back to article NASA aims for 2 Jan Atlantis launch

NASA will next week fill the fuel tanks of space shuttle Atlantis for a third time, in an attempt to resolve sensor glitches which have led to two aborted launches. A first scheduled lift-off was last week cancelled due to the failure of two of the four sensors which monitor liquid hydrogen levels in the vessel's fuel tank. A …


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  1. Tim Greenwood

    Not sure?

    "We think we have a high degree of confidence of pinpointing the location where we're having our problem."

    So if the quote is correct then they don't even know if they really know whether they are likely to be able find where the problem is. This seems to suggest to me that they have no idea what is going on. I am not sure I would want to be flying on top of that rather old and unstable bloody big bomb.

  2. Slaine

    yup - can't argue with THAT Mr Greenwood

    ... now then, Atlantis.... Atlantis.... where have I heard that be4?

    oh yes, a massive (and presumable expensive) construct of dubious origin, attributed with registering as being dry when actually it was very very wet. What's in a name eh?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    @ Not sure?

    Remember, it is thousands of moving parts built by the lowest bidder, using 70s-era tech. It's not like the designers expected such a massive advancement in electronics & materials, and NASA can't exactly go down to the local dealership and pick up 5 or 6 new space vehicles with a trade-in...

    As the heavy-lifter of the world's space fleet, it has taken a beating, and continued to provide fairly reliable service. However, just like every other man-made object put out in the elements and subjected to stress & strain, things are going to break. That's what the engineers are there for.

  4. Matthew

    I had a similar problem

    on my Vauxhall Nova, turned out to be a bad wire on the sender.

    Maybe they should check there.

  5. Slaine

    easy peasy

    by simple acknowledgement of the comments above it is easy to extrapolate that the problem was indeed caused by the lowest bidder and that the solution will be found under the hood of Matthew's Nova.

    alternatively, the high degree of confidence in locating the problem will be entirely misplaced and the whole thing will go Nova.

  6. Christopher Peters


    Man, I'm so much more for private industry meeting space travel head on!

  7. Rick Brasche

    @ Mr. Greenwood

    there's a "high degree of certainty" because no one in NASA is ever ever allowed to answer anything with certainty. Because if you've taken your math classes, you'd know that there is no such thing as 100% certainty in the real world. Those with sciency backgrounds can tell you there's all sorts of uncertainties Heisenbergian and potentials for atoms to do really weird quantum stuff. Those sick SOB's among you with political and MBA backgrounds know it's all about blame-the one guy who bets his career on a certain outcome, is the guy who will lose it (thanks to the political and MBA types making room for their own ilk)

    Not leaving out the zoology guys-understanding the feeding and mating habits of the rabid weasel makes any bureaucratic response (or real scientists forced to deal with them) easier to predict and understand.

    But seriously, if the guy were to have absolute certainty that the problem was fixed, the Media and political hacks would destroy him and as much of NASA as they possibly could if anything-even totally unrelated-were to go wrong.

  8. stuart meadowcroft


    My mrs. has a mk2 Vauxhall cavalier with a similar fuel-tank sensor problem so I know how NASA feel.

    Mind you, I'd rather runout of petrol halfway across the M62 than their potential problem. rolling downhill to Leeds or Manchester is somewhat less fatal that their gravity potential.

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