Links Thread, [Video] For Your Astronomers: NASA: Flight of the Orion... [Vimeo] in Links, Downloads and Scripts; This short animated film depicts the flight and orbit of the NASA's new spacecraft that will take humans far beyond ...
Is it just me or is this a backwards step from the shuttle which itself never achieved all it could as iirc large parts of the program were never built just the orbiter
The shuttle program was a dead end as it was only ever LEO so never really had the potential to be anything other than a satelite taxi. Its main benifits were to come by making space cheap by launching two shuttles a week which of course never happened in its lifetime. Orion was a step back to actually having something that could get people further than the local space station and out to explore. Problem is that by the time they got around to it their economy was shot and the general public had lost all interest in space and in fact anything that involved more thought than a badly filmed talant show and when their latest bottle of Brawndo is being delivered. Even with orion it would only really put us back to where we were in the Appolo era as that is the platform that Orion is drawn from.
The only ones really pushing for space anymore are the Chinese who's main expertise in the area appears to have come from their work with skyrockets given their policy of never anouncing a launch until it lands safely. The rest is really mantainence of existing projects and the leg up kind of programs that are being looked at like orbital fuel depos and helping the commercial space industry get going. Most of the probs that NASA has been planning have been canned and even if they weren't on account of funding they would be because of the lack of enriched uranium around they could use for thermal reactors to keep them running in the outer areas of the solar system where solar pannels simply can't collect enough energy to get the job done.
It's ashame, I was really into space but it is almost a dead dream at this point. There is no space sci-fi, government programs apear to be giving up and the commercial system is back at the suborbital stage.
Deep space is really going to require a whole lot more tech than we have now, even with VASMIR ion drives the speeds required are still a massive hurdle.
The shuttle program was a dead end as it was only ever LEO so never really had the potential to be anything other than a satelite taxi.
the orbiter that was built yes BUT when it was designed the orbiter was just one of a range of vehicles including ones that could go into higher orbits and iirc beyond but the other 2 vehicles never made it off the drawing pad i believe. Agaion its been a while since i looked at it but i seem to remember there being 3 vehicles the orbiter that was built a space "tug" that never returned to earth i think and a heavy/high lifter aso never built so the shuttle was just a part of a bigger delivery system