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Lucretia
04-17-2012, 11:22 AM
For those of you who are space buffs, here's a photo taken this morning of the shuttle Discovery as it leaves Kennedy Space Center for the last time, headed for its new home at the Smithsonian.

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Crothcipt
04-17-2012, 11:24 AM
I am still mad they canceled the space shuttle. Great pic

WildBoar
04-17-2012, 12:27 PM
It flew around the area a couple times earlier this morning. I could not see it from where I was at, but others from the office who were out in the field got good views of it.

echerub
04-17-2012, 12:31 PM
Wow. It is indeed the end of an era. I knew about the retirement of the Shuttle, but the when you finally say "That's it. Send 'er off to the museum!" it feels a little different.

I loved reading all I could about the Shuttle when I was a kid, and I always thought it'd be really cool to see a launch in-person sometime.

Eamon Burke
04-17-2012, 01:21 PM
First SETI, then manned flights, soon we won't even have a space program at all.

Seriously makes you wonder what is going on.

Vertigo
04-17-2012, 03:49 PM
I'm pretty sure development on a new launch system is underway, and am not entirely convinced that the 60 some billion dollars earmarked for NASA for the next few years will go to waste. That said, I think the shuttle program was a grossly expensive "shoddy oak barrel over Niagra Falls" approach to space travel, and can't say I'm sad to see it go. Challenger goes down to a frozen o-ring, and Columbia goes down to a piece of foam hitting the thermal protection? No thanks. The program was outdated and it was time to reappropriate some of it's resources into safer, more economical, and more reliable alternatives.

Andrew H
04-17-2012, 04:59 PM
I'm pretty sure development on a new launch system is underway, and am not entirely convinced that the 60 some billion dollars earmarked for NASA for the next few years will go to waste. That said, I think the shuttle program was a grossly expensive "shoddy oak barrel over Niagra Falls" approach to space travel, and can't say I'm sad to see it go. Challenger goes down to a frozen o-ring, and Columbia goes down to a piece of foam hitting the thermal protection? No thanks. The program was outdated and it was time to reappropriate some of it's resources into safer, more economical, and more reliable alternatives.

I don't know how something can be outdated when there is nothing available to replace it.

echerub
04-17-2012, 05:30 PM
Well, the Shuttle is a really old design now - it was designed back in the 1970s. I think it's time for a new system. The issue though is that there isn't one ready to step in yet.

I think it's perfectly valid to say that something is outdated yet there isn't anything available to replace it.

Andrew H
04-17-2012, 05:57 PM
Well, the Shuttle is a really old design now - it was designed back in the 1970s. I think it's time for a new system. The issue though is that there isn't one ready to step in yet.

I think it's perfectly valid to say that something is outdated yet there isn't anything available to replace it.

We'll agree to disagree on that one, Len. Hopefully we can come up with a new system soon.

Vertigo
04-17-2012, 06:05 PM
I don't know how something can be outdated when there is nothing available to replace it.

If we were still using 8-tracks because the operational costs of the 8-track program prevented the development of newer media, I think it'd still be fair to call 8-tracks "outdated." But maybe it wasn't the best choice of words. Either way, cutting the shuttle program freed up 30% of NASAs yearly budget to work on newer systems. I'm not too proud to have us hitching rides with the Russians while we get busy in R&D.

jmforge
04-17-2012, 06:22 PM
If Elon Musk's numbers are even remotely in the ballpark, then I agree with him when he says that NASA should concentrate on science and manned missions and leave the launch systems to private industry, preferably ones like SpaceX who are building rockets for commercial use and not to gummint specs. With that said, we are not really going to have anything with the lift capacity of the shuttle other than the Delta 4 series (a very pricey ride) until SpaceX builds the Falcon 9 Heavy. The Russians have two designs for rockets in that 50-75MT category, but most doubt that they will be built anytime soon. The Ares replacement seems like an overpriced boondoggle to me because I don't actually see much difference compared to the original proposal other than having to go through the whole "design" process again with its attendant expense and it less that half of the lifting capacity in its initial form and only about 70% in later versions. it still appears to use some "shuttle parts" which are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The Falcon 9 heavy is supposed to lift 50 MT (twice that of the shuttle, Delta 4 or the latest Ariane 5) initially and 70MT when they get the new engines. The proposed follow on Falcon X and XX will bump that up to as much as 150MT into LEO or more. which is more than the Saturn V and closer to the 188MT they were talking about for the Ares 5 follow on version.

WildBoar
04-17-2012, 07:03 PM
Here are some pics a couple guys on a local forum snapped today:
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Eamon Burke
04-17-2012, 09:02 PM
The underside of that shuttle is so bada$$.

Joe, is there anything you aren't keeping up on??

jmforge
04-18-2012, 11:28 AM
Yeah, pretty much anything that you might see on the front cover of the supermarket tabloids. Other than that anything is fair game.:doublethumbsup:
The underside of that shuttle is so bada$$.

Joe, is there anything you aren't keeping up on??