Tag Archives: shuttle

NASA has chosen the four shuttle engines that will be used to launch SLS on its first mission in 2021.

What a waste: NASA has chosen the four shuttle engines that will be used to launch SLS on its first mission in 2021.

All four engines were used multiple times on many shuttle missions. They will fly once on SLS, at a cost of many billions, and then end up destroyed when that giant rocket’s first stage falls into the ocean. Worse, no one has really defined what the goal of that first launch will be. It might merely be a test launch, with no humans on board.

To me, it would be wiser to put the engines into storage and wait until we have a new reusable capability that could take advantage of the reusable engineering of these engines. Throwing them away on a pork-barrel boondoggle like SLS seems so stupid.

R.I.P. astronaut Dale Gardner.

Dale Gardner spacewalking astronaut with for-sale sign

R.I.P. astronaut Dale Gardner.

Gardner was a astronaut during the early eighties during the heyday of the shuttle’s commercial satellite operation. He was part of the 1984 shuttle mission where he and Joe Allen each flew out to a stranded commercial satellite and took control so that the shuttle’s robot arm could grapple them. Both satellites were brought back to Earth, refurbished, and launched back into space again.

Gardner’s most remembered moment might be when, at the end of his spacewalk, he held up a “For Sale” sign (on right), referring to the commercial availability of both recovered satellites.

To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

The future dies to exhibit the past: To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors. Airlifting the 170,000-pound craft was also ruled out. Not even heavy-duty helicopters could sustain that kind of weight, Rudolph said. A freeway route was considered until engineers realized that the five-story-tall, 78-foot-wide shuttle could not travel under overpasses. “We had to identify a route that had no permanent infrastructures like buildings and bridges,” Rudolph said.

They settled on a final route that will follow Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then onto Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — wide thoroughfares with few permanent obstacles. To make way for the shuttle, some trees will be pruned, power lines will be raised and traffic signals will be removed. Inglewood will lose 128 trees, and communities in South Los Angeles about 265 trees, though the exact number has not yet been determined.

Normally I wouldn’t sweat over the removal of some trees, but this is quite disgusting. It once again raises questions about the choice of Los Angeles over Houston for a shuttle.

The space shuttle program officially ended on Wednesday

The space shuttle program officially ended on Wednesday. Note however:

Closeout of the shuttle program is an enormous effort expected to take two years. The program occupied 640 facilities and used more than 900,000 pieces of equipment with a value exceeding $12 billion, according to NASA. Much of the work will take place at Kennedy Space Center, where orbiters have been maintained and prepared for launch. NASA requested $89 million for shuttle transition and retirement work in the 2012 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, but Congress has not yet approved a budget.

Russia vows not to exploit manned space flight monopoly

That’s so nice of them: Russia vows not to exploit its manned space flight monopoly.

Actually, this isn’t really news. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Russians have always driven a hard bargain when they have sold tickets to get crew or cargo into space. However, once the contract has been signed they have also honored those contracts, to the letter. As the U.S. already has a signed contract to get its astronauts to ISS using Russian rockets and capsules, there won’t be any opportunities for Russian exploitation — until that contract expires.

In other words, the U.S. had better get some manned launch capability on line before too long. And on that note, see this article: NASA considers man-rating the Atlas V.

NASA about to decide on its shuttle heavy-lift replacement

NASA is about to decide on its shuttle heavy-lift replacement, and it looks like it will be almost entirely shuttle-derived.

As I have said previously, this rocket will almost certainly never fly. NASA has to start over after spending billions and years developing Constellation, and is being given less money and time to do it.

And even if I am wrong and this rocket does fly, I bet it will do only one flight and then be retired as too costly.

1 2 3 6