Re: Re. (...) Economic Role of Manned Space Stations
20 Jul 1999 12:48:43 -0700

On Tue, 20 July 1999, wrote:

> And, previously you said:
> >>a retrofitted Shuttle would make an ideal vehicle for shipping
> >>hardware to the Moon
> [snip]Ok, you rip off the wings, you rip off the tail, you replace the life support
> system with something which can operate for longer, you throw away the SSMEs
> and replace them with something like RL-10s, you fill the cargo bay with fuel
> tanks, you rip out the wheels and install landing legs, [snip

Completely unnecessary. With the right booster, the shuttle without *any* modifications could easily reach lunar orbit. The shuttle has already proven it has the capacity to handle a crew of 8 for 19 days. If we cut the crew down to 5, the shuttle could stay in orbit for over a month. Depending on the specific impulse of our inter-orbital thrusters, the shuttle could easily reach lunar orbit in less than a week. This would give the crew plenty of time to drop off any payload (including a lunar lander) in Lunar orbit and return to Earth. Now having the shuttle itself land on the lunar surface is an entirely different matter - and would require such a large degree of re-enginering to make it a waste if time. Needless to say, the shuttle as an existing technology could easily be "retrofitted" for travel and small payload delivery around cis-lunar space and the various lagrange points.

Paul Hughes