It looks like their plans are pretty ambitious if you ask me, but I hope they can pull it off.
[sub]said the atheist.[/sub]
Let’s see: you’ve got a bus (the shuttle), and a terminal (the space station), and each is the justification for the other.
Our space ‘research’ is trivial, and it’s cheaper to send up multiple satellites in multiple unmanned launches, than it is to send the astronauts up to fix a problem with a satellite.
The shuttle’s got what’s called ‘Phyrric reusability’ - you could have a one-use, disposable craft for each manned mission for what it costs to repair the shuttle in between missions.
The shuttle was designed to haul up a small crew and a massive payload. Those missions could easily be separated: have a small craft for the crew, and an unmanned launch of any large payloads, with rendezvous in orbit.
There’s no hurry to get the manned space program running again. Space will still be there, waiting for us, after we’ve taken the time to think all this through.
Are you sure of that? We could wake up tomorrow and it’d all be gone. You just don’t know.
If you want to know why the Shuttle’s so crappy, blame Nixon. I still say that since it’s the only game in town (at least until Highlift Systems gets working), the Shuttle program deserves every dime it gets, and then some. After all, if the money didn’t go to the Shuttle, it’d probably go to something I really hated.
I don’t know. I’ve been as big a supporter of the space program as anyone. I’ve followed the program in varying degrees of detail since I was a little kid in the Gemini days.
I think it’s god for us as a nation to have a high-tech research program like this running.
All of that said, I have had misgivings about the shuttle program for some years now. IMHO, it saps so much from the rest of NASA that nothing else of substance really gets done. There’s the shuttle program taking up some massive percentage of the whole NASA budget and everything else they do has to fit in the relatively minuscule remainder.
I just keep thinking of what we could be doing right now if we were able to focus the country’s interest and energy, in a JFK / Cold War type way, on fuel cell vehicles, civilian hydrogen electric generation, wind power research, longer lasting light bulbs - stuff like that.
I never though I would say this, but I wonder if it might be time for us to suspend the manned space program for the next 30 or 40 years or so and concentrate the best and brightest minds currently working within it on some real solid R&D on the ground. That would free up a lot of money for unmanned space launches, research to develop a big heavy lift launcher, a greater number of more complex probes to Mars and the moons of Jupiter; building the longer lasting light bulb…
I just keep asking myself the question over and over again - the question that’s going to get my Buzz Aldrin autographed 20th anniversary moon landing poster taken away and my collector Gemini mission patches repossesed - - - “Do we really, honestly, need people in space?”
Yes we do need people in space. It’s a prelude to our expansion through the solar system and then having people on other, extra-solar, planets.
TVGuy, nah, “Battling Buzz” Armstrong’s just going to show up at your door and, uh, “explain things” to you!