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Doodler
2004-Jul-26, 02:46 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/07/23/space.station.reut/index.html

They're going to finish it, or are they? What are they referring to by "complete"?

God, I wish they'd make up their minds... #-o

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 04:09 PM
I hate to be the one to break this to people...

The shuttle will never fly again. Your government will not tell you this now, because it will make people like you, depressed and angry at the incumbant political party. Considering everthing else, It will make you feel like the USA's greatest days are behind it, which they are. Expect the announcement shortly after the election, or early next year.

The ISS requires the Shuttle, and no other vehicle in existance can replace it. That means the ISS program is also over.

Man... I dont like doing this but...

The shuttle has a fundamental design flaw. That was the conclusion way back in 1987, and even before. The orbiter is oriented next to those solid rocket boosters. No amount of engineering can fix this inherently unsafe system. Both accidents were a direct result of that orientation.

Furthermore, a rocket design allows for the possibility of safe egress of the crew in a lauch failure, and with the Columbia accident, a re-entry pod is also safer. Just after the Columbia incident, a Russian re-entry pod lost all computers and tumbled 500 miles off course. It took a little while, but the crew was recovered safely.

There is an engineering ethic in play now. It has resulted in Americans driving the safest cars in the world. The safest medicines. The cleanest water. The safest buildings. Etc... Dont build and operate a machine that you know will harm people, if it cant be made safe, no humans fly.

It is un-natural to feel grief over the ending of a government program. That grief is a monument to the greatness of America. But this era of space exploration has ended. American space exploration will continue. For now at least, that does not include human space flight.

I beleive the announcements earlier this year (or was it late last year?) were flying in the face of the facts. In a very American way, an attempt to defy reality. It was worth a try, "Shake the trees" they say. Maybe if this level of excitement can be injected into the community, someone will find a way. It wasn't to be.

ToSeek
2004-Jul-26, 04:22 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/07/23/space.station.reut/index.html

They're going to finish it, or are they? What are they referring to by "complete"?


This. (http://images.spaceref.com/news/2004/07.23.04.iss.technical.config.lg.jpg)

Accompanying article (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=14655)

Imbored2001
2004-Jul-26, 04:28 PM
You may be right, you may be wrong, theres no real way to tell for sure. However, the shuttle returning to flight is definitly not out of the question yet. The fact that they are still pouring money into the program says that they still have some hope. If they believed that it was hopeless as you say, they would be using the money for other more important things.

Sure the shuttle design may be flawed, and may not be the safest design out there but its what we have. We drive in cars that are supposedly the safest in the world, but there is still that risk of accidents that take lives. Nothing in this world is completly safe. Without taking any risks, our society would not nearly be as far along as it is today.

ToSeek
2004-Jul-26, 04:55 PM
Still working hard on return to flight:

Shuttle slowly regains shape (http://www.floridatoday.com/news/space/stories/2004b/spacestoryN0724DISCOVERY.htm)


Workers have secured nearly all of its refurbished wing panels. Its nose is back. And while it's missing engines and needs some tile work, the orbiter is expected to be powered up this weekend, the prelude to important pre-flight tests.

"We've had this orbiter torn apart for structural inspections, wire inspections," NASA vehicle manager Stephanie Stilson said Friday at Kennedy Space Center. "We've put it back together. Now we've got to power up those systems and make sure they're working properly. So there's a lot of work still ahead of us to do."

Discovery was in the middle of an overhaul when Columbia was destroyed a year and a half ago. Eventually, it was designated as the ship that would return the fleet to space.

When orbiters go into the garage for a big tune-up, they undergo a number of modifications. In the wake of the Columbia disaster, even more changes were deemed necessary before the shuttles can return to flight.

Jpax2003
2004-Jul-26, 04:55 PM
I hate to be the one to break this to people...

Your government will not tell you this now, because it will make people like you, depressed and angry at the incumbant political party. Considering everthing else, It will make you feel like the USA's greatest days are behind it, which they are. This sounds political to me. We try to avoid politics on this board.

Hamlet
2004-Jul-26, 05:17 PM
I hate to be the one to break this to people...

The shuttle will never fly again. Your government will not tell you this now, because it will make people like you, depressed and angry at the incumbant political party. Considering everthing else, It will make you feel like the USA's greatest days are behind it, which they are. Expect the announcement shortly after the election, or early next year.

Your not breaking any news here. The thought that the Shuttle may never fly again has been actively discussed. How do you know how it would make me feel? It certainly wouldn't make me think that our greatest days are behind us. Please don't consign my county to the dustbin of history, just yet. :)



Man... I dont like doing this but...


Your not exactly talking to neophytes here, so don't worry about shattering any illusions you think we may have.



The shuttle has a fundamental design flaw. That was the conclusion way back in 1987, and even before. The orbiter is oriented next to those solid rocket boosters. No amount of engineering can fix this inherently unsafe system. Both accidents were a direct result of that orientation.

I think you would find agreement here that the Shuttle design has many flaws. The Columbia accident was not related to the SRB's as you suggest, but to a strike from insulating material from the external tank.



Furthermore, a rocket design allows for the possibility of safe egress of the crew in a lauch failure, and with the Columbia accident, a re-entry pod is also safer. Just after the Columbia incident, a Russian re-entry pod lost all computers and tumbled 500 miles off course. It took a little while, but the crew was recovered safely.

Yes, and there was a Russion re-entry pod that had a faulty pressure valve that killed the crew who weren't wearing pressure suits. I don't think we can make such a blanket statement about safety.



There is an engineering ethic in play now. It has resulted in Americans driving the safest cars in the world. The safest medicines. The cleanest water. The safest buildings. Etc... Dont build and operate a machine that you know will harm people, if it cant be made safe, no humans fly.

Yet people still die in cars and medicines still make it to the market that cause unforseen side effects.



It is un-natural to feel grief over the ending of a government program. That grief is a monument to the greatness of America. But this era of space exploration has ended. American space exploration will continue. For now at least, that does not include human space flight.

Why is it unnatural? The space program is more than just an government program. Many of us have a deep emotional attachment to it. I would certainly grieve for it without the slightest thought that it was unnatural.



I beleive the announcements earlier this year (or was it late last year?) were flying in the face of the facts. In a very American way, an attempt to defy reality. It was worth a try, "Shake the trees" they say. Maybe if this level of excitement can be injected into the community, someone will find a way. It wasn't to be.

I guess will have to wait and see.

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 05:19 PM
I hate to be the one to break this to people...

Your government will not tell you this now, because it will make people like you, depressed and angry at the incumbant political party. Considering everthing else, It will make you feel like the USA's greatest days are behind it, which they are. This sounds political to me. We try to avoid politics on this board.

I tried making it sound as non political as possible. The incumbant party had nothing to do with the shuttle accident, but if they were to announce the end of the shuttle, say tomorrow, it would make them look bad. It would make them look as though they were accpeting defeat. Something the incumbant party doesnt do.

Furthermore, does anyone here really think the US military industrial complex is going to finish the ISS only to hand it over to the Russians in 5 years??? Im sorry, that doesnt even come close to passing the smell test. This is in the face of the notion that there will be no more shuttle flights, unless they are ISS construction missions.

Also, back to the edge of politics. 250,000 people will be affected by the canceling of the shuttle program, when it comes. Again, it is an election year, and the government doesnt lay off 250,000 civil servants in an election year. That money is being poured in to keep them on the job, at least through this year.

I am posting this, not to provoke political discussion. I am posting because the root thread asked what is happening, why the mixed signals. I am just telling him, what is happening and why. That happens to intersect with politics. Some politics is required to understand why and how the shuttle will be decommissioned.

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 05:50 PM
I think you would find agreement here that the Shuttle design has many flaws. The Columbia accident was not related to the SRB's as you suggest, but to a strike from insulating material from the external tank.



Nothing to do with the SRB's. Yes, everything to do with the overall configuration. Both accidents were a direct result of that configuration.




Yes, and there was a Russian re-entry pod that had a faulty pressure valve that killed the crew who weren't wearing pressure suits. I don't think we can make such a blanket statement about safety.


Well, we can. A computer failure would destroy a re-entry mode shuttle on every occasion, with out any chance of success. Shuttle 100% requires a computer, Russian system has been shown to be resilient in computer failure. Also I would submit, the valve failure did not destroy the re-entry probe, and shuttle astronauts could be killed by a valve failure also, but for pressure suits.







There is an engineering ethic in play now. It has resulted in Americans driving the safest cars in the world. The safest medicines. The cleanest water. The safest buildings. Etc... Dont build and operate a machine that you know will harm people, if it cant be made safe, no humans fly.

Yet people still die in cars and medicines still make it to the market that cause unforeseen side effects.


Yet, we recall medicines that we know will harm patients, even if the patient is willing to take the risk. For example, Fen-Phen, when we knew it caused heart problems, it was recalled and decertified as medicine. How about the Ford Pinto?







It is un-natural to feel grief over the ending of a government program. That grief is a monument to the greatness of America. But this era of space exploration has ended. American space exploration will continue. For now at least, that does not include human space flight.



Why is it unnatural? The space program is more than just an government program. Many of us have a deep emotional attachment to it. I would certainly grieve for it without the slightest thought that it was unnatural.



Because in regards to your civic duties, you are supposed to be impassion ate. Swayed more by facts than emotions. The Space program is only a government program, however a very dramatic and popular one. I have attended three shuttle launches, when I was lucky enough to live in the cape in 91. You wont find a shuttle fan much bigger than me.

In high school, soooo long ago, I attended space camp.




I guess will have to wait and see.

Indeed.

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 05:56 PM
Still working hard on return to flight:

Shuttle slowly regains shape (http://www.floridatoday.com/news/space/stories/2004b/spacestoryN0724DISCOVERY.htm)


Perhaps the most ominous words in that article are:



We are not going to fly until we're safe to fly. That's the bottom line.

Spacewriter
2004-Jul-26, 06:19 PM
DK,

Are you saying that scientists are not to show any emotion over the loss of a space station or a shuttle or a telescope? If so, then you have less understanding of human nature than I thought.

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 08:31 PM
DK,

Are you saying that scientists are not to show any emotion over the loss of a space station or a shuttle or a telescope? If so, then you have less understanding of human nature than I thought.

Not at all. I am saying the emotion should not sway their decision making, for me at least, the shuttle remains a subject of strong emotions. It would seem it is at least partially emotional to you too.

Dont let that emotion get in the way of the facts. The shuttle has had two failures related to its unique configuration. In addition, it is old. Even if it does fly again, it will only operate 5 more years. Then, only in a capacity to finish building the ISS, which we are handing over to the Russians, on the last shuttle flight.

Given the totality of the facts, I can not honestly say, the shuttle ~should~ fly again. If it does fly again, it will be political in nature. I dont see how that serves either science or space engineering.

tofu
2004-Jul-26, 09:36 PM
Well, we can. A computer failure would destroy a re-entry mode shuttle on every occasion, with out any chance of success. Shuttle 100% requires a computer, Russian system has been shown to be resilient in computer failure.

Wait. Are you suggesting that no manned space vehicles should have computers because the computers might fail??

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-26, 09:47 PM
Well, we can. A computer failure would destroy a re-entry mode shuttle on every occasion, with out any chance of success. Shuttle 100% requires a computer, Russian system has been shown to be resilient in computer failure.

Wait. Are you suggesting that no manned space vehicles should have computers because the computers might fail??

I am saying, all things being equal, you have a choice of two space craft. The only difference is, under certain circumstances, in the event of a computer failure, one of the craft will explode killing you and everyone on board. The other craft doesnt have this problem even when the computer crashes in those same circumstances.

Which space craft are you going to fly?

tofu
2004-Jul-26, 10:10 PM
I am saying, all things being equal, you have a choice of two space craft.
Welcome to the real world, where all things are not equal. I can't think of any real world situation where adding a computer to a vehicle results in, "The only difference is..., in the event of a computer failure, (it will) explode"

That is a totally unrealistic statement. It's as unrealistic as this: "imagine you have the choice of two automobiles. One has an airbag, but there is a small chance that the airbag will deploy during normal operation injuring you and causing you to veer off the road into the grand canyon, killing you, your family, several tourists, and a small dog. The other does not have an air bag. All things being equal, which one will you choose?"

Yeah. All things are not equal. They never are. The craft with the computer will most definitely be of higher performance. Even if it is not, it may very well have a better safety record than the craft without the computer. What if the computerized ship has a 99.999% safety record, but as you say, in the 0.001% chance of a computer mishap, it will crash and burn, and the non-computerized ship has only a 99% record because of the lower precision of the maneuvers it performs? It's clear that we should prefer the ship with the computer.

The shuttle orbiter is many times larger than the largest non-computerized space ship. That computer isn't in there for looks and it isn't in there to support a defense contractor and prop up the military industrial complex. The computer is there because it makes the shuttle safer. If the requirement is for an aircraft of that size and weight the only way to meet that requirement is through computerization.

My argument could be made in response to most of your points.

I'm sorry to have to say this Greg, but you sound to me like a Monday morning quarterback. If you yourself were in charge of the project to develop a reusable space plane, you might have made different decisions, but eventually one of your designs would have been lost too. Then someone else would be posting here saying, "Greg's design has an obvious flaw..." etc.

BigJim
2004-Jul-26, 10:31 PM
DK,

Are you saying that scientists are not to show any emotion over the loss of a space station or a shuttle or a telescope? If so, then you have less understanding of human nature than I thought.

Not at all. I am saying the emotion should not sway their decision making, for me at least, the shuttle remains a subject of strong emotions. It would seem it is at least partially emotional to you too.

Dont let that emotion get in the way of the facts. The shuttle has had two failures related to its unique configuration. In addition, it is old. Even if it does fly again, it will only operate 5 more years. Then, only in a capacity to finish building the ISS, which we are handing over to the Russians, on the last shuttle flight.


Greg, you seem to be making a lot of assertions unsupported by facts. Yes, the Shuttle, as every other spacecraft in existence, has a "unique configuration". The Soyuz also suffered two fatal accidents (Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11) and three very-near fatal accidents (Soyuz 5, Soyuz 23, Soyuz T-10-A), which also could have been said to be due to its own "unique configuration". Granted, a Challenger or Columbia-type accident could not happen to a Soyuz in quite the way that they happened to a Shuttle. However, a Soyuz 1 or Soyuz 11 type disaster also could not happen to a Shuttle in quite the way they happened to Soyuz. Every manned launch system has its own peculiarities, and to assert that the Shuttle's is somehow especially badly designed and dangerous is simply untrue. In fact, the Shuttle is statistically a safer vehicle than the Soyuz. The Shuttle may be old, but the Soyuz first flew in 1967, and no one's talking about retiring it yet. There are individual spacecraft, built and launched before the Shuttle, that are still operating today.

As for your remarks about the danger of the Shuttle's computers failing (which has never caused a loss of a Shuttle), are you suggesting that we build computerless spacecraft? The Soyuz has an antiquated computer design compared to the Shuttle's, which has a number of redundant computers that can take over in the event of a failure.


Also I would submit, the valve failure did not destroy the re-entry probe, and shuttle astronauts could be killed by a valve failure also, but for pressure suits.

Does it really matter whether the spacecraft is destroyed or not if the crew is lost?


Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:19 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jpax2003 wrote:
DoktorGreg wrote:
I hate to be the one to break this to people...

Your government will not tell you this now, because it will make people like you, depressed and angry at the incumbant political party. Considering everthing else, It will make you feel like the USA's greatest days are behind it, which they are.
This sounds political to me. We try to avoid politics on this board.


I tried making it sound as non political as possible. The incumbant party had nothing to do with the shuttle accident, but if they were to announce the end of the shuttle, say tomorrow, it would make them look bad. It would make them look as though they were accpeting defeat. Something the incumbant party doesnt do.

Furthermore, does anyone here really think the US military industrial complex is going to finish the ISS only to hand it over to the Russians in 5 years??? Im sorry, that doesnt even come close to passing the smell test. This is in the face of the notion that there will be no more shuttle flights, unless they are ISS construction missions.

Also, back to the edge of politics. 250,000 people will be affected by the canceling of the shuttle program, when it comes. Again, it is an election year, and the government doesnt lay off 250,000 civil servants in an election year. That money is being poured in to keep them on the job, at least through this year.


You're constantly asserting that the Shuttle program will be canceled. Why? What do you know that we don't? Why is NASA pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into making the Shuttles safer if some inner circle "knows" that the program will shortly be cancelled? Also, even if the STS does not fly again, a possibillity which has been discussed, NASA can move on to lunar and Mars exploration vehicles, and the development of a safer orbital vehicle. Manned spaceflight will not end with the shuttle, by any means. Also, we're not going to "hand the station over to Russia". We will continue to be in a partnership with Russia and the other member nations in managing the International Space Station. Shuttles aren't flying now, and Russia isn't "running" the station any more than NASA is; they're simply supplying the logistics and crew transport at this time.

skeptED56
2004-Jul-26, 10:56 PM
Well, we can. A computer failure would destroy a re-entry mode shuttle on every occasion, with out any chance of success. Shuttle 100% requires a computer, Russian system has been shown to be resilient in computer failure.

Wait. Are you suggesting that no manned space vehicles should have computers because the computers might fail??

He said that in case of a computer failure one craft will fail and the other would not. I don't think Greg is arguing against computers on manned spacecraft, but rather that the craft must not rely on said computer(s) for returning it's crew safetly to Earth incase of an emergency. That's what I think he meant anyway. :-?

[Edited for grammar]

paulie jay
2004-Jul-26, 11:13 PM
As sad as it is, accidents are going to happen. There is a perception among some of the "lay" poplulation that in this day and age space travel should be 100% foolproof - it should be as safe as getting out of bed in the morning. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that any time an astronaut blasts off they are risking their life. This isn't because of shoddy work - everyone is trying the best they can! It's just that sometimes accidents happen in spite of how much we want to prevent them.


As far as cancelling the shuttle program is concerned, if this were to happen I wouldn't be that upset - so long as the funding was redirected into other missions (manned or otherwise), and that the employees were found suitable employment.