back to article Space shuttle may fly until 2011

The US House of Representatives and Senate have agreed a further $2.5bn to keep the space shuttle in service until 2011 - "if such an extension is necessary to complete currently planned missions to the International Space Station", as the Wall Street Journal puts it. The final planned shuttle launch is Endeavour's mission STS …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    It's the B52 of space

    That thing'll still be flying after 2011. There's a recession on, it's only a space ship and it takes too much money and effort to make a new one. And what does it do? It's just a space lorry to get stuff up to the space station. Just look at how most haulage firms get by with battered up old rush buckets with retreds on the front wheels and tyres so worn at the back that they look like donuts.

    So expect to still see the shuttle going up closer to 2021 than 2011.

    The only difference between the space shuttle and a proper haulage firm is that the pilot doesn't pick up prostitutes and murder them in lay-bys. But only because he can't get away with it so easily. Oh, and also that fuel is cheaper for the space shuttle these days.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone ask NASA about this?

    Lemme get this straight, Atlantis is already on borrowed time with tanks well beyond their certified operating life (and who knows what other corners have been carefully trimmed) to keep the fleet in operation until 2010. Now they're potentially gonna add another year on?

    Two things can come of this:

    1) massive engineering work just for a few extra flights

    2) another big bang.

  3. Anonymous John

    "Extension to avoid 'bitter pill' of paying Russians"

    They'll have to, anyway.

    The Shuttle is needed to build the ISS, and usful for the odd crew member swap.

    Soyuz is the only way of doing regular crew rotations as it can stay docked for up to 6 months in case an emergency evacuation is needed. The Shuttle is limited to about 14 days in orbit.

  4. Michael C

    2.5bln to keep shuttle going, 65 million to BUY a Soyuz

    the only real objection to using the Russia spacecraft is cold war fears (ie, complete BS in today's real world). Russia actually offered to SELL us a complete Soyuz, including 2 cosmonots to teach NASA how to operate it, and all the launch geat, transports, towers and more...

    Launching a soyuz costs less than $200 million. Maintaining the space shuttle costs 2.5-3 Billion PER YEAR!

    Our replacement for the shuttle will cost a grand total of 3 Billion over 2 YEARS, not one, and can be ready for launch in 2013 with that money. (it would be ready by March 2015 without that 3 billion, that's just what it costs to speed up the process). That craft will cost significantly less than a Soyuz for each launch.

    We could BUY a WHOLE NEW Soyuz and launch it OURSELVES, without any russian involvement, and THROW IT AWAY after each launch, save the 3 billion extra for the new rockets and plan on the 2015 date already accepted by NASA and Congress, and we'd save nearly 10 BILLION over 5 years vs trying to keep the space shuttle running even HALF the time until 2013...

    This is old school mistrust from the cold war taking billions out of your tax paying pockets. We have NO FEAR of Russia today (they're MANY times more dependent on us thatn we are of their space shuttle.

    The ONLY think keeping us from buying and operating out OWN soyuz rockets is a STUPID law banning the purchase of spacecraft from Russia, China, and a few other countries... Instead of passing a law to spend 5.5 billion over the next 2 years, they should have simply repealed the older law and SAVED us that money.

    It should be criminal for our congressmen to be so fucking retarted, as it should equally be a crime for allowing uninformed voters to keep them in office. Can I get a term limit over here???

  5. Tom Paine Silver badge

    First Ares test launch due this year

    Whilst the Orion capsule's not scheduled for flight for four or five years, the Ares rocket it'll fly on is scheduled for it's first test launch later this year:

    That's probably good, especially given the rumours of 14G pogo oscillations which would tend to pull fleshy astronauts to bits in an unpleasant manner. This isn't the space race any more, there's no desperately urgent strategic driver to avoid reliance on Soyuz except the desire to save face.

    I'd be really, really surprised if we get any STS launches after the nine scheduled remaining flights.

    "Stop" because that's what STS desperately needs!

  6. AndrewG


    Everytime I see newsof NASA the more depressed I get :(

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