. I'm pretty sure the Endeavor can.
(however, i may be wrong)
FutureDreamz Matthew 5:5
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DukeofNuke wrote:
I love the way the Ruskies turn the nose cones of the boosters to bled into the fuel tank. Looks cool
In fact, the whole thing looks cooler than our shuttle, even if it was Shuttle Lite

BTW. the US shuttle can't land itself? WTF? A damn Boeing 777 can land itself. I'm pretty sure the Endeavor can.
(however, i may be wrong)

The shuttle can, but only as a really heavy glider.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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DukeofNuke wrote:
BTW. the US shuttle can't land itself? WTF? A damn Boeing 777 can land itself. I'm pretty sure the Endeavor can.
(however, i may be wrong)


There has only been one fully manual reentry and landing of the shuttle, done by a Marine pilot. Usually it's computer controlled through most of re-entry, then manual for the final approach and touchdown, though it could land itself if told to do so.

Reentry is usually left to the computers due in part to the counter-intuitive nature of a thickening atmosphere screwing up your perception of airspeed. The airspeed indicators show higher velocities as more air hits them, but you're really slowing down as the denser air interacts with the shuttle. I pretty sure NASA has some neato-keen way around this, but they still leave it to the computers to take care of. Also I'd imagine that the flight characteristics of the thing change drastically, but that's just a guess.

What do our pilots have to say?
sean Royal Wombat
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Zapski wrote:
DukeofNuke wrote:
BTW. the US shuttle can't land itself? WTF? A damn Boeing 777 can land itself. I'm pretty sure the Endeavor can.
(however, i may be wrong)


There has only been one fully manual reentry and landing of the shuttle, done by a Marine pilot. Usually it's computer controlled through most of re-entry, then manual for the final approach and touchdown, though it could land itself if told to do so.


The one instance where it was hand flown for the entire reentry was not due to a fault with the shuttle, rather the pilot decided that he was "ready for the ultimate challenge, and felt he was up to the task."


I'm not joking.
DukeofNuke FREE RADICAL
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Sean wrote:
Zapski wrote:
DukeofNuke wrote:
BTW. the US shuttle can't land itself? WTF? A damn Boeing 777 can land itself. I'm pretty sure the Endeavor can.
(however, i may be wrong)


There has only been one fully manual reentry and landing of the shuttle, done by a Marine pilot. Usually it's computer controlled through most of re-entry, then manual for the final approach and touchdown, though it could land itself if told to do so.


The one instance where it was hand flown for the entire reentry was not due to a fault with the shuttle, rather the pilot decided that he was "ready for the ultimate challenge, and felt he was up to the task."


I'm not joking.


Marines! God bless 'um!
More balls than brains!
(and I mean that in a good, brave, heroic way) :D
Dan wrote:
I find it interesting that you have so much respect for the soviet shuttle, when it is in nearly all aspects a duplicate of the US shuttle (even using stolen plans for many components), which you hate, Shnick.


If only you knew what you were talking about. If only!

The US shuttle has always been a wasteful, expensive boondoggle. The Soviet version had key improvements, but more importantly was part of a space program that had purpose.

But if you want to know the truth, they were both absurdly expensive and unnecessary and indeed murdered their respective space programs, but they were also amazing technical achievements. The difference is that the Buran, like most of the former Soviet space achievements, was discarded without fanfare. I came across one sitting in a park in Moscow, exposed to the elements. Furthermore the "hate" that upsets you so much isn't directed to the shuttle vehicle and never has been -- it's to the douchesacks running the space program, the ones who have a habit of killing astronauts and those selfsame shuttles.
For all NASA's faults the US shuttle flies regularly (taking some liberty with that term). You're throwing praise on the ultimate boondoggle, a craft that flew only once.
sean Royal Wombat
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well.. it FLEW more than once, as they did a few glide tests with it, as we did with ours, but, it only orbited the earth once, and it was unmanned for that one.

We also keep saying it but, they had a few of 'em, including one fitted with jet engines, yes, jet engines, for powered flight following reentry. Thus, it could perform a go-around in an emergency during the landing phase, something our shuttle can't do. Now, i don't think that particular configuration orbited the earth, and i don't know how well the jet engines would survive reentry, but you have to gibe 'em credit for thinking it up.
Kirk wrote:
For all NASA's faults the US shuttle flies regularly (taking some liberty with that term). You're throwing praise on the ultimate boondoggle, a craft that flew only once.


Er ... because its country ceased to exist.

And so what if it flies regularly? Only in the last couple of years has it been given a purpose, the assembly of a space station that might be completed by the time it gets grounded in two years (and what's going to be the fate of the space station?).

And anyway it's extremely dangerous to think of regular flights as a measure of success. One of the main findings of the CAIB report was that the shuttle is, was and always shall be an experimental vehicle, and each launch should be considered as such. Denying that is what keeps getting management into trouble. Like the kind that costs lives.
Its the first reusable craft. All the rest get used once. Using something again and again is the best way to show if there are any hidden latent defects. The US shuttle has had all its defects displayed prominently to the public. That Russian craft had its one success and never had any of its defects displayed as would have occurred on multiple flights.
It's not reusable. It needs to be massively refurbished and rebuilt after each flight. Please don't call it reusable.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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More reusable than a Saturn V.
sean Royal Wombat
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But not quite as reusable as, say, a pair of underwear.
ukimalefu wrote:
DEyncourt wrote:

Personally I thought it was a big mistake for the Trekkies/Trekkers to lobby so hard to get that "first" shuttle named "Enterprise."


Why? Because it didn't go to space?

Yeah. It really wasn't the first space shuttle, just a test flight vehicle. I would much rather have had the thrill of listening to space flight control saying: "Liftoff of the Enterprise!" Such a missed opportunity.
Dan Airman Dan
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Shnicky-Poo wrote:
It's not reusable. It needs to be massively refurbished and rebuilt after each flight. Please don't call it reusable.

If only you knew what you were talking about. If only!
Dan Airman Dan
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Shnicky-Poo wrote:
The Soviet version had key improvements, but more importantly was part of a space program that had purpose.

Faulty analogy alert! The purpose of the Soviet space program was to beat the US to doing anything or, failing that, at least copy the US successfully. Prior to the collapse of the USSR, the US's space program had the exact same purpose.

Russia's and the US's current space programs are likewise identical in purpose in that they really don't have one. But comparing the current NASA program to the USSR in the 1980's, as you just tried to do, is stupid.
Zapski wrote:
More reusable than a Saturn V.


And yet, the Saturn V cost less per launch, and was far safer, far simpler, with far less overhead, than the shuttle.

Dan wrote:
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
It's not reusable. It needs to be massively refurbished and rebuilt after each flight. Please don't call it reusable.

If only you knew what you were talking about. If only!


What's involved in readying a shuttle between flights? Do you know? In terms of mechanics, man hours and cost?

I doubt very much that you do. Hell, I seem to recall you arguing about the Columbia disaster without having read the CAIB report. It's an emotional issue for you for some reason. I mean we're talking about government-funded hardware, not something you personally designed and built.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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Shnicky-Poo wrote:
Zapski wrote:
More reusable than a Saturn V.


And yet, the Saturn V cost less per launch, and was far safer, far simpler, with far less overhead, than the shuttle.


Safer? It didn't have 126 missions under its belt, it had 13. If it had over 100 missions then you could make the argument, but it didn't and you can't. You can't even speculate. The Challenger disaster was an administrative failure, not an engineering one. The administration didn't listen to the engineers, and insisted on a launch in unsafe conditions. Who knows if how long it would have taken for the same kind of error to kill a crew on top of a Saturn V?

Yes the Saturn V was simpler and had a greater lift capacity, but then it had a different mission. It was designed to go to the moon, and the shuttle is designed for varied missions in orbit. You couldn't have fixed the Hubble as easily with a capsule, no robot arm, no bay. And yes, I know they would have used a smaller launch vehicle for low orbit missions anyway, but that adds complexity when you have multiple rockets to do different jobs. The shuttle was supposed to be that kind of varied purpose system, as apposed to having Saturn IB's for some missions, and Saturn V's for others.

Anyhoo, I personally think that the idea of the shuttle was probably not the best direction to go in, but that doesn't mean that we haven't learned a great deal from using it, and that it hasn't made a great contribution.
Zapski wrote:
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
Zapski wrote:
More reusable than a Saturn V.


And yet, the Saturn V cost less per launch, and was far safer, far simpler, with far less overhead, than the shuttle.


Safer? It didn't have 126 missions under its belt, it had 13. If it had over 100 missions then you could make the argument, but it didn't and you can't. You can't even speculate. The Challenger disaster was an administrative failure, not an engineering one. The administration didn't listen to the engineers, and insisted on a launch in unsafe conditions. Who knows if how long it would have taken for the same kind of error to kill a crew on top of a Saturn V?

Yes the Saturn V was simpler and had a greater lift capacity, but then it had a different mission. It was designed to go to the moon, and the shuttle is designed for varied missions in orbit. You couldn't have fixed the Hubble as easily with a capsule, no robot arm, no bay. And yes, I know they would have used a smaller launch vehicle for low orbit missions anyway, but that adds complexity when you have multiple rockets to do different jobs. The shuttle was supposed to be that kind of varied purpose system, as apposed to having Saturn IB's for some missions, and Saturn V's for others.

Anyhoo, I personally think that the idea of the shuttle was probably not the best direction to go in, but that doesn't mean that we haven't learned a great deal from using it, and that it hasn't made a great contribution.


I wouldn't argue against any of your points, I simply mentioning the cost comparison of the Saturn and the shuttle, in response to what you said.

You're 100% right about the causes of the shuttle disasters -- bad management. Although in truth there are potentially lethal design flaws.

The biggest failing of the shuttle is that it had no mission. Yes, rescuing Hubble was great. I'm not quite sure if that justifies the massive cost of the program (a replacement Hubble would have cost the equivalent of just a few flights), but that's still a great achievement. But overall it's been a dead-end detour from what space exploration is supposed to be about, which is going beyond earth orbit.

What I still don't get is why it so easily becomes a highly emotional debate.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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Well, I'm a huge NASA fan in general, flaws and all. I've always felt I missed my calling in life and have regretted not busting my tail to get to work there.

Oh well. :)
I'm a total space whore too. As a teen I attended space camp in Huntsville, Alabama (got to use some of NASA's facilities), watched a shuttle launch in the 80s; plus I'm a major space history buff. Saw some historic sites in Moscow, tried (but failed) to visit the Russian launch centre in Kazakhstan, and tried (but failed) to visit the Chinese launch centre in Yunnan Province. Also have a ton of books on the subject. Can't get enough of it, I tells ya.

I sometimes wish I'd been born a bit earlier so's to remember Apollo 11. That must have been a truly extraordinary thing.
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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I saw it.

Of course I was about 10 months old, but my Mom sat me on her knee and pointed me at the set. She did it because she knew I'd appreciate knowing about it later.
I was in my mom's belly at the time (I was born a month later). She said she was at a sidewalk cafe in Montreal when they announced the landing, and she looked up at the moon and experienced this strange, mystical sensation. And as soon as I could read I showed evidence of being a complete space junkie.
DukeofNuke FREE RADICAL
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1st, I can't believe I'm so much older than you two. I was 10. I watched the launch and the first step on the moon (which was seen upside-down, BTW, 'cause someone had mounted the external camera upside-down. Is that in you're books, Shnick?)

2nd, Saturn V disasters: Apollo 1, Apollo 13 (which Gene Kranz was able to turn into "NASA's finest hour")

3rd, The Saturn V wins the coolness contest by a narrow margin, just 'cause it's so damn phallic!
Zapski Gaze into my eyes...
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DukeofNuke wrote:
2nd, Saturn V disasters: Apollo 1, Apollo 13 (which Gene Kranz was able to turn into "NASA's finest hour")


I wouldn't really call those Saturn V failures, since they didn't involve the launch vehicle. In the first case, the capsule was on top of a Saturn IB that was idle and on the ground, and in the second case, the Saturn V was debris in the ocean by the time a problem arose...

nit picking, I know... ;)
arkayn Aaarrrggghhhh
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Zapski wrote:
I saw it.

Of course I was about 10 months old, but my Mom sat me on her knee and pointed me at the set. She did it because she knew I'd appreciate knowing about it later.


When it landed I was 1 year and 2 months old.
DukeofNuke FREE RADICAL
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Zapski wrote:
DukeofNuke wrote:
2nd, Saturn V disasters: Apollo 1, Apollo 13 (which Gene Kranz was able to turn into "NASA's finest hour")


I wouldn't really call those Saturn V failures, since they didn't involve the launch vehicle. In the first case, the capsule was on top of a Saturn IB that was idle and on the ground, and in the second case, the Saturn V was debris in the ocean by the time a problem arose...

nit picking, I know... ;)

:D Heh!
I was actually waiting for exactly this comeback!
(I posted before I thought of the Sat. 1B on Apollo 1. Then I thought, "wtf, let's see if they notice!)
As Jerry Pournelle put it (in my extreme paraphrase):
Quote:
When I grew up I could hardly believe that I would live to see the first man to walk on the moon, but not in my wildest dreams did I think that I also would live to see the last man as well.

Dan Airman Dan
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Shnicky-Poo wrote:
Dan wrote:
Shnicky-Poo wrote:
It's not reusable. It needs to be massively refurbished and rebuilt after each flight. Please don't call it reusable.

If only you knew what you were talking about. If only!


What's involved in readying a shuttle between flights? Do you know? In terms of mechanics, man hours and cost?

All of these figures are published by NASA. I could also get more detailed information from several of my friends who work there, but I'm not going to, because you're a cranky armchair strategist from a country which has never even launched its own manned missions critizing a highly successful endeavor by one that has. I'm not going to let you just human waste all over the accomplishments of my country and my friends just because you're jealous and think far too highly of your own views.

Shnicky-Poo wrote:
I doubt very much that you do.

If I'm so far away and disconnected from what goes on at NASA, you might want to explain how I get pictures like this:
Image

Image

Image

Clearly I mustn't know a damn thing about the shuttle.

Shnicky-Poo wrote:
Hell, I seem to recall you arguing about the Columbia disaster without having read the CAIB report.

That, my dear Shnicky, is what begging the question is. Your recollection is wrong, by the way.

Shnicky-Poo wrote:
It's an emotional issue for you for some reason. I mean we're talking about government-funded hardware, not something you personally designed and built.

It's not just government-funded hardware. Maybe it is to you, since your government has never come up with something like this. But to someone who lives next door to the goddamn space coast, who has friends who live and breathe Shuttle, I know that this program isn't just an assemblage of parts, it's a monument to mankind's achievements. It's a craft that goes up into space, comes down, goes up, comes down, goes up, comes down, and goes up again.

Sure it doesn't go very far into space. The Wright Flyer didn't go very far into the air, either.
If you want to start debating facts, let me know. Till then have fun.
Dan Airman Dan
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:: elects to be the bigger man, moves on ::
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A proud chapter in space exploration floats to museum

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