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Remembering The Other Space Shuttle

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  • Remembering The Other Space Shuttle

    One of the advantages to living in Florida is the ability to occasionally walk out into your front yard, shade your eyes from the morning sun, and watch the space shuttle streak by on its final approach to Cape Canaveral, accompanied by multiple sonic booms. This morning was one of those days, and the shuttle in question was Discovery flying mission STS 131. As we near the end of the shuttle missions, I was reminded of the other shuttle, Buran, which had a much shorter career one mission.

    Buran means Snowstorm in Russian, although I bet some of the engineers in the Soviet space program might have though Snow Job would have been a better choice.

    The U.S. shuttle officially the Space Transportation System (STS) is a beautiful spacecraft but, despite its reusability of key components, is not a very efficient means of getting cargo to low earth orbit (LEO). While there are a lot of things to pick at in the shuttle program, the big problem (in my opinion) is it’s huge fixed overhead cost. That cost has sucked funds away from other programs like manned missions beyond Low Earth Orbit while also delaying research on U.S. commercial cargo rockets. So now as the shuttle program shuts down we are behind the curve on development of commercially profitable cargo-lifting and not much closer to Mars that we were twenty years ago. Former NASA administrator Michael D. Griffith argued in 2007 that had we stuck with expendable launch ...




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  • #2
    The soviets actually did some interesting work on small spaceplanes and got some vehicles into orbit,



    http://www.buran-energia.com/bor/bor-desc.php



    The Bor 1-2-3-4-5 program was way cool. I love the fact that their lifting bodies actually made it into space. The Bor-4 was a clever small scale test of Heat shield technology for Buran.

    If you go to
    http://www.richard-seaman.com/Aircra...hts/index.html,

    there is a great (copywrite-protected) pic of the Mig 105-11, a manned Russian Lifting Body that was on its way to space but got cancelled along the way. Lots of other cool stuff there as well.
    Its a shame the Soviets never developed a small spaceplane instead of wasting money on Buran.

    From Wiki

    Last edited by Chukka; 21 Apr 10, 05:23.
    One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

    "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
    Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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    • #3
      Beautiful little bird, this is what a spaceplane should look like.





      Last edited by Chukka; 21 Apr 10, 05:20.
      One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

      "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
      Wu Cheng'en Monkey

      Comment

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