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

From: S.J. Van Sickle (
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 10:27:01 MST

On Tue, 20 Mar 2001 wrote:

> Maybe they're building the wrong thing the wrong way with the wrong tools for
> the wrong reasons, but they ARE building SOMETHING pretty big in LEO and,
> even accepting all the caveats about what, why and how they're doing it,
> they're being amazingly successful.

Why, exactly, is it amazing? You yourself jsut called it a "string of
pressurized cans". I know many engineers who could design and build
standard pressure vessels of that size and wieght for considerable less
than was spent. It's not like they have to *go* anywhere once they are in
orbit. How is it any more amazing than, say, a submarine?

I'll grant that the spacecraft that gets it to orbit is "amazing", but
compared to that a space station should be fall down simple.

> Ultimately, though, I think a major propulsion module would have to be added
> to move the structure into a more sensible orbital inclination. As we
> discussed recently, the 51 degree inclination - what I call the "Cold War
> Delta-Vee Penalty - imposes a significant cost on getting mass up to the
> station. Ultimately, the most sensible inclination is zero degrees and
> that's where significant space development ought to be done, absent some
> magic propulsion technology.

I believe the sort of inclination change you are talking about is
prohibitively expensive. Much cheaper in delivered mass to just start
over. However, to be fair, 51 degrees is not a total would be a
very good spot for a tourist facility, since it overflys much of the
planet's land mass.


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