I see the first post has been deleted...
...that commentard must have been thinking what I was thinking. [Tom Clancy: Debt of Honour] [Remove your shoes] [Nail files] etc.
Stateside Reg readers in our nation's capital will be treated to a farewell flyover of the Space Shuttle Discovery between 10am and 11am on Tuesday, April 17. No, NASA fans brokenhearted about the shuttle program's demise, it won't be flying on its own power – or, actually, gliding without power, as its in-atmosphere runs were …
...that commentard must have been thinking what I was thinking. [Tom Clancy: Debt of Honour] [Remove your shoes] [Nail files] etc.
Really? I was thinking Hugo Drax...
I have a better idea: drop the shuttle on the White House, as a way of saying "Thanks!" to the President for his wonderful job on our space program....
Yeah, but George Dubya don't live there no more!
Good, because I was referring to Obama (and his cronies in Congress) gutting the United States' space program:
Space Coast: Through the lens of 60 Minutes
Thanks to Obama, we can't even get an astronaut into orbit without paying the Russians for a lift. If this is his idea of "change", I'm looking forward to the next elections (and voting to give him a change of address...).
Firstly, they wouldn't have had to cut space budget if the Bush Republicans hadn't been busy cutting taxes for the super-rich and removing oversight regulation (allowing financial institutions to do whatever they wanted and leading to the subprime crash and the tanked economy). Not Obama's fault he inherited the worst economy since the great depression. Secondly, in the US the president has very little control over the budget anyway, that's congress which is currently dominated by Republicans, who have a majority in the house and who continually abuse senate voting rules to block anything they don't like even though they're in a minority. They are refusing point-blank to raise a single cent in revenue because of their magical thinking that less taxes = more revenue. So sure, go ahead and vote for Mitt "etch-a-sketch" Romney. (You do know that HIS budget proposals are to cut spending such as NASA even more so that he can give even more tax cuts to his super-rich buddies, don't you?)
Apologies to everyone else for going off into politics on a tech site.
So long, Shuttle, and thanks for all the fish
For what it's worth, the president presented his latest budget to the congress several weeks ago.
Not a single congressman or senator voted in favor of it. Not one. Not even a single, solitary Democrat. None.
It's probably the only time he's promoted truly bipartisan legislation.
C'mon Joe, If Dubya hadn't spent literally trillions on a couple of loud and nasty adventures a, B.O might have had more resources to send NASA's way.
Dubya promised you Mars, I know. b I hate to be the one to let you know, but he might just have just telling you want you wanted to hear. c He can't really be said to helped US sccience.
"C'mon Joe, If Dubya hadn't spent literally trillions on a couple of loud and nasty adventures a, B.O might have had more resources to send NASA's way..."
And if B.O. hadn't continued Bush's programs of massive Constitutional violations, unilateral imperialist wars and occupations, and hadn't continued to throw buttloads of money at stock brokerages, bankers and other corporate interests, he might have had more resources to send NASA's way as well.
A fitting end to the Shuttle Program as it was known.
Those old space birds completed some remarkable feats through the decades, sure the program wasn't with out its problems, but they were (and probably still are) way ahead in their day.
Rest assured tat in the next decade China will have an equivalent resuable space vehicle and this will get the U.S. Senate's asses into gear on designing and building a replacement.
We know that NASA are relying on the private aerospace sector to fill in the gaps, but I don't foresee any private organisation ever building something as groundbreaking as the Shuttles.
Senate? arse in gear on space? hahahahhahahahah
... heck unless it involves serious pork to their state 1/2 wont be interested.
And the other 1/2 will be debating whether this new fangled 'solar centric' model of the unverse is better than the earth centered one...
Hm. Considering the absolute senseless panic when Air Force One flew around the Statue of Liberty doing a photo-op, I see many sensationalized news stories coming out next Tuesday afternoon. My "fellow citizens" are morons and I expect them to act like it.
Isn't that the Enterprise shuttle before the actual job started?
Pretty sure that is not an early SCA flight with Enterprise. The first SCA was a recycled American Airlines 747. It had the red & blue American Airlines stripes still on it. It wasn't repainted NASA colors until later.
However it is VERY interesting the shuttle's name has been removed from the picture. Here is a real picture of Discovery on the SCA with its name next to the window:
My guess is El-Reg has El-Photoshop fired up. The more I look at the Reg picture, the more it looks fake. The light on the SCA & shuttle is coming from the left, almost as a sunset angle. However, the clouds in the distance below the tail of the SCA appear to be lit from the right. Cool picture though.
Really? You're disputing the lighting on a NASA photograph? I never heard such nonesense!
@AC: No, I am disputing the lighting in a Reg photograph. If you want a discourse in edited NASA photographs, just Google 'fake moon landings'.
"The more I look at the Reg picture, the more it looks fake"
You need to look at it more than once to tell obvious 'shop is obvious?
Yep. Enterprise. Saw it fly over the UK. Warwick, in fact. I screamed on the company's intercom something like "Look out the fuc*king windows!!" (only faced in one direction) when I saw it.
No, it's Atlantis. Someone has naughtily taken this picture from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atlantis_on_Shuttle_Carrier_Aircraft.jpg) and photo-shopped out the name.
Surely even at 1,500ft, under the flight path you won't be able to see dick all of the space shuttle, just the underside of the airliner it is sitting atop?
Unless of course it banks quite seriously, but I doubt it would be doing much of that at such a low altitude.
Not sure exactly of the altitude (approx 2000ft) but one of the shuttles mounted on the back of one of these carriers flew over my secondary school and it was very visible. Something i'll not forget for a long time I hope.
And everyone looking at it will be directly below the flight path, hmm?
Actually, those of us around Capitol Hill and the East Building of the National Gallery got to see much more than "dick".
I live on Capitol Hill, about five blocks from the Capitol, and it was a simple matter to borrow the wife's PowerShot and dash down to the reflecting pool at the West Front of the Capitol. I got several really nice clean shots, but the one I've linked here of it flying over the Capitol was the best of the bunch.
A cold one for all the guys'n'gals who helped keep this sweet old bucket flying for a quarter century.
like a huge streamlined modesty shield
Are you sure it wasn't to prevent terrorists from doing this...
What do you mean, "Moonraker" wasn't a documentary?
Well, actually, you're kinda right, in a way. It's an aerodynamic modesty shield, which gives the tail of the Orbiter a nice, clean aerodynamic shape to insure smooth airflow, so that the multiple curved and concave surfaces of the engines don't create disturbances in the air behind the combined vehicles -- and, of course, so that the innards of the engine nozzles and thrust chambers aren't contaminated by dirt, dust and various other "schmutz".
Back about 1985 I looked up one morning from the streets in Arlington and saw a 747 transporting a shuttle. Maybe it was 1500 feet, but it looked awfully close. I believe that this was one that never was launched but was used to practice landings out in California; it was on its way to the Smithsonian.
Don't remember the shroud--not even sure this one had ever had live engines.
28 years old with just over 1 year of time in space: about the only other kind of "plane" that spends 96% of its time in the hangar is a working museum piece. Rather like Concorde: gloriously high tech, inspiring widespread awe and even devotion, but never supportable on simple economic grounds.
As for the "Obamacare hates American space triumphs" school of thought, of course the shuttle was actually cancelled back in 2004 after the loss of Columbia, with the investigating board reporting that it was too dangerous to remain in use beyond completing the construction flights for the ISS, concluding:
"The Shuttle has few of the mission capabilities that NASA originally promised. It cannot be launched on demand, does not recoup its costs, no longer carries national security payloads, and is not cost-effective enough, nor allowed by law, to carry commercial satellites. Despite efforts to improve its safety, the Shuttle remains a complex and risky system that remains central to U.S. ambitions in space. Columbia's failure to return home is a harsh reminder that the Space Shuttle is a developmental vehicle that operates not in routine flight but in the realm of dangerous exploration."
"nor allowed by law, to carry commercial satellites"
Didn't realise that! Typical from a government perspective but just seems short sighted - of course it wouldn't recoup its costs if it can't make any money at all...
It used to, but that was changed after the Challenger disaster.
What are you talking about? Concorde made a profit of around 30 million a year for most of its operating life for BA.
Exploration of space is dangerous? Really? Well fuck me with a bargepole and call me lucy! Of course it fucking is. Exploring any new frontier is dangerous. Its part and parcel of the job. If we gave up any new endevours becuase they were scary, the Americas would still be uncolonised and we would all be sitting in caves, eating berries and leaves.
But their fleet was acquired on notably favourable terms: "In 1983, BA's managing director, Sir John King, convinced the government to sell the aircraft outright to British Airways for £16.5 million plus the first year’s profits." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde#British_Airways_buys_its_Concordes_outright)
Quite reasonable for a fleet of 7 aircraft whose 1977 price was "around £23 million each" (http://www.concordesst.com/faq.html), and that higher price of course in no way covered the development cost of well over a billion pounds. Indeed the per-aircraft production costs were apparently about £40m, being a very small production run.
I wonder if the paranoid idiots over at the Department of Hysterical Studidity (DHS) will have the Air Farce shoot it down as a threat to America. Like tightie whities and sneakers, and nail clippers.
"...in the realm of dangerous exploration" Hmm, this stinks of a Health and Safety directive.
When has the exploration of space been anything other than dangerous, the test flying of new aircraft would never happen if these same idiots were in control, "oo no, can't have that, someone might stub their toe".
I remember a trip to Kennedy Space Center and staring in awe at a shuttle sat on the pad ready to go. Awesome sight, and replacement will be years in the making, just like Concordes' successor. We seem to be going backwards in technological achievements, sigh
Even more impressive is just what was done in the Space Race era, with moon landings and more without the sophisticated computing power and manufacturing and materials available today. Those buggers were planned and launched with just valves and transistors.
I think the restrictions they had with materials and computing in the 60's really helped the Apollo project rather than hampered it.
It meant that options were limited so not as much hand wringing had to be done over the right choice because chances are there was only one choice. As for the computing it meant the gear had to be designed to do the very specific job and had to be written with the maximum of efficiency.
This turned out to be a life saver with Apollo 14 when a bug/glitch occurred and they could radio the code corrections to the guys in the Lander to fix it.
Imagine trying to do that with today's bloated and code heavy techniques. There you are 100ft above the moon hovering and all of a sudden a crappy moon lander game appears because 3 years previously a coding team though that would be hilarious.
If NASA does go to the moon again I'd try to keep it as close to the Apollo model as possible. Maybe a 75% Apollo 25% new mix. Just a shame the technical prowess, attention to detail and desire to succeed doesn't really exist anymore in this Powerpoint laden world.
But the point is that the shuttle wasn't meant to be equivalent to a test programme - after the first series of flights it was meant to be a cheap, frequent, and safe means of going into space with the risks and real exploration downrange from it, eg on the ISS (at least that features some ongoing technology development, be it urine recycling or automated supply vessels). Beyond relatively small system upgrades the shuttle wasn't being further developed, and bitterly some of the most striking research it produced was on how management failures can promote a culture of risk.
So what the Columbia Board was reporting was the clear failure of this goal, which left the shuttle as a too-expensive, too-unsafe way to get to low orbit. They didn't recommend "no more space it's too scary", they explicitly recommended the prompt development of a better-suited replacement.
...just make sure the military doesn't stick its oar in and compromise the design like the old one.
The military ended up saying they wanted this and that capability which was largely never utilised and meant NASA ended up with a gimped space plane that was never really really good at anything.
@Joe User, yeah, because democracy should be all about deciding on one extreme policy.
What was it last time? That's right, abortion.
I've got a fair few pics of Discovery landing at Edwards (in the mid 2000s) and showing off its scorchment in glorious detail. and watching that thing come down was a sight i will never forget. damn marvellous.
but the photoshopping of the image the reg has used in the article? hilarious!!
What about helicopters?
The shuttle will be landing in Virginia.
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