×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA’s Contest To Design the Last Shuttle Patch

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the end-of-an-era dept.

NASA 164

rocamargo writes "The space shuttle program is on its way out, but the core of people who built and maintained it will live on. To honor them, NASA gave its employees the chance to design the patch that will commemorate the shuttle program, which is slated to end in September, after STS-133 flies. From the designs of 85 current and former employees, the Shuttle Program Office has selected 15 finalists. The prospective patches, presented here, will be voted on internally by NASA employees and judged by a small panel." I've been thinking a lot lately about the end of the Space Shuttle. For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

164 comments

why have an extra panel at the end? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682122)

Don't they trust the vote?

After the naming contest what would you do? (0, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682322)

Of course I doubt they would go with a shuttle picture with billions blowing out the exhaust as something to highlight.

I wonder how many years our exploration/exploitation of space has been on hold because of the costs of the shuttle program. Would we have people already on the moon? We made this grand celebration of getting into orbit in a fancy science fiction looking way and just stopped.

It was like, ain't this enough? Granted NASA's budget is a drop in the bucket (and no the Iraq war ain't denying NASA any money - it would have gone elsewhere through some other politician fantasy) of the overall federal government but still, how much of a detour was the shuttle?

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682378)

Nobody wants to see a space truck until they need a delivery.

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682504)

Nobody wants to see a space truck until they need a delivery.

More like a space horse and wagon. Because of its expense, the space truck was never invented.

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684240)

Nobody wants to see a space truck until they need a delivery.

Sure, but is it wise to have a "space truck" be your country's only way to get people into orbit?

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684262)

Nobody wants to see a space truck until they need a delivery.

Yup. We're going to regret retiring the Shuttle in the coming years. It may be expensive and even dangerous at times, but rockets are no substitute for it.

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684722)

I think it would also be fair to say that the shuttle is no substitute for rockets. They compliment each other rather than compete, I'd say. Having only one is really stupid.

Re:After the naming contest what would you do? (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684742)

Nobody wants to see a space truck until they need a delivery.

You know how it is.

You get a space truck, and suddenly everyone wants your help moving their space sofas to their new space apartment.

Re:why have an extra panel at the end? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684690)

I just don't see NASA allowing Goatse to be on the mission patch.

KABOOM! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682184)

"I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land."

Who said it was going to land?

A photo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682234)

Of 12 Afghan schoolchildren dragged out of their beds by U.S. troops, tortured and executed. HOORAY USA! -- CFAFI underground commando

All these worlds are yours, except Europa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682236)

Attempt no landing there

I didn't see mine. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682242)

I had a patch with a pig with wings using a walker.

The caption was "We kept it flying boys! Pat yourselves on the back!"

Bad moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30684852)

This should have been modded up instead of down!

Software or hardware? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682286)

Are they talking about a software patch (I would have thought they would have the bugs in the software ironed out by now) or a hardware patch (as in to stick over a tile that is damaged at liftoff by falling ice from the external tank).

Re:Software or hardware? (2, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683524)

Hardware patch. Specifically, I believe they are referring to an inanimate carbon rod. ("aww, they were about to show some close-ups of the rod!")

On the bright side... (2, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682302)

On the bright side, commercial space flight is nearing the point of practicality.

Re:On the bright side... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682492)

Yeah I really look forward to our Blackwater Mecenary Overlords firing on us from on high. Prince will surely have become God then.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683150)

Which is cool, because if we can just buy tickets into space for the mundane stuff, we are free to pour money into the pure science missions.

Not even close (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683292)

On the bright side, commercial space flight is nearing the point of practicality.

The manned commercial ships are strictly suborbital affairs, and achieve a fraction of the velocity needed for orbital flight.

Re:Not even close (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683728)

Not so. SpaceX Dragon was designed to be a manned capsule. The first test launch of Falcon 9 should be in March or April. SpaceX, under a COTS contract with NASA, has 12 missions booked with the Falcon 9 using the Dragon as a pressurized cargo carrier to the ISS. It appears they plan to work toward getting it officially man-rated after that.

Baby steps (2, Interesting)

geek2k5 (882748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684290)

Figure that Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo are part of the baby steps needed to get to orbital manned commercial space flight. They are kind of like the barnstormers that flew from place to place around the country back in the infancy of manned flight, taking people into the air as a thrill.

I seem to recall reading that WhiteKnightTwo, the launch ship series for SpaceShipTwo, will also be used for launching other Earth to space vessels. I wouldn't be surprised if a version of SpaceShipTwo, with a reduced cargo load and a larger fuel supply, managed to reach LEO. (The first one would likely be a single pilot version.)

The hard part would be coming down, because the extra velocity would need to be shed without affecting the 'shuttlecock' wing configuration that made SpaceShipOne work.

Still, given Rutan's expertise, I wouldn't be surprised if there is an orbital flight not long before the commercial jumps start. (Yeah Cal Poly!)

Re:On the bright side... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683698)

On the bright side? if you mean at the point NASA was at in the early 60's doing only suborbital flights, then yes you are right.

Call me when Virgin get's something orbiting in a stable orbit. Or better yet, can launch and get close enough to the ISS to let tourists take photos with point and shoot cameras. THEN it's practical.

ESA, USSR, NASA, and even china are nearly 50 years ahead of commercial spaceflight.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684476)

I only get to call you when Virgin gets something into stable orbit? I can't call you for all the times that private companies have already put something into orbit?

That whole 'put something into orbit' crap is old news. Very old news. As in over 20 years. Thats 2 decades. How old were you when Arianespace was started (thats 1980.) This is a private company making launch vehicles and in 2004 was responsible for over 50% of all satellites that were ever put into geostationary orbit (thats way higher than the ISS)

Sorry, NASA is not a big player in launching into space. NASA is only the cornerstone of MANNED space flight and that, too, is about to be monopolized by private enterprise.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684962)

Arianespace is not entirely private though. Governments in Europe payed significant amounts toward the development of their rockets and they also subsidize losses incurred by Arianespace so the company does not have to make a profit.

Oh really? (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683706)

Have they sent anything into orbit? Have they made a trip to the ISS? Private space companies haven't even achieved what the CCCP did with the Sputnik over fifty years ago.

I had a conversation with one of the people who works at Canaveral. He said it's sad that they're about to destroy decades of work and knowledge of a community that knows how to build, maintain, and successfully launch vehicles into space. A lot of the real brains there are getting old, and if they aren't able to pass on their experiences to the new generation of spaceflight engineers, we are going to find ourselves severely behind in space travel and technology in general.

It's really a pity. The American idea of progress has turned inside out. Investment in spaceflight and the technologies to improve it is apparently is not equal to a month of spending for foreign military invasions. Not exactly a way forward if you ask me.

Re:Oh really? (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684104)

Have they sent anything into orbit?

Um, yes, much more often than NASA. For example, the United Launch Alliance has commercially launched 36 rockets in the past 36 months [satnews.com], SpaceX has had a number of successful launches (and seems to have worked out of their growing pains), and Orbital also launches regularly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_spaceflight#Commercial_launchers [wikipedia.org]

Have they made a trip to the ISS?

If you're include non-US companies, Arianespace has used their Ariane 5 rocket to launch an ATV to the ISS. If you're only including US companies, SpaceX will be launching a prototype of their Dragon capsule this month, with two missions to the ISS this year: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php [spacex.com]

Any other questions?

Re:Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30685050)

United Launch Alliance is Lockheed Martin and Boeing. They launch the deltas and atlases from KSC (technically Cape Canaveral - Air Force side) and from Vandenberg.

Re:Oh really? (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685148)

The ULA uses government funded rocket technology (Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V) to launch satellites by combining two teams from the largest recipients of government grants and contracts, Lockheed and Boeing. I'll cut you a little slack - this is the definition of "private" research and development in the United States.

The rest of SpaceX and Orbital only engage in sub-orbital flight, as I previously said. Restating that they launch suborbital flights isn't going to help the fact that they have never launched anything into space.

If you're include non-US companies, Arianespace has used their Ariane 5 rocket to launch an ATV to the ISS

Arianespace is the only private space company in the world. Located mostly in Europe and owned mostly by Europeans. I'm not sure how this is going to help America remain competitive in new technologies.

I agree that it is time to invest in more private spaceflight companies, but the major advances in the past century were not made by privately funded research and development.

Re:Oh really? (2, Informative)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685244)

The rest of SpaceX and Orbital only engage in sub-orbital flight

That's funny, because I distinctly remember SpaceX putting a payload in orbit [wikipedia.org] recently, with many more flights planned.

Orbital has been doing, well, orbital missions for a long time. See Pegasus, Minotaur, Taurus, etc.

Re:On the bright side... (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683852)

Depends on your definition of "nearing". Private companies have, so far, sent a man into suborbital flight (technically "space", but not high enough to do anything useful, like sustain an orbit). That was almost 6 years ago. Since then, there's been a lot of talk about space tourism, but nothing concrete has materialized. Sure, some companies have taken deposits from people who want to go up, but it's still all suborbital, and it's still unknown when they'll actually make even that happen. They've talked a big game, and taken some pictures of some nice looking airplanes like the carrier for SpaceShip Two, but it's still basically all vapor so far.

Yes, private companies are pretty good at sending small satellites into orbit, but there's no real indication they'll be able to send people even into LEO anytime soon, and you can forget about them doing any kind of exploration.

Re:On the bright side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30684768)

If it was a car In NY state, it would have qualified for antique plates years ago! (vehicle must be 25 years old) Kind of puts NASA into perspective, doesn't it?

And Unemployment is UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682310)

September the unemployment will go up about 0.5 to 1% as a result.....

Number Three... (3, Insightful)

GypC (7592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682336)

... is the best by far. Most of those entries won't embroider well at all.

Re:Number Three... (4, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682552)

Only a few are good, but patch #3 is the best design, five shuttles, and each star represents a lost crew member. An excellent design. Its clean and stylish and represents several ideas.

Re:Number Three... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684912)

A number of the patches incorporate the idea of stars representing lost crew members, but I agree #3 is the best overall. The clean design is very appealing, and I like them showing all five shuttles*. #8 is flashy, but not in a meaningful way -- the shape is supposed to evoke a fine diamond or jewel? Who cares? #10 has a nice concept, the shuttle returning home, with stars showing missions and other stars showing lost astronauts. But the space field is too cluttered with random stuff yet would look too empty without it.

I vote #3. Uh, NASA is reading /. comments right?

* That flew. But seriously, who cares about Enterprise?

How Many shuttles? (2, Interesting)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682402)

Some patches only show 5 shuttles, and dont count Enterprise, but the others do ?

Re:How Many shuttles? (5, Informative)

Kolie (1012967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682436)

To quote wikipedia "The Space Shuttle Enterprise (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-101) was the first Space Shuttle orbiter. It was built for NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program to perform test flights in the atmosphere.[2] It was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight. Originally, Enterprise had been intended to be refitted for orbital flight, which would have made it the second space shuttle to fly after Columbia.[2] However, during the construction of Columbia, details of the final design changed, particularly with regard to the weight of the fuselage and wings. Refitting Enterprise for flight would have involved dismantling the orbiter and returning the sections to subcontractors across the country. As this was an expensive proposition, it was determined to be less costly to build Challenger around a body frame (STA-099) that had been created as a test article.[2] Similarly, Enterprise was considered for refit to replace Challenger after the latter was destroyed, but Endeavour was built from structural spares instead.[2][3]"

Re:How Many shuttles? (3, Insightful)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682514)

I knew that Enterprise never made it to space, I was just surprised that internally at NASA they werent counting it. ( The same as some of them start the project in 1976, instead of 1981)

Re:How Many shuttles? (2, Interesting)

Kolie (1012967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682622)

I would indeed count it among the other shuttles in the program, it seems that some at NASA found it meaningful as well. Others though find it as only an incremental footnote of history.

Re:How Many shuttles? (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684478)

A shuttle that never makes it to space is just that, a shuttle. Not a "space shuttle" ;)

Re:How Many shuttles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30684312)

Patch should include the letters: WOB, TFO, SBU. (way over budget, tiles fell off, some blew up.)

Agree with you, CT (5, Insightful)

Camaro (13996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682404)

It's really quite sad to see another step backward in human spaceflight. I grew up in the '80s when the shuttle was exciting but thought we'd have progressed beyond it by now. As a child a space station meant a large circular wheel with a central hub that thousands of people were living on and which was stepping off point for missions further out. Much as I appreciate the science going on with what we have, it sure would be nice if mankind was a little bolder.

Re:Agree with you, CT (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30683118)

it sure would be nice if mankind was a little bolder

It's a conspiracy. We've been held back by English majors complaining about split infinitives. If wasn't for their constant whining we'd be boldly going across the galaxy by now! But no, you split one little infinitive and they'll bring down an entire space program just to keep the government from repeating and thus sanctioning it.

Whoops, forgot my meds this morning.

Re:Agree with you, CT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30683928)

An AC attempting to be funny gets modded insightful? Somebody must really hate English majors.

Re:Agree with you, CT (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684122)

I disagree. I think unmanned spaceflight is the REAL future, and will provide us with far more useful information than putting meat sacks in a tin can and blasting it into a vacuum.

Re:Agree with you, CT (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684524)

The shuttle had a fundamental design flaw: it put the vehicle carrying precious human cargo beside the huge disposable booster instead of on top of it like every previous spacecraft. This made the shuttle vulnerable to being damaged by foam dislodging from the booster. While the concept of a reusable launch/reentry vehicle seems laudable, in practice the shuttle's implementation of this idea was far from being economically competitive with less sophisticated methods of getting cargo into orbit. As such, I consider the shuttle a failed experiment, and won't have much trouble letting go of it.

Re:Agree with you, CT (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684578)

In defense of the shuttle, I believe it was originally designed to be launched from atop a 747 (much like SpaceShipOne), and the decision to switch to strapping it to a cheap booster instead of an airplane was made at the last moment. Perhaps the shuttle would have fared better had NASA scientists actually been able to bring the original design to fruition.

Landing (1)

uksv29 (167362) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682428)

rocamargo writes
"I've been thinking a lot lately about the end of the Space Shuttle. For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land."

I suspect the crew will be really happy to see STS-133 land! :-)

Preference for #10 (1)

downix (84795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682468)

I like #10 the most, has the most symbology of the bunch without being a ra-ra or bemoaning the passing of the era.

I just hope NASA gets its act together and goes DIRECT [directlauncher.com] before we loose those talented ground ops staff.

Sad to see it land? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682542)

I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land.

So you're saying you'd be happier if it just exploded instead of landing?

Re:Sad to see it land? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683846)

Well some fireworks would brighten up an otherwise sad occasion...

Time to move on (1)

Necron69 (35644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682588)

I also grew up as a big fan of the shuttle program, but as I've gotten older and wiser, I can see what a boondoggle this program was. It never lived up to its goals of reusability and was over the projected costs by orders of magnitude.

Frankly, I'm now glad to see the shuttle retiring and I'm greatly looking forward to the impending launch of the first SpaceX Falcon 9 this spring ( http://www.spacex.com/updates.php [spacex.com] ) . Space will not be conquered with government programs, but by private enterprise and individuals looking to make a profit and a better life.

Necron69

Re:Time to move on (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30683812)

I don't know about the private enterprise aspect of space exploration. Private enterprises are looking for profit and a better life for its shareholders and unless general well being of the public impacts the bottom line, it usually gets left out. That is the nature of a for profit private enterprise. Private enterprise wants to "conquer" space not explore space. Today we are still paying the debt in terms of war and famine from arbitrarily drawn boarders and plundered natural resources from the last great private enterprise "conquests" of the "unknown" world.

Re:Time to move on - agree (2, Interesting)

Markvs (17298) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684596)

It never could! In order to get Nixon to sign off on the Shuttle Program, NASA promised a launch of every three weeks -- something they knew full well would never happen. While it was reusable (well, the orbiter and the boosters anyway), it really was meant to work with a space station -- that is, Skylab. But it wasn't ready in time, so we sat out of space for years.
Now we have a new station that took way longer to build than we expected, which they want to deorbit soon. Frustrating!

IMO, the US should have run a long-term successor to Apollo from the end of the Apollo Applications Program (read: Skylab + Apollo/Soyuz) with the goal of setting up a permanent base on the moon with an eye on a sucessor for Mars.

But, as when you live in a house for too long (or have a job for too long), you stop being objective and stop planning for the far future. This is how we got where we are today -- a NASA that does somethings brilliantly and others not so much.

The shuttle was worth it (1)

mcd7756 (628070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682618)

I grew up on Merritt Island in the 60's and 70's and the space program inspired me in my schooling and life. I hope the shuttle program has inspired some youth with the vision for the next steps in space. Regardless of our manifest failings, space exploration and travel represent fine qualities of the human spirit and give me some hope for what humanity can achieve. I know, it's pretty easy to be cynical given the sheer brutal, nastiness that we demonstrate, but I prefer to focus on the positive. That being said, the "Mission Completed" patch really hit home with me, especially the nebula in the background. It is gorgeous. The others are remarkable, the tributes to the lost astronauts are moving and I'd love to have each of these patches.

I'm sick of this! (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682624)

First they retire the SR-71 without ANY proper replacement...
Now the space shuttle (yeah.. I have known this for a while but I feel like now is the time to let my feelings out!)
What's next? they are going to retire the IIS? GPS satellites? or what!
Americans, you once amused me.. but now.. it's so.. decadent.. it's like the URSS.. depressing..

And don't come with those f22, f35 or "orion" shit.. that's all vaporware.. and no.. the Predator is NOT that cool!
As long as it's not autonomous, it's no big deal! What..? Pilots sitting in the ground and all that.. it's just a harder, better, faster and stronger RC place.

Thanks..

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682812)

What's next? they are going to retire the IIS?

They've actually talked about deorbiting the IIS in 2016 (there's a previous article on /. about it; not bothering to link it, Google it yourself). I doubt they will, but it's been mentioned.

that's all vaporware

They said the same thing in 1976 about the Space Shuttle.

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682814)

The F22 is in service. The F35 may still be vapor. Orion... Yea I am not thrilled but dude? What about the Mars Rovers? What about the missions to the outer planets, what about the mission to Pluto?
Yes it is sad that we have seen to lost our vision for grand mega projects for now. But the actual science and exploration that is being done is wonderful. Since you seem to be from another country why don't you ask your own nation to step up to the plate? All of the EU working together have not built a single maned spacecraft. You hitch rides with the US or Russia. Come folks if you don't think the US is doing enough step up to the plate and show us how it is done. Nothing drives the US like a little competition.

Re:I'm sick of this! (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683164)

All of the EU working together have not built a single maned spacecraft.

You're right, the US & USSR did the lion's share of the heavy lifting into space.

*ducks*

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683248)

First: I was meant to be funny in some way;
second: you are totally right.. I'm brazillian, totally outsider.. but nevertheless we "trusted" americans..
Some other points:
f22 does exist, works pretty good (as long as it's not needed to cross the IDL..) but it's not as thrilling as it should be..
You are right about the eu and well.. the rest of everything else and that's exactly why it "pisses" me off! "You are my only hope"
Well. but the huskies still impress sometimes.. but.. neeeope

Come folks if you don't think the US is doing enough step up to the plate and show us how it is done. Nothing drives the US like a little competition.

That's so right.. should we secretly engineer a second cold war? that would be sooo nice! But who's up to the job? Al Quaeda? no way!

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683012)

First they retire the SR-71 without ANY proper replacement...

And yet, somehow we seem to be getting along just fine without it. Perhaps we don't really need an SR-71.

Re:I'm sick of this! (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683448)

we do have proper replacements, spy satellites can drop down to 70 miles orbit. they make the SR-71 look like your great grandma on a walker

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

virg_mattes (230616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683664)

First they retire the SR-71 without ANY proper replacement...

There's no need for a super high speed surveillance plane any more. The job the Blackbird did (and did well, I might add) can now be done just as well by spy satellites that are cheaper and safer. The SR-71 was simply made obsolete by advancing technology, so it disappeared just like the P-51 Mustang.

Virg

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683838)

SR71 replacement, It's called SPY satellites, we can see things from space that the antique SR71 could not do for us in it's heyday.
Shuttle Replacement, already designed. a "spaceplane was never practical. It's why the Russians abandoned their shuttle and stuck with what works. What we need is a big heavy reliable lifting platform, not a SCiFi knock off designed to look pretty. We need to get big stuff into space if we will ever make it to mars. the Mars trip vehicle will have to be assembled in orbit.

IIS? yup gonna be de-orbited like Space-lab and we will get another 25+ years without a space station.

Now the military is better funded. the GPS replacement is already being launched. and yes, your GPS constellation will eventually be de-orbited as well...

Re:I'm sick of this! (3, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684410)

Eh, just replying here to a bunch of other sibling responses. Newer spy-sats can indeed do a lot of things the Blackbird could do, as well as some stuff that the Blackbird couldn't do. But to claim that they could completely replace the Blackbird is a bit much. Spy sats all follow known orbits. It is possible to compute those orbits and avoid/hide from spy sats. Both sides of the cold war did that a lot, which is part of the reason why the U2 and Blackbird were so useful. Does that mean that we NEED the Blackbird (taking its costs and other stuff into account)? Not necessarily. But I'm sure there have been cases since its retirement where government or military leaders sat back and went "if only we still had a Blackbird". Assuming they haven't been duping us the whole time, and they actually did replace it with something better.

And on that note, the U-2 is still in active use (they call it the TR-1 now). So one of the ironies there is that the U-2 outlasted its replacement.. by a lot. If anything, it shows that there's still use for long range human recon planes (compared to spy sats). Though I guess UAVs are gonna completely take over that role soon enough.

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684590)

The engines!! The engines fellas! You only car about war, economics, information... what about the engines!
forget it.. forget my post.. mod it troll for once!

Re:I'm sick of this! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684688)

But to claim that they could completely replace the Blackbird is a bit much. Spy sats all follow known orbits. It is possible to compute those orbits and avoid/hide from spy sats. Both sides of the cold war did that a lot, which is part of the reason why the U2 and Blackbird were so useful.

Indeed, thanks for saying that so I didn't have to. Being able to put a camera over something whenever you want is a big advantage for spy planes.

But I'm sure there have been cases since its retirement where government or military leaders sat back and went "if only we still had a Blackbird".

Eh I'm not so sure. What would that be?

And on that note, the U-2 is still in active use (they call it the TR-1 now). So one of the ironies there is that the U-2 outlasted its replacement.. by a lot. If anything, it shows that there's still use for long range human recon planes (compared to spy sats). Though I guess UAVs are gonna completely take over that role soon enough.

Well yeah. The reason we built the SR-71 in the first place was so that we could fly over a country with sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses and have it not be shot down (like happened to the U-2). Once the cold war was over, suddenly all the places we were interested in were places where even a U-2 is essentially invulnerable. So why send a plane that is as impressive in its expense and wastefulness as it is in performance?

UAVs are pretty much already the "eye in the sky" of choice. They're a lot better in many respects. For one, they're cheaper so if they do get shot down it's not as big a deal, and there's no pilot for them to parade around on video. For two, they have vastly superior loiter capability to previous spy planes.

If we ever get in a scuffle with Russia or China or something, we may want something with SR-71-like capabilities, but that's no reason to keep the project alive for however many decades or fund a speculative replacement. In a pinch, I'm sure something like the JSF is flexible enough to be made into a spy plane.

#5 is the best... (2)

PHPNerd (1039992) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682708)

...because it names Enterprise among the ships. #10 runs a close second due to this fact as well. Either way, Enterprise needs to be on the final patch as it played a crucial role in the program. (and it must be honored for nerdiness sake)

Semi-related question (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682734)

How practical is it to travel to Florida to see a shuttle launch in person? It seems like most of the launches these days are delayed weeks or longer from their originally-scheduled dates. I'd like to see the last one, but obviously if it means renting a room there for a month it's not really something I could do.

Proposed Patch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682740)

How about showing the hind end of a dog, with its tail between its legs.

I too will be sad to see the shuttle go (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682784)

...I made a few comments about this End of an Era on my blog a few days ago. Follow the link in my signature.

My favs (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682822)

#8 appeals to the art deco aficionado in me, and #12 is just beautiful. As others have pointed out, however, it is likely that neither of them will embroider particularly well.

Why not just build new shuttles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30682878)

I understand the need to retire the aging space shuttle fleet but I've always wondered .... why not just build new ones? I'm sure it would cost $Texas but it couldn't be more expensive than this constellation program they are trying to get off the ground (pun SO intended).

Shuttle Wasted 30 years (4, Insightful)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683174)

"For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land." -- Well for someone MY age, the Shuttle with its false promises of cheap access to space is what destroyed the Apollo-Saturn progression of vehicles and stagnated real manned space exploration for 30 years. Good riddance; it is time to get back to business with Constellation or some other Apollo type vehicles which will take us beyond LEO.

Re:Shuttle Wasted 30 years (3, Insightful)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683650)

Or was it Apollo-Saturn with its promise of quick and dirty into space before the Soviets what destroyed the progression of the X-15/X-20 spaceplane program and stagnated space exploration for years.

Re:Shuttle Wasted 30 years (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685144)

Hmmm, interesting, the little bit of wisdom at the bottom of this particular slashdot page for me was:

Many aligators will be slain, but the swamp will remain.

Coincidentally fitting for the nostalgia I would say, don't you all think? Space will remain. If you want to get there, go buy a book about orbital theory and help us get there =)

Re:Shuttle Wasted 30 years (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685232)

Or was it Apollo-Saturn with its promise of quick and dirty into space before the Soviets what destroyed the progression of the X-15/X-20 spaceplane program and stagnated space exploration for years.

This.

My father was a NASA engineer for Apollo. He and his colleagues were almost unanimous in their opinion that what they were doing was a neat trick, but a distraction from their real business of building spaceplanes. He also worked for what was then Martin Marietta on the early stages of the Shuttle design, in the "big bird / little bird" days, and pretty much left aerospace in disgust when he saw how things were going. We really ended up with the worst of both worlds -- an expensive, shoddily built spaceplane attached to a big dumb booster -- and frankly Apollo had as much to do with that as STS.

I'm lucky (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683266)

"For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land."

Reading that, I feel lucky to have grown up watching the space program when we were testing the limits of our abilities and every flight brought us closer to landing on the moon. There was a sense of adventure that's been missing since then.

Eheh (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685190)

And what generation has been behind all the budget cuts since those days of adventure? When the world has become boring, see wether you voted for the guy who promised lower taxes.

Poor wording (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683344)

I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land.

As opposed to something.... more spectacular? They've already done that a couple of times.

FRIST PS@OT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30683618)

for aal pr4ctical

Open source shuttle? (1)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683922)

For a second there, I thought they were talking about a software patch. WTF? NASA is open-sourcing the shuttle???

When I realized they were talking about embroidery...boy, talk about a buzz-kill!

Assistance for a Question - Help pls (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683962)

Offtopic, perhaps, but I hope someone will read this and have a direction I can go to search...

When I was young, in the early '80s, publicity for the shuttle and other Nasa stuff was high. I was at a museum and saw a huge rocket, and there was material on TV, though my memories of it are dim. Associated with this Nasa material there was some music. I still remember listening to it and thinking "The future! Space! Amazing!" I was maybe 4-6 years old.

I've searched for it now and again, but haven't come up with anything remotely close. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone know where I can get a copy / hear it again?

Bah. "Space Travel" Was Heading To Other WORLDS. (2, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684026)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the end of the Space Shuttle. For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land.

.

And for someone as old as me, "space travel" was the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, when we put men on the moon in less than a decade. That was when NASA wasn't afraid to take risks -- yes, to put it bluntly, when we accepted that there would be some casualties.

I'm not making light of the shuttle program, but "Space travel" ... i.e., the Space Program -- is a weak shadow of those heady days. Back when I was a kid, everyone wanted to be an astronaut. That was the highest goal for a young geek like me. I actually dreamed that one day I might have at least a fractional chance of setting foot on Mars, or Titan, or Ganymede. Nowadays? Since the "Space Program" has been pared down to a safe, repeatable, predictable, Do-The-Same-Boring-Things and Haul Satellites Into Orbit again and again, no one cares.

Right over our heads are all the raw materials and resources we will need for the conceivable life of the entire human race. Copper? Gold? Iron? Even some basic Organics and aromatics? They're all out there. If we had people with the guts to do "unsafe" things, in spite of what some Nanny Stater might think, we could even encourage private exploration -- and the payoff might be astronomical (pun intended) for the first prospector to lay claim to an asteroid filled with gold, or rhodium, or some other precious metal. (And yes, it's statistically possible ... even likely; look it up.)

Bah. Most kids don't even know what "Space Travel" is. The closest they get is watching Apollo 13, assuming that they're watching special effects and a half-fictitious, dramatized story, when it truth, it was actually a lot tenser than was portrayed in the movie, especially the first 24 hours, and the discussion that led to that last "burn" to get them to earth more quickly. What that movie DID capture was the way that it felt, as I sat there as a young kid watching the TV, as Houston said over and over, "Odyssey, this is Houston, do you copy ..." I can remember how my heart went into throat while I waited for them to respond just before splashdown. But you know what? If they had died, I'd have grieved and mourned, but I was have considered it worth it. They would have died for something.

Safe Landing (2, Insightful)

4pins (858270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684146)

"I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land."
Challenger breaking up on re-entry hit me very hard. I will be happy to see it land, safely.

Re:Safe Landing (1)

nbvb (32836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684622)

That would be Columbia. We lost Challenger just 73 seconds after she lifted off.

From the title I though software patch (1)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684532)

and they would choose the best entry to upgrade some of the software on board the shuttle..thank god they have better mechanisms in place for that sort of thing

Cowboy (1)

jdc18 (1654245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684696)

I thought at least one of the patches had a cowboy riding a shuttle or at least a cowboy hat on a shuttle

Crap (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685274)

I already missed all of the Saturn V launches, now I'm probably going to miss seeing the last shuttle launch as well? I need more vacation time :P

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...