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Endeavour Launch Now Slated For Monday

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the green-with-envy dept.

NASA 55

For anyone camping in Florida through the series of delays in the shuttle Endeavour's launch, it may be nearly time to get out the earplugs and champagne: though there's a fair chance of yet another weather delay, for now the shuttle's final launch is slated for tomorrow. If you're thinking of driving in to catch a glimpse, good news — a Monday launch may mean a smaller crowd.

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What an (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36132784)

endeavour.

Godspeed, Endeavour. (4, Interesting)

nbvb (32836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132792)

Godspeed, Endeavour. It's a real shame to retire these workhorses. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they exactly what was envisioned in the 70's? No. But, so what? They're still incredible machines that do things mankind has NEVER been able to do before.

The ISS? Wouldn't be possible without the Shuttle.
Hubble? Impossible without Shuttle.

They're workhorses, and it's a damned shame that we, as Americans, have gotten ourselves into such a political quagmire that we can't figure out how to keep man in space. Depressing.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36132810)

What's depressing is that otherwise sane and rational adults still think there's anything for man to do in space. We also don't have a permanent manned presence at the bottom of the ocean... So what? It's hostile.

Reading your melodramatic romantic drivel makes me think you're a Space Goth, you're probably cutting yourself in a room full of blurry 1970s space posters.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132890)

We also don't have a permanent manned presence at the bottom of the ocean... So what? It's hostile.

We do have thousands of people continuously in deep ocean via subs. Despite deep ocean being "hostile."

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133110)

Yeah, so? Mostly they're all there just lying in wait for the order to kill millions of other people. They're not really doing anything of great utility to the human race beyond being a deterrent to one group of humans murdering a specific other group of humans.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136318)

Yeah, so? Mostly they're all there just lying in wait for the order to kill millions of other people.

It's still something that we're doing in deep sea contrary to the assertions of the "space nutter" AC who I replied to.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136548)

They're not really doing anything of great utility to the human race beyond being a deterrent to one group of humans murdering a specific other group of humans.

Which incidentally is something of very great utility. It reminds me of the "What have the Romans done for us?" joke, based on a Monty Python skit from the movie, "Life of Brian," that was going around a few months back. In the skit, a group of Jewish revolutionaries has gathered to discuss strategy against the Roman occupation (roughly as of the First Century AD). So the leader asks "What have the Romans done for us?" One after another, the followers come up with a large number of things that the Romans have done such as aqueducts, public order, public health, etc. In the end, the leader glosses over that huge list and asks "Aside from that, what have the Romans done for us?"

Sure, nuclear subs haven't done anything of great utility, aside from protecting hundreds of millions of people by acting as a deterrent against nuclear attack from the other side. But they don't need to. One thing of great utility is enough.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36139536)

I dunno, keeping people from killing each other sounds like a worthy pursuit to me.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36133496)

They're not doing anything self-sustaining or commercially viable, which is what Space Nutters fervently believe space can be. (It won't. Ever). At least the sub can surface for air. What are you going to do in space? Float around in free-fall while your body disintegrates and have farting contests while hoping the next shipment of instant oatmeal from Earth (Oh excuse me: "lowly mud ball") doesn't explode on launch?

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136352)

They're not doing anything self-sustaining or commercially viable

Yet they are doing something that returns greater value than the cost.

which is what Space Nutters fervently believe space can be. (It won't. Ever).

Come on. Get an account. You post way too much to hide in ignominy.

Float around in free-fall while your body disintegrates

We have figured out artificial gravity. Even if permanent zero gravity turns out to remain unhealthy for humans, we can always generate artificial accelerations of one gee, which we already know is healthy.

while hoping the next shipment of instant oatmeal from Earth (Oh excuse me: "lowly mud ball") doesn't explode on launch?

Too bad that you can't possibly make more than one payload of oatmeal. I wonder, given the obvious hardship as described above, why astronauts so often appear to be having a blast. Must be that NASA propaganda.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

ambrosen (176977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36139642)

I wouldn't call the normal operating depth of a military submarine as being 'deep ocean'. I don't know of any that have a test depth deeper than 400 metres, according to Wikipedia.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (4, Interesting)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133002)

Melodramatic? Can't think of anything more Melodramatic than stating rational adults think the shuttle program was and is a waste, and anyone who says different are bipolar misfits who cut themselves. How's this for melodramatic.

Shuttle Program...
Cost per year: $5 Billion
Total program cost: ~$175 Billion
Percent of annual Revenue: 0.1% - 0.75% over 35 years

Compare that to....
Cost of TARP: $300 Billion
Bush Stimulus: $172 Billion
Obama Stimulus: $862 Billion

Which one of those created jobs. Disregard your politics, ask yourself if it is more likely that the Shuttle program created more engineers and mechanics and pipe fitters and electricians and truck drivers and chemical mixers, than say TARP and its bankers.

Now for some other calculus. The space station was built so Russian scientists would have something to do other than build Nuclear bombs. I grew up in that world, and saw it fist hand as a teenager whose parents worked at White Sands. After the wall fell, one of those Russian scientists lived with us, and instead of building bombs and rockets, he built rockets and space stations.

Somehow our calculus assumes the current NASA engineers are just going to flip burgers and mow lawns. The disassumes that some of them may move to China, or elsewhere, and build rockets and, possibly, bombs... since those nations have no desire to build space stations.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36133364)

So what? In the end, space is empty, it's hostile and there's nothing to do or see for humans in these "space stations". A bunch of middle-aged white men farting away in a cylinder in orbit doesn't exactly seem like a good use for that money. Space beyond satellites and unmanned probes is a waste, your emotional apples and oranges comparisons don't change that. You've got a nice faith there, BTW.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137188)

Shuttle Program...
Cost per year: $5 Billion
Total program cost: ~$175 Billion
Percent of annual Revenue: 0.1% - 0.75% over 35 years

Compare that to....
Cost of TARP: $300 Billion
Bush Stimulus: $172 Billion
Obama Stimulus: $862 Billion

Note that once you consider the time value of money and inflation, the Shuttle is comparable in cost to what you claim for TARP. Compare that to...

Cost of SpaceX development: 800 million so far.

That cost includes development of two launch vehicles; development of three rocket engines plus progress towards the Merlin 2, a rocket similar to the F-1 which powered the Saturn V's massive first stage; development of a manned vehicle including first launch and recovery; and seven launch attempts, the last four which were successful.

When you actually compare the Shuttle to real work rather than the typical enormous boondoggles of the waning days of the US, it doesn't fare that well.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138924)

Fair enough. I was mostly stating that I can still be 'rational' while preferring my government boondoggles to involve space shuttles instead of bank bailouts. I also wanted to point out that as far as 'boondoggles' are concerned, which one created more jobs?

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36139324)

I also wanted to point out that as far as 'boondoggles' are concerned, which one created more jobs?

Honestly, I don't know if any of them, including the Shuttle, have done anything other than lose jobs. The others have obvious job-losing properties, namely, they take a lot of money from the US's future and spend it in the present. That might result in some jobs "created or saved" in the near future, but it's a net loss once you consider the long term.

The Shuttle took a lot of the best and brightest and spent their efforts on a pretty unproductive venue. Those people could have built their own companies in say, high tech, or some other field over the past 40 years rather than work on America's hobbyhorse in space.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138386)

costs for payload in LEO :
Shuttle : 60 k$/kg (at full capacity)
Ariane 5 : 10 k$/kg (at full capacity)
Soyuz FG : 14 k$/kg ?

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134242)

Wow. Such bitterness. What happened? An aerospace engineer married the girl whom you were lusting after (and who had a restraining order filed against you)? The cop who arrested you for masturbating behind a kindergarten while ogling the kids has a relative in the space program? And didn't you call them "space nutters" once, loserboy? Bubba on the bunk next to you has a Saturn V poster on the wall which you are forced to stare at while he submits you to his own brand of tough love?

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132842)

NASA bore the initial development costs that would have been prohibitive for a commercial organisation setting out to put people in space. That work is done, and now commercial entities should rightly take the lead. I would guess that with the right conditions we can potentially go further, faster now than NASA ever could. Sure, the shuttles were important, but they were outdated the day of their first launch. It is time to move on.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133862)

Yes and no. The time for industry to pick up the ball was in the eighties - the US and USSR had shown you can put a man into space, how to do it, where the biggest problems are and how to mitigate them. By the 1970, people had walked on the moon. By the mid seventies, everything was in place. That's when the shuttles were designed.

As it turns out, there's literally nothing in space. There's no conceivable economic gain to be had this quarter from sending people into space - and that's all that matters to big business. Even VC funding, which has a longer 5-7 year time horizon and doesn't absolutely insist on profit, doesn't see any viable business in low-earth orbit.

Right now, my hope is with nut-cases like Elon Musk; rich kids with more money than sense who want to go into space because it's cool.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134228)

"The time for industry to pick up the ball was in the eighties..."

From a purely logical perspective, this might be true. But there was no way it was going to happen, for at least two reasons: (1) the R&D expenses were considered to be too high for anyone but a government to take on, and (2) the government would never have let them.

"As it turns out, there's literally nothing in space. There's no conceivable economic gain to be had this quarter from sending people into space - and that's all that matters to big business."

Which is exactly the problem with American corporations today. In the past, many corporations because successful because they bet in the long term. This obsession with short-term profit has been a real problem for America. Yes, there are times when it makes sense to concentrate on the short term, but it has been taken to an extreme by Wall Street.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36135378)

Sorry, bullshit. Just because you don't like the long term strategy doesn't mean there isn't one.

The "business acumen" on this site is frankly astounding for its absence.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136372)

Excuse me? BS?

The short-term-profit obsession in American corporate culture has been well-known for years. It hardly as though I just made it up off the cuff.

Sure, there are exceptions. There are exceptions to nearly everything. (And by the way: I wasn't referring to "strategy", I was referring to their profit goals... not necessarily the same thing.)

But I'm not saying it because "I don't like" their long term profit goals; I'm saying it because of the general lack of same. I would have to know about some long-term profit goals in order to dislike them.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136408)

And I give you a case in point: the proliferation of corporations whose "strategy" over the last couple of decades seems to have been mostly "acquire, liquidate, and dump". We have seen them everywhere.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134240)

BTW, I don't know if you are actually saying there is no profit in it or that corporations just don't perceive any, but perusing the NASA Spinoffs site [nasa.gov] is a good eduction.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36134724)

"As it turns out, there's literally nothing in space. There's no conceivable economic gain to be had this quarter from sending people into space "

Very good, now keep going. If there is nothing in space, how will a longer term view change anything to the basic fact that space is EMPTY? You can take the long view out to millenia, it won't change the fact that space is vast, hostile, barren, empty and inimical to human, and presumably all, life. Except on this planet, which Space Nutters affect to hold in disdain ("mud ball", "rock"). But point out that all other planets are nothing but mud balls and rocks too in that view, well, you're just a Luddite. That's the central contradiction in Space Nuttery: inability to formulate a coherent, non self-contradicting thought. It's all emotional, all faith-based. Reality will crush Space Nuttery, I garantee it. In ten years, in a hundred, there won't be anything more happening in space than what is going on today. Even less, if our presently dire energy situation keeps getting worse. (It probably will. Oil was MAGIC.)

Star Trek was FICTION, people.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36135072)

Star Trek was FICTION, people.

Star Trek's fiction - there's no way around the barrier imposed by the speed of light. But so's clinical immortality. If we were to develop it, long travel times would cease to be an obstacle, and overpopulation would require that we start flooding the galaxy with generation ships, each one indivdually plodding away for millennia between star systems at 0.001c. Within a hundred million years, the galaxy will be colonized.

And I guarantee that in a hundred years, you'll still have died of old age, QA.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36140176)

How old is a carbon atom? Carbon atoms are all the same, behave the same, look the same no matter if they were just created in a fusor ten minutes ago or pumped out of the ground from 65 million year old oil fields. So, where does "age" come from? An old man and his grandchild split a banana and each eat their half. One body makes "80 year old" cells with THE SAME MOLECULES that the kid makes "10 year old" cells with!
Explain THAT and tell me we can't extend our lifespans. You view this planet as a prison, I view our DNA as a prison. We're going to have to work on my pet project before we work on yours, sorry. Unless you're OK with lobsters and hydras having indefinite lifespans? Or birds living 10 times longer than equivalent mammals? See parrot lifespan vs rat.

You'll also never get your bungalow on Mars, sorry. No one will. Ever. Unless we've missed HUGE chunks of physics? Show them to me.

"there's no way around the barrier imposed by the speed of light."

There's also no way around Newton's laws. To move, you have to expell mass. We accomplish this with rocket engines. We need to burn chemical fuels in hugely complex contraptions like the F-1 or relatively simpler solid fuel rockets. No way around that either. And as long as that is true, and the periodic table of elements isn't hiding some super-energetic elements, what you have now is IT. PERIOD.

We simply don't scale to the universe. Get over it. If you live longer, maybe you'll prove me wrong. But you dont want to. Your religion forbids it. Now run along, it's almost time for your Space Nutter prayer, better set up the 1970s space posters and Star Trek DVDs!

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132870)

I remember hearing an interview with an astronaut regarding the end of the shuttle program, and he was amazed at how these complex and flexible machines were 50 years before their time.

However that is also the problem... They were over-engineered and used too much new tech with no clear objective or familiarity with the demands of the hardware. Basically they lept forward when they would have been better off taking measured steps.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (5, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132878)

Godspeed, Endeavour. It's a real shame to retire these workhorses. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they exactly what was envisioned in the 70's? No. But, so what? They're still incredible machines that do things mankind has NEVER been able to do before.

"But so what?" Two words: "opportunity cost." Let's keep in mind that everything we could have done with the Shuttle, we did by the time of the Challenger accident. The US developed a reusable launch vehicle and it used it. Hubble and the ISS did not require the Shuttle.

Hubble due to its mirror, required a vehicle with the fairing size of the Shuttle, but repairing it was unnecessary. We could have used the funding for Hubble repairs to instead make and launch more space telescopes.

The ISS, after being shrunk slightly in width, could have been launched on the Titan IV or the Delta IV Heavy. We could have also launched a much smaller Mir-sized space station for a small fraction of the cost of the ISS (no international "coopoeration") and have gotten most of the functionality of the ISS.

Finally, with the money we would have saved by discontinuing the Shuttle way back when (say 1990), we could have manned missions beyond LEO, research into low gravity (not zero gravity) effects, ISRU research on the Moon or Mars, etc. You know, things that actually advance our knowledge of and presence in space and on other worlds.

They're workhorses, and it's a damned shame that we, as Americans, have gotten ourselves into such a political quagmire that we can't figure out how to keep man in space. Depressing.

You ought to check out SpaceX's activities then. The Falcon Heavy, for example, is a game changer. If they can hit their price targets, they'll be launching payload for about a factor of 20 to 50 less than what the Shuttle can do and they can launch more mass than a Shuttle could launch.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133022)

and have gotten most of the functionality of the ISS.

I thought most of the functionality was cut to save money, but the program couldn't be killed for political pork reasons...

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36133312)

I think what people are grouchy about is that we've gone from being the world leader in manned spaceflight, to buying tickets on russian flights. Not so much that we're ending the shuttle flights.

There's going to be considerable overlap, during which time the US isn't going to have manned spaceflight capability for the first time in decades. That's a bit embarrassing for some. And I'm not saying we should have continued with the Aries+Orion option, or that Elon Musk and SpaceX aren't really fantastic, but it just isn't the same.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36133640)

"I think what people are grouchy about is that we've gone from being the world leader in manned spaceflight"

So what? At this point, it's like being "the leader in horse whip manufacturing". Space is a dead-end. Face it. We've moved on. You should too.

That a few childish millionaires (who only got rich by luck, and certainly not in space either!) decide to blow their (and lots of other people's!) money on what amounts to fantasies shouldn't concern you. Do the math, do the physics and do the economics. Who is going to go in space? To do what? With what money? Why? HOW?

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136612)

who only got rich by luck, and certainly not in space either!

Yes, it was only "luck" that Amazon happened to be founded by Bezos instead of you. It's only by "luck" that you weren't the founder of Paypal. I get the feeling you have not the slightest clue how a business runs.

Do the math, do the physics and do the economics. Who is going to go in space? To do what? With what money? Why? HOW?

Note that we don't need to "do the math" to see that there are already profitable activities in space. And the physics was done many decades ago, it's long since been proven viable, with real rockets not just physics calculations.

And my first point already covers some of the economics. Sure, a lot of the things aren't currently viable, but it's pretty obvious to me that humanity and its technologies are rapidly evolving. I wouldn't make the predictions you make unless I like being shown embarrassingly wrong a couple decades from now.

To do what? With what money? Why? HOW?

"HOW?" has already been answered. For decades, space flight has been getting steadily cheaper. I personally am very excited by SpaceX's recent announcement about the Falcon Heavy, which may well be able to uncut current cheapest launch vehicles in the world by as much as 50%. Even if they can't deliver, there's still ULA with the Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V Heavy.

As to funding and other such questions, space activities will be funded like Earth activities. And there's plenty of money for such things once they've demonstrate profitability.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143286)

A recent blog post by Elon Musk over at the SpaceX site states that they're already profitable with existing contracts for Falcon 9 and future Falcon Heavy & Dragon launches. In the meantime, even China is already saying, "there's no way we could come close to that price". I think that's pretty amazing.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36135860)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136390)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

So what is your take on several birds in the hand versus one? As I see it, the opportunity cost here is the sacrifice of a space program for the Shuttle launch vehicle. Sure you can claim that we'd either have the Shuttle or nothing at all, but I don't buy it. The NASA budget has been very stable since the cutbacks of the 70s.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137726)

The ISS, after being shrunk slightly in width, could have been launched on the Titan IV or the Delta IV Heavy.

It would have taken *much* more than being shrunk slightly in width... None of the US (and hence Shuttle launched) ISS modules had any capability to self support or maneuver. So figure roughly 25% of their launch mass would have to bee parasitic (that is, required to support their survival until docked with the station, and unneeded afterwards), as opposed to essentially zero as they actually exist.
 

We could have also launched a much smaller Mir-sized space station for a small fraction of the cost of the ISS (no international "coopoeration") and have gotten most of the functionality of the ISS.

In some mirror universe where "most of" actually means "practically none of". In the same mirror universe, my PC-Jr has "most of" the functionality of my Athlon. Here in this universe, you also have to consider the problem of parasitic mass mentioned above.
 
Worse yet, you've forgotten the cost to develop and operate whatever you're planning on using for transporting crew to and from and supplies to your fantasy space station.
 
When you add up the costs required to deliver three station crew, return three station crew, and either delivering a module or delivering aa supply transport via expendables - you pretty much have paid for a Shuttle mission which can do all of those (and more since it can return that supply transport for re-use) in a single flight. When you examine the actual cost of a Shuttle flight (roughly $100 million to add a single flight to the manifest), expendables don't come off nearly as well as you think they do.
 
Yes, the Shuttle is expensive. But it's expensive for the same reason a desktop computer is more expensive than an iPhone, or a full size pickup is more expensive than a compact riceburner. Capability costs money.
 

Finally, with the money we would have saved by discontinuing the Shuttle way back when (say 1990), we could have manned missions beyond LEO, research into low gravity (not zero gravity) effects, ISRU research on the Moon or Mars, etc. You know, things that actually advance our knowledge of and presence in space and on other worlds.

And if pigs had wings, we'd all wear hats. You seem unaware that Congress combed through NASA's budget with a fine tooth comb from the early 70's to the early 00's and lining out anything that smelled of being intended to support of manned Lunar or Martian exploration.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36139950)

It would have taken *much* more than being shrunk slightly in width... None of the US (and hence Shuttle launched) ISS modules had any capability to self support or maneuver. So figure roughly 25% of their launch mass would have to bee parasitic (that is, required to support their survival until docked with the station, and unneeded afterwards), as opposed to essentially zero as they actually exist.

And most such modules were under 20 tons, meaning the launch vehicles I mentioned would be adequate for the purpose.

In some mirror universe where "most of" actually means "practically none of". In the same mirror universe, my PC-Jr has "most of" the functionality of my Athlon. Here in this universe, you also have to consider the problem of parasitic mass mentioned above.

Worse yet, you've forgotten the cost to develop and operate whatever you're planning on using for transporting crew to and from and supplies to your fantasy space station.

We'll use the same vehicles for crew and downmass. And development of crew vehicles and reentry containers won't dent the budget, if you spend it well. You might recall the SpaceX example I use on occasion. They certainly seem to have figured out how to keep development costs under control.

When you add up the costs required to deliver three station crew, return three station crew, and either delivering a module or delivering aa supply transport via expendables - you pretty much have paid for a Shuttle mission which can do all of those

Only if you ignore both that it looks like these companies can provide these services for much less than you claim they can and the enormous fixed costs of the Shuttle (roughly $2 billion a year). Recall that NASA would not be paying for the fixed costs of the ULA vehicles.

Yes, the Shuttle is expensive. But it's expensive for the same reason a desktop computer is more expensive than an iPhone, or a full size pickup is more expensive than a compact riceburner. Capability costs money.

We've gone through this before. If you don't need the capability, then it is a waste. We never needed the unique capabilities of the Shuttle.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36140594)

It would have taken *much* more than being shrunk slightly in width... None of the US (and hence Shuttle launched) ISS modules had any capability to self support or maneuver. So figure roughly 25% of their launch mass would have to bee parasitic (that is, required to support their survival until docked with the station, and unneeded afterwards), as opposed to essentially zero as they actually exist.

And most such modules were under 20 tons, meaning the launch vehicles I mentioned would be adequate for the purpose.

As usual, you either miss the point entirely or are stupid enough to not even comprehend the point. Module weight isn't the issue - the issue is that moving from the Shuttle makes the modules smaller, heavier, more complex, more expensive, and far, far less capable.
 

You might recall the SpaceX example I use on occasion. They certainly seem to have figured out how to keep development costs under control.

Here in the real universe, SpaceX is a recent development and utterly irrelevant to an ISS analog built with expendables in the 80's and 90's. Once again, you ignorance leads you to false conclusions.
 

Recall that NASA would not be paying for the fixed costs of the ULA vehicles.

In some fantasy universe where businesses don't bill for overhead. Or, in other words, once again your ignorance leads you astray.
 

We never needed the unique capabilities of the Shuttle.

We never 'needed' pretty much anything we've done so far as manned space is concerned. But if you mean that to be read as "we could have done everything the Shuttle did much cheaper", as abundantly and repeatedly demonstrated... you're wrong.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36145572)

As usual, you either miss the point entirely or are stupid enough to not even comprehend the point. Module weight isn't the issue - the issue is that moving from the Shuttle makes the modules smaller, heavier, more complex, more expensive, and far, far less capable.

Without the Shuttle, your argument falls flat on the claim of being more expensive. Remember, $450 million per launch plus $2 billion per year? The modules would, of course, be slightly smaller due to fairing size restriction. As to heavier and more complex, I think the small increases in each would be more than compensated by the reduction in launch vehicle costs.

Here in the real universe, SpaceX is a recent development and utterly irrelevant to an ISS analog built with expendables in the 80's and 90's. Once again, you ignorance leads you to false conclusions.

SpaceX is the process of developing a manned ISS cargo vehicle.

In some fantasy universe where businesses don't bill for overhead. Or, in other words, once again your ignorance leads you astray.

Earth, for example. Most businesses don't bill other businesses for overhead.

We never 'needed' pretty much anything we've done so far as manned space is concerned. But if you mean that to be read as "we could have done everything the Shuttle did much cheaper", as abundantly and repeatedly demonstrated... you're wrong.

You haven't given an example of this. Delta IV Heavy is currently being launched at a frequency of less than once a year, so it is relatively expensive. But with a more frequent launch schedule and use of Delta IV medium or Atlas V as possible, I don't see any comparison with Shuttle costs.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36147818)

As a further indication of just how messed up NASA's costs are, consider this. They estimated, for a recent report [nasa.gov] (see page 40), the cost of developing the Falcon 9 and they were over by more than a factor of 10. In other words, NASA estimated it would take $4 billion while it actually took SpaceX $300 million (which was verified by NASA, according to the report!). This is the actual feat of bending metal and launching rockets, not paper or hand-waving arguments.

As I see it, NASA is out of touch with what it actually costs to do things in space. As time goes on, I believe we will see many more examples of this from manned habitats to unmanned space probes with private parties doing things for vastly less than NASA. I think even the traditional government space contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed, ULA, ATK, etc will figure it out.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36132964)

I'm of a mixed opinion on this. It's a beautiful machine and it's been in use for 60% of the history of the space program. The configuration isn't really that safe, it was kept alive to fulfill ISS commitments, with a drawdown of the program started in 2004 because of the safety issues. The main differentiation for the design is to be able to take satellites home, and I only recall that being done once, with the LDEF. It was helpful to fix Hubble, so you have 5 missions out of 134 that really used the capability that other platforms probably couldn't have had.

Shuttle was used for the ISS, but I think those segments could have been launched if they didn't have to deal with the cost of maintaining the shuttle, they could have had some other kind of heavy lift system. The orbiter weighs 172,000 lb without payload, max payload is 55,250. Aries V could have lofted 410,000 to low earth orbit, or 157,000 lb towards the moon, all using much of the same technology but without the weight of the orbiter holding it back.

In fact, the Apollo program was cut short to help fund the Shuttle program. Hubble may have been the tail wagging the dog, or the project to help justify shuttle. There have been several specialized orbiting telescope satellites launched since for about the cost of a shuttle service mission. The coming James Webb telescope is more ambitious than Hubble and isn't being lofted with the Shuttle.

I would have liked some Shuttle Cs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36133866)

The space shuttle program generated lots of real world data on reusable space launch vehicles. I would have liked much more experimentation with the shuttle Cs in the 1990s. An unmanned cargo launcher that could be allowed to fail might have gone some distance in lowering the cost of putting things into orbit.

I am opposed sticking expensive people into orbit, and that very expensive ISS.

Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138084)

A Monday launch? Wow, that's true grit, bravery to the Max. Poke Fate in her damn eyeball I allays say, yep, isn't that what I allays say? Yep, sure is Frank; uhm, isn't Monday some kind of holiday? Memorial Day? This is fantastic News. Hey everybody, let's run to Florida and watch Indiana Jones choose the goblet too! Richard Chamberlain will be there signing King Solomon's Mines posters even if they are faded rags now.

ISS without the Shuttle (5, Insightful)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133016)

If you want to launch station segments by themselves like the Russians do the segments become more expensive, smaller, and less capable because each segment has to be its own spaceship complete with guidance, altitude and attitude control, and docking capability.

The shuttle allowed for the segments to be large, cheep, and uncomplicated. Plus the entire integrated truss system witch is quite literally the backbone of the station could not have happened without the shuttle. You would have to get your power from smaller solar arrays, which would greatly complicate the power system. Same problem with the radiators.

The shuttle did a great job with the ISS,

To bad the ISS hasn't done a great job for science or exploration. It has just been a large overpriced diplomacy tool, mostly used to keep the Russian aerospace industry alive after the collapse so they wouldn't wonder off and wind up in china or Iran.

Re:ISS without the Shuttle (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134692)

If you want to launch station segments by themselves like the Russians do the segments become more expensive, smaller, and less capable because each segment has to be its own spaceship complete with guidance, altitude and attitude control, and docking capability. The shuttle allowed for the segments to be large, cheep, and uncomplicated.

The actual cost numbers don't match your assertion: Mir cost about $4.3B to build, while the ISS cost around $100B. (ISS's pressurized volume is only about twice Mir's)

Re:ISS without the Shuttle (1)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134850)

For the US it would be more expensive to build.

Everything built in Russia is cheaper.

Also, can you provide a source on those numbers. The only mir cost I could find did not say it was adjusted for inflation or not

It's not just a Monday launch (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36133518)

a Monday launch may mean a smaller crowd.

It's also a Monday after a two week delay. I ran into a family from Australia at Jetty Park for the Atlas 5 launch last week. The Atlas was their consolation launch after missing the space shuttle. Unfortunately for them a stray cloud scrubbed that one as well and they were on their way home in the morning.

They must have been the launch jinx because the Atlas went the next day.

Hotels still have rooms and there doesn't seem to be the normal influx of people this time. I have a pretty good view here, but if I get up early enough, I may wander down to the JC Penny parking lot and see how many show up.

Fear tomorrow is cross winds at the shuttle landing facility. Amazing that an ocean breeze can keep billions in hardware on the ground.

well (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134102)

Has it broken a billion dollars yet?

were wasting a fuckton of money on a ceremony and cockroaches fucking in space along with other pointless grade school horse shit "experiments", but I heard some nut job on fox news radio getting red in the face pissed off because we are going to spend 2 million in a school to watch kids eating habits, amazing isnt it folks?

Screw NASA, they are a old and tired relic from the cold war, they have stifled private innovation in the field, and stunted any growth for 30 years, its time for them to go

Atlantis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36135118)

I don't care when it is, but any chance of Atlantis getting delayed till late August? I'm in Orlando and it would be great to go over to Titusville to see the last one go up...

Drove My @$$ Off - 3rd Time is the charm (2)

RapidEye (322253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137080)

OK, so I'm sitting in a cheapass hotel in Daytona (hotels any closer are insanely expensive) keeping my fingers crossed that this time, the third time that I've driven down to the armpit of the US to watch a shuttle launch, this time, its gonna go.

you weather mavens can go f^#K yourselves - IT WILL LAUNCH THIS TIME!!!!

OK - off to bed, got to get up at 3AM to get to the KSC visitors center before they close it in........

Wish me luck, please...................

Re:Drove My @$$ Off - 3rd Time is the charm (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138870)

Actually, the armpit of America is officially in Nevada [wikipedia.org] . Just ask Old Spice. Anyway, I live not too far from Daytona (I'll probably go out to the runway and watch the shuttle launch at work this morning), and I will agree that it's not the most exciting, or nicest place to live. At least, not when it comes to weather. I wish I could make it down to Titusville for the launch. Oh well, we will see what July has in store.

It will be sad to see last shuffle fly, BUT.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137782)

I look forward to multiple rockets coming to private space. In addition, one of them (spaceX) is CHEAP to fly. The only thing that will beat it anytime soon will be the chinese since they will simply cheat and subsidize it (illegally, but china does not care about that).

Now, the problem is that CONgress continues trying to make NASA into a jobs bill. They had their CONstellation, and thankfully, it was killed. Now, we have SLS, as laid out by CONgress on HOW TO BUILD A ROCKET, TIMELINES, and MONEY. Yes, the same congress that can not balance a fucking budget, avoid wars, deal with illegals, deal with CHina, and YET, they think that they are able to design a rocket better than NASA.
Just fucking amazing.

Re:It will be sad to see last shuffle fly, BUT.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138682)

How is it illegal? China is a sovereign nation... American trade laws do not apply to China.

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