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Space Shuttle Moved to Launch Pad

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posted on May, 23 2006 @ 08:11 AM
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The Discovery orbiter has been moved onto its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, as part of preparations for a July lift-off.




The slow procession from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the pad took almost eight hours.

The space shuttle is scheduled to fly some time between 1 and 19 July.

It will be only the second shuttle flight since the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry three years ago, killing all seven astronauts.

Pointing skywards, the shuttle, already attached to its orange rocket fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters, inched along its four-mile (6.5km) journey atop a giant transport vehicle
Source: BBC.co.uk


I wasn't even aware NASA were going to launch another mission. I'm guessing it's another mission to the ISS?




posted on May, 23 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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I've never understood why they always move it out so far in advance. I would think it just leaves more chance of something going wrong from weathering.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 09:44 AM
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I caught part of the roll-out and the sunset... the lights were brought up on the orbiter from the transporter... most impressive. Big payload, big bird. I don't care what others say to denigrate the STS but I think it is one wailin' piece of hardware... I'd love NASA to give Canada the whole orbiter program... launch complex and all and ship it freight collect to Churchill Manitoba. Sure the shuttle has problems... it's rocket science and not for the faint of heart.

I hope it doesn't rot like Apollo... orbiters will need a good home (so much history). Imagine if Apollo would have gone past Deke Slayton and 18. Saturn 5 photos and video are cool but we were in the crowd on the 16th, day launch we were miles away... yet you could "feel it"... and the pillar of fire was like the sun. That moment, the car ride back to Northern Ontario and Neil A. Armstrong stepping on the moon "in the name of mankind" for my birthday was pretty much life changing.

I have reservations about the new system of putting humans in orbit on solid boosters exclusively... can't throttle them well, if at all, either. I hope it works out. My birthday is July 20th and since '69 I've loved this stuff. Best wishes for RTFv2 and ISS... I love the nadir mast view... is there a direct feed that can be accessed without breaking laws - outside of NASA-TV?

[edit on 23-5-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 09:46 AM
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That's me standing there by the pad with my arm stretched out thumb in the air trying to hitch a ride on that thing before they retire them. If NASA would give me a call I could be there in 20 hours depending on the number of cops on I-95.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by V Kaminski
I caught part of the roll-out and the sunset... the lights were brought up on the orbiter from the transporter... most impressive. Big payload, big bird.I don't care what others say to denigrate the STS but I think it is one wailin' piece of hardware...


You see, this is exactly the sign that the STS has failed. A vehicle is moved to the freaking launch pad and it makes the news. By now, this was supposed to be a routine procedure like you changing oil in your car (which doesn't make the news).

I know full well the technology involved is tough and dangerous but the idea of a reuseable vehicle (the shuttle) was to make space flight a routine procedure. It hasn't.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:15 AM
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Maybe they're going up to blow up the comet that some people are predicting will hit us in the next couple days.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

You know, like in the movie "Deep Impact"



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:19 AM
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Considering that it's a late July launch, that would be pretty impressive if they were going to blow up the comet that's about to hit us today.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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It was supposed to be routine procedure two decades ago... perhaps an unrealistic expectation?

I do like the Russian "gas and go" Khazak launches... quick, efficient, and cheap, doesn't kill often, held their 100th launch anniversary recently... Their hardware is so ugly it's beautiful. Buck Rogers meets Zil automobile. Amazing the difference in manifestations of techno-culture between the two huh? Some of the Energiya and Proton stuff over ay Ruskavia (and more) is impressive too. I want to see what the Japanese "family" corp's could achieve one day... I like their bikes and cars.

Using explosives to propel one's self into orbit can never be routine... but until then or AG tech or elevators or slings, I'd hang my thumb out too! Or failing that to be "the guy who presses the button to make it go"... orbital micro-gee, lookin' at everything "man". Sweet.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by Aelita
You see, this is exactly the sign that the STS has failed. A vehicle is moved to the freaking launch pad and it makes the news. By now, this was supposed to be a routine procedure like you changing oil in your car (which doesn't make the news).

I know full well the technology involved is tough and dangerous but the idea of a reuseable vehicle (the shuttle) was to make space flight a routine procedure. It hasn't.


This is what you get with government agencys. They have no reliable funding stream, it is all at the whim of Congress. You can't plan, you can't develope new equipment or cut waste. The only way that the Shuttle system would have worked is if it was done by private industry. A perfect example of this is the total number of shuttles that were built. They were barely out of the prototype stage when the funding for new shuttles was cut. There was no chance to take advantages of new technology. Everybody whines that they are 1970's technology, but whose fault was that? If they would have stuck to the original concept there would be about 40 Shuttles today. The older Shuttles would have been retired and new ones with updated technology would be replacing them. All you have to do is to look at the rest of the aircraft industry to see what I mean.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 06:32 PM
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NASA should give the shuttles to Russia, or lease 'em out for private people wanting to go up into space! Instant fund problem solved.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by xeroxed88
I wasn't even aware NASA were going to launch another mission. I'm guessing it's another mission to the ISS?

They still have to launch several missions in order to construct the ISS. I forget the exact number...but its over a dozen. all have to be done by the year 2010...which is when Nasa really focuses in on the CEV.


Originally posted by Darkpr0
NASA should give the shuttles to Russia, or lease 'em out for private people wanting to go up into space! Instant fund problem solved.

yeah...right. The shuttle costs billions per year...and for all its limitations...thats not a price tag anyone wants.

I have mixed feelings about this launch.

If it goes 100% successful...then Nasa will have to follow their current plan of putting ISS components in space, while developing the next-gen spacecraft systems.

But...If something goes wrong...like foam falling near or hitting the shuttle.....then what??? Will Nasa waste more years and more billions of dollars to continue on getting the shuttle to fly...which will be retired in 2010? Or will it (this is the option I like) - will Nasa cancell all remaining shuttle flights and put all their focus on the moon initiative, and have all the remaining ISS components be brought up by using EELV's (aka: Delta IV Heavy & Atlas 5 Heavy).



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 12:15 AM
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I too have mixed feelings about this launch. And the STS delivery of the last large components to ISS. Some of the remaining components, smaller stuff, could be sent up by almost any "medium-heavy" lift missile platform... redesigning the assembly choreography to accomodate different delivery platforms might be a bit of a challenge too.

This whole "get it done by 2010" business smells of a "go fever - go flight - go boom" accident waitin' to happen. They haven't really even finished RTF mods and evaluation. Playin' catch up, always have been?

Some stuff doesn't feel right, like the ET "making noises" on the barge and all the stress at NASA cuz of Katrina, and the budget hassles which it seems the GAO is freaking over... Dale and Griffin give me the "beancounter willies", DSN may not be able to handle the bandwidth for the moon even with upgrades, etc.

Yup, mixed feelings. I'm rootin' for the A Team tho'. I visited St. Hubert (CSA) back in '98 on a tour (an SGI freebie perk) and met Mdme. Payette (lovely woman with an awesome voice) shaking her hand, and I'd hate to think any mission with someone I've met and actually looked in the eye was doomed for money or schedule.

Sure it's risky but puttin' the cart before the horse isn't particularly "aero", and any failure could mean - no bucks, no moon, no mars, no vision. Why won't NASA be allowed to do it right?

Folks might want to check some of the proposed moon mission animations for the new fleet of vehicles... lots of reused tech, more complicated mission profiles than Apollo requiring multiple launches and whole bunches of stuff that leads one to believe that this is not an optimal clean-sheet design - all kinds of compromises to what (IMHO) should be a total next gen design.

Revisit the Apollo Saturn Class liquid boosters, rather than SRB tech but scale it up for a large LEM/Rovers/Payload/bots/arms/hab and whatever conceivable payloads currently are anticipated and then make it 10% larger just for good measure.

Something with enough power to give options for how much gee (unmanned can be much higher) and and flexible launch profiles. I'm thinkin' like 500 feet tall and 25% greater in diameter than the venerable Apollo, 4 stages. Something with some grunt to carry the radiation shielding of something more robust than a pop can.

Kind of Apollo MkII but Texas style, bigger, better and cost should not be an object but rather a source of national pride - kind of like owning a Harley and liking to pay retail. I want a 50 year project life and manufacturing geared for sustained but flexible production. A vehicle for mars and beyond.

Short of that one of those sporty triangles or AG disks might be a groove.

Thanx,

Victor K.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 10:21 AM
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I was just watching NASA TV... "The Last Man On The Moon" (and the guy who should be running manned spaceflight IMHO) Eugene Cernan said something rather profound," We need to get back to "The Saturn 5 Mentality again." and spoke very candidly about the validity of Von Braun's vision.

I'd have to agree with Dr. Cernan, America/NASA is the "Can-do" crew and to be hamstrung by the vulgarities of committee and budget and politics stinks of "we could if we wanted to" or "Can't-do-it-cuz". Dr. Cernan has it right, America needs the vision and clarity of purpose that a return to "Saturn 5 menatilities" would free.

Hi. Dr. Cernan? Canada calling. We have an entry level position vacancy as the director of the CSA (since Garneau went all political walk-about) and we'd like to know if you'd consider running our space program here in the third nation to make it to space, Canada. Name your price, write your own ticket, then set space history back on the track it should be...

Thanx,

Victor K.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 05:03 PM
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The Saturn V was one of the last shots fired in the US's "Get'r Done" style of space program. It was a fantastic rocket and had the brawn to get the job done. It's a shame they can't make another few. Today people just don't feel like they did in the P-38 Lightning days when money didn't matter-the fact that we could get to the moon did. Oh, the penny pinchers.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 05:52 PM
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It's not directly related to RTF but, some may wish to know that the core stage engine spec for the new heavy lifter is... drumroll... tada! The Rocketdyne RS-68 liquid fuel rocket motor. The first real revisit of liquid motor tech in 25 or so years in use on the Delta IV. The 1st stage cluster now looks more "Russian". This bird's gonna be pretty big, but not "that" big. Not Texas big... no chrome, no tailfins, known quantity.

These are reliable motors and I strongly approve the abandonment of SRB's as the only means of lift. They just saved some lives with this decision... No boost specs yet... from Commercial Space Watch. link

Now how are they gonna get around the little weight problem they just bought? Gonna need some fat, tall cyro tanks and a whole-lotta turbopump feeds in one spot right about where the fire is supposed to come out... carbon fiber? Fiberous ceramet? Both? Thermos-style double shell and bladder or "sneeze and it explodes" single shell.

Hmmm... I wonder if a gelled cyro-fuel is doable? Methane and NOS with LOX? Gonna need something more dense than hydogen with a higher BTU if the weight issue is going to be addressed. The design is still too "composite" but you can see "NASA's workin' the problem". I hope I live to see them go back to the moon let alone mars... This hardware is not "Mars" roadworthy. The moon?... it may just be the only ticket back. Go Rocketdyne! Make real good RS68's - lots of 'em, gonna need 'em all, and keep 'em coming.

Victor K.

[edit on 24-5-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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I was feeling all "warm anf fuzzy" thinking NASA has chosen liquid boosters to launch humans into space... I was wrong.

The liquids (RS-68's) that were chosen were for the hardware launch vehicle only. Wetware (human) launches are still on the SRB tech. I do not approve... down this path lies death.

Any human that allows themself to be propelled into orbit on a single SRB is engaging in extra-ordinary risk seeking behaviour. The chances for a Criticality One failure are too great and I hope they reconsider the quick and dirty solution of employing SRB's.

I'm not really impressed that they expect 10 refits per CEV before retirement either... sounds a bit pricey and more than just swapping out heatshields.

Thanx,

Victor K.

[edit on 26-5-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on May, 27 2006 @ 11:32 AM
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Uhm, kinda new to this subject. I have a question for you.. what's so dangerous about SRB?

Steve



posted on May, 27 2006 @ 11:39 AM
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If there was a meteor or asteriod wouldn't they call the aliens for help with their technological advancements.



posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:15 PM
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Thank you for asking! SRB's or solid rocket boosters have a couple of inherent problems that liquid fuel motors do not.

There are many complaints that launching humans on a single SRB is flawed and should NOT be a man rated launch vehicle. No one has dared do this yet... no space agency has launched a human on a single solid booster. No one has been foolish enough to try either.

Some reasons are related to what are known as "Criticality One" mafunctions or an event causing 100% loss of vehicle and crew. Some are related to the nature of SRB burn. Others are related to the lack of throttleability after ignition and yet other are related to the inability of an SRB to "gimbal" or thrust vector the exhaust stream. Manufacturing consistency is another lesser hassle too.

Lots will dispute my concerns... that's fine. I will put forward a couple of nightmare scenarios that may or may not come to pass if the crew launch vehicle is powered by a single SRB. OK three scenarios actually. A "part" or off center fire in an SRB burn. An SRB segmental joint burn through ala Challenger and the hung on the gantry (tower) misfire.

Know this, once ignition of an SRB has been initiated you can't shut it down for love or money. SRB's are pound for pound the most powerful lift per pound design.
No one has ever "ridden-out" an escape tower flight other than in some limited and old testing from the early years. And no one has ever been required to separate from a booster of any kind in the early boost phase let alone at the very high velocities that govern launch as it approaches MECO and booster sep... Imagine flying along at several thousand knots and getting a "light" on booster failure for whatever reason and having that dinky little tower "yank" you away from the failing perhaps (explosive) booster cleanly? Nope, ain't gonna happen. Dead astronauts.

SRB's don't gimbal like liquid motors... multi engine liquid boosters have this wonderful Goddard/Braun feature that allows them to steer the rocket with inputs from gyros should an engine fail or not produce the thrust results expected... astronauts lives have been saved by this feature. A single SRB with an inconsistent burn, say off center, that is, burning outward from the hollow core unevenly (non symetrically) can and does produce an off center thrust moment that craft like the shuttle compensate for very well using their gimbal'd main liqiud motors. Such a luxury is NOT present in SRB's so far... a bad burn off- center or even worse a "chunk-out" could make a launch vehicle have some wild flight dynamics... corkscrewing and or tumbling come to mind.

The big fear is an explosion during or after an SRB segmental joint "burn-through" and the ignition of the solid fuel strata (think of stacked hollow cylinders with an outer metal flanged shell filled with solid explosives and a burn aperture in the center) between segments in an uncontrolled manner leading to burn through and an unanticipated new thruster plume poking out the side of the rocket. SRB's are fine for unmanned launches and are even acceptable in combination with liquids like on the STS and Delta IV's, but to put humans on a single SRB is just asking for trouble in ways that have already been proven fatal.

I really like NASA. This launching method I'm not so impressed by, and hope they change it before the program goes too much further. They even chose liquids for the "hardware" launch vehicles. Maybe they'll decide to do the same on the crew launch vehicle too.

Thanx,

Victor K.


[edit on 27-5-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 05:26 PM
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I was at the Vehicle Assembly Building when they crawled it out. It's a quite impressive sight to see - the crawler moves so slow. I took some close up shots of the shuttle if any of you all are interested.

my.fit.edu...

my.fit.edu...

I think that one is an interesting shot.

By the way, I am an employee at NASA if you're wondering how I got photos. I work for Electrostatics & Surface Physics, and I've been working for that lab for a little over a year.



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