Did Buran & Engeria have any advantages over STS?

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rsa_4

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I've been a huge fan of Soviet shuttle development, given their long path through the various BOR studies. However, it always still pleasantly surprises me to see this level of interest on the subject, and I can't help wondering why?<br /><br />I guess the reason we all look back on the Energia system fondly is twofold:<br /><br />1) The baseline rocket is probably the only true HLLV that has flown in the last generation, large enough to support a major manned mission or space construction initiative, and that's an exciting thought<br /><br />2) The seemingly premature cancellation of the system, when it had performed so well, leaves us with a sense of "what might have been". We don't really know if the system would have been a success. The orbiter probably would have encountered exactly the same constraints as the Shuttle. Yet, because the "what might have been" is unknown, we tend to romanticize the Soviet system. It represents our dreams as space fundis - dreams that are still unfulfilled, and most likely will continue to remain unfulfilled for the next generation.
 
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cbased

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VERY well said!<br />I guess the sense of being space enthusiast doesn't know borders. I feel the same way about it (a bit sad, a bit romantic). We are all humans and it is in our blood to explore the unknown (and hope for the better) <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br />
 
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davf

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Well said. I think a key point that is overlooked, though, is that Buran was a military project and not a civilian one. It would not have been put to making the world a better place.
 
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gunsandrockets

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[...in light of NASA efforts to develop STS derived heavy launch vehicles the Energia and Buran are also instructive.]<br /><br /><The U.S. was looking at Shuttle Derived Vehicles (SDV) since almost the day shuttle was frozen as a design...seems to me we instructed them. /><br /><br />If the Ares V ever flies it will be 30 years after the Energia. Other than that the only Shuttle derived heavy lift vehicles are paper rockets.<br /><br />The Energia is instructive as to the merits, or lack, of various configurations and staging options for a Shuttle derived heavy launch vehicle. The Energia shows the practicality of a side-mount three stages to orbit design. In my opinion the Ares 5 design is a mistake because it requires new expensive launch infrastructure and expensive new development as it is really more of a clean-sheet design than truly Shuttle derived. <br /><br />
 
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qso1

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gunsandrockets:<br />In my opinion the Ares 5 design is a mistake because it requires new expensive launch infrastructure and expensive new development as it is really more of a clean-sheet design than truly Shuttle derived.<br /><br />Me:<br />I agree where Ares V is concerned as a clean sheet start over. At this point, I'm inclined to say go ahead and start over. The shuttle "C" could have saved a bundle on ISS construction by significant reduction of assembly flights but it was cancelled anyway. Seems whenever we get the chance to save a few bucks we squander it so I sometimes wonder whats the use of proposing derivitives. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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Side mounting is not desireable from a payload point of view<br />1. The acoustic environment is higher since the payloads are closer to the ground and engines<br />2. The loads are different<br />3. top mounting provides for more adaptability. Stages can be added or subtracted. Stages can be lengthened easier, (see Atlas I, II, II)<br /><br />4. It is easier to widen and lengthen a payload fairing on top vs a side mount<br /><br />5. Shuttle-C would be a bigger mistake. Shuttle-C was worse for payloads. It doesn't use the "shuttle" infrastructure neither. The RSS can't handle the payloads, since they are longer and wider. The payloads have to be installed horizontally, hich means weeks to months before launch vs the ELV method. Shuttle-C doen't have the performance of the Ares V
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Shuttle-C would be a bigger mistake.><br /><br />I'm not advocating the Shuttle-C. The Shuttle-C used the engines of the Shuttle in a recoverable pod for reusability. Because of that the Shuttle-C was hardly more than an unmanned Shuttle and couldn't achieve the full payload potential of an equivalent expendable system such as the Energia.<br /><br />I'm advocating an expendable sidemount-type Shuttle derived vehicle, using the current ET, using the current 4-segment SRB, 2x RS-68 substituting for the SSME and 2x RL-10b substituting for the OMS, using three stages to reach orbit. Compared to the existing STS the only structure different is a sidemount pod which replaces the STS Orbiter. <br /><br /><Shuttle-C was worse for payloads... Shuttle-C doen't have the performance of the Ares V /> <br /><br />So what. The sidemount design I advocate could lift 83 tonnes to orbit compared to the 130 tonnes of the inline Ares V. 83 tonnes is plenty of payload capacity since it could be brought into service for half the sunk costs of the Ares V design and probably years earlier too.
 
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willpittenger

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>So what. The sidemount design I advocate could lift 83 tonnes to orbit compared to the 130 tonnes of the inline Ares V. 83 tonnes is plenty of payload capacity since it could be brought into service for half the sunk costs of the Ares V design and probably years earlier too.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Would 83 tons be enough for Project Constellation's requirements? I doubt it if NASA designed Ares V with 130 tons in mind. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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vt_hokie

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<i>Well said. I think a key point that is overlooked, though, is that Buran was a military project and not a civilian one. It would not have been put to making the world a better place. </i><br /><br />Well, who knows...maybe it would have been. Imagine where ISS could be today if we had both STS and Buran/Energia available to support it.
 
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jimfromnsf

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"<br />I'm advocating an expendable sidemount-type Shuttle derived vehicle, using the current ET, using the current 4-segment SRB, 2x RS-68 substituting for the SSME and 2x RL-10b substituting for the OMS, using three stages to reach orbit. Compared to the existing STS the only structure different is a sidemount pod which replaces the STS Orbiter. "<br /><br />It is no different and still has the same problems as Shuttle-C. The "new" side mount doesn't save anything wrt to facilities. Side mounts are bad configurations. <br /><br />Just put the engines on the bottom of the ET and upperstage on top.
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Endless studies have shown the benefits of putting the payload on top, engines on the bottom. Even in recent times with foam shedding... it wouldn't be a problem if the shuttle was mounted on top of the stack because the foam would fall off without risk of hitting anything that could be damaged.><br /><br />The Soviets studied top-mounting but a winged orbiter wouldn't work on top of the Energia stack, so they chose side-mounting the Buran instead.<br /><br />But even so, topmounting a manned orbiter is irrelevant to a shuttle derived heavy launch vehicle because an HLV should only be used for launching cargo and not crew -- just as NASA intends for the Ares V HLV. NASA designates the Ares V as a cargo launch vehicle (CaLV), wheras the Ares I is the crew launch vehicle (CLV).<br /><br /><The only benefit of the Shuttle-C would be the development costs, it wouldn't be as much as developing it from scratch but the system itself has a proven flaw and therefore should be terminated. Why should we invest more money in a side mounted launcher that has the potential of damaging the payload when technology and experience is available for launching the payload on top of the stack. /><br /><br />A clean sheet design HLV like the Ares V is so expensive it makes no sense to put it into service at all. Even the presently low-flight-rate and expensive cost of existing boosters make better economic sense for placing cargo into orbit than plowing money into a clean sheet design HLV. For the $20 billion dollar development cost of a clean-sheet HLV, NASA could afford to put 2,000 tonnes of cargo into LEO with already existing boosters! That is equivalent to almost ten times the mass of the current ISS.<br /><br />The only HLV that makes any kind of economic sense is one that is as cheap as possible, and since the Shuttle STS already has a long production and service history it's possible to derive a HLV from the STS without spending too much. But the Ares V spends too much, wh
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Would 83 tons be enough for Project Constellation's requirements? I doubt it if NASA designed Ares V with 130 tons in mind.><br /><br />An 83 tonne launcher would not fit the current NASA moon plan. But so what. The 1 + 1/2 launch, Earth Orbit Rendezvous + Lunar Orbit Rendezvous, NASA lunar plan is much criticized and not the only or best way to get to the moon. <br /><br />And I think it's important to point out that the last detailed NASA plan for a manned mission to Mars, the Design Referece Mission 3.0, fit all the mission elements within the limits of a hypothetical Shuttle derived heavy launch vehicle with an 80 metric ton payload to LEO!
 
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jimfromnsf

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"The Soviets studied top-mounting but a winged orbiter wouldn't work on top of the Energia stack, so they chose side-mounting the Buran instead."<br /><br />It wasn't found that it "couldn't" work. Just found that there wasn't a better reason.<br /><br />"since the Shuttle STS already has a long production and service history it's possible to derive a HLV from the STS without spending too much."<br /><br />No true. Aside from the ET and SRB's, most of the shuttle systems are not in production (SSME's among the largest) and any derived vehicle would be just as "new" as Ares V. The bulk of Ares V costs are due to new ground infrastructure vs flight hardware. <br /><br />Any vehicle using the shuttle ET/SRB "foot print" is going to be cheaper. The advantages of a top mounted payload are going to outweigh the savings (highly doubtful) of a side mounted.
 
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jimfromnsf

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Sidemount<br /><br />New propulsion module<br />Bulky fairing (forward ET attach point require)<br />New Avionics system<br /><br />Same ET<br />Same MLP interface<br />Same VAB interface<br /><br />Fairing and payload separation ops more complicated<br />OMS system require for insertion and deorbit<br />Longer flight time<br /><br />VAB payload mate – RSS useless<br />Horizontal integration on payload into fairing<br /><br />Non standard flight environments <br /><br />Limited fairing enlargement<br /><br /><br />Topmount<br /><br />ET Mods – additional of propulsion and forward interface<br />Standard fairing design<br />New Avionics system<br /><br />MLP mods – exhaust hole and move TSM’s<br />Some upper level VAB mods<br /><br />Clean single plane separation<br />No OMS – payload responsibility (especially with upperstages)<br />Short mission<br /><br />Standard vertical payload encapsulation and mate in VAB (or pad)<br /><br />Easier fairing enlargement <br />
 
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christine16

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there are no patriots in US, all of us vote for Buran, cause it was so much better<br /><br />
 
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davf

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There is another irony here in that the Soviets ran through a series of lifting body experiments and eventually settled on the BOR-4 as an ideal. Although they flew and recovered scale models, along comes the US Space Shuttle Orbiter and they feel compelled to build a virtual (and admitted) copy of it. <br /><br />Fast forward a couple of decades and the US is looking for a lifting body for their CERV and what shape do they settle on for HL-20? BOR-4. <br /><br />The more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
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qso1

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jimfromnsf:<br />The payloads have to be installed horizontally, hich means weeks to months before launch vs the ELV method. Shuttle-C doen't have the performance of the Ares V<br /><br />Me:<br />Part of number 5 is the only line I disagree with. Shuttle "C" was to utilize an extended PCR which was the simplest fac mod required among the type of vehicles studied. The "C" payload bay was longer, but not wider.<br /><br />Shuttle "C" 2 SSME version was to have been capable of lifting 45Kg to LEO while Ares V is designed to lift nearly 125 Kg to LEO. Clearly Ares V is the better lifter. At the time shuttle "C" was being considered seriously. Ares V was not even on the books and would not have gotten where it did if shuttle "C" had not been abandoned because the mods were a bit more extensive than that required for shuttle "C".<br /><br />In todays world, we now have serious consideration for Ares V and it does have significant advantages over shuttle "C". All that remains is to see if Ares V is developed...or if it goes the way of shuttle "C". <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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gunsandrockets:<br />The only benefit of the Shuttle-C would be the development costs, it wouldn't be as much as developing it from scratch but the system itself has a proven flaw and therefore should be terminated.<br /><br />Me:<br />The shuttle "C" was terminated over a decade ago...almost 15 years ago actually. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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<p><hr />Shuttle "C" 2 SSME version was to have been capable of lifting 45Kg to LEO<p><hr /><br />Just 45 Kg? That is less than what I weigh.</p></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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<img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />I would guess he meant 45K kg -- i.e. 45,000 kg. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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sorry qso1, that's not me you are quoting. I never brought up the Shuttle C, it was jimfromnsf who did. <br /><br /> The Shuttle C is a very different bird from what I support. Just reread my posts and it should be clearer to you. In particular read the story I linked to about SDHLV studies.
 
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