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Shuttle Atlantis Docks With International Space Station For the Last Time 91

Posted by timothy
from the since-we-were-in-the-neighborhood dept.
The BBC reports, with video, that the shuttle Atlantis "has docked with the International Space Station for the final time. The shuttle has brought a year's supply of food and around two tonnes of other supplies and spare parts to the ISS," where the shuttle will remain docked for at least seven days.
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Shuttle Atlantis Docks With International Space Station For the Last Time

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  • by buanzo (542591)
    how are more supplies going to get there?
    • russia

    • The same way Mir got them - Soyuz and Progress rockets, maybe the odd ESA rocket, too.
      • by rishistar (662278)
        I believe the Shuttle has a larger cargo bay than standard alternative mechanisms for carrying stuff up to the ISS, which is why this last mission is so mundane in the cargo its carrying.
        • by IrquiM (471313)
          Shuttle can launch about 4 times more than Soyuz and Progress rockets - but is probably more than 4 times as expensive per launch, so that doesn't help the argument much.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            wrong. a shuttle flight is 100 times more expensive than a good old soyuz

      • by Trepidity (597)

        It's kind of interesting that the Space Shuttle was what was supposed to make going to space reliable and routine, as an advance from the previous single-use capsule technologies, which were expensive and could only be used once each.

        But for a variety of reasons, it turned out that the Space Shuttle remained fairly expensive and complex to launch, while capsules became reliable and cheap enough to be a routine way of getting people and stuff to/from space.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's kind of interesting that the Space Shuttle was what was supposed to make going to space reliable and routine, as an advance from the previous single-use capsule technologies, which were expensive and could only be used once each.

          But for a variety of reasons, it turned out that the Space Shuttle remained fairly expensive and complex to launch, while capsules became reliable and cheap enough to be a routine way of getting people and stuff to/from space.

          That "variety of reasons" consisted largely, almost entirely, of budget people and politicians not listening to the engineers who were working on the project. Not that different from today, really. If you want to mess something up, go get a bunch of finance and political people involved in it. Then, when the predictable happens, say that the project was "too complex" or some other nonsense. Of course, now that we know what works and what doesn't work with this kind of concept, we could maybe, uh, go des

    • Re:so... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ModernGeek (601932) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @03:08PM (#36713288) Homepage
      Look up European ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zorpheus (857617)
      There is a nice list on [a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station#Docking_schedule]Wikipedia[/a].
      It is not only the Russian Progress and the European ATV, but the Japanese HTV, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and something called Cygnus. Payloads are 7t for ATV, 6t for HTV, 6t for Dragon, 2.6t for Progress, 2.7t for Cygnus.
      • There is a nice list on [a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station#Docking_schedule]Wikipedia[/a]. It is not only the Russian Progress and the European ATV, but the Japanese HTV, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and something called Cygnus. Payloads are 7t for ATV, 6t for HTV, 6t for Dragon, 2.6t for Progress, 2.7t for Cygnus.

        You've got to use the angle brackets (< >) instead of square brackets when linking, my friend.

        Like this:
        <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station#Docking_schedule>Wikipedia</a>

        not
        [a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station#Docking_schedule]Wikipedia[/a].

        See?:Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

        BTW, as a side note, only the Dragon capsule will have any sort of downmass capability.

    • by buanzo (542591)
      troll?!?! wtf! legitimate question, not flamebait. :(
    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      how are more supplies going to get there?

      The majority are going to be delivered by the ATV for the next 4 years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_Transfer_Vehicle [wikipedia.org]

      This will actually have advantages as the station is currently at a slightly lower altitude than would be ideal in order for the shuttle to reach it. As for beyond 2015, this is not really decided as the station was originally planned for de-orbiting then anyway. Bush was very keen on seeing it down and had planned to remove the US bits then regardless and concentrate on US only ven

  • by Dahamma (304068)

    Nothing like breakup sex...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, this is the last shuttle flight.

    We had the last launch.
    This is the last docking.
    Up next are the last undocking, last reentry, last landing, last move to final resting place. Last meal? Last piss/dump on the space shuttle?

    Yes, it is regrettable, but this is the last flight. A lot of things they do will be the last time.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Ending an old, legacy system which gobbled up the space budget isn't "regrettable".

      We could have sent hundreds of remotely manned probes into space and actually done some exploration instead of wasting time in LEO.

      Let OTHER countries blow their money on manned penis-waving missions instead.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
        Remote science probes are an adjunct - not the main mission. Yet some folks just don't get it.

        The problem is, if there aren't people in the mix, a whole lot of us just don't find a whole lot of inspiration in your idea of space utopia.

        You say we should let other countries do the so called "penis waving". We can blow a whole lot less money if we don't ever launch anything again, manned or science mission. Look how much money we just saved now. Without a manned presence in space, I support a NASA budget o

    • by Nehmo (757404)

      Yes, this is the last shuttle flight.

      We had the last launch. This is the last docking. Up next are the last undocking, last reentry, last landing, last move to final resting place. Last meal? Last piss/dump on the space shuttle?

      Yes, it is regrettable, but this is the last flight. A lot of things they do will be the last time.

      I know. What we really need is a last "Last Shuttle (something)".

  • ... titled along the lines of:

    .
    Shuttle Atlantis [insert verb or verb phrase here] for the last time.

  • Here's an idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeffmeden (135043) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @03:21PM (#36713362) Homepage Journal

    Why not just leave the shuttle there? It went up with just 4 astronauts, surely a soyuz capsule can bring them back. Let's just leave the shuttle there as a large-scale escape pod and science area. Why not do that with all the shuttles? Do we really need that many of them showing up in museums? Is the shuttle any less space-worth over the long term than the rest of the ISS?

    • I'm not an expert, but I don't think the shuttle was designed for staying in space for more than about a month or so at a time. For one thing, it leaks oxygen. I don't think the space station is capable of supplying enough power right now to keep it operational when the power cells on the shuttle run dry.
      • To add: additional mass to move (ie more fuel required) when adjusting orbit. ISS is about 420 tones and fully loaded Space Shuttle Orbiter can weight up to 110 tones (hope I picked up correct figures from Wikipedia...).
    • by PNutts (199112)

      Because it would cost more money to keep it flight-ready in space than on the ground. And we've already seen what one uncontrolled re-entry looks like.

    • As others have pointed out it leaks like a sieve compared to the space station and once the power cells on it go you better have a way to power it up if you need to bring it back down.

      That said though I could easily see decompressing it for storage then sending up a "sealing team" and/or supplies to make it a permanent part of the station at a later date.

      Can't do much about the added mass though and it definitely would make a difference to station-keeping. Maybe strip anything that's not a control/flight
    • It went up with just 4 astronauts, surely a soyuz capsule can bring them back.

      It'd have to be organized a bit better. A Soyuz can only carry three astronauts.

      Let's just leave the shuttle there as a large-scale escape pod and science area. Why not do that with all the shuttles?

      First, ISS may not have the capability to supply oxygen to that much space. Second, if you've seen the Shuttle docked with ISS, it takes up a lot of room. Third, if the Shuttle is docked, that's one less docking port you have for a Soyuz Capsule.

      It's a cool idea, don't get me wrong. But I don't think it's worth spending the money on the Shuttle to turn it into a space station component.

      My attitude, it's time for NASA to get

    • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:5, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942) on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:48AM (#36717406) Journal
      A shuttle is not just something that you can park in space. Certain elements need to be kept warm. Others need to be kept pressurized. That means the shuttle must be kept running. The shuttle gets its power from fuel cells which "burn" hydrogen and oxygen. The standard shuttle (such as Atlantis) can operate for about ten days. Endeavour and Columbia are the only two shuttles equipped with extended duration fuel tanks. There is a system by which the shuttle can be powered from the space station's power, but Atlantis is not equipped with that system.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      Why not just leave the shuttle there? It went up with just 4 astronauts, surely a soyuz capsule can bring them back. Let's just leave the shuttle there as a large-scale escape pod and science area. Why not do that with all the shuttles? Do we really need that many of them showing up in museums? Is the shuttle any less space-worth over the long term than the rest of the ISS?

      Because then it might fall into the wrong hands. I bet China would love to get their hands on one even now and in a few years Russia might be the only partner of the ISS consortium keeping their bits up. In that case they could always try sending the docked shuttle back to earth and then selling it to China to fund their continued program.

      China would then do what they have been brilliant at lately, they would copy all the technology they could via disassembly and use it to kick start their own project. They

    • by quenda (644621)

      Why not just leave the shuttle there?

      Skylab.

  • Ok, so the last space shuttle ever is dropping off supplies, food and parts, for the guys on Space Station Alpha (aka International Space Station). Ever wonder how they are going to get home? Jumping out really isn't an answer.

    (I know, they'll have the euro thing send up a rocket or something. Or maybe they'll use the escape capsule, assuming they ever got it up and working. Last I heard it wasn't, but it's not like the news reports on that stuff much. But even so, can you imagine what'll be running throug
  • Pork laden flying deathtrap...

    Shuttle Atlantis Dances the Lambada for the Last Time!

  • LOL, I wonder if they will be saying "Shuttle commander uses shuttle toilet for last time ever...."
  • by prefec2 (875483) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:44PM (#36714596)

    * Last time Astronauts leaving shuttle and entering ISS
    * Last time reentering the shuttle
    * Last time use of a space toothbrush on a shuttle
    * Last time use of shuttle toilet
    * Last time farted on the shuttle
    * Last time hit by a pillow after farting in the shuttle
    * Last time energy bar picked from astronaut A consumed by astronaut B as a revenge action due to the fart thing earlier

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      I would argue against a couple of your points if that russian-roulette death contraption acts up again. If it burns up, no last re-entry, and it'll be "crew doesn't get to use toilet for last time as they foul their britches upon breakup". But you'd get a new list of "last killed by shuttle".

      No sympathy here, that POS is a known killer.
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
      Last not very funny last shuttle comment?
      • by prefec2 (875483)

        I am absolute sure that the last not very funny last shuttle comment will not be determined by any other last shuttle activity. ;-)

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
          I just had a thought - is that dumb habit of some who want to post "First!" going to be supplanted by "Last!" posts?
  • I am waiting for the news: Atlantis landed successfully for the last time. All other last time message are just useless. Just hope they get back safely in that flea trap.

  • Why didn't they just keep the shuttles up in space when they were done with them? They could have been used as extra rooms on ISS, a new lab, etc etc.

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

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