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  Shuttle main engines: 15 SSMEs in one place

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Author Topic:   Shuttle main engines: 15 SSMEs in one place
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2011 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kennedy Space Center photo release
For the first time, all 15 Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne space shuttle main engines (SSMEs) are in the Kennedy Space Center Engine Shop at the same time. They are being prepared for shipment to Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for storage following the completion of the space shuttle program.

The engines may be repurposed for use on NASA's Space Launch System heavy lift vehicle.


Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2011 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-16-2011 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW! the potential of 7.68 million lbf (vacuum). Think about what was done riding on those engines it is amazing.

bwhite1976
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Posts: 145
From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 10-16-2011 08:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am wondering the best way to deliver those to Stennis. Barge, train, 18 wheeler, C130? Those things look brand new. Nice pictures.

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-16-2011 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am willing to donate my F-150 and the trailer as long as I can drive it down. One SSME is only 1,976 lbs heavier than my dad's 1963 Lincoln so I'm sure the trailer could hold it...

OV-105
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From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 10-16-2011 11:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It sure is a shame that they will be thrown away the next time they fly.

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-16-2011 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought that they will still be reusable with the SLS.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-17-2011 04:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first stage of the SLS is not intended to be recovered. After using the remaining SSME (RS-25D) supply for test flights, new engines being built will be streamlined specifically for expendable use.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 10-18-2011 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmmm, just think of the fun your average cartoon coyote could have with THAT many SSMEs. No road runner would DARE run away from him!

By the way, are there any pictures yet of the hardware that NASA plans to use to make the simulated engine hardware for use on the shuttle orbiters when they go on display at museums?

Norman.King
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From: Herne Bay, Kent, UK
Registered: Feb 2010

posted 10-18-2011 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Norman.King   Click Here to Email Norman.King     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by OV-105:
It sure is a shame that they will be thrown away the next time they fly.
My thought exactly. I'd prefer to have seen those found homes in museums rather than suffer their ultimate fate lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Aren't any being kept for posterity?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-18-2011 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a number of built-up SSMEs in museums. The Smithsonian has one at the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center, as does Space Center Houston and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (at the LC39 launch viewing gantry).

NASA also has an SSME mounted as a traveling exhibit, which has been displayed around the country.

The 15 flight-worthy SSMEs, as currently planned, will be used for testing and flight tests for the Space Launch System.

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 10-18-2011 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocketdyne said in 1993 that the SSMEs cost about $40 million each, "just slightly less than the entire cost of a Delta launch." That's about $62 million each in 2011 dollars.

Fifteen of them would be roughly the same price it took to design, build, launch, land, and operate the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, for their initial 90 day missions.

In a time when NASA's budget is being dangerously cut, to the extent that it may have to back out of its commitment to launch the 2016 ExoMars mission because of lack of funds, NASA can't afford to put useable, expensive technology into museums.

Paul78zephyr
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From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-18-2011 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...all 15 Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne space shuttle main engines (SSMEs) are in the Kennedy Space Center Engine Shop at the same time
I assume they mean 15 'active' engines (whatever that means at this point in the program). What has happened to the other 25 engines? As stated 25 engines would represent a lot of money. Weren't these engines supposed to be able to be used 100 times?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-19-2011 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul78zephyr:
Weren't these engines supposed to be able to be used 100 times?

I think it's in one of Dennis Jenkins' books, but the "used 100 times" figure was derived based on the number of minutes the engine was actually going to operate and figuring that into the expected lifetime of the engine (drawing numbers from thin air, but if each engine had to perform for only 6 minutes, and it was expected that the engine would last for 600 minutes, that would equal 100 flights.) In actuality, engine components had far less than the 100 mission expectancy.

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-19-2011 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
There are a number of built-up SSMEs in museums.

There's one displayed outside of Building 4200 at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Stennis Space Center had one when I visited in 2005.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center also has one (or at least did have one; I don't remember the last time I specifically noticed it there).

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-19-2011 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Norman.King:
I'd prefer to have seen those found homes in museums rather than suffer their ultimate fate lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

I understand your point and, initially, I agreed with it. But after further thought, I'd prefer to see these engines given life once more, in order to usher in a new spaceflight program.

The way I see it, a lot of historic hardware from Mercury through Apollo also sits in the bottom of the Atlantic. But we wouldn't have the spaceflight history we have if we hadn't sacrificed that hardware to the ocean.

All times are CT (US)

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