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back to article Space shuttle Endeavour's long journey is over

Space shuttle Endeavour touched down at 06:34 GMT today, at the end of its final mission. Infrared image of Endeavour landing this morning. Pic. NASA TV The venerable vehicle wrapped its 25th flight at Kennedy Space Center, having successfully delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station. NASA …

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and then..?

So after the final missing in July, delivering supplies, etc, what happens next? How will NASA ship their next supplies up to the ISS?

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ISS supplies...

...same way others do, via the unmanned automatic Russian supply craft, for example.

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Russian rockets

That's how

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Flame

Vodka-rockets!

I beleive NASA will be hitch-hiking a ride with the Russians until a new NASA rocket is available.

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Silver badge

Or

Or until they can outsource it to India?

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Thumb Up

Simple

All they need is a a few pints, some peanuts, their beacon, a towel and a copy of HHGTTG.

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Flames

So what were the little spouts of flames popping out the top of the engine area on landing - not seen that before, although to be fair I have not witnessed so many landings.

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Title

I believe it is unused fuel being vented. That stuff is pretty volatile.

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And

It was a night landing. I doubt they would have been visible in daylight.

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APU Exhaust

Those flames are the exhausts of the auxilary power units which provide hydraulic power for the orbiter's aerodynamic control surfaces (rudder and elevons). The APU burns hydrazine to drive the pumps for the system and has to have exhaust vents. The flames from the APU are not visible in daylight and you only see them on night landings. The hydrazine is nasty stuff and is the reason for all the trucks that follow the orbiter up the runway, blowing the fumes away and ventilating the rear of the orbiter to make it safe fro people to work around after landing.

The hydrazine APU was one of the systems that was proposed for replacement as part of a major upgrade that NASA was planning to the Shuttle system before the Columbia disaster. It would have been replaced with an electrically driven system like that used on a lot of modern aircraft now days.

Hope this clears up this mystery

Andrew Newstead

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Flame

Flames

So what were the little spouts of flames popping out the top of the engine area on landing - not seen that before, although to be fair I have not witnessed so many landings.

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Sorry to see them go

As the human race, we've effectively regressed from the spaceplane era, back to the thowing-guys-up-in-the-air-in-a-tin-can era.

Admittedly the Shuttles were no NCC-1701, but at least they had the makings of a proper spacecraft.

End of an era, definitely.

The bright area is probably the APU exhaust, BTW. Although the Shuttle glides in it still needs hydraulic power for the control surfaces.

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Facepalm

Re: Sorry to see them go

>>Admittedly the Shuttles were no NCC-1701, but at least they had the makings of a proper spacecraft.

Because they could be attached to a huge rocket? let's face it they were merely a large reusable LEO cargo bay, they wouldn't have been so big without the (false) requirement to launch spy satellites, they looked nice, but dollar for ruble a huge white elephant, very expensive, the USSR/Russia did far more launches and spent far longer in space all for less money.

What is a "proper spacecraft"? I'd say one that doesn't ever need to land on or take off from a planet makes a better start, heavy lift, build in space (less like the space shuttle, more like NCC-1701), space station technology is more important here, ion engines rather than hydrogen/fuel engines.

Personally, as cool as they were, the very concept of them killed all possible moon missions and stunted space development, they were cool but, it will be good to see the back of them, wave a fond farewell and let's do some real space stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Vodka, peanuts and volatile gas

- A case study in how not to do engineering

- So you start an R&D project whose goal is to bring down launch costs to $100/pound.

- And you propose that the exact same system will deliver freight and astronauts

- After a few runs, you conclusively demonstrate that cannot ever do that

- So, do you capture the valuable experimental data you have gained at great cost, then use it to iterate another system?

- Heavens no, turn the thing into a show-biz extravaganza and continue burning up astonauts and $$zillions for no logical reason at all.

- Now, it's 2011. All sorts of technologies that address the $100/pound goal (well almost) have turned up, and basically no adequate research has been done on any of them, because funding and attention has been diverted to this nonsense STS BS..

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Stop

Re: Sorry to see them go

"As the human race, we've effectively regressed from the spaceplane era, back to the thowing-guys-up-in-the-air-in-a-tin-can era."

Worse, we don't even have the tin cans able to get to the moon any more.

Even back inside the atmosphere, we've given up on supersonic passenger flight.

Many countries are now abandoning nuclear power.

The way things are going (rapidly backwards), it may well be time to start up flint axe production again.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't the powers that be

require anyone wishing to start up flint axe production to license it from an endangered indigenous culture?

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