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View Diary: Space Dreams: Keeping America from being Grounded and outa Space (23 comments)

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  •  Bring back the Saturn V!! (6+ / 0-)

    Forget using a vehicle loaded down with environmental support for a crew of 9,  17-fold redundancy to qualify as "man-rated",  and enough tiles to remodel the kitchens of a small town for safe re-entry.

    Buy a couple of defunct car factories,  and use them to crank out Big Dumb Boosters that can not only haul bulky components to orbit,  but become bulky components (fuel and O2 tanks,  structural members,  and cargo holds) for the Mars ship.

    Use the Shuttle only to transport assembly crews,  and fragile/expensive parts that would be hard to repair or replace if something went awry with one of the dirt-cheap BDBs.

    •  Amen!! (5+ / 0-)

      The Shuttle can haul what, about 25 tons into LEO?  If you really want to build an interplanetary spaceship (or a bigger, better space station), you pretty much have to revive the Saturn V (120-ton payload), get the Russians to bring back the Energia (95-ton payload), or come up with some new equivalently-sized rocket.  

      There's no point in using the Shuttle to build a space station.  You need too many launches because the pieces you can lift are comparatively so small, and the Shuttle is a hell of a lot more expensive per launch than a big rocket.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." -- Dom Hélder Câmara

      by SLKRR on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 05:08:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Better idea - Improve it with 21st Cen. tech (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLKRR, ProgressiveTokyo

      We can vastly improve the Saturn V launcher with our current technology. We don't need a space "pickup truck" as much as we need a space "semi-tractor trailer."

      I wonder just how much an upgraded Saturn V with SSME's would be able to pitch into LEO?  

      "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success."

      by QuestionAuthority on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 07:09:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Although I wasn't being completely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SLKRR, Neon Vincent

        literal when I said bring back that particular BDB,  I'd say it should be seriously considered:  it's a proven design,  and wouldn't need to go through extensive evaluation and qualification.

        The specific Saturn V implementation might turn out not to be suitable for my idea of using the LEO launch vehicles as parts of the Mars ship:  it was designed to drop that big first stage back into ocean,  for example.  But the engines are proven,  the concept is proven,  and I'd rather see an unglamorous tweak of "boring old tech" than a long effort to come up with a complete replacement that may not be enough of an improvement to make it worth the cost and delay.

    •  I'd change this (0+ / 0-)

      to be mass production of the EELVs - you can do plenty with an EELV class vehicle.  And you could get the price point even lower

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