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back to article NASA hands out second-hand shuttles

NASA administrator Charles Bolden yesterday announced just where the four remaining space shuttles will find a final home, as the agency celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first orbiter launch on 12 April, 1981*. The details are: Atlantis – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Discovery – The Udvar-Hazy Center at the …

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Pirate

Can I have one, please, Mister?

I'll be *really* good, honest....

GJC

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I like a happy ending

I'm glad to see all the shuttles found homes in museums and institutions. The thought of one rusting away on a scrap heap somewhere would have been awful.

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Joke

Heat tiles.

I thought that all anyone had to do to get their hands on a Shuttle heat tile was to stand in Florida and wait......

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Others

But what about Drax's shuttles? Where will they go?

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Coat

That's not funny, that's sick.

and you forgot Columbia.

My coat? It has the shuttle keys in the pocket.

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Too soon? How about never again?

What a jerk. Sorry, but it's not so much too soon as never appropriate or funny at all. People died expanding the bounds of human knowledge and you want to make a crass, pointless joke of it?

Jerk.

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Unhappy

Sad, not happy.

Unfortunately, no successor to the shuttle exists, and the USA is not working on one.

The purpose of (say) old railway engines or cars in museums is to record how we got to the current technologically superior state of the art. (Network rail notwithstanding!)

The only way to view a shuttle is as an unsurpassed past achievement now reduced to a tourist attraction. The mark of a country, or a civilisation, in decline?

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Anonymous Coward

A bit late.

I left SoCal nearly twenty years ago because I felt it had turned into a third world country.

The rise of the fundies who have turned their backs on science and rational thought makes me think we're slowly being taken over by the American Taliban.

Our "Greatest Generation" has generously deficit spent us to the brink for their own comfy lifestyle leaving the likes of me -- born at the end of the baby boom -- and my children to pay for it all. (It's a small consolation that we're not one of the PIIGS.)

Then again, where are all of Europe's retired space shuttles going? And when China starts building space shuttles, we can take pride in knowing that we paid for them.

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MJI
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You just described Concorde perfectly

And I am not so sure about railway engines in museums either, not when operators hire preserved locos as they are more powerful and go faster.

And to be honest cars in museums E Type vs Mondeo - no choice is it?

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Unhappy

Snap! I was thinking of Concorde too

Two great technological innovations both lost to humanity because of worries over their costs or safety. If humans had worried so much over their safety in our history, we'd still be hunting and gathering, in fact, we might still be gathering, because hunting's dangerous.

Seriously, the shuttle was here for 30 years operationally and near 40 years as a design. Are we supposed to believe that it was impossible during those decades to use technological advances to come up with a decent evolution of the concept and a fitting replacement for it? Instead we now go back to the figurative stone age of space of creating an artificial asteroid, plopping atop a big firework, firing it into space and then allowing it to fall back to earth so we can pick it up again when it hits the ocean. High technology indeed.

Concorde was a similar loss of progress, we had this beautiful aircraft for nearly 40 years from start to finish, and yet thanks to cost cutting, environmental worries and 'safety' concerns we never bothered to build a better supersonic airliner.

Worries over costs, worries over the environment, worries over safety. We're worrying ourselves backwards here. We've become so timid that the possible threat of potential future consequences that can't even be quantified will prevent us exploring many potentially incredible advances in technology that would benefit every man, woman and child on the planet. But, just in case something goes wrong, we're gonna just let it go for now, because we don't want to screw up. So much for the human spirit.

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Greatest Generation?????

"Obama Added More to National Debt in First 19 Months Than All Presidents from Washington Through Reagan Combined, Says Gov't Data". And Obama certainly isn't part of the greatest generation. Check your facts buddy!

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Anonymous Coward

Too much Glenn Beck I think.

There's a nice chart on this page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms) that shows how the Shrub started with $6T of debt and grew it to over $10T.

Since then $4T more has been added bringing it to $14T, which might be more than Washington through Reagan (but probably not when you factor in inflation) but you have conveniently ignored what Bush and the Shrub added, so it's a lame comparison.

We've been stuck paying for the "war" that the Shrub started to soothe his ego and the economic bonfire of the vanities called the Great Recession that started on the Shrub's watch that he left for Obama to mop up after. It almost makes me wish McCain had won so that he and the rest of you Tea Baggers would have been left holding Shrub's $14T bag of shit.

And I'm not your buddy.

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Alert

What of the others?

and what will happen to the recovered parts of Challenger and Columbia?

NASA reported that the crew of Challenger got 'vaporised' upon the explosion of the external fuel tank, unfortunately that was not the case. The crew compartment was intact and took just under 3 minutes to freefall back into the ocean. The astronauts, still strapped into their chairs hit the ocean at 200mph, which had a devestating crushing result for the compartment and it's contents. Human remains were found weeks later and recovered, together with the compartment. It is not known when the crew died, most were probably unconscious and died when they hit the water. It's worth noting that PEAP packs (personal air tanks) were activated, used for over 2 minutes and gated switches had been moved in the cabin post explosion.

Brevard County were not permitted to the autopsy of the remains, which is unusual and unlawful, their eventual public invitation was revoked shortly before it happened on a USAF base near to the Cape.

As for Columbia it's interesting to see the video of the cabin that was recorded during their re-entry. Normally this camera runs for the entire phase of re-entry, showing the cabin and crew. The recovered video runs normally but stops a few minutes before the break up.

NASA reported that the rest of the 'tape' was 'destroyed'...............really?

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What's the point of this speculation?

The explosion of Challenger was violent enough that the occupants of the main cabin were either dead, or completely incapacitated long before the remains of the cabin hit the ocean. Why speculate about their fate as if something could have been done, when clearly it could not.

The Columbia breakup occurred during the time when we cannot communicate with the orbiter on re-entry. It's a miracle anything survived. Frankly, the tape fragment your talking about is a remarkable find and a testament to the resilience of the recording technology used, but speculating about the rest of the take which was lost in the explosion is kind of pointless. If you consider that the recoding was spooling the media as it went, the last few minutes would have been the most vulnerable to damage during the breakup, so it's not particularly surprising that the recovered fragment doesn't include the events right up to the break-up. If the data had been recorded digitally onto a flash memory device, you might have a point, but since it wasn't, you don't, and your speculation is both pointless and insensitive/disrespectful to those involved i the space program who do risk their lives for humanity.

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@Highlander

There are documented official facts that members of the crew on board Challenger were not dead or incapacitated, if you read my post correctly you would have realised this.

As for the 'tape', yes, they are digitally recorded, there is no tape, it is stored onto memory due to less weight, cost and more importantly takes less to power.

Noob

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Headmaster

Shuttles Vs Orbiters

Why don't they just give them the orbiters rather than whole space shuttles?

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Happy

Intrepid

Frequently visit New York and have been the see the Intrepid a number of times (mainly to see the A-12 and Concorde). Though who knows how long it will take them to build the hanger to house it in!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Intrepid

"Though who knows how long it will take them to build the hanger to house it in!"

Alternatively they could stand it on the ground inside a hangar.

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Will it need a hanger?

It'll lose its shape hanging on a nail you know.

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Frostbite

I've read both the Rogers Commision report and the CAIB report which are both fascinating in their own rights. They're obviously also extremely grim in parts.

Whether or not the tape was destroyed, in the interests of decency and respect for those who lost their lives (and the loved ones they left behind), don't you think it's reasonable that we don't have any more information?

Would you like to see footage of these guys realising what is upon them.

Are you one of the rubber-necked twits that causes further danger on the motorways by slowing down to have a good gawp?

It is the pinnacle of human endeavour to reach for the stars. Every time a crew boards a spaceship, they understand the hightened risk and in spite of that, they dare to go. Every shuttle flight includes some debris impact on take-off and yet still they go.

Hats off to them

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Happy

b166er

Yes, those reports are fascinating, my interest is purely that the truth be reported as it certainly wasn't the case for Challenger, the truth had to be fought for from many sides both internal and external to NASA. Many of the populous do not realise this.

I for one would not want to see video of the crews fate, nor do I believe that anything like that should be made public, however the truth should always be laid out first time without question.

No, I can't say that I am "a rubber necked twit", are you?

I just wanted to highlight that NASA should be transparrent, not bow to political pressure for anything and ask if we can believe what they report.

My hat is already off and saluting those that aim to "slip the surly bonds of earth".

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Stop

in interests of decency and respect for those who lost their lives

"Whether or not the tape was destroyed, in the interests of decency and respect for those who lost their lives (and the loved ones they left behind), don't you think it's reasonable that we don't have any more information?"

No, I don't think it's reasonable at all if we a destroying information. My God! if they did destroy these tapes on purpose. Then that's bordering on a criminal and disgraceful act. A true loss to the national archives. We all have to die sometime, so to roll out the "decency and respect for those who lost their lives" line to cover up information is quite shameful. For an extreme example, most of us today, would be none the wiser to the true atrocity of war, if loss of life wasn't documented visually in some form.

“Are you one of the rubber-necked twits that causes further danger on the motorways by slowing down to have a good gawp?”

I’ll admit I am as guilty as the next man at rubber necking. You miss the point though! Most slow down and have a good gulp, then try and be a bit less dangerous on the motorway.

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Coat

The Shuttles have earned their rest..

They were technological marvels for their time, but finicky and temperamental as well, and terribly expensive to operate and maintain.

Even so, I have no doubt that events like the momentous repair of the Hubble Space Telescope could not have been carried out without a vehicle like the Space Shuttle.

It's just too bad that we don't have anything anywhere near as "cool" warming up in the bullpen. However, this could change in a hurry, if companies like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences make access to low- and medium-Earth orbit an affordable venture.

Grabbing my coat; gotta take a last walk around the hangar before we turn the lights off... *sniffle*

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Paris Hilton

being a bit thick here but...

how will they get the crew too and from the ISS now then?

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FAIL

They'll be paying the Russians

Amazingly enough, 50 years after Yuri Gargarin, the Russians are again the only country able to put people in space, and NASA is paying $62 mil per Soyuz seat.

This is all thanks to Richard Nixon, who squashed the reusable flyback booster option, and also squashed the liquid-instead-of-solid option, and insisted on the cheap-ass solids & external tank setup, so he's basically directly responsible for the deaths of 14 astronauts.

At least Atlantis will only be 90 miles away, so I can go visit.

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Stop

Don't forget the Chinese!

They've got manned spaceflight capability as well, now.

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@Gene Cash

"Amazingly enough, 50 years after Yuri Gargarin, the Russians are again the only country able to put people in space, and NASA is paying $62 mil per Soyuz seat."

Not strictly true. China has demonstrated capability if you don't mind a hypergolic launcher like a Titan 2.

NASA *could* get human capability *if* it funds CCDev (actually it should have funded the crewed COTS option D). It is not an unreasonable attitude that until at least *one* company demonstrates ISS docking no funds should be released for crew escape system development which is what payment-by-results is all about.

I'd think the chance to knock the price per seat by say 2/3 and put US astronauts back on a US *commercial* launchers would have been sufficient incentive to do this. Instead NASA has *forced* by Congress to continue Orion development at 75% of its original level and look at the frankly nuts SLS.

I'd suggest any US based readers might like to find out what Congressional appropriations are making NASA do and consider putting pen to paper and make their feelings known to their local representative (Short, well structured, polite and spell checked can still be forceful and seems to work best).

"This is all thanks to Richard Nixon, who squashed the reusable flyback booster option, and also squashed the liquid-instead-of-solid option, and insisted on the cheap-ass solids & external tank setup, so he's basically directly responsible for the deaths of 14 astronauts."

The Office of Management and Budget's *grossly* unrealistic funding pattern really stuffed the design and made the "stage & a half" architecture (not to mention Administrator Webb's personal choice for sourcing the SRB's from a factory with *no* way to get them to the cape in 1 piece) the only *possible* way to get it to fly at all.

It did give NASA the first large capacity high performance engine *designed* for re-use in the SSME. It would be a useful building block to keep in mind for the future (especially if they incorporated the results of the various R7D programmes they've run on it over the years).

Thumbs up for your understanding, not the situation the US finds itself in.

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Unhappy

Very sad day indeed.

So, with only one more mission, the great adventure is over - for a long time. We have no viable replacement on the drawing boards, and we're retiring the only re-usable orbiter capable of taking large payloads into orbit, and bringing back large payloads from orbit. *sigh*

So much for progress.

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Alien

Whatever happened to...

that research which demonstrated the existence of a gravitomagnetic field around spinning superconductors several million times greater than GR predicts.

I theorise that the recently discovered new particle at Fermilab might have something to do with it. what could happen is that the unique conditions present in a spinning superconductor could generate these particles otherwise known as "neutral electrons" in Heim theory which then interact with the Higgs field and so cause a change in the local gravitational constant.

-AC

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Consolation prize

Just on the news here - the air and space museum in Seattle (AKA Boeing's gift shop) didn't get one.

They are trying to put a brave face on it. They did get the plywood mockup that the astronauts trained on. But it's not just a mockup it's THE mockup "the only one of its kind in the world" according to their press release.

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