2 of 7 edited tags

Còuld the Space Shuttle orbiter have used the Buran HLV

I would like to know if the Space Shuttle orbiters would have been capable of utilizing the that Buran HLV instead of the External tank/SRB configuration. And if so, could the Buran have been modified to use a parachute recovery system or to utilize the DCX/Clipper Graham tested vertical rocket landing method now being used by Space X with their Falcon 9 booster. This architecture would have at least prevented orbiter loss from insulation breaking off and damaging the tiles. Of course this would have required a steep learning curve for NASA, as well as flight testing the new system, however it would have at least preserved the orbiters as a viable delivery and space operations and maintenance platform for several more decades, until a truly reusable SSTO/TSTO system could be developed.