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Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date 186

Posted by Zonk
from the bad-hurricane-no-biscuit dept.
BitFluid writes "According to CNN.com, hurricane Dennis is casting doubt on the shuttle's July 13th launch date. From the article: 'NASA has until the end of July to send Discovery on a flight to the international space station, otherwise it must wait until September to ensure a daylight launch.' Shuttle managers decided Thursday evening to begin initial preparations to move Discovery from the pad, as the hurricane increased in intensity and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico and Florida's southern tip. NASA spokesman George Diller said, 'We're going to keep our options open. We're still trying to protect the 13th.'"
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Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date

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  • Some more info... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:26PM (#13014843)

    Here's a tracking map of Hurricane Dennis [weatherunderground.com], courtesy of the good folks over at Weather Underground.

    Looks fairly safe (since Cape Canaveral [mapquest.com] is off the east coast of Florida), but I'm sure the boys over at NASA don't want to take any chances...
    • by Iriel (810009)
      Considering that I've seen a good number of articles about NASA trying to quell fears about launch activity after the last major crash, I would would be inclined to think that half of thier decision is based on safety and half on PR (based upon your geographic information). There's always the chance for the unexpected to happen, and people know that. As long as some are still skeptical about another trip, I don't NASA wants to take any chances or 'scare the children' while their at it.
      • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @01:08PM (#13015221) Homepage Journal
        half on PR

        Well can you blame them?

        The President shut down the Shuttle program after the last crash. Of COURSE it's PR. But if they don't take every single stupid precaution, NASA will get shut down immediately, which means that there won't be a US space program until the private space businesses catch up, if they ever do.

        Our society is incredibly risk-adverse today, and they don't seem to understand that travelling to space is a very dangerous business. The astronauts all know that, and they chose to take the risk.

        In the past, how many explorers lost their lives when travelling across the great oceans? None of us would be here today if some big beureaucratic government kept the boat in the dock until the sailors fixed every little flaw in the boat.
        • The spirit of exploration is not an excuse to mitigate danger. Even aside from the fact that human life is important to the average citizen. If everyone we put up dies, then we're not making any progress.
          • The spirit of exploration is not an excuse to mitigate danger. If everyone we put up dies, then we're not making any progress.

            Mitigating danger is often an excuse to squash the spirit of exploration. The vast majority of people put into space have not died.

            I'm not saying you should abandon all safety measures, but if you have a safety checklist of 3 million items for every shuttle launch and the list keeps growing, eventually you'll never make it into space at all.

            Look, we have a society where hundreds
    • Looks fairly safe (since Cape Canaveral is off the east coast of Florida), but I'm sure the boys over at NASA don't want to take any chances...

      Hurricanes throw off wind and rain for hundreds of miles in their wake. Look at some of the radar and satellite maps - towards the east side of the hurricane, you will see bands of clouds spreading outward for quite some distance.
    • NASA is in something of a tricky position with this. On one hand they are criticized for not listening to potential dangers. (e.g. Challenger O-Rings, Columbia Foam, etc.) On the other hand they are criticized for not taking enough action when it needs to be taken.

      So the question is, should NASA take action and make sure this launch happens, or should they hold back the launch and potentially lose months (perhaps even another year) before a good launch window opens up?

      I do not envy those in charge of NASA
      • I do not envy those in charge of NASA. :-/

        That's ok; I'll do enough envying for the both of us.
      • In this big of a spot light they are in a precarious situation. On one hand they try to be as safe as possible. A check list of something like 3 million items must be signed off on before every launch. (this was reported on slashdot a few years ago.) On the other they have to weed out some things as being too unlikely to go wrong.

        When you are listening to 3 million ideas of what needs to be checked and double checked its easy to miss out on a couple of things that maybe werent thought of, or were thoug
    • Dennis is early. Mr. Wilson [nasa.gov] isn't scheduled to fly until September.
    • Negatory. I'm in the Bahamas this weekend for a wedding, and we're already getting plenty of wind. Even if Dennis follows the track path, it's just going to get more windy. $10 says there's no launch.

      OT, but are you on holiday yourself? I've noticed you getting FP (or close enough) on a ton of articles this last week.

    • Better tracker:
      http://html.wesh.com/sh/idi/weather/hurricanes/hur ricanetracker.html [wesh.com]

      (no projection though. . . )
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:28PM (#13014857)
    ... than to destroy yet another shuttle.
  • OOPS! Nevermind! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gleep (1840) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:28PM (#13014863) Homepage Journal
    CNN is reporting now that they have decided to leave it out on the pad and the launch date is not threatened. I tried to notify the /. editor when I saw this posting but I was too late!

    I feel bad for all those people in FL having to deal with this. I lived there a long time and never had to put up with so much hurricane activity.
  • Dennis and Cindy information [noaa.gov]. I don't see why Dennis would interfere with Cape C. I think NASA is being over-cautious, as they have been for the past few years. Then again, I am obviously not a rocket scientist. Nor am I a meteorologist. Now I'm questioning why I am even making this post! :)
    • Its not as cut and dry as it would seem when launching a space vehicle. Something as simple as relative humidity and chance of lightning strikes during launches can factor heavily into whether its a go or no-go... The weather doesn't need to be perfect to launch some of these birds, but it has to be pretty damn good and a hurricane off the coast is gonna cause foul weather afar.
    • As of 1800 GMT, Dennis' movement was wobbling which is usually indicitive of strengthening. Additionally, the latest model runs that we meteorologist hold so near and dear to our hearts has the forecasted track going further east than what is presently shown on the hurricane forecast maps (mainly due to said models showing something called a trough gaining strength over the south central gulf states). So, as of right now, they probably won't need to worry, but better safe than sorry.
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Laivincolmo (778355) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:30PM (#13014885)
    It seems to me that Mother Nature is a little bit reluctant to let her children leave home and grow up...
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CyricZ (887944)
      On the contrary. She's forcing her children (ie. us) to grow up. That's why she's destroying 30-year-old technology like the space shuttle, thus forcing us to look forward towards new space vehicle designs.
      • It seems to me that Mother Nature is a little bit reluctant to let her children leave home and grow up...

        On the contrary. She's forcing her children (ie. us) to grow up. That's why she's destroying 30-year-old technology like the space shuttle, thus forcing us to look forward towards new space vehicle designs.

        Of course [slaps forehead] - no new vehicle could possibly be threatened by weather.

        Idiot. Mother Nature doesn't care who designed the vehicle, or how old it is. If it was a Falcon V on the

        • But you missed the point! Of course any vehicle could possibly be threatened by weather. That is a cockfool argument to partake in! But a better designed craft, that takes into account weather, has thus been influenced by the effects of weather. A vehicle that takes factors such as the weather and the environment into accout may be better off and safer than a spacecraft which does not. And even when one does, as does the space shuttle, improvements can still always be made.
          • Overall, you contradict yourself so many times in your reply, it's hard to know where to start.

            A vehicle that takes factors such as the weather and the environment into accout may be better off and safer than a spacecraft which does not.

            And the Shuttle fails to take into account the weather how exactly? That's right, it doesn't so fail. *No* vehicle can fail to be threatened by a hurricane. (Which is why I pointed out the Falcon V and SS2, both in many respects better than the Shuttle.) Your argueme

            • Overall, you contradict yourself so many times in your reply, it's hard to know where to start.

              We're having a real discussion here. Please leave your ad hominem attacks out. If you do want to resort to such infantile discussion techniques, then please go over to the GameFAQs.com forums. That is the best place for such cockfoolery.

              Also, please take a moment to read my post. Read it word by word. Comprehend the meaning of the words. Think. Use your brain.

              Yes, the shuttle was designed to take weather
              • Yes, the shuttle was designed to take weather into account. Only a cockfool such as yourself is suggesting that it wasn't. But it cannot be debated that there are still vast improvements that could be made. Mother Nature, through weather, provides the incentive necessary to force innovation. If it were not for the problems posed by weather, then innovation on that front would stall. Indeed, like I stated, improvements will always be possible.

                Let me ask you this: If you were designing a rocket, which, let

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zeebs (577100)
      It seems to me that Mother Nature is a little bit reluctant to let her children leave home and grow up

      Well if I, as the earth, raised a child that behaved like the human race I would be inclined to try to stop it from doing to another world what it did to me. But thats a little too conspiratorial for my tastes... No Dr. the earth is not out to get me, the earth is not out to get me... :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:32PM (#13014903)
    ...the comic strip "Dennis the Menace", eh?
  • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:32PM (#13014907)
    President George W. Bush has declared Dennis an international terrorist, guilty of violent acts in Jamaica and Cuba. In response to Dennis's threats against Kennedy Space Center he has ordered that Dennis be arrested and detained at Gitmo as an unlawful combatant indefinitely. In response to an aide's attempt to explain to Mr. Bush that Dennis was an "Act of God", Bush responsed "Well fine then, we'll go after him next."

    Whew, really treading the line between -1 Troll and +5 Funny on this one.
  • by Evangelion (2145) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:32PM (#13014908) Homepage
    I tell you, it's all the fault of the war between the Japanese and KGB [weatherwars.info]!
  • No Delays (Score:5, Informative)

    by UMhydrogen (761047) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:33PM (#13014912) Homepage
    According to SpaceFlightNow [spaceflightnow.com] there will be NO delays with the launch.

    "NASA managers Thursday evening decided to begin preparing the shuttle Discovery for a possible roll back to the protection of the Vehicle Assembly Building should Hurricane Dennis take a turn to the east and threaten the Space Coast. At a midnight meeting, however, officials put those preparations on hold. And this morning the decision was made to cancel any rollback.

    Technicians at launch pad 39B have disconnected explosive ordnance as part of early rollback preparations. At a midnight senior management meeting, however, officials decided not to continue with the list of chores to unhook Discovery from its seaside complex given a more optimistic weather outlook that keeps Dennis well away from Kennedy Space Center. Proceeding with more rollback activities overnight would have prevented an on-time launch Wednesday.

    Rollback to the VAB would have to be completed before the wind reaches 40 knots (46 MPH). [It would take] about 48 hours from the time the decision is made to the time we are in the VAB. We had a weather briefing and at this point we are fairly confident we will not have to fuss with the storm, at least this one this time. It's a long hurricane season."

  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:36PM (#13014940)
    Every two years Mars is in the right position for a launch window of three weeks. That happens to August for a new imaging orbiter. There is one week per month suitable for the space station, and these two collide in August.
  • I have heard from someone who works on the Shuttle that Nasa Management in meetings does not view the storm as a real threat. However, that are making plans just in case, and to satisfy the media. No one expects a rollback as justified given the current track.
  • old news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by skydude_20 (307538) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:36PM (#13014947) Journal
    latest launch news says they're not worried:

    NASA still aiming for Wednesday shuttle launch
    Hurricane Dennis isn't threatening the liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery, and NASA officials are still aiming for a liftoff next week.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8503328&&CM=EmailThis& CE=1 [msn.com]
  • ...cue the Dennis the Menace [wikipedia.org] references.
  • Dennis? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:40PM (#13014981) Homepage
    Ye see a FLASK. Obvious exits are NORTH, SOUTH, and DENNIS.

    -- If you give him a trinket, he will help you... *ducks*
  • hurricane Dennis is casting doubt on the shuttle's July 13th launch date.

    I have a bet with a co-worker that the shuttle won't get off the ground in 2005, so here's keeping our fingers crossed.

    (What, you though that the USA was still in the space race? Keep dreaming. It's all up to the Chinese now.)
  • One of the sad things about the new (yes I know, and needed) safety requirements is the daytime launch requirement. I have seen many night launches, both from inside of the Space Center and from my home 150 miles south, and they are beautiful. Shuttle launches light up the horizon like sunrise. I will miss the sight until NASA comes up with a new heavy lift vehicle.
  • by erroneus (253617)
    What is it with guys these days? Are they on steroids or something? I can't understand guys threatening their lunch dates. I mean, if they can't get what they want by asking nicely then they shouldn't bother spending money on a woman anyway. I mean really... how low does a guy have to be to threaten his lunch date?! ... ...

    Oh... crap... I read that wrong... nevermind.
  • IANARS - but why can't they fire rockets up into space during rain and wind?

    I would think that a rocket would have enough power/force/momentum/whatever to stay on course.

    Could someone please answer this question legitimately?

    Thanks.
  • Having never attend a launch previously, and fearing that such events will be historic memories only in the future, I would like to attend the next available launch. What would you folks recommend as the best location? I have access to bicycles and kayaks, so can go off-road and wouldn't mind a 4-5 mile paddle if need be.
    • The best place you can perhaps access to watch the launch is at the river back 10 miles away from the pad. You'll need to purchase an advanced ticket to enter the Kennedy site. Said tickets may be sold out by now, though. But if you do, you will meet at the visitors center and a tour bus will take you to the viewing site to see the launch. Google "Kenndy Space Center + Visitor's center + Shuttle launch" (plus "Delaware" may help) to find out more.

      If you do take a bicycle or kayaks to approach the launch si
  • Come on, when have legitimate safety concerns stopped overzealous NASA management from meeting meaningless and arbitrary deadlines in the past?

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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