Smithsonian Air n' Space Article

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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I finally picked up this month's issue of Smithsonian Air & Space magazine, and I'm sure glad I did - There is a nice 5-page article in the April/May issue called Retro Rocketeers. Basically, five of the Apollo era "old guys" (including John Young and Vance Brand) were pulled together to discuss reviving the use of the Apollo capsule. Their conclusion: even with upgrades and a complete redesign, the technology of the Apollo CM/SM package is cheaper, simpler, more reliable, and safer than any winged orbiter, and is a lot more versatile.

They noted the capsule could be scaled up 5-8% and could carry up to 7 people back to earth as a life-boat. If done correctly, the capsule could be re-used multiple times aboard expendable rockets to get to orbit and back. They even decided that the Apollo could be easily adapted for dry landings ala Soyuz.

Very nice article - pick it up while it is still on the stands. Gee - who here wouldn't give their eye teeth to see a Saturn 1/Saturn V launch again? :cool:

Well, I kinda doubt they'll bring back the Saturns. Recreating the tooling alone would probably break the bank. The current thinking is they'll "man-rate" the Delta IV Heavy for this. Boeing's website already has some concept drawings. There is serious study going on about designing a new heavy-lift launcher, though. As spectacular as the Saturns were, they're still 40-year-old technology. I'd imagine they can come up with something even better if they put their minds to it. That's the tricky part...
Heh - I know that - but those old saturn launches were pretty spectacular on TV - I really wish I could have watched one in person. Hey, a guy can wish and dream, can't he? ;)


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