SPACE: Is ISS a boondoggle?, was Re: SPACE: Why so much EVA on ISS?

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 11:56:18 MST

On Mon, 19 Mar 2001, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Well sealed cannon plugs are not difficult to make or use. The rationale
> for putting stuff outside is that it maximizes the space inside to use
> for people and real equipment. Wires don't need air to live (and are
> less likely to make a high O2 atmosphere go fizzle...boom). This also
> minimizes pressure vessel mass for a given amount of workspace.

Mike, think about this for a minute -- the quotes I keep seeing
are that the inside volume is going to be ~ that of the cabin
of a 747. The maximum head count that I've seen for "occupation" of
the ISS is 7 people. Thats 7 people inside the volume of a 747 cabin.
Don't you think its unlikely they will be tripping over each other?
Cables can't take up *that* much space.

Its fascinating if you go over this design. You have the U.S.
Destiny lab, then the ESA lab, then the Japanese lab, then a
couple of Russian labs. What precisely are all these labs going
to do? What can the labs do that hasn't already been done on
the the Mir or Spacelab? Have you looked at the prices that NASA
anticipates charging for the hourly allocation of an astronaut
as a "lab operator"? Makes hourly rates for lawyers and doctors
look positively "minimum wage".

The whole thing has a bad smell. In contrast if you positioned
it as an orbiting observatory platform or an "assembly" operation
then you would be getting something from it.

Answer this -- why can't one attach a couple of dozen Baby Hubble's
to the space station? Is there some orbital difference between
the Hubble and the ISS that makes it unusable as an observatory?
Is it simply not stable enough? What gives here?


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