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skrap1r0n
2005-Aug-02, 07:32 PM
Quick Question regarding the Discovery mission.

It looks like they are going to attempt to make repairs to the fabric between the tiles, which may, or may not work. So that leads to a few questions.

First, if this shuttle is deemed insufficient for reentry, then how do the astronauts get home? The way I see it, sending another shuttle up could conceivable earn us 2 crews trapped. It seems to me that a couple of Soyutz capsules would be the safest bet.

Furthermore, what about discovery itself? do we leave it up there attatched to the ISS? Do we repair it in space and fly it back or can it be piloted in remotely?

formulaterp
2005-Aug-02, 08:01 PM
They're not really repairing the fabric spacers, they want to just yank them out. They seem quite confident of success.

If Discovery is determined to be unsafe for reentry, the first option is to send Atlantis up to rescue them from the ISS. A Soyuz rescue would probably require 4 flights, unless it can dock with ISS unmanned. Discovery would be abandoned and de-orbited over the ocean.

Opinion: If they seriously dump an otherwise perfectly good shuttle because of a couple square inches of fabric, we may as well give up on manned spaceflight alltogether.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Aug-02, 08:02 PM
Perhaps Soyuz can fly up without crew as the unmanned Progress spacecraft were derived from Soyuz. The Buran, a Russian version of Shuttle could fly by remote so perhaps Shuttle can do the same. I'm not sure if Soyuz is the answer for help, I know they have a mission on stand-by it gives crew 9 cubic meters of living space but I don't think the astronaut suits are very compatible with Soyuz, reentries are very reliable and safe but physically are hard on the occupants and people are fitted into a special mould that fits thier individual body and cosmonaut suit, plus Soyuz can't take more than three on a manned flight.

novaderrik
2005-Aug-02, 09:06 PM
the fillers they are pulling out are said to be the thickness of a playing card- nto a big deal, since shuttles routinely come back with the fillers sticking out a bit and even with entire tiles missing. but the public has been fed all this crap about how unsafe the shuttle is, and how it needs to go. it has gone up and come back over 100 times- just that now they are looking for new things and maybe finding too many things for the average person to worry about.
unless they bang the arm or astronaut into the bottom of the shuttle and knock a bunch of tiles off, it will come back in one piece.
think of the space shuttle as the USA version of Mir- russia kept that thing up for about a decade after it's intended lifespan by fixing problems as they came up. was it perfect? nope. but it was educational, and we need the experience of fixing things in space if we ever intend to go to Mars.

formulaterp
2005-Aug-02, 09:29 PM
the fillers they are pulling out are said to be the thickness of a playing card- nto a big deal, since shuttles routinely come back with the fillers sticking out a bit and even with entire tiles missing. but the public has been fed all this crap about how unsafe the shuttle is, and how it needs to go.

I agree completely, and I'm afraid NASA is rapidly painting themselves into a corner. I caught a bit of this morning's press conference following the mission status report. There they described the techniques the astronauts will use to remove the filler/spacer. Afterword one reporter asked some brilliantly pointed questions (paraphrased) "What happens if the repair mission doesn't work? Do you still attempt reentry? And if so, what's the point of this whole exercise?" The flight director replied that his team would start working on plan B even before the crew got back to the airlock. Under no terms would they reenter without fixing the problem.

Odds are the fillers will just be yanked out and all will be right with the world. But if they run into a problem, they'll have a public relations disaster in the making.

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-02, 10:09 PM
Odds are the fillers will just be yanked out...

"Slight" nitpic...during this morning's news conference, the astronaut (sorry, can't remember his name) that will be performing the space walk stated quite emphatically that there would be no "yanking" involved. Instead, he would be "gently pulling"...and if that didn't work, he would "snip" it off.

Jorge
2005-Aug-02, 11:00 PM
Why fix what isn't broken?

You can only break it.

but i guess the general public is like:
OoOoh Discovery got a tiny flack of paint missing on a tile! There going to Diiieeeeeee!

My mom was like that too -_- ok a bit less dramattic lol

Jens
2005-Aug-03, 04:09 AM
One other idea I was wondering about, maybe considered inhumane, but if there are suspicions about the discovery being unsafe, but not major suspicions, why not just leave the non-essential crew on the ISS, and have the commander and pilot bring it back down to earth. If there is a problem, you've only lost 2 people, and you avoid ditching a probably-operational and very expensive spacecraft. It may sound funny at first, but I think that the people who are go are professional test pilots, right? Their job is to do things that are dangerous to make sure it's safe for others later.

CalabashCorolla
2005-Aug-03, 04:11 AM
OoOoh Discovery got a tiny flack of paint missing on a tile! There going to Diiieeeeeee!


Exact sentiment in my household. Of course, with the crew fully aware of the potential risks, I'd say they have a pretty good chance. After all, Apollo 13 got back safely, didn't it? I think that situation was a tad more dire than the one we have now.

But, the media wants an edge-of-your-seat drama for ratings, so of course they will chew on every possible scenario, right down to, "Well, what if they have to abandon Discovery? Can they hitch a ride on Romulan Warbird instead?" If I were a NASA engineer, I would not watch TV or read the papers until Discovery is on the ground. #-o [/i]