[FPSPACE] BBC Horizon "Guide to the Space Shuttle"...could theColumbia have been saved?

James E Oberg jameseoberg at comcast.net
Wed Apr 25 11:37:20 EDT 2012


Thanks for the reminder re the RMS -- so a manual grapple would be required. That has been done before.

Desperate times enable desperate measures.

No active control system would be needed for a cargo pod. Nice, maybe, but necessary, no.

Besides, in this scenario, more than one pod would be under rushed prep at various sites. And more than one might have been launchable in the two weeks [or more, when stretched] before fuel cell cryo ran out.

And run out it would -- the fuel cells would soon go off. But for comm power, send up batteries and portable radios, and for heater power, send up blankets. And flashlights. At that point, it's still a crew rescue challenge, but 'repair' has become impossible.

The airlock would still function without internal power.

Once out the hatch -- That's what the second shuttle would be available for.

Only meant to make the point -- the inexorable time cutoff for Columbia crew on-orbit survival was not nearly as adamantine as first claimed here.

My buddies at the MCC, devastated by the crew's deaths, also were bitterly disappointed that they hadn't been given the chance to DO something. Or to go down swinging.


 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Gunter Krebs 
  To: fpspace at friends-partners.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 7:25 AM
  Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] BBC Horizon "Guide to the Space Shuttle"...could theColumbia have been saved?


  That is unfortunately not that simple. 

  First, the make-shift-cargo-craft needed some capabilities to maneuvre near the Shuttle, so that a rendezvous could be accomplished. The Ariane upper stage is not capable of doing this. Also, some kind of stabilization would have been needed to avoid tumbeling, which would make any attempt to catch it futile. Therefore a spacecraft and not only a "metal box" is needed.

  Second, the STS-107 mission did not carry the CANDARM, so the container could not be grappled by it. The mssing CANADARM could also not provide a platform for the Astronauts to grapple the container by hand.

  Even if it were possible, to deliver such a make-shift-cargo-craft, it would not have been able to replenish the orbiter consumables like the H2/O2 needed for the fuel cells.


  Gunter



  2012/4/25 James E Oberg <jeoberg at comcast.net>

    Who says it had to dock? Even the simplest payload -- a metal box with grapple fixture -- could have been handled by 'Columbia' via EVA.
      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Anatoly Zak 
      To: Untitled 
      Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 6:44 PM
      Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] BBC Horizon "Guide to the Space Shuttle"...could theColumbia have been saved?


      Purely speculatively, it is possible to imagine Progress ship repurposed to carry some hardware to the Shuttle, but obviously, there was no time to prepare such a mission, especially when Columbia was not configured to dock.

      Anatoly Zak
      Creator & Publisher
      http://www.RussianSpaceWeb.com


      On 4/23/12 6:48 PM, "Gunter Krebs" <gunter.krebs at skyrocket.de> wrote:


        Unfortunately this scenario was completely impossible - there was simply no spacecraft available to be launched on an Ariane towards the crippled Shuttle.


        2012/4/23 James E Oberg <jeoberg at comcast.net>

          .... a middle course would be launching life-extension supplies on an Ariane within two weeks to give time for preparing the next launch better.
           
          Anything wouyld have been better than doing nothing.



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