>Completely unnecessary. With the right booster, the shuttle without *any*
>modifications could easily reach lunar orbit.
With the right booster, my car could easily reach lunar orbit. Would that make it "an ideal vehicle for shipping hardware to the Moon"? No.
>If we cut the crew down
>to 5, the shuttle could stay in orbit for over a month.
No it couldn't, unless they've improved it significantly lately. The fuel cells are the main limitation, not crew size; most of the shuttle's power consumption is independent of crew size.
>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
And it would be absurdly inefficient and far more expensive than building a real lunar vehicle from scratch. Why bother?