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NASA Space Science

Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis Meet One Last Time 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-until-bruce-willis-needs-to-deflect-an-asteroid dept.
longacre writes "One dull morning last week, two teams of NASA technicians simultaneously gathered at two iconic buildings — the 525-foot Vehicle Assembly Building and the shorter, but equally important Orbital Processing Facility 1 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, tasked with moving a space shuttle orbiter from one building to the other. The 'shuttle shuffle' would have Space Shuttle Discovery (the oldest and most flown orbiter surviving in the three-ship fleet) in OPF-1 swapping places with her sister ship, Atlantis, the second oldest and second most flown orbiter. Fleet leader Discovery would emerge from OPF-1 as a preserved spacecraft, gutted and mummified for museum display."
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Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis Meet One Last Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The two of them, together finally !!

  • So... Which one will be the Ark?
  • Goodbye, and thank you for the fish.
  • Did they get along? Were they friendly?
    How did this "meeting" go?

    Look -- they are pieces of equipment they are not people or even animals for that matter. This is taking anthropomorphism way too far. It's one thing to refer to them as "she" and even to grow fond of them and revere them with the same affection you'd give a pet -- but to somehow imply they have consciousness is just silly.

  • by dslbrian (318993) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:59PM (#39382875)

    I hate it when museums do this kind of thing to aircraft (or in this case spacecraft). Nothing is more uninteresting than a hollow shell body. Once the problematic liquids are drained there is no reason they can't leave the engines in place. The parts that make things like this interesting are all the mechanical components and displays that make up the actual vehicle. Every time I see this done to an aircraft, I can't help but think of how much of an utterly boring display it makes. They might as well erect a cardboard cutout equivalent, it's nauseating.

    • by cadeon (977561) on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:13PM (#39383067)

      The engines, in this case, are due to be used by the Space Launch System. They are planning on using 15 SSMEs from the shuttle program in the first launches of SLS. I'm sure a lot of the other components have similar fates, since the SLS is shuttle derived.

      Aside from that, yes, I am totally with you. Seeing the Enterprise in DC was a rather empty experience. It looked like plywood.

      • If/when civilization collapses, we're going to need examples of past technology. Everything from the butter churn on up. What if you were trying to recreate a movie projector and found that only the casing was preserved, with no internal workings? I understand the health issue for the public, but they should mothball one of those intact.

        One function of museums is to be a repository of knowledge, art, and technology, for future generations. It's not the only function, but I would argue that it's the most
        • It's a nice idea, but museums aren't fortified places. If civilisation collapses the museums will be among the first buildings to be looted (cf. in Iraq). It would be a lot better to put the artefacts in a Fort Knox, replacing the gold.

          However, by far the most effective way to preserve knowledge for the future is distributing it far and wide, ie copies in private houses, freely shared and duplicated, today.

          • Point taken about looting. Also, a distinction needs to be made between a duplication technique that actually reproduces a functioning item through molecular deposition of different elements, and what on the other hand is basically simply a plastic model.

            The first possibility seems pretty far off in the future. Probably not for giant laboratories with force tunneling microscopes and inert atmosphere or vacuum facilities. But for the home? The economies of having the space for the equipment, buying the eq
    • Can't agree more. The most damning part from the article...

      She was no longer an operational machine or even capable of ever returning to operational status due the grievous wounds inflicted. Her innards were gutted in irreversible ways as part of the preservation efforts.

      WTF are they preserving then? Why not just make a replica hull out of paper mache and put that in a museum if they're throwing away all of the shit that makes it work?

    • by Mercano (826132)

      The main engines and associated plumbing were removed at NASA's behest, not the museums. NASA plans on reusing the them (and, unfortunately, disposing of them) on the first three flights of the new SLS rocket.

      I believe they removed most of the tanks and plumbing from the RCS and OMS systems because the fuel they use is particularly nasty (they have to wear heavy-duty hazmat suits when working on them), and they were worried that the equipment would still be contaminated, even after it was purged, and most

      • ...most museums don't toxic self-igniting chemicals in their exhibit halls anyway...

        And why the hell not?!?!?!?!

    • Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If they were leaving them intact, then the tax whiners would crawl out to complain about NASA wasting money by not reusing their equipment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:52PM (#39383629)

    ...the shuttles *really* hate that.

  • I'm watching the "From Earth to the Moon" series right now, and t made me pretty sad to see the one shuttle with its guts all removed, and the other moving in to share the same fate. I wonder if the U.S. will ever have a manned space program again. If NASA is like a lot of other government agencies, there is a large percentage of the workforce that is getting ready to retire and without a program to enable hiring younger people, I imagine that manned U.S. space flight will be done.
    • Don't worry, I've been told that the free market will fund it!
    • by Shadowmist (57488)

      I'm watching the "From Earth to the Moon" series right now, and t made me pretty sad to see the one shuttle with its guts all removed, and the other moving in to share the same fate. I wonder if the U.S. will ever have a manned space program again. If NASA is like a lot of other government agencies, there is a large percentage of the workforce that is getting ready to retire and without a program to enable hiring younger people, I imagine that manned U.S. space flight will be done.

      Posts like this almost make me split my sides. For DECADES, I've been reading posts from legions of verbal Slashdotters who've been crying for the end of NASA's manned space program. And now that they've actually gotten their desire, they're just as frothing mad as ever.

  • Nothing. They're MACHINES people! They're JUST machines....
  • Give it time, someone will argue it.

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