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Shuttle Fleet Grounded......Again


twjolson
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NASA Fleet Grounded

 

Let me start out by saying I love NASA, thier missions to Saturn and Mars, among others, are some of the most amazing things in modern days. They are the things that make kids dream and explorer spirits to awaken. And it's because I love NASA that this whole shuttle thing is so upsetting.

 

However, I have got to say I am not surprised. Before the launch date was even set I knew it was going to fail. I was actually surprised when the shuttle made it into orbit safetly, I was expecting the shuttle to be scrapped for quite a while to come. My two cents, the shuttle arm of NASA is dead, it should have been dead along time ago. They are flying the same technology from decades ago. I would say that the shuttle fleet should have been redesigned from the ground up years ago. They do have a next generation, but that is years, if not decades away! I am quite grateful that the private sector is getting on board for launching veichles into space. I believe they will come up with more efficient and lower cost solutions. Hopefully NASA will stop trying to ride these old dinosaurs into orbit and put their money into contests like X-Prize for alternative technologies.

 

I am, of course, grateful that no foam impacted the shuttle, and thus the crew should be able to return safely.

 

Agree, disagree, comments?

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I strongly agree with you the shuttle program is WAAAAAAAY outdated - and in need of grounding. I also think that a replacement should have been built 10 years ago.

 

I am a stong supporter of a manned space program and space exploration - but the shuttle fleet is alot like going cross country in mom's 73 GroceryGetter. Aging, out of date and in desperate need of replacement.

 

Shuttles are also very uneconomical - granted the shuttle itself if reusable - but some 70% of the rest of the ship is tossed away - and to be affordable and effecient, that number has to come WAY down - perhaps to just the fuel costs.

 

This is why I think the X- project is so good - get private industry working on solutions to this problem.

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The shuttle fleet is vastly outdated. I made a similar comparison to Saintrigger but called the shuttle a '79 Winnebago just last night. I remember seeing concepts for the "next generation" of reusable lifting space vehicles 20 years ago in Popular Mechanics and Discover, but most if not all of them were stalled in the design stages.

 

We definitely need a newer, more efficient, less risky method to get people into orbit and beyond.

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I think one of the best things for manned entry (and re-entry) into space in the future will be private industry.

 

There is just too much financial waste and politicking tied up into the R&D programs of any major government agency. Government contracts also don't typically go to the best choice (which may cost more initially, but prove safer and more durable in the long run because it was built with superior materials and engineering, which over time will prove less expensive when replacements are not needed as often), but to the least expensive and minimally adequate option.

 

Concepts like the X Prize will spark creativity and ingenuity that will hopefully prove to catapult us into a true space age.

 

The shuttle was an amazing leap in design and thinking...

 

30 years ago!

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Did you know we are sitting on 2 million gallons of fuel, a nuclear weapon and a thing with 270,000 loose parts that was built by the lowest bidder. Kinda makes you feel good dont it?

Armageddon

 

Oh wrong thread this isn't the movie quote thread. Move along there is nothing to see here.

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One of my favorite ancedotes is that your average pocket calculator has more processing power than the shuttle's computer.

 

The Killing of the Delta Clipper project is a true shame. Had funding been made available we could have had our shuttle replacement years ago. It's sad.

 

More power to Scaled Composites. Not only is their vehicle re-usable, but it looks so neat!

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The thought occured to me today. Only the last two shuttle launches have been ultra scrutinized, the disaster and this one. And both times they've found foam flying off. I would conjecture that the majority, if not all, launches have had foam flying off, we just never noticed. Of course, now that we know that that flying foam can take down the shuttle I agree they should ground the fleet. I really, really, hope now that the government will look for non-standard replacement for the shuttle. Not another shuttle, but newer more innovative strategies for lift off. There is some awesome things in the works that could be rolled out quicker then, apparently, it takes to roll out a new generation of shuttle. For one, the space elevator, going to space would be, literally, like riding an elevator. And it would be a thousand times cheaper then now. If we could do that, it would be humanities finest achievement.

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One of my favorite ancedotes is that your average pocket calculator has more processing power than the shuttle's computer.

That was true of the moon flights, but not the modern space program. The shuttle has more computing power than some small campuses.

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The thought occured to me today. Only the last two shuttle launches have been ultra scrutinized, the disaster and this one. And both times they've found foam flying off. I would conjecture that the majority, if not all, launches have had foam flying off, we just never noticed. Of course, now that we know that that flying foam can take down the shuttle I agree they should ground the fleet. I really, really, hope now that the government will look for non-standard replacement for the shuttle. Not another shuttle, but newer more innovative strategies for lift off. There is some awesome things in the works that could be rolled out quicker then, apparently, it takes to roll out a new generation of shuttle. For one, the space elevator, going to space would be, literally, like riding an elevator. And it would be a thousand times cheaper then now. If we could do that, it would be humanities finest achievement.

I saw a news report not too long ago about a working space elevator somebody had planned to be up and running within a decade. Does somebody else out there have some specifics?

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It will use carbon nanotubes for the main structure. They are ultra strong, but they are a long way from being common. They haven't even found a way to mass produce them yet, from what I gather. In fact, I think the mass production of nanotubes is the major obstacle. As for a timetable, it could be up and running in 15 years or so, but the major obstacle is politics (of course) and money. I would expect it to be built in our lifetimes, but due to the enourmous cost I would say it's going to take longer then 15 years myself. But who knows, I for one hope I am wrong.

 

And it's less of an elevator, like what you see in buildings. It's more like an incredibly long rope, with a huge weight at the other end. Then, cabs climb that carbon nanotube rope out to 21,700 miles. And once at the top, the cab can seperate and inertia would keep you going on to your destination, the moon, mars, etc.

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