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Space

Falling Window Cover Damages Discovery 360

Posted by timothy
from the windows-and-errors-go-hand-in-hand dept.
Mz6 writes "At 5:30PM EDT, one of the space shuttle's protective window covers fell and struck the left Orbital Maneuvering System engine pod on Discovery today. The window cover hit the carrier panel around the OMS pod. NASA is taking a new panel to the launch pad to replace the one hit by the falling cover. NASA is expected to know by 7 PM EDT if the replacement panel will work and whether launch can proceed tomorrow as planned. The window cover in question is from one of the overhead windows. It fell on its own, not when workers were handling it. The cover was found after it had fallen and hit the orbiter. In addition to the carrier panel that workers plan to replace tonight, engineers are looking for any other damage." Update: 07/13 02:03 GMT by T : RmanB17499 points out a CNN story according to which "the launch of the space shuttle Discovery will go ahead as scheduled Wednesday after technicians replaced two protective tiles damaged near the spacecraft's tail Tuesday, a NASA spokeswoman said."
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Falling Window Cover Damages Discovery

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  • by nokilli (759129) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:22PM (#13049148)
    Dudes, the question here isn't whether the engine pod is damaged, it's what's going to fall off the shuttle next?

    This ain't no beer run these guys are going on, and it ain't like the hood ornament just decided to liberate itself. Most of the shit on the shuttle is like, important, right?

    If I was captain of this upcoming mission, I'd be spam clicking the red alert button right about now. Maybe call in sick. Gotta have some unused vacation time coming to me, right? Use it or lose it!

    I never liked the shuttle. A bunch of engineers were tasked with the job of building a reusable space vehicle, so they paint some wings on a rocket, give it a windshield, and call it a space plane. So it can return cargo, so what? Name something they brought down back from space that is worth all of the trouble we've gone through to glide back to Earth rather than parachute.

    I'm pretty sure the Pan Am shuttle in 2001 could take off on its own. That was the whole point of the cut scene from the monkey throwing the bone in the air to the space vehicle, as if to say, "Look, no rocket boosters!"

    And the only thing that fell off of anything in the movie was Frank.
    • by cdrudge (68377) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:24PM (#13049170) Homepage
      It was just a temporary plastic protective panel that they place over the actual window while it just sits ready to launch. It's not really "attached" to shuttle like most pieces would be.
      • True, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:49PM (#13049338) Homepage Journal
        ...it does indicate a slight... negligence on the part of the engineers doing the final prep work. Right about now, I'd be inspecting the shuttle for all the things that the engineers DIDN'T come clean over. (People treading on something fragile, that sort of thing.)


        So, true, the Shuttle isn't falling apart at the seams. However, the indication is that the engineers either rushed some of the prep work or failed to set adequate precautions in place. In either case, they may have messed up elsewhere and not said.


        If you were up there, knowing that the world's media was focussed on your every twitch, knowing that any delay would finish any chance of you having a future but that any unconfessed and unobserved error on your part would be utterly untracable, would you be willing to take the fall?


        Given that kind of pressure, I'm not confident that other accidents haven't happened. All I can do is HOPE they haven't and that NASA will take the time to verify as best they can in the time that they haven't.

        • Re:True, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rei (128717) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:01PM (#13049427) Homepage
          (sarcasm)It's not like the craft and launch assembly have hundreds of thousands to millions (depending on how you measure) of often precision-engineered individual parts or anything...(/sarcasm)

          Getting to anything orbit (as opposed to suborbital) is a huge task. Getting a huge, man-rated craft to orbit is a Herculean one. You better believe that almost every one of those engineers has been sacrificing their personal lives to try and make their "baby" as safe as possible. Seriously, talk to a NASA aerospace engineer some time about the craft that they're working on; you'll find people who do things like build a spectrometer for a probe who dote on it more than they do their own children.

          There's going to be a lot of missed breaths when that countdown nears zero.
          • Getting to anything orbit (as opposed to suborbital) is a huge task. Getting a huge, man-rated craft to orbit is a Herculean one.

            Arguably it's the "huge" part that's the problem. For some unfathomable reason, the US decided to man rate a cargo-carrying super-booster. So thousands of little details that would have otherwise not mattered, *do* matter.

            The Space Shuttle is a marvel of engineering. But if we're going to man rate the darn thing, let's at least fly it with loads full of people instead of space
      • In fact, the very fact that they have protective covers over the window that they remove before launch speaks volumes as to how safety-concerned they are. Even with the windows hundreds of feet up in the air, without the cryogenic tanks filled (i.e., no falling ice), with no vibration or intense wind loads (i.e., no falling foam)... really, nothing but the tower itself and its own tank above it, and they still cover the windows. What are they worried about - falling birds? I can't imagine what else they c
      • by Oriumpor (446718) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:24PM (#13049582) Homepage Journal
        It does say much to the integrity of the entire shuttle that something as small as a thin-plastic window cover can damage the shuttle's heat shielding. What if, oh I don't know, a seagull hit the shuttle during liftoff?

        • by JFitzsimmons (764599) <justin@fitzsimmons.ca> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @10:14PM (#13049861)
          If you were a seagull, I think the massive roaring white thing with fire coming out its ass would be something that you would AVOID. And it isn't exactly a stealth jet either, you've got plenty of advance "notice".
        • I can remember a couple of holds for "flocks of birds" over the no-fly area and one for moron in a cessna who got too close. FYI they scramble fighters for that kind of thing. I think one actually had to be scrubbed because of a boat in the no-boating area. When I used to go down to see the launches it was about 50/50 whether they would launch that day or not..

          As long as there aren't any birds immediately surrounding, I think they're above "seagull flight ceiling" pretty quick.
        • The shuttle would then conveniently evenly distribute the mass of the seagull across a broad area with a thickness of several hundred atoms thus providing a further layer of protection (heretofore known as the 'rouge Seagull-layer') for reentry.
      • by RexDart (806741) <jim.foster@NoSPam.cox.net> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @10:03PM (#13049803) Homepage Journal
        So the shuttle was possibly damaged by a crashing windows patch? ;) Best add the BillBorg icon to this story.
    • Your first sentence is exactly what came to my mind when I read the summary. Like... WTF? A part of the shuttle falls off and they just go "shit, someone has to go there and stick it back with chewing gum" or something? They spent all this time trying to "certify" the thing as flight-worthy, all the safety paranoia after the Columbia, and a window cover wasn't placed (or fixed) correctly? What's next, a flat tyre they'll just notice when they try to land?
    • My dad, now retired, always talks about when they developed the space shuttle. (He was a SR VP of a space and defense contractor who also had a credit reporting business, so figure out which one...) They were trying to get NASA to go with a solid fuel rocket. You light it and it goes. When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket.
      Why we have this complex, unbelieveably expensive shuttle, I will never know.
      • Why we have this complex, unbelieveably expensive shuttle, I will never know.

        One of the major reasons it's expensive is due to unethical space contractors who charged up the wazoo, such as the company that your dad worked for.

        This is often done after the bidding process is over, and sometimes companies do this after the project is well underway, and hold the project hostage until NASA agrees to the new fees. NASA often didn't have much choice in these sorts of practices, and it was already too late for o
        • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:12PM (#13049498) Homepage
          In fact, to further that point, I used to work at Rockwell-Collins, which was mandated to use very strict time reporting procedures while I was there. Why? They were caught (thankfully!) after several years pulling one over on the government with the Shuttle contract. Whenever any Rockwell project ran overbudget, they charged the hours to the Shuttle. There were so many people working on the shuttle project that even with all of that "dot the i's and cross the t's" paperwork that NASA is famous for, they still couldn't prove that the company was cheating them for several years. Eventually they got a full audit, Rockwell got punished, etc.
      • by KH2002 (547812)
        "When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket."

        Wrong. Both stages of the lunar lander used liquid fuel -- hypergolic (self-igniting) propellants. More on that here [nasa.gov].

      • by dmadole (528015) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:21PM (#13049558)

        When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket.

        No, the lunar lander used liquid-fueled engines, powered by nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, for both the ascent and descent stages.

        More information on the lunar module [wikipedia.org] and the fuels it used [astronautix.com] is widely available, as is information on thier development [nasa.gov].

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        I call BULLSHIT big time. Poster wrote:

        When the they designed the lunar lander, they had to have something that would work 100% to get off the moon, and they used... a solid fuel rocket.

        Both the descent and ascent rockets on the Lunar excursion module were powered by liquid propellants - specifically Nitrogen Tetroxide (N204) and Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2)

        Look here [answers.com] for a cutaway diagram where you can see both the fuel and oxidizer tanks on the LEM.

        More about both fuel and oxidizer h [astronautix.com]

      • by Kombat (93720)
        My dad, now retired, always talks about when they developed the space shuttle. They were trying to get NASA to go with a solid fuel rocket.

        NASA did go with a solid fuel rocket. 2 of them, actually. That's what the booster rockets are. SRBs. Solid Rocket Boosters. Once they're lit, there's no way to turn them off.

        I saw a program on rocket science, and they indicated that the use of solid fuel is virtually mandatory in order to achieve the fuel energy density required to lift the fuel itself plus a pa
    • Name something they brought down back from space that is worth all of the trouble we've gone through to glide back to Earth rather than parachute.

      Umm, money? It's a metric ass-ton cheaper than lighting off anything close to a conventional rocket that will disgard stages that you'll have no chance of recovering. Likewise, the orbiter comes back to you instead of having to hunt for it in the ocean (the largest landing zone on earth) with an aircraft carrier ($$$) or hunt for it in the back yard of some farm
      • only 2 catastrophic failures over several hundred missions

        Nitpick, I know, but this is STS-114, so no, not "several hundred" missions. The Concorde only had one 1 catastrophic failure over several thousand "missions" and look how well it's... oh wait.
      • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:20PM (#13049552) Homepage
        Not only that, but so many here seem to have the following stupid notion: that you can just "toss junk out the window" in space, or whatnot. To get junk off of, say, ISS, you have to apply significant delta-V to it. That means, bare minimum, you'd have to develop a rocket system that is safe to operate near ISS, and a way to load your trash/experiments into. Soyuz can't keep up with ISS waste; it's cargo return is minimal.

        I don't have the exact numbers offhand as to how many satellites (let alone tons of waste) the shuttle has returned, but I recall that it was in the range of 30-40 (many of those being experiment satellites whose design was to have them returned - engineering reentry survival into all of them would have cost an utter fortune).

        As for "glide back to earth rather than parachute", I think you should ask the crews of Soyuz 23 or Soyuz 18-1 what they think of parachute landings. This is, of course, ignoring the fact that making capsules reusable is a lot harder than spacecraft, because there's almost always some deformation (and/or saltwater corrosion, depending on the landing site) on impact.
    • A bunch of engineers were tasked with the job of building a reusable space vehicle, so they paint some wings on a rocket, give it a windshield, and call it a space plane.

      No. They drew up an amazing design that was state-of-the-art, entirely reusable, and a great thing.

      And then a Republican president--Nixon, IIRC--told them no, build it for half the price.
    • Name something they brought down back from space that is worth all of the trouble we've gone through to glide back to Earth rather than parachute.


      People and fragile scientific projects.


      But I agree; the reality of the space plane/truck doesn't work nearly as well as the original concept.

    • You need a dream (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bluGill (862)

      You need to dream a little.

      If NASA came to me now with the offer to go up in this flight I would go, even if the catch was a 99.999% chance of failure on re-entry. That is the other 6 crew are going to stay on ISS and take the rescue shuttle home, I'm there to push the autopilot button to get it out of the way. (and a .001% chance that I also get to lower the landing gear)

      That won't happen of course. Even if they would, I couldn't get there before the launch window closes, even if I drove my car to a

  • Already fixed (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrudge (68377) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:22PM (#13049149) Homepage
    CNN is reporting that NASA has already given the go ahead [cnn.com] for Discovery to launch. The damaged tiles on the tailfin have already been repaired.
  • Curse? (Score:2, Redundant)


    What the hell??? Is the shuttle cursed?

    FWIW, if the previous window cover fell off on its own, I wouldn't put too much faith in the replacement...
    • I was thinking the same thing. I mean, in terms of odds...well...I would rather be playing craps in vegas then riding this pony to space.

      Maybe it's a sign from God saying "Scrap that pile of shit, just build something better and cheaper"...or something.
  • by 8086ed (876715)
    Does ANYTHING go where NASA wants it to?
  • Funeral (Score:3, Funny)

    by Selfbain (624722) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:23PM (#13049162)
    Why don't they just hold the astronauts funerals before they launch so they can attend.
    • Re:Funeral (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:26PM (#13049176)
      this calls for the rarely used but often called for "+1 Tasteless" mod
  • Vulnerable (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724)
    If a fallen window cover can damage the space shuttle, isn't it very vulnerable once it's in the Space?
    • There isn't much in space. Even space junk isn't usually a huge concern.
    • Re:Vulnerable (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Inominate (412637) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:37PM (#13049256)
      "Damage" to the space shuttle is common.
      Heat tiles are frequently found to be missing when the shuttle lands. Small minor damage is not uncommon. What brought down columbia was more a case of a golden bb than anything else. (Plus it was a heavy object traveling quite fast)

      That said, space is a pretty easy environment to survive in. It's the part where you're burning a few thousand tons of explosives, and slowing down from 20,000mph using the atmosphere that are the dangerous parts.

      The damage that occured to the space shuttle here is trivial.
    • Yes it would be, if the Shuttle went into space with the covers which it doesn't. Even if they tried I assume they'd fall off somewhere during launch, probably doing some nice damage. So the answer to your question is: Mu.
    • Falling things are the only things the shuttle is vulnerable to in space... since, you know, everyting [execpc.com] falls in space.
  • ... is to insure minimum time between failures (MTBF).

    In this case, the engineers ensured that whatever components are broken in the shuttle, they will fall of BEFORE the launch.
  • by ne0n (884282) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:27PM (#13049185) Homepage
    all i ever hear is whining about windows here! ;)
  • It Fell off? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695)
    That is a problem by itsself.. this stuff shouldnt 'just fall off'..

    If it had come off in orbit, we might be going thru the loss of another crew on reentry.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:29PM (#13049199)

    He would have given us something better than a space shuttle.

    • Yeah, and if that same "God" had meant us to cross the oceans 500 years ago, he should have given European powers a couple of jets to avoid scurvy and mutinies out of boredom.

      Transportation technology and exploration missions have always started out with rudimentary technology, prone to risk and with lots of fatalities paving the way. Crossing the oceans, crossing the continents, going to the poles, the mountains and the abysses have always been dangerous undertakings, and we've gotten better at it over ti
      • Yeah, and if that same "God" had meant us to cross the oceans 500 years ago, he should have given European powers a couple of jets to avoid scurvy and mutinies out of boredom.

        1: small grammatical swipes at religion only makes atheism look even more stupid.

        2: He did. Ever hear of the vikings?
  • Fallen window ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sk999 (846068)
    A falling window knocked out the shuttle? Geez, those things are supposed to keep the cabin pressurized in space, and one just fell out?

    ... oh wait, a window cover.

  • Here's the story I saw.
    Cockpit window falls from Discovery, hits engine pod [spaceflightnow.com]...
    Is this what you would call "sensationalistic"? Jeez, and I thought the Star was bad.
  • It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

    NASA spends two years to fix the problem of stuff falling off the shuttle during launch and damaging it.

    Now, after all that work and money, they've regressed: now not even the forces of launch are needed to cause bits to fall off and smash tiles.

    In fact, no force at all is needed to cause the problem. The thing is disintegrating as it sits there.

    A bad batch of super glue, perhaps?
    • It's window covers that would be removed before launch. I'm not saying this kind of thing is excusable, but your comment is a little over-the-top.
  • by tono (38883) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:38PM (#13049265) Homepage
    I'm afraid I have to echo the sentiment here. I don't care if the cover was designed to come off, the problem is it FELL off no human interaction required. They had to repair tiles on the tail from where the bit of plastic hit the shuttle. If I were an astronaut, that wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in me. Christ, who puts these things together, the guy down the street with the beat up pinto? It's time to retire the shuttle and just pay the russians to launch us until there is a suitable replacement. Remember people, the simpler the design the fewer points of failure there are. Seems like if Burt Rutan can get it right NASA should be able to too.
    • "Seems like if Burt Rutan can get it right NASA should be able to too"

      Burt Ratan doesn't have near the requirements NASA has.

      Yeah, he got a guy in space. Now make a reusable launch vehical with the same payload as the Shuttle.
      If he can do tat, he will onlt be about 25 years behind NASA.

      " If I were an astronaut, that wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in me. "

      well, no worry there.
    • I don't care if the cover was designed to come off, the problem is it FELL off no human interaction required.

      Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence.

      Has sabotage been ruled out?

      Or was it due to the wind?

      How come this particular problem has not been reported before?

      Has the engineering of the cover or it's mounting points changed from previous flights?

      I vote no-go until those questions are answered.

  • This was on my local newspaper's homepage hours ago.

    Why is it that virtually everything I read on slashdot, I've already seen on the AP/Reuters wire stories from my paper?

    I don't come to slashdot to read news wire stories; back in the very late 90's I came here to read stuff that you couldn't find anywhere else. I certainly don't come here for the insightful commentary (judging from the 20 comments that all say "dude, who cares about the window, what fell off and damaged it?", a number of which have b

    • Probably because Slashdot is ran by a few bozos in Holland Michigan or where ever they are located at these days. They don't have several thousand reports all over the world poised to jump on any instantly braking news to report it to you the instant it happens. They also don't pay to be a part of an AP or Reuters newswire, nor do they have autoposting news stories.

      Slashdot is a glorified blog ran by people more or less at their convienence. When you think of it that way then a prime time news source, t
    • by Quirk (36086) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:23PM (#13049571) Homepage Journal
      "Why is it that virtually everything I read on slashdot, I've already seen on the AP/Reuters wire stories from my paper?"

      The short answer is you've got too much time on your hands.

      I put in 12/14 hour days, too often 7 days a week. I'm a quick study and an experienced researcher, but, even with those skills I only manage to stay abreast with news out of /. and the Reg. I read the headlines from a few feeds, but have to steal the time to read the full articles.

      You and the others who jump on /. for lagging behind your reading must do not much else but casually surf the web satisfying your whimsy. Alot of us can only find the time to choose one or two sites to keep us informed. Contrary to the /. critics /. does a fine job of keeping me informed about "stuff that matters."

      cheers

    • If you see something that hasn't been posted on /. yet, submit it. That's how /. works. You have to submit the stories for them to be posted.
    • I don't know about you, but I read slashdot for the commentary on the wire stories
  • Obviously these new safety measures aren't safe enough!

    I hearby propose that NASA create a new covering to cover the existing "window-cover", to ensure that the existing "window-cover" isn't damaged while it's protecting the actual window.
    • I'll support your proposal, so long as the cover-cover is manufactured entirely in Knoxville, TN at Gimbal-Wingnut Aerospace in a Gov't-funded factory expansion with a sufficiently large tax break.
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:48PM (#13049331)
    Some of my colleagues here have flown several times on one of the KC-135s that NASA has used (until it gets replaced relatively soon) for micro-g experiments. The testing that their research equipment had to go through to even be allowed on the flights were really very rigorous. Each aluminum stay had to withstand so much torque, each bolt had to be tightened just so, the electronics had to take such-and-such a shock, tools have to have velcro on them, and the frame had to have so much of the opposite-gender velcro so that things could be anchored, etc.
    What amazed everyone is that one group was not required to pressure-test their pressurized vessel, and a window blew out during one of the flights, sending nice bits of glass all over. Now, how can all of these other (arguably over-specified) aspects of the experiments be so rigidly-controlled (with carefully-worded protocols for everything), and they leave out PRESSURE TESTING GLASS WINDOWS?
  • by loddington (263358) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:48PM (#13049332) Homepage
    Where is the footage? I expect to see images of the cover falling off from the 107 cameras they recently installed.

  • Time Warp? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stelminator (856547) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:54PM (#13049374)
    "NASA is expected to know by 7 PM EDT"
    posted: 8:21PM

    anyone else think that maybe we could've had an update before this hit the front page?
  • Protective Windows (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mschaffer (97223)
    So, what exatly are the window protectors protecting the shuttle from? Peeping-Toms?

    I mean, honestly, aren't the shuttle's windows supposed to be fairly durable because of all of the debris in orbit with the shuttle?
    • by Detritus (11846)
      They are commonly used on vehicles with expensive windows to protect them from accidental damage and foreign materials. It keeps them from getting scratched and covered with bird shit or other atmospheric contaminants. The Air Force has similar problems with their aircraft. A window or canopy can be polished or refinished to remove scratches, but it is time-consuming and expensive.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:59PM (#13049416)
    "The lightweight plastic cover on one of Discovery's cockpit windows came loose while the spaceship was on the launch pad, falling more than 60 feet and striking a bulge in the fuselage, said Stephanie Stilson, the NASA manager in charge of Discovery's launch preparations. No one knows why the cover -- which was held in place with tape -- fell off, she said. "

    Maybe it fell of because IT WAS HELD ON WITH TAPE!

    Who's in charge over there - Red Green?
  • ...But it sure does seem to me like they have a lot more problems these days than in years gone past. Is it that they're getting getting better at discovering the problems, or are we just hearing more about it now due to the increase in news options we have today, or is timing coloring my memory, and I'm glossing over a lot of "oops's" tha have occured in the past?

    Don't get me wrong, NASA's had more than their share of ups and downs, including some several notable tradgedies whichi resulted in loss of li
  • I saw the press conference on NASA TV a short time ago. The summary is slightly wrong--they discovered that it had happened at 5:30, but they don't know when it actually happened, though it was after a previous inspection. I would have thought that they would have video coverage that they could check, but perhaps not until launch.

    Also, they said that it was repaired, but the repair left it slightly out of spec. However, engineers reviewed it and certified it for launch.

    My impression is that this is nea
  • could the inclement weather have had something to do with the item falling off? Some pretty stiff winds there...
  • Ironic & scary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amavida (898618)
    Yeah I know all the intellectual reasons for why this is not a big deal but you have to admit that it's ironic they spend so much time & money trying to stop shit falling offf this baby at a zillion miles a second and then some shit just ups & drops off it while it's standing still...

    If I was about to be strapped into it my bowels would be loosening right about now...
    • Re:Ironic & scary (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Beolach (518512)
      Actually, while I don't think it's the case here, often things that are designed for high speeds have troubles when standing still. Just one example, the SR-71 Blackbird's fuel tanks expand due to the heat produced by air friction when it's in flight. The way they were designed relies on the fuel tanks expanding - when it lands, its fuel tanks contract as they cool, and often have problems leaking fuel, so the fuel has to be drained ASAP after landing, so it isn't wasted.
  • by VectorSC (721025) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:25PM (#13049588)
    In other news, the space shuttle launch was canceled early this morning when an errant piece of seagull excrement struck the shuttle directly on its ceramic heat shielding and caused a 16 square foot hole.

    Shuttle commander Eileen Kahlins saw the bird dropping strike the orbiter while talking with the media about her confidence in NASAW's (1) ability to meet tomorrow's launch window. Amid the rain of ceramic tiles and structural members around the podium she was speaking from, she was heard commenting to NASAW director Sean O'Keeth, "I thought you said you fixed that, you a**hole."

    A heated arguement ensued, live, on national television, but was cut short when O'Keeth was struck down by a full HWSU (2) container falling from the orbiter. Kahlins immediately left the scene, telling reporters she had some vacation time coming.

    (1 NASAW: National Association of Stupid Aerospace Wankers)
    (2 HWSU: Human Waste Storage Unit, Solid)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:25PM (#13049591) Journal
    ...weather gods permitting. It's in TFA, link supplied in parent post.
  • The NASA admins in Washington are definitely looking at a lot harder recruitment campaign for new astronauts with these constant displays of "oops". After the Shuttle was grounded for years following the explosive deaths of all the astronauts, they had to make the return to flight look perfect. This does exactly the opposite. After they announced that they weren't going to do everything specified in the report on the last explosion - specifically the hardest 2 items on the list. If I were an aspiring astron
  • by Bad to the Ben (871357) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @10:52PM (#13050089)
    With apologies to Elton John's Rocket Man:

    They slashed the funds last night pre-flight
    Zero hour nine a.m.
    And something else will fall off by then
    I miss the earth so much I risk my life
    The tech is out of date
    On such a priceless flight

    And I think it's gonna be a long long time
    Till NASA comes around again to find
    They don't have funds to get my back to home
    Oh no no no I'm a shuttle man
    Shuttle man, 107 cameras but no rescue mode

    ISS ain't the kind of place to sit for weeks
    In fact it's cold as hell
    And Atlantis might not work if you did
    And all this budget I don't understand
    It's just my job five days a week
    A shuttle man, a shuttle man

    And I think it's gonna be a long long time...
  • by http101 (522275) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @08:58AM (#13052325) Homepage
    "Hey Harry."

    "Yeah."

    "Did you know we are sitting on 2 million gallons of fuel, a nuclear weapon and a thing with 270,000 loose parts that was built by the lowest bidder. Kinda makes you feel good dont it?"

    JKXXMXN

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