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NASA Space

Endeavor Launch Pad Being Rebuilt Piece By Piece 48

dangle writes "The Exposition Park museum in LA is working to rebuild the Endeavor launch stack, a display that will take thousands of pieces to complete due to parts that are scattered at NASA facilities, museums and other places across the U.S. Most are one of a kind and impossible to replicate. Dennis Jenkins, who spent his entire 30-plus year career sending the shuttles into space, is playing a key role in locating essential parts using his own and his colleagues' institutional memory. Employed by NASA contractor Martin Marietta, he helped write the software used in loading and controlling the liquid oxygen needed to launch the 2,250-ton shuttle assembly into low Earth orbit. Now, with the program part of a bygone era of exploration, the 57-year-old works for the California Science Center, helping officials figure out how to rebuild Endeavour."
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Endeavor Launch Pad Being Rebuilt Piece By Piece

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  • by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:25AM (#46506263)
    You mean spending $250 million dollars to restore Endeavor to its original flight worthy condition through the use of original, certified parts so that it can be on display for middle schoolers for their field trips to the Science Center may not be a particularly sound idea when "this ship has been in space dozens of times" would still have them saying WOAH! even if a 30lb retention bolts shown connecting the shuttle to its fuel tank couldn't really hold the sheering force of a launch?
  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:35AM (#46506373)

    Some of the more stressed components might find suitable low quality substitutes given that we will NEVER load the fuel or try and launch.

    Until the day comes when the plucky hero/heroine realizes that a "nearly ready to launch" Space Shuttle is located at Exposition Park museum in LA, which will do very nicely for ramming the mother ship of the baby elephants, thereby forcing them into submission.

  • by djlemma ( 1053860 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:39AM (#46506425)
    You... don't really get "museums," do you? They're trying to preserve history. Are you really saying a museum shouldn't try to use the original historic parts when they're available, just because it's harder to acquire a few of them? Do you really think middle schoolers are the best metric to rate the value of a preservation effort?
  • by scotts13 ( 1371443 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:39AM (#46506427)

    Here is - quite literally - a fu*king rocket scientist devoting his time and energy NOT towards building a better world or improving the advancement of our society. Instead, he's spearheading a massive effort to construct a self-congratulatory museum-piece.

    If you want a textbook illustration for the meaning of "decadence" in the context of a civilization, you can read it in the above.

    This rocket scientist has had his career, he's put in his 30. If he wants to devote his retirement to helping make sure people don't forget what we were once capable of, more power to him.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10