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NASA Science

Shuttle Atlantis Lands Safely After Final Official Mission 125

Posted by timothy
from the now-it's-time-for-unofficial-joyrides dept.
saintory writes "Shuttle Atlantis landed this morning after flying its final official mission. In its 25-year service, the shuttle Atlantis has logged over 120 million miles." After a successful mission to deliver a research module to the International Space Station, the craft landed at Kennedy Space Center, and will "go through the normal flow of prelaunch preparations in order to serve as the 'launch-on-need' vehicle for Endeavour's STS-134 mission, the last scheduled flight of the Space Shuttle Program." Congratulations to the people aboard and on the ground who engineered the shuttle's successful return.
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Shuttle Atlantis Lands Safely After Final Official Mission

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  • Welcome home. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:02PM (#32351684) Homepage

    Thank you for your years of service, Atlantis. You will be forever remembered :( Billions in bank bailouts, billions in healthcare....but ~$20 billion for NASA? Out of the question!

    • Re:Welcome home. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:09PM (#32351764) Homepage Journal
      Meh, even if all of the money towards bank bailouts and healthcare went towards NASA, I'd still like to see the shuttles retired. We can make more progress in space exploration using more modern launch systems (Falcon 9, Atlas V) and on-orbit rendezvous than we can flying the Space Shuttle. Don't get me wrong, the shuttles have provided very necessary lessons in manned-space exploration and LEO operations, but the program is almost 30 years old and has been a politicized boondoggle from the beginning. If the shuttles had actually become the quick-cycle space planes they were sold as, then maybe I would say continue the program. However, as it stands now, the shuttle program had its time. Now its time for our nation (and species) to evolve in terms of space exploration. This, of course, is just my humble opinion.

      For the record, I'd like to thank the shuttle crews for their years of service as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I've actually been inside the Atlantis. I was lucky enough to receive the VIP tour. I'm gonna glow your mind. The technicians there say *every inch* of wire is removed and closely examined after every launch. So yea, I would agree with OP, the shuttle basically gets gutted after launch. How much is replaced after each inspection I can't say.

        Fun fact: the shuttle bay doors are only designed to be opened in space. If opened on earth their own weight would rip the hinges apart. During inspection the doors a
        • I've actually been inside the Atlantis. I was lucky enough to receive the VIP tour. I'm gonna glow your mind. The technicians there say *every inch* of wire is removed and closely examined after every launch.

          They're exaggerating. Removing and replacing every inch of wire is a job that would take over a year.

          • by GooberToo (74388)

            They're exaggerating. Removing and replacing every inch of wire is a job that would take over a year.

            That is true. Just the same, all wiring does get visually inspected and miles of wiring is removed and reinstalled/replaced after each flight. Likewise, large chunks of the shuttle's engines are also disassembled, inspected, repaired, and reassembled. Removal of large spans of wiring was instituted after it was discovered visual inspection alone had allowed worn wiring insulation to get past many rounds of visual inspections.

            The shuttles are literally considered one of the most advanced engineering feats by

            • That is true. Just the same, all wiring does get visually inspected and miles of wiring is removed and reinstalled/replaced after each flight.

              I'll grant the inspection, but not the removal/reinstallation - too high a chance of damage.

              Likewise, large chunks of the shuttle's engines are also disassembled, inspected, repaired, and reassembled.

              Wrong. They stopped removing them after every flight well over a decade ago and stopped disassembling them every time they were removed not too long after.

              • by GooberToo (74388)

                I'll grant the inspection, but not the removal/reinstallation - too high a chance of damage.

                Not according to NASA. Saw that fairly recently in an interview by the people who actually do the work. I'll take NASA's word for it. Thanks. Considering they consistently find damage which visual inspections miss, their current approach of actually removing wire makes far, far more sense. Which oddly enough, is exactly why they take wiring out.

                Wrong. They stopped removing them after every flight well over a decade ago and stopped disassembling them every time they were removed not too long after.

                Since it has been a long while since I've seen something on this, I'll take your word for it.

                So sayeth the Official NASA PR Spin. Some people even believe it.

                Care to provide an alternative. I can't think of anything else which eve

                • I'll grant the inspection, but not the removal/reinstallation - too high a chance of damage.

                  Not according to NASA. Saw that fairly recently in an interview by the people who actually do the work. I'll take NASA's word for it.

                  Never heard of any such thing, and I follow Shuttle issues fairly closely.

                  So sayeth the Official NASA PR Spin. Some people even believe it.

                  Care to provide an alternative. I can't think of anything else which even comes close. Just because may be PR-based (not really sure), doesn

                  • by GooberToo (74388)

                    They aren't the most complex moving object ever built, they aren't even close - an SSN or SSBN surpasses them easily. Or consider a CVN. As far as advanced goes, that's more a matter of opinion as anything else, but I will say NASA rarely takes any chances. They're actually pretty conservative when it comes to engineering.

                    I don't recognize all of the acronyms but my gut tells me your are confusing size with complexity or even logistics. Can you provide a little more detail to support your rational?

                    • But you can't be bothered to Google the acronym? And no, I'm not confusing size with anything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bakkster (1529253)

        I agree the shuttle has reached its end-of-life. It did years ago, and we've been bootstrapping it for quite a while.

        The real shame as far as space exploration is that we have neither a domestic replacement craft, nor a plan to create one. We're supposed to just wait (and hope and pray) that the private sector can satisfy our manned launch vehicle needs, even though none of them are close. AFAIK, all the private space companies are looking at tourism, not rendesvous with the ISS, Hubble, or science miss

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          AFAIK, all the private space companies are looking at tourism, not rendesvous with the ISS, Hubble, or science missions.

          Well that's not really true, no. Both the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the Orbital Sciences capsule proposals encompass a docking interface with the ISS. As for Hubble maintenance, you're probably right, neither of those craft will be able to dock with the Hubble. But last I heard, Hubble wasn't going to be fixed again anytime soon. I thought the last maintenance mission was the final one. And as for science missions, I am not sure what science missions you are talking about. So far as I know, the shuttle no

          • by Bakkster (1529253)

            And, in general, I suggest you direct your ire at incompetent, over bloated national defense contractors and subcontractors that have been promising results for cheap and delivering compromises for twice the damn price. Frankly, the large players in the aerospace industry these days, are some of the most wasteful companies in existence in my opinion.

            I work for the aerospace/defense/gov't contract industry, you insensitive clod!

            Then again, I was raised with the idea that it shouldn't take three works of paperwork to change a damn screw on a piece of hardware (and yes, that last part was a personal anecdote).

            That's about equal parts engineering best practices (review every change, or someone will make a mistake that kills your system), corporate inefficiency (too many people asked to sign onto too many drawings, resulting in a massive backlog), and gov't beaurocracy (everything documented for oversight).

            • Oh don't get me wrong, I understand the reasons for the bloat in the large companies. I've worked at two of them now and have been told, numerous times, precisely why things are set up the way they are set up. That doesn't mean that such methods/practices are the best/most efficient/only way to do things though. I mean, hell, look at the Russians. They may blow up one in every ten of their launches, but since they turn out twenty rockets for every one American rocket, it displaces the loss (for clarificatio
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          The real shame as far as space exploration is that we have neither a domestic replacement craft, nor a plan to create one. We're supposed to just wait (and hope and pray) that the private sector can satisfy our manned launch vehicle needs, even though none of them are close.

          If you're lamenting that we didn't create and implement a realistic plan for developing a shuttle successor thirty years ago like we should have, then we're in complete agreement.

          If you're lamenting the loss of the shuttle replacement pr

          • by Bakkster (1529253)

            If you're lamenting that we didn't create and implement a realistic plan for developing a shuttle successor thirty years ago like we should have, then we're in complete agreement.

            That's exactly it.

            There is no scenario, starting with circumstances as they existed in 2009, where we weren't dependent on the Russians for some time, and where private industry wasn't likely to beat NASA to providing the same service.

            Agreed, you neither perform engineering works of this magnitude, nor produce these numbers of delays, overnight. Really, the issue has been around probably as long as I've been alive (around when Atlantis was built).

            Actually, ISS resupply missions is the very first thing SpaceX is going to be doing under contract from NASA. Science missions are one of the first uses of their Dragon capsule (called 'DragonLab') that they're planning as well. There are lots of incentives to develop this stuff, at least if the proposed NASA budget passes Congress.

            My personal prediction: Private industry will be ferrying people to the ISS before 2016, the first year Ares I would have realistically yet optimistically (i.e. without further delays) have been able to do the same.

            That's good to hear. I hadn't heard much from SpaceX in a while, so I assumed the worst. It doesn't forgive the feds from letting NASA's own plans slip and fail, but at least it means that we will still be able to get astronauts into orbit somehow.

      • by trout007 (975317)
        I just watched Atlantis return home today and I realized that after 2 more flights it is likely I will never see a winged vehicle return from orbit in my lifetime. It is unreal to watch live. Even though it's a glider you can hear it as it rips through the air on approach. One thing to remember is the shuttle program has been treated like it's 5 years from cancellation for the last 15 years. If after building Endeavour we built a new orbiter with upgrades every 5 years we would be on a 4th generation alrea
        • The payload bay could launch a bus into orbit. You could lift 2 Soyuz into orbit in the payload bay. The capabilities will never be matched in 50 years.

          The payload to LEO capacity for the shuttle is 24 metric tons. The us-based Delta IV matches that, the Atlas V exceeds that. The russian Proton carries up to 21 tons, as does the European Ariane V and the US Titan. The proton is set to be replaced in the future by the Angara, who's A5 version can ligt 24.5 tons, the A7 is specced up to 40 tons...

          Then there are up and comming private (falcon 9) and among others, chinese, replacements which lift between 25 to 32 tons.

          The shuttle's one and only redeeming featu

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why waste even more money?

      The whole Ares thing was just welfare for the shuttle parts manufacturers. Never send a man to do a robots job.

      • Never send a man to do a robots job.

        So much this. Send a telepresence robot up with every launch to the ISS. Have people on the ground take shifts bolting everything together. They get to go home at the end of their shift, and we save tens-hundreds of millions per launch.

    • by pitchpipe (708843)
      Good luck, and ludicrous speed!
  • really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:03PM (#32351700) Homepage Journal
    final official mission?

    WTF are Billy-Bob and Jethro going to take it for a joyride when Ferris foolishly leaves it at a downtown Chicago parking garage?
    • Re:really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Binestar (28861) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:08PM (#32351758) Homepage
      Atlantis is the "Emergency Rescue" shuttle for the last 2 missions, so it is possible she could fly up and recover astronauts stranded due to tile damage in one of the last 2 missions.
      • by bondsbw (888959)

        So I wonder what they would do with the abandoned shuttle... spacewalk and fix it, leave it to safely deorbit?

        • by vlm (69642)

          So I wonder what they would do with the abandoned shuttle... spacewalk and fix it, leave it to safely deorbit?

          Almost certainly fill it with garbage then deorbit into the pacific. Would be highly embarrassing to have it survive reentry, so they'll probably do something interesting to see what happens like intentionally auger it in.

          The time required to make a tile, test it, ship it up, somewhat exceeds the fuel cell fuel excess capacity, once they shut off they freeze and its all over.

          Also the adhesives are best applied on the ground, hard to tell what damage there is underneath the tile inside the wing structure...

        • can they use it for ISS space? spare parts?

          • by phaggood (690955) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @05:09PM (#32353326) Homepage
            It should be parked outside just beyond the 'porch' they installed a while back; preferably sans wheels and up on cinder blocks.
          • everytime this comes up i wonder about longevity/service intervals.

            Space station modules are made with 5-10 years in zero-G/vacuum in mind, the shuttle is designed with a few weeks of zero-g/vacuum in mind, between service intervals. I realize that launch/re-entry is probably much more demanding then just sitting in orbit, but are the systems on the shuttle capable of running (you wouldnt want to completely shut everything off and simply have it be a dead container i think..) for years on end, with only lim

      • Assuming all goes well on STS-134, we'd end up with a checked-out, launch-ready shuttle stack that's already been paid for. Atlantis's Launch On Need (LON) mission STS-335 could become STS-135 and fly a stripped-down, 4-person crew to the STS, delivering extra supplies and an additional Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. If something went wrong on STS-134, Soyuz capsules would be used in place of another shuttle LON. Source [spaceflightnow.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by yeremein (678037)

      It's not scheduled to fly again, but it'll be ready as a "launch-on-need" vehicle to rescue the Endeavour crew if that craft is unable to re-enter.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Solid Rocket Booster engine production capability for the shuttles was shutdown some time ago. Just enough SRBs were made to cover the last two scheduled launches (Discovery and Endeavour) plus one spare set for Atlantis to server as a rescue ship, and a possible, but probably unlikely post-regular-scheduled-shuttle-era final mission. Also only one more external hydrogen/oxygen tank has been refurbished and made ready for this purpose as well.

        It would take at minimum 24 months for ATK to get a productio

    • I think that is because an emergency rescue launch is not considered "official"
    • by msauve (701917)
      "Hijack the starship" - Paul Kantner
    • by Lev13than (581686)
      It may fly one more time, but the final decision won't be made for a few weeks.

      After serving as the rescue vehicle for the last two shuttle missions, NASA wants to use Atlantis for a final re-supply flight. It will already have a fuel tank and set of boosters ready to go, so a lot of the cost is already sunk. By only taking up four crew members they could hang out at the station and be rescued via soyuz capsules if something went wrong.
      • i'm wondering why nasa would fly four crewmembers on the 'just leave it docked to the iss' mission? Columbia's first flight was carried out by two astronauts, and lasted for 54 hours. I would think two astronauts would be able to fly it up to the ISS and dock, then maybe take a few days R&R, then be ferried down in only a single soyuz, instead of two...

        also take into account that todays electronics/guidance is at least as advanced as columbia's stuff, this should be a cake-walk for two guys...

        Man, i'd l

    • I was wondering about that as well... parsing the statement implies it's flown un-official missions...
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:03PM (#32351704) Homepage Journal


    Should have sold it way sooner. With that many miles, it's going to be hard to sell on Craigslist. Best might be to sell it to an unwary eBayer sight-unseen. "broken odometer"

    Seth
    • by socz (1057222)
      They're just happy it has lasted this long... remember the Challenger? I remember watching lift off live in school. That particular year we teamed up with N.A.S.A. to come up with a name for a new robotic device we didn't understand (mars rovers!).
      • I remember watching it lift off while I was in school also.. walking to the restroom (I was in st petersburg, the school had open hallways) and it was shooting up... splintered into 3+ lines.
        Yep, pretty memorable, when your in the 4th grade and have to hear teachers balling as the tv plays for the rest of the day constantly showing what I've already seen...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whose gonna fight the Wraith in Pegasus now?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ronan! Alone.

  • For Sale (Score:5, Funny)

    by KiwiCanuck (1075767) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:10PM (#32351792)
    1985 Space Shuttle (Atlantis), good condition, auto, A/C, seats 5, 52,250lbs payload, 120 million miles ("highway"), very fast ride 17,320mph, many new upgrades, serious enquiries only.
    • you jest, but both Discovery and Atlantis -are- planned to be up for sale again (they have been previously on sale for figures from $50M down to about $25M). They plant to keep the Endeavour.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by by (1706743) (1706744)
      City (atmospheric) mileage: abysmal. Highway (orbit) mileage: near infinite.
    • Seats 7 I believe.
      • by JWSmythe (446288)

                Yup.

            Two in the front of the flight deck (mission commander & pilot).
            Two in the rear of the flight deck (mission specialists)
            Three on the mid-deck.

            STS-71 and STS-61A had 8 on board. STS-71 used special seats on the mid-deck. I don't know where the 8th person sat on STS-61A. I kinda doubt it was "just have a seat on the floor there, and hold on." :)

        • by trout007 (975317)
          The mid-deck is pretty big and the seats stow away anyway. It wouldn't be hard to get an extra seat in there. The flight deck is a different matter. That place is cramped especially if you are on the ground. I am told in zero-G it's not that bad but I wasn't smart or lucky enough to fly in one.
          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            The closest I've ever been to flying one was in simulators a couple times at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. I did a little more looking, and found this diagram [nasa.gov], which shows the standard 7 seats and 3 "rescue" seats. 4 on the flight deck, and up to 6 on the mid-deck.

            It does look ... ummm ... cramped. It's a bit tighter than I'd want to spend a weekend with 6 other people, much less a week or two. But hey, they get to go to space and I don't.

    • by bjk002 (757977)

      What's the m/cu ft. rating?

      Do I need Ultra-Premium fuel?

    • by sootman (158191)

      You've obviously never placed classified ad in a regular old newspaper. "Spc Shtl Atl, PS/PW/PDL, tint, cold AC, lo miles, FAST. 321-867-7819 eves" :-)

    • You forgot: "Boeing 747 companion tow vehicle available."
  • First car analogy post : Shuttle Atlantis is NASA's old beaten 1985 Ford F-350. They should have a space demolition derby with their rockets once they're done with em. Invite the Russians! Fun for all!

  • by Thyamine (531612)
    A shuttle launch is one of those things I always wanted to see, and as a child was always amazed when they'd show it on TV (back when every shuttle launch was special). I'm sure there will be something else to come along,but the image of the shuttle standing there, waiting for launch, is just an amazing sight to me.
    • by xednieht (1117791)
      Watching a launch in person is just about the coolest thing I have ever seen. Will never forget that. Glad I had the good fortune to witness it.
      • The one time I went to see a launch in person, the launch was scrubbed due to winds at an alternate landing site. I ended up seeing the launch from my plane back to Chicago from 200 miles away (pilot turned the plane so you could see it). While sad, I'd give a vital organ to be at the first manned SpaceX launch.

        /Hopefully Elon reads slashdot
        //aguy can hope

    • by sconeu (64226)

      I was going to go to Vandenberg for the first launch from there in October 1986. Then Challenger had what was "obviously a major malfunction".

  • Atlantis will be on standby for the remaining shuttle missions as a rescue vehicle. Atlantis may yet fly again, but we should all hope it does not.
    • Actually, we can hope she will fly again with clean consciences.

      Assuming all goes well on STS-134, we'd end up with a checked-out, launch-ready shuttle stack that's already been paid for. Atlantis's Launch On Need (LON) mission STS-335 could become STS-135 and fly a stripped-down, 4-person crew to the STS, delivering extra supplies and an additional Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. If something went wrong on STS-134, Soyuz capsules would be used in place of another shuttle LON. Source [spaceflightnow.com].
  • by mr_nazgul (1290102) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:15PM (#32351852) Homepage
    Space is a dangerous challenge, but the rewards will be worth it. In the end, all of man kind will benefit.
    "A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner."
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by JasoninKS (1783390) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:21PM (#32351926)
    I wonder if any of our astronauts ever tried turning those miles into frequent flier miles.... Of course, now-a-days 120 million miles would probably only get you bumped up from sitting on the wing to being shoved in an overhead bin.
  • by L3370 (1421413) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:37PM (#32352134)
    We know that it's a reusable craft/frame, but how much (if any) of it is original parts?

    I imagine that the shuttle has been torn, gutted, refitted, retrofitted, and modernized many times over the 25 years. You think there's anything on the it that still has "matching serials?"

    That would be neat to know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vlm (69642)

      I'm guessing its like a classic airplane, so most of the airframe, most of the wiring, most of the hydraulic system.

      Pretty much if its a simple bar of metal, a pipe, or a wire, its probably original. The rest of it, wellllll....

      • by the_macman (874383) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @04:19PM (#32352656)

        I've actually been inside the Atlantis. I was lucky enough to receive the VIP tour. I'm gonna glow your mind. The technicians there say *every inch* of wire is removed and closely examined after every launch. So yea, I would agree with OP, the shuttle basically gets gutted after launch. How much is replaced after each inspection I can't say.

        Fun fact: the shuttle bay doors are only designed to be opened in space. If opened on earth their own weight would rip the hinges apart. During inspection the doors are supported by huge braces. :D
        Oblig Picture:
        http://imgur.com/7pBjO.jpg [imgur.com]

          http://imgur.com/qzxT6.jpg [imgur.com]

          http://imgur.com/2SPRA.jpg [imgur.com]

          http://imgur.com/EUxbD.jpg [imgur.com]

        • by decsnake (6658)

          Fun fact: the shuttle bay doors are only designed to be opened in space. If opened on earth their own weight would rip the hinges apart. During inspection the doors are supported by huge braces. :D

          That's typical for any mechanism of any real size on a spacecraft. Operation in a 1g environment require "g negation" "mechanical ground support equipment" -- the yellow structures in your pictures of the doors. Other common places you'd find this sort of thing would be for operating the antenna booms and solar panels on a typical satellite during testing.

          • by trout007 (975317)
            In the old days entire rockets could not self support their own weight unless they were pressurized. I might be wrong but I think SpaceX Falcon Rockets are the same. They are just strong enough to self support their weight for ground handling but they are not designed to self support during launch. They require pressure in the fuel tanks to keep the skin from buckling during flight loads.
        • by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#32355144)
          I think you might be mistaken about the wire. In 2005 we had a problem with some Kapton insulation so at that time the wiring that could be reached was fully inspected visually. The high wear areas were protected with Teflon and Kapon Tape. We were developing instruments that could detect insulation breaks but that was canceled when the program was scheduled to end in 2010. So now it's just visual inspection of places that we know to be potentially high wear areas.
          • Well shit....I guess I was wrong. I assume your work for USA or NASA? We got the VIP tour, had to put on bunny suits and they took us all throughout the Orbiter Processing Facility and inside the shuttle. It freaking blew my mind that basically an entire building engulfs the orbiter for inspection. If you're on the outside of the structure, you really can't see the shuttle on the inside, just a HUGE steel structure. I think if more people had access to the VIP tour your average retard voter wouldn't think N

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by jewelises (739285)
          Wow, you just glew my mind!
  • This is the end of an era and more evidence of the ever increasing downfall of our country.

    enjoy working 2 jobs to pay your bills... if you can find one. If you're married... thats 4 jobs. get to work.

  • Anyone? Bueller... Bueller?
  • It was falling most of the time. It's like me pushing a car over the edge of the Grand Canyon and claiming that the extra kilometer is wear on the vehicle. Considering the peak for low earth orbit [wikipedia.org] is around 350 km, so actual travel done by the shuttle would be about 700 km per trip. At roughly one launch per year, that's still less than 20,000 km. I drive more than that in a year.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vlm (69642)

      Considering the peak for low earth orbit is around 350 km

      ISS is around 380km... just saying. Also despite appearances at launch it doesn't pop straight up and down like an elevator, so the actual path traveled under power is somewhat longer than you'd think. And on landing, a crappy 3:1 glide ratio or whatever doesn't sound very impressive, but it starts from so very high altitude, that it does add up (err, multiply up, or you know what I mean)

    • by Lithdren (605362)
      While the car is falling in freefall over that cliff its not suffering much wear and tear....the sudden stop at the bottom sure causes plenty.

      Likewise, while the vehicle itself is falling back to earth, its going through reentry and its heat shields are getting blasted that in no way could be called easy. I realize its hard to understand, but you dont just fall back tword earth and park in the driveway, it does take a little more then that.

      This thing has gone much, much further then you ever will in
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SleazyRidr (1563649)

        under conditions that would destroy any car you've ever owned full stop.

        I reckon my Hummer could take it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by quacking duck (607555)

          under conditions that would destroy any car you've ever owned full stop.

          I reckon my Hummer could take it.

          Your Hummer certainly uses more fuel...

      • While the car is falling in freefall over that cliff its not suffering much wear and tear....the sudden stop at the bottom sure causes plenty.

        You reminded me of an old commercial [youtube.com].
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        This thing has gone much, much further then you ever will in all the cars you'll ever drive, under conditions that would destroy any car you've ever owned full stop.

        What about KITT from Knight Rider?

  • What will we do when Bruce Willis needs to take his mining crew to the giant asteroid threatening to destroy the earth?
  • I see no reason why private industry would just step up and take over the US manned space program as the president is hoping. There would be almost no return for the massive amount of money they would spend. They could get a few million from the super rich for space tourism and a few more million for painting the Pepsi or Coke logo on the side of their spacecraft but it probably wouldn't pay for gas. The only way it would happen is to get hundreds of billions in loans and grants from the govt. so that woul
  • sure theres some stickiness between second and third, the rear brakes are shot the drivers seat has a crack in the headrest and the color has completely faded out of the 'commie go home' bumper sticker but shes still good for another 5000 miles or the subversion of 2 more foreign governments through propaganda, whichever comes first
  • I believe that "thank you" is an understatement. I mean this for all space travelers past, present and near future. I am fairly certain most people just take the engineering required for granted and ignore the required bravery. For those of you who think its a wast of resources: fuck off bitch. I intend to have the seed of mankind spread across this galaxy. Whats your plan?

    • by Binestar (28861)
      I'll be making lots of babies so that all your work towards spreading mankind instead of breeding ends up spreading MY genes instead of yours. Win-win.

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