Shuttle News: December 2007 Archives

NASA Awards Contract for Space Shuttle Robotics Support, NASA JSC

"The cost plus no fee contract will provide support for activities related to both the Space Shuttle Program and International Space Station Program. The contract includes a base period from Jan. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2010, followed by two one-year extension options."

Editor's note: Hmmm ... if the Shuttle fleet is supposed to be retired in 2010, why is there any need for "two one-year extension options" for hardware that is only used on the Space Shuttle?

Editor's update: According to PAO's Michael Curie "The two option years are for space station, not shuttle, robotics." OK. Then perhaps the title of the press release should have been "NASA Awards Contract for Space Shuttle and Space Station Robotics Support" and the lead paragraph changed to something like "for support of hardware and software associated with the Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System robotic arm, inspection boom assembly and robotic work station and for International Space Station robotic hardware and software". Otherwise the release, as written, seems to focus only on shuttle-based hardware - since it is the only hardware that is specifically mentioned.

STS-122 Launch Date TBD

Editor note: NASA held a teleconference today with Wayne Hale with regard to repairs needed for STS-122. According to Wayne Hale "We have no launch date to talk about today".

Hale said that NASA would attempt to do all required repairs to Atlantis' External Tank on the launch pad. Hale expressed confidence that the repairs could be done in this fashion. However, if that is not possible, then a roll back to the VAB might be needed.

HR 4837 Spacefaring Priorities for America's Continued Exploration Act (Full Text)

"a) Use of Space Shuttle for Access to Space- NASA shall fly at least 2 Space Shuttle missions per year for crew transport, instead of Russian crew and cargo services, for the period of 2010 through 2015, or until Orion is operational. There are authorized to be appropriated to NASA such sums as may be necessary, in addition to amounts otherwise authorized, to carry out this subsection, including for the production of more external tanks as may be needed."

Editor's note: Rep. Weldon is exorcising some non-space demons at the same time that he is trying to prolong shuttle operations. This legislation also includes a large amount of Russia-bashing - much of it gratuitous - much more than is needed to make the simple point (agreed to by many) that the U.S. should not be reliant upon Russia (or any other country) to fly American astronauts. i.e. "Despite United States objections, Russia sold billions of dollars worth of weapons to the regime of Hugo Chavez in 2006. Such meddling is a possible violation of the Monroe Doctrine and a throwback to the Cold War era."

Our position: Bringing the next space ship on line faster is the best solution, editorial, Orlando Sentinel

"Congressman Dave Weldon is right to be concerned about the looming gap between the space shuttle's retirement in 2010 and the launch of NASA's next manned vehicle in 2015 or later. But he's also right that his plan to fill the gap isn't very likely to pass. Actually, it has about a daisy's chance on the moon."

Shuttle Update

NASA Tanking Test Completed For Space Shuttle Atlantis

"After Tuesday's test of Atlantis' external fuel tank, NASA's Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said he was pleased with the data captured from the special equipment wired into the tank's sensor system. Speaking from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Hale said with the information gleaned from the test "sets us on the right path to correct this problem so we can return this important safety system to operational capability so we can fly again."

U.S. urged to keep space shuttle flying past 2010, Reuters

"[Weldon's] proposal, which would cost about $10 billion, would have the shuttles make six or seven additional flights between 2010 and 2013 and speed up development of the Orion ships to be ready by then. A second proposal would keep the shuttles flying until 2015 and leave Orion's schedule alone."

Rep. Dave Weldon to Announce S.P.A.C.E. Act

"Rep. Weldon is announcing new legislation that would propose additional Space Shuttle flights through the "gap" in which America will not otherwise have access to space. This legislation will also provide additional resources for the Constellation project, and will have a positive effect on our national security as well as the local economy."

Text of Conference Amendment by Rep. Dave Weldon to Force NASA to Ensure That Space Shuttle Can Continue to Fly Beyond 2010

STS-122 Launch Slipped Again

NASA Targets Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch On Jan. 10"The workforce has stepped up to and met every challenge this year," said Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "Moving the next launch attempt of Atlantis to Jan. 10 will allow as many people as possible to have time with family and friends at the time of year when it means the most. A lot has been asked of them this year and a lot will be asked of them in 2008."

Email Volleys and ECO Sensors

Internal NASA Emails Reveal Atlantis Safety Debate, Aviation Week

"Internal NASA emails from the director of Shuttle Safety at the Johnson Space Center and the Shuttle Program Manager show how they struggled with the potential risk to astronauts' lives in assessing how to proceed with the launch of Atlantis in the wake of engine cutoff (ECO) sensor malfunctions. Aviation Week & Space Technology obtained exclusive copies of these emails, which are reproduced largely in full here on to retain the context intended by their authors."

Wayne Hale Is Not Done Yet

NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale: "Not done yet"

"... So I've decided: I'm in it for the long run. I don't intend to leave before the last wheel stop. There is plenty enough excitement and fulfillment to outweigh the biggest bonus or the fanciest office. There will be time for the future when it comes. Because we're not finished yet. I hope you are in it with me."

Text of Conference Amendment by Rep. Dave Weldon to Force NASA to Ensure That Space Shuttle Can Continue to Fly Beyond 2010

"(a) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall take all actions necessary in fiscal year 2008, including renegotiating necessary prime contracts and subcontracts and ensuring that they do not expire, in order to ensure the option of operating the Space Shuttle beyond the currently planned Shuttle end-of-operations date in 2010. These actions shall be accomplished using existing funds made available by this or any other Act, and shall include -- "

Lawmakers want shuttle's life extended despite dangers, Orlando Sentinel

"Despite the objections of senior NASA officials and Columbia disaster investigators, key members of Congress are pushing hard to extend the life of America's aging space-shuttle fleet beyond 2010, potentially risking astronaut lives as well as the agency's program to return to the moon."

NASA Postpones Shuttle Atlantis Launch Until January, NASA

"The launch of space shuttle Atlantis has been rescheduled for no earlier than Jan. 2, 2008. The postponement will give engineers time to evaluate false readings from the engine cutoff sensor system that measures liquid hydrogen in the external tank. Of the four engine cutoff sensors, ECO sensor number three gave false readings during Sunday's launch attempt. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low."

Editor's note: NASA Watch has learned that there will not be a launch attempt on Saturday. The next launch attempt will be made on Sunday.

NASA Shuttle Information

SpaceRef Shuttle/ISS Information

No, Those Are Not Cracks

Editor's note: NASA PAO statement regarding STS-122 preparations:

"The post Mission Management Team meeting news conference has been pushed back to no earlier than 7:30 p.m. EST.

Reporters have been inquiring about a report from that stated: 'An 8 inch crack has been observed on one of the LOX Feedline brackets. Photographs are being taken at the pad, with evaluations to take place over the coming hours.'

It is not a crack. During a routine pad inspection, teams identified scuff marks on the LOX Feedline brackets. These scuff marks are within the allowable limits and there no issues."

Remembering a Runner

Dedication of the Willie McCool Memorial Marker at the United States Naval Academy, David Schuman, SpaceRef

"Amidst the regular burden of work, some may appreciate this short description of an emotional ceremony I attended this past Sunday at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It was not widely reported in the media but held a very special significance for NASA employees, in particular for those who happen to be runners. I'm a runner and, while there have been many times when I've been tempted to break down on a racecourse, this was a special time."



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from December 2007.

Shuttle News: November 2007 is the previous archive.

Shuttle News: January 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.