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Space Science

Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off 445

An anonymous reader writes "CNN is reporting that the Space Shuttle Discovery has lifted off, marking the United States' returned to manned space flight for the first time since the Columbia disaster in February 2003"
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Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:02AM (#13165144)
  • Camera Views (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deinhard ( 644412 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:02AM (#13165149)
    What was fascinating about this launch were the number of cameras catching the action. Watching the orbiter separate from the main tank from the tank itself was fantastic.
  • Incredible! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Paska ( 801395 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:02AM (#13165154) Homepage
    That was incredible, sitting in my chair at Australia watching the live NASA TV really gave me goose-bumps. God speed to the crew, and a few rounds of applaud to the people at Nasa.

    The footage on Nasa TV was the best I've ever seen, keep it up Nasa - Fantastic work!
  • A toast! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gamingboy ( 901447 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:04AM (#13165185)
    I propose a toast:

    To Apollo One!
    To Challenger!
    To Columbia!
    To all those we have lost in the pursuit of human understanding and knowledge!

    Long live exploration!
    Long live science!
    Long live Earth!

  • Liftoff! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UMhydrogen ( 761047 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:06AM (#13165217) Homepage
    I got to watch the liftoff while at work, at a place where many of the parts of the shuttle were built. It was pretty cool watching it next to guys who had helped build it! All their explanations definitely made the launch even more exciting. God speed to the crew and lets hope they have a successful mission and a safe return!
  • I wonder.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pickyouupatnine ( 901260 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:06AM (#13165222) Homepage

    I wonder if the amount of $$ being spent on running the current space shuttle program is worth it.. or if that money would be better spent in not going to space for the next 5 to 10 years and developing something to replace the current shuttle program.

    Even after all the precautions, there were still NASA employees crying foul at today's launch date - which raises the question, "What will it take to convince all NASA employees so the general public can be then convinced to fully back this program?"

    Best of luck to the current crew. Hope they fly high and land safely.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:13AM (#13165312)
    By loading up X-Plane [] and flying the Space Shuttle [] to a nice successful landing.

    Pity X-Plane won't simulate the launch... or the ISS, but oh well.
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:24AM (#13165450) Homepage Journal
    really? there were really vultures?

    the german commentator i was listening to was having a great time detailing every single computer-state change down to the launch and even until SSRB detach .. so kraftwerk, it had me reaching for my vocoder...

    great that discovery is off. gonna hold my breath until the chutes' deployed and the handbrakes on, however ..
  • by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:25AM (#13165463)
    Here's to a successful mission AND an equally successful landing.


    I can still vividly recall the Challenger disaster vividly. I was in highschool in NH. Not the one Christa McAuliffe was from, but then NH is a small state so everybody was psyched. A friend told me he heard about the explosion on the radio. We listened for a little while before going to the cafeteria for lunch. One of the women serving lunch asked if I was ok (I guess I looked really pale) and I told her what had happened. She chuckled & said I must be joking. I snapped back at her, and I still remember it clearly: "Do you have a radio in here? Then turn it on!", then left. When I came back for more food a little while later they did have a radio on and she was incredibly apologetic. That's one of those days I'll probably remember for the rest of my life.
  • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@y a h o o . com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:28AM (#13165493)
    I gotta say that it was the best coverage of a launch I have ever seen, even better than NASA TV's coverage!

    I was watching HDNet's coverage before heading out to work - I can't wait to get home and watch the actual launch in HD (it's DVR'd). I did take note of the overall tone of the coverage, though, which was great - very little commentary at all, mostly just a run-down of what was happening at any given time. The goal was to inform, not to editorialize, and there was obviously no pressure to "fill in the gaps" left by silence. It really almost gave you a feeling of being there.

    Their coverage also began about three hours ahead of time, with at least half a dozen HD cameras (a few of their cameras were in SD, unavoidably). You really got to see everything, including the astronauts driving up to the launch pad, then riding up the elevator, suiting up and buckling in. The shots of the launch pad in HD looked really amazing, and I can just imagine what the launch itself looked like. I wish they'd show all launches like this!
  • Re:I wonder.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:37AM (#13165604) Journal
    I don't want all NASA employees convinced to fully back the shuttle program. The shuttle program is not the end-all of spacecraft. It's debatable how useful a step in space exploration it even was. It's an amazing feat of engineering, no doubt, but NASA does a lot of other stuff, stuff that gets underfunded in order to keep the shuttle going.

    I'm not sure what your take is on it. Your second paragraph seems to contradict what you said in the first? Do you think NASA should fire anyone that won't toe the line in regards to the management's talking points? That doesn't sound to productive for an agency with a scientific mission.

    What was interesting to me was that during the liftoff, the announcer said something to the effect of (paraphrasing) "We have launch of discovery, starting a new era of american space flight taking us to the moon, mars, and beyond!"

    I found that interesting because this shuttle launch, while nice, is not any sort of real step forwards to any of those goals. It's not a big step in terms of technology or procedures. It's another replay of something that was pretty much figured out 25 years ago. It's maybe a small step in public perception of the space program, but that's it. It's a new "era" in space flight only because we're so eager to shut everything down when things go wrong.

    I dunno, I'm just rambling now. I get this way when I see so much potential get drowned out in PR and politics, and the space shuttle continues to be an example of this.
  • Re:A toast! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Buran ( 150348 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:39AM (#13165631)
    To go to other places, we have to learn a lot about long duration space flight. You want to jump right to the end result without doing the hard work first. It's not going to happen. We do the work, we get the "cool stuff" you want. Not all of exploration is glamorous. A lot of it is just hard work.

    I'm 29 and this is still cool as hell. I'd love to be up there. You, apparently, have lost that sense of amazement. I'd hate to be like that in another four years.
  • Re:Camera Views (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Itchy Rich ( 818896 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:42AM (#13165681)

    It'd be pretty awesome to set up a ring of cameras around the launch and watch it in Matrix-style 'bullet-time'.

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:02PM (#13165951) Homepage
    I'm one of the people who think that the flight missions are pointless when all we do is go to the space station and have no real objectives (I'm more for the rovers) but watching the successful liftoff was breathtaking.
    I know it's an area that people have differing opinions, but it seems that there are two very valid goals for the space program, no?
    • learning more about physics on an astronomical scale (eg. how galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets form... learn more about the birth of the universe)
    • using space transportation and habitats on other planets as a way to safeguard the continued existance of human beings when future Extinction-level events [] occur. There's lots of evidence that extinction level events have happened in the past, and there's no doubt that semi-serious ones will occur in the future. Even recent recorded history has seen years when summer didn't occur []. And right now, it's an even bet whether nature will hurt humans most, of if it will be humans who create [] their own extinction-level event.
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:06PM (#13166011) Homepage Journal
    Anybody have any links to the TankCam of the SRB and/or ET sep?
  • by Jivecat ( 836356 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:15PM (#13166136) Homepage
    I agree that Miles is the very best we've got, but in terms of enthusiasm and sheer geekiness there was no one better than his predecessor, the late great John Holloman. Loved it when John would say "I'm not sure, let me check" and then haul out his 4-inch-thick binder of the Shuttle Operations Manual. Hey vultures, I've got some MSNBC commentator's bones for you to pick!
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica AT supjessica DOT com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:19PM (#13166191)
    MSNBC just showed the video a few times.. it fell off from the side/bottom of the big orange tank and it went out/down and away from the shuttle. so from the video, it seems it didnt hit the shuttle or anything
  • by tomlouie ( 264519 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @02:51PM (#13168314) Homepage
    If you have a surround sound rig, you can probably just mute the center channel, and boost the surround channels. That should raise the crowb noise enough to almost drown out the commentary.

    Even if you only have a two speaker (simple stereo) setup, you can connect the +left and +right wires to the two terminals of one speaker to get the L-R signal, which should be the surround sound, crowd noise. If you connect the +left and +right wires to one terminal of the speaker, and then ground the remaining terminal to -left and -right, you'll get the L+R signal, the commentator.

    Disclaimer: if bad things befall your hifi doing this, it's not my fault.

  • I disagree. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:43PM (#13168971)
    Perhaps, Tokyo should consider using Japan's arsensal high-performance computers to advance the state of the art in fighter aircraft and space vehicles. Designing these devices requires intensive numerical simulations which are ideally suited to such high-performance computers, which have been relegated to more mundane tasks like terrestrial simulations (e.g. weather simulation).

    I always hear people saying stuff like, "more powerful computers will allow us to build better aircraft and conquer cancer!!!!!"

    The truth is that a faster computer doesn't really give you much more capability, it just delivers that same capability to you faster. It's still people who need to feed the computers the information, and we are limited by our ideas.

    If we gave people in the 1940's a supercomputer, it wouldn't really have made their aircraft much different because they didn't even come up with many of the formulas yet. They didn't yet know what breaking the speed of sound would do, or what effect it would have on the plane's control surfaces. They need to discover the principles first, made formulas out of it next, and only then can you feed the formulas into a computer.

    Obviously this wouldn't apply if you were comparing a computer that was *so* slow that it couldn't perform the calulations in any decent amount of time, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

    There is only so much that computer calculations can do. They only solve problems that we create.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright