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Last NASA Spacewalk Marks End of Era

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the put-on-a-hat-it's-cold-out-there dept.

NASA 80

An anonymous reader writes "Astronauts embarked on the final space walk of the U.S. shuttle era at the International Space Station, where Atlantis is docked on the final mission of the 30-year U.S. program. Atlantis carries a year's worth of supplies — more than 3,600 kilograms — for the International Space Station. It will also bring up a system that will be used by Canada's Dextre robot to test a system for refuelling and repairing spacecraft and satellites in space."

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80 comments

Last cup of coffee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747354)

Ok, I hate to be "that guy", but yes, we get it. Everything they do is "the last for this era in space". Last time they dock, last time they do a space walk, last time they land.

I expect we'll be seeing a tonne of these articles :S

Agreed (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747434)

You beat me to it. The last launch, the last docking, the last poop taken on the shuttle. Each of these (except the poop) has been hyped as the last thing or the end. Actually, the end should be when it lands, but then they'll bring it up again when it reaches its final resting place in a museum. I'd be glad to see it go, if only they had something better :-) Shame on NASA for not advancing human space vehicle design in 35 years. Lets flush this thing and move on.

Re:Agreed (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747510)

The problem with the last poop is that you aren't going to necessarily know if it's the last poop on the shuttle until all the astronauts strap in for reentry.

Re:Agreed (2)

rnaiguy (1304181) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747720)

Actually, until they get off on the ground. Shit happens...

Re:Agreed (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36750426)

Actually, until they get off on the ground. Shit happens...

If I was part of the cleanup crew I'd take a dump in there after they get off just so I could tell my grandkids I was the last one to do so.

Re:Agreed (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36752734)

It certainly wasn't for lack of trying on NASA's part. They can't advance anything without approval from the government, and the government keeps jerking them around. "Build a new shuttle! Wait cancel that. OK, start it up again, but you gotta start it from scratch - Build a new new shuttle! Nope, stop, don't do that, go to Mars! Wait, go back to the moon! Wait, no, go to an asteroid. And Mars. Maybe." And I'll bet that the next election will bring new marching orders for NASA that will require to, once again, scrap everything they've worked on so far and start working on something else.

NASA has had several design processes for the next generation shuttle, and Congress/POTUS keep scrapping the programs.

(btw Slashdot, isn't a >4 minute flood control a bit. . excessive?)

Re:Last cup of coffee? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747540)

Yes, I'm looking forward to the last of the "Last" articles now. I'm gutted that the shuttle era is over, especially as it won't be visible from the UK in its orbit (I was secretly hoping for a delay so I could see it go overhead one last time).

Re:Last cup of coffee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747578)

How is it the last space walk? I mean, it could be, but it's not like NASA is planning on never sending humans into space again-- they're just not using shuttles anymore. It may be awhile, but we'll certainly see more NASA astronauts in space, probably using rockets.

Re:Last cup of coffee? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747704)

How is it the last space walk? I mean, it could be, but it's not like NASA is planning on never sending humans into space again-- they're just not using shuttles anymore. It may be awhile, but we'll certainly see more NASA astronauts in space, probably using rockets.

Read it carefully. It's the last space walk of the shuttle era. The ISS guys will probably be space walking again next month - it just won't be during the shuttle era then. So this one is really a big yawn.

End of an era, but... (1)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747376)

Yes, this is the end of an era. It is worth noting, and we should have serious discussions about the future and direction of American space travel. But this is the last space shuttle spacewalk, not the last NASA spacewalk. Who approves these headlines, anyway?

(NB: the headline comes from TFA, so don't blame /. completely.)

Re:End of an era, but... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747942)

"Who approves these headlines, anyway?"

People trolling for page hits. If Fox News can do it, so can /.

Re:End of an era, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36751292)

Yes, this is the end of an era. It is worth noting, and we should have serious discussions about the future and direction of American space travel.

Currently, NASA has no manned space missions planned that are likely to take place. In the last 35 years, they've played with a flawed telescope, lost a Mars mission due to an english/metric conversion problem, and had a couple of golf carts on Mars last longer than expected, put up a mostly useless space station in low orbit, and blew up a couple of shuttles. They really haven't done much useful, nor learned much new about space. Being stuck mostly in low earth orbit really limits your usefulness.

Re:End of an era, but... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#36751830)

On the contrary. There has been a lot of science in the realm of microgravity biology, and material science. You can't do that sort of stuff on the Moon, or Mars. It's exactly the type of stuff we need to know if we're going to spend more than a fortnight in space.

It's our fault the program is over (1)

PFactor (135319) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747392)

It's our fault our government spends more money on lawyers than on astronauts. I hope the end of the space shuttle program is a tipping point in how involved we are in changing how our government works.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747436)

It's our fault our government spends more money on lawyers than on astronauts.

Well if it isn't your fault (collectively) then democracy has failed and the government is not acting in accordance with the will of the people.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (2)

PFactor (135319) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747518)

That's pretty much my point. I doubt many Americans WANT a huge department of justice/prison-filling-machine but many Americans continue to go with the status quo instead of demanding change. I'm of the opinion that our democracy is failing principally because the people won't get (and stay) engaged on matters of substance.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747552)

I blame the people that go around spouting nonsense like "there's no difference between the major political parties" and other cynical non-witticisms. Or in other words, teabaggers.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747884)

And I blame idiots like you.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748658)

Ya know, that takes some mega sized brass balls to say that when Obama is the pres. How's that Hope & Change thing working out? Oh yeah he Hopes you don't notice the only Change is from an R to a D on the door. I mean this administration actually has the gall to claim the president has the right to assassinate Americans on American soil [salon.com] with NO oversight or trial, and this is irrevocable under "war powers". Dubya didn't have the balls to do that, even Nixon didn't have balls that large!

Sadly my friend the late great Bill Hicks nailed it more than 20 years ago "Well I believe the puppet on the left shares MY beliefs, well i think the puppet on the right has my interests at heart...hey wait a minute there is one guy controlling both puppets!". Time and time again We, The People have made ourselves heard only to be ignored. We want our borders fixed, we want the wars to end, we want Medicaid/care and aid to the poor left alone, we want taxes to increase on the top 5% and we want companies to stop being rewarded with taxpayer money to close factories and send them overseas like GE did recently. But all you get is two sides to the same coin, and thanks to Citizens United this will only get worse. If you believe either side gives a shit about the American people I have a nice bridge to offer, it goes to nowhere so there is no wear and tear!

As for TFA I hate to be the one to say it, but good riddance to the shuttle, it is only sad we don't have a replacement that should have been built in 1995. The shuttle was a failure from the start, its original mission statement was for a "space truck" that would allow both the military and NASA to share expenses, to allow cheaper and larger loads into space, and to allow fast turnaround. It failed to live up to that statement which is why the military has been using the Delta V.

I would argue the only reason it has hung on this long is Sen Porkus and Congressman Kickbackus were using it to "bring jobs to the area!" which is why there was nearly 20 states working on shuttle parts and why congress pushed for reusing shuttle parts when it made no sense on Orion. Both sides of the aisle have long since quit giving a shit if they hurt this nation as long as it suits their personal goals and spreading the shuttle parts like a shotgun blast across the country helped them show they were bringing home that bacon.

So goodbye shuttle, you did much good work despite failing your original goals and I'm only sorry you weren't put out to pasture years ago and something more practical brought up in your place. maybe we'll have the Delta Vs man rated, hell maybe we should just buy some Soyuz off of Russia. Either way the shuttle should have been in a museum years ago and I hope the astronauts get down safely for this their final ride.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36750152)

I don't disagree with anything you are saying, but I wanted to correct this part:

It failed to live up to that statement which is why the military has been using the Delta V.

There is no such thing as a Delta V. There is a Delta IV, and an Atlas V, and the military uses both.

I just don't want new readers/non-space-enthusiasts to get confused over a typo.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (3, Funny)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36751730)

Delta-v has always been an important part of space travel.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36756152)

Delta-v refers to a specific type of velocity imparted upon a vehicle for injecting into any given orbit. The Delta IV is specific type of launch vehicle, as is the Atlas V. The parent, if you read his post, was referring to a, "Delta V," as a vehicle which the military uses, which is utter nonsense as no Delta V vehicle exists. He was not using, "Delta-v," in a context relevant to the particular variable you are referring to.

Please try reading before responding next time. And to whoever modded this guy up, the same goes for you.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (2)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757580)

Please try reading before responding next time. And to whoever modded this guy up, the same goes for you.

To paraphrase Robert J. Hanlon, "Never ascribe to ignorance that which is adequately explained by tomfoolery".

In the words of that noted philosopher Foghorn Leghorn, "That's a joke, son. A flag waver. You're built too low. The fast ones go over your head. Ya got a hole in your glove. I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' 'em. Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball. Eye. Ball. I almost had a gag, son. Joke, that is."

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36765176)

And that's the beauty of pure-text responses: without any inflection, it becomes very hard to distinguish humor from downright naivete. Still, good one.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36752616)

I mean this administration actually has the gall to claim the president has the right to assassinate Americans on American soil with NO oversight or trial, and this is irrevocable under "war powers".

You should have studied history, or at least watched some Westerns as a kid. The "Wanted: Dead or Alive" offers have existed for centuries. Claiming that this somehow violates the constitution - or that it's a form of "assassination" unique to the Obama administration - is ignorant beyond belief.

Sadly my friend the late great Bill Hicks nailed it more than 20 years ago "Well I believe the puppet on the left shares MY beliefs, well i think the puppet on the right has my interests at heart...hey wait a minute there is one guy controlling both puppets!".

Great, another Alex Jones fanboy. You know that you guys have your own forums, right? You don't need to pollute Slashdot with this bullshit.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36753760)

Great another koolaid drinker. Instead of giving citations to back up his beliefs he can ONLY throw insults. You have a president that has broken EVER major campaign pledge since taking office, gitmo, the two wars (added a third, yay for the military industrial complex! They'll be getting extra hookers this Xmas pal!) warrantless wiretapping, do you think this kind of major flip flop was just because he ate some bad cheese? he got a big fat fucking check dude, don't delude yourself. he said "How much money? Really?" and your vote was flushed down the toilet.

So lets see your proof pal, back that mouth up. I can literally wallpaper this place with link after link after link showing major graft and corruption by those at the very top, from a certain SCOTUS wife taking big fat checks to those on the president's job advisory panel getting bailouts to send the jobs overseas. So back that mouth up C6gunner, lets see the links. Because that is what happens when one has truth on their side, they can provide citations all day long.

BTW just FYI the late great Bill Hicks wrote that more than 25 YEARS ago and the man has been dead two decades now. How sad is it that if anything his words are more true today than they ever were? I'd like to end by quoting another late great man, George Carlin: "You know why they call it the American Dream? Because you have to be asleep to believe in it" and no truer words were spoken.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36755886)

Oh boy. The woo is strong with this one.

If I could find a single clear, rational question in your entire rant, I'd try to answer. I'd probably be wasting my time, but I'd give it a shot. However, much like your idol, you seem to be mixing together dozens of incidents and topics as if they were part or some grand conspiracy, and then spewing it out in one giant heap of vitriol.

I like Hicks, I like Carlin, and I don't particularly like Obama, but I can honestly say that you, my friend, are nuttier than squirrel shit. Try taking your medication, thinking for a while about what it is you want to ask or say, and then writing a clear and concise comment which can be parsed without first needing to smoke a half-dozen joints. If you manage that, I'll do my best to respond. Otherwise, don't expect to be taken seriously.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36756650)

Let us sum up your post, shall we? Insult insult insult aaaand insult. Is there ANY single answer to what I have pointed out? about the link on the president having the right to murder you, about the complete 180 after he got access to the big checks? anything at all?

Nope you hug your blankie and go "that's not true! The TV says its not true! you must be crazy!". Well to borrow from bill again "Go back to sleep, your government is in control. here is reality television. Go back to sleep." Meanwhile I would be happy to post links how much money those at the top made in bailouts under both presidents,dozens of Wikileaks docs showing government coverups, such as the lovely one where a company we KEEP hiring to do security gives out children as fucktoy party favors and our ONLY concern was 'it might make us look bad", but you know what? why bother.

Go back to sleep C6Gunner, go back to sleep.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36756932)

Yea, I didn't actually expect you to take me up on a perfectly reasonable offer. Thanks for the confirmation. Take care.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748048)

and its been proven that most do not care about the space program so be careful for what you wish for

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747534)

in accordance with the will of the people

Maybe it is? We are a geeky crowd here... but is the general public still interested in space?

Personally I think it has to go private. First person to open a "space hotel" is gonna be a very rich man. Progress will spring from there... driven by greed. It'll actually be nice to see greed do some good, before it ultimately screws us over some how!

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36748080)

The delusions about private space are powerful, aren't they? Tell me, if it's so obvious, why hasn't it already been done? Why don't you do it? Don't want to be rich? Look, people have been talking about this kind of nonsense for a long time.

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9705/25/japan.space/ [cnn.com]

No one cared then, no one's cared in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS and NOT A SINGLE BOLT in space.

Tell me, who are these people you picture lining up waving wads of cash in your face for a chance to take a risky flight, stay in a tin can, and what? Then come back?

How many people you know with the kind of money and spare time for basically sightseeing?

The people with that kind of money are usually fat old fucks who break a sweat going up stairs. You see that going into space?

No one has the money, and very few people share your mysterious enthusiasm for tin cans in orbit.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#36749456)

No one has the money, and very few people share your mysterious enthusiasm for tin cans in orbit.

I think a few people do, but yeah, not enough for an industry .. unless they can bring down the price and risk by a lot. Personally I don't care about space at all... but there are definitely a few people who would spend at least as much as they would on a 2 week cruise just for the experience of, as you said, staying in a tin.

I do forsee the private sector exploiting the resources of space at some point. Mining asteroids/other planets .. turning the moon into a waste dump.. whatever.

No one cared then, no one's cared in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS and NOT A SINGLE BOLT in space.

Indeed. I think it still needs some government support to get the tech up to where a private company could take over. The gap between "what we have to do" and "zomg enormous profits!!!" is still too large.

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36750132)

No one cared then, no one's cared in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS and NOT A SINGLE BOLT in space.

Indeed. For example, Bigelow Aerospace don't have two private space station modules orbiting the planet right now for long-term testing (at least I believe both are still in orbit). There's a big market for space tourism, but not at current prices... and a gap between current prices and viable prices that's hard to cross without spending lots of money on R&D without an immediate market.

But to me the more important question is: if we can put a man on the moon, why can't Slashdot build a web forum that doesn't suck?

Re:It's our fault the program is over (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748022)

Its also our fault that after 30 years we are still getting excited over a space walk, cause we let the program stagnate and not progress much if at all since 1978

Re:It's our fault the program is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36748272)

It couldn't be that basically, that's all there is to do in space? You ever think of that? Space isn't this giant, orbiting Home Depot full of stuff ready to be exploited. I know that's your American White Guy attitude showing through there, but jeez, engage your fucking brain for two minutes and think about it. Space is empty, it's hostile, and it's huge. The few rocks here and there are basically barren, hostile, radiation-blasted deserts. No, not even deserts. Deserts on Earth have more life-support than the Moon.

God riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747430)

no text.

Re:God riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36752714)

tl;dr

Last shuttle defecation coming up (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747432)

Soon the toilet will flush on the Space Shuttle for the last time. The end of an era.

This is the last manned NASA mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747470)

No way a manned space program survives given America's perpetually rising deficits.  At best NASA astronauts will be able to purchase a ticket with the Russians or possibly a private effort emerges.

just to be clear (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747530)

i think that headline might be misleading. just want to be clear: this is not the last ISS spacewalk. The ISS has an airlock and can perform spacewalks with not shuttle support. (In fact, this spacewalk was actually carried out by ISS crewmembers and not shuttle crewmembers). This is, however, the last spacewalk while the shuttle is docked. Others will not have the extra shuttle assets to lean on.

Deregulate ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747548)

and maybe I'll have a chance to see affordable space tourism in my lifetime!

Re:Deregulate ... (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747646)

Maybe you can pay for it by getting an extremely dangerous but very high paying job working a mining operation on the moon ;p

Seriously though... this is what I see being the ultimate outcome of the private sector in space. Tourism will be there, probably first, but eventually the focus will shift towards exploiting the resources that are out there.

I can totally see a company form up that takes nuclear waste (and other waste) and hurls it into the sun.

Is all this a good thing or a bad thing... I really don't know!

Re:Deregulate ... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747902)

I can totally see a company form up that takes nuclear waste (and other waste) and hurls it into the sun.

Not if you know anything about orbital mechanics.

Anything launched from Earth is in Earth's orbit of the sun. Which means unless your rocket is astoundingly powerful, it is going to keep crossing Earth's orbit over and over to get a gravity assist to slingshot it to the sun. Look at the orbit for MESSENGER [nationalgeographic.com], and that diddnt even go all the way to the sun.

Besides with as much uranium as coal power puts into the atmosphere it probably doesn't matter.

Re:Deregulate ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36748466)

"Not if you know anything about orbital mechanics."

Space Nutters and facts mix like shit and ice cream.

Re:Deregulate ... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36749850)

Which means unless your rocket is astoundingly powerful, it is going to keep crossing Earth's orbit over and over to get a gravity assist to slingshot it to the sun.

Uh, no. The only remotely viable plans I've seen for shuttle-based waste disposal (if launching nuclear waste on a shuttle could ever be considered viable) were based around rotary launchers that would cancel out most of the orbital velocity and drop it into the sun.

Using a rocket would be silly when you can use some solar panels, an electric motor and a few bits of spinning metal.

ISS suits? why is this the "last spacewalk" (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747612)

Ok. It's ISS crew. Are they not using their own suits? Or did they go over to the shuttle, use their suits and go out their airlock. And if so WHY?

Title is incredibly misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747622)

The is the last spacewalk for a shuttle mission, not (begin hurr) "NASA'S LAST SPACEWALK!!!11" (end hurr).

More than the end of the shuttle program. (2, Interesting)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747630)

End of an era? Yes. But the era that has ended is not just the shuttle program. It is the end of the U.S. Space program. The United States will never be prominent in space again.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747706)

Who cares? US only got to orbit because they stole the German rocket program anyways.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (2, Informative)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748420)

Robert Goddard independently invented liquid-fueled rockets before Werner von Braun. The problem for Dr. Goddard was that the U.S. in the 1930s was in the middle of a great depression and wasn't ruled over by a maniacal dictator bent on ruling half the world. Dr. Goddard had to finance his research from private donations. Werner von Braun on the other hand, had the backing of the Nazi government and the German Army. It's no wonder that von Braun built bigger, better rockets than Dr. Goddard.

To say that the Americans were just a bunch of idiots who needed German help to get anything off the ground is just plain wrong. In 1945, the Germans were further along than the Americans. The German scientists who came over to America helped speed up the space program, but they weren't the only ones who made contributions. The same can be said about the Russian space program. The Russians had some German engineers and some V-2 rockets, but the R-7 rocket which launched Sputnik was developed by Russian engineers.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36755174)

Keep the faith.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36756120)

Robert Goddard

Come on. Robert Goddard was making toys, not rockets, and this was as obvious in 1945 as it is now. If Goddard's designs were anything to go by, the US would have used his team, not spirited Dr. Merkwurdigliebe and his wunderkinds away and have them lead the US space program during its best years - up to 1970.

It was Dr. Braun's work that put people on the Moon and developed the rocket technology that helped US propel itself around the Solar system in the 70s. It isn't much of a stretch to say that his design of the lunar missions tech is also precursor to the landing shuttles. And now, after 40 years of rehashing his achievements, the US has sucked all of his designs dry. Hence the "end of an era" comments - the US won't be back into space until there is another Dr. Merkwurdigliebe to create the impetus von Braun did. Too bad (for the US) it is by no means certain that the US will be able to grab him.

As for Americans not being idiots - go read about at how well did the space race go until they hired von Braun, and how the US miraculously caught up after that. Then come back and repeat that statement without irony. There was only one reason the US became a "world superpower", and it is huge fallout profits from the WWII and the resulting brain drain. You owe that to Roosevelt, not to the average Americans or your great political system.

His international policies, while "evil" were also brilliant. US worked hard to help push Europe and the Pacific to war (supporting Hitler, taunting the Japanese, etc), and then waited until 1941 - when all parties were already badly bloodied, to enter the war in the way that suited them. Post-war, the US used it brief (also German-generated) nuclear supremacy to gain what else it could. The US financial situation started to deteriorate when the war reparations were mostly paid off during the late 70s as the Soviet bloc and Europe finally caught up.

It will be downhill from now on for you guys. Nothing personal - the wealth you grabbed post-war is gone, and there's nothing there to replace it except Hollywood, Facebook and the Marketing department. And that's hardly enough. But it's what you pay for drinking the koolaid.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747892)

End of an era? Yes. But the era that has ended is not just the shuttle program. It is the end of the U.S. Space program. The United States will never be prominent in space again.

And we'll never need more than 640k of RAM.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747960)

Never? That's a pretty strong word. Especially considering that the government can undergo massive changes every 2 to 4 years.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747968)

The sky is falling. We must continue legacy systems so we can be trapped by them. The Soviet Union never sleeps. If it doesn't put humans in space it isn't science. If the US doesn't fund most space efforts humanity won't benefit from them.

Did I miss anything?

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748326)

And good riddance to it. Maybe now we can spend money on actual worthwhile things instead of playtoys for eggheads. Seriously...the space shuttle? It should have been cancelled back in the 80s when it became clear that it sucked and would never do what we wanted it to do (go up and down faster than a two dollar whore).

If it makes the America Firsters cry, more's the better. USians need another dozen or so such public humiliations until they begin to start to perceive the faint belief that other countries are better than them.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36750534)

And good riddance to it. Maybe now we can spend money on actual worthwhile things instead of playtoys for eggheads.

Despite the fact that space technology development has a plethora of civilian applications, I think you're posting on the wrong site since most of us slashdotters are eggheads.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36750258)

The United States will never be prominent in space again.

You show me one other country that has probes exploring the outer planets or landers exploring the inner planets. Go ahead and show me. I'll wait right here.

Yeah, the U.S. may be retiring a flying 30 year old POS brick that has more potential failure modes than a God damned boat made of Swiss cheese. But how, exactly, that leads to the U.S. failing to be prominent in space when the U.S. is the only country investing in actual space exploration (and not just dicking around in LEO) is completely and utterly beyond me.

Re:More than the end of the shuttle program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757530)

You should be able to recognize inertia when you see it. The current US space program is just the final stage of the boost provided by the weapons development research and propaganda effort of the 60s, 70s and the 80s. The interest in space has lessened dramatically since then, and the funds have gone much, much scarcer.

Or, as one sage slashdotter put it when they saw the amazing picture of Phobos and Deimos chasing each other that was made by a spacecraft from Mars - "any game with half decent effects blows this out of the water, why bother even publishing it".

Space isn't a priority of the western world anymore. The GPS, weather satellites, Google earth and Celestia are good enough now, and will be more than enough when there is a good enough brain-to-game interface.

Another Misleading Head line. (1)

Nexusone1984 (1813608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36747664)

It's not the Last NASA space walk... It's the last space walk from the Space Shuttle..... I expect better from CmdTaco....

Re:Another Misleading Head line. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748808)

It's not the Last NASA space walk... It's the last space walk from the Space Shuttle..... I expect better from CmdTaco....

Well, it's the last NASA space walk until they design and build an entirely new launch platform. That's, what, a decade or so away? And, if they lose the political will to do it, possibly even longer.

Once they decommission those shuttles, the US has no capacity to put people into space short of renting it from the Russians (or possibly the Chinese).

It may not be the case that NASA will never again do a space walk, but it's going to be a hell of a long time.

Re:Another Misleading Head line. (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36752104)

COTS would like a word with you. Space X says they can put a man into space in 2-3 years, and they aren't the only company aiming for that.

Re:Another Misleading Head line. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36752274)

Hate to break it to ya, but they do EVAs without the shuttle on a fairly regular basis. There are American suits and an airlock in the US segment for such occasions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ISS_spacewalks

I like killing animals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747674)

The thought of their primitive neurology sending terror and fear into their entire being as their basic stimulus-responder circuitry realizes their predicament. My rush of dopamine as mine lights up my dominance rewarding circuits. The warm feel of their brains and cerebral fluids dripping on my cock like a surrogate vaginal juice. The supreme tightness of their anuses.

Life is good.

Hey, Space loons! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36747784)

So, since Space Nutters believe we must get off this rock, you better not have any kids now!

freefall much..?? (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 2 years ago | (#36748752)

u.s. space shuttle era is ending AND they are about to default on thier debt and plunge deeper into a global financial crisis. Wow, end of the United States empire? I think we may be seeing it.

Re:freefall much..?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36748946)

I suspect that the US will still be around and still be more relevant than you long after you're dead and dust, Tantrum.

Re:freefall much..?? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36749886)

I suspect that the US will still be around and still be more relevant than you long after you're dead and dust, Tantrum.

People were saying that about the British Empire in the 1930s.

Decline and Fall (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36751530)

of the American Empire. Towards the end, I think Rome also used all it's money on armies defending rotting, ignored infrastructure.

Reverse Baby Syndrome (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#36751950)

Just like parents, doting on their baby - but in reverse. You always hear of "baby's first steps" and "baby's first ___."

Since the shuttle is NASA's baby - they're doing the reverse. "Baby's last spacewalk."

They're both equally annoying. ;)

Part of a larger trend (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36752398)

Although space gets most of the attention, arctic and ocean exploration is way down, too. In the 1960s, there was talk of "undersea cities' and "cities under the ice". A few small underwater habitats were even built. The only one still operating, at Key West, is being used as a hotel for divers. No manned submarine has been down in the Marianas Trench since Trieste, in the 1960s.

That field, too, has been taken over by robots.

Last poop on the shuttle? (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 2 years ago | (#36755038)

Will there be a headline about the last time someone takes a dump in a space shuttle? We get it.... the program is over.
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