Re: [MV] Columbia

From: JJ&A (
Date: Mon Feb 03 2003 - 00:29:18 PST

    I think it is of value to at least know that you have life threattening damage.
You do have options. A second Shuttle, or a simpler rescue vehicle based on a rocket
could be on ready standby to deliver repair parts or air/food/water/energy to keep
them going until a full rescue could be effected, for one thing.
     A little satellite that could roam around the underbelly of the Shuttle would
have to have thrusters of some sort and that means the Shuttle's instruments would
be subject to contamination, but that is a manageable problem. A camera on a stick,
such as a tape measure-style structure, would be simpler. It could be deployed
through the bottom of the ship a few feet, and then extend parallel to the
underbelly to various lengths and rotate side to side, thereby covering the whole
underside of the ship.

My $0.02

"J. Forster" wrote:

> People have suggested that the shuttle could have carried some provisions for
> examination and repair of tiles. I agree. One could conceive of a small
> satellite that could be put out the airlock carrying a simple stabilization
> system such as 3 gyros and a small TV camera and transmitter. It needn't be
> great. The shuttle itself then could maneuver within the camera's field of view.
> It seems that such a device could be built for under 20 lb. weight. However,
> such a system would likely be useless without some repair capability.
> As to a docking with the space station, the orbits are different and I strongly
> doubt there would be sufficient fuel on the shuttle for the necessary orbit
> changes. It takes a great deal of energy to change orbits.
> With a small fleet of vehicles, now reduced, launching a rescue mission would be
> difficult at best because of the lead times involved, even if the problem had
> been discovered early in the mission.
> Unfortunately, if you operate on a shoestring, you are vulnerable to single
> point failures. The loss of the crew and vehicle is a national tragedy, but it
> should not keep us from continued progress in space.
> -John
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