The military aircraft we have are all equipped with anti-SAM systems. These prevent SAMs, Surface-to-air-missiles, which are heat seeking from hitting the aircraft. The systems send out many very hot flare type pieces out of the back of the aircraft and fool the Surface to air missile into thinking that those are the targets, thus the missile goes after the chafe flares instead of the actual aircraft. Is it possible to have such a system for the space shuttle launch? Or can we send up fire works along the perimeters of the spectator areas to trick a missile fired by anyone with a hand held surface to air shoulder launched weapon? We know our Space Shuttle could be targeted by International Terrorists. Is there a way to use a similar type system to prevent lightning strikes on the shuttle so we may launch it during thunder and lightning storms? Perhaps using a skin coating, which will melt off as it is launched and gets up to speed, which would have the correct polarity to prevent a lightning strike?
Today we see a scrubbed launch of the Space Shuttle, for a couple of reasons, one being the storm clouds approaching and the need in case of emergency for the space shuttle to depart from the rockets and glide back to land in full visibility or VFR conditions. Therefore it supposedly needs a 20-mile radius of clear clouds to make the approach and turn around. However the shuttle should be able to be guided back thru the clouds via a ground system, augmented reality simulator like the Global Hawk. Additionally why would the astronauts need to see to fly the spacecraft/aircraft at that point? After all they practice such aborted launches after lift off in simulators, where they are not actually looking at the ground and also we have available now systems, which are even used in Business Jets for zero/zero visibility landings. Just because the space shuttle would most likely be doing a dead stick landings as it always does should not make any difference, as the runway at Cape Canaveral is huge and made for such emergencies.
True safety should begin with complete reality based thinking, back up systems and confidence in the abilities of the systems and those trusted to do their job. Think on this.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs