Space shuttle Discovery touched down at Kennedy Space Center at 13:08 GMT today, marking the end of its STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. A first landing attempt yesterday was waved off because of rain and cloud. Discovery touches down at Kennedy. Pic: NASA TV Discovery lifted off on 5 April, carrying the …
If the shuttles are to be decomisioned, why don't leave them attached to the ISS ?
As additional storage / emergency scape pods. Perhaps not all 3 of them, but 2 may be doable.
And the ISS will appear to be more of a space station, with 2 spaceships attached to her ....
Dreaming with the eyes open.
Limited Docking Ports?
Offhand, I don't know how many docking ports compatible with the Space Shuttle the ISS has - it may only be one. However, I'd have thought that it would be preferred to leave said docking ports open for (possible) future use - if anyone does feel like using US tech, of course (afaik everyone else uses the Russian ports?).
Not everyone else...
I use the French ports - when I can get a ferry that is.
@ escape pods
Some reasons I can think of:
- not sure they have three "spare" docking ports lying around
- it will increase the atmospheric drag, thus needing more orbit boosts
- the orbit boosts themselves will be more expensive, due to the added mass of the shuttles
- they would probably have to leave shuttle ground infrastructure active to enable your scenario
Re Escape Pods
Each Shuttle weighs 74 tons, a lot of weight for little useful storage space. They can only stay up for about 14 days until the fuel cells etc run out, so not useful for escape pods. And you'd have the additional problem of getting the crew back to Earth.
And I think that SpaceX will need the Shuttle docking port.
I managed to remember the emergency escape pod mechanism for the ISS - Soyuz. Hence I would have thought that they wouldn't need to add escape mechanisms - I believe Soyuz capsules are able to fit the entire crew of the ISS, albeit at a squeeze.
Just 3 more chances to test a permanently waterproof TPS
But I'm not holding my breath.