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Space Science

Soviet Shuttle Buran Found In a Junk Heap 226

gruenz noted the somewhat sad photo slideshow showing what appears to be the Soviet Space Shuttle Buran, lying in a Moscow suburb junk heap. Of course I don't read Russian, so it might also be a carnival ride rusting.
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Soviet Shuttle Buran Found In a Junk Heap

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  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @09:10AM (#33721270) Journal

    That they did not spend a crazy amount of money on what ended up in the U.S. as a net negative to what we COULD of had. The shuttle had some success and worked but it was way more expensive than it was sold to be and ended up tethering the U.S. to low earth orbit for decades instead of moving on like we should have to a permanent moon settlement and Mars.

  • ...ended up tethering the U.S. to low earth orbit for decades instead of moving on like we should have to a permanent moon settlement and Mars.

    I'll take the Hubble Space Telescope and the myriad of other LEO scientific/communication satellites over your pie-in-the-sky Buck Rogers fantasies any day of the week.

  • Re:well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:07AM (#33721574) Homepage

    If we had done the same and gone back to the Apollo program, 14 people would still be alive.

    Right, because no one died in the Apollo 1 fire [] . And because no one almost died on Apollo 13. And because no Soviets died in craft similar to the Apollo [] .

    If we had stayed with Apollo type craft there would have almost certainly been more fatalities. Space travel is very dangerous. This isn't going to change anytime soon and wouldn't be different if we had used Apollo-like vehicles. Indeed, I'd tentatively guess that the reduced expense of such vehicles might mean many more launches and thus likely even more fatalities.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:10AM (#33721614)

    We would have had all of that and a lot more without the shuttle.

    At some point, someone will mention the shuttle mission to fix Hubble's focus, without mentioning that we could have built and launched another five Hubbles for the cost of that mission alone.

    Face it: the shuttle was pure PR; they wanted something that looked like a plane. Re-usability looked good on paper but it cost more per launch than using disposable vehicles, and that's without even taking the massive manufacturing cost into account.

  • Re:Why is it sad? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OmniGeek ( 72743 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#33722128)

    For me, as a space enthusiast and aerospace professional, the sad part is that *anyone* would get a shuttle orbiter project so close to operational that they could launch, orbit, and land a fully-automated prototype -- and then just lose that entire program. The physical remnant is, as you say, just "stuff," and not really important in itself. What I (and, I believe, others) mourn is the loss of a manned space-launch program that came THAT close to being operational, regardless of just whose program it was. I, for one, still believe that the more different parties we have with active space programs, the better it is for humanity as a whole; there's a big solar system out there, with both resources and hazards aplenty, and the long-term benefit of the species definitely includes being active in space.

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:47AM (#33722250) Journal

    ...Space Nuttery is one of the most irrational beliefs to come out of the XXth century.

    :-) Yep, damn near as crazy as Flying Machine and Horseless Carriage Nuttery from all the previous centuries..

  • by joggle ( 594025 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:42AM (#33723148) Homepage Journal

    That was not the critical flaw to the shuttle. The flaw was its basic concept, of having a hypersonic space glider attached to the side of a rocket. It simply can't compete on a cost basis with traditional rockets (of having the payload carried on top of a disposable rocket). It also is more dangerous due to ice and foam falling from the fuel tank which can then strike the shuttle. If you watch old Apollo launches you will see large chunks of ice fall from the boosters but then harmlessly fall to the ground since there was nothing for it to his.

    I don't blame congress for that critical flaw since there really was no way to know how difficult it would be to solve the issue of falling ice and foam or how much it would cost to do the shuttle launches until they tried it since it had never been tried at that point in time. Once they saw how expensive it was they probably should have gone back to the drawing board, but this was going on at the end of the Cold War and I'm sure the political pressure to continue building shuttles was immense.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:50AM (#33723272)

    I see a much more enjoyable ride [] on that web page.

  • by blizz017 ( 1617063 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:33PM (#33725028)

    Hubble - Could have been Launched without the Shuttle All other satellites - Could have been launched without the Shuttle

    The Shuttle was actually a hinderance for launching some satellites - some where too bit, the wrong shape, or needed to be launched in another orbit .....

    Hubble - Pretty difficult to repair without a shuttle; and up until the last servicing mission, couldn't be serviced or returned to earth intact without a shuttle.

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:39PM (#33725108) Journal

    Yeah, space is too complicated. Total waste of time and effort. If it can't be built in your garage by one guy, it's not worth building, right? Especially if it takes over a week... Talk about your lust for instant gratification...

    Pure masturbation all this space exploration stuff. We have everything we need right here. Why would anybody want to leave? And there's certainly no reason to believe that the whole process could possibly be mechanized in the future, reducing human effort (thus costs) to near zero. Nope, let's just sit here on our duffs, munching on Doritos, and feed the poor... to the gods of war

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak