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Falling Window Cover Damages Discovery

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the windows-and-errors-go-hand-in-hand dept.

Space 360

Mz6 writes "At 5:30PM EDT, one of the space shuttle's protective window covers fell and struck the left Orbital Maneuvering System engine pod on Discovery today. The window cover hit the carrier panel around the OMS pod. NASA is taking a new panel to the launch pad to replace the one hit by the falling cover. NASA is expected to know by 7 PM EDT if the replacement panel will work and whether launch can proceed tomorrow as planned. The window cover in question is from one of the overhead windows. It fell on its own, not when workers were handling it. The cover was found after it had fallen and hit the orbiter. In addition to the carrier panel that workers plan to replace tonight, engineers are looking for any other damage." Update: 07/13 02:03 GMT by T : RmanB17499 points out a CNN story according to which "the launch of the space shuttle Discovery will go ahead as scheduled Wednesday after technicians replaced two protective tiles damaged near the spacecraft's tail Tuesday, a NASA spokeswoman said."

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360 comments

It fell on its own? (4, Insightful)

nokilli (759129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049148)

Dudes, the question here isn't whether the engine pod is damaged, it's what's going to fall off the shuttle next?

This ain't no beer run these guys are going on, and it ain't like the hood ornament just decided to liberate itself. Most of the shit on the shuttle is like, important, right?

If I was captain of this upcoming mission, I'd be spam clicking the red alert button right about now. Maybe call in sick. Gotta have some unused vacation time coming to me, right? Use it or lose it!

I never liked the shuttle. A bunch of engineers were tasked with the job of building a reusable space vehicle, so they paint some wings on a rocket, give it a windshield, and call it a space plane. So it can return cargo, so what? Name something they brought down back from space that is worth all of the trouble we've gone through to glide back to Earth rather than parachute.

I'm pretty sure the Pan Am shuttle in 2001 could take off on its own. That was the whole point of the cut scene from the monkey throwing the bone in the air to the space vehicle, as if to say, "Look, no rocket boosters!"

And the only thing that fell off of anything in the movie was Frank.

Re:It fell on its own? (-1, Redundant)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049165)

I agree completely. Who cares if the rest of the shuttle was damaged? The fact that they haven't checked whether the shuttle's vital parts are glued on tight or not is more than enough reason to cancel the launch.

Re:It fell on its own? (5, Insightful)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049182)

Vital? It was a freaking protective cover that's taken off prior to launch anyway!

More FUD.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

taped2thedesk (614051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049276)

The fact that they haven't checked whether the shuttle's vital parts are glued on tight or not is more than enough reason to cancel the launch.

The window COVER is meant to protect the shuttle window before launch. It's not a exactly a vital component, as it would be removed before launch anyway. It's not "glued on".

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049472)



Temporary or not, the point is it fell and hit something.

If something has enough weight|heft to it it can hit something and cause damage as it falls, it should be secured.

NASA admitted after the fact, that until the foam hit the fan, they never perceived it to be a danger to the shuttle. Considering how many decimal points these guys use in their calculations (not to mention the quality of their software - mind you, this is eight 1/2 years old: They Write the Right Stuff: The right stuff kicks in at T-minus 31 seconds. [fastcompany.com]), you'd think they were a bit more careful than to have oops! moments.

If something should happen, people will remember that cover falling, no matter who tries to explain it away or what they say in the process.


Re:It fell on its own? (5, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049170)

It was just a temporary plastic protective panel that they place over the actual window while it just sits ready to launch. It's not really "attached" to shuttle like most pieces would be.

Mod Parent up (0, Redundant)

bizard (691544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049231)

I went looking for info on what a window cover was and why it was just falling off! I'm slightly more comforted now:)

True, but... (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049338)

...it does indicate a slight... negligence on the part of the engineers doing the final prep work. Right about now, I'd be inspecting the shuttle for all the things that the engineers DIDN'T come clean over. (People treading on something fragile, that sort of thing.)


So, true, the Shuttle isn't falling apart at the seams. However, the indication is that the engineers either rushed some of the prep work or failed to set adequate precautions in place. In either case, they may have messed up elsewhere and not said.


If you were up there, knowing that the world's media was focussed on your every twitch, knowing that any delay would finish any chance of you having a future but that any unconfessed and unobserved error on your part would be utterly untracable, would you be willing to take the fall?


Given that kind of pressure, I'm not confident that other accidents haven't happened. All I can do is HOPE they haven't and that NASA will take the time to verify as best they can in the time that they haven't.

Re:True, but... (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049427)

(sarcasm)It's not like the craft and launch assembly have hundreds of thousands to millions (depending on how you measure) of often precision-engineered individual parts or anything...(/sarcasm)

Getting to anything orbit (as opposed to suborbital) is a huge task. Getting a huge, man-rated craft to orbit is a Herculean one. You better believe that almost every one of those engineers has been sacrificing their personal lives to try and make their "baby" as safe as possible. Seriously, talk to a NASA aerospace engineer some time about the craft that they're working on; you'll find people who do things like build a spectrometer for a probe who dote on it more than they do their own children.

There's going to be a lot of missed breaths when that countdown nears zero.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049469)

In fact, the very fact that they have protective covers over the window that they remove before launch speaks volumes as to how safety-concerned they are. Even with the windows hundreds of feet up in the air, without the cryogenic tanks filled (i.e., no falling ice), with no vibration or intense wind loads (i.e., no falling foam)... really, nothing but the tower itself and its own tank above it, and they still cover the windows. What are they worried about - falling birds? I can't imagine what else they could do, apart from build a launch pad in the vehicle assembly building itself and have the entire building retract minutes before launch, (in addition to covering the windows).

My thoughts precisely (1)

r_cerq (650776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049201)

Your first sentence is exactly what came to my mind when I read the summary. Like... WTF? A part of the shuttle falls off and they just go "shit, someone has to go there and stick it back with chewing gum" or something? They spent all this time trying to "certify" the thing as flight-worthy, all the safety paranoia after the Columbia, and a window cover wasn't placed (or fixed) correctly? What's next, a flat tyre they'll just notice when they try to land?

Re:It fell on its own? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049227)

RTFA before ranting like the retard you are, dumbfuck. A protective cover that's removed before launch fell off. It's not like the stabilizer dropped.

Fuck, you're an idiot. How did you manage to master turning a computer on? Or are you posting this from a Mooby's? Is that you, Jay?

Re:It fell on its own? (0, Flamebait)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049237)

Moron, read. It was a window cover, to cover the window until the window no longer needed to be covered. It protected the glass from any possible scratches. It was plastic and foam and fell while the shuttle was stationary, not moving like Discovery. This was intended to come off. I've heard mixed reports, but it seems workers were around the area at the time (or recently beforehand) working on the area (possibly loosening the window covers in preparation for taking them off in the near future). The whole situation was realized and fixed within 3 hours. This is absolutely not a big deal, if something this size had hit the shuttle a few minutes after lift off and the shuttle had some velocity then itd be a different story. There were reports that they probably didn't have to do anything, but after discovery they aren't taking chances and noone wants the finger pointed at them if something does go wrong. As a result, any minor detail that might be slightly askew is to be fully replaced and tested. This isn't happening because of shoddy engineering, its happening because people are sick of playing th blame game at NASA.
Regards,
Steve

Re:It fell on its own? (2, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049269)

My dad, now retired, always talks about when they developed the space shuttle. (He was a SR VP of a space and defense contractor who also had a credit reporting business, so figure out which one...) They were trying to get NASA to go with a solid fuel rocket. You light it and it goes. When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket.
Why we have this complex, unbelieveably expensive shuttle, I will never know. Whether it is a car or a space craft, the more parts, the more that can go wrong....
I hope that they replace this with a more reliable vehicle...

Re:It fell on its own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049302)

He was a SR VP of a space and defense contractor who also had a credit reporting business

Uhhhh...TRW?

Re:It fell on its own? (2, Interesting)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049400)

Why we have this complex, unbelieveably expensive shuttle, I will never know.

One of the major reasons it's expensive is due to unethical space contractors who charged up the wazoo, such as the company that your dad worked for.

This is often done after the bidding process is over, and sometimes companies do this after the project is well underway, and hold the project hostage until NASA agrees to the new fees. NASA often didn't have much choice in these sorts of practices, and it was already too late for other companies to bid on the project.

So, maybe your dad can tell us why so many space and defense contracts are so fucking expensive.

And yes, I agree that NASA probably could be more cost efficient. But it's not like they're selling cookies-- many free market principles don't really apply when you're doing something massive like building massive space vehicles, and when only 1 or 2 organizations can do it at all.

Re:It fell on its own? (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049498)

In fact, to further that point, I used to work at Rockwell-Collins, which was mandated to use very strict time reporting procedures while I was there. Why? They were caught (thankfully!) after several years pulling one over on the government with the Shuttle contract. Whenever any Rockwell project ran overbudget, they charged the hours to the Shuttle. There were so many people working on the shuttle project that even with all of that "dot the i's and cross the t's" paperwork that NASA is famous for, they still couldn't prove that the company was cheating them for several years. Eventually they got a full audit, Rockwell got punished, etc.

Re:It fell on its own? (2, Informative)

KH2002 (547812) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049417)

"When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket."

Wrong. Both stages of the lunar lander used liquid fuel -- hypergolic (self-igniting) propellants. More on that here [nasa.gov].

Re:It fell on its own? (1, Interesting)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049288)

Name something they brought down back from space that is worth all of the trouble we've gone through to glide back to Earth rather than parachute.

Umm, money? It's a metric ass-ton cheaper than lighting off anything close to a conventional rocket that will disgard stages that you'll have no chance of recovering. Likewise, the orbiter comes back to you instead of having to hunt for it in the ocean (the largest landing zone on earth) with an aircraft carrier ($$$) or hunt for it in the back yard of some farmers house on land.

Sure, it's time for an update, but it's also the most successful launch vehical in history with only 2 catastrophic failures over several hundred missions. Knock it all you want, but regardless, it's been a good ride.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049305)

That's the theory. In practice, it works out very, very expensive; probably moreso than Soyuz, which is from the 60s.

Re:It fell on its own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049341)

Per ton, the Saturn V was the most efficient launch vehicle we ever set fire to. It was actually orders of magnitude less expensive per ton to put something into space on the Saturn V compared to the Space Shuttle.

Re:It fell on its own? (4, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049384)

The Saturn V WENT TO THE MOON The mission was orders of magnitude DIFFERENT. Please. These apples to oranges comparisons get old fast.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049359)

only 2 catastrophic failures over several hundred missions

Nitpick, I know, but this is STS-114, so no, not "several hundred" missions. The Concorde only had one 1 catastrophic failure over several thousand "missions" and look how well it's... oh wait.

Re:It fell on its own? (-1, Flamebait)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049292)

You have it right on the nose. With all due respect to the tremendous individuals that comprise the team of astronauts, anyone who gets on that thing after a window just falls off on its own is a moron.

Re:It fell on its own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049298)

What crack addicts are modding this insightful? There isn't a single insight in this post, except in the wider view, as how it is possible for a human lie nokilli to be so colossally stupid and phenomenally ignorant and still manage to live. That is an interesting insight into the human condition.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049350)

A bunch of engineers were tasked with the job of building a reusable space vehicle, so they paint some wings on a rocket, give it a windshield, and call it a space plane.

No. They drew up an amazing design that was state-of-the-art, entirely reusable, and a great thing.

And then a Republican president--Nixon, IIRC--told them no, build it for half the price.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049488)

And the amazing thing is, with the exception of the External Tank, they did. People bash the Shuttle with their 20/20 hindsight, but it is a triumph of engineering. Perfect? No. Best on the planet? Yes.

Re:It fell on its own? (1)

imgunby (705676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049434)

So you'd give up a once in a lifetime chance to go? Yes, failure nearly always results in death, but I'm sure that each and every person that has *ever* gone up has been well aware of that, and yet, for 20+ years, people have been placing themselves in that position. I can't believe this was modded as "insightful" Chances are good that you drive a car, which is a helluva lot more dangerous than this is

It wasn't a monkey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049439)

It was an ape.

Already fixed (4, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049149)

CNN is reporting that NASA has already given the go ahead [cnn.com] for Discovery to launch. The damaged tiles on the tailfin have already been repaired.

Re:Already fixed (4, Funny)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049184)

I hope the glue and dope that holds the balsa and tissue paper together is dry in time for launch...

Re:Already fixed (2, Funny)

Guy LeDouche (713304) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049246)

It should be, the rubberband that they are winding up is going to take a while.

Hey, be kind to them. (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049264)

They don't use rubber bands on the space shuttle, the water wheel is quite sufficient.

Curse? (1, Redundant)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049156)


What the hell??? Is the shuttle cursed?

FWIW, if the previous window cover fell off on its own, I wouldn't put too much faith in the replacement...

aww, failed fp, douchebag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049262)

it's going to suck when you're back at junior high writing a paper about how you sat and refreshed slashdot all summer.

Re:Curse? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049306)

I was thinking the same thing. I mean, in terms of odds...well...I would rather be playing craps in vegas then riding this pony to space.

Maybe it's a sign from God saying "Scrap that pile of shit, just build something better and cheaper"...or something.

Funeral (3, Funny)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049162)

Why don't they just hold the astronauts funerals before they launch so they can attend.

Re:Funeral (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049176)

this calls for the rarely used but often called for "+1 Tasteless" mod

Re:Funeral (1, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049375)

Wow..... that was really really morbid and gruesome... Did you actually post that? I mean, really. Sibling was right. -1, tasteless. And -1, sicko, to whoever modded it funny.

Re:Funeral (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049442)

Hmmm well my point was supposed to be that NASA is taking enormous risks with the lives of their astronauts for no other purpose than to save face. If my comment is tasteless (and it is) doesn't that mean at the back of everyone's mind they recognize that they may face eminent death by proceeding? What if it hadn't fallen off now? What if it had happened midway through launch?

I'm afraid that I subscribe to the Duckman school of thought that says humor should offend.

Just seen this spoilered and wondering wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049166)

Thanks :)

heres the post

here [slashdot.org]

Vulnerable (2, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049167)

If a fallen window cover can damage the space shuttle, isn't it very vulnerable once it's in the Space?

Re:Vulnerable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049222)

They are temporary covers. They would be removed before launch.

Re:Vulnerable (4, Interesting)

Inominate (412637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049256)

"Damage" to the space shuttle is common.
Heat tiles are frequently found to be missing when the shuttle lands. Small minor damage is not uncommon. What brought down columbia was more a case of a golden bb than anything else. (Plus it was a heavy object traveling quite fast)

That said, space is a pretty easy environment to survive in. It's the part where you're burning a few thousand tons of explosives, and slowing down from 20,000mph using the atmosphere that are the dangerous parts.

The damage that occured to the space shuttle here is trivial.

A good engineering practice... (1)

Scorillo47 (752445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049173)

... is to insure minimum time between failures (MTBF).

In this case, the engineers ensured that whatever components are broken in the shuttle, they will fall of BEFORE the launch.

Re:A good engineering practice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049247)

Actually you want to maximize the "Mean Time Between Failure" (MTBF) or lower the FITS.

Re:A good engineering practice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049467)

Yea, especially parts that shouldn't even be on the shuttle at launch. For example the window COVER that fell.

Nooooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049177)

Nooooo!.... kidding... let's just wish them GOOD LUCK!!! and safe trip back!

It Fell off? (1, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049194)

That is a problem by itsself.. this stuff shouldnt 'just fall off'..

If it had come off in orbit, we might be going thru the loss of another crew on reentry.

Re:It Fell off? (3, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049209)

It's a plastic cover that comes off before launch. It would never have even gone up in orbit anyways.

Re:It Fell off? (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049216)

RTFA. It doesn't fly with the Shuttle.

FTUA (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049320)

Couldnt get to the article. So bite me.

Re:It Fell off? (1)

vollmerk (740066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049380)

One thing that I would like to know is, how many times has this type of thing happened in the past. This launch is being picked over with a fine tooth comb. Every little slip up, "what if" "wups" "oooh my" and "doh" is being throw out into the press.

Although what we are hearing from the press is slightly disconcerting. We really need to ask how much of this is news 'hype' and how much is really stuff we need to worry about.

Considering the Media today, and the fact that it sounds like NASA has already cleared it to launch again, this sounds like it was blow out of porportion.

Arg, I'm rambling again..

If God Had Meant Man to Go Into Space (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049199)


He would have given us something better than a space shuttle.

Re:If God Had Meant Man to Go Into Space (2, Interesting)

r_cerq (650776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049248)

Yeah, and if that same "God" had meant us to cross the oceans 500 years ago, he should have given European powers a couple of jets to avoid scurvy and mutinies out of boredom.

Transportation technology and exploration missions have always started out with rudimentary technology, prone to risk and with lots of fatalities paving the way. Crossing the oceans, crossing the continents, going to the poles, the mountains and the abysses have always been dangerous undertakings, and we've gotten better at it over time. Space is just another frontier, and another learning curve.

Re:If God Had Meant Man to Go Into Space (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049483)

Yeah, and if that same "God" had meant us to cross the oceans 500 years ago, he should have given European powers a couple of jets to avoid scurvy and mutinies out of boredom.

1: small grammatical swipes at religion only makes atheism look even more stupid.

2: He did. Ever hear of the vikings?

Re:If God Had Meant Man to Go Into Space (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049323)

He did, lots of things, but they were generally killed for political reasons (see Orion Project, NERVA).

Fallen window ... (2, Interesting)

sk999 (846068) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049223)

A falling window knocked out the shuttle? Geez, those things are supposed to keep the cabin pressurized in space, and one just fell out?

... oh wait, a window cover.

And in a related story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049224)

NASA officials proclaim that the fallen panel will
delay launch for another two years, as congress and the shuttle safety board lead the search for our testicles and overall sense of adventure, which according to expert sources have been missing for over two decades.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

Ray Alloc (835739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049250)

Energia rockets and Soyouz spacecrafts are flying. American presence in space was but just a brief episode. Soon we'll have chinese too, and other nations, meanwhile US decadence become more and more evident every day.

Before you mod this down as "flamebait" or "troll", just think for yourself: How comes USA is not capable to reach the Moon any longer?

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049340)

Actually, Energias aren't flying so much, any more (sadly). America made a serious mistake with the shuttle, as did the USSR in following it. It's a recoverable mistake, though.

Seriously? (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049258)

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

NASA spends two years to fix the problem of stuff falling off the shuttle during launch and damaging it.

Now, after all that work and money, they've regressed: now not even the forces of launch are needed to cause bits to fall off and smash tiles.

In fact, no force at all is needed to cause the problem. The thing is disintegrating as it sits there.

A bad batch of super glue, perhaps?

Re:Seriously? (1)

hawado (762018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049364)

A bad batch of super glue, perhaps?
Too bad they sold off the rights to Velcro... coulda used some of that here...
Also, WTH is with these tiles. A piece of foam damages them, a piece of plastic damages them. I got some nice tiles in the kitchen that even my psycho girlfried throwing a pressure cooker at me couldn't damage, so after millions of dollars of research they came up with fire resistant tiles that are about as tough as poolboy at a gay bikers convention.

Re:Seriously? (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049425)

Can your kitchen tiles withstand a blowtorch on one side of them while remaining cool enough to touch on the other, while being a fifth the density of water?

Didn't think so. You might look less stupid if you read up a little before your next post.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049494)

Hear that? That's the sound of a joke flying right over your head.

Re:Seriously? (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049371)

It's window covers that would be removed before launch. I'm not saying this kind of thing is excusable, but your comment is a little over-the-top.

Again with the shuttle? (5, Insightful)

tono (38883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049265)

I'm afraid I have to echo the sentiment here. I don't care if the cover was designed to come off, the problem is it FELL off no human interaction required. They had to repair tiles on the tail from where the bit of plastic hit the shuttle. If I were an astronaut, that wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in me. Christ, who puts these things together, the guy down the street with the beat up pinto? It's time to retire the shuttle and just pay the russians to launch us until there is a suitable replacement. Remember people, the simpler the design the fewer points of failure there are. Seems like if Burt Rutan can get it right NASA should be able to too.

Re:Again with the shuttle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049381)

Dude, Rutan has a long way to go before he can compete with the Shuttle, NASA, or the Air Force. He's several Mach and about a hundred miles short of a useful orbit.

Re:Again with the shuttle? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049389)

"Seems like if Burt Rutan can get it right NASA should be able to too"

Burt Ratan doesn't have near the requirements NASA has.

Yeah, he got a guy in space. Now make a reusable launch vehical with the same payload as the Shuttle.
If he can do tat, he will onlt be about 25 years behind NASA.

" If I were an astronaut, that wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in me. "

well, no worry there.

Somebody handled that window... (1)

qualico (731143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049284)

...questions are who and why did that window fall off?

I'd rather see the mission delayed for a short time as opposed to a long time should something else shake loose.

Ominous indeed.

slashdot, the AP regurgitator (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049285)

This was on my local newspaper's homepage hours ago.

Why is it that virtually everything I read on slashdot, I've already seen on the AP/Reuters wire stories from my paper?

I don't come to slashdot to read news wire stories; back in the very late 90's I came here to read stuff that you couldn't find anywhere else. I certainly don't come here for the insightful commentary (judging from the 20 comments that all say "dude, who cares about the window, what fell off and damaged it?", a number of which have been modded up, instead of modded down as redundant).

Re:slashdot, the AP regurgitator (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049429)

" back in the very late 90's I came here to read stuff that you couldn't find anywhere else."

I can not think of a single time where /. had stories that couldn't be found anywhere else. I have read slashdot as a central coming together of a lot of things from different places that interest me.

(since 98)

Care to point to a single /. only article?

Re:slashdot, the AP regurgitator (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049477)

Probably because Slashdot is ran by a few bozos in Holland Michigan or where ever they are located at these days. They don't have several thousand reports all over the world poised to jump on any instantly braking news to report it to you the instant it happens. They also don't pay to be a part of an AP or Reuters newswire, nor do they have autoposting news stories.

Slashdot is a glorified blog ran by people more or less at their convienence. When you think of it that way then a prime time news source, things are a lot more reasonable. If you even look at the article summary, you'd see that it was posted 21 minutes AFTER the press conference was suppose to happen to talk about if it was OK or not...2 and a half hours AFTER the actual incident happened.

They aren't safe enough! (4, Funny)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049291)

Obviously these new safety measures aren't safe enough!

I hearby propose that NASA create a new covering to cover the existing "window-cover", to ensure that the existing "window-cover" isn't damaged while it's protecting the actual window.

windows crashes, grounds shuttle (1)

putch (469506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049313)

i can't believe it hasnt been mentioned, or have they all been modded troll already?

Only more questions remain. (1)

TimePressured (863518) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049325)

1) Who manufactured the faulty component?

Microsoft doesn't make windows do they>?

Can we get a refund on the glass piece?

2) Was a boot foot print found on the inside of the glass piece that fell?

3) Did any one call out "Look out below! The sky IS falling!"?

4) Did the glass break?

5) Whose fingerprints were on the glass?

In all seriousness, the most important question is would this failure have been a catastrophe had the shuttle launched and it not fallen off today?

It appears Nasa is blessed enough to have some guardian angels on staff this time.

The Vomit Comet and protocol (4, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049331)

Some of my colleagues here have flown several times on one of the KC-135s that NASA has used (until it gets replaced relatively soon) for micro-g experiments. The testing that their research equipment had to go through to even be allowed on the flights were really very rigorous. Each aluminum stay had to withstand so much torque, each bolt had to be tightened just so, the electronics had to take such-and-such a shock, tools have to have velcro on them, and the frame had to have so much of the opposite-gender velcro so that things could be anchored, etc.
What amazed everyone is that one group was not required to pressure-test their pressurized vessel, and a window blew out during one of the flights, sending nice bits of glass all over. Now, how can all of these other (arguably over-specified) aspects of the experiments be so rigidly-controlled (with carefully-worded protocols for everything), and they leave out PRESSURE TESTING GLASS WINDOWS?

Can we see it fall from 107 angles? (4, Insightful)

loddington (263358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049332)

Where is the footage? I expect to see images of the cover falling off from the 107 cameras they recently installed.

Quality Journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049366)

Changing my Slashdot preferences to Eastern Daylight Time, I see this:

Posted by timothy on 07-12-05 08:21 PM
[...]
NASA is taking a new panel to the launch pad to replace the one hit by the falling cover. NASA is expected to know by 7 PM EDT if the replacement panel will work and whether launch can proceed tomorrow as planned.

So, you posted the story 1 hour and 21 minutes after a rather important part of the story was to be revealed, but couldn't bother to include that?

Time Warp? (5, Insightful)

Stelminator (856547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049374)

"NASA is expected to know by 7 PM EDT"
posted: 8:21PM

anyone else think that maybe we could've had an update before this hit the front page?

Protective Windows (2, Insightful)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049387)

So, what exatly are the window protectors protecting the shuttle from? Peeping-Toms?

I mean, honestly, aren't the shuttle's windows supposed to be fairly durable because of all of the debris in orbit with the shuttle?

Here's a head-scratcher... (5, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049416)

"The lightweight plastic cover on one of Discovery's cockpit windows came loose while the spaceship was on the launch pad, falling more than 60 feet and striking a bulge in the fuselage, said Stephanie Stilson, the NASA manager in charge of Discovery's launch preparations. No one knows why the cover -- which was held in place with tape -- fell off, she said. "

Maybe it fell of because IT WAS HELD ON WITH TAPE!

Who's in charge over there - Red Green?

Maybe it's just hindsight... (1)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049433)

...But it sure does seem to me like they have a lot more problems these days than in years gone past. Is it that they're getting getting better at discovering the problems, or are we just hearing more about it now due to the increase in news options we have today, or is timing coloring my memory, and I'm glossing over a lot of "oops's" tha have occured in the past?

Don't get me wrong, NASA's had more than their share of ups and downs, including some several notable tradgedies whichi resulted in loss of life, but it seems like through the late 80's, and into the 90's, NASA had a lot more success's than they have lately, as far as manned missions go.

People were zipping into space via the Shuttles, space-based experiments seemed to become almost standard reading material. In particular I remember reading about experiements growing things in space, and the effects that zero gravity was having on the plants. Or so I remember...

Nowadays when I hear about NASA and manned missions, it seems like it's usually for a failure, or yet another setback or problem with the shuttle. Granted, the media focus's on failure much more than success, but it seems like there's been a lot more setbacks in recent year than success's.

Or is this a case of me simply glossing over the problems of previous years, and they've been fairly common all along?

Convoluted phrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13049476)

I know to native English-speakers this may be hard to understand, but the title of this is a very complicated sentence to parse... It took me a couple of reads to understand it. That's the kind of thing where English shows its weaknesses.

tmegapscm

NASA TV coverage (1)

crow (16139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13049492)

I saw the press conference on NASA TV a short time ago. The summary is slightly wrong--they discovered that it had happened at 5:30, but they don't know when it actually happened, though it was after a previous inspection. I would have thought that they would have video coverage that they could check, but perhaps not until launch.

Also, they said that it was repaired, but the repair left it slightly out of spec. However, engineers reviewed it and certified it for launch.

My impression is that this is near where they lost a number of tiles on early missions that proved to be non-critical.
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