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NASA Space

Discovery Launch a No-Go, Again 98

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Tech Fragments that says "NASA has yet again postponed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was due to launch today, because of a hydrogen leak in the vent line between the external fuel tank and main engines. The vent line is at the intertank region of the external tank and is the overboard vent to the pad and the flare stack where the vented hydrogen is burned off. ... The NASA launch team is resetting to preserve the option of attempting a Thursday night liftoff at 8:54 p.m. EDT depending on what repairs are needed and what managers decide. The Mission Management Team is meeting at 5 p.m. today to discuss the issue." You can watch for updates on NASA's Space Shuttle page, too.
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Discovery Launch a No-Go, Again

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  • by spyder-implee ( 864295 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @05:56PM (#27157939)
    It can't be fixed...
  • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @05:59PM (#27157975) Homepage
    Hence the need for a damn space elevator... We have to let go of our fixation on all things combustion. Let's just take that 800b and put it towards applied sciences and a golden age ye shall have!
  • The race... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retech ( 1228598 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @06:59PM (#27158789)
    It would seem that NASA is not as serious about the new space race as China. Someone will end up controlling the skies, just got to wonder whom.
  • by blagger99 ( 473150 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @07:05PM (#27158893)

    if you are an astronaut an the mission has been rescheduled like 3 times because of failiures on the ship would you fly on that? i wont, i guess that bird its to old to fly any more.

    You get a chance to fly into freaking space (ok LEO, but it's still space) and you're going to say no because the craft needs some maintenance? I'm going to guess you never bungie-jumped or sky dived.

  • by ZankerH ( 1401751 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @07:48PM (#27159533)

    I believe they fly it for about half the launches to the ISS (the other half fly the opposite angle southward). The 51.6 degree orbit carries it pretty close to the angle of the coastline.

    Actually, all launches to ISS from Kennedy Space Center follow that course. For some reason, Cuba doesn't like American stuff in their airspace, so the descending node (southward) launch window is never used.

  • by lenehey ( 920580 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @07:49PM (#27159549)
    ..not just for NASA but for the "hydrogen-based economy," which could be nothing but a pipe-dream but for which a great deal of research is nevertheless ongoing.

    Hydrogen is not an easy gas to contain -- the atoms are so small they can penetrate most materials. Hydrogen is odorless and colorless, so leaks can go undetected. This can cause unknown problems. For exmaple, once released into the atmosphere hydrogen could increase greenhouse gasses due to uptake of hydroxyl radicals, which would otherwise react with and remove the greenhouse gasses.

    Solving problems in containing hydrogen is an important step and we have NASA to thank once again for being among the first to meet new technological challenges.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:13PM (#27159855)

    The vent line is at the intertank region of the external tank and is the overboard vent to the pad and the flare stack where the vented hydrogen is burned off

    Its the fucking hydrogen line from the storage tank to the engine. How hard was that to write?

    I tried to call NASA to see if they needed my 32ft aluminum ladder to replace the line but they said they had it covered.

  • by synthesizerpatel ( 1210598 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:27PM (#27160035)

    The manta of 'It's ready when it's ready' should always apply in scientific efforts like this -- it's a life and death gamble with millions of variables for the astronauts not to mention the far less important but still relevant raw costs of researching, constructing, testing the shuttle.

    It's worth the time to make sure everything is working right. Everyone who takes the risk to go into space and work on the tax-payer's dime deserves to come home to their family.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:57PM (#27161475) Journal

    We might have the materials science on the cutting edge in 100 years.

    If we devoted proper resources to it we could do it in much less than that. With the focus of the coal industry on carbon sequestration, what better way to sequest some of the carbon? Unfortunately innovation within the coal industry is how best to burn it. Since CNT have to be produced in a hot vapour state what better place to have the industrial process to make them than when the carbon is already hot and burnt?

    If the worlds population is to expand any further then a new building material will be needed so we can colonise the oceans *and* space as well as improve our ability to create large land base structures. I would see uses for CNT beyond just a S.E.

  • Re:The race... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:54AM (#27162371)

    You honestly believe that in the next two years China can catch up on the last 40 years of NASA R&D? They would have to land a man on the moon, develop and launch a space telescope better than the JWST, they would have had to land and operate rovers on Mars 3 years ago, since we've already operated rovers on Mars for 5 years, construct a global satellite communications network, and a global satellite positioning system. They aren't even close to being near where the US is, nobody is. We've been miles and miles ahead for decades.

    Of the 5,736 satellites that had been launched by 2006, China was responsible for a whopping 99, while the US and Former Soviet Union have launched 5,043. The only way they're going to catch up in the next two years is if everyone but the Chinese begins traveling faster than the speed of light. With the relativistic effects, the Chinese may have a shot.

    Nice shot at the NASA budget by the way. Were you aware that it was over 10 times higher than the Chinese space budget in 2007? In 2008, the CSNA budget was $1.3B, whereas the NASA budget was over $17B, with another $21B going to the DoD Space Budget. I know that it's vastly easier to follow in the footsteps of somebody else who is actually doing all the tough, expensive research, without performing any real cutting edge research, but if they were to catch up to us, then pass us, wouldn't it require them to spend nearly as much money as us? Even assuming they can just steal all of our designs until they catch up, how are they going to pass us with less than 10% of the budget?

    What has you, and so many people like you, so convinced that we're going to be dominated in every field by other countries that are nowhere near catching us? Why do you hate this country so much? It's certainly not rational, we're so far ahead at this point even if we gave them the research and a couple of billion dollars a year, they'd still be dropping further back.

    Frankly, it would be great if some other countries stepped up and actually performed some notable space research of their own, rather than taking a free ride courtesy of our taxpayers. In 2009, the whole European Space Agency budget is only $4.85B, the Russian Federal Space Agency budget is only $2.2B, the official China National Space Administration budget is only $500M, and the Indian Space Research Organization budget is only $1.3B. Compared to the NASA budget of $17.3B, these sums are rather paltry. NASA is better funded than every other serious space agency in the world, combined, and you think they're going to catch us. We should seriously consider cutting back NASA funding until the rest of the world does have a chance to catch up, so we no longer have to pay to subsidize their space programs by performing all the hard R&D.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.