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NASA Sets Final Space Shuttle Flight For July

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the make-your-reservations-for-a-week-later dept.

NASA 41

coondoggie writes "NASA today said the final space shuttle flight should take place July 8 at about 11:40 am EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be the 135th and final mission of NASA's storied Space Shuttle Program. NASA said the July date is based on current planning, and an official launch date will be announced following the June 28 Flight Readiness Review. That review of course could delay the flight, since there are a few technical issues to address."

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41 comments

So when's the real scheduled flight date? (3, Insightful)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36195898)

Seeing a shuttle launch live is on my bucket list, but I don't wanna take off from work and fly to Florida only to find out the mission is rescheduled 2 weeks later.

Are you stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36196298)

It's in the fucking summary you moron.

"an official launch date will be announced following the June 28 Flight Readiness Review"

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196316)

I saw a launch twice, one night and one day. I went to Florida last month to see Endeavour but 3 hours before launch it got cancelled. I'm gonna try again in July. Totally worth it.

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36197564)

What do you have to do to watch? I'm assuming that there are public viewing areas setup. Do you need to pay for admission or parking? Is there food and such available on site?

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36198260)

If you look at the sky at the right time and place you can see it from about 200 miles away. The question is how close do you want to be. You can go to the shores of the cape. You'll be 5 to 10 miles away. And by you I mean you and a thousand other people. Its geat to watch. I dont know if it is still in effect, but you used to be able to get VIP passes free just by asking from them (from NASA).

There are pleanty pleaces to eat in the aera. As for parking, where ever you can find a spot. Tip, go early.

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

brix (27642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36229590)

I wish I had the source to quote, but I saw recently that as many as 1 million people are expected to try to go to the area for the final launch.

Telecommute or book fault-tolerant fares (1)

robp (64931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196792)

Even after the Flight Readiness Review officially sets the launch date, the liftoff can get scrubbed at the last minute (or, in the case of STS-134, at the 225th minute). You can schedule your travel to allow for a one- or two-day scrub, but then you might find out that it's been punted back a full week.

If you'll be coming from far off, you might want to see if you can't telecommute from the greater KSC area for a couple of weeks. If, OTOH, you're lucky enough to live somewhere with cheap flights to Orlando, wait until FRR to book--and then either get a no-change-fee or refundable fare or get a one-way ticket, buying the flight home once the shuttle launches.

IOW, it's kind of a pain to see a shuttle launch in person. And (speaking from my experience watching Endeavour lift off Monday from the press site) it's worth every bit of the hassle.

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

DavidWeight (1075593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196920)

Well I booked a flight from the UK to see it on the basis it would launch on the 28th June, and it comes back on the 9th. Hope it isn't delayed any further! Bugger.... Truly sad to see the last shuttle go, and can only hope the science continues in the same vein for the next 30 years!

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

Sawopox (18730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36198642)

I was at the recent shuttle launch for STS-134. I was fortunate enough to get tickets from the Kennedy Space Center. Seeing that shuttle take off was the first thing I have seen that was anywhere near Biblical in proportion. The thunderous noise that followed a few seconds after launch was literally earth shaking. If you can make it, I highly recommend it.

Re:So when's the real scheduled flight date? (1)

TempestRose (1187397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36199404)

You never forget your first Shuttle launch... Still brings a tear to me eye!

I'll miss the space shuttle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36195958)

I'll miss the space shuttle. It was my dream as a young girl to be the pilot.

man'kind' set for final fight for the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36195988)

if not now, when?

When does NASA start doing physics research? (2)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196020)

If NASA doesn't start doing physics research we will be using rockets forever. Comon guys, enough of this rocket club stuff, let's see some real progress. No more playing around in Arizona pretending to be on Mars. You have to figure out how to get there before you start doing that. NASA should be involved with CERN and the LHC. This isn't 1969 anymore.

Re:When does NASA start doing physics research? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36197722)

If NASA doesn't start doing physics research we will be using rockets forever.

NASA already does some research of that nature, off and on. I don't think there's much potential in it. Rockets are good enough for getting to space and I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system.

Re:When does NASA start doing physics research? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36197834)

Vacuum tubes are good enough for computers to compute, I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system. --- ok now to be serious --- Most everything to be learned from limited rocket based spaceflight has already been learned. The space program has got to the point where now it is mostly just a huge money drain. Granted there are occasionally still some interesting things learned with current space travel but nothing truly exceptional. If NASA can help make space travel profitable and commonplace then they will have done something truly great for all humanity till the end of our existence. That seems like a pretty darned good reason to put more effort into it.

Re:When does NASA start doing physics research? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36198048)

Vacuum tubes are good enough for computers to compute, I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system.

Who here thinks that there is a Moore's Law for space propulsion?

Most everything to be learned from limited rocket based spaceflight has already been learned.

You're not the first person on Slashdot to confuse learning with infrastructure. If I want to drive between point A and point B, then I need a number of things. Learning how to drive is an important step. But it's useless without a car or a road.

If NASA can help make space travel profitable and commonplace then they will have done something truly great for all humanity till the end of our existence.

I agree that this is a worthy goal. But how does learning help achieve this goal?

As I see it, the primary obstacles to space flight are economic not knowledge-based. Every launch system, including the Shuttle, benefits from greater activity. More launches per year means lower costs per launch (though, of course, higher costs overall).

The big problem is that there hasn't been demand for a large number of launches at current prices. This is why I'm very interested in the future US commercial launch market, particularly SpaceX, as there now appears to be the opportunity to significantly drop launch costs without needing to develop an exotic propulsion system or create vast new demand.

Re:When does NASA start doing physics research? (2)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36198328)

If NASA can help make space travel profitable and commonplace then they will have done something truly great for all humanity till the end of our existence.

NASA cannot do this. It is a government agency that neither knows nor care the tiniest bit about things like "profits." NASA was useful for innovating the precepts of space travel. As the other poster noted, innovations in the economics of space travel are best achieved by private companies for which things like costs and profits are a top concern.

I'd also like to add that I think rockets are often unfairly dismissed. Rockets do not have to be as wildly expensive as they currently are. There's no inherent reason that a rocket flight couldn't be within an order of magnitude the cost of a transatlantic jet flight. It's just that each rocket would have to be amortized over a similar number of flights!

July 4 (1)

OopsIDied (1764436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196146)

Hopefully it won't blow up or something...that'd be quite a buzzkill

Re:July 4 (3, Insightful)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196168)

If it does we will blame you. It will be your fault. I hope you're happy.

Re:July 4 (1)

OopsIDied (1764436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196176)

Oh nvm I'm on an old blackberry and a 4 showed up after July since that was the number of comments -_-

Is this really the last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36196344)

Seems like for about 2 years we've been having "lasts". They all seem to be conditional though:

"Last flight taking off on the first thurday after a new moon"
"Last flight with a commander whose middle name's last letter is R'
"Last flight of this particular shuttle on a flight that will have an orbital eccentricity less than 0.96".

So is this the actual last one?

Re:Is this really the last? (2)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196440)

Yes, this is the last scheduled launch of any of the USA's fleet of Space Shuttles.

Good Riddance (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196446)

Now the shuttles can go where they really belong. Wright Pat, Smithsonian, NASA visitor center. It's too bad we didn't do this 30 years ago.

We would have been on Mars if we never wasted all that money on these useless shuttles.

Finally, they are gone!

Re:Good Riddance (2)

t33jster (1239616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196504)

We would have been on Mars if we never wasted all that money on these useless shuttles.

Useless?

Hubble
ISS
30 years of research

Re:Good Riddance (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36197904)

Useless?

Hubble
ISS
30 years of research

Exactly. Imagine all the stuff that could have been on that list, if NASA didn't burn $200 billion or more on Shuttle flights and a station that only recently has become relatively productive.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202546)

Hubble launched with a defective mirror, and would have ultimately been an expensive failure if the shuttle hadn't been available to take astronauts up and add corrective parts.

In the 70s when the shuttle program got off the ground there was no political will to continue going to the moon, never mind land someone on Mars. Like any government organization NASA had to justify its existence somehow, and the shuttle was the result. Certainly the result of much compromise and cost-cutting, but it did keep two generations interested in space travel (when's the last time people lined up by the thousands to see an unmanned rocket launch?), and that's just as important as any "real" science and progress achieved by the shuttle program.

Re:Good Riddance (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205010)

Hubble launched with a defective mirror, and would have ultimately been an expensive failure if the shuttle hadn't been available to take astronauts up and add corrective parts.

At the same time, we could have a couple more Hubbles up there for the cost of the various repair and upgrade missions.

In the 70s when the shuttle program got off the ground there was no political will to continue going to the moon, never mind land someone on Mars. Like any government organization NASA had to justify its existence somehow, and the shuttle was the result. Certainly the result of much compromise and cost-cutting, but it did keep two generations interested in space travel (when's the last time people lined up by the thousands to see an unmanned rocket launch?), and that's just as important as any "real" science and progress achieved by the shuttle program.

So what? Public enthusiasm is overrated. And I'd have to disagree that the Shuttle kept the interest going. A lot of current NASA critics started life as Shuttle supporters. But then they saw that NASA wasn't going anywhere, in part due to its dependence on the Shuttle and funding the Shuttle supply chain.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196690)

Yeah, sure.

What utter bullshit. Space is hard, especially for people, and we still have a lot to learn. This has all been part of learning how people and machines work in space.

The whole thing is sad (4, Interesting)

Calibax (151875) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196478)

It's disheartening to see the way that we (the USA) have withdrawn from science over the last 40 years.

We have allowed the shuttle to reach End Of Life without any suitable replacement.
We have discontinued manned (and unmanned) flights to the moon.
We have withdrawn funding from stem cell research over religious issues.
We have reduced Darwin to a theory on par with creationism in some textbooks and in schools in some states.
We have a large body of people believing that global warming doesn't exist because Al Gore produced books and movies about it, so it's a liberal conspiracy.
We have made science a dirty word because it conflicts with some people's beliefs.
and on, and on.

In China, 8 of the 9 members of the top politburo are engineers. In the USA, lawyers are the most represented profession in Congress. Which country is more likely to consider science and technology important?

Right now, it's hard to see how the USA can stop the slow downward shuffle.

Didn't work (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196814)

We have allowed the shuttle to reach End Of Life without any suitable replacement.

Good. They didn't work. Their design goal was to launch weekly, with something like a $50M launch cost. They failed on all respects.

Some NASA political genius decided that since they failed they'd re-label the Shuttle as the ISS-ferry. Except that's a really slow an inefficient way to orbit a space station.

Maybe now SpaceX can do the lifts on real rockets and NASA can worry about how to build a moon base.

Re:Didn't work (1)

underlord_999 (812134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36197832)

Parent is an obvious troll but I'll respond anyways.

The Space Shuttle didn't work? You have to be kidding!

Someone who claims the space shuttle "didn't work" probably was saying in 2003, "I'm glad those 486's were retired. They weren't even multi-pipelined. Good thing we have these Pentium III / Athlon processors now to take us to new levels of productivity."

Do you think any system is going to hit all of its goals the first time around?

No, it comes from PRACTICAL experience from operating in an environment, and in this case operating in an intensely difficult environment... space.

Furthermore, their design goal was not to be $50M per launch. Their design goal was to send people and cargo to low-earth-orbit to increase our engineering and science knowledge in space and to return people and cargo safely to a runway touchdown. With two exceptions, both being OPERATIONAL / MANAGEMENT rolls-of-the-dice (when safety should have been paramount), it has accomplished these goals. A hope that they would achieve spaceflight at $50M per launch was merely a political fantasy, which is irrelevant.

From a long-term perspective, it doesn't matter if the shuttle cost 10x its initial estimate to operate. It gave us experience and knowledge from refining processes / technology / materials of the initial system. It has taught us what works, what is difficult to make work and what the practical tradeoffs are for a given spacecraft design. These are the benefits from simply being in the environment.

To quote Han Solo, "flyin' through [hyper]space ain't like dustin' crops, boy!"

Tell me: How you are going to do an analysis of a failed ammonia pump on the space station without the shuttle? You cannot open up a pump containing (or, even if vented, that previously contained) poisonous fluid on the space station. Thus, you need to bring it back to Earth. What is the only vehicle can do this? hmm? ... crickets... Yes, the space shuttle.

For those that want a car analogy, the ISS operating without the space shuttle would be like throwing out the entire contents of your car's engine bay in your car when something goes wrong, and ordering a new one for replacement (that may or may not develop the same exact problems since you have no means to investigate what went wrong with a given design.)

The technology improvements and quality of life improvements the Shuttle program has brought all of humanity: wild-fire detection, artificial hearts, artificial limbs and joints, food-safety, the hubble space telescope, highway safety during rainstorms, just to name a few, is ground-shaking.

It's been a Good Thing we have such a vehicle that can perform science / engineering / building / repair in any number of configurations. At least until the close of STS-135.

Re:Didn't work (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36198220)

Parent is an obvious apologist but I'll respond anyways.

The Space Shuttle didn't work? You have to be kidding!

nope

Someone who claims the space shuttle "didn't work" probably was saying in 2003, "I'm glad those 486's were retired. They weren't even multi-pipelined. Good thing we have these Pentium III / Athlon processors now to take us to new levels of productivity."

Nope, the Itanium (Merced) is the better analogy. It could do the things it was designed to do, eventually, but for most purposes is not cost effective even thought it looks better on paper. But the Shuttle didn't even look good on paper. You should go listen to the recent Science Friday archive with one of the original Shuttle designers. They *knew* that it was a BS design-by-committee craft and they spent lots of time before it got built trying to make up lies to justify it.

Do you think any system is going to hit all of its goals the first time around?

After 30 years of incremental progress it ought to have at least come close.

Furthermore, their design goal was not to be $50M per launch.

You're right, in today's dollars it would be more like $40M. In reality it's about $1500M [wikipedia.org] . They missed by a factor of 40.

Their design goal was to send people and cargo to low-earth-orbit to increase our engineering and science knowledge in space and to return people and cargo safely

So far so good.

to a runway touchdown

What good has that done?

A hope that they would achieve spaceflight at $50M per launch was merely a political fantasy, which is irrelevant.

Wait, this was funded by the American people. Are you saying they were lied to but that's irrelevant?

From a long-term perspective, it doesn't matter if the shuttle cost 10x its initial estimate to operate.

It's 40x the per-launch cost, but in terms of opportunity costs, the number is much higher - there were only 1/10th the number of projected flights. We probably could have launched rockets once a week, but in the rocket/space station model that wouldn't have been necessary. Better, faster, and cheaper.

It gave us experience and knowledge from refining processes / technology / materials of the initial system. It has taught us what works, what is difficult to make work and what the practical tradeoffs are for a given spacecraft design. These are the benefits from simply being in the environment.

True, and an alternate spaceflight program would also have yielded these kinds of results.

To quote Han Solo, "flyin' through [hyper]space ain't like dustin' crops, boy!"

That's the authority to quote?

Tell me: How you are going to do an analysis of a failed ammonia pump on the space station without the shuttle?

How big is it? Will it fit on a Soyuz? If not, can you imagine human engineers could develop a larger version of the Soyuz?

You cannot open up a pump containing (or, even if vented, that previously contained) poisonous fluid on the space station.

Wait, why don't they have a sealed maintenance bay on the ISS? Maybe because the launch costs are so high? Maybe because it wouldn't fit in a shuttle? All of Skylab was lifted by one (1) rocket.

Thus, you need to bring it back to Earth. What is the only vehicle can do this? hmm? ... crickets... Yes, the space shuttle.

Right, so in a world where only the Shuttle got built, only the Shuttle is available for materials returns. That's simply begging the question [nizkor.org] .

For those that want a car analogy, the ISS operating without the space shuttle would be like throwing out the entire contents of your car's engine bay in your car when something goes wrong, and ordering a new one for replacement (that may or may not develop the same exact problems since you have no means to investigate what went wrong with a given design.)

This doesn't even make sense. Sometimes car analogies just don't work.

The technology improvements and quality of life improvements the Shuttle program has brought all of humanity: wild-fire detection, artificial hearts, artificial limbs and joints, food-safety, the hubble space telescope, highway safety during rainstorms, just to name a few, is ground-shaking.

I'm genuinely curious how you think the Shuttle program is responsible for artificial hearts and highway safety during rainstorms, but you ignore two obvious points:
1) without the Shuttle program, the US would have had more money for all of these kinds of space research and
2) we would have had a space station up at least a decade, probably two earlier, and much more science could have been done than on the short Shuttle missions.

It's been a Good Thing we have such a vehicle that can perform science / engineering / building / repair in any number of configurations. At least until the close of STS-135.

Again, the argument isn't that it's done no good, but that other systems would have done far better.

Re:Didn't work (1)

underlord_999 (812134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204510)

Nope, the Itanium (Merced) is the better analogy. It could do the things it was designed to do, eventually, but for most purposes is not cost effective even thought it looks better on paper.

No, its really not like the Itanium, which required totally new applications to take advantage of it. Future multi-role craft will still be hauling cargo and humans. Cargo will still have mass and humans still breathe air, require food and water. The software that would be using the Merced was totally incompatible with CISC. That's like suggesting the people taking future craft will be 2 feet tall and breathing argon,and that the cargo will have negative mass. Future multi-role craft will have the same design considerations and will take advantages of the knowledge gained through the Shuttle program.

But the Shuttle didn't even look good on paper. You should go listen to the recent Science Friday archive with one of the original Shuttle designers. They *knew* that it was a BS design-by-committee craft and they spent lots of time before it got built trying to make up lies to justify it

"One of the original Shuttle designers" You say that as if there only 3 or 4. Do you even know how many people were responsible for designing the various parts of the shuttle? Propulsion engineers, Structural engineers, Avionics engineers, Thermal-Profile engineers, Electrical engineers. I'll require a citation of what parts didn't look good on paper. And furthermore, didn't look good as compared to what? Limitations are a part of any design.

How big is it? Will it fit on a Soyuz? If not, can you imagine human engineers could develop a larger version of the Soyuz?

A Soyuz is a late 1950's rocket design that was first flown in 1966 and was incrementally improved. The fact that you don't know how big an ammonia pump is, that you suggest it can be brought down in a crew capsule, and that you get modded +3 is quite funny.

So let's see, you want to bring down a module the size of a large commercial laundry drier, that is contaminated with poisonous substance now in a gaseous state, in the crew cabin of a cramped "3-man tent" style capsule? Can I recommend that you sit under the module during the decent? Oh, did I forget to mention, you wouldn't be able to get it through the door of the Soyuz?

As for a bigger version of the Soyuz? The capsule would need to be 4x bigger and the rocket would have to be exponentially bigger to lift it, costing exponentially more. Of course, this would go against your entire issue of cost, cost cost. And then the Soyuz cannot be guaranteed to return it without damage (see below about why runway landings are useful).

What good has that done?

A runway landing goes along with returning delicate cargo. A splashdown in the ocean or parachute to the ground has the potential to impart quite a bit of force on delicate equipment (aka satellites or something like hubble). A runway landing from a glider has barely any impact or potential for damage.

Furthermore, the shuttle can land at Kennedy and be replenished for its next mission with no transportation costs. Or were you planning on externalizing the cost [wikipedia.org] of the transportation required to move an ocean-landed craft by using the US Navy? Aircraft carriers aren't free.

Right, so in a world where only the Shuttle got built, only the Shuttle is available for materials returns. That's simply begging the question [nizkor.org].

No. I'm not begging the question or in other words, assuming what I'm trying to prove. I'm showing that the shuttle is useful for the very nature of what it can do and for what no other vehicle can currently do. SHOULD THERE HAVE BEEN ANOTHER CRAFT DESIGNED AND BUILT that was able to do it better and for the same or equal cost then bravo to that other design/build. However, you are suggesting that because there "might have been" something better, that what we have in the Shuttle isn't useful. In a world where $5 flying carpets exist, I guess my $500 bicycle would be pretty damn limited and expensive. However, since flying carpets don't exist, I find my bicycle useful for getting around sometimes.

This doesn't even make sense. Sometimes car analogies just don't work.

Let me make the comparison more explicit:

Without a return vehicle:

Your engine stops working == The ammonia pump fails.
You cannot tear apart or inspect your engine or send it back to the manufacturer for analysis == You cannot open up the pump yourself and you cannot return the ammonia pump to earth
You can install a brand new engine == You can install a brand new ammonia pump (launched from a rocket)
It might fail again in the same manner == It might fail again the same manner

With a return vehicle

Your engine stops working == The ammonia pump fails
You take your car to a shop where they have specialized tools to examine it == You return the ammonia pump to earth where they have specialized tools to examine it
A failure is noted in a piston ring == Pump failure mode is found
Analysis shows heat induced cracking == Manufacturing defect found
Technical Service Bulletin is issued by the Manufacturer for other cars using the same engine == Manufacturer retrofits part to accommodate mode of failure.
All car owners can have this problem fixed and the engine becomes more reliable == Future human spaceflight opportunities are enhanced by knowledge of and the correction of the flaw.

The analogy works just fine.

I'm genuinely curious how you think the Shuttle program is responsible for artificial hearts and highway safety during rainstorms,

New ways of runway surfacing came from shuttle landings at KSC in florida after heavy rains. This was later applied to highways as a means of improving traction during rainy seasons.

but you ignore two obvious points: 1) without the Shuttle program, the US would have had more money for all of these kinds of space research and 2) we would have had a space station up at least a decade, probably two earlier, and much more science could have been done than on the short Shuttle missions.

True, and an alternate spaceflight program would also have yielded these kinds of results.

Care to explain #2 and also how you've seen an alternate future from the past? Is that you, Doc Brown?

That's like saying if you didn't go to to the University where you met your wife, you would have never met her. Care to explain how you can prove that? I can think of dozens of different ways that it still might have happened.

Good. They didn't work.

Again, the argument isn't that it's done no good, but that other systems would have done far better.

So from your first posting to your second you have changed your story? First you say they 'didn't work' with the assumption that 'working' == hitting the cost point. Now you say that they've 'not done no good' == done some good.

Thanks for agreeing with me, Doc. Remember to say 'Hi' to Marty the next time you go back to your alternate future where space exploration is cheap and politics never get in the way.

Re:Didn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36205156)

MOD PARENT UP. Informative!

Re:Didn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36200038)

They only didn't work due to the massive amounts of pork rolled into the program. If congress just gave NASA the money and the brief but didn't try to micromanage then the production of parts then the shuttle pieces could have been manufactured right near the Cape saving millions on transport costs every year. They could have actually had companies competing for production lines rather then just a single company getting paid $x million to produce Y.

Seriously, the shuttle program could have been what SpaceX may become if it didn't get killed by politics. To be completely honest, NASA would be a hell of a lot better off without the politics involved and a private enterprise will never replace NASA due to the blue sky proportion of what NASA does. Where's the profit in such things as most of the space probes such as Voyager?

Re:Didn't work (1)

value (2182292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203346)

NASA could not build a reusable space vehicle successfully, so I don't trust their ability to build a moon base either.

I think building moon bases will be left up to private companies, just the same way as building reusable spaceraft is up to them now.

Why not July 4th? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36196748)

American's holiday. Obviously, delays can mess that up. :(

Leave it in Orbit (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201420)

i STILL think they should leave the shuttle up there and use it as a test platform for testing new engines, and what not and as a great escape pod for the ISS, etc.

Re:Leave it in Orbit (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202732)

And if you'd posted similar thoughts before and got replies, they would have said that all of your suggestions are impossible, impractical, and/or insanely expensive.

Test platform for new engines: far easier assemble and test engines on earth. And if you did need a space environment to finally test it (say a hypothetical engine with radioactive exhaust), far easier to launch it into space around a dedicated test vehicle rather than limit yourself to a shuttle frame. Also the logistics of mating a new system to the shuttle while in zero-G would be an insane nightmare requiring dozens of astronauts and space walks. And of course once you fire the engine you have to re-do all your orbital calculations to meet up with it again. Completely impractical.

Escape pod for ISS: huge mass that increases drag on the ISS (yes, even that high there's enough atmospheric drag that they need to re-boost the orbit now and then). Shuttle also has limited power and doesn't use any solar power; the APUs run out in about a month, even with strict conservation--this was part of the "could Columbia have survived long enough for a rescue shuttle to reach it" scenario that was drawn up after that disaster. Maintenance on such a huge craft is also much more complex compared to a simple Soyuz or similar capsule-sized escape pod.

I could go on. Even leaving it up in low-earth orbit as a space artifact and maybe eventual (i.e. decades from now) museum isn't a good idea, once its power dies it is an out-of-control piece of space junk that will eventually de-orbit, with enough chunks surviving re-entry to damage/kill anything it lands on (a large piece of Columbia narrowly missed a gas station).

Real space isn't anywhere as easy as Hollywood makes it out to be.

July 20th Return (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201592)

initially I was going to give a big fail for july 8 liftoff but as the mission is slated for 12 days that means the return, ie, earth landing will be the same day as apollo 11 moon landing and viking 1 mars landing.
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