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2 Shuttles??

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posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 02:23 PM
Anyone else find it odd we have 2 Shuttles on the launch pad at once?

I've read the reason but seems odd....maybe we have a miracle rescue about to take place?

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:12 PM
Omg, an fast getta way ??
Do you have any links for a source, or is it just a question you have ?

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:38 PM
I saw about that on the news. I forget exactly what was said, but it was something about one was going to the space station and the other was set up just incase there is going to be a rescue operation.

I thought that to be wierd as well. To my knowledge they havent set up two shuttles, incase one needs to be rescued, before.

I know the space shuttles are out of date hunks of metal and they are retiring that design in 2010, however why would this be neccasary?

Why would they set up another, just in case? I don't recall them doing this before.It is as if they are expecting/planning on something to go wrong.

I have the impression that they know something about the shuttle launch that they arent telling us... But then again that could just be all the Conspiracies that I read about on a daily basis, getting to me...

EDIT TO ADD: Here is a small article from NASA, about their "reasons" for doing this.

It is pretty much what I said above. The extra shuttle is there just in case anything goes wrong.... Why are they expecting/planning for something to go wrong. I asked around and no one I asked can remember them doing something like this before.( Most of the people I asked have been around as long as NASA and longer.)

[edit on 18-4-2009 by gimme_some_truth]

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:47 PM
Previous shuttle missions have been to the ISS, where the astronauts could take shelter until a rescue could be performed. Since the shuttle is going to be visiting Hubble, which is in a different orbit than the ISS, using the ISS as a life raft in case the shuttle is damaged during take-off is not an option.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:48 PM
reply to post by gimme_some_truth

Better safe than sorry I suppose, I imagine trying to mobilise a shuttle on short notice takes quite a while.

I think the danger factor is due to the shuttle going out to deeper space, no shuttle has ventured out there for a while.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:52 PM
I read it's for an emergency rescue mission for the crew of the other shuttle as they make repairs during a spacewalk.

According to NASA it's only a "precaution" but then again they've never done something like this before have they? Perhaps they are fearfull of outside forces attempting to mess with repairs and or equipment?

Just throwing it out there. I figure however that if something did go wrong they would never have the time to launch and reach them to be able to do anything significant.


posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:55 PM
The NASA article states:

this marks the final time that two shuttles will be on the launch pads at the same time

The strong implication being that there have been many previous occasions when 2 shuttles have been on the lauch pads at the same time. And therefore it's unusual only insofar as it's not likely to happen again.

I would be asking why NASA are si sure it won't happen again?

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 03:57 PM
Well, there is a lot more space junk out there now, after the Chinese blew up a satellite, and after that collision of two satellites. Space is more dangerous now, so it does make sense to have a backup plan.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 04:03 PM
That seems really strange to me. If it was just a precaution, then why haven't they done this before? I'm inclined to think that there's a less-obvious reason for putting both shuttles out like that. I'd rule out planned and unplanned rescue missions (unplanned because it hasn't happened before and planned because everyone knows they're both out there and how would NASA look if something went wrong now?). I think it's a cover for something else but I'm not sure what.
Possibilities range from the mundane (needed the storage space clear for some reason) to the incredible (ATS-ers go wild!).

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 04:05 PM
The shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch on the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope sometime on or about May 12, 2009. The shuttle Endeavour will fly a STS-400 contingency rescue mission if something should prevent Atlantis from returning safely.

Contingency rescue missions have been prepared ahead of all shuttle launches since the Columbia broke up on reentry during STS-107 on February 1, 2003. These missions have usually been prepared using the next orbiter scheduled to fly being prepared for a potential rescue mission and being kept inside the the Vehicle Assembly Building. Should the need to launch a rescue mission arise, the crew of the orbiting shuttle would be able to stay on board the International Space Station while waiting for a rescue shuttle to launch and return them to Earth.

STS-125 is the only mission in the post-Columbia flight series which will not fly to the International Space Station. Therefore, Atlantis' crew on this mission will not be able to take refuge at the station if there is a problem with the orbiter. As shuttles have relatively limited power, life support, and consumable resources - only enough for ~2 weeks - when compared to the space station, any mission tasked with rescuing STS-125 would need to launch within approximately weeks in order to rescue the crew before they ran out of food, water, air, and power. This means that Endeavour needs to be on the pad in order to meet the requirements for an STS-400 rescue mission - it cannot stage out of the VAB, as previous contingency resuce missions have been able too. The timeline for a rescue mission is, in this case, much tighter than a mission to the station.

You might ask why Atlantis could not simply rendezvous with the station and wait for rescue there. The answer is that the two spacecraft orbit at different heights and at different orbital inclinations. It is not within the shuttle's capabilities to change from the orbit of one to the other, at least not within the timeline that would be necessary to sustain a crew.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 04:11 PM
reply to post by Essan

You're right it has happened several times:

but it seems to be the first time a rescue shuttle has been prepared early.

[edit on 18/4/09 by Chadwickus]

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 04:32 PM
Endeavour is being prepped early, because it has a mission to fly after being done as STS-400. Once it's no longer needed as STS-400, it becomes STS-127, and heads to the ISS. It's POSSIBLE that they're going to launch it three days after STS-125 launches, so we'll have two shuttles in orbit at once. By then they'll know if -125 suffered any damage or not. If it's not needed as STS-400, they may launch to the ISS. If not, they launch as STS-127 June 13th.

STS-127 will carry the last two components of the Japanese Experiment Module. STS-123 and -124 took up the first two components, the Pressurized Module and the Remote Manipulator System. STS-127 will carry the Exposed Facility and the Experiment Logistics Module and install them. Once complete it will be the largest module of the ISS. They'll also carry several cargo pallets, and a satellite with them on -127.

As previously stated, Hubble Service Missions can't make the ISS if something goes wrong, so they have to have another shuttle ready to get them. If they have to launch as STS-400, they'll launch with three astronauts on board, transfer everyone over to Endeavour from Atlantis, and then deorbit Atlantis. Depending on the severity of he problem they MAY leave two astronauts on Atlantis to try to bring it in, but that's doubtful. Most likely they'll deorbit her in the upside down orbital attitude, and allow her to burn up.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 04:52 PM
This is the exact reason that the Hubble Service Mission was almost scrapped a few years ago (which would have meant a firey death for Hubble more sooner than later)...

...As others have stated, after the Columbia disaster, NASA protocol required to shuttle crew to be able to take safe refuge aboard the ISS in the case that the shuttle is so far damaged that it cannot return to Earth safely.

Because the shuttle mission to repair Hubble would not allow for them to take emergency refuge in the ISS, another shuttle needs to be prepped and ready to go if a rescue mission becomes necessary.

This, of course, is very costly, thus the near cancellation of the Hubble repair mission. However, NASA felt that the Hubble is a valuable enough tool to spend the extra money on.

Originally posted by Zaphod58
...Depending on the severity of he problem they MAY leave two astronauts on Atlantis to try to bring it in, but that's doubtful. Most likely they'll deorbit her in the upside down orbital attitude, and allow her to burn up.

Zaphod --
I have a quick question about this. Is it possible to bring the shuttle in for a landing on autopilot, with nobody on board? I'm wondering if that would be an option if it becomes too damaged to risk the astronauts lives, but not so damaged that it is "definitely doomed".

[edit on 4/18/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 05:29 PM
I'm a little confused, not so much by the early prep, more by the mission numbers, STS125 Atlantis is to repair Hubble, and Endeavour is classified as STS 400, and on standby as a rescue mission should the unthinkable occur, then when the Atlantis mission is achieved and returned home, Endeavour then is to move launch pad, and then be reclassified as STS 127.

So will the STS 400 be reclassified as STS 126? what happened to that designation? I'm a little confused as I said, not to big on Shuttle designations as you can see.

Can someone please explain it?

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 05:52 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

The Buran was capable of that, but the US shuttles aren't, without a mod at the ISS. There was talk about making them capable of landing unmanned early in the program, but I think they decided it would add weight to the shuttle that wasn't needed or something along those lines. Apparently the ISS has a cable that would allow them to land remotely, but it would have to be installed while they were docked there.

One of the reasons that Endeavour is being prepped on the pad is the duration that the shuttle can stay up when it's not attached to the ISS. If they were docked with the ISS, they would have 40 days to launch a rescue. On its own, up at the Hubble, they can't stay up for as long (only 23 days before they run out of power).

Reply to azzlin

STS-126 flew November 14th 2008 and landed at Edwards AFB November 30th. Shuttle missions don't always go in order (weather delays, mission delays etc), but there is a method to their madness. Initially they were going to launch shuttles from Vandenberg AFB, so they came up with the most confusing system possible to identify launches. Originally they went something like this, STS-41B, STS-51L, etc. The first number denoted they fiscal year the launch took place, so -41B was in 1984. The second number denoted which launch site they went from, with 1 being KSC, and 2 being Vandenberg. The letter at the end denoted which mission it was, so A would be 1, B would be 2, etc.

After STS-51L (Challenger) in 1986, they went back to a normal sequence. The first launch after that became STS-26, since 51L was the 25th launch attempt.

Now for the answer to your question...... STS-125 was originally scheduled to launch after May of 2008 (which would have put it ahead of STS-119), but was slipped to October of 2008 because of a problem on Hubble, and a manufacturing delay by Lockheed (they make the external fuel tanks). Lockheed was making production changes to the tanks, and would have had to produce two at the same time, one for Atlantis, and one for Endeavour.

Atlantis initially rolled out to the pad on September 4th, after a delay caused by Tropical Storm Fay, but there was a failure on the Hubble on the 27th. On October 20th they rolled Atlantis back to the VAB to remove her from the boosters and tank, to allow STS-119 to use them. She was mated to the new Stack on the 23rd of March, and rolled out to the pad on the 31st of March.

[edit on 4/18/2009 by Zaphod58]

[edit on 4/18/2009 by Zaphod58]

[edit on 4/18/2009 by Zaphod58]

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 06:02 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

Here's more information about it (I figured I'd make another reply to avoid confusion over rewriting my reply to you from a few minutes ago).

It's called the RCO IFM cable. It's the Remote Control Orbiter In Flight Maintenance cable, and it's 28 feet long with 16 connectors. It allows the APUs to be activated, Air Data Probe to be deployed, Main Landing Gear to be armed and deployed, drag chute to be armed and deployed, and the fuel cell reactant valve to be closed.

It was flown up to the ISS on STS-121, and will stay up there until the last mission next year. If they have to use it, then they plan to land at Vandenberg AFB, with White Sands being a possible alternate. Vandenberg would be used, so that if something were to happen during landing they could ditch in the ocean, and not put any population centers at risk.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 06:19 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Thanks for the info

I knew that modern passenger jets can actually land by themselves (no pilot needed -- not even "remote controlled" -- just the autopilot computer), but I didn't know if the Shuttle had the avionics to do so.

Thanks again.

[edit on 4/18/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 06:47 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

Yeah, that's one of the problems that 747-400 crews had for a long time (and might still have). They were losing their ratings because the plane flew them down to 50 feet before they took over.

Speckled Trout was the first "real" autoland system used on a plane. It was a C-135, tail number 61-2669 (we had her sister ships 61-2668, and 61-2671 at Hickam for years), and flew the Chief of Staff of the Air Force around. That was a VERY interesting bird. They worked out a deal with many of the aerospace giants, where the Air Force would allow them to install equipment (at their expense), and the Air Force would test it for them while they were on missions, or between missions depending on the equipment. They had a computer system in the cockpit that did nothing but relay aircraft position and data every 15 minutes over the Satcom to a place in Massachusetts.

I'm gonna miss the shuttle when she's gone though. I've grown up watching missions, and it'll be sad to see her retired. We're going to try to get down to KSC for a launch before the last one. I might try to make it for the last one, just to say I was there for that one.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 07:05 PM
I believe something is up we are not being told about. If Israel attacks Iran in a couple of days things could get sticky.

posted on Apr, 18 2009 @ 07:47 PM
reply to post by amari

And what good is having two shuttles on the pad? Endeavour doesn't even have a payload on board, until it becomes STS-127.

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