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Endeavour's Launch Once More Delayed

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the shh-they're-building-suspense dept.

NASA 65

schleprock63 writes "NASA has delayed the launch of Endeavour due to inclement weather, mostly lightning. According to NASA, 'Cumulus clouds and lightning violated rules for launching Endeavour because of weather near the Shuttle Landing Facility. The runway would be needed in the unlikely event that Endeavour would have to make an emergency landing back at Kennedy. Endeavour's next launch attempt is 6:51 p.m. EDT Monday. NASA TV coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m.'"

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Space⦠The final frontier. Or whenever. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672041)

I have to say that Firefox is getting a lot worse lately. The user experience is in serious need of improvement and development is the pits. I installed the latest "big deal" Firefox update on June 30th. (For some reason they skipped a full four secondary updates, but whatever.) Upon restarting, which took several minutes, I began using Firefox 3.5 [trollaxor.com] .

At first, Firefox seemed strangely familiar. I thought they had changed very little unnecessarily until I visited the Acid3 [acidtests.org] test. Lo and behold, I was still using Firefox 3.0.0.11. What the fuck? I manually invoked Check for Updates and repeated my first attempt only to find, upon restarting, the same thing.

Finally in desperation I downloaded the installer manually from Mozilla [mozilla.com] . The install ran surprisingly quickly and, after a few minutes, I was launched with the new version. I had to check, though, because again I thought it looked like very little had changed.

In fact, did Mozilla bother changing anything beside the JavaScript? The new TraceMonkey is great and all, but they could have at least made it look like they were working on something else. When the most noticeable improvement is the "Know Your Rights" button (which everyone ignores) one really starts to wonder what the fuss was all about.

Well, after the three tries it took to upgrade, I found my profile wouldn't migrate. This was a mess, but I was able to eventually retrieve my bookmarks from a long, arcane file path in a hidden directory. But then upon visiting my bookmarked sites I found that almost none of my add-ons are compatible with it. Therefore my browser is almost entirely functionless.

The bookmark tool itself could use a polishing. It's a mess and has been since version 1.0. If a browser is meant to render and organize content, Firefox surely falls down in this area. Why does it take me several minutes to slosh through the GUI just to make a new folder and alphabetize some bookmarks in it? Not to mention the damned Bookmarks toolbar, which takes up too much damn space and can't be turned off.

And speaking of the GUI, it's slow as Hell slowget rid of the proprietary XUL and just hardcode the damned interface already!

I also have to mention memory use. On my system, Firefox was swallowing an incredible 400 MB with only a simple HTML 4 table open. 400 MB?! I blame this on the Firefox team's use of C++, where memory management is about as easy as herding cats. Likewise Firefox is a slow, bloated nightmare. (For a contrast, there's Safari [apple.com] , which is written in Objective C and is very small and efficient.)

Most of the time I have heavy JavaScript sites open. I shudder to think how much Firefox eats then, and I'll be sure to check in the future. No wonder my system tends to slow down when I've left Firefox open for days on end with dynamically updating pages and RSS feeds. Clearly, Firefox leaks memory like a cracked sieve in a waterfall.

With Firefox smelling more and more like crapware, I started to dig a little, first on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and then on the Mozilla Development Forums [mozilla.org] . It turns out that my observations are part of a larger pattern of Firefox quality issues and development customs. The Mozilla developers are a bunch of arrogant, abusive shitheads.

For starters, they're still running all tabs in the same process. This is something IE7 and Safari 3 have had right for years. So if a plugin crashes or a page takes forever to finish rendering, everything's stuck. You can't even switch tabs to another page! And Firefox 3.5 is a "milestone" release? Firefox 3.6 and 4 are milestones too, and process-per-tab isn't scheduled for either.

Developer interaction with Firefox users is stilted too. Sometimes Bugzilla [mozilla.org] reports are dismissed out of hand, only to be reopened when something goes terribly wrong later. I also saw instances of reported security flaws sitting years before being patched. In one case, someone released an exploit to point out the deep holes in Firefox before anyone did anything.

One time, a user with some programming experience suggested a bugfix to the wishlist. One programmer, whom I will not publicly name, suggested the user submit patches "once his balls dropped," if he were even male. If this were a real company and not a bunch of arrogant hacker hippies, user antagonism and sexism would never be acceptable. When I read this particular incident I uninstalled Firefox for good.

If anyone else has complaints about Firefox, post them here. For a browser that's taken nearly a third of the market, it's doing so with an incredibly broken development model and backend. Just imagine if the Firefox team actually treated its users right or prioritized projects properly. Maybe then the web would move beyond the mess of incompatibile standards and site hacks it is today.

Until then, Firefox is just another out-of-control Open Source project that needs a good stiff slap in the face.

Their goal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672249)

They really should endeavor to get the thing up on time.

Re:Their goal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672499)

douchebags. that is all.

Re:Their goal (1)

twosat (1414337) | more than 5 years ago | (#28673383)

It's Endeavour not Endeavor!!

News? (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672115)

I think it's only news when a shuttle launch isn't delayed.

Re:News? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672135)

No, it's only news when it doesn't crash... I kid! I kid! I love the shuttle. Try the tang...

Re:News? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672351)

>Try the tang...

Tang is the Mandarin word for "sugar."

Re:News? (2, Funny)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672377)

>Tang is the Mandarin word for "sugar."

It's also the English word for "piss".

Re:News? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672483)

It's the English word for "pussy"! You homo... I kid! I kid! I love homos..Oh, wait...No I don't... Try the rump roast...

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672571)

"It's the English word for "pussy"!"

The English slang word for pussy you're clumsily trying to refer to is "poontang".

Re:News? (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672811)

reminds me of a story a guy told me once. He was a funny guy that tested electronics with me at an electronics factory. He was a cool guy, semi-pro drummer, had lots of stories about when he used to do video editing for the porn industry. I am sure you can picture this guy.

Anyway, he told us whenever he would arrange a date he would go to Cosco and buy the hugest can of Tang. Just the simple old orange flavor in the green can. He would explain "well you know how it is guys... some people think you should give a gift on the first date. A few girls even expect you to bring them flowers or something." He figured it was a great idea to give them something just in case they were "that kind of girl".

So he would knock on the door and the chick would answer, he would say "Here I got you this." and hand her the huge can of tang. If the girl looked a little confused he would just laugh it off and say, aww I love that stuff, everybody loves it. Think about it, you probably haven't had it in a while. The girl would usually laugh it off and say something like "I used to love that stuff when I was a kid, haven't had it in years".

So she would set it inside the door and they would go out on their date and a few hours later he would be dropping her off back at her place. When it would get to the awkward moment of her trying to send him away, or wondering if he should try to kiss her or something, he would spring the trap.... "SAY! can I come in for some TANG?? I could really go for some TANG!". He said they always laughed and it always got him in the door. I don't know if I believe it, but it always made us laugh when he told the story.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672845)

Tang [urbandictionary.com] ! Goddammit!

Get the hell outta here! Your mother's callin'

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691093)

Good job noticing that "tang" is an abreviation. Oh wait, you didn't notice that.

Re:News? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672699)

It is the Klingon word for "cake"...

Re:News? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672353)

Since nobody will have to be flying tonight, I recommend tang with vodka: the "Buzzed Aldrin"...

Re:News? (1)

robinesque (977170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672411)

So what does that make an Irish shuttle bomb?

Re:News? (2, Funny)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672215)

What's NASA's record for successful first tries? Does Mission Control have to buy the crew a beer when they get back if the shot goes up on the first attempt?

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672237)

There are a number of reasons the shuttle can be delayed ... http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27577

And now it's time for another episode of... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672697)

NIGS... IN... SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

  Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:News? (2, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672787)

Well, considering that the Launchpad received multiple lightning strikes, I think it was wise to delay the launch...

After all, anyone who's read Pratchett knows that that's the way gods like to ask you to pay attention

They need to fix the gay British spelling. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672179)

Maybe they'll have better luck with Endeavor.

Re:They need to fix the gay British spelling. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672357)

"They need to fix the gay British spelling."

Maybe if you actually took your head out of your ass and did some research you would learn why it's spelled the way it is.

Re:They need to fix the gay British spelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28673263)

Thats how things are spelled when spelled properly.

Re:They need to fix the gay British spelling. (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28673481)

They should have called it Ennever.

Re:They need to fix the gay British spelling. (1)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28674513)

Are you saying STS-127 is the Duke Nukem Forever of launches? :)

Re:They need to fix the gay British spelling. (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28675421)

Well, I heard the control system runs on the Hurd...

really? I think they are too cautious here (2, Funny)

imrehg (1187617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672195)

I've seen it before, the Endeavour can land even in an unused riverbed in LA! Just have to have the right pilots...

Re:really? I think they are too cautious here (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672717)

sure, if you want to risk trashing a $1.7B piece of equipment.

Whatever happened to replacements for the shuttle? (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672331)

Whatever happened to the considerable R&D projects to replace the shuttle with a new model?

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had, and while the electronics have been updated, the engineering behind the overall superstructure, propulsion, etc are equally dated.

When last I heard, the proposals being considered represented a potential 30% cost reduction, and they were looking for better.

What happened to those?

Building those would create jobs across the board across the entire income and skill spread of the american populace, and it would dramatically reduce the risk of mortality for those we send into space for research and save us money in the future which we will need to balance out the tremendous spending currently underway*

*(yes.. yes.. feel free to giggle or outright guffaw at this last point, but there is still a very slim chance we'll have some fiscally responsible politician elected some time)

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (-1, Flamebait)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672409)

Yes, it would create jobs. But, I am guessing it would not be the correct type of jobs.

The correct type of jobs only employ people who are the correct type of people.

The correct type of people are people who will vote for Obama in the next election.
Or, at least voted for him in the last election.

Tim S.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (1)

hoarier (1545701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672421)

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had

Unless the talented Mr Cheney has yet again kept something from us, the shuttles aren't expected to run MS Office, Photoshop, World of Warcraft, Conficker, etc under Vista. So perhaps they have enough oomph as it is.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672459)

When last I heard, the proposals being considered represented a potential 30% cost reduction, and they were looking for better.

The DIRECT team has presented their Jupiter design before the Augustine panel and the Aerospace Corporation who are going to do an "apples to apples" comparison of the various launch vehicles. Hopefully these panels will choose the Jupiter launch vehicle as the most practical way forward.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672911)

...Hopefully these panels will choose the Jupiter launch vehicle as the most practical way forward.

Terrible idea. Jupiter 2 is certain to be lost in space [imdb.com]

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (0, Flamebait)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672507)

Whatever happened to the considerable R&D projects to replace the shuttle with a new model?

I'm sorry, we're just fresh out of cash! First we gave a lot of our money to Iraq/Afganistan in the form of bombs and bullets. Then we gave the rest to our incompetent banks and car companies.

Our government (both sides!) have decided it is better to pour money into losers instead of trying to innovate.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672533)

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had,

actualy, the Atari 2600 game system had more computing power than the shuttle. what's your point? Everyone else on this forum but you seems to understand the concepts of Moore's law and design freezes

the engineering behind the overall superstructure, propulsion, etc are equally dated.

the SSME's still channel the most energy per # of any machine ever built, but I presume you've built something better in your shed (when not diddling preteen boys back there)

When last I heard, the proposals being considered represented a potential 30% cost reduction, and they were looking for better.

"potential" -- such a great word. I'll be you believe that infomercial that told you you could "potentially" make $50K/mo stuffing envelopes

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (2, Interesting)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672563)

Blowing people up into space is not spaceflight. It's hard to do and it's dangerous yea - that's my point. It is not by any means spaceflight. The vehicles always have some problem, they are incredibly delicate for something that gets mashed around with such vibrations and g forces. What if your car needed to be 80% gastank and you could only drive for a few minutes? The vehicles are so laughable in their usefulness. Now it's not like we have any alternatives, what I am saying is there needs to be some. Rockets sure as hell are not going to be the answer to a space age. Does any space agency take this fact seriously? Do they try to come up with new stuff? It would be a primary mission I would think. NASA and co should be the ones operating colliders trying to come up with basic research and answers to the physical problems.

space is wrong place for "latest&greatest" tec (4, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672725)

The technology NASA uses for human-based space exploration is never the latest-and-greatest. The risk to the on-board human crew can be reduced by knowing the most likely failure modes of all the technology involved. Remember, it took some years before the effects of cosmic rays on dynamic RAM were proven. That's why NASA stuck with magnetic core memory for so long.

The autonomous vehicles, like the Spirit and Opportunity probes on Mars, can use newer technology, and can even give us demonstrations of how the newer tech behaves when exposed to the harsh conditions of outer space. But when human lives are involved, the older, well-understood technology gives the best odds of a successful mission.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (2, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672735)

they were all cancelled. Until the Columbia accident, Congress didn't seem too interested in funding a program to replace the shuttles. Right now, it's still not clear, with the funding for the Constellation program being in question.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672769)

Whatever happened to the considerable R&D projects to replace the shuttle with a new model?

Off the top of my head, here's a quick summary of the various serious efforts into creating new manned spacecraft over the past 10-15 years:

  • DC-X [wikipedia.org] : A low-cost VTVL prototype built under a $58 million contract, which is still regarded by many as an ideal approach to an orbital vehicle. Plans were to create incrementally larger versions of it which would eventually be able to attain orbit in a cost-effective fashion. Unfortunately, during one of its flight tests a field technician messed up the landing gear, so it fell over when it landed and was destroyed (1996). The company told NASA it'd need $50 million to build a new one, but NASA used the opportunity to cancel the project so it could instead give more funds to the billion-dollar X-33/Venturestar project. Its spiritual successors are John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. In fact, the secretive Blue Origin company has hired several of the former DC-X engineers. One of the Armadillo members has a great write-up of the DC-X here: http://media.armadilloaerospace.com/DCX/ [armadilloaerospace.com]
  • X-33 [wikipedia.org] : Interesting project which would have tested a bunch of fascinating technologies (e.g. composite cryogenic fuel tanks, metallic thermal protection, an aerospike engine, lifting body design). Unfortunately, NASA really should've tried testing those technologies individually first, instead of putting every single one of them in the critical path of a new vehicle design. Oops. I believe the main problem ended up being the composite fuel tank, and when that failed the entire project (which had used up a billion dollars thus far) had to be canceled in 2001.
  • Orbital Space Plane [wikipedia.org] : A low-cost vehicle intended to launch on already-existing EELVs, started in 2003 and expected to start carrying crew by 2010. In 2004, this project was transferred to the Crew Exploration Vehicle project.

Now, the currently ongoing projects and contenders:

  • Crew Exploration Vehicle [astronautix.com] : This is a little complicated. Back in 2004, the Crew Exploration Vehicle was announced, and it was assumed it'd be similar to the Orbital Space Plane project it derived from: a low-cost capsule which could be launched on already-existing EELV rockets like the Delta IV Heavy or Atlas V. This went through a number of stages of design studies and competitive flight tests planned, with unmanned tests by 2008 and unmanned tests sometime in the 2010-2014 range. Unfortunately, in 2005 Michael Griffin came in, proclaimed that he had a superior design and tossed out all the prior work. Although he claimed his design was simpler and faster, and commissioned NASA studies to "prove this," history has pretty well proved that his design (now the Ares I) was nowhere near as simple and straightforward as he thought it would be. Instead of the plan to have low-cost CEV launching on existing vehicles it had before, NASA currently has the Ares I which has an ever-increasing cost, currently around $35 billion. The per-launch cost is also expected to be as much as or higher than the space shuttle. Oops.
  • DIRECT: A bunch of undercover NASA engineers who didn't believe Ares was the best solution but were afraid of retribution from Griffin, so they anonymously released a plan they thought was superior. Since it's Shuttle-derived it's certainly more expensive than an EELV-based design, but would have a larger payload.
  • EELVs [wikipedia.org] : These rockets are already used regularly to launch payloads for NASA and private industry, and most of the final proposals for the pre-Griffin CEV program involved launching manned capsules on these. It's estimated it would cost $1-$2 billion, with per-launch costs considerably lower than the Shuttle's.
  • SpaceX [wikipedia.org] : Kind of the wild card, but has highest potential benefit. The company was designed with the goal of cost-effectively launching people to orbit. Their design is the least proven, but has the potential to complete change the economics of spaceflight. Right now they're working on providing commercial cargo delivery to the space station using the COTS program. COTS uses fixed-price contracts instead of cost-plus contracts (i.e. you don't get more money by being inefficient), which is a highly novel thing for NASA.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28673649)

This is not a case of LMGTFY rather a case of LMWTFY - 'Let me Wiki that for you' - no that doesn't sound right. How about 'Let me wank that for you' - so much more accurate.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28694323)

Huh?

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672777)

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had

So? Did they need more? Despite their lack of computer power, the first shuttles worked out pretty well.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672793)

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had

Umm... So what? The computing horsepower available then was sufficient to perform the job needed. The Shuttle's systems and the equations behind orbital dynamics haven't changed greatly, so the Shuttle's software isn't going to behave like the typical marketplace driven software you are familiar with and suffer from feature creep and code bloat.
 
Not to mention that commercial PC's (Windows, Mac, and Linux alike) badly mislead you as to how much computing power is really needed.
 

the engineering behind the overall superstructure, propulsion, etc are equally dated

Again, so what? This isn't your average piece of hardware where upgrades and 'improvements' are driven more by marketing (which equates old with useless) rather than by requirements.
 

When last I heard, the proposals being considered represented a potential 30% cost reduction, and they were looking for better.

It's very, very easy to implement cost reductions in Power Point. It's rather more difficult in the real world.
 

Building those would create jobs across the board across the entire income and skill spread of the american populace

Not really. Ten thousand jobs, maybe twenty, virtually all of them concentrated in a handful of specialized companies and skilled engineers and tradesmen.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672813)

They used and still use older model CPU's because they are much easier to radiation harden. I'm sure you can appreciate that when you're traveling thousands of miles an hour you would prefer your flight controls to display correct alpha-numeric properties. Radiation hardening is much more important than processing power, it's not like they're playing Crysis up there or anything (that I know of anyway).

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (2, Informative)

FLaSh SWT (233251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672929)

it's not like they're playing Crysis up there or anything (that I know of anyway).

Crysis! They can't even watch DVDs up there, remember? [slashdot.org]

Not quite...there are more reasons (2, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28673467)

Conservatism about CPUs comes for a variety of reasons, all of which I like. First, it is much better to use an inherently rad-hard technology than to radiation harden an existing design. Rad-hard technology tends to lag commercial technology because it is much, much more expensive. Second, however, modern processor technology is in some ways the enemy of reliability. With things like out of order execution, multilevel cache and the release of cpus that have minor microcode bugs that are fixed with CPU drivers, it's hard to produce a verified design. Back in the days when I was doing this stuff, the RCA1800 (damn slow), Texas 9989 (good) and the Ferranti F100-L (bad) all had designs simple enough to be fully verified with the tools available, and when you wrote code for them you could actually be sure of exactly what it would do on a clock cycle by clock cycle basis. MMUs add another layer of potential unreliability, so for mission critical stuff a processor with a flat memory architecture where it is possible to state exactly what variable may occupy any memory location at a given point in program execution obviously offers more security blanket per dollar. (Both the CPUs I mention have minimal registers, so that everything gets stored in independently testable external memory.

Modern designs are amazingly reliable given their complexity but, as you say, you want to be very sure once out of the stratosphere that you know exactly what your little thinking machine is thinking.

Re:Not quite...there are more reasons (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28752207)

I think this is a case of over-thought and improper focus.

rather than demanding inordinate precision out of the computer components, the abstraction layers over them should have greater flexibility and be able to account for occasional abberations.

there's a reason everyone with a brain bigger than a chimp is taught to write error handlers into their code.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (2, Interesting)

FLaSh SWT (233251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672875)

your average laptop has considerably more computing power than the first shuttles had, and while the electronics have been updated, the engineering behind the overall superstructure, propulsion, etc are equally dated.

We were interviewing Buzz Aldrin on Friday and he brought up the fact that everyone mentions how his cell phone has more processing power than the computer they had on Apollo 11. He said something to the effect that he'd still take that Apollo computer over a newer off-the-shelf computer because it was built specifically for the job and they knew every little thing about it. (I was taking photos not conducting the interview so that isn't exact but is pretty close.)

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28674785)

I agree with your other points, and I'm all in favour of improved space exploration, but:

Building those would create jobs across the board across the entire income and skill spread of the american populace

That's just the broken window fallacy. The money that would have been spent on improving the shuttles is still available to create jobs elsewhere.

Re:Whatever happened to replacements for the shutt (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28752165)

I agree with your other points, and I'm all in favour of improved space exploration, but:

Building those would create jobs across the board across the entire income and skill spread of the american populace

That's just the broken window fallacy. The money that would have been spent on improving the shuttles is still available to create jobs elsewhere.

because the private sector is just JUMPING at the chance to employ people right?

It's not a fallacy when nobody else is willing to do it.

I bet that the delay flights witch... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672333)

I bet that the delay flight switch is a lot more sensitive now after the Challenger explosion 73 seconds after launching. Remember back then we had learned that there was a lot of pressure on NASA staff to launch.

Columbia breaking apart on re-entry in 2003 might also have raised the delay flight switch sensitivity a bit.

Re:I bet that the delay flights witch... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672495)

All true, but I bet the astronauts wish they had a "just launch this fucker" button they could push to override the worry warts in mission control.
Lightning at 20 miles, who cares! Lets get on with it!

Re:I bet that the delay flights witch... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672801)

All true, but I bet the astronauts wish they had a "just launch this fucker" button they could push to override the worry warts in mission control. Lightning at 20 miles, who cares! Lets get on with it!

That would be suicidal. More often than not the operators of the Shuttle have been shown to be insufficiently conservative.

Re:I bet that the delay flights witch... (1)

homm2 (729109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672525)

The real reason NASA is so sensitive in calling off launches due to potential lightning strikes is more likely Apollo 12 [wikipedia.org] , where a lightning strike almost caused the mission to fail.

Re:I bet that the delay flights witch... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672771)

that and the shitload of pyrotechnic bolts holding the thing together. It might be bad... if a number of those bolts "fired" early during the ascent.

Re:I bet that the delay flights witch... (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28682609)

Another issue that I heard pointed out by a Shuttle engineer that I hadn't thought of - any incident that damages the payload bay door latching mechanism or the electronic control of said mechanism will doom the Shuttle. If the doors can't be latched, it's impossible to re-enter the atmosphere.

Really now... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672607)

Who's bright idea was it to put the main launch facility in *Florida*. Okay, virtually no snow to worry about, yeah, but in the summer months, it storms, especially on the coastal areas, almost *daily* in the evenings. I'm sure there's a reason why they can't launch it earlier or they would, but this is getting a little ridiculous...

Closest to Equator? (3, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28673221)

Who's bright idea was it to put the main launch facility in *Florida*.

I think the deal is that the closer to the equator you launch from, the cheaper it is. That's why the French launch Ariane from a complex in French Guyana.

Re:Closest to Equator? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28675749)

Except that they launch from a latitude not far south of Houston. If LBJ could've moved it to Corpus Christi, I'm sure he would have.

Still, the Cape is a nicely convenient bump, and all that water around the area probably had a lot to recommend it in terms of keeping the Ruskies out back in the '60s.

Re:Closest to Equator? (1)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684655)

Except that they launch from a latitude not far south of Houston. If LBJ could've moved it to Corpus Christi, I'm sure he would have.

Still, the Cape is a nicely convenient bump, and all that water around the area probably had a lot to recommend it in terms of keeping the Ruskies out back in the '60s.

And there's another thing about all that water, and it's a factor that had a lot to do with the choice of Cape Canaveral: plenty of space to have a crash in without worrying about rockets and debris coming down on houses, schools, other sorts of buildings and ... well, anything with people, really.

Shuttle bumped again tonight [space.com] . They're going right past Tuesday (weather down this way tomorrow is expected to be worse than it was today) and aim for a launch at 18:03:10 Eastern time on Wednesday (2203 GMT).

Re:Really now... (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28675859)

Launch windows dictate what time of the day you have to launch. The ISS has a rather eccentric orbit to make things easier for Russia, and it precesses [calgary.rasc.ca] relative to the ground, so you have to wait for it to cross the right longitude. And of course after Challenger, they really don't like to launch at night if they don't have to.

cool, i can still hope (1)

idji (984038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28673679)

I am in Orlando next week and am sincerely hoping everyday they delay until late July - this would be my only chance in life to see a shuttle launch.

NASA should be privatised ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28674323)

then nothing like this would happen.

Re:NASA should be privatised ... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28674625)

So, why is there a delay on Space-X launches?

So what? (1)

Amiralul (1164423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28674575)

What's wrong in being exta-safe? We're talking here about human life and about the space exploration program's future. If something good came out of the Challenger and Columbia lessons is that you cannot hurry or cheat mother nature and hope everything will magically go fine somehow. The shuttles are not as young as they use to be and we have no replacement for them yet, thanks to latest years budget cuts.
And they've chosen Florida for launch because being close to the Equator will help preserve fuel for launching the spacecrafts, due to a great deal of help from Earth's rotation. Ever wonder why Baikonur is not on Russian soil?
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