Skip to comments.Long Shot: NASA Contractor Could Keep Flying Space Shuttles (Plan to Continue for 5 Years)
Posted on 04/27/2011 6:08:18 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. While NASA is already planning the particulars of how to retire its space shuttles including announcing this week which museums will get to display them a bid to continue flying the orbiters as a commercial service is still in the works, even if it is considered a long shot, SPACE.com has learned.
United Space Alliance (USA), a prime NASA contractor, is working on a plan to commercially fly the Atlantis and Endeavour space shuttles twice a year following the construction of a new external fuel tank.
The idea was first discussed in February but did not seem to gain much traction. Still, USA is not giving up.
"We're not done yet we're probably almost done, but we have another shot at it, so we're going to address it one more time," Dan Brandenstein, USA executive vice president and former astronaut, told SPACE.com here at the 27th National Space Symposium.The notion of flying the space shuttles commercially has been explored by USA in the past, but the impending retirement of the vehicles reopened new urgency for the debate.
"We have, since USA was formed, and in various degrees of enthusiasm, put forth a commercial shuttle proposal, so this is really not anything new," Virginia Barnes, USA president and chief operating officer, told SPACE.com at the meeting. "We're coming upon the retirement of the orbiters, which brings it to the final throes of exploring another alternative commercially. The dynamics of this industry have changed so much, just over the last year, that we dusted off what we had done in the past, and developed a more commercial approach based on today's environment. So we're still pursuing that.More at Link.
And if you do it, please do everyone a favor and go back to the old formula for the insulation coating on that tank, and screw the EPA and environmentalists.