Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

NASA To Retire Atlantis by 2008 238

Posted by Hemos
from the end-of-the-line dept.
SirBruce writes "As reported by Space.com, Spaceflight Now, and elsewhere, NASA is now planning to retire the Space Shuttle Atlantis by 2008, after just 5 more flghts. By doing so, they would avoid a costly and time consuming scheduled overhaul, and could still fly the remaining 12 missions (17 total) with Discovery and Endeavour, which are just now completing their ODMPs (orbiter maintenance down period). Atlantis would be kept for spare parts to keep Discovery and Endeavour flying until the shuttle program is shut down in 2010."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA To Retire Atlantis by 2008

Comments Filter:
  • Old rule. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:06AM (#14760932) Journal
    Why fix an old piece of hardware when you can get a new one faster, smarter, more shiny, etc. How about a donation to a university to rip it apart or try to fly it again.
    • Re:Old rule. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:11AM (#14760960) Journal
      Sometimes old hardware isn't worth saving because it contains too many complexities, or design mistakes, to keep running.

      For every DC-3 or B-52 bomber that's flying 50+ years later, there's a dozen lesser models that never made it that far. One of the success factors for these planes were their elegance -- simple but sufficient components that are easily maintained and replaced.

      Unfortunately I don't think the space shuttles fit into this category. We've learned alot from them...but probably more of 'what not to do' than 'lets build 20 more!'.

      I think canibalising it for parts is a good short-term move, when the program wraps up though I agree they should find a way to preserve the learnings of the shuttle program. Lets hope its replacement is safer, cheaper, and more effective!
      • The Sad Thing Is... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ThankfulJosh (867278) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:34PM (#14761524)
        ...that Atlantis is the best-built of the shuttles. I work on all three shuttles, and we all know that Atlantis was the best-built one. The rate of problem reports taken on Atlantis is almost half of Discovery or Endeavor. This is a shame, but these are smart people making tough decisions...you gotta do what you gotta do.
      • Re:Old rule. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lowrydr310 (830514) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:08PM (#14761817)
        The F-117 is set for retirement in 2008 [reviewjournal.com]. Some people wonder why a great technological marvel would be retired while ancient planes like the B-52 still fly, but based on what I've read, the F-117 is a nightmare to maintain.

        If you're planning on buying a car and making it last for 20 years or more, which do you think would be easier (and cheaper) to maintain?

        1. A basic Honda with manually operated seats, roll up windows, and manual locks or
        2. Mercedes with navigation system, auto climate control, power heated seats, power windows, power locks with RF keyfob, traction control, ABS, power sunroof, heated auto-dimming mirrors, automatic headlights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, etc
        • Re:Old rule. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by iamlucky13 (795185)
          I would argue that the F-117 was just as much a technology demonstrator as it was a tactical strike aircraft. It showed stealth technology could be used effectively on the modern battlefield, and lessons and technologies learned are being applied to the development of the F-22 and F-35. But then, how does that compare to the space shuttle? We built 5 of those compared to 60 F-117's. I guess the differences between air combat and space flight make the numbers deceiving, since the shuttles were supposed to be
          • The XB-70 wasn't just technically impressive, it's visually very impressive. Years later it's the only thing besides the F-117 that I very clearly remember from my trip to Wright Patterson AFB and museum.
          • Re:Old rule. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vsprintf (579676) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#14762913)

            I guess the differences between air combat and space flight make the numbers deceiving, since the shuttles were supposed to be a work-horse, and expectation they never fully lived up to. I guess the space shuttle is more like the XB-70, a Mach 3 heavy bomber prototype built in the 60's: technologically very impressive, but ultimately the wrong approach.

            Whose expectations? The shuttles had an optimistic schedule that was hyped by some political appointees, when in reality they were experimental craft. There was nothing like it that had flown before. We learned a lot from the shuttles about how things really work in space and reusability. Anybody else recall watching the capture of the Hubble? The Shuttle has been a learning vehicle, not just a space vehicle.

            When bad things happened in a very dangerous occupation, we got media hysteria and political grandstanding. Look at all the lives and ships lost during normal early American trade. Our ancestors would be unable to understand our timid response to expected losses and even trivial damage in a hostile environment. I wouldn't call the Shuttle the "wrong approach." It was the approach we chose to test first. We could have chosen to try nothing new, and we would have learned nothing new.

            • Good points. I definitely wasn't trying to knock the shuttle program or devalue what we've learned from it. As far as expectations, one of the touted features was cost-saving potential, which it never achieved. Additionally, the shuttle's themselves were originally intended to fly as many as 100 flights each, whereas they're now a little over 100 total. Also, like you, I find the hysteria over Columbia frustrating, especially the claims that the danger alone are enough to justify abandoning space exploratio
          • The current AWACS will be upgraded from 70s mainframe to Modern Multi-Server Multi-Workstation Windows/UNIX platforms. We can't wait to start doing the software for the new platform. The only problem is we are still using the same old tired 707 airframe.
    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:19AM (#14761021) Journal
      Donate it to MIT. They'll find out if it will run Linux.

      You know you want to know.
    • by everphilski (877346) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:20AM (#14761029) Journal
      ... no university could/would spend their **entire budget** to get the thing to fly a single mission, not to mention the price to fix it up, apply for the proper licenses from the http://ast.faa.gov/ [faa.gov] AST, etc. Better to start from scratch and get a real education in things like high speed aerodynamics and propulsion along the way.
    • The problem is, when you don't have anything to replace your Shuttle Program with. Sure - it's a great idea. The shuttles are obsolete and need to replaced. Sure. But are there ANY viable replacements? AFAIK not on the American side - this means the future of ISS and *manned* space exploration depends on the Soyuz vehicle, and while this is doing wonders for all the Russian pride welling up in my heart, I can't fathom how Bush thinks the US space program can go anywhere by dismantling existing spacecraft an
    • With the announcement of the pending retirement of Atlantis the Ancients have filed a formal complaint. When interviewed the Atlantian spokesperson is quoted as saying "Silly bastards they don't need to retire Atlantis. Get three fully charged ZPMs and Atlantis will be spaceworthy again." When we contacted the facility manager at the Airforce facility at Cheyeane Mountain CO the existance of Atlantis (and stargates, Goual'd, Asgard, whatever they are) was explained as being the result of "people [are] spen
    • This may have been suggested further down the threads, and if so I apologize .. but .. go ahead and take parts from it if needed, but I say make it an exhibit at the Smithsonian, or better yet at Space Camp in Hunstville AL. How many kids (yeah, just kids) would kill for the chance to get to sit in the real Space Shuttle Atlantis? I can't think of a finer retirement plan for the beautiful old girl.
  • My gut reaction is that this is a tragedy, but that's just because I got to see Atlantis on the launch-pad when I went to Cape Canaveral in seventh grade. On a non-personal level, this is probably a good choice for the reasons discussed in TFA.

    However, I know this is a step in the long-term goal of phasing out the shuttle program altogether, but what is it going to do to NASA's ability to launch missions if it only has two shuttles? The pace is ridiculously slow as it is.
    • Re:Consequences. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sublies (848353)
      The plan is to increase NASA's ability to launch missions by removing the albatross of the shuttle progrm from around its neck. The pace is ridiculously slow with the shuttle program because the shuttles themselves are ridiculously complex, ridiculously expensive and ridiculously dangerous to operate. Their new plan to strap payloads to retrofitted SRBs, while a bit Mad Max, is the best idea they've had in years. Still might be too little too late, though.
    • Re:Consequences. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by slashdot_commentator (444053) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:11PM (#14761349) Journal
      but what is it going to do to NASA's ability to launch missions if it only has two shuttles?

      Nothing. At this point, having three shuttles probably merely just increases the risks of cutting corners in order to meet launch schedules. Face it, the only significant mission of the US space shuttle program is the same as the TV show Quark [tv.com]; haul garbage from the ISS. To paraphrase a the quote made at the K7 bar in "Trouble with Tribbles". "The Space Shuttle should not be hauling garbage, it should be hauled AS garbage". I will take that back if NASA actually implements a mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. (Me bitter? What makes you think that...?)

  • So what's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manno (848709) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:11AM (#14760965)
    Are we going to create another suttle-type craft, one that can be flown more ecconomicaly? Or are we just going to make a bunch of disposable rockets?
    • Re:So what's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Charcharodon (611187)
      They are working on a couple of designs. The shuttle was a compromise between flying personel, equipment, and military payloads. It did none of these things well. They are going back to specialized designs. A smaller reuseable orbiter just for crew and a large partially disposable vehicle for heavy lift.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:08PM (#14761329) Journal
      For the last year, we have been discussing how the shuttle will be relaced by the CEV. It is a semi-disposable capsule (based on the old apollo system). It will have 2 launchers;
      1. A Crew Launch vehicle that will lift the CEV and small loads of about 20-25K lbs.
      2. A Heavy lift vehicle that will lift very large loads (~200K lbs). It will send in a single launch as much payload as 6 shuttles currently can.

      The rockets are disposable.

      I would not be surprised to see a future admin use private rockets to get crew and small loads to the ISS. Why? Just to keep us with the capacity to have multiple crew launch systems.
      • how will these stack up against what other countries have, the Russians, Japanese, and Europeans for instance?
        • Actually, its the Russians [wikipedia.org] and the Chinese [wikipedia.org], not the Japanese or Europenas, who haved orbital manned spaceflight capabilites. Last time I checked, SpaceShipTwo [wikipedia.org] will not be orbital. SpaceShipThree [wikipedia.org] MIGHT have ISS docking capabilites, but its design is all contingint on SS2's success.

          Yay wikipedia linkage.

          1. The russians have the same lift capacity as the small CLV (20K lbs).
          2. The russians HAD more capability than the HLV, but it has been many years for them, so it is very doubtful that they could do it.
          3. The russians have announced a vehicle that could carry 4-6 ppl to the moon/mars as well.
          4. All other nations have far less than that. In addition, only the chinese have a man rated system, which is nothing but a rip off of the russians.

          How do we stack up? If we build it, we are way ahead. If we do not, well, w

    • What would be the benefit of making the replacement system re-useable?

      The major part of any launcher will be fuel that will be re-cycled in the atmosphere anyway.

      The target of a new system must be to be cheap and reliable. If this target is most easily reached by making the system re-useable then do that. If re-qualification and repair is more expensive than building a new launcher from scratch then drop the re-useable part or melt the returned launcher and re-use it as beer-cans.

  • by rickthewizkid (536429) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:12AM (#14760971)
    Didn't anyone see the movie way back in the 80s, just after the Challenger exploded? Atlantis is the shuttle they "used" in the movie....

    Just my T-minus-10-9-8's worth....
    -RickTheWizKid
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:12AM (#14760972)
    Place the Atlantis, intact, into the Simthsonian.

    Just make sure all the toxic monopropellants have been thouroughly cleaned out.
    • A shuttle in the smithsonian .. at the Dulles airport location . Not that you can get very close to it though :-(

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Enterpr ise [wikipedia.org]

      • A shuttle in the smithsonian .. at the Dulles airport location.


        Yeah, but Enterprise is just a glide test article that never flew in space. Atlantis would be much cooler to see in the Smithsonian. Yeah, they've got some scorched capsules and such, but nothing that's been to orbit and back 26 times [wikipedia.org] (31 by the time it's retired).
      • Not that you can get very close? Are you kidding?

        It's guarded by a railing, but you're literally within feet of it. In fact, you can stand under the wing.

        It's a fantastic sight. Really, truly fantastic.

        What I found interesting is the leading carbon-carbon edge is missing on one of the wings (I forget which); that's the one they took to test after the Columbia disaster.

        A significant piece of history; for me, it was even more interesting than seeing the Blackbird parked in the hangar; and the Blackbird is
        • As per the other post .. The entire wing was roped off when I saw it. The closest you could get was about 80m. But that was a while ago
        • There are panels missing from both wings; I photographed much of Enterprise while in the museum last month. Here's my closeup shot of this:

          DSC_1717 [buran.org]

          DSC_1716 [buran.org]

          The tires aren't original; one of my photos of the nose gear revealed the stamp "NOT FOR FLIGHT".

          DSC_1751 [buran.org]

          And yes, that is THE Spacelab module back there!
    • I would imagine Atlantis would still be worthy of a museum exhibit, even if they have to take quite a bit out of it over the next 3-4 years. It's not like they're going to be looking it over thinking "that wing could be handy, better grab that." It'll be things like spare fuel pump parts, electronics, life support equipment, plasma conduits, teleporters (ok, just kidding on the last two). Anyway, stuff you wouldn't notice at the museum, and even if they set it up where visitors could actually see inside, th
    • You could also canabalize the internal parts that won't be visible to the public anyway, and keep the shell.
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:13AM (#14760981) Homepage

    So when Discovery and Endeavor are mysteriously trapped in space and/or unable to respond to a global space-related emergency, an astronaut crew will be pulled from retirement (or useless promotion) to pilot Atlantis to the rescue! (...and possibly destroy it/themselves in the process of saving the world)

    Mark my words: it will be on television if not in the movie theatres.

  • by IainMH (176964) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:15AM (#14760992)
    Space Shuttle, 89,908,732* miles on the clock. Spares or repairs.

    Phone: 202.358.0001

    * [wikipedia.org]
  • In fact, NASA also has good news for us.

    Two weeks ago, the important Landsat-8 was confirmed [gcn.com] while NASA also saves a lot of money by simply adopting interoperable practices [geospatial-online.com].

    Now, if only NASA [google.ca] Worldwind [slashgeo.org] (and Punt [sourceforge.net]) could get more popularity over Google Earth...
  • And then... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ariane 6 (248505)
    ...we can finally replace 'Enterprise' with a space-going vehicle in the air and space museum!
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:16AM (#14761000) Journal
    Doctor Weir, Atlantis' director, and Lieutenant Colonel Shepard, ranking military officer assigned to the project, were unreachable for comment. Doctor McKay, on the other hand, griped for several minutes without a pause about the "typically boneheaded" move, stopping only to eat an energy bar and mumbling something about low blood sugar.
  • ODMP (Score:2, Funny)

    by EVil Lawyer (947367)
    Why is the acronym for Orbiter Maintenance Down Period "ODMP" and not "OMDP"? Does it have something to do with there being less gravity in space?
  • ISS in jeopardy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:22AM (#14761047) Homepage Journal
    This plan leaves no margin for error at the program level. The flight schedule needed to complete the ISS probably cannot be met by a single vehicle. Suppose a year from now they discover a craft-specific problem with one of the remaining shuttles which requires it to be grounded (while the other flies following inspection which determines it to be free of the hypothetical problem)?

    The NASA plan already calls for completing the construction of the ISS and then grounding the shuttles, immediately. This of course leaves no way to get to the newly constructed ISS to do research. The plan also doesn't seem to accomodate lifting new modules to the ISS during its fully functioning research lifetime, which was originally part of the ISS vision for a living breathing station.

    NASA is in trouble. The Bush Administration has saddled it with goals that are unrealistic given its funding level. A vague return to the Moon, and eventual trip to Mars, as well as completing the construction of the ISS to kinda sorta meet our international obligations on that project are all likely to fail if we cannot choose between them.

    Space research needs a reliable transportation system. This might mean more than one new vehicle. Without a significant increase in funding to NASA, the Space Shuttle should be scrapped immediately and the ISS should be mothballed if possible, scrapped if not. NASA should focus on fixing the problem -- reliable access to space is needed before other lofty objectives can be met.
    • by tgd (2822) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:42AM (#14761169)
      Yeah, that'd be quite the tragedy if the ISS is never finished.

      *rolls eyes*

      The ISS will never be anything but a useless pork-barrel corporate-welfare project. Something happening to end it would be the best thing that could happen to NASA. Just imagine the billions of dollars NASA has wasted over the last thirty years on the ISS and Space Shuttle co-dependant welfare programs. Look at the huge success they've had with every other program which have been universally starved for funds because of the Shuttle/ISS debacle.

      • It isn't that simple. The United States has obligations to its international partners in the ISS. NASA just can't pull the plug, not without consultations and negotiations with its international partners.
        • That's part of the beauty of the scam. By making the ISS "international", NASA secured strong protection for its ISS funding. But as far as I can tell, NASA is already in default on those obligations and has been for some time.

          But because a project is "international" doesn't mean that it can't be unwound in an ethical way. I think a reasonable compromise would be for NASA to give the ISS and any US-owned components to the other members, compensate them roughly for how much it'd cost to maintain the ISS an

      • That's okay, no one wants you there anyway. The money provided was nice, but don't forget ISS is basically Mir 3.
      • Oh, right, let's forget all about the worthy research that it's capable of doing if the government gets off its ass and actually does what it said it would do. Don't blame the programs, blame the fools who destroy them.
    • Re:ISS in jeopardy? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      This of course leaves no way to get to the newly constructed ISS to do research,

      so all those Russian missions that dock there with crew and supplies are faked on the moon landing sound stages in Nevada then?

      The United states is not the only country with a crew module that can make it to the ISS.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:47AM (#14761201) Homepage Journal
    They have more or less concrete plans to decommission the shuttle fleet, and even if they don't have plans they won't be able to keep them flightworthy much longer. While the replacement or next gen seems to be this vaporous imagineering of something or other with perhaps an 8 or 10 year gap between the last shuttle flight and its replacement. Doesn't that seem like they're just quietly putting manned missions down for good?

    We'd better be friends with the Russians and the Chinese who will have the only manned launch capability at that point.
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:21PM (#14761427) Journal
      Actually, that should be just enough time to lose a good portion of our "corporate knowledge" re:manned missions. I'm not sure being an astronaut that is going to be looking at a 10 year (optimistically speaking) hiatus from flight is going to be a real career incentive. These folks tend to be driven and tenacious, but with the schedules the way they tend to slip, I don't think I'd stay in the corps. (I was never a real astronaut-candidate, though I considered it at one point early in my NASA career).

      I'm not really sure that getting people into space ius really that big of a deal anyway, unless you plan on doing something other than invesigating the effects on humans in LEO. Most of what is done, that isn't just for show, is controlled remotely. I'm a big "Rah! Rah! Manned Space Flight!" kind of guy, but there really is a limit to the value we're getting for our manned space flight dollars. Right now, I think it's money down the tubes, but if we're really going to be ambitious, we need to be a bit more proactive in getting a replacement vehicle up before we lose the in house expertise in manned spaceflight. I mean, lets face it, the only people with orbital spaceflight experience in this hemisphere are the ones currently doing it at JSC. Lose them, and we'll get to start all over in a couple of decades when the next program is finally ready to get off the ground.
    • by Detritus (11846) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:25PM (#14761454) Homepage
      That's a major issue. For all the whining about pork, it would be a major disaster if the manned space flight program was shut down while a new vehicle was designed and constructed. All of your institutional knowledge walks out the door, never to return. Aerospace engineering never really recovered from the shutdown of Apollo. Central Florida used to have the world's most highly educated cab drivers.
  • Gene Roddenberry must be turning in his grave. If you ask me, the space program needs more support and more money; but less protesters and hippies. Honestly, I don't care if we ever meet alien life. My biggest concern is that once we use up all the resources on Earth, we'll have to start strip-mining other planets instead. Plus, eventually we'll run out of room for people.
    • I agree with you 100% - except, that the shuttle and space station programs don't advance these goals, rather they impeded them.
    • "Plus, eventually we'll run out of room for people."

      A somewhat simpler and better solution to this one is basic birth control. Trying to ship billions of people to other planets to alleviate overpopulation is an extreme solution when a simple one is available.

      The problem we have is poverty, poor education and religious fundamentalism works against birth control and are helping create the overpopulation problem that may well ultimately destroy us, or at least lead to such a poor quality of life it may not b
  • Bad idea! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MS_Word (877966) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:02PM (#14761290)
    We can't abandon atlantis while the wraith are still a threat!
  • Maybe, just maybe, when they decide to build another spacecraft they could possibly get around a few of the issues they've had with the current space shuttles. You know, falling foam, bad o-rings, things that tend to make them explode into giant balls of fire! Pretty much though, as long as we're putting satellites into space, we're going to need a way for people to get up there and work on them. We'll at least need to continue finding new ways of putting them up, if we ever get to the point where we jus
    • if we ever get to the point where we just let them fail and replace them with another one.

      Actually, except for a few satellites recovered/serviced by the shuttle (the total number of which could be counted on the fingers of one hand!), this is in fact the modus operandii for all satellites since sputnik. Generally, if it's an important enough constelation, a few 'spares' will even be kept on orbit so that service can be maintained even in the even of a premature failure, without waiting for a new satellite
  • by corngrower (738661) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:47PM (#14761649) Journal
    I thought that All the shuttles were already retired. I haven't heard of any planned launches lately.
  • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@highpoin[ ]du ['t.e' in gap]> on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:23PM (#14761926)
    I really can't believe they're getting rid of Atlantis when there's older ones still going. Just look at SG-1!

    Yes, I know. Don't bother telling me.
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:39PM (#14762052) Homepage
    The real question is, will we beat the Chinese to a permanent or semi-permanent manned presence on the moon?

    We used to think it would be the Russians. Little did we know how far China would come in 60 years. When you consider it took the United States approximately 7 years to go from the Mercury program to the Apollo program then the launch of Chinese men into orbit is at the Mercury stage.

    When looking at that we could estimate that China will reach the moon by 2012. And do not think for one moment that Chinese didn't learn from our Apollo and Shuttle programs. I think they'll be looking to put down a manned presence just to thumb their noses at the rest of the western world.

    • Heaven forbid we miss out on the opportunity to blow $30 or $40 billion a year supporting a manned lunar base, which gives us exactly nothing in return for our investment.

      Let the Chinese bankrupt themselves doing it, if they care to. I'll wave up at them on cloudless nights.

      I'd rather the US not blow my hard-earned tax dollars on this foolishness.

      • $30 billion or so would be less than 10% what we spend on military misadventure.

        Or consider that the Iraq war has eaten up roughly ten years worth of support for a moon base that will serve as a launch platform to Mars and beyond.
    • Little did we know how far China would come in 60 years.

      I don't know. IIRC, Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story where the Chinese were the first to make it to one of Saturn's or Jupiter's moons. It seems that at least he thought that they would leap ahead of everybody else.

  • History (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Arwing (951573)
    I am not sure how many people realize the historical context of these ships. These are the first true space ships, one of the earily milestones for space travel. Imagine, when space travel is as common as air travel today, when a flight to Mars is easy as a flight to China today or when Google actually establishes a moon base. How will we look back to these space shuttle? I dare say these shuttles maybe more important than the Wright brother's KittyHawks. Who knows, these shuttles may even (AND SHOULD) o
  • Aren't the shuttles "American Made?" Parts should be pretty cheap. On the other hand, if they'd have gone with a German or Japanese make, they'd be paying out the wazoo for new parts... Good thing they're keeping Atlantis for parting-out.
  • I'm sorry, why don't they just scuttle the whole fleet, deorbit that useless space station and do the following:

    Give all of the money they would have spent to private enterprise, give them 5 years to land on the moon with a permanent base.

    In 5 years, I guarantee we'll have a moon base.
  • This could be a great way for NASA to raise money. They could auction the shuttle off! Just think, if some of these millionaires are willing to pay millions for rides into space, how much would they pay to be able to put up a shuttle in their yard! Of course, you'd strip out all the computers and stuff first (It'd just be a show piece--not a working vechicle.) I'm sure you could find a buyer.
  • But where are they going to get cinder blocks that big?
  • by suitepotato (863945) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:29PM (#14762794)
    NASA To Retire Atlantis by 2008

    I think Sci-Fi will keep it at least to 2009 or 2010.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

Working...