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Historic Shuttle Spacesuits to Meet Fiery End

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the burn-baby-burn dept.

NASA 70

collectSPACE writes "While some museums bid for retired space shuttle orbiters, the real prize may be the spacewalking spacesuits, at least if NASA's plans for them hold true. The now-reusable extravehicular mobility units (EMUs) are soon to become disposable, allowed to disintegrate as they reenter the Earth's atmosphere inside spent cargo ships."

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I just hope.... (5, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435491)

they take the astronauts out first.

Re:I just hope.... (2, Funny)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435621)

...allowed to disintegrate as they reenter the Earth's atmosphere inside spent cargo ships.

Finally NASA come up with a solution for my dirty underpants problem.

(insert joke about skid marks)

monk.e.boy

Re:I just hope.... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435643)

Knowing their track record? A zipper would get stuck.

"Houston, we have a problem!"

Hey! Tax money paid for those (1, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435493)

So why can't museums have them?

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435531)

They are talking about after Orion replaces the current space shuttles. Orion does not have the ability to carry as much weight as the shuttle; thus, some things can not be brought back. One of these will be some suits that are stored on the ISS.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (3, Interesting)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435795)

I think that perfectly summarizes NASAs problems.

Their heads are so far stuck up their asses that they've forgotten what their Mission is.

Develop access to space.

And if they can't even BRING BACK THEIR STUFF, then they've failed completely.

And another thing. These suits suck. Hamilton Standard needs to lose their lock on it, so we can get some innovation and development.

And another thing. For less than we've spent on the Iraq war, we *could have had* a constellation of space solar power satellites, and the lifting infrastructure to ensure access to space.

Fucking Oil Junkies.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (4, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436605)

"And if they can't even BRING BACK THEIR STUFF, then they've failed completely."

Which is exactly the kind of narrowminded thinking that brought us the Shuttle in the 1st place.

The whole concept of shuttle "reusability" came from the idea that *OBVIOUSLY* reusing the orbiter would be cheaper. But it wound up costing more to basically rebuild the shuttle and SRB's every time. Real economy there.

Sometimes, it actually makes more sense from an engineering economics standpoint to throw something away. If it is cheaper to build something for 1 time use, and throw it away after that use, that's OK.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19437789)

Didn't we end up here because of the military wanting more space on the shuttle?

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19439609)

Yes, it needed to be heavy-lift because of military requirements. But the real problem was that it was reusable: Because it had to have its cost amortized over a hundred flights, it needed to be future-proof for the period (10 years IIRC) it was expected to fly. And that meant it had to have the heavy-lift capability that made it so expensive. And that, perhaps unsurprisingly, it neglected to use during twice that time.

If it was a one-shot system, it would've been like every other one-shot system: an array of sizes, depending on the need, all made to order, some better tested than others due to frequency of use. Probably the Titan IV would've been accelerated or perhaps one of the other lines.

Space -- mostly empty, with some rocks inside (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440193)

>>
For less than we've spent on the Iraq war, we *could have had* a constellation of space solar power satellites, and the lifting infrastructure to ensure access to space.
>>

For less than the price we spend on one shuttle mission, we could have had a constellation of satellites which are actually useful. Lifting infrastructure is a major challenge for the space program, but the bigger challenge is that there is no purpose to the space program. Here is a magical Wand of Lifting Things Into Orbit +10 -- great, what can you do with that?

* You can put humans in an environment which is certain death if any of ten million things go wrong, which historically has a fatality rate quite a bit higher than that war you were mentioning.

* You can get cool desktop wallpaper.

* You can get high definition pictures of the pores of particularly big chunks of rock which happen to be in the general vicinity of this chunk of rock. These pores typically hold more rock. One of these days, we may discover a pore with ice at the bottom of it. That will be a banner day in the history of rock pore exploration. It proves that it is possible, theoretically, for that ice to have been water at some point. This whole water to ice back to water cycle is apparently Cutting Edge Science when conducted away from this rock.

* You can bring back little rocks from the nearby big rocks, and subject them to years of very expensive scientific testing. This testing will tell you, in excruciating detail, that they are rocks. Scientists hope that if they continue looking at these rocks for decades they will eventually find a rock with dead microbes on it, proving to skeptical microbes of this rock that they are not alone in the universe.

* You could even mobilize the resources of two nation states to have a race to a nearby medium-sized chunk of rock (covered with craters) as a PR-friendly cover for funneling enormous resources into developing missiles capable of adding craters to this crhunk of rock.

* You can achieve intellectual autoeroticism for science fiction fanboys who say "Its high time we got some of our eggs out of this basket", irrespective of the fact that there is no possible way to sustain civilization absent the umbilical cord back to this rock and, heck, we can't even maintain self-sufficient enclosed communities back here where a crack in the bubble DOESN'T immediately kill everyone inside.

Re:Space -- mostly empty, with some rocks inside (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19446753)

You know that oft reproduced scene in the old Frankenstein movie where all the villagers are gathered outside the caste with torches and pitchforks and all? I always wondered who would react that way to hearing about a breakthrough in immortality research.

Now I know.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19446009)

And another thing. For less than we've spent on the Iraq war, we *could have had* a constellation of space solar power satellites, and the lifting infrastructure to ensure access to space.

In what world? Sim City?

I'm sorry. But the technology simply doesn't exist, let alone advanced enough for wide scale commercial deployment.

Get thee back to thou Heinlein novels of mining asteroids for common materials that are easily and much more economically exploited terrestrially.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19449761)

"I'm sorry. But the technology simply doesn't exist, let alone advanced enough for wide scale commercial deployment."

Specifically, which technology doesn't exist?

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19446497)

And another thing. These suits suck. Hamilton Standard needs to lose their lock on it, so we can get some innovation and development.

Hamilton Sundstrand, if any of the technical documents on the data I decode are accurate.

And another thing. For less than we've spent on the Iraq war, we *could have had* a constellation of space solar power satellites, and the lifting infrastructure to ensure access to space.

Fucking Oil Junkies.

Amazing how high satellites don't get without fuel!

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436127)

Isn't coming back just falling back to earth? How can you not have enough power to fall? Ok maybe I'm trying to be a little bit funny, but it seems like if they have enough energy to bring it up, then there should be not problem bringing it back down.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19437119)

It would fall back indeed. Thats not the problem. But it'll burn and vaporise in the process due to the friction with the atmosphere.
check this thread I just digged up via google:
http://physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-14993 3.html [physicsforums.com]

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19443657)

Isn't coming back just falling back to earth? How can you not have enough power to fall? Ok maybe I'm trying to be a little bit funny, but it seems like if they have enough energy to bring it up, then there should be not problem bringing it back down.


There are a couple of things going on. Yes, do-orbit is basically falling. But, orbiting is also basically falling, and the devil is in the details. You see, the big fuel tanks and rockets that you see them using to get off the ground -- most of that energy isn't for going up. Some of the energy is used for going up, but the rest is for falling very very very fast. Sideways. So fast that you miss the Earth on the way down. Now, once you are in orbit you will basically stay there for a good long time. Eventually, orbits decay, but for the sake of simplicity, you will stay up there longer than you probably want to. So, to get back down, you can't just say "well, lets stop orbitting," and then magically make it down. You are already just falling, so you have to actively fight the fall in order to do somethng else. You need enough fuel to slow your fall down. You are going absurdly fast, and you may be well away from the atmosphere if you are in a high orbit, so you need to cut down quite a bit of velocity so that your falling will allow you to fall into the atmosphere. (Once you get into much of the atmosphere, you tend to slow down very fast, such that falling slowly enough to get back to the ground suddenly becomes an alarmingly easy thing to do.)

So, to cut that velocity in orbit, you need some fuel. How much fuel you need depends on how much mass you need to slow down. To slow down more mass, you need more fuel. Of course, that fuel is also extra mass. So, you need a bit more fuel. So, bringing down X mass needs Y fuel, which itself needs Z fuel. So, you need to launch with X*Y* Z extra mass in your space ship. Of course, launching that extra mass means a bigger rocket to get into orbit with more A more fuel, B more tank mass to hold A more fuel, and C more fuel to have the energy to launch A and B. So, bringing X mass back costs you X*Y*Z*A*B*C all in all. it turns out it may just be cheaper to build a new space suit for every mission.

I'm sort of absurdly oversimplifying things, but that is the gist of de-orbiting mechanics in a nut shell.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

ec_hack (247907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19443973)

Orion does not have the ability to carry as much weight as the shuttle; thus, some things can not be brought back.

The pressurized cargo version of Orion, or the commercial cargo vehicles being developed now, could carry the suits back if the ISS program made room/mass available. The crew version of Orion may or may not have space/mass for the EMUs. The exact cargo capability available in the post-Shuttle era will determine what comes back and what doesn't.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435569)

Well your tax dollars can just pay to bring them back!

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435651)

Good point.

Also I think its ironic that at the height of the cold war - of the fight of capitalism vs socialism - that the US Govt used a centrally planned and tax funded program (NASA/space landing) as a propaganda tool of how great they were. The commies must have been laughing their asses off.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435659)

Yeah, because there's nothing in between "let it be" capitalism and communism, right?

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436057)

I'm sorry, but that doesn't demonstrate knowledge of cold war history. The commies were the first in space, and made much of it. The silliness was distributed at least equally on both sides. One might be able to argue that the Soviets played it up even more than we did. They had more of a state-sponsored propaganda engine fueling the thing; huge billboards, giant, space-age social realism-styled statues of Yuri Gagarin located centrally in Moscow--it was a BIG deal.

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435837)

So why can't museums have them?

      Like almost everything else out of NASA for the past 30 years, this makes no sense.

Tax money (2, Interesting)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435937)

Not to sound like a jerk, but the number of things that our taxes pay for that we can't see in museums is most likely staggering. I'd love to see all of our latest and greatest gadgets... not that spacesuits are state guarded secrets, right? Perhaps some fat-cat space contractor just talked NASA Manager #45ef.99 into agreeing to a deal where fat-cat space contractor gets to make a TON more money by making "disposable" space suits... Nothing ensures orders like a terminal product.

Re:Tax money (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19438945)

On the other hand, maybe the added cost of making a spacesuit reusable is less than the cost of making a number of disposable spacesuits over the estimated lifetime of the reusable spacesuit. E.g., if a reusable spacesuit has a lifetime of five missions, but costs more than five times as much as a disposable spacesuit, then the choice is clear. Note that this solution may still give the contractor more money (in spacesuit manufacturing charges), while still saving NASA money overall in costs related to storing, retrieving, reconditioning, and re-certifying a reusable spacesuit.

Also, regarding tax-funded things in museums, it could be that the cost of manufacturing and using these things does not include the cost of retaining them and storing them in a museum once their usefulness has come to an end. Have you considered the possibility that all the things you'd like to see in a museum would become prohibitively expensive if the cost of putting them in a museum were included in the initial bill to the taxpayer? And have you considered the possibility that your real problem is that you're not willing to pay enough taxes to properly fund the museums themselves, such that they can cover the retrieval, storage, and display costs of all the things you'd like museums to keep on hand?

Re:Hey! Tax money paid for those (1)

moldor (985453) | more than 7 years ago | (#19449563)

Bugger the museums, why can't *I* have them ?

now-reusable? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435497)

Is 'now-reusable' a typo? If the suits are reusable then why wouldn't you reuse them? I suspect the wording should have been 'non-reusable'.

Misread on first sight (3, Funny)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435507)

"Historic Shuttle Spacesuits to Meet Fiery End"

Who also though on first sight that it was about Shuttleworth and Feisty Fawn?

time to cash in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435509)

i am sooo going to put up my spacesuit on ebay now.

Have spacesuit, will travel (1)

Hyler (99628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435579)

Couldn't they give them away in a jingle-writing contest?

Re:Have spacesuit, will travel (2, Funny)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435845)

"Couldn't they give them away in a jingle-writing contest?"

Sure they could, but the winner would have to pay for Postage and Packing.

Re:Have spacesuit, will travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19436533)

The phrase you're looking for is Shipping & Handling

Re:Have spacesuit, will travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440377)

Not if he's British he isn't. P&P is the traditional terminology there.

Re:Have spacesuit, will travel (1)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19437559)

Or Winner Collects.

That's because they ran into this guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435685)

http://membres.lycos.fr/mario86/sml2_space1_cloche .gif [lycos.fr]

And even worse yet, he just picked up a fire flower.

FUCKING JEWS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435761)

I'm sad.

Re:FUCKING JEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19438237)

Uh oh, what's in the news now? Did a Jew dare fight back or defend himself?

Have you read why this is? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435819)

One of the many times when /.ers should RTFA.

The suits are going to be destroyed because the new Orion Shuttle replacement cannot support returning suited astronauts to the ground.

It's not big enough, or it's got weight problems.

Fer F***s sake, this doesn't sound like a replacement, or an advance. It sounds like a f*****g retreat. We are now so crap we can't bring suits back.

I suggest we give the all the suits to the Russians. At least they still seem to have an advancing space programme!

Re:Have you read why this is? (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435933)

If we want to advance instead of grandstand, we need a faster technology development cycle. We can't have that because of the safety issues associated with putting Meat in space. If we skip (government funded) manned missions for say, fifty years, we could have far more capable unmanned systems.
We have as much time as we care to take.

If we can study and manipulate the things in space we need to study and manipulate without human attendants, we can get far more bang for our investment. Terrestrial exploration was carried out by humans when these were relatively expendable. Astronauts may be willing to take risks, but the public snivels when they die (unlike the risk acceptance in the heydays of test pilots...) and their life support systems impact mission duration.

Piecemeal (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435831)

shuttle astronauts don suits that are assembled from separate upper and lower components

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which will replace the shuttle, does not have the weight allowances to permit the return of a single EMU.

I'm sure someone's thought of this, but isn't there weight allowance on the Orion for even half an EMU?

Re:Piecemeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19436935)

Does half an Emu weigh less than half an Ostrich?
Wow, talk about piece meal.

Re:Piecemeal (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19443951)

"Does half an Emu weigh less than half an Ostrich?"

Officially, it equals a fraction of a Rod-Hull

Gasp! My heart just skipped a beat. (5, Insightful)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435839)

Egads people. The shuttle is scheduled to launch today. Could you please not post a front page story with words "Shuttle", "Space", and "Fiery End" all together? A quick glance at the sentence made me gasp and ask "WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?"

A half second later, I understood the context, but it took a few moments for my heart to slow back down...

-S

Re:Gasp! My heart just skipped a beat. (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436377)

Egads people. The shuttle is scheduled to launch today. Could you please not post a front page story with words "Shuttle", "Space", and "Fiery End" all together? A quick glance at the sentence made me gasp and ask "WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?"

A half second later, I understood the context, but it took a few moments for my heart to slow back down...
If something does go wrong, would it count as a dupe?

Maybe this is why they burn spacesuits... (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435861)

Seems like there is an argument that we do not need hyoomans in space [boston.com] for the things we send them into space to do. If this argument is indeed valid, NASA can partner with Branson or some of the other space travel companies for funding and send robots to space. Also if political backing for NASA does actually come from the public's desire to see astronauts sent to space (as the article claims), once space tourists start getting sent regularly (by Branson or others), this charm will wear off since most of the people still engaged in the star wars wouldn;t be able to tell the difference between a NASA mission and GGW in Space...Actually, if you think about it, maybe NASA is pushing Putin and Bush to re-ignite the Cold war to get people to support spending on manned missions...hehehe

$265m (cost of sending Mars rover) is about the same as what MIT or Georgia Tech spend on research every year. If some form of private research spending interest comes along, I am sure NASA can shape up to be a viable commercial alternative, where it starts doing real research so that stuff in space gets discovered and people stop caring if "OMG!WESENT8PEOPLETOSPACESTFUCOMMIEBASTARDS!!"
Cheers!

Ok Im sorry (2, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435991)

But if they cant even fly down a EMU because of its weight... whats going to happen if god-forbid they need to emergency evac the ISS and the only thing left to leave on is a Orion? I realize there is a Soyuz, but say its damaged in the emergency, or say it happens at a point where they are switching out the lifeboat. Your telling me that this new spacecraft is going to be so poorly designed in relation to our assets as to be useless in the case of a emergency? Have we learned NOTHING in regards to planning for the worst?

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436287)

Let's say the Orion was damaged too. Then what?

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

ps236 (965675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19437019)

Looking at wikipedia's article on Orion [wikipedia.org] it looks like a major step backwards. If that article is up to date, the Orion is nothing like the shuttle. It's more like the service module & command module from the Apollo spacecraft. So, all that comes back down to Earth with the crew is a little cone.

So, given that, I can see that it wouldn't have much space spare for EMUs.

However, it can carry '4 to 6' astronauts. So, I can't see why, if it happens to be coming down with just 4 astronauts, they couldn't put a couple of EMUs in the empty seats....

It does seem like a massive step back in technology. It's not going to be able to be used for all the jobs that the shuttle can be used for, such as launching satellites & doing maintenance work on them etc, but a lot of that can be done using unmanned craft now. Basically Orion is limited to being only a crew vehicle, whereas the shuttle was a cargo vehicle with lots of flexibility. I guess Orion will be a lot cheaper to run though.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19444885)

It's not a step back in technology, it's just a change of focus. Sure, there will be lots of things that the shuttle can do that Orion won't be able to accomplish, but there were a lot of things that the Apollo craft could do that the shuttle cannot.

The shuttle is an amazing piece of technology, and the engineers did an outstanding job of meeting some of the design goals. The problem is that some of the design goals were never reached(much cheaper costs via reusable spacecraft, quick turn-around between launches), and other of the design goals ended up being far less useful than expected, even when possible. It's usually not that cost effective to bring something back from orbit and send it back up, just send up a new one. And there are plenty of rockets to choose from to send your cargo into space, the shuttle isn't the most efficient way to move cargo into orbit.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

ec_hack (247907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19443887)

whats going to happen if god-forbid they need to emergency evac the ISS and the only thing left to leave on is a Orion?

Orion will have its own suit design.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19443941)

But if they cant even fly down a EMU because of its weight... whats going to happen if god-forbid they need to emergency evac the ISS and the only thing left to leave on is a Orion? I realize there is a Soyuz, but say its damaged in the emergency, or say it happens at a point where they are switching out the lifeboat.

They won't need an EMU to do those things - because they won't be performing spacewalks. Instead, they'll use the suits they flew up in.
 
TFA doesn't make this entirely clear - but both NASA and the Russians use two suits each. Both have an individually fitted lightweight suit for ascent and entry (and each is interoperable with the other countries spacecraft), and a one-size-fits-all spacewalk suit (which only operates with the airlock module provided by the country that built the suit). It's the latter that is being transformed into a disposable, and which wouldn't be needed (at can't be used anyhow) in your scenario anyhow.
 
 

Your telling me that this new spacecraft is going to be so poorly designed in relation to our assets as to be useless in the case of a emergency? Have we learned NOTHING in regards to planning for the worst?

We've learned plenty about how to plan for the worst. But realize this; no matter how much you plan, there are contingencies for which no reasonable recovery exists. You hope they don't happen - but when they do, you hoist a few at the local watering hole, cry a few tears, then wash your face and head back to work. Real life is like that.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

d0rp (888607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19445449)

But if they cant even fly down a EMU because of its weight... whats going to happen if god-forbid they need to emergency evac the ISS and the only thing left to leave on is a Orion?
The grandparent was talking about the weight capacity of the Orion, not that they would need to use the EMUs; the point being that they wouldn't be able to take all of the people from the ISS with them in case of an emergency.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19445529)

In that instance, the second half of my reply applies;

We've learned plenty about how to plan for the worst. But realize this; no matter how much you plan, there are contingencies for which no reasonable recovery exists. You hope they don't happen - but when they do, you hoist a few at the local watering hole, cry a few tears, then wash your face and head back to work. Real life is like that.

 
But at any rate, it's still a bullshit complaint (by the OP) - if all that is left is the Orion, it can't take back the whole of the ISS crew, period. It's not a matter of weight, it's a matter of their physically not being enough seats in the spacecraft.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19445735)

Which is my point, the Space Shuttle could be configured to take down more people in an emergency, it had extra pull out seats that all that was needed was a adjustment in trajectory and it could bring down 4 extra people on top of its mission crew, more if spacelab was installed (which granted it hasn't been in years if not a decade now. The orion can only take down 6 people period, so god forbid a emergency arise while they are up there, there is no way unlike the shuttle they could divert and rescue the ISS crew if they had a full mission crew.

Re:Ok Im sorry (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19445899)

Spacelab cannot carry any passengers, all passengers must ride in the crew compartment. Nor can the Shuttle 'divert', it must be intentionally sent to the station (which takes weeks to prepare).
 
The odds of an accident that both a) damages one recovery vehicle and b) leaves the ISS uninhabitable are exceedingly slim. There has never been a viable method of crew rescue in that circumstance in the first place - the retirement of the Shuttle changes nothing. There is simply no reasonable way to provide crew recovery capability in that instance. If it happens, you hoist a few beers, dry your tears and head back to work the next day. As I said, real life is like that.

So much for Heinlein =( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19436233)

If you want (1)

jzuska (65827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436439)

If you want to hurl a package into the sun, you gotta do it yourself.

uhh... (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436765)

Can't they just push them the other way? I thought we had enough garbage, burned or not, in the atmosphere...

They need a giant space catapult that just goes and flings junk away from the planet.

Re:uhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19437781)

Yeah, that's a brilliant solution. Hasn't recycling ever occurred to you? I hate it when people say, 'Why don't we just shoot all of our rubbish into outer space!' It's simply R-tarded to permanently dispose of stuff where it can't ever be salvaged. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Re:uhh... (1)

Jon_Hanson (779123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19437967)

Unless that "giant space catapult" can launch things at several thousand miles per hour then what it's launching won't escape the earth's gravity and will remain in an unstable orbit that will eventually re-enter the atmosphere.

Re:uhh... (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19438543)

Yeah, but then we can just create another giant ball of space garbage and fire it at the old one, knocking it out of the way. Oh, the wisdom of Fry.

Re:uhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19439909)

"This picture of your wife... pure garbage"

Maybe I am missing something..... (2, Interesting)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19438359)

Ok, Let me get this straight....They can take off with the suits, but they can't come back with them...because of weight? So, the craft has the power to lift off with the suit, but doesn't have the power to fall from the sky with the extra weight of the suit? Does not compute Will Robinson....

Re:Maybe I am missing something..... (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19438901)

It's not so much the falling that's the problem, it's the stopping. You see, as long as the heat shields remain intact, they're in no danger while en route to terror firmer. The hitch comes when it's time to slow the weight down to a safe speed such that landing is not a fatal endeavor.

Re:Maybe I am missing something..... (1)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19439775)

Bigger chute? Couple of extra lbs of fuel for braking rockets? Maple seed "helio-blade? come on this isn't rocket science (well i guess it is). My point is if you propel it upward bringing it back shouldn't be any more difficult. Besides, If you were the astronut going up in the damn thing, wouldn't you be a bit concerned that the, lets say 200lbs, weight of your EVU might would cause reentry problems?!? That your safety margin is 200lbs?!? I don't know about you guys but if 200lbs could cause my death I would want them to go back and re-think the idea. Just sayin...

Re:Maybe I am missing something..... (2, Informative)

StargateSteve (1054492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19439975)

ok. say there are 6 people, that's 1200 pounds. bugger chutes, more fuel, who knows what else, that would add even more weight. Falling out of the sky mach 25 (at 120 km up), think about the extra trusting power it would take to avoid wither shaking to pieces or leaving a crater at Edwards. The more powerful thrusters and extra propellant would take more fuel at launch, requiring more space for the extra fuel, requiring slightly more fuel. Then there's storage of these things when landing. I know how annoying it is to have something sliding from side to side in the back of my truck, but while flying your shuttle home at the end of the day? That would get on anyone's nerves. :)

Re:Maybe I am missing something..... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19444151)

Ok, Let me get this straight....They can take off with the suits, but they can't come back with them...because of weight? So, the craft has the power to lift off with the suit, but doesn't have the power to fall from the sky with the extra weight of the suit? Does not compute Will Robinson....

If you increase the weight of the spacecraft - you have to increase the weight of fuel for the retrorockets, the size of the chute, the weight of the heatshield, etc... Pretty soon you end up exceeding the weight that your booster can carry. So there are limits on the downmass.
 
Another issue is center of gravity - you might have enough fuel/heatshield/chute, but nowhere to put the weight that won't unbalance the spacecraft. Apollo 13 had this problem in reverse; they had to keep things onboard the CM that would normally have been disposed of with the LM ascent stage, as well as moving some extra stuff from the LM - because they had expected the CM to have several hundred pounds of rocks onboard, which 13 didn't have because they never landed. Without that weight the spacecraft was unbalanced far enough that the RCS would not have been able to compensate.

Re:Maybe I am missing something..... (1)

foodandart (1089743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19450347)

But what *exactly* are these suits made of? Do we really WANT to get into the habit of using a re-entry burn up as a convenient incineration process to get rid of junk we don't want any more? Christ, when you consider that in California you can't even use charcoal to barbecue or paint your house with oils, since they emit toxic gasses, this makes no sense from the tree-hugging environmentalist point of view.. Deb.

Cool! Sounds like... (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19439827)

...soon we'll have more SuitSats [nasa.gov] to listen for!

(SuitSat1 was a worn-out Orlan [Russian space suit] with some batteries and a transmitter inside that the ISS crew literally kicked out the door. You could hear it transmitting its internal temperature, battery power and 'elapsed mission time' on the 2M band.)

sex with a tr7Oll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19442223)

ex4mple, if you [goat.cx]
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