Xah Lee's Unixism

John Thingstad john.thingstad at chello.no
Sat Sep 4 23:37:11 CEST 2004

On 04 Sep 2004 13:25:41 -0600, Joe Pfeiffer <pfeiffer at cs.nmsu.edu> wrote:

>> "Rupert Pigott" <roo at try-removing-this.darkboong.demon.co.uk> wrote in
>> message news:1094285694.404322 at teapot.planet.gong...
>> > Consider this : If the tables were turned and an Aerojet booster
>> > exploded in the sky I'll bet the armchair QBs would be asking why
>> > were Aerojet chosen over Morton-Thiokol who had more experience of
>> > building large solid-fuel rockets.
> However, it would certainly not have failed at the segment joints.
> The more I read sci.space.tech the more convinced I am that the whole
> shuttle concept was fundamentally flawed from the beginnin  g.Putting
> the orbiter next to (rather than on top of) the huge tank of high
> explosive is not a  good idea.  Reentry from orbit is not the same as
> flying an airplane; ablative heat shields work and work well.

I second that.
Making a space veicle look like a plane is a lame idea.
It makes launch more complicated because the lift of the wings
gives force and this has to be continously compenated for by rotating the  
(Does "roger, roll" ring a bell)
During reentry the wing surfaces and other protruding objects adds to the  
heat signature
and adds to the risc. (I think the Columia disaster illustrates this.)
The only time the plane shape makes sense is for the last 4 last minutes  
of a
mission. For this I think parachutes would be a better option.
In short it adds risk for very little gain.
The real reason NASA thought a plane would be great is because all
the astronaughts are previous test pilots. And, well, they like planes.
Ideally a space reentry veicle should look as much as a drop as possible
and should enter with the butt end. (Minimum air drag.)
Instead of fighting nature they should be using it..
This minimizes risc.

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