Skip to comments.Orbiter Autopsies
Posted on 04/05/2012 1:21:46 AM PDT by U-238
Technicians had worn them for decades as they prepared the space shuttles for their move from Kennedy Space Centers three Orbiter Processing Facilities to the towering Vehicle Assembly Building, and eventually the launch pad. Bunnysuits, those white coveralls with floppy hoods and rubber-banded booties, were designed to keep dirt and debris from contaminating the orbiter interiors.
But on this summer day in one Orbiter Processing Facility, technicians working inside Discoverys crew module wore street clothes. No need to worry about contamination: Discovery would not be returning to space.
After flying 148 million miles and orbiting Earth 5,830 times, Discovery, first flown in August 1984, was being decommissioned and readied for its trip to the National Air and Space Museums Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia, where it will arrive in mid-April. The three main engines had been removed from the shuttles aft end, which was now covered by a tightly fitted mask with three white discs the size of the engine bells. Clear plastic stretched across the crater in the orbiters nose, where the forward reaction control systemsmall thrusters that maneuvered the spacecraft in orbithad been removed. And this harvesting of the orbiters components was only the beginning.
In late autumn of last year, more than six months after Discovery landed for the final time, NASA crews began peeling back the orbiters skin, clipping wires, and pulling hydraulics. They removed and analyzed propellant tanks and valves and scrutinized electronics, looking for evidence of deterioration the way coroners look for signs of illness during autopsies.
Autopsy is a sad way of putting itthese vehicles are almost like our friendsbut its what we are doing, says Joyce M. Seriale-Grush, orbiter chief engineer at NASAs Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
(Excerpt) Read more at airspacemag.com ...
The “autopsy” is as much for America`s once-vibrant manned space program as it is for the Discovery vehicle.
I find myself torn on this issue.. while I`d prefer to see the US leading the way in space, the fiscal matters here at home require more immediate attention than moon bases or trips to Mars.
“I find myself torn on this issue.. while I`d prefer to see the US leading the way in space, the fiscal matters here at home require more immediate attention than moon bases or trips to Mars.”
Medicare etc. are among the biggest budget issues the US faces, and thus these indirectly affect all other programs - like the space program. So, when one sees people taking no personal responsibility for their own health, and sees people abusing the system, one is seeing a big reason why there is no money for things like the space program.
Don't fall for this talking point. The NASA budget is less than 1/2 of one percent of the federal budget. You could terminate the whole thing tomorrow and see no budgetary benefit at all. It's the entitlements that are killing us financially.
But more than that, in our modern, industrial high-tech society, our lives are dependent on critical satellite assets for which we currently have no means of protection and maintenance. That was the real purpose and value of returning to the Moon: to build a permanent, space faring system for Earth-Moon space, one that could access all of our national security and economic satellites.
That’s OK. China will fill in the gaps for us.
As if a couple of Moochelle's family and friends vacation jaunts wouldn't fund NASA. I think America can walk and chew gum at the same time so that we can handle the space program along with the economy, the oil crisis and the evil that has taken over our government.
Please refer to post #5
It’s really just a question of priorities. Are we going to spend our money on discovery and innovation — the bread and butter of science-intensive programs like NASA — or are we going to throw our money around slums and crack houses to convince the residents we’re caring, compassionate people?
I’ll give you one guess which scenario has more demonstrable beneficial results.