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Old 07-12-2005, 04:53 PM  
Donger Donger is online now
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Window cover damages shuttle tiles

You've got to be ****ing kidding me. Let's hope a seagull doesn't take a big dump on it and cause the SRBs to fall off.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/0...tle/index.html

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- A cover panel on a cockpit window of the space shuttle Discovery fell off Tuesday on the eve of the spacecraft's launch, damaging protective tiles near the tail, NASA officials said.

Technicians from the space agency inspected the damage Tuesday afternoon and did not know whether it would force a postponement of the launch, the first since the 2003 Columbia disaster, a NASA spokeswoman said.

Discovery was cleared to "go" earlier Tuesday.

"We're go for launch tomorrow pending weather," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

Officials had said there was a chance of a weather-related launch delay, but Griffin said NASA isn't "working any significant issues" that could threaten Wednesday's liftoff, set for 3:51 p.m. ET.

The Discovery orbiter has been poised on launching pad 39B and outfitted with an expansive array of safety modifications designed to avert a tragedy like the one that claimed the lives of Columbia's seven crew members.

"Can there be something that we don't know about that can bite us? Yeah. This is a very tough business," Griffin told reporters at a space center news conference. "But everything we know about has been covered."
Weather delay

"We're tracking no significant issues in our preparations as the hardware continues to perform nominally," said NASA test director Jeff Spaulding at Tuesday morning's countdown status briefing.

Storm systems have threatened to delay the launch, but NASA officials said conditions still indicate only a 40 percent chance for a launch delay due to weather, according to shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters.

"We're going to see some showers and possibly even a thunderstorm develop during the countdown. We might actually have to go red during the countdown," Winters said.

"But then as the sea breeze progresses to the west with the easterly flow, we should actually see an improvement in the weather at the launch pad."

NASA has committed to daytime launches for the next two shuttle missions to ensure ideal lighting conditions for the cameras that will scrutinize the shuttle's ascent into orbit.

The shuttle Columbia accident was caused by foam insulation that broke off during launch from the shuttle's external fuel tank, striking and cracking a panel on the orbiter's wing.

When the shuttle re-entered Earth's atmosphere 16 days later, searing hot gases seeped into the wing and incinerated the spacecraft.

NASA immediately grounded its three remaining shuttles and pledged to find the problems, fix the shuttle and return to flight.

In the 2.5 years since the accident, NASA has undergone a wrenching overhaul of the shuttle program.
Shuttle safety

The shuttle has a new fuel tank designed to prevent foam chunks of the size that downed Columbia from breaking off and hitting the spacecraft.

NASA engineers have also designed an orbital boom sensor system, which is a second robotic arm that is tipped with cameras and other instruments and mounted in the shuttle's payload bay.

Once in orbit, shuttle astronauts will use the boom to inspect the panels on the orbiter's wings and nose cone for any damage that might have occurred during launch.

But repairing damage to the protection system -- should any be found -- could prove difficult.

Engineers have been developing and testing plugs and crack-repair procedures for the reinforced carbon-carbon panels, as well as tile-repair techniques, for use in the event of damage.

Two such methods will undergo limited testing in orbit by Discovery astronauts, but mission managers acknowledge that their techniques will likely need to be modified before they can be certified.

Most NASA engineers agree that astronauts would never be able to repair a hole the size of the one that doomed Columbia.

"The past two and half years have resulted in significant improvements that have greatly reduced the risk of flying the shuttle. But we should never lose sight of the fact that space flight is risky," said Griffin.

Discovery will also deliver much-needed supplies to the international space station.

Two and half years have passed since a shuttle, with its school bus-sized payload bay, visited the station.

Discovery will deliver a replacement gyroscope, an external storage platform and an Italian cargo carrier called Raffaello.

The storage platform is needed for upcoming flights when it will be used to assemble the rest of the station.

For most of its scheduled 13-day mission, the crew will devote its time to inspecting and testing repairs.

"This has been a long journey for all of us. It's been a long story in many of our lives, but we're all committed to seeing that we have a happy ending. And with that, our hardware is ready to fly," said STS-114 payload manager Scott Higginbotham.
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Old 07-12-2005, 05:08 PM   #2
4th and Long 4th and Long is offline
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I heard this on the drive home. Are you fugging kidding me? The window cover just spontaneously fell off? I'm sorry but the boys at NASA are becoming a huge embarrassment, not to mention a safety risk, where the shuttle is concerned. No wonder these vehicles are suspect.
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Old 07-12-2005, 06:07 PM   #3
HemiEd HemiEd is offline
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Government project that needs to be privatized, sad.
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Old 07-12-2005, 06:44 PM   #4
jiveturkey jiveturkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Government project that needs to be privatized, sad.
Can I borrow $4 billion to get it started?
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Old 07-12-2005, 07:09 PM   #5
Bowser Bowser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Government project that needs to be privatized, sad.
Dan Brown wrote a fictional story abou this called Deception Point. It wasn't all about the privitization of space, of course, but it makes you think about the what ifs if it ever comes to pass.
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Old 07-12-2005, 07:38 PM   #6
unlurking unlurking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiveturkey
Can I borrow $4 billion to get it started?
Look at SS1.

Only cost about $30 million. $25 million funded by Paul Allen, who I'm sure took the entire $10 million pay-out. Then get a huge contract from Virgin? Privatized apce industry is going to be a BOOMing business in the near future.
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Old 07-12-2005, 07:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bowser
Dan Brown wrote a fictional story abou this called Deception Point. It wasn't all about the privitization of space, of course, but it makes you think about the what ifs if it ever comes to pass.
That was an excellent book.

Privatized space industry would keep that from ever happening.

Personally, Burt Rutan will be the most influential person in the early 2000 century when history books are written 100 years from now. At least IMHO.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:15 PM   #8
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Here is my favorite part from my paper...engineers have struggled to keep foam, ice and other debris from popping off the tank. They will not know if they have succeeded until Discovery flies... how much money does an astronaut make?
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:17 PM   #9
jiveturkey jiveturkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unlurking
Look at SS1.

Only cost about $30 million. $25 million funded by Paul Allen, who I'm sure took the entire $10 million pay-out. Then get a huge contract from Virgin? Privatized apce industry is going to be a BOOMing business in the near future.
I agree but I wonder if private space companies will try to hit a comet with a bullet or if they'll do anything other than make space hotels.

They might get us into orbit but I want a program that's going to push technology and take us to other planets.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:21 PM   #10
mikey23545 mikey23545 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unlurking
Look at SS1.

Only cost about $30 million. $25 million funded by Paul Allen, who I'm sure took the entire $10 million pay-out. Then get a huge contract from Virgin? Privatized apce industry is going to be a BOOMing business in the near future.
No offense, but I can only assume you know as much about technology as I know about sex with supermodels... That little suborbital plane/rocket compared to the shuttle is like a bicycle compared to a Formula 1 race car, and that's after the advantage of 30 years of technological advances...
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:29 PM   #11
Donger Donger is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey23545
No offense, but I can only assume you know as much about technology as I know about sex with supermodels... That little suborbital plane/rocket compared to the shuttle is like a bicycle compared to a Formula 1 race car, and that's after the advantage of 30 years of technological advances...
I agree with you to a certain extent. SS1 was/is somewhat akin to the Mercury sub-orbital flights, although re-useable.

Regardless, enough of this orbiter crap. I want an expendable, capable-of-escape-velocity rocket now. I really don't want to read about another plant experiment in micro gravity OR a launch being scrubbed because of a piece of plastic hitting tiles.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:36 PM   #12
jiveturkey jiveturkey is offline
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Originally Posted by Donger
Regardless, enough of this orbiter crap. I want an expendable, capable-of-escape-velocity rocket now. I really don't want to read about another plant experiment in micro gravity OR a launch being scrubbed because of a piece of plastic hitting tiles.
And I want it to have a frickin' lazer attached to it's head!

I agree. It's time to advance.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiveturkey
Can I borrow $4 billion to get it started?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser
Dan Brown wrote a fictional story abou this called Deception Point. It wasn't all about the privitization of space, of course, but it makes you think about the what ifs if it ever comes to pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unlurking
Look at SS1.

Only cost about $30 million. $25 million funded by Paul Allen, who I'm sure took the entire $10 million pay-out. Then get a huge contract from Virgin? Privatized apce industry is going to be a BOOMing business in the near future.

I do not think it would take private industry as long to accomplish what the government has. The SS1 merely pointed out the efficiency of private industry. Granted, they were working with an open book that the NASA developed over time, but NASA is bogged down in bureaucracy like most government offices.

I am confident that it would not have taken private industry 2 1/2 years to get back to a launch effort after the last catastrophe.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:49 PM   #14
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:58 PM   #15
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how much money does an astronaut make?
Not much, for the risks they take.
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