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Discovery Prepares for Return

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the major-tom-to-ground-control dept.

NASA 189

Kailash Nadh writes "Discovery's astronauts packed up their stuff on Friday as they prepared to undock from the international space station now that NASA has cleared the shuttle to return to Earth next week. Their most difficult task before leaving the station was the maneuvering of a huge cargo container filled with 2 1/2 years worth of trash into the shuttle's payload bay. Once back on Earth, the items would either be disposed of or returned to researchers."

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189 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257656)

fp!

FOR SHAME, SLASHDOT! (0, Offtopic)

eh0d is my daddy (825041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257695)

Over 300 people [nova.com] have died this morning as a result of a tsunami in Sri Lanka, and all they care about is th eir stupid discovery space shuttle. For shame!

Come on (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257729)

Why should I care about a few brown people who died thousands of miles away in a perfectly natural event?

Aldrin (4, Insightful)

coflow (519578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257664)

I find it interesting that Aldrin is critical of the shuttle program. I know there are a lot of people unhappy with it, but it seems a name as big as Aldrin being critical has quite a bit of meaning. Hopefully this is a sign of a new approach to space travel in the future.

Re:Aldrin (-1, Flamebait)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257723)

I hope that America's space program can do better than 30 year old exploding orbital garbage trucks.

Re:Aldrin (4, Insightful)

0xC0FFEE (763100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257763)

There's quite a bit of tradition at NASA. For example, the CAPCOM is always an astronaut. This person is, alone, tasked with relaying information between command and shuttle crew. Seems experience as an astronaut is mandatory for conveying essential information in critical times.

So my guess is Aldrin brings up something important to "the continuity of space exploration" in the same way. Whether you thing this is a PR move or not, I think having people with (successful) field experience in the decision structure is tremendously important. I think the 2 shuttle disasters showed how much managers not grounded in reality can be, well, disastrous.

Re:Aldrin (1)

coflow (519578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257774)

"I think the 2 shuttle disasters showed how much managers not grounded in reality can be, well, disastrous."

That is a lesson that many industries would do well to learn.

Re:Aldrin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13258108)

So how did they get the first CAPCOM? ;)

Re:Aldrin (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258299)


Probably Aldrin is a no-bullshit, in-your-face type that cannot come to terms with the current sanitized NASA. I cannot honestly say that I disagree with him and that attitude.

Implements of destruction (4, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257666)

"... So we went out there with our shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, and we loaded all that trash into the back of a Boeing orbiter, went back inside the space station, and had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat."

Re:Implements of destruction (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258201)

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Natalie in the restaurant, but Natalie doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the ISS nearby the restaurant, in the bed-room, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bed-room like that, they got a lot of room accross the tube where the equipment used to be in. Havin' all that room, seein' as how they took out all the equipmnet, they decided that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in here, and we decided it'd be a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the Earth. So we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a white Boeing orbiter, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the Earth.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the landing strip saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving." And we had never heard of a landing strip closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we flew off into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one. Until we came to low orbit, and off the side of the orbit there was an atmosphere and at the bottom of the atmosphere there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one slightly burned big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw ours down.
---
Recent studies indicate that you are a moron.
Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]

Re:Implements of destruction (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258379)

Why does irrelevent incomprehensible drivel like this get modded up whilst other interesting comments get modded down? What the hell is he talking about?

Risk your life for Garbage?? (-1, Flamebait)

Datagod (613152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257691)

Why would anyone risk their lives to return Garbage to the earth??

What foolish nonsense. Send it into the sun, or into a "burning" orbit.

Re:Risk your life for Garbage?? (4, Funny)

AC-x (735297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257710)

Well they're going home anyway, it's not like they're doing the trip just to take the rubbish back

It's probably useful to know what happens when you keep rubbish in space for several years anyway

Re:Risk your life for Garbage?? (0, Redundant)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257805)

It's probably useful to know what happens when you keep rubbish in space for several years anyway

Don't you think you're being a little hard on the ISS?

Do they not trust the shuttle? (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257810)

To take trash back instead of important results is a sign of mistrust. It is for a part ofcourse not really trash (like researchers might want their stuff back) but still, me no like.

Re:Risk your life for Garbage?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257734)

It's the new NASA funding plan:

1. Collect space garbage
2. Ebay
3. Profit!!!

what a fucking dumb-ass comment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257784)

what, are you picturing a stack of black plastic garbage bags piled up in the cargo bay?
no, they have a multi-purpose module that they carry up into space that holds all the supplies they were bringing.
While docked, they lift the module out of the cargo bay and dock it to the space station. The crew can then transfer the contents to and from the ISS (what, you thought they loaded everything through the shuttle's airlock?)
Before undocking, they move the module back into the cargo bay so they can take it back to earth and use it again (what, are they supposed to "send it into the sun" and make a new one for the next trip?)
Why the hell wouldn't they transfer refuse from the station back into the module since it's going back anyway.
Where did you get the stupid idea that this added any risk to the mission or that it was desirable or even possible to eject this crap into space and have it burn up in the sun.

go fuck yourself, dumbass

Re:what a fucking dumb-ass comment (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258427)

It's still a good point, no matter how much you swear. Why does the garbage have to be brought back down? Surely they should just dump it off the spacestation and let it fall into the atmosphere and burn up?

Bringing the waste back down in the shuttle is always a risk. What happens when the shuttle breaks up on reentry again and spreads two years worth of astronaut poo across hundreds of miles of people's houses?

Maybe instead of collecting the waste on the ISS they could just shit and piss out the window. There was a recent article about spacesuits which said that the human body is not damaged by vaccuum. This means there could be a small hole in the wall of the station, big enough for a cock or a turd, but not big enough for the air to fall out of the space station. Problem solved.

Re:Risk your life for Garbage?? (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257833)

It cost so much to get the pre-garbage up there... shouldn't we be looking at ways to recycle trash in orbit?

Cradle to cradle [amazon.com] has some interesting ideas on designing items so they never truly become garbage, they just get fed back into the manufacturing process.

Good Luck Discovery (1)

748boy (751393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257693)

Lets hope they all have a safe return back to earth. And hopefully the damn shuttle can be confined to history where it belongs.

Come home safe (3, Insightful)

ZPO (465615) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257703)

Come home safe travellers.

Re:Come home safe (1)

it0 (567968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258005)

It certainly would be a waste of life, just so you can play garbage man in space!

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13258081)

I don't care about the astronauts, you sensitive clod!

Metamoderation and SPACE DRAMA (1, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258339)

Come home safe (Score:5, Insightful)

How the hell is this insightful? Even a "talking head" reporter on TV wouldn't say this drivel.

Anyone else just immediately get the urge to metamoderate, every single day?

God, I am so SICK of the space opera that is NASA. I don't give a god damn FUCK about the shuttle, and the only reason the networks are covering it so closely is because if the shuttle does disintegrate (thus becoming a major repeat "disaster") they'd be caught with their pants down if they didn't.

Every local nightly news report the last couple of days has opened with "breaking news" about what Astronaut Bob is doing. "oh, he pulled on a piece of fabric." "Oh, he might have damaged something else." "oh, here's the crew, are they doomed? Let's ask them." "oh, here they are collecting trash from the station, how exciting."

Overheard on the NASA PA system (2, Funny)

grumling (94709) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257704)

Once back on Earth, the items would either be disposed of or returned to researchers.

Attention... Would those of you who have trash from the ISS please come and claim it? If you don't pick up your trash in hanger 12 by 4:00pm, it will be disposed of at your expense. That is all."

Re:Overheard on the NASA PA system (2, Funny)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257832)

You have 30 minutes to pick up your trash, or it will be compacted into a cube.
You have 15 minutes to pick up your trash.
You have 5 minutes to pick up your trash.
Your trash has been compacted into a cube. You have 30 minutes to pick up your cube.

Re:Overheard on the NASA PA system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257865)

how about - put each item on ebay?

one's man trash is another's auction

Oh boy, here we go (3, Funny)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257716)

Prepare for the flood of "why don't they just drop the garbage into the atmosphere and let it burn up" questions.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257735)

or, my favorite: why don't they just launch it into the sun?

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258164)

You know, it occurs to me that the ISS is not in a stable orbit, and needs periodic boosting. I wonder if they could just stop boosting the garbage?

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

L0k11 (617726) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257739)

Prepare for the flood of "why don't they just drop the garbage into the atmosphere and let it burn up" questions.

why bother? odds are it will be incinerated anyway

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257788)

Well Mr.Knowitall why DON'T they? I'd like to know. As long as you separate out anything potentially very hazardous (radioactives, heavy metals) and you don't throw out massively huge chunks of metal likely to make it through a re-enrty then what's the big deal? MIR did it all the time using old Progress resupply containers. It'd certainly be cheaper than sending a shuttle mission every time.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257829)

They don't de-orbit it because de-orbiting something is not as simple as throwing it out the window - you have to remove enough oribital velocity from the object to place it into a re-entry orbit. That takes thrust - so you would have to have a means of providing that thrust.

Like, oh, say, a rocket. Sent up from the earth. By another rocket.

Which pretty much describes the shuttle.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257831)

I believe the answer is "equal and opposite reaction".

Anything you can throw out the window of the space station will stay in orbit unless you throw hard enough to knock yourself out of orbit too.

Or I could be wrong. Would someone more qualified please comment?

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

torako (532270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257950)

Not quite.. Momentum is conserved, i.e. m_iss dot v_iss + m_garbage dot v_garbage = const.

You can figure the different scenarios out from there on... If the garbage's mass is equal to the space station's mass, then indeed you'd have quite a noticeable effect on the station trajectory.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13258165)

Also not quite right ... energy (0.5mv^2) is conserved, momentum (mv) is not conserved.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257845)

I'll let others address the technical problems with your proposal, but...
It'd certainly be cheaper than sending a shuttle mission every time.
That's a strawman argument. The Shuttle was there anyway. They don't spend a billion bucks just to haul garbage back from the space station.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257877)

No actually, it isn't. If you dont HAVE to use it for hauling garbage you can use it for other far more important things. Like scientific experiments! The cost of a Progress [nasa.gov] resupply vehicle is less than 10% of a shuttle mission.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257921)

And the capacity of a Progress vehicle is less than 10% of a shuttle. Discovery is hauling back over 3 tons of unneeded material from ISS.

Re:Oh boy, here we go (5, Informative)

Rhoon (785258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257898)

The reason they don't throw it into the atmosphere is for a variety of reasons.

They catalog everything that comes back. They weigh and measure each piece that is returned. They check it for radiation contamination (something that would spread the radiation if it was sent into the atmosphere to burn up). They do tests and experiments to see how the items faired during a long duration such as 2.5 years in space without the protection of the Earth's atmosphere from all the X-Rays, Gamma Rays, etc...

It's more than just garbage when it comes back, it turns into a science experiment in of itself. I'm sure they collect just as much data on items in space from the garbage that is brought back as they do from the experiments that used those items in the first place.

There's a way to make billions from trash! (1)

Tipa (881911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258121)

One word: eBay.

Space exploration funding for the new millennium!

Hauling The Trash... (1, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257727)

... a huge cargo container filled with 2 1/2 years worth of trash ...

You would think that they could hurl this stuff into the sun or send it into a de-orbit burn. A certain engineer of late would be offended if someone called his ship a "garbage scow". Alas, I guess that's where the shuttle program is heading.

Re:Hauling The Trash... (3, Interesting)

jridley (9305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258041)

"hurl this stuff into the sun"

Yeah. Calculate how much energy that would take. It's actually pretty hard to hit the sun from here.

Bringing it down in the shuttle is actually far and away the easiest way to get rid of it. Getting it up there was expensive. Once the shuttle is there, and the bay's empty anyway, bringing anything back is not that big a deal. Some extra mass in the deorbit calculations.

Why would we spend the time and money to build and attach and pilot a remote deorbit pack when we have the shuttle coming back anyway?

The Enterprise had 400-odd people on it. I guarantee they had some pretty extensive waste recycling systems. But they had matter transmutation, so they didn't actually have to deal with disposal, they could just feed mass in, and get food/water/gold/clothing/whatever they needed back out again. If you think about it, people in a society with that technology would soon come to view looking at actual trash as very disgusting.

Re:Hauling The Trash... (2, Funny)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258134)

It's actually pretty hard to hit the sun from here.

Not to mention that its the only one we have. Lets not be hurling random processed debris into what could be a very delicately balanced mass reaction chamber, when we have not got clue one as to what the short or long term effects might be.

It ain't like a fire, only bigger.

How bout an auction of the Space returned garbage? (2, Insightful)

Guru Goo (875426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257747)

Would be any takers if NASA were to auction the space returned garbage on ebay ?

Re:How bout an auction of the Space returned garba (1)

EaterOfDog (759681) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257782)

And how much would shipping be for 2 1/2 tons flown on the space shuttle?

Sorting of NASA Trash/Rubbish? (0, Offtopic)

vchoy (134429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257762)

...2 1/2 years worth of trash into the shuttle's payload bay...

Here in Syd, Australia, residents are required to sort the trash.
General rubbish (red bin)
recyclable material (yellow bin)
Garden and plant material (green bin)

Just interested to know if the ISS trash was sorted?

Unmanned flights (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257772)

NASA is going to freeze the Shuttle program, but I wonder, Shuttle can fly without anyone on-board, so isn't it possible to do that? Just use the damn thing as a cargo vehicle without people on board. Or have one pilot on it who will take it up, and then if the thing is damaged, have it fly back automagically, and let the pilot stay on the space station and go down with a Soyuz crew.

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

Gaewyn L Knight (16566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257825)

Yes and no... The shuttle can take-off and reenter 100% computer controlled. However it can't land that way. The wonderful designers thought it was too dangerous to let the computer control the landing gear since they can't be retracted and accidental opening means death on reentry.

So... yes it can.. except some monkey has to be there to drop the landing gear.

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257846)

If memory serves, it was the astronauts who objected to computer-controlled landing gear and insisted upon the change.

I wonder how hard it would be to retrofit, though...

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258033)

Yeah yeah yeah yeah....they'd probably never want to fly the orbiter unmanned, since if they're going to shoot something that big up there it's either a satellite that can go on a regular rocket or a peice of the ISS, and you need astronauts there to bolt it together. However, if for some reason it made sense to do so, I think that a retrofit allowing for 100% flight would be in order. How frickin' hard could it be?

Re:Unmanned flights (2, Informative)

bbc (126005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258140)

How frickin' hard could it be?

It's been done before [wikipedia.org] . (Though that wasn't retrofitting, but design--but if you can turn a Volkswagen Beetle into a stretch limo, you can retrofit a shuttle.)

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

Achra (846023) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258323)

It's interesting how uncommon knowledge this is. I've seen this thread pop up on slashdot among everywhere else, and the single answer remains: the astronauts insisted that the actual dropping the landing gear mechanism be completely manual.. The landing gear can only be retracted by a ground crew, so any premature dropping of the mechanism would be instant and total death for everyone on board, no matter what they were doing at the time. The Buran could do this, but a craft would have to be built from scratch if you wanted to put it into space, along with the energiya booster setup.

Re:Unmanned flights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257828)

IIRC they don't have the ability to land the orbiter . there has to be somebody actually in there flying it by the seat of their pants.

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

ytm (892332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257942)

It is much cheaper to use Russian crafts for unmanned missions. Shuttle would be terribly inefficient if used only as an unmanned cargo vehicle.

Re:Unmanned flights (2, Interesting)

TMonks (866428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258011)

Saying "the shuttle can fly without anyone on board" is very similar to someone asking why we even need commercial pilots, since the planes can take off, fly, and land themselves. If anything were to go wrong with the shuttle, you might not lose over a hundred passengers, but you still lose over a billion dollars in investments. IMHO, Having people on board to make sure that everything is going right is absolutely necessary to protect that investment. After all, how would you feel if an unmanned shuttle performed beautifully in its mission and re-entry, only to crash and burn on the runway, a problem that could have easily been solved with human intervention?

Re:Unmanned flights (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258242)

The vast majority of airline accidents are caused by pilots and air traffic controllers. (not the ones in charge of the air-space, the ones in charge of the taxiing around)

Since automated flight is simpler than automated driving and the vehicles are big enough to have supercomputers hidden away in a compartment somewhere, the question is, "Why do we have pilots in the loop on airplanes?"

The argument that the pilot can think of a new way out of a situation is a red herring. Plenty of accidents involving pilots occor which are very similar or exactly the same as accidents caused by other pilots. further, ultimately, the pilot is just another processor with a separate power supply from the main system whose weight could be spent on an actual separate processor if redundancy is the reason for the pilot. The overwhelming advantage a computer can have in "unique" emergency situations is a huge database of situations. essencially, every accident that occurs whose cause can be determined is the last accident of that type.

So yes, I'm all in favor of the classic "pilot and dog" cockpit. where the pilot's job is to not touch anything and the dog's job is to bite the pilot if he tries to.

Re:Unmanned flights (3, Informative)

doomtiki (789936) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258062)

In Soviet Russia (this is not a joke), Space Shuttle Buran flew one unmanned orbital flight. It landed in a 57km/h crosswind and was only 1.5m off the center line of the runway. The program was cancelled after the end of Communism in Russia. Buran was destroyed a few years ago when the hanger it was being stored in in Kazakstan collapsed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle_Buran [wikipedia.org]
http://www.buran.ru/ [buran.ru]

A reason to bringing back the waste. (5, Insightful)

Chonine (840828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257777)

It is very possible that what we consider waste and what NASA does could differ. Remnants of experiments, minilabs that belong to schools, old journals, outdated equipment, failed equipment... I think a big part of the reason to take it all back is so the engineers can find out failure points, reuse or sell older equipment, for NASA historians and archivists to keep any documentation, and to give loaned items back to their respective owners.

Re:A reason to bringing back the waste. (1)

Sartak (589317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257900)

Perhaps you're right.. or maybe they just want to sift through astronaut turd.

A better crew for this job (3, Funny)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257785)

Next time, get ahold of Richard Benjamin, Tim Thomerson, Richard Kelton, Tricia Barnstable, Cyb Barnstable and Conrad Janis.

Re:A better crew for this job (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257815)

I'm not sure which of us is worse - you for bringing that up, or me for getting it.

Alas, the average /bot won't get it - they think "Quark" is a barkeep, not a trashman.

Re:A better crew for this job (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257821)

Only if I can have the show on DVD first.

(and don't forget Buck Henry)

I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257792)

How can you discover something twice?

Embarrasing. Just let it die! (1, Insightful)

johnnywheeze (792148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257793)

Embarassing trip all the way around. Foam still fell off, even after x number of years and x millions of dollars. Shuttle grounded again. Spacewalk to remove a piece of junk by hand.

Seems fitting that it's returning to earth full of garbage. Lets just put the shuttle with the rest of the refuse and move on to the CEV.

Doesn't anyone remember us chiding the russians because Mir was old and rickety and well past its intended lifespan? Drop the shuttle, burn up the ISS, and start reaching for the stars from scratch.

Why is this filed under 'Science' (2, Interesting)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257809)

I wasn't watching around the clock, but I saw no evidence of any science being done at all on this mission.

NASA uses the word 'science' as a figleaf. What they mainly do is engineering, and they badly do what they should have perfected 20 years ago.

Microchips have become routine, brain surgery has become routine, but in 'rocket science' there's been no progress. It's a process and internal culture issue, and it isn't being fixed.

Re:Why is this filed under 'Science' (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257894)

I wasn't watching around the clock, but I saw no evidence of any science being done at all on this mission.



i dunno, i saw them testing their new shuttle-patch materials, there was some science in that. things froze, got solid, didn't stick, etc. the chemists weren't totally right about everything in that experiment, either, neither were the engineers.

oh, okay, i'm being optimistic. but hey .. this was the 'patch' flight, man. over 100 other missions, and you're complaining about the 'return to flight' being 'not science enough'.

mothball the shuttle, yes. but only if you can replace it with something else in 6 to 12 months, i say, or at least keep the show on the road some other way (just buy Progress rockets, people, sheesh..)

Re:Why is this filed under 'Science' (1)

dukerobillard (582741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258272)

saw them testing their new shuttle-patch materials, there was some science in that.

Sure...the major use of the shuttle missions is now to figure out how to keep the shuttle healthy.

Re:Why is this filed under 'Science' (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258280)

Aren't the "new shuttle patch" materials in fact actually the old apollo heat shield patch materials?

Re:Why is this filed under 'Science' (1)

dazey (903451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258358)

If you haven't noticed, they also installed a MISSE (Materials International Space Station Experiment) on the ISS which contains a few new types of solar cells. It's supposed to be up there for a year, seeing which one is more efficient. http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/pcsat2.html [navy.mil]

A SMEGGING GARBAGE POD!! (1, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257848)

LISTER: Quagars?
RIMMER: Quagaaaars! It's a name I made up! Double A, actually! I believe the Quagaars have the technology to give me a new body!
LISTER: The perfectly preserved remains of a Quagaar warrior! [nildram.co.uk]
LISTER: Yeah, right, Rimmer. Absolutely.
RIMMER: They must have looked something like ... a roast chicken.

RIMMER: IT'S A SMEGGING GARBAGE POD!!

Re: A SMEGGING GARBAGE POD!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13257955)

Very amusing. :)

Boy there's some asshole moderation going on today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13258013)

Humor-impared, uptight jerks the whole bunch of them

ISS/NASA astronauts chores for 2005 (2, Funny)

vchoy (134429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257853)

Seems more like an 'itinerary'...but anyways...

-Go out shopping for food, supplies *tick*
-Take vehicle for preventative repairs/maintenance (done...sort of)
-Fill up vehicle *tick*
-Check tires (give it a kick)
-Blast off *tick*
-arrive at camp site
-Unload food and supplies *tick*
-Check vehicle still okay (done...issues found)
      * had to go underbonnet to remove some stuff
      * inspected paint job near windscreen?
-Clean up room
-Bag trash-rubbish, put back into vehicle *tick*
-Depart camp site *tick*
-Arrive home

(and that's the weekend!)

Third option (0, Redundant)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257854)

Once back on Earth, the items would either be disposed of or returned to researchers.

Or sold on eBay.

How much would YOU pay (0, Redundant)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257867)

For a pound of space Trash ?
 
Put it on ebay and let the bidding begin....
My Bid for toiletry FREE trash starts at 50$ a pound.....
Lets see 50$ /3000 lbs , hey the goverment could buy a new hammer AND toilet seat and still have $12 left over...

Garbage Scow Shuttles (1)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257907)

Wow.

That is a terrible lot of pain just to get some trash.

They had to do more than that on this mission.

Besides tugging at fabric and picking up the trash....

What are some other things they accomplished?

   

Re:Garbage Scow Shuttles (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258208)

Tested new shuttle repair techniques.
Installed a new gyroscope on the ISS.
Fixed a faulty one.
Hauled up a few tons of supplies for the ISS and her crew.
Hauled down a few tons of junk.
Did a photo-op of the ISS.

Re:Garbage Scow Shuttles (1)

janek78 (861508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258219)

Can't you people read?
From the NASA website:
----------
Discovery's seven-member Return to Flight crew arrived at the International Space Station on July 28, primarily to test and evaluate new safety procedures.

There have been many safety improvements to the Shuttle, including a redesigned External Tank, new sensors and a boom that will allow astronauts to inspect the Shuttle for any potential damage.

Two crewmembers, Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi, will venture outside the Shuttle three times on spacewalks. The first will demonstrate repair techniques on the Shuttle's protective tiles, known as the Thermal Protection System. During the second spacewalk, they'll replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope, which helps keep the Station oriented properly. Finally, they'll install the External Stowage Platform, a sort of space shelf for holding spare parts during Station construction.

STS-114 is the third trip of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) named Raffaello to the Station. It's essentially a "moving van" that transports supplies to the orbital outpost.
---------

Plus, they installed another piece of the MISSE experiment. And brought supplies to the crew of ISS. That is a bit more than just garbage collection.

One question that must be asked: (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13257949)

I wish the astronauts a safe return however, once they are on the ground, this question must be asked:

1: How can the USA spend close to 2 billion dollars and have so little to show for it? The shuttle underwent so many upgrades but all in the industry were surprised that stuff was falling of the shuttle.

2: Would it be a better idea to let those who can do much with so little (read Russians), do our space work since they can do precisely that? After all, a good number of our industrial base is being out-sourced.

A rocket to nowhere (1)

Allen Varney (449382) | more than 8 years ago | (#13258357)

The best and most bracing recent analysis I've seen of the Shuttle and its current situation is A Rocket to Nowhere [idlewords.com] by one Maciej Ceglowski. "The goal cannot be to have a safe space program -- rocket science is going to remain difficult and risky. But we have the right to demand that the space program have some purpose beyond trying to keep its participants alive. NASA needs to take a lesson in courage from its astronauts, and demand either a proper, funded mandate for manned exploration, or close down the program. By NASA's own arguments, the commercial, technological and intellectual allure of manned space exploration are so great that it will not be a hard case to make. But even if the worst happens and the Shuttles are mothballed, with the ISS left abandoned, the loss to science will have been negligible. That is the great tragedy of the current 'return to flight', and the sooner we force the agency to confront its failure, the greater our chances of salvaging a space program worth keeping out of the current mess."

I hope it burns up on re-entry (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13258418)

And if it does, I'll be laughing.
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