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Start Saving To Buy Your Space Shuttle Now

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the a-part-of-history dept.

NASA 197

stoolpigeon writes "With the retirement of the shuttle drawing near, NASA has begun to plan for museums that may want a used orbiter of their own. The Orlando Sentinel reports that NASA issued an RFI to US educational institutions, science museums and other organizations to see if they would be interested in the orbiter while also able to cover the estimated $42 million cost of 'safeing' the shuttle and transporting it."

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So uh... (5, Funny)

sysusr (971503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153105)

Are there any export restrictions?

Re:So uh... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153849)

Are there any export restrictions?

Dude, that makes about as much sense as an uncircumcised Jew eating a ham sandwich.

Re:So uh... (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154107)

Actually, an uncircumcised Jew WOULD be likely to eat a ham sandwich, since they are probably not religious.

eh... (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153119)

They're selling the space shuttle--But why? There's already a glut of novelty ashtrays on the market. They won't get much for it.

Re:eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153527)

But doesn't the shuttle come with ashtrays built into the console?

Re:eh... (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153619)

Ahh, but this particular style of ashtray has roared into the sky, exploded, killed people, and shocked a nation. Not to mention costing a fortune, causing endless controversy, and having really crap tiles.

I would buy it... (4, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153691)

If I had the money, I'd buy the thing, set up a launch pad and a refueling station, and rent flights out to NASA. After all, they're retiring the shuttle five years too soon, so I figure I can make a few billion in rentals until the Orion starts up.

Except it sounds like Obama wants to kill [wsj.com] the Orion project.

I can't understand how they could be so keen on throwing $500 billion at failed banks and mortgage deadbeats, yet they have no problem cutting NASA's $30 billion budget. And then there's Obama's national health insurance which is bound to cost a few hundred billion, if not a trillion or two when it's up and running.

Here's an idea: don't bail out the banks that made bad loans and investments, and let the mortgage deadbeats be foreclosed. That's the way our system is supposed to work. And take about $100 billion of that bailout money and put it into R&D, including space exploration. In the medium to long term, we will reap much richer economic rewards for such an investment.
 

Re:I would buy it... (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153877)

Anybody trying to run a second hand shuttle would probably be told that it had to be recertified safe for human use. I can't say for sure, but I bet there's a rule somewhere for precisely this that allows man-rating to be removed if maintanence, storage environment, launch facilities, booster refitting... etc. are changed.

Refuelling the shuttle isn't as simple as just hooking up the cryotanks and shoving a load of liquid hydrogen into it, the solid fuel boosters are incredibly complicated despite being overgrown fireworks. Half of the vehicle needs to be rebuilt almost from scratch after each flight.

you would only be dissapointed (2, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153139)

Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

If you don't want to shatter the illusion that high tech stuff has the fit and finish of a fine automobile, you really don't want to see it up close and personal.

On the other hand the sense of history can't be duplicated...

Re:you would only be dissapointed (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153237)

Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

Maybe it'll get some proper respect to the risks those people took climbing into it with several thousand tons of rocket fuel burning at their ass. I rather doubt many people would have the guts to fly the first airplane either once they realized they could put their foot through the wing without any effort.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153299)

I rather doubt many people would have the guts to fly the first airplane either once they realized they could put their foot through the wing without any effort.

Yeah. I don't want it "safed". I want it complete, and capable of being restored to flying condition. Fly a space shuttle? Myself? Damn straight.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153395)

at several hundred million a launch you won't take it out very often.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153605)

That's the expense to put it in orbit. It wouldn't cost as much to just to fly the thing.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153697)

That's the expense to put it in orbit. It wouldn't cost as much to just to fly the thing.

"flight" is a relative term when dealing with the shuttle. It doesn't fly so much as fall in a controlled fashion.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153733)

Damn it... Get out of my head. ;-)

You beat me to it while I was previewing.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153725)

I believe the quote from shuttle pilots was something along the lines of, "it flies like a brick with wings."

If I recall correctly, it doesn't so much fly on its own. It merely glides from about as high altitude as we typically get these days to a rather ungainly landing while shedding enough speed to turn gasses in the atmosphere into plasma due to the friction. And then there's still the excess speed on the runway that requires drag chutes to stop before it gets the the end of the landing zone.

Don't get me wrong, even knowing the risks and seeing the Challenger explosion live while in 3rd grade, I'd love to take a trip to LEO or further in it and back. Even if I didn't make it back, I'd be loving the part of the ride I did get to experience.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

OneFix (18661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153765)

I am pretty sure you're joking, but you know the shuttle has the flight characteristics of a "flying brick", right?

The wings on the thing are just on there to help control the descent and serve as fuel storage.

I hesitate to call the shuttle a "glider", but that's pretty much what it is.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154513)

Indeed I do.

There are much better ways to spend your money if you want the thrill of flight. There are probably better ways of spending your money if you want the thrill of space flight. I'm presuming its the thrill of operating a piece of history that is the relevant question here. That's a lot more subjective.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154221)

I've been to the Kansas Cosmosphere [cosmo.org] where they have several space vehicles on display, including the Apollo 13 module - it's a great museum.

I don't know if they have the kind of budget to try for this but I hope they can. They are also one of the premier shops when it comes to restoring such items; They actually did the work for the spacecraft in the Apollo 13 movie.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153245)

Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

I think a lot of pilots and engineers would appreciate the lived in look of the shuttle flight deck.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (2, Interesting)

Zackbass (457384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153397)

It only looks like hammered dog meat if you don't know what you're looking at. I'm sure all the engineers that see the stuff are both amazed by the audacity of most of these designs and by the fact that they ever even approached the reliability they have with such complexity. On the other hand, I'm sure most of the same engineers have gripes about almost all of the design details.

You've still got to admire the complete absurdity of such machines though.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153485)

The majority of engineers that see it will laugh at how crazy and outdated most of it is.

The rest will have fond memories of the "good old days".

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

Zackbass (457384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153985)

You sure of that? All the new electrical engineers I know (quite a few) hold a ton of respect for all the crazy things that were done with vacuum tubes back in the old days. The mechanical engineers (of which I am one) all love the old mechanical computers. Just because the new stuff is newer doesn't make the old stuff quaint or simple, in fact, most of the advances we have have made our jobs easier (and all of us less badass engineers). Those guys were taking on unbelievable problems with green CRTs, slide rules, and drafting tables.

The fact that those things exist, let alone work, should leave you slack-jawed.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153947)

I'm sure all the engineers that see the stuff are both amazed by the audacity of most of these designs and by the fact that they ever even approached the reliability they have with such complexity.

Exactly. I look at the space shuttle and I don't just see kludge of unfortunate design trade offs. I see the huge, hairy balls of the engineers who not only thought they could make it work, but actually did it.

Of course, this means I have no interest in buying a Shuttle even if I could afford one, cus who wants that imagery in their head all the time?

Re:you would only be dissapointed (5, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153403)

My team and I were getting set up to work in a phased maintenance hanger. I was a new troop and this was my first Real Duty Assignment. Were were in the shadow of a real aircraft. I was drinking it all in. I look up at the tail of the bird we were about to take to task.

"Alright," I say, "I know the big numbers are the squadron and the tail number for the aircraft. But what are those two small numbers in front of the tail number?" My boss looks over and replies, "oh - that's the year of manufacture."

"Woah," I say in awe, "this thing is older than I am!" My boss turns to me... looks me over and sighs, "I'm getting too old."

It's not that these aircraft aren't well maintained. But they are well used. And they consist of very dated (if effective) technology that tends to be utilitarian in design to begin with.

But having said that - sitting in the seat of a jet fighter is an impressive sight. Even if you know the history of the technology in front of you. There's a cool factor that only a small percentage of people have enough exposure to eventually wear off.

I've never set foot on an actual shuttle. But I imagine the training mockups are close enough. And they impressed the same cool factor I got from both real and training mockups (we used to log unbooked time in the trainers) for the fighters I used to maintain.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153949)

And they consist of very dated (if effective) technology that tends to be utilitarian in design to begin with.

Well, not always dated, necessarily. Take the B-52, for example. Yeah, the airframe is old, but the avionics and control systems have been significantly upgraded since the planes were originally built. As I understand it, the space shuttle has also gone through multiple upgrade cycles.

Frankly, I don't know who to admire more - the engineers who build these things, or the engineers who have to go back over them and upgrade the designs.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153997)

The first time I sat in a 'front line' fighter jet, I was amazed at how 'beat' it was. F-111E, England, mid 70's. Some of you can figure out what base it was.
But yes...those things are well used, but well-maintained. And very, very cool.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153481)

Sorry but the fit is pretty good on the shuttle,it has to be or that plasma problem Columbia had would be a lot more common.... Not to mention that whole keeping the atmosphere in against the vacuum of space thing.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153579)

In the real world, we refer to "that plasma problem Columbia had" as a gaping hole. It had nothing to do with the fit of the shuttle and everything to do with a nasty and unpredictable projectile striking the ship.

What the op was referring to is the fact that the interior of a spacecraft is worlds away from the fit and finish of a mass-produced commercial jetliner. Every component of the shuttle was built in very small numbers - they're essentially prototype vehicles, hence the ridiculous cost of each ship. Any engineer will tell you that prototypes are the coolest part of any project, because they're 3 dimensional reflections of the imagination of a vast team.Of course, imagination is often flawed and in need of some Rube Goldbergesque fixes. Hence the rolls of duct tape taken along on every flight of these beautiful prototypes...

Bullshit (5, Interesting)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153483)

I saw the Saturn-5 at the L.B.J. space center when I was five, I still cite it as one of the coolest things I've ever seen. You could touch it thats how close to it you are.

I've been inside of tanks, B-52's, subs, air-craft carriers and SR-17's that were decommissioned and beat to hell but were pretty awesome. No body gives a shit about the High Tech gloss, they care about the awesome engineering feats they are. Most people who are interested in the science and engineering of some of mankind's greatest projects don't really care about the fact that it's covered in oil.

If you go see the shuttle up close and your first thought is that it has a bad paint job, maybe you should just stick to playing with dolls.

Re:Bullshit (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153681)

If you go see the shuttle up close and your first thought is that it has a bad paint job, maybe you should just stick to playing with dolls.

Or maybe you should be less of a douchebag. The fact that something is an engineering marvel doesn't mean much to some people, but that doesn't mean that lessens the impact it has for them. Who hasn't looked up at a bird in the sky and wanted to journey? Who hasn't seen the stars and wished upon them? When I look at the shuttle, I don't see an engineering marvel. I see the realization of over twenty thousand years of human beings dreaming of having their own wings and flying through the heavens. And you know what -- I think I'm allowed to say it does have a bad paint job, and I could care less about the mechanical guts of it. That's not why it's beautiful.

Tanks, bombers, subs, and all that jazz you like--You can love them if you want, call them awesome. They're not special to me, they're just made so some people can kill other people. I'll stick with my dolls, and if you don't mind terribly, I'll be doing it in that badly painted bird over there that was built with hopes and dreams, instead of fears and insecurities.

Re:Bullshit (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154157)

"I think I'm allowed to say it does have a bad paint job, and I could care less about the mechanical guts of it. That's not why it's beautiful."

Even you miss the point of the 'beauty' of a machine like this. The nicks, dents, and worn paint are the testament to the bravery of the people, both men and women, who have flown in these machines -and the vision and hard work of those who created the 'mechanical guts' which allowed them to do what they have done- in the quest to extend the boundaries of human knowledge. The scars are history come alive, preserved for all to see. To be able to touch, or perhaps, to sit in the seat of one of these vehicles, brings one that much closer to the reality of that achievement. If you wish to ignore the 'mechanical guts', you ignore the thousands of technicians and engineers who made the 'realization' possible. You ignore the thousands who lifted the few on their shoulders to be able to make such an achievement.

"...maybe you should be less of a douchebag."

Re:Bullshit (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154319)

... And yet just two posts ago you were saying that I should go play with my dolls if I noticed any of this. O_o You're going to give us all whiplash if you keep it up.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153887)

Most people who are interested in the science and engineering of some of mankind's greatest projects don't really care about the fact that it's covered in oil.

I don't think most people, even those supposedly interested in science and engineering, are interested much beyond the gee-whiz factor, and tv and movies have associated matte black finish and stylish corners with the gee-whiz factor. Without an understanding of math and physics there really isn't much else to be impressed with in the actual vehicles themselves.

Re:you would only be dissapointed (1, Flamebait)

stephenhawking (571308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153831)

The fit and finish of a fine automobile is nothing compared to an orbiter or even the older Apollo spacecraft, which are still marvels to behold. I know, I've traveled around to see all the ones that are available for viewing. I don't think you grasp the complexity of these machines whatsoever.

Rendered Safe (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153145)

"What do you mean, 'where are the keys for it?' Awwww man..."

Hotwire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153363)

Hotwiring a car from the 70's/80's isn't all that hard. How much harder could it be for a space shuttle?

Re:Hotwire? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153561)

Not too much. The only problem is that it doesn't come with a free gas card good for a couple of tanks.... That and the fact that some cheap b*stard at NASA decided it would be fun to steal the engine(s).

One coming locally (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153211)

Evergreen Aviation and Space Musuem [sprucegoose.org] , in McMinnville, west of Portland OR, has already erected 'coming soon' billboards and made space indoors for one of the retired Shuttle's...will be a nice bookend to their Titan II missle that stands upright in the newest exhibit hall.

Re:One coming locally (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153231)

Evergreen Aviation and Space Musuem [sprucegoose.org] , in McMinnville, west of Portland OR, has already erected 'coming soon' billboards and made space indoors for one of the retired Shuttle's...will be a nice bookend to their Titan II missle that stands upright in the newest exhibit hall.

Hmmm I wonder if a fueled up Titan II can lift a shuttle orbiter?

Do the math... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153337)

A Titan II can lift a 4,200 pound payload - a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds.

Re:Do the math... (4, Informative)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153393)

a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds

That's for the entire stack - orbiter, boosters, and full external tank. The orbiter itself has an empty weight of about 180,000 lb. So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit; there are only a couple: Saturn V, Energia, and the shuttle (remember, the orbiter goes into orbit too, plus whatever it's carrying).

Re:Do the math... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153417)

a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds

That's for the entire stack - orbiter, boosters, and full external tank. The orbiter itself has an empty weight of about 180,000 lb. So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit; there are only a couple: Saturn V, Energia, and the shuttle (remember, the orbiter goes into orbit too, plus whatever it's carrying).

Well there is that Saturn V on the lawn somewhere. Houston I think.

Re:Do the math... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153523)

> So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit

A bare Shuttle weighs 230,000 lbs - add in a 50,000 lb payload and the entire package comes in at 280,000 lbs.

Saturn V payload is too low at 260,000 lbs. Energia lifts even less.

Re:Do the math... (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153699)

A bare Shuttle weighs 230,000 lbs - add in a 50,000 lb payload and the entire package comes in at 280,000 lbs.

No, according to NASA:

Atlantis is commonly refered to as OV-104, for Orbiter Vehicle-104. Empty Weight was 151,315 lbs at rollout and 171,000 lbs with main engines installed.

http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/resources/orbiters/atlantis.html [nasa.gov]

Discovery and Endeavour are about the same; Challenger was around 175k and Columbia was about 178k.

Re:Do the math... (1)

The Redster! (874352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153925)

"Supposin' two Saturn V's carried it together!"
"Naww, they'd have to have it on a line!"

Re:Do the math... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153663)

Yes, but part of that weight is used for things like engines that you'd strip out if it were on top of a stack. The engines are about 20,000 lbs of that. Also 180k estimate is a little high; the heaviest orbiter was Columbia at about 178k with engines; Challenger was about 175k, the rest are about 171k-172k. Without engines, the empty weight of the three remaining shuttles is only about 151000 lbs.

That said, if those weight ratings are right, the Titan III can't even lift a full size cargo van into a reasonable orbit, much less anything actually usable as a crew habitat and descent vehicle.... It's pretty much a lightweight as launch vehicles go.

Re:Do the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153809)

Titan II is an old vehicle. It was directly derived from the old Titan ICBM.

Now the Titan IV on the other hand, was a beast. It could launch about 25 tons into orbit. The shuttle was still bigger, though. A Titan IV couldn't get it into orbit, but it could lift it off the ground and make for quite and airshow... ;)

Re:Do the math... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153825)

Titan II was sufficient to launch a manned Gemini into orbit -- 10 times.

Re:Do the math... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153839)

Plus two unmanned launches (GT-1 and GT-2).

Re:Do the math... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153543)

Is that 4200 pounds to LEO or geostationary?

Re:Do the math... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153635)

>Is that 4200 pounds to LEO or geostationary?

Payload to LEO: 3,600 kg
Payload to 10,000 km sub-orbital trajectory: 3,700 kg
Payload to Polar LEO: 2,177 kg Payload to Escape: 227 kg (500 lb)

Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (3, Informative)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153677)

I can't find the original information, but I'm pretty sure the allocation of the shuttles won't be soley based on cash, but also on perceived value to the public for receiving one and consistency with the general mission of the museum. Keep in mind, the $42 million is supposedly for refurbishment for display, not to raise additional money. This first of all will mean cleaning up any potential hazards, like residues of hydrazine manuevering fuel. Of course, they get fairly weathered by each launch and re-entry, so there'll be some polishing to be done, and undoubtably ITAR-sensitive or high value equipment like the main engines will be removed and replaced with detailed replicas where applicable.

There's three orbiters surviving (Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor). I suspect Kennedy Space Center will keep one and house it near their Saturn V that's on display. This is consistent with another article [spaceref.com] that says two orbiters and six engine display kits will be made available according to the RFI. With public accessibility being a likely major consideration, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is almost guaranteed one of the actual orbiters, to replace the Enterprise aerodynamic test vehicle which is currently housed there.

That's going to make it a tough grab for the remaining orbiter. Because McMinneville is roughly an hour-long drive from the relatively small and aerospace-vacant city of Portland, I think their chances of getting an orbiter are relatively slim, even though they have a great facility and can probably afford it.

The Intrepid Museum in New York Harbor is certainly prominent enough, but they would need to make a rather substantial addition to protect the shuttle from the elements. It probably wouldn't be possible to deliver it to the waterfront an SCA flight to New York, but if they wanted to put it on a barge like the Concorde they have on site, they may be able to float it straight up from Florida that way. I think they're also at a disadvantage because there will already probably be two shuttles on the East Coast (Florida and DC).

I think Johnson Space Center in Houstan and Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville are the two most likely locations not on one of the major coasts. Both of them already host two of the three remaining Saturn V's (the third is at Kennedy). On the west coast, I think the lead option is Boeing's museum of flight, partially because of their accessibility and ability to host a space shuttle, but also because of their involvement with the shuttle program (although that is due to their acquisition of Rockwell).

I would bet one of these three locations will get the third orbiter. That still leaves Enterprise after it leaves the Smithsonian, which only did glider and procedural tests, but would still be a major attraction. Maybe Evergreen has a chance at getting Enterprise, but I think more likely a second of the above three will get her. There is also a ground-test mockup called Pathfinder currently at MSFC in Huntsville that would likely get a new home if one of the orbiters went there, but it's only externally representative of the flight vehicles.

A commenter on another site had a fantastic idea, in my opinion: before sending the last of the orbiters to a musuem, use the SCA to take it on a tour of the US. This would be a great opportunity for millions to see it and the modified 747 together.

Re:Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153951)

They do have the Spruce Goose, and are becoming one of the hot things to see in the Pacific NW. It's not that far-fetched that they might be able to arrange to get a shuttle. It's something they've publicly been discussing for a few years now.

Re:Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154201)

Absolutely...I don't think it's at all far-fetched. They genuinely have a great museum, and I'm sure with the addition of the space exhibit hall (new since I've last been there) it's even better. Between that and their active leadership they'll likely end up on the short list of candidates. But my personal opinion is that NASA will ultimately choose museuems with a more direct tie-in to space exploration (Evergreen Aviation itself is just a small air freight company) and more conveniently located for a larger number of people.

Of course, since I live in Portland, I would be ecstatic if Evergreen were granted even Enterprise, much more so for one of the operational orbiters.

Re:Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (1)

Overtone (253458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154259)

A commenter on another site had a fantastic idea, in my opinion: before sending the last of the orbiters to a musuem, use the SCA to take it on a tour of the US. This would be a great opportunity for millions to see it and the modified 747 together.

Wow, that brings back memories. The Enterprise went on a tour like that back in the early 80s. I saw it at Dulles airport, where they parked it out back of the terminal still mounted on the SAC. The crowd was so big they closed one of the runways and turned it into a parking lot. (My VW bus broke down in the heat and I had to call a tow truck out to the runway!) The Concorde took off on its flight to London, and got special permission to flyby overhead. When the pilot waggled his wings in honor of the shuttle, it was the loudest thing I'd ever heard.

Doubt you'd get that much of a crowd these days, and of course the Concorde is gone, but it would still be a trip to see it again.

Re:Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (1)

systemeng (998953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154611)

There is a concord in the Udvar-Hazy wing of The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum out at Dulles. The Shuttle Enterprise is on static display at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.

Re:Unlikely that Evergreen will get one (1)

systemeng (998953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154635)

Oops. Pathfinder is at the space and rocket center.

Corporate Grab (1, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153251)

Apple should buy it and put it on display at 1 Infinite Loop.
They could paint it many colors with a dancing silhouette on the side
and giant ugly white ear buds around the cockpit.

Re:Corporate Grab (1)

winphreak (915766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153581)

I know you're joking, but sadly, I could picture it happening.

Hope one ends up close by (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153301)

Speaking on behalf of all midwestern /.ers, I hope one ends up in the Kansas Cosmosphere [cosmo.org] Probably won't happen, though. They're affiliated with the Smithsonian institute, and, while they'll probably get one for the Air and Space Museum in DC, they probably won't buy 2.

Re:Hope one ends up close by (1)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153409)

Actually, at their museum extension out in Dulles, Va, about an hour from downtown DC, they already have the Enterprise. I'd expect if they were to buy a new one, the Enterprise might go somewhere else, or they'll put it at an affiliated museum. And since NASM is probably one of the best funded air and space museum in the country, they might consider picking one up. Who knows, it might end up out in Kansas.

Re:Hope one ends up close by (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153679)

> they already have the Enterprise.

Which is basically a movie prop - no engines, no heatshield, rejected wing design, never flown and incapable of flight due to prohibitive retrofit expense, if nothing else.

Re:Hope one ends up close by (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153919)

Which is basically a movie prop - no engines, no heatshield, rejected wing design, never flown and incapable of flight due to prohibitive retrofit expense, if nothing else.

Actually, it did fly once. It just never went into space. Launched on the back of a 747, it was the first shuttle to land. I remember watching it live on TV.

Re:Hope one ends up close by (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154031)

This [nasa.gov] looks like flight to me, sure not space flight, but flight none the less. Now Pathfinder [wikipedia.org] on the other side comes much closer to a movie prop.

Re:Hope one ends up close by (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154291)

Never flown -- in space. It was used for glide testing.

fuck cmdrtaco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153319)

this place gets duller every day. they may not even put up the front of a tech site anymore. it sucks dick that much. it fucking sucks a faggots dick.

I wonder how much for the Buran? (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153331)

I comparison, I wonder how much will the Russians charge for getting a Buran?

Re:I wonder how much for the Buran? (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153383)

Considering that this money is to transport the craft safely, probably a lot more.

Re:I wonder how much for the Buran? (1)

spice guru (1365397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153617)

You have to factor in the cost of the permanently attached hangar that crushed it.

Learn from the Russians (1)

pnevin (168332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153407)

Use some of that $42M to build a really, really good roof.

Do they take Paypal? (2, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153433)

...and how much does it cost to ship it?

Re:Do they take Paypal? (2, Informative)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153565)

I know I shouldn't have, like any good /.er, but I read the article. The $42 million includes shipping from KSC to the airport nearest the purchasing museum. You still have to pay to get it from the airport to the display site.

Re:Do they take Paypal? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153603)

From the article I think the estimate shipping at 6 million but that's included in the 42. I don't know if NASA will take paypal - but I am quite sure paypal would be happy to take your millions.

Re:Do they take Paypal? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154115)

...and how much does it cost to ship it?

If you have to ask...

Simple Solution.... (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153463)

On the last mission, just land it at the new owners place.

How hard could that possibly be?

Re:Simple Solution.... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153521)

That's to get rid of all the nasties onboard, primarily the hydrazine from the thrusters I would imagine though the asbestos in the caulk between the heat tiles might need to go too depending on its mobility (some aircraft have it pulled, some have it encased in place if it's not an exposure hazard).

Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153469)

Richard Branson can build you a space ship for less than that, he did it to win the X-Prize. Next I suppose he will be selling the space ships as part of the commercialization of space.

Besides I found plans for building a model 30 TARDIS on the Internet, it will be a fun project. :)

My Pirate Corsair crashed and burned, and it needs repair for the time drive and jump drive, but I think I can get the maneuver drives working for $3M. :)

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (1)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153793)

Richard Branson can build you a space ship for less than that,

Yeah, but when it comes to reaching orbit, Branson's company will remain a virgin.

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153873)

First of all, SpaceShipOne was funded by Paul Allen. Richard Branson got into the business after that. He owns part of The Spaceship Company, which is building SpaceShipTwo, but the design belongs to Scaled Composites, itself now a subsidiary of Northrop-Grumman.

Branson's suborbital toys are about as useful as a roller coaster compared to the space shuttle.

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154027)

Richard Branson didn't win the X-Prize.

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (1)

ShinmaWa (449201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154125)

Richard Branson can build you a space ship for less than that, he did it to win the X-Prize.

I think that Paul Allen and Burt Rutan might take issue with that statement.

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26154549)

Besides I found plans for building a model 30 TARDIS on the Internet, it will be a fun project. :)

Would those be the supposed TARDIS plans from "MASTER DAH LEK"? I got suspcious of those plans when I noticed the large number of ray guns that were supposed to be mounted to point at the operator of the TARDIS console.

When I searched resellerratings.com, I found that DAH LEK's ratings were 10.0/10.0, with user comments such as "THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO EX-TER-MIN-ATE THE ENEMIES OF THE DALEKS, YET!!!".

Re:Who wants a Space Shuttle for $42 million? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154553)

Urm. The only thing that Branson is good at making is money.

The person who built SpaceShipOne was Burt Rutan, a man who not only dreams up crazy shit but then actually goes out and makes it work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan#Spacecraft [wikipedia.org]

42 million in delivery costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153611)

Are they delivering it with the crawler?

Why don't we just all split the cost? (3, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153613)

Slashdot UIDs are somewhere over 1.27 million now... even if there are fewer than 500,000 active users, I'd chip in $100 toward buying a Space Shuttle...

Re:Why don't we just all split the cost? (-1, Flamebait)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153705)

I wouldn't, because it's a piece of shit of a spacecraft.

Re:Why don't we just all split the cost? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153977)

But it did make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.

Passing around the donation plate (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153639)

I want one, please deposit your financial donations on the plate. If 41,999,999 people each give me one dollar... and I chip in the remainder...

Re:Passing around the donation plate (1)

sskagent (1170913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153783)

I know! We'll store the money in a bank in Nigeria!

A little early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153745)

The shuttle is supposed to be retired in 2010, yes, but the way the work is going along on the replacement it very well might turn out to be even later then we expect it to be. What if there's a national need for space access in the meantime before the new system is up and ready? We're fucked then. Maybe they should consider keeping it around until we're sure we'll get the next system up and going.

I know there are proposals to keep the shuttle going a little longer if we need it, but if we get rid of it it will be up shit creek if it turns out we need it again. Imagine if they give away the shuttles in 2010 and then in 2012 the Ares explodes on launch.

I think we should keep it at least in storage until we're dead certain that the new project will work out.

Re:A little early? (1)

amabbi (570009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153911)

The shuttle is supposed to be retired in 2010, yes, but the way the work is going along on the replacement it very well might turn out to be even later then we expect it to be. What if there's a national need for space access in the meantime before the new system is up and ready? We're fucked then. Maybe they should consider keeping it around until we're sure we'll get the next system up and going.

I know there are proposals to keep the shuttle going a little longer if we need it, but if we get rid of it it will be up shit creek if it turns out we need it again. Imagine if they give away the shuttles in 2010 and then in 2012 the Ares explodes on launch.

I think we should keep it at least in storage until we're dead certain that the new project will work out.

That's why COTS exist- Commercial Orbital Transportation System.... to fill the gap between the end of shuttle flights and the beginning of Ares/Orion/whatever they're calling it now.

Re:A little early? (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154205)

Keeping it in case Project Constellation doesn't work isn't an option, because all the infrastructure that is necessary to support the Shuttle will already be gone; a non-trivial part of it is *already* gone. They pulled the handle a few years ago, and it would cost tens of billions of dollars to start the program up again. The contracts to build parts such as external tanks have already been completed, and building more of anything Shuttle-related is not as simple as just putting out another contract for bids. Many of skills necessary would have to be redeveloped, and everything would have to be completely requalified.

What if there's a national need for space access in the meantime before the new system is up and ready? We're fucked then.

There isn't any "national need for space access" that we can't meet without the Shuttle.

All this can be yours... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26153749)

All this can be yours for just 2 million easy payments of $19.99!

Credit card? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26153835)

NASA accepts international credit card? I will like to buy one... Is my chance to have a 1:1 full detailed Shuttle model!

Re:Credit card? (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154113)

I'm sorry to report that the it is not a complete shuttle. Only an oribiter, and one that has been stripped down by NASA too! If you really want your own, I suggest stowing away on the next flight, and then space-jacking it. Please be warned that doing so would be considered an act of war (Grand Theft Spacecraft, space piracy, kidnapping and unlawful detention of US military personnel, kidnapping and unlawful detention of US Citizens, etc.), so be sure you have your militarized satellite system full operational in time. ;D

If I Can Have Your Kind Attention..... (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154039)

My name is Dr. Kunta Kinte and I am the Director General of the Nigerian Aero and Space Administraion (NASA). Recently, I came into possession of a used (very sightly) SPACE VEHICLE worth approximately £27,106,757GDP or $42,000,000USD.........

Safety==lawyers (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154123)

As a child, I saw the landing pod from an Apollo mission at a museum. I got to climb inside, but I was severely disappointed: Everything had been welded in place and covered with layers of plastic and padding! I could not have been more disappointed or less inspired. Remove the batteries, toxic compounds, sure. Drain every last drop of fuel and other stored things, sure. Depressurize the tanks, of course. Even fill the hidden parts of the engine with inerts but for God's sake don't "safe" it until it's impossible for a kiddy to climb into the seat and play pilot!

Let the control column move! Let the switches switch! Will it really cost so much to replace the occasional switch and clean it out sometimes? Sure some kid might climb somewhere, fall, and get hurt. That's what parents are for. Hell, I'll even let you pad the places kids might fall but not too safe, okay!?

Re:Safety==lawyers (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154209)

Let the control column move! Let the switches switch! Will it really cost so much to replace the occasional switch and clean it out sometimes?

And have a broken flight stick, etc every week. Not 'once in a while'. Once a week. Some kids are idiots, and will break stuff.

What exactly do you get for $42,000,000? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26154313)

It looks like the $42 million does not include the booster rockets that you need to actually launch the shuttle into orbit or higher.

Which means that if you really wanted to buy it and fly it, you would end up spending quite a bit more.
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