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After Discovery's Launch, What's Left For the Shuttle?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the short-timer dept.

NASA 150

coondoggie writes "NASA space shuttle Discovery rocketed into orbit this morning and, despite some communications problems, is slated to dock with the International Space Station in the wee hours of Wednesday, April 7. After this mission NASA has only three shuttles scheduled to launch, though speculation persists that the program may be extended. NetworkWorld has a roundup of what the last Shuttle missions consist of and what happens next."

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150 comments

FP (-1, Troll)

PDX (412820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744136)

End of skynet!

Re:FP (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744304)

What do you mean by "end"? It's about to be completed!

Re:FP (2, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745124)

True, the iPad probably was the last missing piece.

Re:SR (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744714)

The summary says it right there: Three shuttle missions. Unless they're talking about how they only have the atlantis, discovery, and endeavour. If that's the case, then "After this mission NASA has only three shuttles scheduled to launch" needs to be changed to "After [Columbia's destruction] NASA has only three shuttles scheduled to launch".

This has been the case since what, 2003?

Re:SR (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745236)

One of the problems with the shuttle is that it is too big and expensive to launch - due to requirements from DoD.

What was under development during the 70's were a lot of smaller alternatives - small shuttles for personnel etc.

There are advantages with having a shuttle - it allows for a more controlled landing, which means that you can revise flight path and landing place to some extent. And with a new generation there is room for using better/lighter materials. In design of a new shuttle it may even be possible to design it so it can be able to use major commercial landing strips in case it's necessary.

A capsule also has some merits - it is a simple object that is reliable. Unfortunately the landing is less precise. You can land a capsule on ground, but landing on water is preferred. However that also means that you need an extensive operation for retrieving the capsule.

And I suspect that the astronauts involved would really like to be in control of the vehicle as much as possible.

Typo In Summary (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744140)

After's Discovery's Launch, What's Left For the Shuttle?

My guess is that the shuttle is probably going to go look for its precious's

(sorry.... couldn't resist)

Reduce the debt via... (1, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744198)

Ebay?

Re:Reduce the debt via... (4, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744510)

They started taking bids from museums a year or two ago, and closed the bidding last month [discovery.com] . Currently marked down to the bargain-basement price of $28 million each, [thetechherald.com] including shipping, no quantity discounts.

Re:Reduce the debt via... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31746154)

More importantly, what's left for NASA once the entire USA has been taken over by sub 70 IQ THIRD WORLDERS?

Oh, I forget! "Diversity is our strength" and "We're all the same", so the blacks will magically add another 30 points to their IQs and be able to compete with the Germans who actually put men on the moon!

Say goodbye to your country, but at least you weren't 'racist', right?

Re:Reduce the debt via... (2, Funny)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746650)

A+++, fast shipment! Would buy again

Re:Reduce the debt via... (0, Troll)

goldenseller01 (1784086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747318)

http://www.golden-seller.com/ [golden-seller.com] Jersey $23 Sunglass $12 Purse: $12 Necklace $15 Bracelet $15 handbag $33 Bikini $23 http://www.golden-seller.com/ [golden-seller.com] High quality,competitive price,accept paypal,fast delivery

"...the program may be extended..." (4, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744200)

It will.

Re:"...the program may be extended..." (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744702)

It probably will be extended a little, but not significantly for three important reasons. The budget game in Washington is such that you can fly the Shuttle or develop a heavy lift replacement (or exclusive to both of those, some sort of beyond Earth orbit program). Sure the US is a wealthy country and could afford to run many space-related things at once. But it's not going to. The extension proposals seem to launch the Shuttle twice a year, which aside from being a pathetic launch rate (which causes serious safety issues), result in massive cost per launch, somewhere in excess of a billion dollars per launch.

Second, the Shuttle doesn't serve a useful role in any serious US space program. The only argument for it is ro provide "downmass" from the ISS (that is, returning mass from the ISS safely to Earth). All those other fancy capabilities are near useless for what the Shuttle is used for.

Third, the supply chain for the Shuttle has been completely disrupted. The US already has shutdown the facilities for making external tanks. The SRBs probably will be shut down this year or next. And there's only three orbiters. Sure we could spend a bunch of money to restart that manufacture, but what would be the point? See the first two problems above.

Re:"...the program may be extended..." (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744740)

alternatively: it wont.

I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (0, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744256)

We need to bomb more terrorists. There are about six billion people in the world and at least a quarter of them are probably terrorists or enemyes of freedom so we need more bombs and shit with space missiles and shit! Oboma is a pussy, he won't do this nucular.

Re:I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744646)

Just because one dumbass president kept saying 'nucular' doesn't make it a real word.

You mean 'nuclear'.

P.S.: lame troll. As for enemies of freedom, check a few posts ago about how the American Army killed civilians and tried to cover it up. USA is the leader of evil.

Re:I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (1, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744870)

Just because one dumbass president kept saying 'nucular' doesn't make it a real word.

Jimmy Carter used to consistently say "nucular" when he was president. Is that who you're talking about? I ask because he was, by all accounts, considered to be rather intelligent.

Re:I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745424)

I think the GP is referring to George Bush Junior, who also pronounced it 'nucular' on several occasions

Re:I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745844)

whoosh!

Re:I think they should use it to bomb terrorists (1)

Zippy_wonderslug (990892) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746066)

And a Nuclear/nucular engineer at that.

Record number of women! (2, Funny)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744260)

How many iPads do you think they brought up?

Re:Record number of women! (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744436)

Two for each crew member.

Re:Record number of women! (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746262)

How many iPads do you think they brought up?

Two for each crew member

This somehow invokes the image of Dr Strangelove standing up from his wheelchair - "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!"

Re:Record number of women! (1, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744676)

So, I guess I'm supposed to reply "depends for how many months they'll be up there" and then I get modded funny or something.

The iPad = feminine hygiene pad joke was lame and childish when it started, now it's just pathetic. Just like the childish jokes about the Nintendo Wii.

Will the iPad mop up the Wii? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744800)

The iPad = feminine hygiene pad joke was lame and childish when it started, now it's just pathetic. Just like the childish jokes about the Nintendo Wii.

What if I combine them?!?

Re:Record number of women! (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744810)

The iPad = feminine hygiene pad joke was lame and childish when it started, now it's just pathetic. Just like the childish jokes about the Nintendo Wii.

It's funny you brought that up, because the iPad can help you control your Wii, too.

Re:Record number of women! (1)

PhongUK (1301747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745676)

Why would they take iPads? If nasa thought pads were useful in space they would have built their own years ago.

Re:Record number of women! (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746336)

None because they don't allow Li-Ion or Li-Poly batteries on the Shuttle.

So after 28 years... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744266)

So after 28 years, we don't have a replacement for the shuttle yet? In less than half the time, mankind went from sending metal orbs in orbit to landing a man on the moon. After 28 years in the US we can't even backport an older design and make a working manned spacecraft.

Re:So after 28 years... (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744294)

Between 2.5 wars, a few major natural disasters, an economic mess, a heaping helping of social programs and agriculture subsidies, and the US's loss of the world tech leadership position....we just couldn't seem to find the time.

Busy and Lazy can have the same effect.

Re:So after 28 years... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744342)

...Because we all know that the 1960s were just a happy time!

Lets see, Coalition forces dead in both Iraq and Afghanistan total 6,411 in 2010. 58,159 died in Vietnam. The US has been pretty stable in recent years with the exception of 9/11, compared to massive domestic instability, the assassination of a president, the time closest the world has come to total nuclear destruction, the cold war, etc.

Yeah, the 1960s were just a -great- time.

Yeah, we aren't going to great in 2010, but we, and the world, are a whole lot more stable now than we were when we landed a man on the moon.

Re:So after 28 years... (1, Informative)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744366)

...Because we all know that the 1960s were just a happy time!

I guess you don't know the Apollo program was cut short due to Vietnam.

There were many more moon shots scheduled when the program was shut down in order to send more resources to Vietnam.

Re:So after 28 years... (4, Interesting)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744428)

No, there weren't. There were exactly three more Apollo flights planned. Those are the three Saturn V lawn ornaments scattered around NASA centers. Those weren't models or mock-ups; they were fully operational, man-rated moon-rockets that could have been used with little additional expenditure. Nearly all of the funds that could have potentially been "saved" were already spent; the hardware was already bought and built.

The program was killed not to "free up money" for Vietnam, but to kill a program that nobody in power really wanted but couldn't eliminate until it succeeded without appearing to spit on JFK's grave.

It wasn't -just- vietnam (2)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744592)

It was also that medicare exploded during the early 1970s. Entitlements exploded, and the cost of the war exploded, and the price of oil exploded when the USA devalued its currency and dropped the gold standard.

Re:It wasn't -just- vietnam (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746372)

It was... the income taxes sucking the life out of our industries...

Re:So after 28 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744498)

I disagree. According to the media, I'm about to die at any moment from either health-related problems, a terrorist attack from some foreign religious extremists, or angry anti-tax nut-jobs who are pissed at the Federal Government for giving banks more money after the banks completely fried the economy from mismanaged lending practices and imaginary insurance markets.

I'm gonna die man!!!! I'm gonna DIE!!!!!!!!!!

Re:So after 28 years... (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744508)

Actually, we had a much better economy and manufacturing back then. In addition, we did not have the kind of hatred that we see today in our politics. Yes, they fought over Johnsons give aways, BUT, overall, politicans represented AMERICA and AMERICANS. Now, politicians represents any company in the world that attaches themselves to the pols zipper and lines their pockets. Look at how W/neo-con regime allowed China to disregard their legal obligations just so that they could invade/occupy Iraq. Now, look at the fact that Obama is not reporting on countries that manipulate their money, of which the WORST is China (fixed at 7 yuans to 1 dollar for quite some time; Many economists think it should be anywhere from 3, or possibly 1, yuan to a dollar). Basically, America, the land of the free and brave, has losts its morals, and its way.

Re:So after 28 years... (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744638)

Now, look at the fact that Obama is not reporting on countries that manipulate their money, of which the WORST is China (fixed at 7 yuans to 1 dollar for quite some time; Many economists think it should be anywhere from 3, or possibly 1, yuan to a dollar). Basically, America, the land of the free and brave, has losts its morals, and its way.

China's monetary policy would be a gift to any rational competitor who can print dollars. The US could just buy a massive amount of yuan (say a few hundred billion dollars worth or more) and close down this fixing scheme instantly (the US would exit the strategy by buying back dollars with the now more expensive yen, making a big profit). If China tries to print more yen to play the game, then sell yen to crash the market (alternately, provide your rival, more competitive yuan/dollar exchange). The dynamic of the big export economy in China means the US would win sooner or later. Instead the US apparently bought up to 1.25 trillion dollars [google.com] worth of iffy real estate to prop up some failed businesses.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

Al's Hat (1765456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744650)

"Lets see, Coalition forces dead in both Iraq and Afghanistan total 6,411 in 2010. 58,159 died in Vietnam."

Looks like we forgot how to deal with unemployment...

Seriously, we have let our manufacturing base mostly disappear, outsourced many of our technical roles overseas, and chosen to let other countries take the lead. If our politicians of both parties could get on the same page instead of doing their utmost to do in the other we might be able to regain our role as innovators and leaders.

Re:So after 28 years... (-1, Flamebait)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746068)

We CHASED the manufacturing jobs overseas via the income taxes making our products unviably expensive. We can either have high wages and provide good lives for our citizens, or we can have high income tax rates. Of course the gov't chose the latter. We need to take back the gov't, kill the income taxes dead, all of them, and return manufacturing and therefore prosperity to the USA. Nothing else is going to work. The income taxes have been killing our economy slowly for about 50 years. Things have been getting steadily worse. Ever notice how we used to have a recession, it'd be an annoyance for a short time, and we'd recover fairly quickly? Now they're projecting high unemployment for years to come. Why? The income tax has killed our ability to recover, because we don't have GOOD jobs for people to fill. Good jobs aren't found in Wal Mart and McDonalds, they're found in a Ford plant, building the world's best cars. But a lot of car company plants are in Mexico and Canada, chased overseas by the income taxes. Thanks to the income taxes, we have a choice of paying workers peanuts in order to have a reasonably competitively priced product, or moving production out of the country. Since workers won't work for peanuts, there's no alternative to moving the production out of the country. Get rid of the income taxes, and the money that was going to pay them can go to higher wages, and put many Americans to work to drive a consumer-driven recovery. No jobs == no recovery, and that's what's going on now.

Re:So after 28 years... (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744744)

"but we, and the world, are a whole lot more stable now"

And there's the problem. Stability means demanding ever more TV channels to entertain us. Instability means working your butt off to make sure you're better than the other guy.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744946)

I liked the mid to late 80s, loved the 90s, but this decade (2000-2010) sucked major ass! And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I'm proved wrong.

F%&K! If only there was something to be optimistic about. How about some innovation, motivation, revelation, even a positive revolution would be nice for a change.

Re:So after 28 years... (2, Insightful)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744396)

You obviously were neither alive during the 1960s nor are a student of history.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744450)

I don't know if GP was alluding to this, but he may have been. The only reason we haven't gotten as far lately - not enough crap to stress out over. There's nothing pushing us to the brink, which is what forced us to improve technology immensely, including the space program, during the cold war era.

Re:So after 28 years... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744400)

Well, if less time was spent picking fights with other countries, you'd have more time/money for space exploration.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744504)

Nah, that's just media drama. We went to the Moon because of the Red Scare, and to wow the world by doing something very difficult and impressive that had never been done before. The Vietnam War, the Counter-culture of the 1960s, racial inequality, bad schools, the relative decline of America, and natural disasters didn't stop us.

Now, what is the point of a return trip? Men on the Moon has been done. No one doubts we could do it again if we really wanted to. All sorts of health evaluations and experiments have been done. There's little reason to send people into space until we work out the enormous difficulties of colonizing other worlds and have the means and a plan that has good odds of working. Mere visits, to Mars or anywhere else, are in a sense uninteresting, not when unmanned probes can accomplish far more for the cost. Sure, we should shoot for at least one successful manned visit to Mars, for a variety of reasons, but perhaps not anytime soon. There's no big hurry, and after whatever a short visit can accomplish, we should focus on colonization and other practical matters. For instance, installing and maintaining telescopes and other scientific gear and whatever other tasks which are best done by a person.

Re:So after 28 years... (2, Interesting)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744626)

Now, what is the point of a return trip? Men on the Moon has been done. No one doubts we could do it again if we really wanted to.

I disagree. I don't think we could do it again. Others feel the same way. [nationalreview.com]

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745872)

That article is just silly political posturing, not a factual argument. If you've got an actual reason behind your disagreement, I'd love to hear it.

Re:So after 28 years... (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746012)

You know a good way to "work out" work out how to do something? You stop paying people to theorise about how you might do it, and you start the countdown to doing it.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746096)

There's little reason to send people into space until we work out the enormous difficulties of colonizing other worlds and have the means and a plan that has good odds of working.

And just how do you think we're going to get to that point? Do you think long-duration spaceflight and routine space access just happen? That we can just sit on our asses and wait for that tech to develop out of thin air?

I've got some news for you: Paper studies are not hardware. Reports and analysis do not equal experience. Powerpoint presentations do not get metal (or plastic, glass, flesh, etc) off the ground. In order to gain experience, to learn, to be able to come up with a spacecraft that we can use for colonization... we have to fly. You need practical, real-world, hands-on experience building and flying spacecraft. And you need successive generations of spacecraft, each one building on the last, to incorporate what you've learned and try out new things.

See, the tech needed for spaceflight isn't that common. In other fields, you can sometimes sit back and wait without having to do the basic research and prototyping for yourself because someone else is doing it for their purposes. If you need faster processors, for example, you don't have to sit there and build processors yourself--there is enough demand from other fields that the work is getting done. But you don't see that going on with high-efficiency rockets, electric thrusters, vacuum-rated hardware, long-term closed-cycle enviornmental control, etc.

What you're advocating is the equivalent of sitting back in 1905 and declaring that airplanes are useless, that nobody should worry about messing with them or using them until they could bring people across oceans in air-conditioned comfort, with a movie to entertain them.

Re:So after 28 years... (3, Informative)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744542)

I don't believe it has anything to do with lazy or "couldn't find the the time". People got bored with the idea, as much as that thought boggles my mind. The movie, Apollo 13, covered some of it in passing. People weren't tuning in to watch about it much until something went wrong. The hype with space was beating the USSR to putting a man on the moon, and once that was over with, people lost interest. We have people to this day that think that any space program isn't worth the money. Waning public interest in space and lots of political self interest (let's buy some more votes with social programs!) are really to blame.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745542)

we've lost the world's tech leadership position? Really? And who made the Internet?

Or, lets go the other direction...who would you put ahead of us, and for what? Linus came here for a reason, I'm pretty sure. We have most the patents, our problem is that many countries don't respect patents.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

Savage650 (654684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746062)

we've lost the world's tech leadership position? Really? And who made the Internet?

That was 40 years ago.

[..] We have most the patents, our problem is that many countries don't respect patents.

No (sane) country "respects" US patents unless forced by military or economic pressure. The US patent system (that had originally been introduced to protect inventors) has been completely subverted into legalized racketeering.

BTW: the patent mess is just a symptom of the real problem: big money has long since abandoned the idea of "making stuff" (i.e. creating value through work) in favor of "selling licenses" (i.e. collecting monopoly rent on imaginary property).

Re:So after 28 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744296)

Money isn't there. Plus people just don't care.

Re:So after 28 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744412)

The Saturn V didn't just pop out of vacuum in a decade, nor did the R-7 Semyorka simply wink into existence in 1957.

I think it is reflective of our relatively peaceful times that development of ballistic payload systems has dwindled. After all, the only driving need for rapid delivery of nosecone-sized payloads is scientific or commercial these days.

Could NASA have gone to the moon in 1969 if in the late 40s the military tacticians of the world had decided that jet-powered high-altitude bombers were a "good enough" delivery system for nuclear armament?

Re:So after 28 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744664)

Or it could also be that reality sunk in? Space is empty. There's nothing there for us. We are not meant to be in space.
Why can't you see it that way?
Manned space flight is mostly a political game. It has zero returns and requires enormous amounts of energy.

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744964)

Typical loserboy thinking. Real men - jocks - are meant to be exactly where they want to be. It's the lowlife nerd who immediately surrenders without a fight because of his loser mentality, his inability to stand up to challenge. The jock accepts no limitations and does whatever he feels up to, the nerd stays in his basement trying to console himself with the erroneous thought that since he can't do it, nobody can. The real world says otherwise.
Take your defeatist attitude to the bathroom where you furiously masturbate to kiddie porn while we shit on your face.

Re:So after 28 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744710)

After 28 years in the US we can't even backport an older design and make a working manned spacecraft.

Haven't isn't the same as can't.

Seriously, what is "Score 5 Insightful" about that comment?

Re:So after 28 years... (1)

rubi (910818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746454)

Maybe because all the "safety requirements" for an activity that is inherently unsafe (strapped to what is essentially a bomb is NOT safe!) delay the process and increase costs beyond what is "economically feasible".

To quote Michael Dell (-1, Flamebait)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744300)

I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

Job's famous retort. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744614)

I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

Dell said that about Apple, and when Apple passed Dell in market cap, Steve Jobs very famously sent out an email to the entire Apple team saying "Hah hah, we beat you Dell. Should Dell be shut down and given back to the shareholders..."

Better question is whats gona happen on ebay? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744318)

Now that NASA wont be buying overpriced outdated computer hardware to repair the shuttle with, how's that gona effect the price of a hardened 386 on eBay?

Discovery isn't done (3, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744348)

The last scheduled shuttle flight is also Discovery, so today's launch doesn't signify the end of anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-133 [wikipedia.org]

Gather Rust and Dust in a Museum (1)

Game_Ender (815505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744458)

Billions of dollars of finely crafted hardware will just gather dust in a museum or rust in an outside rocket yard. Its what happened to perfectly functional Apollo hardware, its what will happen to the shuttles.

Re:Gather Rust and Dust in a Museum (2, Insightful)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744530)

Or we could keep flying them, at excruciating cost, until every last one blows itself up, leaving nothing for future generations to remember a whole era of spaceflight by. The only reason the hardware cost so many billions of dollars is because so many man-hours went into retrofitting and repairing it to actually work. Face it, the only way to not have this problem is to take control of space travel away from politicians.

Re:Gather Rust and Dust in a Museum (2, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745082)

Sunk cost, go read up on it.

Launch in July & September (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744466)

As far as I can tell, there are two more scheduled launches - in July (Endeavour - STS 134) and September (Discovery - STS 133), both from Florida. I'm thinking of taking a road trip in the Summer in part to see the July launch. Does anyone here know how easy or hard it is to get tickets to see launches, and whether it's worth the trip?

Re:Launch in July & September & May (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744518)

Shoot, I didn't count the May launch of STS 132 (Altantis). The original question stands, though.

- OP

Re:Launch in July & September (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744874)

It isn't a sporting event. There are no tickets. You just go to a pier and watch. The visitor's complex at Kennedy also has a good view. It is best to watch it from near the water, because you can see the waves of fish jump up from the shock waves of the launch.

Re:Launch in July & September (3, Informative)

GvG (776789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745498)

You can buy tickets to see the launch from the NASA causeway, which is the closest publicly-accessible viewing site. See http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/space-shuttle-launch-viewing-tickets.aspx [kennedyspacecenter.com] . For the previous couple of launches, these sold out in minutes. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/view/view_shuttle.html [nasa.gov] lists some off-site viewing locations.
Personally, I think it's totally worth it.

Re:Launch in July & September (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31746794)

"in July (Endeavour - STS 134) and September (Discovery - STS 133)

133 comes after 134 ? I guess NASA isn't that good at math huh? (Is that metric or imperial)

Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744588)

We'll navel-gaze about how great it is that we finally put the 'space cowboys' out of business and then begin trying to figure out which greedy corporation is responsible for 'killing' 'children' when their parents health plan ceases to cover them at 26.

It's China's planet now.

They will extend. (1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744604)

Although the Dems were able to muster votes to get their health care stuff through despite bitter republican opposition, they will ultimately, on lesser issues, talk turkey. Florida and Alabama will get to keep flying the Shuttle with some contracts for extending it, in exchange for support on any of the things Obama wants but needs the center-right in both parties on. For example, Obama might want an emissions deal, and, while, you would think Republicans would oppose it, Republicans are also heavy in the states that could benefit from some sort of missions for the shuttle to save the earth as part of the package that would also benefit GOP states. Sessions, for example, could be bought on some deal for NASA in exchange for a deal to spin off GM so he can protect the Toyota plants in his state. Florida could be bought off for any number of things.

Re:They will extend. (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744718)

Contracts... Pheh... Obama has already released an initiative to convert contractor positions to GS positions.

Re:They will extend. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744804)

They can vote as much as they like, extension in any sensible use of the word is impossible.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/04/charlie.shtml

for example.

accelerated decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744644)

The continued and accelerated decline of the USA into it's new status as a second rate state, albeit one whose military can still kick some ass. This of course is only true if China doesn't call in it's notes. If that happens we don't pass GO definitely don't collect $200.00 and slide straight into the third world.

Re:accelerated decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31744672)

... and drag China with us. They need us just as much as we need them. We go down, they go down...

Re:accelerated decline (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744886)

We go down, they go down...

      But remember, the bigger you are, the harder the fall. How would the average Chinese peasant's life change in some form of global economic collapse? He would be on the verge of starvation. But then again, he's on the verge of starvation today anyway. Now how is your average US suburbanite going to take starvation...?

Re:accelerated decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31745600)

The US suburbanite is 100lb overweight, so s/he'll do just fine.
Really, people who overeat just plan a little further ahead than the rest of us.

Khrushchev is Celebrating! (2, Interesting)

wdhowellsr (530924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744780)

On May 25, 1961 John F. Kennedy said the following:

"IF we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not. Now it is time to take longer strides--time for a great new American enterprise--time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment."

On July 16, 1969 Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin A. "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon.

When the Space Shuttle program ends there will be no US based manned space flight solutions for at least five years and possibly fifteen years. During that time all US manned space flights will be outsourced to Russia, China and possibly India at a cost far exceeding the current cost of the Space Shuttle.

On a personal note, I live close enough to see all of the Space Shuttle launches from my front yard and watched a early morning launch on the way back from my honeymoon in 1986.

I'm just glad that John F. Kennedy is dead.

Re:Khrushchev is Celebrating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31745012)

We won the battle. The USSR is no more and we're able to send our astronauts up on Russian equipment. Instead of blowing each other up, we didn't. JFK should be happy.

Robotic probes can do a lot of work in space and we benefit from the robotics research. I find the probes more interesting than sending people up. They are more reliable, less squishy, and can be replaced without huge political and public backlash if one is destroyed.

Re:Khrushchev is Celebrating! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746474)

Who's "we" in "we won the battle"? Are you suggesting that the goal of USSR was attaining the stage when we could blow each other up? (btw, don't forget about always present aspirations of Russia...)

Re:Khrushchev is Celebrating! (2, Informative)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746240)

On July 16, 1969 Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin A. "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon.

Michael Collins didn't.

Re:Khrushchev is Celebrating! (2, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746856)

And Armstrong and Aldrin didn't land until the 20th, either...

Re:Khrushchev is Celebrating! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746456)

During that time all US manned space flights will be outsourced to Russia, China and possibly India at a cost far exceeding the current cost of the Space Shuttle.

A cost far exceeding the current cost of the Shuttle? I'd say that's far from certain...

Its a fine time for the Shuttle program to end. (1)

jcaplan (56979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744814)

I'm perfectly content to see the shuttle program end. Now that the space station is complete, the shuttle no longer has a purpose. A much smaller craft would be just fine to ferry people to the space station service the occasional space telescope. Can't say I really see much point in the manned space program at all, but as long as we have a $50 billion space station we might as well have a few folks keep the lights on. Its only justification was science and much of that was pretty thin. Mostly it was an end of the cold war political project to get countries to work together and it did OK at that. Its the rovers that have been getting the science and exploration done ... for so much less money.

Re:Its a fine time for the Shuttle program to end. (1)

pastababa (1747148) | more than 4 years ago | (#31744882)

Keeping the space station running means we need a space craft that is big enough to carry spare parts to do repairs and things like that.

Re:Its a fine time for the Shuttle program to end. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746400)

Soyuz, Progress, ATV, HTV, plus soon Dragon and Cygnus are plenty big for that...

Re:Its a fine time for the Shuttle program to end. (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746116)

No point to a manned space presence? How about we run out of some important rare earth metals, exhaust the mines here on earth? Wouldn't it be nice to have the technology to send miners to the asteroid belt, and extract those metals from asteroids? Esp. when one of the metals enables solar panels that provide inexhaustable electrical power from the sun?

You'll never be able to know the reason you'll need manned space flight 'til you really need it, and then if you don't have it, you're screwed. China will likely have the tech and OUR MONEY to go to the asteroids and mine the rare elements that will power THEIR country to cheap electricty, and world domination. Learn to speak Chinese, or... repeal the income taxes, so OUR country can grow back to a world economic leader, and, BTW, pay for a manned space program again.

Re:Its a fine time for the Shuttle program to end. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746440)

Since you don't see much point in manned space programme, you might indeed see ISS as just a wastefull science and political project...

But it's an exercise in space engineering, space dock and long term missions (for which the main difference would be lack of shielding from the magnetosphere, hence requiring artificial one, and propulsion system; both relativelly easy modelled)

BTW, there was quite a bit more science done than just the rovers...

Shuttle System tanked by previous administration (1)

TwineLogic (1679802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745070)

It's amazing to think there could really be only three more space shuttle missions before the retirement of all the orbiter fleet. The current plan is to sell the orbiters to museums as soon as possible.

The United States is suspending manned spaceflight.

I wish that the final shuttle missions would be flown by the extended duration orbiter, Endeavor. I wish that the missions could be extended to even longer or that there were a plan in place to refit and refly the shuttles. But there is no plan to keep flying much less a plan to keep the shuttles flying.

What's left? (5, Funny)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745194)

After Discovery's Launch, What's Left For the Shuttle?

Discovery's landing, I should hope!

the shuttle (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31745426)

ill tell you whats left for the shuttle. to get out of the way of the development of a real reusable launch system, thats not engineered to such fine tolerances that it needs to be rebuilt after every damn flight, ending up costing more than a expendable launch system. also, to gather dust in the national air and space museum. as a warning from history.

Re:the shuttle (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746084)

We will not have a man-carrying launch vehicle in our lifetimes. We are totally without the economic capability to build one. The only way we'll ever be able to do it is to get out from under the income taxes, which have been killing our economy for over 50 years. But that won't likely happen until the economy goes completely belly up. That's probably 20 - 30 years away (hopefully - I'll probably be dead by that time) and after that, it'll take decades to recover, if ever. No more Americans in space, other than begging rides on other country's launchers. Don't like it? Repeal the income taxes NOW... get a headstart on the future.

Problem is not shuttles but space program (1)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746218)

It's been PR game too long. As article says, usability of program is limited, as was (IMHO) usability of Apolo before it.

After so many people walking on Moon, is it illogical to expect, for example, moon landing and launching to be something we know as we know to operate space station? Or, after human beings passed through heavy radiation not once, but many times, why don't we do it more often these days?

If our space tehnology was so advanced FORTY yrs ago, why we don't see manned missions going further than low earth orbit?

Had we, as humanity, gained anything from Apollo program? Excepts some moon rocks, of course.

Missing $2B experiment (4, Interesting)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746232)

I'm amazed that they've missed the fact that the July flight of Endeavour is due to carry the $2B particle physics experiment, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), to the ISS.

Spearheaded by Nobel-prize winner, Sam Ting, and built and funded largely outside the normal peer review process, AMS is one of the most significant physics experiments of recent years, but as much for political and sociological reasons as scientific. If nothing else, without AMS and its friends in high places, there would only two shuttle flights left: this one was added by Bush and ratified by Obama completely over the head of NASA's normal process.

That all said, AMS recently moved from testing at CERN in Switzerland to ESA's ESTEC in the Netherlands for electromagnetic and thermal-vacuum testing, and is on a really (really) tight timeline to get to KSC in time for the July launch. There are good reasons to suspect that that flight will be delayed into August and perhaps even moved later in the year behind Discovery's last flight.

I was on a VIP trip to KSC very recently and was thrilled to be shown around the Orbiter Processing Facility where both Endeavour and Atlantis are be prepared for their last flights at present, while Discovery was out on the pad. Very special for a space geek to be literally inches from all of those tiles on the underside of Endeavour and (sorry NASA :-) to have actually sneaked a touch of the undercarriage.

Also deeply, deeply sad to think that this will all be over very soon: the shuttle programme has been an inspiration all the way back to the drop tests of the Enterprise back in 1977, even in the darkest hours. While I understand all the technical and financial arguments for stopping it now, psychologically it seems crazy to do so, particularly in the absence of any successor. End of an era. There were moments when I was pretty choked up on that OPF visit, I have to admit.

Uh oh... (3, Funny)

PhaseChange (244013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746490)

The Discovery? A communications failure? I've seen the movie and know what happens next....I would highly recommend NOT going out to repair the antenna...there might be a problem with the pod bay doors....

um... (3, Funny)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747202)

Re-entry?

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