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Crew For Final Scheduled Space Shuttle Mission Selected

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the make-it-memorable dept.

NASA 108

Toren Altair writes "NASA has assigned the crew for the last scheduled space shuttle mission, targeted to launch in September 2010. The flight to the International Space Station will carry a pressurized logistics module to the station. Veteran shuttle commander and retired Air Force Col. Steven W. Lindsey will command the eight-day mission, designated STS-133. Air Force Col. Eric A. Boe will serve as the pilot; it will be his second flight as a shuttle pilot. Mission Specialists are shuttle mission veteran Air Force Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr., and long-duration spaceflight veterans Michael R. Barratt, Army Col. Timothy L. Kopra and Nicole P. Stott." Reader Al points out other NASA news that the space agency's engineers have been testing a sleek new lunar rover that will be part of their eventual return to the moon. A video of the rover in action has been posted as well.

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Darn. (5, Funny)

epedersen (863120) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476899)

I was hoping they would pick me, but the didn't. Darn.

Re:Darn. (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477025)

The interesting thing now, as the "space race" seems to be ending with usa, is who will take the lead with space exploration. chinese, russians or private companies?

Re:Darn. (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477113)

Another option would be no one.

Re:Darn. (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477193)

However it seems like theres lots of interest and activity in private space flights currently:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies [wikipedia.org]

Interesting article about them [spaceref.com]

Several other small private aerospace companies not competing for Ansari X Prize are also making news. According to Aviation Week, Bigelow Aerospace, who are developing inflatable space modules, plan to announce shortly the creation of yet another prize competition, this one for $50 million, called Americaâ(TM)s Space Prize that will go to whoever develops a spacecraft that will service their inflatable space modules.

And yet another company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), plan to launch their first partly reusable rocket Falcon 1 early next year. In developing their space program, SpaceX has created new technology, which they claim allows them to reduce the cost of launch four times lower than their nearest competitor and increase reliability.

This along with Tickets On Sale In Sweden For Space Tourism, Starting In 2012 [slashdot.org] .

Re:Darn. (4, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477183)

The "space race" ended with the fall of the soviet union. Now scientific equipment built in Europe is sent up in a Japanese rocket, plucked out of space by a Russian robotic arm and docked onto a US docking hold. Far more nations have space programs, all doing different things (even India is making contributions to lunar science these days), all collaborating, and the US too is preparing a new generation of space-ships.

So yes the space race is long dead, but space exploration is booming like never before. There are less big things like landing on the moon, but make no mistake space exploration is so much more important than getting a human onto another lump of rock and getting him quickly back.

Re:Darn. (4, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477407)

Actually that is a Canadian robotic arm.

Re:Darn. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477749)

Yeah I just made a guess with that part up to be honest, the one part I wasn't sure about. :x Thanks for the correction

Re:Darn. (1)

sebaseba (1617571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478759)

And russian rocket.

Re:Darn. (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480055)

And my axe!

Re:Darn. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481249)

Nope Japanese, I wasn't guessing there

Re:Darn. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482153)

Indeed it is. You can tell because it has a hockey stick attachment for knocking away meteoroids and space beavers.

Re:Darn. (2, Insightful)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479427)

So yes the space race is long dead, but space exploration is booming like never before.

Space exploration isn't pissing around in low Earth orbit. Which is what humanity has done for the past 37 years.

Re:Darn. (0)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481291)

If you think we've been "pissing around" you're too ignorant to be worth discussing space exploration with

Re:Darn. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29480165)

(even India is making contributions to lunar science these days)

WTF is that supposed to mean? Indians are more efficient at technical jobs like software engineering, it only makes sense they'd be more efficient at stuff like space exploration. You fucking racist.

Re:Darn. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481285)

It's a relatively poor country dumbass, the fact that you think they're inherently more efficient at certain things makes you the racist, not me.

Re:Darn. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482121)

Indians are more efficient at technical jobs like software engineering

Really? I suppose it depends on the target industry sector you're talking about, and how much you care about the quality of the end product. While India enjoys a reputation for low cost development in terms of outsourced hourly rates, that reputation does not extend to the quality and usability of the systems produced in many cases. Thus, the actual delivery time and total project cost winds up being grossly miscalculated at the outset.

Note that this doesn't have anything to do with intelligence, but it does have a lot to do with communication barriers with customers (a problem not reserved for Indian firms; it's common to projects outsourced to other nations as well). Unfortunately, that's a tough problem to solve, as it's not merely technical in nature.

Incidentally, I find your assertion that Indians are inherently "better" at software engineering to be rather racist.

Re:Darn. (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481543)

Now that America is officially a dead nation...

The rich that destroyed the US Economy and middle class will use the money to make rockets in china.

Re:Darn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477171)

If the shuttle explodes we can all finally say:

"Darn, this was her last mission before retirement."

Re:Darn. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477349)

But they don't have the time to train the seven politicians necessary to astronauts.

Re:Darn. (4, Funny)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477397)

What are you talking about 7, I'm sure we can cram 536 (Congress 534 + President and Vice President) politicians on the last shuttle flight, and then have it explode.

536, cause I think it is safe to say most /.ers would want to keep Ron Paul around...

Re:Darn. (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477503)

Um... if the entire line of presidential succession, plus Congress except Ron Paul is going to be killed in a freak Shuttle accident... I want to be the one to go in his place. I love him for his counterbalancing influence on the government we have; I would not want to live in a country where he was the government.

Re:Darn. (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481067)

Fuck Ron Paul, we all want Dennis Kucinich.

Re:Darn. (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481149)

Um, no, you don't wanna do that, and here's why...

Presidential succession goes from Prez to VP, to Speaker of the House, to President Pro Tempore of the Senate, to Secretary of State. Now, if we loaded the Prez, VP, & all the Congresscritters up on the Shuttle & blow it up, the 'next one standing' is Hillary Clinton.

So, think very carefully about that idea...

Re:Darn. (1)

lab16 (416283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481339)

Just make sure not to send any telephone cleaners up there with the politicians. We may need them later.

Re:Darn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477211)

If you are, or were, a full-bird colonel, I bet your chances would've been better:

retired Air Force Col. Steven W. Lindsey
Air Force Col. Eric A. Boe
veteran Air Force Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr.
Army Col. Timothy L. Kopra

4/6 have their chicken wings !

Flip it (0, Offtopic)

Fat Wang (1230914) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476901)

FIRST!!!11

Fail it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477131)

FAIL!!!11

from the make-it-memorable dept. (3, Insightful)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476907)

Hopefully not memorable like Challenger or Columbia.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (0, Flamebait)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477017)

Killjoy! Here I was hoping they would end with a bang. :-(

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477365)

Today, with mixed crews, that would be no problem even without an explosion.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (3, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477147)

Of over 100 missions 2 disasters isn't too bad, it much better than Apollo and no-one brings up the failures of Apollo whenever it's mentioned like they do with the Shuttle.. It's a shame people will remember the Shuttle for the disasters and not for the triumphs, I don't think the astronauts who died would have wanted it this way (imho).

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477959)

Of over 100 missions 2 disasters isn't too bad, it much better than Apollo and no-one brings up the failures of Apollo whenever it's mentioned like they do with the Shuttle.

For that matter, other than the Apollo 1 fire and the Apollo 13 fire/explosion (and maybe the computer faults on 11) - most people aren't even aware of the multitude and magnitude of the failures experienced during Apollo.
 
For example:

  • Apollo 13 - severe POGO vibration came within seconds of reaching a magnitude sufficient to destroy the launch vehicle, averted only because the vibration caused the center J2 engine on the S-II stage to fail and shutdown.
     
    Severe vibration were also encountered on 11 and 12 but never reached dangerous levels. A fix was available in time for 13's flight, but management elected not to delay the flight to retrofit the fix into the booster.
     
  • Apollo 14
    • Docking mechanism failure after Trans Lunar Injection. Contrary to mission rules, the flight controllers directed the crew to 'brute force' the docking risking severe damage to the CM and LM.
       
    • Loss of Landing Radar. In violation of mission rules, crew continued with landing.
  • Apollo 15 - During landing, one parachute failed to deploy.
     
  • Apollo 16 - While in lunar orbit, it was discovered that the primary wiring harness for the SM's main propulsion system was damaged and inoperable. Despite a mission rule requiring an immediate mission abort and return to Earth, management and controllers elected to continue with the mission.
     
  • Skylab IV (Carr, Pogue, Gibson) - leaking tanks in the SM nearly caused the mission to be cut short. Management elected instead to make preparation to use the standby rescue vehicle.
     
  • Apollo Soyuz Test Project - During landing, crew error resulting in filling the cockpit with toxic fumes from fuel being vented from the reaction control system. The crew managed to vent the spacecraft, postflight investigations show that gas levels just shy of lethal were reached in the cockpit.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480381)

What that shows more about the NASA of old, is that they made choices that were gutsy and capable of killing their crew. The new NASA regularly makes similar choices and it has not always panned out (IOW, the new NASA is not that indifferent from the old NASA). But it also shows that we need to take some chances. I forget who said it, but that we NEED to kill some ppl every so often, or it is a sign that we are not pushing ourselves hard enough. More importantly, we need to NOT be afraid of this. Life is great, but SOME things are worth giving it up for. And pushing into space is one of them.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480521)

Don't forget - Apollo 12, struck by lightning on launch.
Gemini 8, near fatal spin. Armstrong and Scott came damn close to blacking out, which would essentially have been a death sentence.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (3, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477983)

You make an excellent point.

Arguably, the STS program has contributed more to space science than Apollo did. Not to say that we didn't learn many useful and valuable things from Apollo, but Apollo was about a destination, STS was about doing useful stuff in space. We'll reap the benefits from both for a long time to come.

I personally believe that the loss of astronauts and cosmonauts in the last 50 years has not gone in vain. They gave their lives for their country, their countrymen, their planet and for science. Because of them we have global satellite communications, GPS, advanced materials, highly developed engineering, improved cosmology and a vision of the heavens we only dreamed of.

They knew the risks and they took them gladly - they are heros, every last one of them.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481681)

Ignoring for a moment, the dubious value of "space science", it's worth noting that the only real space science, the launching of the "Great Observatories" like Hubble Space Telescope, did not require the Shuttle's unique features (other than payload size). My view is that the contribution to astrogeology and knowledge of the early Solar System by Apollo is comparable to the scientific output of the Great Observatories.

Once we get past the Great Observatories, there really isn't much contribution to space science from the Shuttle. I guess it's next greatest value would be as a demonstration of space assembly techniques through the construction of the ISS.

As I hint in the first sentence, I think the value of space science has been greatly exaggerated. It makes little sense to spend two or more orders of magnitude for scientific work that could have been done on Earth (which is the state of a considerable fraction of ISS research in my view). Let us also keep in mind that we could have spent significantly less for an ISS-class space station by removing the dependency on the Shuttle and by removing the Russians from critical path segments of the ISS. To be blunt, most of what the ISS did, could have been done by a MIR-class station with better logistics.

Finally, it's worth noting, again, that we stopped doing anything serious in human space flight once we had the Shuttle. Key issues that we need to know, like what are the effects of low (not zero) gravity on the human body? How to store and transport propellant in space?

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (3, Informative)

frieko (855745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478013)

While I agree that the Shuttle gets a bad rap on safety, the fact that in 32 manned flights, Apollo, Mercury and Gemini lost just one crew and zero vehicles is pretty remarkable.

Don't worry, I'm sure in time the shuttle will be remembered as a white elephant rather than a death trap ;)

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480487)

Even more amazing is that the shuttle has a rate of about 1 in 65.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29481113)

While I agree that the Shuttle gets a bad rap on safety, the fact that in 32 manned flights, Apollo, Mercury and Gemini lost just one crew and zero vehicles is pretty remarkable.

What? If you're counting flights, zero crews were lost and one space vehicle was lost.

The Apollo 1 crew was lost on the launch pad during a test, not in flight.

The second Mercury flight (Liberty Bell 7) sank soon after splashdown.

Re:from the make-it-memorable dept. (2, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480509)

Gemini 8 had the crew closer to death than did Apollo 13.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29476909)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

cotton niggers, sand niggers, rice niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477117)

kill all niggers

Thank you for playing (3, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476929)

Those would-be astronauts who were not chosen are welcome to join the crews of Apollo 18, 19, and 20 in the lounge, where they will receive some lovely parting gifts.

For the first time in almost 50 years... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476949)

... the USA won't have the ability to put its own astronauts into orbit by choice (as opposed to by circumstance after shuttle accidents).

Way to go NASA.

*sigh*

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477051)

You mean "Way to go, Congress that has no closed the pursestrings so tight that even developing nations look like they have better prospects for manned spaceflight."

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477071)

While NASA doesn't have the greatest track record, I'm not sure if we can blame NASA for all these problems. NASA's budget is getting tighter and tighter every year. In general the shuttle program was a failure, it failed to really cut costs or be any more reliable than Russia's space program and even though it did do some neat and useful things such as the space telescope, it really couldn't do more than that. If we want to have people back on the moon again, we need to make some new rockets, something we should have been developing during the lifetime of the shuttle, but we haven't. After Colombia, NASA started developing rockets, but it was too little too late.

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477295)

To be fair human kind hasn't left low earth orbit since December 1972.

Way to go lack of public interest and dwindling funding.

*sigh*

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (2, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477379)

Uhm, wasn't there a six-year window in US manned spaceflights after the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975? And the world did not end.

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479081)

Unless you are significantly over 30 you won't realise what you're saying. 6 years is 6 wasted years. When you reach 40 you see that 1 year is nothing. Time speeds by, and nobody does anything ! Oh to be young and have all the time in the world. I just hope you do have the time you need. Don't expect me to stop pushing though ...

Re:For the first time in almost 50 years... (3, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477433)

There was a long stretch between the end of Apollo and the first Shuttle where America didn't have the capability of getting an astronaut to orbit.

YARRRRR (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477667)

Avast ye scurvy unbelever, NASA has plans for some of the finest ships to sail the voids! Ye may think that the budget flounders but by God she'll settle straight yet! When America's budgetary concerns pick up this not having money blarney will sink and her captain keelhauled, and cash will flow from the grand admiral's treasury! ye haven't seen anything like the ships that will sail when the economic blow heads south and the seas are smooth again. Avast I say!

Too bad "Cash for Clunkers" has ended... (3, Funny)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476979)

...they could have traded the Shuttle in towards a nice Hybrid.

The crew should be VERY afraid! (4, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477019)

"Last scheduled mission"

That's is always how it starts. The last scheduled missions are always the ones that get lost in black holes, freak accidents where they get frozen or some such then they all appear in the future with every one being apes or something or thrust into another dimension.

I DON'T want to be them! Something's going to happen!

Re:The crew should be VERY afraid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477041)

Are you kidding? It would be awesome to have something like that happen.

Re:The crew should be VERY afraid! (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479381)

As we all learned from the documentary Event Horizon [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119081/], the scientific data recovered has to be destroyed in order to save any remaining personnel, and the emotional and physical effects on crewmembers traveling through "unusual" regions of time or space involves hematemesis, self-disfiguration by manual removal of the eyeballs and subsequent severing of the optic nerve bundles and cauterization and suturing of the eyelids, and mumbling in classical Latin while having a sore throat. Unfortunately, you can find these conditions at hospitals, so there's really no benefit to experiencing the psychoses involved.

Re:The crew should be VERY afraid! (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477605)

I just hope that nobody on the crew is only 3 days away from retirement.

Re:The crew should be VERY afraid! (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478511)

In fact, one of them already is a retired colonel, so they should be safe.

Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (2, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477023)

Now if we only had a rocket to get it to the moon...

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (2, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477125)

It's called the Ares V, and it too is still under development

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (0)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477369)

It's called the Ares V, and it too is still under development

Not if Congress has its way. It'll get the ax in favor of more entitlements for the rich & not famous.

Robert Heinlein once said that humans will colonise space, but not to count on them speaking American English.

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477759)

Well I'm not a US citizen so I have no say in that, but I think the Constellation program will pull through

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479311)

I am a US citizen, so the cutbacks really piss me off.

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (0)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481039)

Ares V? That'll never fly. It's way too expensive.

Ares V is supposed to be shuttle derived, however not a single major part is transferrable between the shuttle and Ares V. It uses a 10 metre diameter external fuel tank instead of the shuttle's 8.4m external tank (ET). The equipment in the factory that makes the ET cannot handle that diameter. So the entire factory needs to be re-tooled. The barge that is used to transfer the tank from the factory to the vehicle assembly building also cannot handle that diameter and will need to be replaced. The RS68B is not man rated. It hasn't even been built yet, let alone test fired. Instead of using the same four segment SRBs as the shuttle, Ares will be using a 5.5 segment solid rocket booster. The extra segment and a half means that the pressure inside the SRB is greater, and that means a redesign of the nozzles. This monster of a rocket barely fits into the Vehicle Assembly Building. As such, it cannot be used for tall payloads. It weighs so much that the crawlers cannot carry it, nor can the roadways that the crawlers use to transport the rocket from the VAB to the launch pad. They will both need upgrading. Similarly the launch pads themselves cannot handle the weight. They too will need upgrading.

On the other hand, Direct's Jupiter launch vehicle uses the same engines as the shuttle. It uses the same four segment SRBs as the shuttle. It uses pretty much the same external tank as the shuttle (the conical nose being replaced by a blunt nose. All of the major components already have years of flight history. All of the components can be made at existing facilities using existing tooling. In fact, the Jupiter rockets can co-exist with the shuttles. By stretching out the shuttle program, the workforce at the existing plants can be maintained. There is no need for a gap in manned spaceflight capability. The J-130 has the capacity to lift three Orions. By adding an upper stage, a pair of Jupiters can lift as much as the Ares I / Ares V combo. Since going to the moon under either plan would require two launches, you get more mass to the moon using Jupiters than the Ares I/V. The only differences being that the Jupiters would cost less, be safer, and be ready sooner.

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481309)

Then why are they going with Ares V?

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481655)

I have no clue. It doesn't make any sense to me. You have a heavy lift system in the STS/shuttle. It can loft the 70 metric ton orbiter plus a 25mt payload into Low Earth Orbit. If you remove the shuttle from the equation, you get a 95mt launcher, however you'd be missing the shuttle's engines. Once you add them back in, in a thrust structure under the external tank, and add a payload fairing at the top, you're down to about 65mt of payload. That's enough for a fully fueled Orion crew module (approx 22mt) and about 40mt of extra payload. The Direct team also have planned a shuttle-like payload cradle, which matches all of the mounting points of the current shuttle payload bay. It could weigh as much as 15mt and would be capable of lofting any payload the current shuttle can, and could even have a Canadarm. It just wouldn't be able to return any payload. (It should be noted that the payload return capabilities of the shuttle have rarely been used.)

It should be noted that Ares could eventually be made to work. It's just that by ignoring the shuttle/STS heritage, they are forced to design too many systems from scratch.

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482449)

The other thing I don't get is the pro-NASA, anti-Direct attitude on Slashdot. On every other topic the crowd here is anti-Proprietary, Pro-Open-Source, yet when you point out that a bunch of NASA engineers and industry personnel band together in their spare time and essentially put together an "open source" launch vehicle which has been independently verified in terms of capabilities, engineering, budget, etc. you get downmodded. It's The Cathedral and the Bazaar NASA style, and Slashdot is a community of the faithful.

Re:Great! We got a slick lunar rover! (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479665)

Now if we only had a rocket to get it to the moon...

Um, there's plenty of US rockets available to get it to the Moon, just none built by NASA. It's also worth noting that all of the non-NASA rockets cost less than a billion dollars to develop, compared to the >$35 billion projected development cost for NASA's competing Ares I, which will have nearly identical capabilities to its competitors:

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/deltaiv.htm [astronautix.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_IV [wikipedia.org]
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/atlasv.htm [astronautix.com]
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/falcon9.htm [astronautix.com]

Col. Lindsey has been getting picked last since... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477129)

5th grade dodgeball.

This crew (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477139)

... seems to be a bunch of hangers on at Kennedy getting their last ride up. Per the article, they're mostly NASA management types with a semirookie pilot. I wouldn't expect any science from these guys, I'm thinking they're up there for the photo opportunities.

And yeah I'm bitter that they didn't pick me.

Re:This crew (1)

nolesrule (152898) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478125)

Not really. Many astronauts get assigned that sort of managerial duty between flight assignments. You gotta keep them busy when they aren't training for a flight. Three of them are recent/current residents of the ISS.

As for science, it's not a science flight. In fact, the last science flight was STS-107. It's a final delivery flight to the station. So the crew composition makes sense for the tasks.

Re:This crew (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479269)

Not really. Many astronauts get assigned that sort of managerial duty between flight assignments.

Middle management, yeah. But not department heads. Col Lindsey is chief of the Astronaut's Office. Col Drew is currently Director of Operations at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Astrograd.

Back to the dark ages... (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477257)

America's fall from grace, causes humanity's fall from space. Will all progress be backwards from now on?

Re:Back to the dark ages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477297)

That depends on if we keep putting Democrats in office...

Re:Back to the dark ages... (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477405)

Nope.

China and India will own the stars.

Re:Back to the dark ages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477903)

Will all progress be backwards from now on?

Well, America leaving space, I would actually dare to call that a progress...

Progess (2, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477377)

Retiring the Shuttle programe is called technological progress!?! Look at us mere mortals still flying supersonically in Concorde. Oh wait, now we all have to use slow subsonic 747's and Airbus'. THAT'S progress for you.

Re:Progess (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477599)

Look at us mere mortals still flying supersonically in Concorde. Oh wait, now we all have to use slow subsonic 747's and Airbus'. THAT'S progress for you.

Just because we are capable of supersonic flight doesn't necessarily mean it is viable economically. Let's use cars for example.

Many cars nowadays can reach speeds in the 100+ mph range. Few of us ever reach those speeds in a car, and even fewer of us manage to make long trips at that speed. Sure, it'd be nice, but the fuel/tire/maintenance costs at that speed might not make it worthwhile for most people.

I think the Concorde would have done much better if random people here in the States hadn't complained about noise and such. This is akin, for cars, to roads having speed limits and having to incur the (hefty) fines that would be incurred driving at high speeds. I don't think the noise would've been a problem. But then again, I also have lived on an Air Force base for most of my life, and am quite accustomed to aircraft noises. After a while, you just tune them out (save for the loud Navy jets).

Re:Progess (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477639)

Technological progress doesn't always equal "going faster".

We don't _need_ supersonic aircraft for passenger use, the public didn't want to pay for it, so Concorde is history. We need to haul people in bulk at low cost per seat, low fuel expense, and with as little pollution as practical.

We don't _need_ to hurry putting _people_ in space, because the rest of our supporting technology can be developed less expensively (and without the loss-multiplier effect when expensive manned systems crash). We do _need_ robots and to develop remotely-manned systems for use on and off-world. Never send a human to do a machines job. Just as we use ROVs under the ocean because the environment is hostile and they are cheaper than manned systems, so we should deal with space exploration. The purpose of space exploration is to learn about the universe. The purpose of human sustainment experiments is only to learn how to sustain humans. These things are not the same.

The commercial world will eventually develop ways to send rich tourists to space, which is perfectly appropriate.
NASA should be doing pure research, not romantic tourism. So what if other countries put up more people sooner? We do the very same thing they did with our previous research and exploit it later.

Re:Progess (2, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478377)

We don't _need_ supersonic aircraft for passenger use, the public didn't want to pay for it, so Concorde is history.

That, and the fact that it was banned from flying supersonically over the US (ostensibly for environmental reasons), reducing the number of routes it could take dramatically, and the fact that it had that crash in Paris. Plus it was an Anglo-French project and the British and French flag-carriers were the only ones who could ever be persuaded to fly the damn things.

Re:Progess (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479175)

Not "that and" anything. Concorde had one crash, ever, a good 20 odd years after the stupid woman in NY complained about the noise. You wouldn't hear it over the cars these days. Concorde was making a profit. Politics took that bird down, the same as every other British technological advance since the US became the saviour of the human race. Our rocketry was part of the space race, our technology and innovation helped create satellites, manned rockets, computers and the atom bomb, and yet here we are buying shit from the US of A. So much for trans-atlantic cooperation. We cooperate, you sell us the results. cheers. 10 to 1 the next supersonic airplane looks just like concorde. I wonder if we'll get royalties ?

Re:Progess (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481711)

I'm British too, before you start blaming me for the ills of our relationship with America!

Concorde had one crash, but flew so few flights with so few people that statistically it was more dangerous than the 747. In addition, the safety record was blemished by other major incidents that were hushed up by the airlines and airports. I know this sounds like a conspiracy, but my source on this was Private Eye at the time, who pointed out that Concorde had previously suffered the same problem as caused the Paris crash.

BA was the only liner to operate it at a profit, and even that is not certain as they didn't publish separate accounts for the service. The stats I've seen say £0.05b on £1b costs, which meant that the aircraft performed slightly worse than the average UK cash-only savings account at the time, with much higher risks. They only really made money in the boom years; not surprising as they're currently struggling to make sub-sonic business class work. As couchslug points out, people didn't want to pay for the service; it wasn't high enough value to justify the costs to them.

One other factor brought Concorde down; Airbus were going to stop maintaining it after 2003.

I think the prestige of Concorde was the only thing keeping it in the air; the economics and usefulness of it were pretty marginal. The cool-factor was eroded at the Paris crash, and it started to look more like a dangerous piece of out-dated machinery than the ultra-modern jet it started off as, which meant that airlines were no longer willing to tolerate the poor returns on it as a sort of loss-leader.

Re:Progess (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477687)

In a way it is. We, joe public, want cheap airfares and only cheap airfares. So expensive planes like the Concorde were no long a good long term investment (supersonic flight is always going to cost more fuel than subsonic). The development is that almost anyone, and almost everyone in the western world now travels all over the world. Its no long just the rich jet setters... *Thats progress*!

The shuttle costs ~500M per flight... Thats one expensive first class ticket.... Getting back to normal people is what we want... I think.. And that mean no room for a flying elephant.

Re:Progess (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479275)

I hate to break it to you but people were taking package holidays on jets way before Concorde first flew. Cheap air fares are not a result of the failure of concorde. Concorde was profitable, and it was only the decision of the airframe maintainers that lead to its withdrawal from service. Not because it was unsafe, but because it was old and politically unsound. It may have cost 5000 to fly on concorde, but that was because there were only a few of them. If there had been hundreds, then the per flight cost would have been much lower. It was not 5000 in fuel per person. It was 5000 because there were only 100 seats per flight. You pay for the privilege. I thought that was why we wanted ubiquitous space flight, to bring the price down. At this rate you'll treat it the same as Concorde and give up because it costs too much with only 2 shuttles. Oh wait ...

Cue voice over (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477545)

"Space, the Final frontier...

Its last mission, to Boldly go where no man will go again.

I have the feeling.... (1)

vought (160908) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477947)

This is not how the Face of Boe got his name.

Or maybe so.

Does in include (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478909)

a nigger chick with a bigger dick?

The rover is cool and real (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479103)

Viewing the rover video has convinced me the US will go throuh with this space program. Real work, real schedules, real tests, capable technology. I wish NASA and the US all the best with the upcoming establishment of the lunar base.

Re:The rover is cool and real (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481437)

Viewing the rover video has convinced me the US will go through with this space program. Real work, real schedules, real tests, capable technology. I wish NASA and the US all the best with the upcoming establishment of the lunar base.

Viewing the Congresscritters in office at the moment, I tend to believe that it won't go through. The 'Spacer' faction is just too small to defend the budgets.

What Shuttle could have given us was a delivery of a couple 'transfer stations', modular components for a small station to build 'lunar ferries' to build a fucking colony via the earth orbital rendevous [wikipedia.org] flight profile. The crew would dock and transfer to a ferry in Earth orbit, fly it to the Moon and land in it, do the mission, then return to Earth orbit, dock with the landing capsual, transfer back, and leave the lunar ferry in orbit for the next lunar mission.

Now, park the lunar ferries (say, 3 or 4 of them) at a transfer station itself, built from components, and big enough to 'wetdock' a ferry to do any needed repairs or upgrades for the next set of flights as well as science on any samples, etc. I'm thinking we coulda done this for a few measly billion...

'analog' environment? (1)

Traf-O-Data-Hater (858971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479373)

Didn't he really mean analogous environment, as in 'our desert terrain and texture is analogous to the surface of the moon'. Or did he mean the moon isn't really digital after all?

(Old Timer) (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479415)

I remember waiting for the Space Shuttle to come to be...and remember them naming the first one "Enterprise" just seemed so right. But that was a mock-up; dammit.

Now I suppose I get to wait until the new series gets in place, and watch the fireworks through the *unscheduled* missions, because it'll never be ready on time.

Retirement? (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479683)

So what happens to those astronauts after this? They've got training and a skillset that has essentially been forced into obsolescence. Will NASA sell the shuttles to other countries and then perhaps those countries will bring in astronauts as consultants? Will the astronauts continue to go up, affiliated with NASA, but guests in other countries' programs as we have had guests in ours? Or will they sign on with private programs to help/lend their experience (Are they even allowed, or is there a non-compete agreement with NASA or something of the like?)? Or will they simply retire and fade away?

Re:Retirement? (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479781)

There are always openings at the Astronaut Ice Cream plant. i think nowadays you can just show your flight patch and they'll give you at least an interview.

Hi Mr Armstrong this is OnStar (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479767)

it's interesting how both the Moon and the Earth will be getting electric vehicles at about the same time. That first lunar dealership will have a tough time with initial sales, but it should pick up when moon people realise it's one of the few places to get oxygen too.

Re:Hi Mr Armstrong this is OnStar (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481071)

Will be getting? Learn some history. The Moon had electric vehicles back in the 1970s with the lunar rovers. Of course, Earth had electric vehicles back in the 1830s.

Call me sexist but... (2, Funny)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480317)

Nicole P. Stott - Uhm, oh yes indeed.

FULLY qualified, smart, intelligent and yet still Saaaamokin!

Re:Call me sexist but... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480551)

Arr! And she be just my age, too!

Space exploration has been happening... (1)

Antarctic Pirates (1640435) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480835)

What's with the "space race is over, now it's time for the space exploration race"? We've been exploration space for decades, people. 'Exploration' does not SPECIFICALLY mean going out into space and physically exploring it with our bodies. Exploration is gaining a better understanding of something through scientific means (such as space probes, cameras, satellites, and robots), which is something that is not at all new. The race that will be starting would be more of a "who can land a dude on another planet first" kind of race. Granted, it's still exploration - just not the only kind.

odds (1)

distilate (1037896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482191)

The entire crew will face odds of about 1 in 200 of returning on a soyuz or being killed due to a catastrophic failure.

The shuttle is great and all but really has a few serious weaknesses so its time to move on.

Lunar-Electric Rover (3, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482787)

TFA says the rover is Lunar-Electric. I assume this means it's a hybrid that runs partly on electricity and partly on lunacy.

- RG>

I dare them... (2, Funny)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29483355)

I dare the pilot to do a barrel roll on reentry.

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