Ed Driscoll

Space Shuttle Replacement

Glenn Reynolds links to this Popular Mechanics illustration of a potential Space Shuttle replacement designed by Lockheed-Martin.

The design makes a lot of sense, at least to this layman: it simplifies the shuttle by seperating the crew module from a mission module that can be modified and changed out for various missions, and rather than gliding down to a rolling stop on a runway, uses parachutes to slow its decent.

I can’t help but think that this fellow had the right idea for another successor to the shuttle: dust off the technology from the Apollo program.

It’s proven, it’s simple (compared to the shuttle) and after Apollo 1, it worked pretty darn reliably–it even survived being struck by lightning on Apollo 12, and the explosion on Apollo 13.

NASA could always use the shuttle derivative for more complex missions, and the Apollo derivative for simply ferrying crews to and from the ISS or its successor.