Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Shuttle-C: Cargo-only, expendable orbiter

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Shuttle-C: Cargo-only, expendable orbiter
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 36365
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-17-2009 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember seeing a full scale mockup of the proposed, cargo-only "Shuttle-C" orbiter during a tour of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama in the mid- to late 1980s.

My view then was through slightly opened hangar doors as we drove by, which was far more limited than the below NASA photo. Does anyone know what became of that mock-up? Does it still exist?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 3157
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 02-17-2009 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't MPTA-098 (the main propulsion test article) integrated into Shuttle-C?

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2270
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 02-17-2009 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, MPTA-98 was part of the Shuttle C mockup after it ended its days as a test article.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 36365
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-14-2009 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Courtesy Scott Phillips, photos of the Shuttle-C mock-up at Marshall Space Flight Center and what is left of it today.

Mr Meek
Member

Posts: 353
From: Chattanooga, TN
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 03-14-2009 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. The old U.S. Space & Rocket Center bus tours of Marshall never had that on the tour when I went on them. I assume you were on a Space Camp tour, Robert? Perhaps those were different than the regular museum tours.

By the way, A Field Guide to American Spacecraft has some more pictures of MPTA-098 sitting next to a test stand at MSFC.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1944
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-26-2012 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does the lack of thermal tiles mean this was seen as an expendable cargo container? Were the solid rocket boosters planned to be returned in the normal manner?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 36365
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-26-2012 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shuttle-C, as envisioned, was intended to be expendable. The main engines would have been at the end of their use cycles, such that they would be discarded with each Shuttle-C launch.

The remainder of the shuttle stack, including the solid rocket boosters, would have been the same configuration as flown with the crewed orbiters.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2270
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-26-2012 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You know, I wonder if those OMS pod mockups that were on MPTA-98 in the Shuttle C mockup might be the replica OMS pods that Enterprise had at Udvar-Hazy until they were replaced with Enterprise's original ALT pods for its ferry flight to Intrepid. They certainly look like they could be.

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1327
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 06-27-2012 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how the U.S. program would have change if this concept was utilized. It seems that we have more ideas than actual flight hardware.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 3157
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-27-2012 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, what would have Shuttle-C been used for? Most commercial satellites cannot (by law) be flown on shuttle, leaving either DoD satellites, large payloads like Chandra or Hubble, or ISS construction and supply.

I think the limiting factor for Shuttle-C would have been its engines. Not necessarily throwing away three engines, but waiting for shuttle engines that are near the end of its lifespan.

In my opinion, Shuttle-C should have been developed first, to deliver satellites and stuff to orbit, with either a smaller or similar shuttle for those that specifically need an astronaut crew (satellite repair, space station crew exchange, Spacelab.)

Because one you put a manned component on top of a satellite launcher, the mission is no longer to launch enough satellites to make such an exercise low-cost, but to get that crew to and from orbit safely. No matter what the payload.

cspg
Member

Posts: 5488
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 06-27-2012 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
In my opinion, Shuttle-C should have been developed first, to deliver satellites and stuff to orbit...
That's what should have happened post-Challenger.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2270
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-28-2012 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Well, what would have Shuttle-C been used for?
Don't forget that when Shuttle-C was proposed, this was during the time that NASA was trying to ramp up shuttle launches to about 12 a year and there were bold plans for a lot of things (space stations, factories in orbit, microwave energy beaming stations, etc.). NASA Administrator James Beggs also had managed to get Reagan to endorse Space Station Freedom, so NASA was beginning to dust off some drawing board proposals that they had (and don't forget the SDI proposals that the DoD was considering). Challenger effectively put an end to all that though when it broke apart in January 1986.

Today, though, when one thinks about it, Shuttle-C isn't all that different from the Space Launch System. Both are designed for heavy cargo and both make use of some stuff from the shuttle program, such as the SSMEs. Only in the case of the SLS, the payload is on top, not mounted on the side.

garyd2831
Member

Posts: 554
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 01-31-2017 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was reading a recent article regarding SpaceX's upcoming use and launch from LC-39A and was curious as to why NASA didn't revisit the Shuttle-C concept. For the most part, the 39A complex is still in a shuttle state, minus a few components needed for crew access, the external tank fueling, etc. So why not try to utilize the investment?

The construction of a side lot just off the main crawway, similar to what the mobile service structure used for the Saturn V, could have been constructed for the SpaceX assembly building. This would also allow NASA a dual purpose use of the LC-39A and maybe the development and use of already existing flight equipment.

I'm sure the development, testing and actual employment of a Shuttle-C carrier craft would allow for a decent use of U.S. heavy lift capability as an interim approach to SLS program. Any thoughts?

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 1069
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 01-31-2017 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because Falcon 9 and Shuttle-C use of 39-A are incompatible.

SpaceX has greatly modified the flame trench and the pad surface. Not to mention that the "minus a few components" is most of what is needed for Shuttle-C and hence it is not "in shuttle state." The RSS is gutted. The hypergolic propellant facilities are gone.

Also, Shuttle-C is a very inefficient vehicle (the cargo module is a lot of needless mass). Also, it is constraining in payload diameter.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 614
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 02-01-2017 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slightly off topic, but what is the largest diameter payload (prior to "unfolding") envelope ever launched?

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 1069
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 02-01-2017 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Skylab had a 22' diameter payload fairing (same at the third stage diameter)

As for current launch vehicles, they have fairings based on the shuttle payload bay diameter of 15 feet. Which translated to Titan IV fairings, which lead to Ariane V, Altas V, Delta IV and Falcon 9. Their fairings are 5, 5.1 and 5.2m.

Since Shuttle-C was heavy lift, it would be hard to use all its capability with a 15 diameter constraint.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2017 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement