Oh, why don't we just blow up the shuttle on the launching pad?

An internal engine and fuel seems too good to be true. Do they compare the payload that Venture Star can left to the shuttle?

Perhaps the problem is that NASA is to get out of the low orbit business and back iinto space flight. There isn’t time or money to improve the shuttle or replace it with something like Venture Star.

How will they maintain the space station? Will there be no more large modules added or replaced?

I’m I the only one who thinks launching the shuttle on July 4th is a bad idea? For some reason it feels like NASA is tempting fate.

Wasn’t it Capt. Smith who said, “God himself could not blow up this shuttle!”

Comparable payload to STS (50,000 lbs), major technology updates (aerospike engine, newer construction materials, honeycomb carbon composite hydrogen tanks, etc) allowed for this. Delays and cost overruns resulted from using all this new stuff, and it might not have worked out anyway (last I heard they were running out of space and had to stick the cargo pod on the outside - looked amazingly dorky) but someone could have used the techniques developed to come up with a system better than this STS that was obsolete when it first went up. We’re out a billion dollars and they still haven’t solved the foam problem.

Grumman had something going too. I’m not sure what happened to it - probably got killed off in favor of the X-33, which was then killed off.

So, we’re left with the design revolution of putting a payload and capsule on top of a souped-up missile…
Yes, I’m bitter (Bitter-Bob, they call me), I grew up honestly expecting moon-bases and orbiting hotels and Pan-Am flights daily.

Why, are you afraid we would piss off the Brits?

Not me.
Like Chris Kraft, I expected Mars missions and Mars bases. :frowning:

My husband is a contractor for NASA and he wishes the shuttle and Hubble would go away. He says they’re huge money-sinks that draw funds away from advancing scientific progress because they’re familiar. I guess the other projects he’s working on aren’t sexy enough to capture the public’s attention. So they wallow in past glories.

I certainly feel like the space programs are stagnant.

Thermal expansion and contraction caused by fueling up the giant “Nerf tank.” Sort of like what happens when a fashion model eats what most people would consider a normal meal and is somehow prevented from sticking a finger down her throat. :wink:

Uh, no. If there’s a hole in the wing, the shuttle’s pretty much a goner (patch or not patch, NASA seems to think that the patches won’t work). They’ll dock with the space station, off load the crew, strip out all the gear they can, and then dump the shuttle in the ocean. They’ll then try and figure out how they can launch one of the two remaining shuttles without it getting a hole in it’s wing, so it can go up and bring the crew down. Once they’ve done that, they’ll scrap the program.

As for the Venture Star/DCX (both closely related programs), Burt Rutan’s company did a lot of work on the designs, and given his track record, I’d say that they’d work as they were supposed to.

What does it mean, “uh, no”? :slight_smile:

Anyone care to wager on this? I will bet $10 the shuttle will launch normally, complete its mission, and land safely. Any takers?

Perhaps I should have said “gouges”, “cracks” or “missing tiles” instead of “hole”.

The guys strapped in the shuttle are betting their lives. Your wager is less impressive.

So you will bet nothing at all? How impressive is that?

Sorry. I won’t bet against the life of a guy I served with years ago. Hoping he and the rest of the crew make it back safely.

That’s were the smart money is.

See, why couldn’t my science teachers in college explain things in a way I could understand?

At least they’ve improved on the design of the straw shuttle.

Not true, but the manned portion of the program has certainly lost its way, and the unmanned programs sometimes take forever to deliver results, depending on what they’re doing (making the stagnation of the manned program that much more tragic), so it’s understandable that you’d have that impression.

MANNED SPACEFLIGHT: Expedition 13 to the International Space Station has been present since March, and is awaiting today’s shuttle launch.

ACE has been orbiting Earth’s L1 point for 8 years, returning data on the composition of the solar wind and cosmic radiation.
RHESSI measures particle acceleration data in an effort to determine how the physics of solar flares works.
SOHO is still sending back high-quality images, going on 11 years.
SORCE measures solar radiation as it relates to Earth climate data.
STEREO will launch this summer to provide stereoscopic imagery of the Sun’s structure.
TRACE studies the solar corona.

MESSENGER is bouncing around the inner Solar System and will arrive at Mercury in 2011 for detailed observations.

AIM will study high altitude ice clouds at the poles.
Aqua is providing data about the specifics of water vapor and how the water cycle of Earth works
Aura provides data on pollution and ozone
CALIPSO and CloudSat are returning data about how clouds and airborne particles affect weather on a global scale.
The Cluster spacecraft are providing detailed data on Earth’s magnetosphere.
GOES-N, lauched in May, is the latest satellite to tack storms on Earth.
The GRACE twin satellites are making a detailed study of Earth’s gravity field.
ICESat measures the mass of Earth’s ice sheets and changes in seawater elevation.
Terra is collecting 15 years of baseline data about Earth’s climate.
THEMIS will study the auroras.
TIMED measures Earth’s ionosphere.
TRMM measures tropical rainfall and tracks storms.

The Mars Exploration Rovers are, astoundingly, still operational, 2+ years later.
Mars Global Surveyor has been mapping the planet for nearly 10 years.
Mars Odyssey has been studying the mineralogy of Mars for 5 years.
Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter arrived at Mars in March, and is in the process of reducing its orbit to a level where it can search for subsurface water.
Phoenix will study Mars polar water as it relates to habitability.

Cassini has been observing the planet closely for two years.

PLUTO: New Horizons launched in January and will arrive at Pluto in 2015, passing by Jupiter early next year.

Dawn will study the asteroids Ceres and Vesta.
Data are still being retrieved from the results of the Deep Impact mission to reveal the innards of a comet.
Stardust just returned its comet and interstellar dust samples in January, and analysis is ongoing.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory provides the highest-ever-resolution X-Ray pictures of celestial bodies.
GALEX is studying galaxies in a variety of spectra
Scientists are still studying the results of GP-B to confirm two predictions of Einstein’s.
GLAST will study the high-energy jets from black holes.
HETE-2 tries to detect Gamma-Ray bursts in the Universe
Hubble still works.
RXTE has been measuring X-ray bursts for 11 years.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is used to measure the infrared spectrum.
Swift studies the afterglow of gamma ray bursts
The Voyager spacecraft are still around, and exploring the edges of the bubble the solar wind creates around the solar system.
WMAP continues to give finely-detailed maps of the cosmic microwave background.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is used to measure the infrared spectrum.
Swift studies the afterglow of gamma ray bursts
ST-5 just completed operations last week to flight-test technology for future missions.

After I’d posted to this thread, I talked to my husband about it, and we came to the conclusion that what’s stagnant is PR about what’s going on. He worked on STEREO and he’s in the middle of GLAST right now (although I don’t think it’s called GLAST quite yet) and he’s scheduled to work several others, including the James Webb space telescope.

It’s as if the scientific endeavors aren’t sexy enough to grab the public. If it hadn’t been for him, I’d know noting about STEREO, yet I think it’s a fascinating project. Although someone who’s obsessed with what Brittany did with her baby isn’t going to much care about science, ya think?

NASA needs to let the country know all the cool things they are doing, in plain English. Get people excited about it - get kids interested in science and engineering. Forget Americal Idol - there are really important, interesting things in the world - someone needs to get the word out.

Whew - sorry. I’ll step away from my little soapbox now.

Well, she’s up and everything looks good so far, and I can finally breathe again.

I heard on NPR today that surveys say most Americans support the space program, so the failing’s totally NASA’s. What was it that the networks told NASA before Apollo 13? “You make going to the Moon look like a trip to Burbank.” (Or something.) The guys at NASA need to let the folks at ILM, Trek writers, and the like run around KSC, and Mission Control for a couple of months. Not only would those guys love it, but they’d be giving NASA pointers on how to “sex” things up, and they’d be running their mouth every chance they got to tell everyone how cool the stuff was.

(And NASA needs to make Bill Nye the first teacher in space.)