In yesterday’s article about Cold War space missions which did not occur, we looked at three major space innovations that were abandoned. The three are: Nuclear rocket, space gunship and Big G.
In part two of the same, we will finalize by looking at two remaining space missions that were abandoned before their full potential was exploited. The two are Soviet space plane and space station freedom.
Space Station Freedom
In 1984, President Reagan signed the Space Station which was unique compared to the International Space Station (ISS). Freedom was highly valued than orbiting laboratory.
The space station would be fitted with labs, have fully equipped sick bay as well as recreation facilities. The interesting aspect is that the design had a hangar. This is a place where the spacecraft and satellites could be brought in, be repaired and then released into the void.
As the cold war came to an end, the idea was seen to be expensive, impractical and was thus disregarded.
Soviet Space plane
In the 1960’s the two world superpowers developed individual spacecraft that looked differently so as to tackle the same problem. The Russians favored spherical while the Americans liked conical capsules like Apollo. Decades that followed witnessed the borrowing of technology.
For instance, Russia’s Buran Spaceplane was a rip-off of the Space Shuttle. Similarly, the Americans did not shy away from borrowing the Russian technology. One of the technologies they borrowed was from the slipper-shaped MiG-105.
The MiG-105 was the first attempt by Russia to enter into the spaceplane competition. The idea behind it was that first blast the small shuttle into orbit. After that, let it return to earth on runway. Several successful atmospheric flights indicated that this idea would bear fruits and it was not long before the American borrowed the technology and came up with their own version.
This later on turned out to be a cold war situation that didn’t see the daylight. Dream Chaser spaceplane adopted the original design.
Dream Chaser has made a statement that some of the ideas that were born during the cold war era can be revisited and something worth developed from them. Regarding the space gun… we have come at a point where we need as many crazy ideas as we can mange.