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Maxx
02-17-2011, 04:42 PM
The truck idea seems interesting. I guess a robot truck is a
good plan.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12476275

movieman
02-17-2011, 06:50 PM
I haven't really been following it, but it looks like a bigger EU equivalent of the Progress freighter than the Russians have been using for years.

GeorgeK
02-17-2011, 11:33 PM
Over time, Kepler will be filled with station rubbish. In June, the ship will be commanded to undock from the ISS and take that refuse - and itself - into a destructive dive through Earth's atmosphere over a defined region of the South Pacific


Doesn't it seem like a collossal waste to use a spaceship instead of a giant garbage bag?

movieman
02-18-2011, 12:46 AM
Doesn't it seem like a collossal waste to use a spaceship instead of a giant garbage bag?

Since the 'spaceship' has no way of getting back to Earth and your garbage bag would need engines and guidance to deorbit the garbage, it's an obvious solution :).

If you're only going to fly these things a few times, then there's probably no benefit to making them reusable rather than building half a dozen on a production line.

GeorgeK
02-18-2011, 12:57 AM
True, but it is a pressurized cabin since obviously the astronauts have to be able to put stuff inside it. It could serve as an emergency place for the astronauts in the event of some space station accident, and it has engines, so it probably could be a non-reentry escape pod. It could also be used to add a room on to the station. When a shuttle leaves the space station it seems like they could deploy a big garbage bag on their way back. They could dump the garbage just a little before reentry. It just seems so wasteful. They could use such capsules to gradually build a cabin for something to go into orbit around the moon or Mars.

Skyler
02-18-2011, 04:24 AM
It's a little bit harder to make sure a garbage bag lands in the South Pacific than a supply pod.

Though you have a point. Why not send supplies up in extension modules or interplanetary starship parts?

movieman
02-18-2011, 04:42 AM
Though you have a point. Why not send supplies up in extension modules or interplanetary starship parts?

I believe that was the technique the Russians used on Mir, where each module had its own engines and docking hardware, but that means you end up with a lot of useless engines and fuel tanks and you lose cargo space because you have to ensure that people can live inside it for years. Plus you need to put a docking port on the back of each module to replace the one it's docked to, so there's less cargo space.

So it's not a bad idea, but it's not an obviously great one either.

As for the shuttle dropping off garbage, I believe they have to close the payload bay doors before firing the engines to reenter, so that's not really workable either. If you try reentry with the payload bay doors open because they didn't close after you dropped off your garbage bag, then you die; if they don't close before the reentry burn they can send an astronaut out to close them manually, but there's not much time afterwards.