Roads The Space Program Decided Not To Travel Down…

Republibot 3.0
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Remember when the Challenger blew up ‘cuz of those damn SRBs? (I was there. I saw it w/ my own eyes) The SRBs were a budgetary compromise, this is the way the shuttle was originally supposed to look and be launched, using considerably more existing (in 1975) technology than the actual shuttle ever used. http://www.starshipmodeler.info/contest5/5_scr_21.htm
While on the subject of trying to make a good thing out of bad parts, here’s NASA’s late-80s aborted Shuttle-C: Vastly more sensible, unmanned, and used off-the-shelf technology w/ 3X the cargo capacity of the Shuttle. But of course that would mean that NASA would have to DO stuff, which is not in their mandate. The purpose of NASA is to limit access to space, not expand it, and anyone who doesn’t realize that simply hasn’t been paying attention. http://www.starshipmodeler.info/contest5/5_scr_04.htm
and as long as we’re talking about stuff that NASA planed, but never did, this is probably the second-sweetest fracking HLLV ever! I call it “The Saturn 9” http://www.starshipmodeler.info/contest5/5_scr_20.htm
Oh? So what’s the absolute-sweetest HLLV ever? The Saturn C-8, the biggest rocket ever actually completely designed. Info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_C-8 and here and vastly better info here http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/saturnc8.htm Granted: Larger rockets have been discussed (The largest I’m aware of is the Sea Dragon), but those are either proposals or paper studies: This was actually completely designed top to bottom, and could have been put into production at any time, it was ready to go. I’ll bottom-line it for you: The Saturn V remains the largest and most successful large rocket ever built. It could put 260,000 lbs in LEO, or 103,000 lbs en rout to the moon, and it was 334 feet tall. The Saturn VIII would have been able to put 460,000 lbs in LEO, or 163,000 lbs en rout to the moon, and would have been 429 feet long. Weight of a Saturn VIII: 10,770,260 pounds, whereas a Saturn V weighed in at 6,698,700 lbs. God. This kind of stuff gets me all worked up. What a steeple that would have made atop the church of science, eh?
This is true, BTW. http://www.g4tv.com/xplay/videos/27733/The_Will_Wright_Minute__Russian_S...
As I’m on a space jag this week, here’s an interesting little article about the Soviet Lunar Program of the 60s/Early 70s, w/ some seldom-seen photos of their N1 Moon Rocket http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/spacecraft/q0196.shtml
Here, btw, is a nice overview of all the new manned spacecraft currently in development – American, Russian, Indian (!), European, you name it http://www.astronautix.com/craftfam/newrewed.htm

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