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NASA Space Science Technology

NASA Sets Final Space Shuttle Flight For July 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-your-reservations-for-a-week-later dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA today said the final space shuttle flight should take place July 8 at about 11:40 am EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be the 135th and final mission of NASA's storied Space Shuttle Program. NASA said the July date is based on current planning, and an official launch date will be announced following the June 28 Flight Readiness Review. That review of course could delay the flight, since there are a few technical issues to address."
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NASA Sets Final Space Shuttle Flight For July

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  • by kryogen1x (838672) on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:12PM (#36195898)
    Seeing a shuttle launch live is on my bucket list, but I don't wanna take off from work and fly to Florida only to find out the mission is rescheduled 2 weeks later.
    • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
      I saw a launch twice, one night and one day. I went to Florida last month to see Endeavour but 3 hours before launch it got cancelled. I'm gonna try again in July. Totally worth it.
      • What do you have to do to watch? I'm assuming that there are public viewing areas setup. Do you need to pay for admission or parking? Is there food and such available on site?

    • Even after the Flight Readiness Review officially sets the launch date, the liftoff can get scrubbed at the last minute (or, in the case of STS-134, at the 225th minute). You can schedule your travel to allow for a one- or two-day scrub, but then you might find out that it's been punted back a full week.

      If you'll be coming from far off, you might want to see if you can't telecommute from the greater KSC area for a couple of weeks. If, OTOH, you're lucky enough to live somewhere with cheap flights to Orlando

    • Well I booked a flight from the UK to see it on the basis it would launch on the 28th June, and it comes back on the 9th. Hope it isn't delayed any further! Bugger.... Truly sad to see the last shuttle go, and can only hope the science continues in the same vein for the next 30 years!
    • by Sawopox (18730)

      I was at the recent shuttle launch for STS-134. I was fortunate enough to get tickets from the Kennedy Space Center. Seeing that shuttle take off was the first thing I have seen that was anywhere near Biblical in proportion. The thunderous noise that followed a few seconds after launch was literally earth shaking. If you can make it, I highly recommend it.

  • If NASA doesn't start doing physics research we will be using rockets forever. Comon guys, enough of this rocket club stuff, let's see some real progress. No more playing around in Arizona pretending to be on Mars. You have to figure out how to get there before you start doing that. NASA should be involved with CERN and the LHC. This isn't 1969 anymore.
    • by khallow (566160)

      If NASA doesn't start doing physics research we will be using rockets forever.

      NASA already does some research of that nature, off and on. I don't think there's much potential in it. Rockets are good enough for getting to space and I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system.

      • by dicobalt (1536225)
        Vacuum tubes are good enough for computers to compute, I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system. --- ok now to be serious --- Most everything to be learned from limited rocket based spaceflight has already been learned. The space program has got to the point where now it is mostly just a huge money drain. Granted there are occasionally still some interesting things learned with current space travel but nothing truly exceptional. If NASA can help make space travel
        • by khallow (566160)

          Vacuum tubes are good enough for computers to compute, I don't see a reason to delay things just to attempt to come up with a better system.

          Who here thinks that there is a Moore's Law for space propulsion?

          Most everything to be learned from limited rocket based spaceflight has already been learned.

          You're not the first person on Slashdot to confuse learning with infrastructure. If I want to drive between point A and point B, then I need a number of things. Learning how to drive is an important step. But it's useless without a car or a road.

          If NASA can help make space travel profitable and commonplace then they will have done something truly great for all humanity till the end of our existence.

          I agree that this is a worthy goal. But how does learning help achieve this goal?

          As I see it, the primary obstacles to space flight are economic not knowledge-based. Every launch system, including t

        • by amliebsch (724858)

          If NASA can help make space travel profitable and commonplace then they will have done something truly great for all humanity till the end of our existence.

          NASA cannot do this. It is a government agency that neither knows nor care the tiniest bit about things like "profits." NASA was useful for innovating the precepts of space travel. As the other poster noted, innovations in the economics of space travel are best achieved by private companies for which things like costs and profits are a top concern.

          I'd also like to add that I think rockets are often unfairly dismissed. Rockets do not have to be as wildly expensive as they currently are. There's no inher

  • Hopefully it won't blow up or something...that'd be quite a buzzkill

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dicobalt (1536225)
      If it does we will blame you. It will be your fault. I hope you're happy.
    • Oh nvm I'm on an old blackberry and a 4 showed up after July since that was the number of comments -_-

  • Now the shuttles can go where they really belong. Wright Pat, Smithsonian, NASA visitor center. It's too bad we didn't do this 30 years ago.

    We would have been on Mars if we never wasted all that money on these useless shuttles.

    Finally, they are gone!

    • by t33jster (1239616)

      We would have been on Mars if we never wasted all that money on these useless shuttles.

      Useless?

      Hubble
      ISS
      30 years of research

      • by khallow (566160)

        Useless?

        Hubble
        ISS
        30 years of research

        Exactly. Imagine all the stuff that could have been on that list, if NASA didn't burn $200 billion or more on Shuttle flights and a station that only recently has become relatively productive.

        • Hubble launched with a defective mirror, and would have ultimately been an expensive failure if the shuttle hadn't been available to take astronauts up and add corrective parts.

          In the 70s when the shuttle program got off the ground there was no political will to continue going to the moon, never mind land someone on Mars. Like any government organization NASA had to justify its existence somehow, and the shuttle was the result. Certainly the result of much compromise and cost-cutting, but it did keep two ge

          • by khallow (566160)

            Hubble launched with a defective mirror, and would have ultimately been an expensive failure if the shuttle hadn't been available to take astronauts up and add corrective parts.

            At the same time, we could have a couple more Hubbles up there for the cost of the various repair and upgrade missions.

            In the 70s when the shuttle program got off the ground there was no political will to continue going to the moon, never mind land someone on Mars. Like any government organization NASA had to justify its existence somehow, and the shuttle was the result. Certainly the result of much compromise and cost-cutting, but it did keep two generations interested in space travel (when's the last time people lined up by the thousands to see an unmanned rocket launch?), and that's just as important as any "real" science and progress achieved by the shuttle program.

            So what? Public enthusiasm is overrated. And I'd have to disagree that the Shuttle kept the interest going. A lot of current NASA critics started life as Shuttle supporters. But then they saw that NASA wasn't going anywhere, in part due to its dependence on the Shuttle and funding the Shuttle supply chain.

    • by sgage (109086)

      Yeah, sure.

      What utter bullshit. Space is hard, especially for people, and we still have a lot to learn. This has all been part of learning how people and machines work in space.

  • by Calibax (151875) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:12PM (#36196478)

    It's disheartening to see the way that we (the USA) have withdrawn from science over the last 40 years.

    We have allowed the shuttle to reach End Of Life without any suitable replacement.
    We have discontinued manned (and unmanned) flights to the moon.
    We have withdrawn funding from stem cell research over religious issues.
    We have reduced Darwin to a theory on par with creationism in some textbooks and in schools in some states.
    We have a large body of people believing that global warming doesn't exist because Al Gore produced books and movies about it, so it's a liberal conspiracy.
    We have made science a dirty word because it conflicts with some people's beliefs.
    and on, and on.

    In China, 8 of the 9 members of the top politburo are engineers. In the USA, lawyers are the most represented profession in Congress. Which country is more likely to consider science and technology important?

    Right now, it's hard to see how the USA can stop the slow downward shuffle.

    • We have allowed the shuttle to reach End Of Life without any suitable replacement.

      Good. They didn't work. Their design goal was to launch weekly, with something like a $50M launch cost. They failed on all respects.

      Some NASA political genius decided that since they failed they'd re-label the Shuttle as the ISS-ferry. Except that's a really slow an inefficient way to orbit a space station.

      Maybe now SpaceX can do the lifts on real rockets and NASA can worry about how to build a moon base.

      • Parent is an obvious troll but I'll respond anyways.

        The Space Shuttle didn't work? You have to be kidding!

        Someone who claims the space shuttle "didn't work" probably was saying in 2003, "I'm glad those 486's were retired. They weren't even multi-pipelined. Good thing we have these Pentium III / Athlon processors now to take us to new levels of productivity."

        Do you think any system is going to hit all of its goals the first time around?

        No, it comes from PRACTICAL experience from operating in an envir

        • Re:Didn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:20PM (#36198220) Homepage Journal

          Parent is an obvious apologist but I'll respond anyways.

          The Space Shuttle didn't work? You have to be kidding!

          nope

          Someone who claims the space shuttle "didn't work" probably was saying in 2003, "I'm glad those 486's were retired. They weren't even multi-pipelined. Good thing we have these Pentium III / Athlon processors now to take us to new levels of productivity."

          Nope, the Itanium (Merced) is the better analogy. It could do the things it was designed to do, eventually, but for most purposes is not cost effective even thought it looks better on paper. But the Shuttle didn't even look good on paper. You should go listen to the recent Science Friday archive with one of the original Shuttle designers. They *knew* that it was a BS design-by-committee craft and they spent lots of time before it got built trying to make up lies to justify it.

          Do you think any system is going to hit all of its goals the first time around?

          After 30 years of incremental progress it ought to have at least come close.

          Furthermore, their design goal was not to be $50M per launch.

          You're right, in today's dollars it would be more like $40M. In reality it's about $1500M [wikipedia.org]. They missed by a factor of 40.

          Their design goal was to send people and cargo to low-earth-orbit to increase our engineering and science knowledge in space and to return people and cargo safely

          So far so good.

          to a runway touchdown

          What good has that done?

          A hope that they would achieve spaceflight at $50M per launch was merely a political fantasy, which is irrelevant.

          Wait, this was funded by the American people. Are you saying they were lied to but that's irrelevant?

          From a long-term perspective, it doesn't matter if the shuttle cost 10x its initial estimate to operate.

          It's 40x the per-launch cost, but in terms of opportunity costs, the number is much higher - there were only 1/10th the number of projected flights. We probably could have launched rockets once a week, but in the rocket/space station model that wouldn't have been necessary. Better, faster, and cheaper.

          It gave us experience and knowledge from refining processes / technology / materials of the initial system. It has taught us what works, what is difficult to make work and what the practical tradeoffs are for a given spacecraft design. These are the benefits from simply being in the environment.

          True, and an alternate spaceflight program would also have yielded these kinds of results.

          To quote Han Solo, "flyin' through [hyper]space ain't like dustin' crops, boy!"

          That's the authority to quote?

          Tell me: How you are going to do an analysis of a failed ammonia pump on the space station without the shuttle?

          How big is it? Will it fit on a Soyuz? If not, can you imagine human engineers could develop a larger version of the Soyuz?

          You cannot open up a pump containing (or, even if vented, that previously contained) poisonous fluid on the space station.

          Wait, why don't they have a sealed maintenance bay on the ISS? Maybe because the launch costs are so high? Maybe because it wouldn't fit in a shuttle? All of Skylab was lifted by one (1) rocket.

          Thus, you need to bring it back to Earth. What is the only vehicle can do this? hmm? ... crickets... Yes, the space shuttle.

          Right, so in a world where only the Shuttle got built, only the Shuttle is available for materials returns. That's simply begging the question [nizkor.org].

          For those that want a car analogy, the ISS operating without the space shuttle would be like throwing out the entire contents of your car's engine bay in your car when something goes wrong, and ordering a new one for replacement (that may or may not develop the sa

      • by value (2182292)
        NASA could not build a reusable space vehicle successfully, so I don't trust their ability to build a moon base either.

        I think building moon bases will be left up to private companies, just the same way as building reusable spaceraft is up to them now.
  • American's holiday. Obviously, delays can mess that up. :(

  • i STILL think they should leave the shuttle up there and use it as a test platform for testing new engines, and what not and as a great escape pod for the ISS, etc.

    • And if you'd posted similar thoughts before and got replies, they would have said that all of your suggestions are impossible, impractical, and/or insanely expensive.

      Test platform for new engines: far easier assemble and test engines on earth. And if you did need a space environment to finally test it (say a hypothetical engine with radioactive exhaust), far easier to launch it into space around a dedicated test vehicle rather than limit yourself to a shuttle frame. Also the logistics of mating a new system

  • initially I was going to give a big fail for july 8 liftoff but as the mission is slated for 12 days that means the return, ie, earth landing will be the same day as apollo 11 moon landing and viking 1 mars landing.

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