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Safe Landing For Space Shuttle Discovery 106

Posted by Hemos
from the made-it-back-done dept.
dylanduck writes "Discovery is back safe and sound, despite minor problems with a leaky power unit and a last minute change of approach direction to the runway. The mission tested some post-Columbia safety changes, and also set up the space station for future construction. But in some ways, the tough job starts now - NASA has just 40 days or so to get Atlantis up."
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Safe Landing For Space Shuttle Discovery

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  • Nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by 9x320 (987156) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:00AM (#15731424)
    I can't wait for the next mission [wikipedia.org].
  • by dubmun (891874) * on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:01AM (#15731432) Homepage Journal
    Um.... now... take off again. 16 more missions to complete the space station?

    Space shuttle pilot would not be the life for me!
    • Re:Welcome back! (Score:4, Informative)

      by mrxak (727974) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:06AM (#15731461)
      Don't forget the Hubble servicing missions. If those don't happen, we'll be without our pretty pictures for several years before the next orbiting telescope is up and running.
      • It does make me wonder what will happen after this servicing misson and the shuttle retires?
        How do we service it then? Can the CEV do it?
        Will there be cries to ressurect the shuttle to service it again in 2015 or so?
        Or do we have a last fix and then let it decay in its orbit...

        Shame we can't rescue it like they origonally planned:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-144 [wikipedia.org]

        Although it would be an irony if the mission so save hubble destroyed a space shuttle...
        • It does make me wonder what will happen after this servicing misson and the shuttle retires?

          Nothing, they'll keep using it as long as they can, and with reentry possibly as late as 2030 that could be a good long time.

          How do we service it then? Can the CEV do it?

          There is the possibility of robotic service missions, should we decide to service it. It's doubtful that the CEV could be used to service it, certainly the CEV is not going to have anything like the Canadarm to assist.

          Will there be cries to re

    • by Xzzy (111297)
      I'd sign up for it in a new york minute.

      Unfortunatley, I'm fat, blind, and my flying experience is limited to dumping quarters into Afterburner when I was a kid.

      If NASA ever needs someone to do barrel rolls and shoot lots of missiles, maybe then they'll invite me along.
    • We would be stuck in the stone age if we didnt do that. progress does take a long time and we gotta stick to it.
      • I don't disagree with you. I'm just saying it takes special people to do this kind of work. Not. Me.
      • People have been going up into orbit, going around a few times, and coming back down since BEFORE I WAS BORN (and I'm old by 'net standards). It's not progress, it's nothing more than driving around the block.
        • "going up into orbit, going around a few times, and coming back down"

          that is not the only thing they do. there would be no point in making such huge investments if astronauts just went for a long drive around the planet. Different experiments are conducted once the astronauts reach up there. The complexity of these experiments has also increased with time. that is true no matter when u were born...
    • NASA has just 40 days or so to get Atlantis up.

      Bah! The Stargate team only had a matter of hours to get Atlantis up before they drowned, and they managed just fine. NASA should take a page out of their book.
    • Imagine a NASCAR style pit crew running around refueling and attaching boosters in record time. Now that would save a lot of time and get the ISS built darn quickly!


      Just curious: what are the biggest projects that the ISS has completed? I have not heard much about it.

  • Good news indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:01AM (#15731433) Journal
    It is good news that nothing major went wrong... but somehow lately when I hear of the space shuttle making a journey, I'm reminded of my first car... towards the end of its life, I was quite happy as well to make a long road trip without major problems... But unlike with Nasa, that didn't mean I was eager to go on a long road trip again, just because I got lucky... I knew not to trust push my luck...
    • Re:Good news indeed (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrxak (727974) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:09AM (#15731499)
      A 2% failure rate is to be expected, and that's what we've got. Right now they're being over-cautious and it's slowing up everything the Shuttle was supposed to do. Space exploration is dangerous. We can't let a couple of accidents throw away everything we've worked for. But I am looking forward to a new vehicle, that is for sure. I just hope we don't stop the Shuttle missions before any new vehicle is ready.
      • Re:Good news indeed (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Golias (176380)
        "A 2% failure rate is to be expected"

        Really? That's pretty bad news for all these space-tourism schemes. No way in hell I'm taking a vacation where there's a one-in-fifty chance of not ever coming back. It would be safer to take a vacation in Iraq.
      • We can't let a couple of accidents throw away everything we've worked for.

        Too late. You think the nation went absolutely bonkers when a shuttle and 7 people were killed? How about when the 2050 Moon Shuttle snuffs 1,000 on liftoff and wipes out most of a city?
        • by mrxak (727974)
          People still fly in planes that have killed many more than that in their history. I would like to hope that space travel won't be threatened by the occasional disaster, because if nothing else, a few thousand here or there is peanuts compared to what will happen in a few billion years when our solar system becomes rather uninhabitable, or possibly sooner with a meteor strike, war, or plague.
          • Re:Good news indeed (Score:4, Informative)

            by gfxguy (98788) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:34PM (#15732538)
            But planes "have killed many more than that" in how many millions of flights?

            The catstrophic failure rate for planes is absolutely miniscule.

            So you and I know it, but there's a lot of people out there who are scared to fly, but not scared to drive P.O.S. cars with bad brakes and bald tires in the pouring rain during rush hour.

            Statistics don't matter to some people - but a large scale emotionally charged event does.
            • not measured in flight, but in miles traveled.
              SO homany mils does the space shuttle fly between take off and landing? how much for commercial aircraft?

              Bu the example is meaningliess becasue the different in conditions id too significant for any real comparison.
      • by kabdib (81955) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:23AM (#15731589) Homepage

        "Space exploration is dangerous"

        Put on roller-skates, all your winter clothing, welding goggles, motorcycle helmet, then strap on fifty pound bags of cement until you can barely walk, and crossing the street is dangerous.

        While I have a great deal of respect for the people who fly the thing -- astronauts, controllers, all -- the shuttle is a set of fatal compromises driven by budget and politics. The shuttle has done more to hold space travel back than any other spaceflight program. It needs to go.

        I'm hoping for a dropped wrench in the VAB -- no lives lost, but we lose another shuttle to something mildly spectacular. That would put a thankful end to the program, whereupon we could start spending the money where it counts: Unmanned programs, and launch vehicles that don't suck.

        (I used to be a big shuttle fan until I realized how much it was costing us).

        • Isn't the "launch vehicle" the whole problem?

          Just build a spacedock first and we can start focusing on vehicles that don't need a re-entry heat shield, huge engines, or anywhere close to the same structural itegrity (in space, atmospheric pressure is zero)
          • by mrxak (727974)
            Don't you still need to ferry people back and forth between the space dock?
          • Isn't the "launch vehicle" the whole problem?

            Just build a spacedock first and we can start focusing on vehicles that don't need a re-entry heat shield, huge engines, or anywhere close to the same structural itegrity (in space, atmospheric pressure is zero)

            Someone else pointed out the flaw in your design, but I think you're on to the right idea. I think a spaceport is a great idea. Ferry cargo and people up there separately: use heavy lift rockets for the cargo, like how we launch most satellites now, an

            • Re:Good news indeed (Score:3, Informative)

              by Teancum (67324)
              A couple point to note:

              The idea of a "spaceport" is hardly new. In fact, it was proposed by none other than Werner Von Braun as his preferred method of getting to the Moon. Had it been built, there would have been real infrastructure for continued Lunar excursions rather than the glory missions we now know as Apollo, and many more than 12 men would have been able to walk on the Moon in the 20th Century, with only another dozen getting into circumlunar orbit. And it would have been much "cheaper" to send
              • GEO orbit = 24 hours.
                LEO orbut ~ 90 minutes.

                So a large tower would not get you orbital velocity at LEO. "Atmospheric and gravity drag associated with launch typically add 1,500-2,000 m/s to the delta-V required to reach normal LEO orbital velocity of 7,800 m/s." So a LEO tower would help but you need to get to GEO before your orbital velocity is "free".
                • I don't even remotely understand the numbers you have thrown up here, or who you are quoting. For a "typical" commercial rocket launch profile such as a Delta-4 rocket, you are perhaps corect with these figures. But that is one huge assumption.

                  The amount of delta-vee that must be compensated for through drag and overcoming gravity is really just a matter of the flight profile, and somewhat due to the aerodynamics of the spacecraft. Better engineering is really all that is needed to reduce that number, al
          • nywhere close to the same structural itegrity (in space, atmospheric pressure is zero)

            Somehow, you didn't think this all the way through.

            First off, you want a good structural integrity. Humans might want to breathe on the inside of this thing, and you'd want to maintain normal atmospheric conditions, right?

            Secondly, debris as small as a piece of dust moving very fast (thousands of feet per second) would make you want to have some extra structural stability. If you make it as thin as you can get away with,
        • Well as people have said, we still need at least a few more missions to finish the ISS, service the Hubble, and then we can turn our energy to a new vehicle. I seriously doubt anything catastrophic will happen in the next 20 missions.
          • I seriously doubt anything catastrophic will happen in the next 20 missions.

            With "only" two failures out of over 100 missions, you are statistically correct, but I find the idea of 20 more shuttle missions worriesome.
        • I'm like you. I was raised in the "glory days" of NASA, in the 60's, but now, they are just a big hole sucking up money. The original shuttle design was suppose to be sort of a piggyback dual aircraft design, but budgets ended that, and they went with the external tank, SRB's. Once you light those SRB's, it's going somewhere that's for sure. 60's design, 70's built, 80's flown....the design is around 40 years old! I think where NASA screwed up is when they canceled all the Apollo style vehicles. With the
        • And totally fail in our agreed upon space station ..er agreement.

          Un-Manned program can not so what the shuttle does.

          "Put on roller-skates, all your winter clothing, welding goggles, motorcycle helmet, then strap on fifty pound bags of cement until you can barely walk, and crossing the street is dangerous."

          what is your point here? that somehow space would be less dangerous somehow?

          The shuttle does not cost us a lot of money for what it does.
        • I'm hoping for a dropped wrench in the VAB -- no lives lost, but we lose another shuttle to something mildly spectacular. That would put a thankful end to the program, whereupon we could start spending the money where it counts: Unmanned programs, and launch vehicles that don't suck. (I used to be a big shuttle fan until I realized how much it was costing us).

          Exactly, for the price of a single shuttle mission you can build, launch and operate for at least 90 days no less that 4 Mars rovers.

      • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:34AM (#15731669) Homepage Journal
        when that results in half your usuable vehicles being lost.

        The 2% number might mean something if we didn't need the main piece back. As such, that number is only good for people who love to toss numbers around without including the context of them
        • by mrxak (727974) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:43AM (#15731747)
          Well, after Challenger was destroyed they built the Endeavour to replace it. If they wanted to, they could replace the Columbia as well. Not that they're going to, but the point is that one lost vehicle every 17 years doesn't have to kill off a program from lack of vehicles.
          • Endeavour was built from spare parts, those no longer exist in the quantities required for a complete build of a new vehicle.
          • Well, after Challenger was destroyed they built the Endeavour to replace it. If they wanted to, they could replace the Columbia as well.

            This is both true and false... Endeavour could be built because a) there was most of an airframe sitting around in storage as a 'spare' and b) it was close enough to the original construction date that the logistical and manufacturing experience pipeline still worked.

            Niether was true after the loss of Columbia.

            • This is both true and false... Endeavour could be built because a) there was most of an airframe sitting around in storage as a 'spare' and b) it was close enough to the original construction date that the logistical and manufacturing experience pipeline still worked.

              Niether was true after the loss of Columbia.

              Actually 'a' is certainly still true: Enterprise (the glide and landing test vehicle) still exists. Originally it was to be refitted for orbital use after Columbia was built, instead Challenger

              • This is both true and false... Endeavour could be built because a) there was most of an airframe sitting around in storage as a 'spare' and b) it was close enough to the original construction date that the logistical and manufacturing experience pipeline still worked.

                Niether was true after the loss of Columbia.

                Actually 'a' is certainly still true: Enterprise (the glide and landing test vehicle) still exists.

                Certainly Enterprise still exists - but it's not a spaceworthy airframe.

                • Again, true. But the real cropper is 'b' - there are a lot of Orbiter systems that are no longer in production and no longer available. When Endeavour was assembled, Orbiters were essentially 'still in production', Atlantis having been delivered only two years previously.

                  There is nothing fundamental preventing production from being resumed apart from cost.

                  My (original) point 'b' holds because of the many things that Atlantis has and Enterprise lacks. Among other things Enterprise has no crew cabin, n

                  • There is nothing fundamental preventing production from being resumed apart from cost.

                    yes, if you wish to paint it in the most simplified, childish, black-and-white, terms possible. The problem is, the real world is rather messier and decidely not black-and-white.

                    It's not like Apollo where (allegedly) the original plans are no longer available.

                    Ah, this explains much. You prefer soundbites and urban legends over facts, reality, and education. You can't be bothered.

          • one lost vehicle every 17 years

            The first shuttle experimental shuttle flight was in August 1977; the first flight with astronauts aboard was in April 1981; and the first non-R&D flight was in November 1982. There were no flights between February 1986 and August 1988 inclusive, and the last regularly scheduled flight (until now) was in February 2003.

            This gives a range of one vehicle lost every 9 years (1982-1986, 1988-2003) to one vehicle lost every 13 years (1977-2003).

            Just because there were two shut

      • I completely agree, except that we've got to be a little cautious or else we'll run out of shuttles -- we've only got three working ones left, you know!

      • A 2% failure rate is to be expected, and that's what we've got.

        Actually [cnn.com] it is advertised as 1%. I have pointed out [slashdot.org] that over the life of the program of 17 flights the risk of losing a shuttle is about the same as the risk of losing a game of Russian Roulette.

      • A 2% failure rate is to be expected, and that's what we've got.

        No, we have a 2% catastrophic failure rate. Shuttles have had issues before that have caused mission aborts, although not causing loss of life. For example, when a piece of debris hit one of the windows. Maybe not a failure per se, but it sure cut the mission short because of the concern. There have been numerous design flaws (search for fuel line cavitation for one) that plagued early shuttle flights. Some of these malfunctions caused by the s

    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:14AM (#15731523) Journal
      Technically the shuttles get repaired so extensively at each launch that they are as safe today as they were 20 years ago. That of course is the problem, they weren't safe 20 years age we just didn't know the extent of the problems and didn't have any other choice.
      • While this is true, there are always risks with using older machines. They are not as safe as they were 20 years ago, not because they are "broken", but because they can much easier break. No matter how much you replace on it, it's still a very, very old machine. With creaky joints.
        • "old" airframes (Score:3, Informative)

          by dpilot (134227)
          Don't forget the good old B-52. Half a century and those things are still flying. I suspect there's been a lot of learning since, "No Highway in the Sky."
    • Re:Good news indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BodhiCat (925309) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:15AM (#15731533)
      The media tends to concentrate on problems with the Shuttle, but we forget that there have been minor problems and glitches with any of the prevous manned space programs. We hear about the missions where they had major problems, such as Apollo 13, but even John Glenn (The first American to orbit the earth) had a problem with his heat shield which could have prevented a safe reenty. What makes for a good space program is not that everything goes perfect, nothing ever does (ask Mr. Murphy), but how mission control handles problems as the crop up. The same could be said for any technological undertaking. A good programmer is not one who writes a program without bugs, but one who is able to find them and make the corrections before they cause larger problems.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:03AM (#15731441)
    This is a perfect example that STS program has fulfilled expectations placed on it. Astronauts are now able to go to low earth orbit, take pictures of the shuttle and land it safely.

    Oh? The scientific experiments? We forgot about those. Maybe next time.
    • Astronauts are now able to go to low earth orbit, take pictures of the shuttle and land it safely.

      Oh? The scientific experiments? We forgot about those. Maybe next time.

      Nice piece of sarcasm, but you're a bit off base. Firstly, this mission had significant goals beyond testing new safety techniques - it delivered 28000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the ISS and also performed necessary repair and preparation for further ISS construction. Secondly, it's unlikely much scientific experimentation of

  • Congratulations! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GundamFan (848341) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:04AM (#15731448)
    Congratulations To the crew and all of NASA. I am glad to have our astonauts back home safely. And I am glad NASA is willing to overcome this chalange and continue our space program.
  • Congrats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:05AM (#15731453)
    Congratulations to NASA on a very successful mission. Most slashdotters will whine about spending money on this, but what we have to realize is the internet and much of our communications infrastructure depends on satellites and other things that the shuttle either researchs or launches directly. Many improvments in many things we use today are a result of research NASA either has did in space or did to get to space. GO NASA! :D

    • The shuttle hasn't done any commercial launches since the Challenger explosion. The shuttle program now has absolutely nothing to do with communications satellites or the internet. I'm not even saying it did at one time, I just haven't done the research to see if there was ever any kind of tenuous relationship. By the way, I also doubt if you do much surfing that takes satellite hops, unless you're dependent on HughesNet or DirectWay.
  • Atlantis (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:07AM (#15731467)
    It won't be easy, the wraith will find it soon and the power cells can only last so long.
  • by helioquake (841463) * on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:08AM (#15731487) Journal
    This was technically the last flight to test the changes made for the CAIB recommendations.

    In the next flight, the shuttle program resumes the construction of the ISS (not just delivery of the supplies and take back some garbages). So until the next mission is complete, I wouldn't say that we are back on track with this mission.

    It's good to have her back safely, nontheless.
  • by Mondoz (672060) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:17AM (#15731547)
    The tough job starts now?
    Not really... The other orbiters are processed in separate buildings, by separate groups of technicians.
    After Columbia, each flight requires a 'backup' orbiter be available to rescue the crew, should an emergency arise, so Atlantis is already nearly flight-ready.
    The processing of Atlantis and the training of the next crew has been underway for quite some time.
    It's not like KSC can only process one orbiter at a time...
  • Fun Fact! (Score:5, Funny)

    by saboola (655522) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:17AM (#15731548)
    Upon entering Kennedy Space Center, Homeland Security made the crew take off their shoes, belts, and put laptops into plastic bins before entering.
  • Orbital Decay? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@gmail ... om minus painter> on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:20AM (#15731571) Homepage
    Random ISS question here: Are the shuttle dockings ever used to give the ISS a slight nudge to counteract a decaying orbit? I know the ISS isn't going to drop back into the atmosphere anytime in the near future, but i wonder if there are any adjustments made to its orbit by the shuttle of the supply rockets.
    • definitely (Score:5, Informative)

      by peter303 (12292) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:30AM (#15731634)
      This was one of the fears of a too-long gap between shuttle visits. ISS needs a shuttle-assisted orbit boost at least every other year.
      • ISS can and does maintains orbit using Russian assets (primarily the Progress resupply vehicles, but the Service Module can also do it).

        The shuttle reboosts of ISS are considered a bonus, ISS does not depend on them. They are not required (and won't be post shuttle retirement in 2010 - the ISS program will continue until at least 2014 and probably longer without shuttle reboosts).
      • Hmm, one could think the ISS would have some minor rockets to adjust their orbit whenever necessary. Isn't that quite a weakness to rely on shuttles when they could be stopped at any time for political reasons? Since the ISS isn't complete, I wonder if this function would be part of a future module?
    • Re:Orbital Decay? (Score:3, Informative)

      by helioquake (841463) *
      I don't think the Discovery pushed the ISS's orbit higher in this mission, but NASA indeed uses the Shuttle to do that.

      We are approaching another Solar minimum. It is a good thing since Earth's atmosphere doesn't puff up too much during the minimum period, hence reducing the level of drag onto the ISS (hence less decay in its orbit).
    • Re:Orbital Decay? (Score:5, Informative)

      by cyclone96 (129449) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:45AM (#15731771)
      Are the shuttle dockings ever used to give the ISS a slight nudge to counteract a decaying orbit?

      The change in the orbit from the docking itself is negligible (since the shuttle and station are in essentially the same orbit at docking - the closing rate at docking is ~ 0.1 feet/second).

      That being said, the shuttle is occasionally used to reboost the Space Station by using up the excess shuttle propellant onboard. Additionally, in certain attitudes when the shutte is in attitude control the attitude control jets just happen to be pointed the correct direction to boost it slightly as well.

      This is all secondary to the Progress resupply ships, which are the main mode of performing reboosts.

    • The ATV [wikipedia.org] will be used for reboost [spaceandtech.com]

      This [wikipedia.org] seems to suggest (last paragraph) that ATV and Progress is used for the reboost. However this [shuttlepresskit.com] mentions a "ISS reboost if adequate propellant" in 2001
  • The safe landing of the shuttle. I hope the rest of the day goes as well for me.
    • My thoughts exactly. Heard on NPR on my drive in that landing was scheduled for around 9:30 Eastern, and was happily surprised when, at 9:17, I pulled up the CNN page and found the "safe landing" banner already across the top of the screen.

      Still have an AP "nighttime landing" photo of the previous mission as my desktop wallpaper,...
  • I am very happy to see that the nearly perfect mission of STS121 is over. It is now time to look to the future of the Space program with STS115 next month. Congrats to Nasa, and the crew of STS121 for returning the United States to space and beyond! Now I just need to cross my fingers about Atlantis next month for STS115 on August 28... hehe.
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:58AM (#15731852) Homepage
    I've been following this flight since a great launch on July 4th, watched it on NASA TV streaming to Realplayer - and the biggest lesson I learned is that journalists are really such dopes. I love reading about the mission, the challenges, the science, etc. But everytime NASA has a press conference the reporters ask such idiotic questions I just turn it off. Having to rely on them for the only source of knowledge about the US space program is the pits. It's like great science filtered thru the brian of a tabolid publisher. It's like they don't know what to ask, and are constantly digging for some 'human angle' to make an interesting story for people who would rather watch soap operas and golf games. Over and over we get "How do you FEEL about taking such an incredible RISK knowing there are problems with FOAM". I *just* turned on a post landing press conference and the first thing I heard, an NPR reporter AGAIN WITH THE FORM (then hit STOP in disgust). Thankfully we can get info directly from NASA these days. People who get their info thru 3rd party media don't know how badly a distorted view they're getting. Journalists reporting on NASA are like Martha Stewart reporting on NASCAR.

    • Watch the launch (and landing maybe, not sure) on CSPAN next time. Nothing but the NASA radio chatter. The cameras aren't as good, but they don't have tickers everywhere.
      • And most importantly... no Miles O'Brien on CSPAN!
        • What? Dude, I'd love to have Miles O'Brien give a narration of the launch... wait, you mean you're not talking about Chief Engineer Miles O'Brien from DS9? Nevermind. I'd settle for Scotty or Geordie, but please no B'Lanna.

          And it's funny that the GP poster would complain about not enough technical details and too much human interest in the shuttle launches, I remembebr being annoyed with TV coverage of the war in Iraq for the oppisite reason. All the news channels had long-winded technical overviews of the
      • CSPAN? Maybe I'm just spoiled living in Huntsville, but I've always watched the NASA select channel for launches and such. I take it cable providers elsewhere don't carry it?
    • It was really pathetic that all the news sources were shouting about a small piece of foam fall off the rocket before the launch and yet none of them were able to actually remember the facts from the last catastrophe: a piece of foam HIT THE SHUTTLE when the rocket was taking off. Discovery wasn't hit by that small piece of foam. Imagine if they actually reported on that. They could've just closed the newsrooms and went home with those news.
    • Perhaps one of my most horrible memories of the 1993 Challenger explosion was of a reporter who (regrettably like most any other reporter) just didn't get it. He spoke of how he once spent the day with an astronaut who told him "you know, one of these days one of these things (Space Shuttles) is going to blow up." The reporter said of the astronaut, "He had a PREMONITION that this would happen..."

      Even now it gives me an irrational urge to destroy the television.

      More to the parent's point (and I'd trust Mart
    • I used to live in Orlando and many years ago NASA Select TV was actually one of our cable channels offered. It was awesome. Raw feeds without nonsensical discussion by uneducated news media.

      I know exactly what you are talking about!
  • I'm acquainted with one of the technicians out at the Cape responsible for maintaining the shuttle fleet's insulation. I know this is a personal relief to her, as well as a testament to their unit's improved QC since Columbia. Now I'm hoping all goes well with Atlantis, and NASA can reap good use from the remaining shuttles until they are decommissioned.
  • by antispam_ben (591349) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:02PM (#15734929) Journal
    I've been reading James Gleick's bio of Richard Feynman, "Genius" and I've just been through the part where Feynman is on the 1993 Challenger investigation team, and he does the famous rubber-O-ring-in-the-ice-water trick for Congress. Feynman interviewed many engineers in different areas of the Shuttle program and was appalled as he found out that NASA was "approaching the envelope" on so many things. They had set high technical standards at the beginning, and then loosened them as they had more flights, and assumed that since they had had an uneventful flight that the more lax standards were okay. As the Challenger loss (and more recent Columbia loss) shows, this is a bad, HORRIBLE way to run things.

    I do hope that not only future Shuttle missions, but also future NASA manned programs are run much differently and to much more rigorous standards.

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