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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Return To Flight

Well, rolling to the pad right now:

At 2:04 p.m. EDT today, Space Shuttle Discovery began moving out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, beginning its trek to Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rollout is one of the last major milestones before Discovery's launch on STS-114, currently targeted for the May 15 to June 3 time frame.

Moving at barely one mile an hour, the Space Shuttle is expected to reach the launch pad, a 4.2-mile journey, about 8 p.m EDT.

NASA has determined that a small hairline crack in the foam on the Shuttle's External Tank is a minor imperfection that does not need repair.

I'm excited by the Shuttle's return to space, but I really can't wait until we dump this antiquated clunker for a 21st century vehicle.


April 6, 2005 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink


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Sadly, so. Problem is, where's the incentive? There's no Cold War, and few other motives for people to head out into deep space, or even low Earth orbit (saving Burt Rutan and his X-Prize).

Posted by: TheaLogie | Apr 6, 2005 4:49:52 PM

And as this happens, they're talking about shutting down the Voyager mission - which only consumes 4.2 Million a year.

We've cut funding already for Hubble, which needed only a maintenance
mission to keep providing lots of information; we're cutting funding
for more projects that actually produce science while we spend billions
on getting the Space Shuttle up in the air for another launch or five,
and paving the way for an over-engineered man-rated mission to Mars.

As an aside, why send a man to do a robot's job, especially if it costs
orders of magnitudes more to do so? It was easier in the 60s to send
three men to the moon than a single robot. In the seventies, we sent a
data gathering platform to Mars, and we continue to send more capable,
miniaturized, mobile platforms to the same place, gathering new volumes
and types of data in each generation.

The Shuttle is an amazing piece of engineering, but there is really not much of a job for it to do - and there never really was.

I hope I'll be able to get to Florida some day to see it take off or land, since they're not doing it out here at Edwards much anymore - but even if I don't, I'll be happy when the prrogram is shit down. (freudian typo there...) The Air Force and CIA wanted this "space truck" so badly during the late 60's and 70's, then they abandoned the platform for expendable launchers, leaving poor NASA saddled with a very public, very poor design for building and servicing LEO objects.

The shuttle is perfect for things we _aren't_ using it for, like servicing Hubble.

It's terrribly inefficient and foolhardy to launch simple space station components on the backs of six or seven people.

And as far as the Bush "Mars, Bitches" agenda goes, it is now far easier and cheaper
to send a robot data-gatherer anywhere than a man, so why is the
administration forcing NASA to do more with less while insisting on
developing a new man-rated extra terrestrial vehicle?

Posted by: Doug Broussard | Apr 6, 2005 5:11:57 PM

I'm excited by the Shuttle's return to space, but I really can't wait until we dump this antiquated clunker for a 21st century vehicle.

Pfft. Here we come in our space H2s - we're on our cellphones and all you puny little space capsules best get the fuck out of our way!

Posted by: Eli | Apr 6, 2005 6:48:34 PM

If Tom DeLay is forced out of the House due to corruption charges, NASA will suffer. The NASA center outside of Houston is in Tom's district and he has been able to deliver them the pork every year. I think you can forget about that 21st century vehicle NTodd. We'll have to settle for a model T.

Posted by: Agitprop | Apr 6, 2005 7:25:56 PM

Eli: pfft indeed. Heh.

Posted by: TheaLogie | Apr 6, 2005 8:18:23 PM

Mar is an outpost of tyrrany.

It also has the Universe's greatest supply of space oil.

And it's the 61st stop on the Social Security Reformy Goodness Tour.

Posted by: Ripley | Apr 6, 2005 8:34:04 PM

I hear you, Ripley! Let's bring democratizin' to Mars! WMDs are stored on the dark side of the Moon! Mushroom clouds abound!...uh...smoking gun!...um...silver bullet! Social Security! uh... Just nuke the damn thing, it's affecting our orbit!

Posted by: ellroon | Apr 6, 2005 9:50:04 PM

An evening space launch is one of the most beautiful things you can ever hope to see in your entire life.

Posted by: Kath | Apr 6, 2005 10:20:58 PM

i want my jet packs!

Posted by: shayera | Apr 7, 2005 12:56:05 PM

What I want to know is when are we going back to the moon? We did make it there once upon a time didn't we? And got back home all safe and sound? Why aren't we making more attempts to re-visit the planet made of cheese? Inquiring minds want to know.
Agritprop, it would be a hard choice, but I really think DeLay needs to go. The man is the epitome of a bad politician. Actually he gives bad a whole newer, deeper meaning.

Posted by: wanda | Apr 8, 2005 3:14:05 PM

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