Skip to comments.Final NASA shuttle mission clouded by rancor
Posted on 07/02/2011 3:19:42 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
CAPE CANAVERAL The last shuttle, Atlantis, sits on Pad 39A, ready for its valedictory flight.
It is the nature of a shuttle to look kind of lonely out there on the pad, kept at a safe remove from the control room, the hangars, the observation platforms. The pad is not far from the beach, one of the last stretches of Florida coastline unblemished by hotels and condos. Beach houses were torn down years ago when the federal government showed up with rockets. Old-timers talk of 11 graveyards and an old schoolhouse lurking somewhere out there, the remnants of the era before the coming of the spaceport.
Now the U.S. space program itself is middle-aged, facing a painful transition. Atlantis will blast off, if all goes as planned, at 11:26 a.m. July 8 for a 12-day mission to the international space station. And then . . . what?
Then a lot of uncertainty. The only sure bet is that thousands of people here will be out of a job.
NASAs critics say the human spaceflight program is in a shambles. They see arm-waving and paperwork rather than a carefully defined mission going forward. NASA has lots of plans, but it has no new rocket ready to launch, no specific destination selected, and no means in the near term to get American astronauts into space other than by buying a seat on one of Russias aging Soyuz spacecraft.
The space agencys leaders say everythings on track, that the private sector will soon launch astronauts into orbit and let NASA focus on the hard work of deep-space exploration.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Talk to the guy who de-funded the space program, if you can get him off the golf course.
NASA will now be able to put Hansen in charge and get on with Global Warming predictions.
One deep-space, high-priority, essential mission quickly comes to mind.
Why does NASA NOT have a ready missile AND mission and warhead - or other device of ANY kind - to detect, track, target, launch, and destroy/move an inbound deadly asteroid?
Any similarly-designed programs would, I fear, devolve into huge budget overruns and no results to show for them. Time to leave it to the private sector.
NO new rocket?? Then use a old model and fire all the Affirmative Action crew!
You wouldn’t believe the number of office buildings that used to house employees of NASA contractors that are now vacant with “For Lease” signs posted along NASA Road 1 in the Clear Lake area.
To be fair, the Shuttle Program was due to shut down and everyone saw this coming years prior to Obama taking office.
Personally, I see no reason to explore deep space other than as a curiousity.
They can't. Most of the engineering drawings and tooling were destroyed. We can't build a Saturn V anymore. Your government at work....
What a perfect government program - spend tens of billions of dollars a year with no output product.
“Then use a old model
They can’t. Most of the engineering drawings and tooling were destroyed. We can’t build a Saturn V anymore. Your government at work....
Wow we forgot where it all came from,It will take this current Bunch,( of entitled to a NASA Job) 10 or more Years to come up with a Working Lifter design.
So all that money that created 10's of thousands of high paying technical jobs and pumped many hundreds of millions of consumer $$$ into local economies was money wasted... yeah I see the similarity between the Shuttle Program and say the section 8 housing programs of HUD...
لقاء مع صوفيا في اخر اخبار روتانا الحين - منتدى أوز لقاء مع صوفيا في اخر اخبار روتانا الحين ســـتـــار أوز ... الشات
Musk (SpaceX) has one. He orbited and returned a capsule safely. He's got a heavy lifter in the works. We don't need NASA doing this kind of design. They need to focus on materials technology, weird propulsion systems (ion, nuclear, etc), and other basic research.
“So all that money that created 10’s of thousands of high paying technical jobs and pumped many hundreds of millions of consumer $$$ into local economies was money wasted... yeah I see the similarity between the Shuttle Program and say the section 8 housing programs of HUD...”
So all we have to do to solve our economic problems is hire 10’s of thousands of high payed government workers and pump hundreds of millions of $$$ into local economies. That’s brilliant. Wait, isn’t that what Obama’s been doing? How’s that working out for us?
Exploration is in the vital national security interests of the United States. As a country with shared ideals, we cannot afford to sit back and say We dont want to find out anything new. That is tantamount to saying We give up. Columbus, Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong all of these people had 1 thing in common: They were sent by governments to Explore the Unknown. What is over the next horizon? It is the quest to answer that question that makes our country what it is today. If we lose that drive, we begin to die as a nation.
There is a shared risk and a shared reward to exploration. Private enterprise cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on an unknown. Government can, within limitations, obviously. But, our form of government also shares the rewards of exploration with the citizens of the United States. People always want to know What has NASA done for the US? Visit this site - http://www.sti.nasa.gov/spinoff/database . It is ASTOUNDING what NASA has contributed to the quality of life in the United States.
We cannot give up the lead. If you are not trying to get better, you are falling behind. Sometimes, it is in the interests of the United States to partner with other countries on a shared objective. However, if we truly believe that ours is the greatest country on earth, we should be striving as much as possible to be self-determinant. Space is The Final Frontier. Frontiers WILL be explored. The question is By Whom? There is a saying that goes something like Nature abhors a vacuum The exploration of space has been led by the United States for 50 years. If we are not at the forefront, someone else will take our place. Now is not the time to cede leadership in the realm of Space Exploration.
SPACE: The Next 30 years
The following plan has 3 core ideas as driving forces:
1. Build a system that does one thing, does it very expertly, and does it more inexpensively than the super complex system. The urge to build a do-everything type vehicles usually results in a vehicle that does some of a lot of things, but does nothing really well, and ends up doing what it does much more expensively. This concept goes the other direction.
2. Separate the humans and the cargo. Doing this should drastically cut the cost of launching cargo into space and/or keep down the cost of launching cargo.
3. Design each successive system as a separate add-on capability to what has already been built and implemented. Design the interface first. Then, each subsequent system can be developed on its own schedule. Start with a solid foundation and build on it.
Already In Use - LEO < 20 Ton Materials Launchers
- Low Cost Launch platforms
- Not Man-Rated
- Get the Commercial Industry deeply involved in cargo space launching. Get NASA out of the LEO <20 Ton cargo business completely.
Already In Use - LEO Habitat & Science Station
- ISS Currently
- Seek ways to extend ISS for 10, 20, even 30 years, if possible.
- We can only learn to live in space by living in space and learning the lessons.
Priority 1 - LEO Ascent / Descent Vehicle System aka Up-N-Down(Critical)
- Human Transporter Only Not a large Cargo Vessel. Keep It Simple & Safe (KISS)
- 2 Man Operating Crew
- 10 Passenger capability (Or small payloads that bolt into place when a passenger seat is removed)
- ~12 hour Total Mission Time (Launch-Rendezvous-Land)
- 21 Day Mission Cycle Time (Land-Prep-Launch)
- Air Launch? Runway Launch? Vertical Launch? Mag-Lev Rail Launch?
- Conventional Airplane Landing? Parachute Landing? Rocket Landing?
- We desperately need a crash effort to develop and begin operations of a vehicle that can put astronauts into LEO and bring them back inexpensively, regularly and safely. Whether it is NASA, Commercial, or a combination of both, Americas preeminence as the leader in space will be jeopardized and/or lost if we cant regularly put humans into Low Earth Orbit.
Priority 2 - LEO 20-250 Ton Heavy Lift Launcher (Urgent)
- Large Assembly Launch Platform
- Not Man-Rated
Priority 3 - LEO Fuel Depot
- Build and Maintain a Fuel Depot for Space Ferry Vehicle, Lunar Tugboat, Lunar Ascent / Descent Vehicle
Priority 4 - LEO Cargo Re-Entry Vehicle
- Brings back space systems (ISS Components, Satellites, etc ) needing repair.
- Brings back (eventually) moon/asteroid/planetary resources.
- Deliver Space Manufactured Items to Earth
- Controlled Landing in Retrievable Area
- Not Man-Rated
Priority 5 - LEO Space Ferry
- Used to transport space craft of varying types to different orbits (Altitudes, Inclinations, etc...)
- Very low cost, reliability, longevity are desired features here.
- Simply moves spacecraft, satellites, etc around in orbit.
Priority 6 - Lunar Tugboat
- System to transport people and space craft of varying types from LEO to Lunar Orbit and back to LEO
- Low cost, reliability, and longevity are desired features here.
Priority 7 - Lunar Ascent / Descent Vehicle
- Vehicle used to ferry people and/or cargo to the lunar surface, and to transport people and/or cargo from the lunar surface to Lunar Orbit.
Priority 8 - Lunar Resource Development Station
- Establish a Lunar habitat capable of being semi-permanently manned.
- Used as base of Exploration, Scientific Research, Manufacturing and Materials Processing.
“Most of the engineering drawings and tooling were destroyed. “
That’s not true. There are multiple copies of Saturn V plans on microfiche including a set at the National Archives. However, it would not make sense to replicate technology from the 1950s.
10 or more Years to come up with a Working Lifter design.
Musk (SpaceX) has one. He orbited and returned a capsule safely. He’s got a heavy lifter in the works. We don’t need NASA doing this kind of design. They need to focus on materials technology, weird propulsion systems (ion, nuclear, etc), and other basic research.
Good Idea,They could keep the best people busy that way and let the private sector do the building.
Not sure what you mean by this. NASA oversees contracts with the private sector already; the private sector builds, launches, and operates satellites with government oversight, supervision and facilities.
Just handing it over to the "private sector" will produce nothing unless they are funded. Much of what NASA does benefits mankind; who in the private sector has the resources for space research?
We are all witnesses to the end of space exploration. The government has too many obligations for interest payments on borrowed money, entitlement programs, supporting the UN, and irresponsible wars. Countries that we want to emulate like Cuba and Kenya have no space programs.
The rockets face east and NASA promotes Islam so all is well.
Where's this writer been? There have been 6 - SIX - layoffs since October. There is only a skeleton crew left.
NASA needs to get back to basic research. Free enterprise can do the rest.
With what funds?
Have you forgotten, or been outta country for a couple years? The Messiah ordered NASA to reroute the funds to 'mostly Muslim countries' in order to train Muslim youth in rocket/space sciences. It's only fair, ya know. (The biggest chunk is going to Indonesia.
There is no money being 'saved' - indeed, I suspicion that money and even MORE is going to the Muslims -
We better arm our astronauts with lightsabers!
Because the Defense department, not NASA, is in charge of defending us from such deadly threats, whether man-made or natural.
That's a proper role for Defense, which has plenty of launch-and-destroy capability that should be adapted to reach beyond earth orbit.
NASA has crumbled into little more than a politically-correct PR front for bloated government. Its demise would be part of a welcome decline in federal bureaucracy.
“The space agencys leaders say everythings on track, that the private sector will soon launch astronauts into orbit and let NASA focus on the hard work of deep-space exploration.”
The same private sector that NASA oh-so-carefully spent the last twenty years poisoning the well of and killing promising projects off with FUD? That private sector?
The sad fact remains that due to stupidity we no longer have the capability to build a Saturn V.
The same kind of people who donate privately to medical research and universities, totaling billions of dollars annually.
There are millions of people who would step up to fund space research, just as there are millions more who would (and do) fund charity.
Especially if the bloated federal government ever gets out of the way and lets American citizens prosper enough to help each other, instead of relying on a failed socialist bureacracy to do everything for us in return for our votes.....including entertaining us occasionally with cool photos from space.
It’s just means of funneling tech that can be used in bombs and missiles to his terrorist buddies.
As for NASA, I lost all respect for them when they killed off the DC-X program (even after they were given the project) because it threatened the overpriced, overweight and overblown Shuttle.
Well, let's see - heres’s a link to all the valuable spinoffs from the space program - many of which we use and enjoy everyday with not a clue as to where it was developed:
Hers’ one link where you can explore some of the thousands of things we enjoy today - advantages in technology, computer sciences, aviation, medicine, everyday living - as direct spinoffs from NASA
Would you post a link to the corresponding advantages of “say the section 8 housing programs of HUD” that you compare to our Space Program?
(an aside: I, for one, am not comfortable to leaving the control of Space to China, India, Russia - etc. Guess a lot of you are.)
Teflon was used as gasket material in pipes carrying Uranium Hexaflouride during the Manhattan project. I think it was invented (actually, serendipitously discovered) not long before that.
Sickening. Doesn't 0bamby pay attention to the news ?
Muslim "youth" (especially in Iran) are already being trained in rocket science.
Not for space travel, but to deliver nukes.
____We can’t build a Saturn V anymore. Your government at work....______
Sure we can, there is one laying on it’s side, intact on the grounds of JSC.
The Saturn V was a great booster in its day but is quite obsolete today.
NASA To Focus On Muslim Outreach
_____ Muslim “youth” (especially in Iran) are already being trained in rocket science.
Not for space travel, but to deliver nukes.______
I think you make a false assumption that Zero is not intentionally destroying the US.
I give up. Who is it?
No, we can’t. They destroyed the tooling and something like 90+% of the plans. Most of the engineers are dead and didn’t keep their own notes.
NASA is taking the remaining ones apart to try to reverse engineer them. If we were told that we had to make one within a year, we couldn’t.
No false assumptions here. I agree he's intentionally destroying the US.
NObody has a lower opinion of sub-Zero than I do.
Just a question, dumb one I know.
I mean I realise that satelites for communications, and weather satelites can be sent up commercially, but what does the private sector care abour putting people in space. Where is the profit. If there is no profit the private sector is not going to go there.
Whjy would the private sector want to put a man in the space station. IMO we just gave the space station to the Russians.Perhaps before long to the Chinese. It’s a great place to build a space weapon.If Russia refuses to grant us passage there would be nothing we could do about it.
“The sad fact remains that due to stupidity we no longer have the capability to build a Saturn V.”
We breed Idiots nowadays.
And elect them to high office, and allow them to run the bureaus.
Space tourism and research are two things that can and do generate money (the Russians keep their programs going with the occasional space tourist).
Also, there are plans to put hotels in orbit - and they won’t take any decades to build, either.
On top of that, there’s other commercial opportunities in space, plus a suborbital transport network could seriously cut travel times in half.
The reason the space private sector is so underdeveloped right now is because NASA spent the last 20+ years systematically destroying anything that looked like it could threaten the monopoly on manned flight they had with the shuttle. In fact, they went ahead and destroyed any in-house program that didn’t have the space vehicle returning to Earth with wings. Stupid, stupid, stupid. DC-X proved you don’t need wings to land.
Why are we trying to reverse engineer a Saturn V?
It has been a year or so since we took the JSC tour, but I did not notice any major pieces of that one missing.
One of the people on the tour actually asked that question and they said yes they had the plans but I have little doubt the tooling is gone.
Yes all of the engineers that I knew and hunted with for years, and the ones my dad worked with are either long retired or gone.