Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Sunday, July 10, 2005

  Shuttle launch payload constrained by orbital inclination

I get edgy when there's both a hurricane and a shuttle launch brewing. I try hard not to think about all the millions of parts that have to work perfectly to get Discovery and her crew to orbit, carrying 15 tons of equipment for the ISS.

I sure wish we'd developed a pilotless version of the shuttle. The Soviets did, with the Buran, but they only flew it once. Now - the city government of Moscow is funding development of their own shuttle!

What's next? Los Angeles funding asteroid missions? New York developing a space traveling garbage barge?

I sure wish our politicians hadn't moved the orbit of the shuttle from one that was good for the US (26 degrees above the equator) to one that was good for Russia. (51.6 degrees above the equator). If ISS's orbit was more suitable we could haul twice the tonnage to the ISS at a time from our launch facilities in Canaveral.

... and if we'd put ISS where we'd intended Space Station Freedom - 29.6 degrees - we wouldn't have had two shuttle tank redesigns and we might not be short one shuttle and 7 crew.

"ISS is russian revenge for spending us broke with SDI" - anonymous Russian engineer

I just looked over a post of the space station budget from 1991, and I just have to sigh.

Who actually won the space race, anyway?

Why do we have to spend billions developing a spaceplane/shuttle replacement to get to LEO when we could just buy the rockets from the Russians and the French - and get on with the important stuff -

building craft to explore the worlds beyond earth orbit.

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Comments:
Just surfing around late night and came upon your blog...I liked it.
My site about voip is hard to have a blog for VOIP stuff and boring too
 
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