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(National Geographic)   Old news from March of 1981 about all the things the Space Shuttle program will do for the USA to defeat the Soviets   (ngm.nationalgeographic.com) divider line 49
    More: Interesting, Old News, space shuttles, NASA, Soviet Union, USA, Earth, Skylab, African elephants  
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2593 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Oct 2012 at 5:57 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-13 03:06:53 PM
In ten years the current shuttle surely will seem outdated. In 50 years we will probably look back on it as we do the covered wagons that took us to our first frontier.

That's sad.
 
2012-10-13 04:19:43 PM
I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.
 
2012-10-13 04:43:53 PM

BadReligion: I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.


Get off my lawn.
 
2012-10-13 06:02:16 PM

davidphogan: In ten years the current shuttle surely will seem outdated. In 50 years we will probably look back on it as we do the covered wagons that took us to our first frontier.

That's sad.


Very much so... now imagine people no longer able to use them but no railroad had yet been built.
 
2012-10-13 06:03:26 PM
YOU'RE WELCOME SUBBY!
 
2012-10-13 06:11:06 PM
all the things the Space Shuttle program will do for the USA to defeat the Soviets

It's a shame how the Soviets actually won the Cold War and all.

Oh, wait...
 
2012-10-13 06:12:40 PM
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/8004.easterbrook-fullte xt.html
 
2012-10-13 06:14:43 PM
That's pretty funny. You have to remove the space from my link.
 
2012-10-13 06:16:42 PM
More immediately, astronauts riding the space shuttle will be deploying and servicing elaborate switching stations for telephones and television. Before the end of the century we should be able to make an inexpensive telephone call from a wristwatch telephone via satellite anywhere in the world. Less certain but potentially just as profitable is the prospect of building, with the shuttle's help, floating factories that take advantage of the unique ultralow gravity of space.

That first part is pretty spot on other then the type of phone and how bad cell phone companies would enjoy raping, I mean charge their customers.

I'm surprise that the 2nd one didn't take off yet for manufacturing of high precession tools and ball bearings
 
2012-10-13 06:18:11 PM

RoyBatty: YOU'RE WELCOME SUBBY!


Thank you. I couldn't believe you hadn't submitted it yet.
 
2012-10-13 06:20:58 PM
Did the article predict the secret ultra-quick orbital velocity no one told us about?

"After 25 high-stakes, rocket-propelled excursions at 175,000 mph into space, shuttle Endeavour is creeping through Los Angeles streets at 2 mph." 
Yay, abc news - home of the annoying autoplay video, regional block, and highly-paid Eds.
 
2012-10-13 06:27:12 PM
The Soviets felt threatened enough by the Space Shuttle to play "me too" and they couldn't afford it. They spent a fortune developing technically successful hardware but couldn't afford to keep it going past a single unmanned flight. That gigantic An-225 built to haul it around is still flying, though.
 
2012-10-13 06:30:38 PM

davidphogan: RoyBatty: YOU'RE WELCOME SUBBY!

Thank you. I couldn't believe you hadn't submitted it yet.


I should have, and you are entirely welcome to it for doing that, because it is a cool article, and it is sort of a very interesting, somewhat wistful look back for me at the Shuttle and where I wanted my career to go at the time.

When I found it, I was actually looking for somewhat similar articles from the LA Times about various Shuttle derived vehicles, and this very cool sort of shuttle booster engine/rocket thing that fit underneath the tank.
 
2012-10-13 06:30:45 PM
I hate looking back at these articles. Its too damn depressing. There's always all this hope about the future and optimism about the human race bettering itself. I'd be too damn ashamed to look at thee people from that time and explain to them what honey boo boo is and that its a program that we have on The Learning Channel.
 
2012-10-13 06:31:13 PM
(If I had submitted it, and gotten a green for it, I would have had my own Shuttle Trifecta this weekend.)
 
2012-10-13 06:41:03 PM
FTA: "I'm convinced that by 1990 people will be going on the shuttle routinely-as on an airplane," says Robert Freitag, an advanced programs planner at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Good thing that didn't happen. Can you imagine the security procedures TSA would put us through for space travel?
 
2012-10-13 06:46:48 PM

Nem Wan: The Soviets felt threatened enough by the Space Shuttle to play "me too" and they couldn't afford it. They spent a fortune developing technically successful hardware but couldn't afford to keep it going past a single unmanned flight. That gigantic An-225 built to haul it around is still flying, though.


LOL they also copied the Concorde. Oh wait we don't fly the Condorde anymore either.
 
2012-10-13 06:51:32 PM
I was at the second and third shuttle launches. Off my lawn.

FTA: "Before the end of the century we should be able to make an inexpensive telephone call from a wristwatch telephone via satellite anywhere in the world. ...

Finally, the shuttle will be a military machine. The Air Force has reserved 13 of its first 44 flights. A new surveillance system will go up. Our next war could be fought between satellites that hunt and destroy each other or even knock out missiles with lasers or high-energy death beams."

Very funny.
Our next war was fought against guys wearing blankets hiding in caves with AK-47s and RPGs and our troops rode around acting as human targets for randomly placed remote controlled bombs.

Space pickup truck my ass. Forty percent of the fleet was destroyed in accidents. The tank piggybank configuration was simply stupid, making the orbiter a target for all kinds of FOD from ice chunks.
 
2012-10-13 06:58:02 PM

HotIgneous Intruder: Our next war was fought against guys wearing blankets hiding in caves with AK-47s and RPGs and our troops rode around acting as human targets for randomly placed remote controlled bombs.


A reality cold shower, eh? There also won't be space colonies or asteroid mines. Just more guys in blankets sitting on dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

barefoot in the head: "After 25 high-stakes, rocket-propelled excursions at 175,000 mph into space, shuttle Endeavour is creeping through Los Angeles streets at 2 mph."


Hm?
 
2012-10-13 07:04:33 PM
I don't see any Soviets.
 
2012-10-13 07:12:13 PM
175,000 mph? Where did that come from? Not the NatGeo article.

FTA: "We are going to send up a very big electron accelerator," explained Professor Tatsuzo Obayashi in Tokyo. "In one experiment we will eject some plasma gas into space and shoot a beam of electrons into it. We hope to produce artificial auroras borealis-perhaps over Tokyo or Washington."

Laughably absurd.

"We are going to take cats into orbit, watch them do funny things, then post the pics on the internet!" said a NASA official. That would probably have made back the $1.5 billion per-launch price tag of the shuttle program.
 
2012-10-13 07:16:21 PM

Nem Wan: The Soviets felt threatened enough by the Space Shuttle to play "me too" and they couldn't afford it. They spent a fortune developing technically successful hardware but couldn't afford to keep it going past a single unmanned flight. That gigantic An-225 built to haul it around is still flying, though.


They wanted to have a part of the next big thing, as they always do.

Truth be told there wasn't anything wrong with the shuttle plan at the start. When the budget cuts hit and other agencies began pooling their resources (and demands) with NASA, the vehicle kept growing in weight while its options for launch shrank.
Everyone at the time realized it was a temporary solution... everyone except the politicians.

I think the Russians followed our shuttle outline figuring that we would kick in phase 2 and solve all the original problems.
Then they ran out of money while our space program kept getting stalled by more politics.

When the iron curtain fell and we started to pair up on missions, they no longer needed to own their own shuttle.
With things proceeding as they are now, if they need an RLV they'll soon be able to buy one from the commercial market.

dl.dropbox.com

/One of which is, ironically, based on an idea they discarded some time ago.
 
2012-10-13 07:21:29 PM

BadReligion: I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.


Cool. I was born March 2, 1981, the month this article was first published. I have the issue in a frame.
 
2012-10-13 07:29:20 PM

way south: our space program kept getting stalled by more politics.


Yeah, not by the sheer size of space and the limits of energy sources and materials. Nope. It's the politicians. The same ones that sent men on the Moon. Yet somehow, they're also the ones preventing you from dying early from radiation poisoning in the deadly vacuum you worship so fervently.
 
2012-10-13 07:40:06 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: way south: our space program kept getting stalled by more politics.

Yeah, not by the sheer size of space and the limits of energy sources and materials. Nope. It's the politicians. The same ones that sent men on the Moon. Yet somehow, they're also the ones preventing you from dying early from radiation poisoning in the deadly vacuum you worship so fervently.


I won't feed the troll by providing carefully worded arguments you to ignore, but I will mention that of the twelve men who walked on the moon there are eight still alive and approaching their eighties.
Dying early from radiation poisoning isn't a very big concern with spaceflight.

/An astronauts average lifespan will probably be longer than yours.
 
2012-10-13 08:01:54 PM
FTA: "By the late 1980s this fleet of orbiters could be making about 50 flights a year."

Bwhahahahhahahhahaa. Oh wait. You're being serious? Bwahahahahahhahhaaaa.

/As Carl Sagan once said: "billions and billions". Or in this case, the cost for just two missions
//NASA welfare pays good.
 
2012-10-13 08:19:19 PM

sheep snorter: FTA: "By the late 1980s this fleet of orbiters could be making about 50 flights a year."

Bwhahahahhahahhahaa. Oh wait. You're being serious? Bwahahahahahhahhaaaa.

/As Carl Sagan once said: "billions and billions". Or in this case, the cost for just two missions
//NASA welfare pays good.


Program cost divided by number of missions. The incremental cost of doing another mission with the program up and running is reasonable but the cost of maintaining the capability is enormous. The folly was thinking the most complex vehicle ever built could be turned around for another flight that fast. Or maybe they were thinking they'd get more orbiters and have more flows going. Who knows.
 
2012-10-13 08:29:46 PM

rassleholic: BadReligion: I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.

Cool. I was born March 2, 1981, the month this article was first published. I have the issue in a frame.



I was 12 years old in 1981 and had a mail-order subscription to National Geographic, which my parents had given me for my 11th birthday. Reading this article again -- over 30 years later -- was a fun bit of nostalgia.

/Nationalist Geographic!
 
2012-10-13 08:30:25 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: HotIgneous Intruder: Our next war was fought against guys wearing blankets hiding in caves with AK-47s and RPGs and our troops rode around acting as human targets for randomly placed remote controlled bombs.

A reality cold shower, eh? There also won't be space colonies or asteroid mines. Just more guys in blankets sitting on dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

barefoot in the head: "After 25 high-stakes, rocket-propelled excursions at 175,000 mph into space, shuttle Endeavour is creeping through Los Angeles streets at 2 mph."

Hm?


That's how the article reads, and it's still there in the first paragraph.
 
2012-10-13 08:59:54 PM

Nem Wan: Program cost divided by number of missions. The incremental cost of doing another mission with the program up and running is reasonable but the cost of maintaining the capability is enormous. The folly was thinking the most complex vehicle ever built could be turned around for another flight that fast. Or maybe they were thinking they'd get more orbiters and have more flows going. Who knows.


I'm pretty sure some old guys were sitting around in 1970 saying, "We will get no funding in a few years unless we can convince Congress we're being frugal somehow. So we could let Congress fund a reusable launch vehicle on the mistaken belief that reusability will be better and save money, or we can beat our chests, tell Congress we're already doing it the best way, and end up with no more space program."

So one 40-year mistake later (and after waiting for inconveniently-timed recession to end) and we'll hopefully be back to launching Saturn-V-class rockets which we never should have stopped doing.

(The 40-year mistake was still very cool to see up close.)
 
2012-10-13 10:07:16 PM
imageshack.us
 
2012-10-13 10:17:16 PM

way south: I won't feed the troll by providing carefully worded arguments you to ignore, but I will mention that of the twelve men who walked on the moon there are eight still alive and approaching their eighties.
Dying early from radiation poisoning isn't a very big concern with spaceflight.


A week in space vs the life you want to spend in space colonizing the galaxy? Is that the gist of your carefully worded rebuttal?

Unless you agree that "spaceflight" will never be anything more than floating in free fall in LEO?

Here's just one link

I could go on and on and on demolishing each and every one of your childish delusions, but even I have a life. G&T night tonight. 

Now go cry in a corner. We are never leaving the Earth. Ever. LEO hops in tin cans is *IT*. Forever.
 
2012-10-13 10:22:41 PM

sheep snorter: FTA: "By the late 1980s this fleet of orbiters could be making about 50 flights a year."


In the mid-1970s they were promising 100 flights per year and that a shuttle could fly two weeks after landing.
 
2012-10-13 10:39:59 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: way south: I won't feed the troll by providing carefully worded arguments you to ignore, but I will mention that of the twelve men who walked on the moon there are eight still alive and approaching their eighties.
Dying early from radiation poisoning isn't a very big concern with spaceflight.

A week in space vs the life you want to spend in space colonizing the galaxy? Is that the gist of your carefully worded rebuttal?

Unless you agree that "spaceflight" will never be anything more than floating in free fall in LEO?

Here's just one link

I could go on and on and on demolishing each and every one of your childish delusions, but even I have a life. G&T night tonight. 

Now go cry in a corner. We are never leaving the Earth. Ever. LEO hops in tin cans is *IT*. Forever.


Forever's a long time. Maybe an architect's apprentice in the Roman Empire imagined a skyscraper that was impossible to build then, and his master beat him or something.
 
2012-10-13 11:02:53 PM
Articles like this are exactly why I tend to disbelieve statements from the same types of writers (now with even less science education) that tell us 20 years from now our airliners won't need pilots and our cars will drive themselves. I'll believe it when I see it.

/Old enough to know you should be off of my lawn
//Would take the self driving vehicle if it means it will take me home from the bar with no DUI
///That used to be called a horse
 
2012-10-14 12:00:24 AM
Some parts of this article are hard to read now.

"No man has ridden solid rockets before, largely because they are hard to control. Once ignited, they are on for good. No second thoughts. No throttle back. That has been fine for launching warheads, but not for the subtleties of manned space flight."

"Designing and putting that jigsaw puzzle together has been painstaking. The tiles have varying shapes and thicknesses. Many of them have to curve with the contours of the orbiter. A computer tailors and cuts each tile, which is then attached to the orbiter by hand, using a space-age glue that everyone publicly expects-and privately prays-will hold through the rigors of flight. If just one tile from a critical part of the orbiter falls off, the entire spacecraft could be severely damaged."
 
2012-10-14 01:06:19 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: way south: I won't feed the troll by providing carefully worded arguments you to ignore, but I will mention that of the twelve men who walked on the moon there are eight still alive and approaching their eighties.
Dying early from radiation poisoning isn't a very big concern with spaceflight.

A week in space vs the life you want to spend in space colonizing the galaxy? Is that the gist of your carefully worded rebuttal?

Unless you agree that "spaceflight" will never be anything more than floating in free fall in LEO?

Here's just one link

I could go on and on and on demolishing each and every one of your childish delusions, but even I have a life. G&T night tonight. 

Now go cry in a corner. We are never leaving the Earth. Ever. LEO hops in tin cans is *IT*. Forever.


Now that you've left for the gym after 26 minutes, we can all discuss how much of an insufferable douchebag you are.
 
2012-10-14 01:38:39 AM
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;-
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

RIP American Dreams....

We used to dream here... Privatize NASA before its too too late
 
2012-10-14 04:34:40 AM

attention span of a retarded fruit fly: We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;-
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

RIP American Dreams....

We used to dream here... Privatize NASA before its too too late


The private sector really wants to know about soil samples on Mars!
 
2012-10-14 07:30:15 AM

noazark: rassleholic: BadReligion: I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.

Cool. I was born March 2, 1981, the month this article was first published. I have the issue in a frame.


I was 12 years old in 1981 and had a mail-order subscription to National Geographic, which my parents had given me for my 11th birthday. Reading this article again -- over 30 years later -- was a fun bit of nostalgia.

/Nationalist Geographic!



What other kind was available in 1981?
 
2012-10-14 08:35:55 AM
In ten years the current shuttle surely will seem outdated. In 50 years we will probably look back on it as we do the covered wagons that took us to our first frontier.

The difference is that it was individuals riding those wagons, and they had a good reason to go on them.

The problem with manned space travel is that the only reason for doing it is that it's there. That's not like air travel which facilitated more global commerce, or computers that even early on were commercially viable for things like interest rate calculations.

Until you can find a reason, the only reason for space travel is the equivalent of the barnstorming shows.
 
2012-10-14 08:52:43 AM

farkeruk: In ten years the current shuttle surely will seem outdated. In 50 years we will probably look back on it as we do the covered wagons that took us to our first frontier.

The difference is that it was individuals riding those wagons, and they had a good reason to go on them.

The problem with manned space travel is that the only reason for doing it is that it's there. That's not like air travel which facilitated more global commerce, or computers that even early on were commercially viable for things like interest rate calculations.

Until you can find a reason, the only reason for space travel is the equivalent of the barnstorming shows.


There are reasons to be up there, but not at the current prices.
The shuttle program artificially inflated the costs well beyond the already steep entry fee. What you could orbit for ten thousand dollars a pound on single use rockets became worth around fifty to eighty grand on the shuttle.
Aside from the politics, there was no reason for overpaying this much.

The shuttle promised to do the exact opposite of what it did for launch costs.

/if it cost a million dollars to send a man to California, no one would have gone.
 
2012-10-14 08:57:37 AM

davidphogan: That's sad.


Exactly my reaction to the whole article and the optimism therein. Sigh.
 
2012-10-14 09:37:52 AM

way south: There are reasons to be up there, but not at the current prices.


I think part of my point is that once people can find a reason, they start working out how to do it. And that doesn't mean you can't just do things for the sake of it (like climbing Everest), but Edmund Hilary climbing that mountain didn't lead to mass climbing of Everest. At most, about 500 people climb it each year. If Hilary and Tensing and discovered a fountain of youth at the top of it, you'd see far, far more people climbing it (or probably, a bottled water company would have bought the rights, but you follow my drift).

I am hopeful that Virgin Galactic (which is basically barnstorming) can lead to a new future in space, though. Personally, I'd rather spend £10K (if I had it) on a MiG flight.
 
2012-10-14 09:56:58 AM
The re-usable space shuttle turned out to not be all that re-usable. They had to overhaul it so heavily between flights that it never actually ended up being cheaper.

The air forces X-37B sounds like it has been very successful though. Its not manned of course, but both of the ones we know about have been flying year-long missions like its nothing. Sweet shiat.
 
2012-10-14 10:05:10 AM

farkeruk: way south: There are reasons to be up there, but not at the current prices.

I think part of my point is that once people can find a reason, they start working out how to do it. And that doesn't mean you can't just do things for the sake of it (like climbing Everest), but Edmund Hilary climbing that mountain didn't lead to mass climbing of Everest. At most, about 500 people climb it each year. If Hilary and Tensing and discovered a fountain of youth at the top of it, you'd see far, far more people climbing it (or probably, a bottled water company would have bought the rights, but you follow my drift).

I am hopeful that Virgin Galactic (which is basically barnstorming) can lead to a new future in space, though. Personally, I'd rather spend £10K (if I had it) on a MiG flight.


I disagree because they have the reason, but not an affordable method.
If I told an industrialist that there was a place where he could scoop up as much titanium, aluminum, and iron as he could ever want with just a shovel, he would be very interested. If I told him that the energy was as endless as sunshine and there were no pollution limits, he'd be ecstatic.
But all that interest vanishes when I tell him it costs a billion dollars to get your shovels there. It just doesn't compete on the existing ore market, even as scarcity kicks in.
...and this was the unfortunate side effect of the shuttle program. By botching up the original mission, they made people think space development was even more expensive than it already is.
People thought the government was developing a bridge to virgin territory. What it was doing was cashing out public money to private companies, and the sticker shock stalled interest.

With the involvement of new companies like spacex putting a lower price on the same trip, we've seen renewed interest in mining and colonization.

It's still expensive, but now there is now the promise of a profitable margin.

/No one lives on Everest but people do live in the Himalayas.
/Adventure tourism to Everest has been a great benefit to their economy.
/but to profit from tourists, you've got to be able to live on the cheap.
 
2012-10-14 11:27:20 AM

Christian Bale: noazark: rassleholic: BadReligion: I was born April 12th, 1981, the same day the Columbia took off for the first time.

Cool. I was born March 2, 1981, the month this article was first published. I have the issue in a frame.


I was 12 years old in 1981 and had a mail-order subscription to National Geographic, which my parents had given me for my 11th birthday. Reading this article again -- over 30 years later -- was a fun bit of nostalgia.

/Nationalist Geographic!


What other kind was available in 1981?



Well ... it was also available for sale on newsstands, and for free at public libraries, and ... I'm not really sure what the problem was with that wording. :-/
 
2012-10-14 11:53:06 AM
Oh look, a QA thread. Everyone marvel at how living forever is a more realistic goal than space travel.
 
2012-10-15 02:47:38 PM

farkeruk: Until you can find a reason, the only reason for space travel is the equivalent of the barnstorming shows.


I took my son to the Kennedy Space Center in August and met John Blaha, who gave a little talk about why we're spending so much money up there.

In some cases, it's because flying an experiment in space answers questions that can't be answered on Earth. Scientists are stuck because Earth's gravity is messing up the process and they don't know what to do next.

So, the experiment is sent into space. The results are noted and, thanks to the space research, the scientists now have a clear direction in which to continue. Otherwise, they may have wasted a lot of time and money on paths that would not have helped the research.

He gave other examples, but that one really stuck in my memory. Sometimes all the astronauts have to do is turn a switch off or on and the experiment runs by itself.
 
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