Soviet space shuttle programme

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IanBruntlett
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Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby IanBruntlett » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:31 pm

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phavoc
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby phavoc » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:40 pm

Kind of sad actually that they didn't do more to preserve at least one of the shuttles for posterity.

Here's some shots of the only version that flew (once), and it's lift-off. Gotta wonder how much of the tech was, ah, 'borrowed' from NASA.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1311/15buran/
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:55 am

Buran was bizzare.

When the Russians heard about the American shuttle and it's capabilities they were utterly shocked. They tried and tried, but couldn't figure out why the shuttle was designed the way it was. It was apallingly inefficient at getting payloads into orbit, could only reach very low orbits anyway, had a high cross-range capability to manage returns from polar orbits but no launch facilities suitable for polar launches were ever commissioned. None of it made any sense.

However rather than assuming the Americans were wasting billions of dollars on a politically compromised white elephant, instead they decided America must be up to something very sneaky. So sneaky that the Russian strategic planners couldn't figure out what it was. Their answer was that, even though they didn't have any need for such a thing themselves, they had better develop their own shuttly with similar capabilities to the American one, so that when the American plan did become apparent, they would have the same capabilities.

So instead of continuing with rocket development according to their own strategic plans, the Russians ended up wasting billions on their own failed, pointless shuttle programme as well. By the time they realised that actually the Americans didn't have a sneaky secret strategic need for a Shuttle after all, it was too late.

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Condottiere
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:45 pm

I think when the French or the British realized the Soviets were industrially espionaging the Concorde, they deliberately added disinformation.

Could the wiley Americans have done the same?
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby dragoner » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:48 pm

Shuttle was made to carry some payloads for very precise specifications, the Soviets did not have the same situation.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby F33D » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:34 pm

simonh wrote:Buran was bizzare.

When the Russians heard about the American shuttle and it's capabilities they were utterly shocked. They tried and tried, but couldn't figure out why the shuttle was designed the way it was.
Sounds like what the USAF community was saying at the same time. :lol:

Also, it was a known death trap once the final design was set. (at least known by most of the Apollo guys.)
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:43 pm

Condottiere wrote:I think when the French or the British realized the Soviets were industrially espionaging the Concorde, they deliberately added disinformation.

Could the wiley Americans have done the same?
If they did, it didn't work. Buran as far more advance and capable than the shuttle. For a start it as capable of fully unmanned operations.

Not relevant but my favourite story of spiked designs was a British designs for a warship in I think the 1930s. They knew the Japanese were stealing their blueprints so they designed a ship with a crucial flaw and pretended to be building it. The Japanese built and launched their own copy, which promptly capsized and sank.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:51 pm

They should have been more careful with carrier operations leakage, and possibly aircraft designs.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:21 am

To be fair to the Japanese they innovated in naval air operations as much as anyone, conducting the world's first ship-launched air raid in 1914.

I was wrong about when the ship design copying fiasco happened. It was decades earlier. By the 1930s the Japanese navy and shipyards were thoroughly world class.

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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:13 am

There were some British subjects that provided more technical information and operational knowhow than the Admiralty would have liked.Money was a factor, but from what I remember from bits of correspondence, they seemed to have an affinity with them, probably stemming back to the days of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby dragoner » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:20 pm

The Brits built a fair portion of the IJN early on:

Kongō (金剛, "indestructible", named for Mount Kongō) was a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and World War II. She was the first battlecruiser of the Kongō class, among the most heavily armed ships in any navy when built. Her designer was the British naval engineer George Thurston, and she was laid down in 1911 at Barrow-in-Furness in Britain by Vickers Shipbuilding Company.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_ ... Kong%C5%8D
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby phavoc » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:58 pm

The original design for the Shuttle originated in England, but they could never afford to build it so it was passed along to the US. Then NASA took a 'space truck' and came up with the far more complicated shuttle. It was capable of much more, and much of the design revolved around aspects so rarely used it seems now like a waste of money (that aspect being primarily the return of objects from space).

The Buran would have been more limited in payloads, but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Buran suffered from some of the same problems that the old N-1 did. The Russians had big plans but not so big pocketbooks or tech to implement those plans. The Air Force X37-B seems to be pretty successful, but since the project is more or less black we have no idea if the cost justifies it's re-use.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:42 pm

phavoc wrote:The original design for the Shuttle originated in England, but they could never afford to build it so it was passed along to the US. Then NASA took a 'space truck' and came up with the far more complicated shuttle. It was capable of much more, and much of the design revolved around aspects so rarely used it seems now like a waste of money (that aspect being primarily the return of objects from space).

The Buran would have been more limited in payloads, but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Buran suffered from some of the same problems that the old N-1 did. The Russians had big plans but not so big pocketbooks or tech to implement those plans. The Air Force X37-B seems to be pretty successful, but since the project is more or less black we have no idea if the cost justifies it's re-use.
Couldn't afford it or wouldn't afford it? I'm sure the British could have afforded it if they wanted to. The Shuttle wasn't that expensive compared to other things. Seems the Soviets could afford a lot of things, that a similar sized economy, Japan for instance didn't. Why didn't Japan have its own space program? If the Soviet Union could put men into space Japan could too, they had the money and Japan is right on the Pacific Ocean, a good place to launch satellites from. Russia is big in size only, why do other countries let it push them around? Right now Germany has the same sized economy as Russia, why aren't the Germans launching men into space? Why isn't there a German Shuttle?
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby phavoc » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:23 pm

The British simply didn't have the necessary funds to found a space program. It took them aong time to climb out of their ww2 debt and damage. If they HAD to have it, sure, they probably would have found the money. But space is expensive and they got the benefits from the US program without having to pay for all the research a
ND infrastructure. And they had already experienced greatness on the world stage so the nationalistic fervor wasn't there like it was in the US.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:55 pm

The British didn't have the resources like America, and what they did have went to various programmes with varying degrees of success.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby F33D » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:42 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: Russia is big in size only, why do other countries let it push them around? Right now Germany has the same sized economy as Russia,

Not sure what you mean exactly by Russia "pushing other countries around". Germany has a bigger econ but couldn't stand up militarily to them. Just isn't possible. As far as space pgm., Russia has decades of experience that countries like Germany lack, when it comes to that area.
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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:24 pm

phavoc wrote:The original design for the Shuttle originated in England, but they could never afford to build it so it was passed along to the US.
The concept was developed by the British Interplanetary Society, of which I was a member for a while back in the 90s. It's an independent group with no direct government ties and all their ideas are published openly, so anybody could take their ideas and develop them further (and did), even the Russians.

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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:35 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: Couldn't afford it or wouldn't afford it? I'm sure the British could have afforded it if they wanted to. The Shuttle wasn't that expensive compared to other things. Seems the Soviets could afford a lot of things, that a similar sized economy, Japan for instance didn't. Why didn't Japan have its own space program?...
Size of economy in terms of the internationally normalised GDP can be very misleading because it doesn't take into account internal costs within the economy. Russia's economy may be worth about the same in GDP terms as Japan, but the cost of labour in Russia is a tiny fraction of the cost of labour in Japan. That means for every worker you can pay to work on a space program in Japan, you can pay dozens, perhaps hundreds of workers to do similar jobs in Russia. This is also why the Indian space program is able to operate on a fraction of the budget of western space agencies; their budget is low but their costs are proportionally even lower.

If Japan could pay to have their space program developed in Russia, by Russian workers using Russian goods and raw materials at Russian prices, they absolutely could have their own space program. But in practical terms they can't.

Partly that's because the rest of the Russian economy benefits from the presence of the Russian space program in secondary economic terms (using infrastructure, skills and materials developed for the space program for other economic purposes), so the net cost of their space program needs to be discounted to take that into consideration. Japan paying to have a space program developed 'off shore' would not gain that discount, so the overall cost to them would be greater than it would be for Russia.

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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby simonh » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:41 pm

phavoc wrote:And they had already experienced greatness on the world stage so the nationalistic fervor wasn't there like it was in the US.
Plus our governments, by and large and regardless of political party throughout most of the 50s, 60s and 70s, were a miserable bunch of incompetent losers.

But we couldn't have afforded a space program anyway.

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Re: Soviet space shuttle programme

Postby F33D » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:37 pm

simonh wrote: Plus our governments, by and large and regardless of political party throughout most of the 50s, 60s and 70s, were a miserable bunch of incompetent losers.
:lol: Well put. As an American I didn't think it was my place to say this when I first read that post.

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