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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Space Shuttle: Retire On-Orbit Idea

Richard Goodwin and Dennis Wingo have provided NASA end of mission planners a unique idea of retiring the last space shuttle on-orbit. The idea appears to be worthy of consideration even if the shuttle launch manifest is pushed into 2011 for the long-duration space shuttle mission and to continue the legacy of the technology.

There were ideas similar to this early in the shuttle program to retire space shuttle external fuel tanks on-orbit to build a lower cost space station but contractors preferred a new systems build rather than retrofit an on-orbit tank. Perhaps this idea will fair better as it is a thought provoking worthy of serious consideration.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I was project Engineer in charge ofdesign/development/demonstration of a gaseous hydrogen/oxygen using electrolyzed water. Complete end-to-end system demonstrated including electrolysis, storage, thruster, control system (also including non electric ignition).Rocketdyne contract from MSFC. Mid 80's. Houston would not consider it as part of space station -- usual interagency rivalry. Houston kept their hypergolic thruster system as baseline (and the propulsion budget). The system would have used the water from the fuel cell or other sources on the station. No propellant (caustic hydrazine etc.)would have to be transported to the station.