View Full Version : More Shuttle Colombia news

6th June 2003, 20:00
Looks like the Foam impact on the wing is most probable cause for the Colombia Disaster, after further testing today.


6th June 2003, 21:48
my my..........

6th June 2003, 23:46
It'll serve to make the shuttles even more expensive to fly, assuming they ever fly again.

What interests me most about Shuttle infrastructure is Shuttle-C, an expendable shuttle without an orbiter, much like the Soviet Energia booster. Much cheaper to operate than Shuttle, as it doesn't need to be taken apart between flights and doesn't need the safety checks that a manned vehicle requires.

As for manned, the cheapest approach, given current launch vehicles, would be a 3-person Gemini-class capsule launched on the Indian GSLV. Would be pretty easy to bring it down to $8 million/seat.

7th June 2003, 07:02
Let's hope this helps them in returning the shutles back to flight!

7th June 2003, 07:11
Personally, I hope that the orbiter never flies again.

That said, the STS infrastructure still could be very useful for a beyond-LEO heavy-lift vehicle like the Shuttle-C.

7th June 2003, 07:18
Being cheap caused this problem.

Look at the first launch of Columbia:


See the white color of the big tank? The original design had it sheathed in some sort of metal skin

Now look at a more recent photo:


The red tank where the foam is just layered in the outside.


7th June 2003, 07:23
Ermmm...are you sure KvHagedorn that wasn't just painting (I think I've read that somewhere looong time ago - but I'm not sure, so perhaps somebody here is?) that was scrapped because it was adding unecessary weight during launch?

7th June 2003, 07:30
But of course there's still the possibility that this paint (if it was only paint) also had some protective functions...the thing is I don't think/remember that it was metal skin.

7th June 2003, 07:34
Greebe probably knows.. he's a space nut.

7th June 2003, 07:49
I'm a space nut and I'll tell you that it was just paint.

All about weight savings in that regard.

The problem with the foam falling off has most come into existence since NASA started using the environmentally-friendly glue to attach the foam due to the petitioning of various environut groups. The problem existed before, but not to this extent.

7th June 2003, 07:58
Well, I would say then that some sort of sheathing might be the answer. Guess what? Another aeronautical disaster came from a similar problem. The British rigid airship R101 had its brittle skin peel away at its leading edge which caused it to lose lift and crash. People never learn.. :mad:

7th June 2003, 08:18
That would mean even greater weight than with nice looking paint.

I think the answer would be not to listen environuts when it can lower safety potentially.

7th June 2003, 08:33
Better idea would be to make the boosters incrementally bigger.

7th June 2003, 08:35
Yeah, but one alternative is to go back to capsules.

Safer, cheaper, simpler to design and impliment, and more flexible in their roles (can go either to orbit or beyond LEO)

7th June 2003, 08:36
As for suborbitals, flight rate demands and lower vehicle stresses truly do justify reusables at this time...

7th June 2003, 08:37
Whoops, that reminds me, the Soviet Union has already designed and tested a reusable capsule that they launched on Proton called TKS.

No manned flights have been made, due to the cancellation of TKS/Almaz. 3 unmanned flights, however, did take place in the late 80's.

7th June 2003, 09:29
Wish we had developed the Sänger... :(