Will Nasa ever built a replacement for the space shuttle?

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  • 7 years ago
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    Probably not a space plane, like the shuttle was... before it was built, it seemed like a good idea, but in hind sight - not so much.

    The shuttle launched with *everything* every time - if it was a satellite launch, it lifted off with support systems for astronauts as well. If it was ferrying crew to the space station, it lifted off with the ability to carry an additional 15 tons. And, it was very difficult to maintain - instead of a 60-day turn-around that was expected, it took 3 to 4 times as long. Don't get me wrong - I think the shuttle was a terrific machine - but it was a waste in many ways.

    Probably the next vehicle we'll have (if a presidential administration wishes to fund it again) is the Orion capsule, with the Ares launch boosters. I think that's our next big step into exploring space.

    After that, (if the money is there), I'd bet on a new Single-Stage-to-Orbit craft, like the Delta Clipper or the X-33 Venture star. Those are both shelved, but if the bugs could be worked out, that would be cheapest, less wasteful way for simple Earth Orbit operations.

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  • 7 years ago

    I would consider the SpaceX Falcon 9 with the DragonRider capsule to be an ideal replacement for manned LEO missions, such as crew rotations to the ISS. That will be online within the next two years. For just boosting satellites, various off the shelf boosters available from SpaceX, Orbital Sciences Corp and United Launch Alliance are a better option than the space shuttle ever was.

    Also, NASA didn't build the space shuttles. That was contracted out. The orbiters were built by Rockwell (now part of Boeing). The tanks were built by Lockheed. The SRB's were built by Thiokol/Alliant.

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  • John W
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The intent is to encourage private companies to solicit investments on their own to build launch vehicles and just contract for their services. NASA will provide technical assistance and even some of the development and testing platforms but they would no longer dictate the design. The hope is that as more private companies become involved, new commercial markets would develop.

    Mind you, I think this is all a bit too little, too late. So far, the largest commercial market for space launch has been commercial satellites but both military and even NASA developments will soon be replacing many satellite functions with automated or semi-automated high altitude UAV's or blimps. The genie came out of the bottle when the military used semi-automated short duration UAV's in Afghanistan and now, the economic advantages of atmospheric platforms that are less expensive than satellites and can be repaired and upgraded are clear. Hence the commercial market for space launches will be diminishing just as financially delicate private companies would be looking for them.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    "ever built" implies was it done in the past (the word "built" refers to a past event).

    No, NASA never built a replacement in the past.

    In September 2011, NASA announced the selection of the design for the new Space Launch System that is planned to launch the Orion spacecraft and other hardware to missions beyond low earth-orbit, planned to be active in 2020.

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  • suitti
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    In addition to buying launches from SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, and the Russians, NASA is contracting to have the SLS - the Space Launch System built. It's supposed to have really large heavy lift capability. Will it have budget overruns? Probably. Will it get finished? Maybe. Will it have a mission? Well, it doesn't have one yet. Will it be cost effective? No. What will happen if SLS is a total disaster? Anyone's guess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System

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  • 7 years ago

    Holding there breath for a new means of getting up there besides using millions of dollars in fuel...

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    Also NASA is hoping the rest of the world will "catch up" with innovations and technology.... now that the higgs is been discovered the US is hoping Europe will take a larger interest in space missions.

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    Also the US is going through "for lack of a better words" trouble in appropriating money due to self inflicted problems with the legislative branch of there government. Word in the middle east is that it's a modern day civil war....not really sure what that means, but it's not hard to deduce that NASA isn't going to be the lone work horse anymore... last time I checked NASA was 90% shut down because of this "civil war".

    All I know is that the James Webb will probably be belayed even longer now.... big surprise.

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  • 7 years ago

    They dont need to, NASA will probably contract private companies (SpaceX) to launch things into LEO and HEO.

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  • Robert
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    It's a waste of money. There is no need for manned spaceflight.

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