Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
ISS NASA Space Science

Space Shuttle Endeavour Blasts Off On Final Flight 125

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-more-for-the-road dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Space shuttle Endeavour rocketed into space Monday morning from Kennedy Space Center, led by mission commander Mark Kelly on the final mission for the youngest vehicle in the space fleet. Over 6 million pounds of thrust from the shuttle's rocket booster carried Endeavour into orbit, at speeds of up to 19,000 miles per hour, for an expected meeting with the International Space Station on Wednesday. 'It's incredible how you can see this machine hurled into space like the fastest fastball ever thrown, going to Mach 25 — 25 times the speed of sound — and it's an incredible race to orbit,' former NASA astronaut Tom Jones said. 'It's one of the greatest physical sensations an human can experience,' he added."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Blasts Off On Final Flight

Comments Filter:
  • First... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Monday May 16, 2011 @10:23AM (#36139942) Journal

    Let's design an open-source reusable spacecraft which can reach orbit.

    Second...

    Let's implement the space elevator, allowing materials and people to get to orbit cheaply.

    Third...

    Build a spacecraft on an unprecedented scale, in-orbit, using the space elevator. Use that to expand physics research and propulsion systems.

    Fourth...

    Star Trek...

    And you all thought that was gonna say "Post". Haha.

    • Build a spacecraft on an unprecedented scale, in-orbit...

      We could build it from all the space junk that's out there.. The ultimate dumpster dive!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        NASA astronaut Tom Jones said. 'It's one of the greatest physical sensations an human can experience,' he added."

        Wow, ok. Poor thing must be circumcised...

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      Fifth...

      Cure cancer with open source and bring about world peace with organic farming.

      Sixth...

      Some chick like totally gives me a BJ for all my awesome ideas.

      Seventh...

      I secure the funds and bright minds and navigate the politics to get these obnoxiously presented ideas actually done.


      Good luck webmistressrachel ! Keep us posted on your progress!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You know what, if capitalism and greed weren't the norm, we could implement those ideas too. (except the BJ. But if you help me, I might help you...)

        There really is enough material resources and labour to do those things, but at the moment they're feeding the top 1% of society instead of advancing technology. The space program hasn't evolved at all since the 80's, the zero-g science we were promised from the ISS has only just started, and we're all head-over-heels about two neverending wars that only happen

        • Yep, you're right about the capitalism thingy. There is a problem with capitalism. You cant sustain it without basically enslaving everyone except a select few at the top. By enslave I am referring to the dollar.
        • by kestasjk (933987) *
          I'm not apathetic; I find it laughable and counterproductive that people like you come along and spew out a bunch of wild ideas with no plan or research to back them up, no motivation to make it happen, but rather just coming along and asking "why hasn't someone else made this happened yet? Oh it must be because of that one person who most people agree did a bad job."

          What about the economics of it, what about the ROI of a space elevator, what materials will it be made out of, what is the timeline, could
          • Protip: If slashdot wants women to stay around, you can't condescend on them for impractical ideas. She was just trying, much more than most women. Something like, "that's a cool idea! Here is some reading about those things". Then she can find out on her own.
            • by Skater (41976)

              First, I've been wondering, what is the difference is between a "tip" and a "protip"?

              On topic, though: kestasjk wasn't condescending at all. He or she was right on target. It's easy to sit on Slashdot and say what should be done. Much harder to actually accomplish something and do it. It's like writing a letter to the editor - it makes you feel like you've accomplished something, but precisely WHAT have you accomplished?

            • by kestasjk (933987) *
              Congrats, I think this is the most sexist post I've ever read on slashdot!
        • Re:First... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by amliebsch (724858) on Monday May 16, 2011 @12:40PM (#36141342) Journal

          Capitalism is not the enemy of progress. It is what creates the surpluses that make spending on progress possible. Nobody is going to spend money on a space elevator if they are worried about having enough food to make it through the winter.

          • That is about the most dumb capitalism-supporting comment I ever saw.

            Who's to say that the only form of society with surpluses for research is yours? If we hadn't deliberately made the Russians so paranoid, spending too much on defence and not enough on the basics whilst still researching space, I'm sure they'd be a shining example by now!

            As for us, I am worried about where the next meal comes from but still care about your damn space program, so we aren't that perfect either! Inequality is a product of cap

    • by cplusplus (782679)
      I thought you were going to say "Profit". Haha.
    • Third and half...

      find a never ending source of energy to sustain life on the vessel described at point four for at least the number of millenium it will take to head it somewhere across the interstellar space. I should remind everyone the Voyager 1 and 2 probes are now at the very limit of the solar system after a 30 years journey and still emitting a radio signal sending scientific data relying on a Pu238 nuclear energy source which will be at end in about 10 years. At this time, the Voyager 1 and 2 will

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let's implement the space elevator, allowing materials and people to get to orbit cheaply.

      I guess I'm late to the game, but a space elevator just doesn't seem incredibly useful. Even if you mitigate the huge risk of LEO debris cutting the tether, all it's good for is delivering payloads to either one spot on geosynchronous orbit, or beyond that orbit. Deploying to any other (i.e. useful) orbit requires the use of a reaction-mass-based payload assist module, whose exhaust will necessarily be aimed right at the tether, to get the needed d(theta)/dt to establish a stable orbit. If you just went

      • Thank you, that's interesting. I figured that it would provide a practical method for getting bulky stuff up there, since most of the fuel used in current missions is that used to break out of the gravity well.

        I'm not perfect, and my post might have been a little idealistic in hindsight.

    • by tokul (682258)

      Let's implement the space elevator, allowing materials and people to get to orbit cheaply.

      If you want to move 10 tons of stuff 100 kilometers, you need energy. Lots of energy. If you want to do it safe, you will need protection and more energy for hurling protection together with protected content. Cheap, safe and big enough to matter. You can choose two out of three.

    • First...

      Matter replication/transmission technology

      Second...

      Are you still reading this?
      • by fritsd (924429)
        Second is the very light autofactory we send by starship to build the receiving side matter transmission station, obviously :-)
    • Fifth, drop ceramic coated rebar at orbital velocity on people who piss you off.

      Just saying: there's a reason that access to space is not cheap, McDonnell Douglas isn't independently pursuing the DC-X for commercial purposes, access is not available to the average person, and the government is so anal about licensing of launch sites.

      It isn't a technological one.

      -- Terry

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday May 16, 2011 @10:27AM (#36139976) Homepage

    Does

    final mission for the youngest vehicle in the space fleet.hurled into space like the fastest fastball ever thrown, going to Mach 25 â" 25 times the speed of sound

    mean that this shuttle launch was actually faster than all previous launches? Or is this merely a way of saying "it's really fast".

    Is this actually a story, or an anecdote? There is no F'ing A.

    • by Combatso (1793216)
      I want to know who threw a fastball mach 25. I mean, I think I remember bugs bunny throwing a baseball in to orbit once, but other than that.. the quote doesnt make much sense.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Made me cringe, too, I think it was written by a Luddite who fancies himself as a "writer".

      • by Mr Z (6791)
        Yeah, I couldn't tell if I was reading a Slashdot article or a YouTube comment. The article needs some serious editing to turn it into English.
    • by Cytotoxic (245301)

      Yeah, really bad hyperbole. As spacecraft go, low earth orbit isn't all that fast either. The folks who walked on the moon went a fair bit faster than Mach 25 (17,500 mph). And that's not even a blip on the 17 km/s that Voyager I is coasting along at. That's 163,198.8 mph for those who are metric-challenged.

      A really good fastball travels at 100mph. Using that as an analogy for something going 175 times faster is a bit inadequate. And using that as a superlative in a world where "fast" is 10x faster th

      • by tyrione (134248)

        Yeah, really bad hyperbole. As spacecraft go, low earth orbit isn't all that fast either. The folks who walked on the moon went a fair bit faster than Mach 25 (17,500 mph). And that's not even a blip on the 17 km/s that Voyager I is coasting along at. That's 163,198.8 mph for those who are metric-challenged.

        A really good fastball travels at 100mph. Using that as an analogy for something going 175 times faster is a bit inadequate. And using that as a superlative in a world where "fast" is 10x faster than your fastball....

        Aint Gravity a bitch? Seriously, you're comparing apples to oranges. The amount of thrust the boosters would exert if they were outside of the Earth's low orbit would have them blasting well past the Moon or becoming an impact zone causing a new crater.

      • Granted, but I think the writer was attempting (poorly) to celebrate the engineering marvel that is the shuttle. For me, I get it better from super-slow-mo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2VygftZSCs [youtube.com]
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      That, and the speed of sound decreases with altitude (density), so Mach would increase even if velocity remained constant. I haven't done the math, but at some altitude, presumably even a 100MPH fastball could travel at Mach 25!

  • "There it is!"

    "Where?"

    "Oh, it's gone."

    A few seconds later we got a glimpse through gaps in the clouds as it passed overhead, about the same time we could hear it. Hit the cloud cover right after the roll maneuver.

    • by jittles (1613415)

      I watched it from work this morning, about 120 miles away. We didn't hear it here, obviously. But, once it got above the clouds it became very visible. The haze + early morning sun made it impossible to see through the lower level of haze. Shortly after they kicked the SRBs into full blast, it again disappeared into the haze. Total viewing time was approximately 10 seconds.

      The best launch I've seen so far was a twilight launch. I went to the beach and was able to see it for a good 60 seconds. It was

    • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Monday May 16, 2011 @11:36AM (#36140676)

      My "wow, shuttle launches are amazing" moment happened during a night launch. We were listening to the radio broadcast while watching from the causeway. As they ticked off the milestones and speeds, we watched it transform into a brilliant white star slowly descending over the Atlantic Ocean. It was still well above the horizon and bright in the sky when the NASA announcer told us the shuttle was "now passing over the horn of Africa".

      That was a "wow" moment.

      • Yeah man, cool. I was lucky enough to see one of the last night time launches from Melbourne Beach. You could read a newspaper by the light from that shuttle and we were like what 20-30 miles away? Wait let me go all Google Earth it and get some reasonable #s about the mileage before the pedants jump on me. 40-45 miles away, Ok? We crossed the causeway down in Vero and headed North till we got to one of the more remote public beaches. Don't remember exactly which one. Smuggled our brewskies over the
  • by rossdee (243626)

    "it's an incredible race to orbit,"

    Who are they racing? They were sitting around on the pad for so long its a wonder one of the commercial space tourist companies didn't beat them up there..

    • They're racing gravity... most of the time humans win, sometimes gravity wins...
      • Dude. Gravity ALWAYS wins. That's the law.

    • You mean the commercial space tourism companies who haven't managed to field any efforts for the 50 years of manned space flight? You're right, there isn't a race. Unless you count Russians selling seats at a loss on our dime.

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Which one of the commercial space tourism companies has been trying to "field any efforts for the 50 years of manned space flight"?
  • That's all she wrote till 2016 barring more budget cuts. It's the passing of a era it makes me rather sad.
    • by e9th (652576)
      Was STS-135 [nasa.gov] cancelled?
      • "STS-335, the rescue mission that would fly only if needed to bring home the members of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission, currently the final scheduled shuttle flight. "

        http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/sep/HQ_10-222_LON_Annc.html [nasa.gov]

        • No, STS-135 (Atlantis) [nasa.gov] will fly.
          "The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 directs NASA to conduct the STS-135 mission. The Space Shuttle Program has added the mission to the manifest to prepare for a potential target launch date of June 28.

          Atlantis will carry the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station."
    • Same... Why the government would kill such an awesome program is beyond me. Yes, I would rather go hungry if it meant I could live on the moon. Besides, we should all remember. Star Trek was when the space program was government based. Aliens was the private industry...
      • by amliebsch (724858)

        Ted Greason explains it very well:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM [youtube.com]

      • Why the government would kill such an awesome program is beyond me.

        Uh, it's expensive and there are cheaper ways to perform the same task?

        Don't get me wrong--I'm not dissing the Shuttle. It's an impressive space vehicle. I tend to liken it to an SUV--it can go anywhere (in Low-Earth Orbit) and do anything. However, like an SUV, it's expensive to run. Using the Shuttle to deliver astronauts to ISS is like using an SUV to drop the kid off at school one block from your house. Will it perform the task? Certainly. Would it be less expensive to give the kid a bike and tel

  • For those wishing to have a little celebration on their desk

    http://www.nickrobinson.info/origami/diagrams/shuttle1.htm [nickrobinson.info]
    http://www.nickrobinson.info/origami/diagrams/shuttle2.htm [nickrobinson.info]

  • Home Video (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Monday May 16, 2011 @11:45AM (#36140772)
    Taken by a friend of mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIYVjqAd3Y [youtube.com]
  • Future generations will walk to the rusted ruins of Pad 39A as they walk to the Pyramids today, and wonder at the massive effort required to accomplish such a pointless but impressive task.

  • Having been a long time Shuttle fan since I was a kid, I wanted to record the STS-134 Launch, unfortunatley being in Australia this limits my options to only internet access for a station to watch the NASA TV feed on. So I go over to Ustream, but the Ustream feed doesn't work because there are too many viewers, bummer, so I go over to the NASA website to view it there, that works, hooray, I'm in luck, even though its terrible quality. Seeing as I had to go to sleep early in the afternoon, I decided I woul
  • Fastballs are impressive because they're launched at their travel speeds, and the effort is on the part of the pitcher. They don't have built-in rockets to accelerate them after they're thrown. An actual baseball pitcher could have thrown a ball faster than the shuttle lifted off the pads.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

Working...