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back to article Shuttle Endeavour buzzes the Golden Gate Bridge

Thousands of shuttle watchers lined the shores of San Francisco Bay on a hazy Friday morning to say goodbye to Endeavour as she circled the bay, soared above Marin County, flew across the Golden Gate, circled the City by the Bay, then buzzed the Golden Gate Bridge. The 20-year-old space shuttle was not, of course, making her …

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Pfft

Now if it had flown under the bridge...

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Pint

Re: Pfft

I'm sure you can get a mod for your favorite flight simulator, but considering how (IIRC) dificult it was to land a 747 properly....don't try to dead-stick it on your first try.

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Alert

Re: Pfft

Didn't a Boeing test pilot do that with a 747 once and get a massive bollocking for it?

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Alien

Re: Pfft

I seem to remember watching a drama documentary where a spaceship did this. Didn't work out too well as I recall.

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Headmaster

Endeavor?

Even Americans spell it "Endeavour"! Named after Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

I saw a Shuttle launch in person (STS-133) ...it was awesome! Being a shuttle geek I have a special place in my heart for the shuttle, aka the big tamale of spacecraft. In my opinion the shuttle program was not a waste of money. It was an unparalleled learning experience from the standpoint of many disciplines including science, engineering, quality control, and massive project management. However, just like human beings, no machine or project is perfect. Mistakes are made and learned from. I believe low earth orbit is still important for the USA, but I'm encouraged NASA has moved forward with new endeavors (yes, I'm American) with a focus on off-world exploration.

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Bronze badge

Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

And back to the Cape where they belong!

Unfortunately the USA's chief apologist doesn't think they are green enough, and hasn't gone through with the replacements (Orion project).

It may take another "space race" (China?) to start it up again.

(*SIGH*)

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Thumb Up

Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

as much as i love the shuttles they were gimped from the start by US air force requirements (which is why they are stubby wings and not lifting body). It may not seem it but the shuttle retirement is not as bad as it seems, it's directed some pork away from the traditional huge aerospace companies and put it into the hands of SpaceX (say what you like about elon but he is passionate) and Sierra Nevada Corporation's dream chaser (although only a 50% fund can't have boeing go cold turkey on all that pork).

Those two combined with the chinese "threat" may be enough to give us a shuttle mk2 much better suited and free of the government back biting and requirement creep that a NASA made mk2 would create. that is what i am hoping anyway (dream chaser looks particularly cool and seem's ideal to partner to a SpaceX cheaper launch platform)

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Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

"Unfortunately the USA's chief apologist doesn't think they are green enough"

And he's right. The Shuttle was a solution to an early 1970s problem: making stuff was expensive and time consuming. So NASA decided (quite rightly, then) that it was worthwhile hauling many tons of hardware up and back down to save on manufacturing costs.

However, 40 years later it is now not so much of a challenge to knock up suitable engines, fuselage and the requisite electronics. Accepting that one's launcher is going to be disposable allows great savings in weight and fuel, and clearly the economics stack up well (everyone's doing it that way now).

Take a look at SpaceX's Falcon launcher. They even designed the engines so as to be easy to manufacture at the expense of ultimate performance. It's cheaper to have just a little bit more fuel on board than to spend untold millions making a slightly better engine. The result is that the overall consumption of resources is lower.

However the Shuttle, even though would never win any beauty contest, was a mighty impressive sight in the skies. Had NASA been able to give it Concorde-esque grace and beauty too I think that there would have been a good chance of it still flying today.

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Silver badge

Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

It's nothing to do with "not being green".

The shuttle program was a colossal boondoggle. An inspiring one, but a boondoggle all the same.

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Happy

Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

I would argue the never winning a beauty contest remark. She's got power and grace. Definitely an American woman. : )

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WTF?

@Herby

" USA's chief apologist"? WTF? You must be a Yank, and a Republican Yank at that.

When/where did your President apologize for you? Certainly not to me.

Move along, nothing to see here but neo-conservative prevarications.

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Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

So the fact that this decision was made under Bush Jr means nothing to you

?

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Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

They lost two crews.

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Re: @Herby

@ian22

I don't think apologist means what you think it means.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Take the old shuttles out of the Museum

"She's got power and grace. Definitely an American woman."

An American woman whose name is Grace, maybe.

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I have been privileged in my lifetime to see the true greatness of man's endeavors into space. From my early days watching a black and white TV picture beamed from thousands of miles away. A promise by a great man fulfilled with one small step and one giant leap. To the family vacation to see Apollo 15 launch. We watched it defy gravity while sitting on a boat in the Banana River off Cape Canaveral. The sheer power of the Atlas V creating a visible wave across the water from over 10 miles away.

To cry with a nation at the loss of 7 souls aboard the Challenger, a tragedy which brought a nation to its knees. I left work that day to be home with my wife and newborn son. We sat watching the news reports as they came in wondering if our children would know the experience of the human triumph over adversity knowing there is sometimes a great cost.

I cheered the resumption of the shuttle program 3 years later with the launch of the Atlantis. With all of its faults, the shuttle program produced a list of successful missions which lulled everyone into complacency until the fateful day in 2003 when we were reminded again of the risks by the Columbia disaster which took the lives of another crew. Not daunted by the events, the shuttle missions started within a year and continued until July 2011 when Atlantis flew for its last time as mission STS-135.

Over the years the space program generated a wealth of technology. Much of the technology we take for granted (integrated circuits, Kevlar, satellites and freeze dried food to name a few) as part of our daily life. Our children have long forgotten (or never were taught) how many smart men and women came together to solve problems of space exploration, not for personal gain but for the pride in what they did.

Now I watch as the space program has decayed under layers of bureaucracy, as most government organizations do, until it is a shadow of its former self. Now, NASA is told “to find a way to reach out to [the] Muslim world … to help them feel good about their historic contribution” and to promote questionable theories on climate “science”. Pulled in different directions, the program has lost its way. People call for “privatization” not remembering that in the history of manned flight, the vehicles and technology were built by the lowest bidder. The Lockeeds, Martin Mariettas and Boeings plus thousands of others competed to build the lowest cost components and operate the programs efficiently as possible.

Only time will tell if this is only a pause while we re-group or if it is truly the end of one of the greatest accomplishments of mankind. My hope is on the former.

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Pint

How is it that I'm the first upvote on this?

I have the original press release kit for Enterprise's debut. I've seen one launch up close.

I sat stunned and shocked as shards of Challenger rained on the Atlantic.

There are few accomplishments of man in the last 100 years that stand taller than our first small steps into space. These birds, in my books, STILL are the pinnacle of this accomplishment.

Yes there are new technologies, but they are yet to match the capabilities of these devices.

(where is the 'tear in my eye' icon Reg?) ... A pint, for each and every person that invested their time, effort and faith in the shuttle program, hell even the greedy bastards that jacked the prices of standard components through the roof. We humans need that sort of dedication to the future in many more areas.

And, all things considered, Go Elon Go! I hope that a new face and a new attitude can turn the overall course of space technology on its ear.

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Happy

That's one thing I like about the Americans!

They sure know how to appreciate some nice kit with a proper flyby

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Unhappy

I remember when the SS Enterprise flew over Manchester on its visit to the UK in 1983. In those days I used to carry my Pentax 110 camera in my pocket, every day...except that particular day.

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Some pics of the Manchester flyby can be seen here http://forums.airshows.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=22128

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Anonymous Coward

It is unconscionable to not build four more shuttles and keep the program going.

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Terminator

The attachment to the shuttles is entirely an emotional reaction, with no grounding in rational, reasoned thought. The shuttles had a lot of stuff in them that was unnecessary and expensive because the Air Force wanted it, and those specials were used only a handful of times. Things are done faster, better, and cheaper without them. Why? Because as thrilling as it is, launching humans is horribly wasteful in terms of results per pound, per launch.

Witness the X-37B. Launched on a simple rocket, spent 468 days in space, came down autonomously. Surgeons can do surgery remotely, once state-of-the art telepresence and robotics systems are provided there won't be a real need to go outside the station. You log in, and you are There. You log out, and go to the pub for a pint. People are so caught up on the thrill of sending a person into space that they don't ask if it wouldn't be more efficient to simply extend their reach.

If the ISS was built as a science platform, using the sort of technical acumen that vending machines and warehouse logistics systems use, it'd be a quarter the size and have four times the experiments going on. Why? Simple. Most of that volume is for people and the support for them. Living space, sleeping space, food, water, air. I'm not saying that there's not good value to studying the long term effects of people in space, and in having a manned station. Merely pointing out that they are inherently inefficient to include in an industrial design. And yes, an orbital science platform could be an entirely industrial design. We just haven't done it that way.

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oh thank you

for yet another gorgeous photo of my Golden, Golden Gate. It's painted in 'International Orange'. To have the Endeavour make a pass over San Francisco Bay is apt and fitting. Most of us have also "slipped the surly bonds of earth" as well, thank god.

I down-voted those still on earth who felt it necessary to insinuate Republican dirt into their posts. Still grounded you are. What made the space program was imagination and education and the will to excel. Science is golden.

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If nothing else

It's good to see that someone from ZZ Top was there to salute this accomplishment

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