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苏联人是否建造了更好的航天飞机? 暴风雪号的故事 – 译学馆
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苏联人是否建造了更好的航天飞机? 暴风雪号的故事

Did The Soviets Build A Better Space Shuttle? The Buran Story

这种航天飞机与以往的不同
The space shuttle wasn’t like anything before it,
这是首架可重复使用的航天飞机
it was the first reusable spacecraft
并使得太空旅行成为
and it promised to make travel into space
可负担 安全的 几乎司空见惯的活动
affordable, safe, almost routine.
因此到19世纪70年代 美国放弃了不能重复使用的火箭
So by the 1970’s, America abandoned expendable rockets,
那种火箭只能用一次
which could only be used once,
并全部投入航天飞机 建造了哥伦比亚号
and went all in on space shuttles, Building the Columbia,
挑战者号 发现号 亚特兰提斯号 暴风雪号 奋进者号
the Challenger,the discovery, the Atlantisthe Buran and the Endeavour.
等等 这架不是美国的航天飞机
Wait a minute, this is not one of the space shuttles.
暴风雪号——苏联航天飞机
BURAN
在1988年 世界上才得知 苏联也有一架航天飞机
In 1988, the world learned that the Soviet Union also had a space shuttle.
他们已经秘密地研究了十年有余
They had been secretly developing it for well over a decade,
前后花费了数十亿
and it had cost them billions.
不过也许你从未听说过
But maybe you’ve never heard of it,
这也不是特别奇怪
and that wouldn’t be too surprising,
因为苏联航天飞机只发射过一次
because the Soviet Space Shuttle onlyever launched once.
但这并不是因为它存在缺陷
But it’s not because it was flawed.
事实上 它的第一次发射非常成功
Actually its first launch was a huge success
而且在很多方面 它比美国航天飞机更加出色
and in a lot of ways, it was actually more capable and robust than the American space shuttle.
但是在第一次发射后 苏联航天飞机好像就消失了
But after its first launch, the Soviet shuttle seems to have just disappeared.
为了解原因 你需要回到1960年代末
And to understand why, you need to go back to the late 1960’s.
这时苏联已经获悉 美国正准备用全新可重复使用的航天飞机
That’s when the Soviets would have learned that the Americans were planning to replace
取代他们的传统火箭
their conventional rockets with a new reusable spacecraft.
但是一开始 苏联人并不是太关心
But at first the Soviets wouldn’t have been concerned.
毕竟 他们已经在自行研究 可重复使用的宇宙飞船和航天飞机了
After all,they had done their own research into reusable spacecraft and space planes.
而且苏联人还忙于其它的航空工程
And the Soviets were pretty busy with other space projects.
他们仍然忙于将人送上太空的竞赛中
They were still in the race to put a man on the moon,
他们的宏伟计划包括建设空间站 甚至月球基地
they had ambitious plans for a space station, even a potential moon base.
但是到1975年 这种想法改变了
But by 1975 the mood had changed,
苏联人开始怀疑美国的航天飞机
the Soviets had grown paranoid that the American space shuttle
也许会被用作太空武器
might also be used as a space weapon.
苏联的研究机构研究了这个航天飞机项目
Soviet research institutes studied the shuttle program
他们发现 这个项目公开宣称的目标
and what they found was that the publicly stated goals of the program,
刚好和美国人实际在造的东西不相符
well, just didn’t line up with what the Americans were actually building.
其一 航空飞机保证进入太空将更便宜
For one, the shuttle promised to make getting into space cheaper.
但苏联人清楚 发射航天飞机的费用
But the Soviets could clearly see that the shuttle’s launch costs
实际上比它们想取代的火箭 花费要高得多
were actually going to be higher than the Rockets it was supposed to replace.
同时 航天飞机项目承诺每年发射60次
And the shuttle program promised an incredible 60 launches a year,
让美国人可以把更多的东西送入轨道
giving the Americans the ability to get a lot of material into orbit –
这是他们之前运送能力的十倍
ten times more than they had been previously able to.
然而NASA没有哪个计划需要
And yet there was nothing in NASA’s plans
这么多的发射次数
that called for so many launches.
航天飞机所谓的
The space shuttle’s commercial and scientific goals
商业和科学用途看起来
were starting to look like a smokescreen
像是军事项目的烟雾弹
for what was likely a military program.
苏联人怀疑航天飞机被用来
The Soviets suspected that the shuttle could be used to launch something like,
比如说 把激光武器发射到近地轨道
say, a laser weapon into orbit,
完成测试然后再把它带回地球作进一步的开发
test it, then bring it back down to earth for further development.
有了航天飞机
With a shuttle type craft,
美国人就可以比苏联人更快的武装太空力量
the Americans could militarize space a lot quicker than the Soviets.
航天飞机甚至可以被用来捕捉苏联的间谍卫星
The shuttle could even be used to capture a Soviet spy satellite
然后带回地球来研究
and bring it back down to earth for study.
加剧苏联人恐惧的是 他们发现美国人
And to compound Sovietfears, they discovered that the Americans
在加州军事基地的范登堡航空公司
were quietly building a second launch sitefor the shuttle
悄悄为航天飞机建造第二个基地
at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
范登堡航空公司
And here’s thething with Vandenberg,
是负责发射航天飞机的 而飞机的第一轨道
launch the shuttle from there and by its first orbit
覆盖了苏联的主要人口中心
it’s over all the major population centers of the Soviet Union.
所以理论上 这个航天飞机可以
So the shuttle could intheory deliver a nuclear first-strike
比苏联的任何核弹发射系统更快地发射第一次核攻击
faster than any Soviet nuclear deliverysystem.
苏联军方积极推动苏联政府
The Soviet military pushed hard for the Soviet Union
开始研究自己的航天飞机
to start developing its own space shuttle,
但是苏联航空项目中几乎没有人
but few involved in the Soviet space program
真正地想要开发航天飞机工艺
actually wanted a shuttle type craft.
但是在美国人开始研究航天飞机的四年后
But four years after the Americans began working on the space shuttle,
克林姆林宫悄悄地给出了
the Kremlin quietly gave the go-ahead
继续研发苏联航天飞机的命令
to start developing a Soviet counterpart
苏联的航天飞机被命名为“暴风雪号”
The Soviet Union’s space shuttle would be called Buran
多年来 它的研发被当作严格的机密
and its research and development would be kept a closely guarded secret for years.
当美国人在1981年4月12日第一次发射航天飞机后
When the Americans first launched the Space Shuttle on April 12 1981,
尴尬的是 这个时间正是
which awkwardly enough was the 20th anniversary of
苏联第一次将人送上太空的20周年
the Soviets launching the first man into space,
苏联媒体开始严厉抨击
the Soviet media was scathing.
他们抨击美国人将军事武器送入太空
They blasted the Americans for putting in military craft into space
还提醒民众苏联的航空项目
and they reminded viewers that the Soviet Union’s space program
是为了科学和人类的福祉
was for the betterment of science and humanity.
几乎没有苏联民众知道
Very few Soviet citizens would have known that
他们自己的政府也在秘密研究相似的航天飞机
their own government wassecretly developing a similar shuttle.
但无论怎样 暴风雪号看起来都和美国航天飞机一样
There’s no way around it the Buran looked a lot like the American Space Shuttle,
而且也不符合空气动力学和热力学原理
and it’s got nothing to do with aerodynamic or thermodynamic laws.
原来的目标是建造一些
The goal had been to build something
可以匹配航天飞机的军事潜力的设施
that could match the military potential of the Space Shuttle
由于美国航天飞机的大量信息
and with a lot of information about the American Space Shuttle
都是完全公开且未加密的
freely available andunclassified,
不难想象接下来发生了什么
it’s not hard to imagine what happened next.
但事实是这样的 苏联人已经对进入太空有所了解
But here’s the thing, the Soviets already knew a thing or two about getting into space,
所以他们没有单纯复制这架航天飞机
so they didn’t just copy the shuttle,
他们也许设计了一个更好的航天飞机模型
they might have designed a better Space Shuttle
首先 航天飞机与暴风雪号进入太空的方式 有着巨大的区别
First, there’s a big difference in how the Space Shuttle and the Buran actually get into space.
航天飞机的飞行器使用了集成的可重复使用的主引擎
The Space Shuttle’s orbiter uses integrated reusable main engines
并且使用额外的油罐进行加油
which are fueled by an external tank.
但由于主引擎的动力不足以将航天飞机送入轨道
But because the main engines were not powerful enough to put the Shuttle into orbit,
它还需要可丢弃的两个固体火箭助推器
it also needed the help of two expendable solid rocket boosters.
但暴风雪号并没有集成引擎
But the Buran didn’t have integrated engines,
它所有上升的动力都来自于一个独立的非常重的火箭Energia
all of its lifting power was provided by a separate super-heavy rocket called Energia.
它由一个核心与四个助推器组成
It consisted of a core stage and fourboosters.
与美国航天飞机只有单一的系统不一样
Unlike the Space Shuttle, which was a single system,
暴风雪号飞行器和运载火箭实际是两个单独系统
the Buran orbiter and it’s lifting Rockets were actually two separate systems.
虽然集成引擎的航天飞机更加可重复
While the Shuttlewith its integrated engines was more reusable,
但在使用时 需要在发射间期密集的维护
in practice it requiredintensive maintenance between launches,
这就抵消了它的大多数优点 但是一旦进入太空
which offset a lot of its advantage, butonce in space
航天飞机的集成引擎又发挥不了作用
the Shuttle’s integrated engines nolonger serve the purpose.
所以对于航天飞机的大多数任务
So for most of the Shuttle’s mission,
它被迫多负载成千磅的无用重量
it was forced to haul around thousands of pounds of dead weight.
这意味着暴风雪号比美国航天飞机能负载更多一些
This meant that the Buran could carry slightly more payload than the Space Shuttle,
但更重要的是 苏联的系统有个巨大的优势:灵活性
but more importantly the Soviet system had a massive advantage:flexibility.
运载火箭Energia可以自行发射 无需依靠暴风雪号
The Energia rocket could launch by itself without the Buran attached,
这意味着它可以搭载其它的东西进入太空
and that meant it could carry other things into space.
脱离暴风雪号 Energia火箭的搭载能力可达到惊人的100吨
Without the Buran, the Energia rocket could launch an astounding 100 tons.
这相当于美航空飞机三倍的搭载能力
That’s three Space Shuttles worth oflifting power.
美航天飞机的第一级使用了固体火箭助推器
The Space Shuttle’s first stage uses solid rocket boosters.
Energia火箭使用的是液体燃料
The Energia’s are liquid fueled.
固体火箭助推器的问题是 一旦燃烧了
The thing with solid rocket boosters is, once they’re started,
根本就没有办法熄灭它们
there’s simply no way to shut them off.
而Energia火箭的液体燃料可以被节流
The Energia’s liquid-fueled rockets could be throttled up down
在紧急情况下甚至能完全熄灭
or even shut off completely in an emergency.
而在紧急情况下 暴风雪号为全部宇航员提供了弹射座椅
And in an emergency, the Buran had ejection seats for the entire crew,
这个可以在发射面板或是已经向上飞了20英里时进行操作
which could function while on the launch pad or all the way up to 20 miles.
只有最初的两架航天飞机有弹射座椅
Only the first two shuttles had ejection seats
并且只提供给两名机组人员
and only for two crew members.
之后的航天飞机则完全没有配备弹射座椅
Later shuttles had no ejection seats at all.
从外部配置来看 暴风雪号仍然可以作为全自动操作的飞行器
From the outset the Buran was also capable of fully automated flight,
这意味着它可以在没有飞行员的情况下
meaning it could be launched, put into orbit,
发射 进入轨道然后再回到地球
and returned back to earth without any crew on board.
自动化的飞行器可以用作救援任务
Automated flight could have been used for rescue missions
而空的暴风雪号则可以
and an empty Buran could be sent up to
送上空间站进行救援任务 或救援出状况的轨道飞行器
rescue the crew of a space station or another stranded orbiter.
暴风雪号的第一次发射是在1988年11月
The Buran’sfirst launch was on November of 1988.
西方媒体对此印象深刻
The western media was impressed.
尤其是对它的全自动着陆系统
Especially by it’s fully automatic landing system.
在1988年的那个秋日 苏联航空器的未来
On that autumn day in 1988 the future of Soviet space flight –
至少在外人看来 是非常有前景的
at least from an outsider’s perspective – looked promising.
媒体推测暴风雪号
The media speculated that the Buran
将用来建设太空站
would be used to build space stations,
或组建一架宇宙飞船前往火星执行人类登陆任务
or maybe to assemble a spacecraft for a manned mission to Mars.
当然以上这些都没实现
Of course none of that ever happened
暴风雪号只发射过一次
the Buran was only launched once.
1980年代末 苏联就解体了
In the late 1980’s the Soviet Union began to collapse,
随之而来的 暴风雪号的研究经费受限 并最终整个被砍掉
And with it funding for the Buran was limited, and eventually cut off entirely.
不过关于这个项目的问题仍存在
Tough questions started rolling in about the program.
苏联工程师完成了非常出色的工作
Soviet engineers had done a fine job,
但是整个项目看起来实在太昂贵了
but the entire program was startingto look absurdly expensive.
就像美国航天飞机一样
Like the American Space Shuttle,
暴风雪号是昂贵和低效的
the Buran was costly and inefficient,
但与美国人不同 俄罗斯人仍有其它方式进入太空
but unlike the Americans, the Russians still had otherways to get into space.
联盟号火箭可以以暴风雪号六分之一的花费
A soyuz rocket could launch payload into orbit
完成搭载进入轨道的任务
six times cheaper than a Buran.
不过如果苏联没有解体 那么
But if the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed, well,
我们可以想象一下 暴风雪号将用作组建近地空间站
we might imagine Burans being used to assemble orbital space stations,
或作为前往其它星球执行任务的宇宙飞船
or spacecraft for missions to other planets.
可能不行 苏联人对美国航空器的军事潜力过于偏执
Or maybe not. The Soviets had been so paranoid about the military potential of the American Shuttle
他们想要研发与之相配的武器系统
they wanted their own matching system.
但这一目标很快成为苏联唯一的目标
But that goal quickly became pretty much the only goal.
在苏联解体前夕
In the final days of the Soviet Union,
当美国航天飞机显然没有军事威胁时
when it was clear that the American shuttle had no meaningful military potential,
苏联军方就不再想研究暴风雪号了
the Soviet military no longer wanted anything to do with the Buran,
苏联的太空事业只剩下了 一个昂贵 复杂
and the Soviet space community was left with a spacecraft that was expensive, complex,
并失去自己真正用途的宇宙飞船
and largely without a real purpose.

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苏联的航空飞机的研发与消亡史

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视频来源

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