Shuttle News: May 2010 Archives

A Tribute to Atlantis

3-D Mural Hung in Tribute to Atlantis in Cape's Firing Room, Ken Kremer

"A new 3 D tribute commemorating spectacular highlights from the historic missions of Space Shuttle Atlantis now proudly hangs high inside Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The huge mural was created by the NASA and contractor teams that process Atlantis in preparation for blasting off to the High Frontier. The teams themselves, not outside artists, created the collage from objects and images highlighting significant milestones in the steps to check out and prepare Atlantis for launch and events from her 32 actual missions to space."

Majestic Last Landing for Atlantis, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Atlantis closed out a quarter century of service to the exploration of space with a majestic return from orbit and a spectacular landing this morning (May 26) at 8:48 AM EDT at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Atlantis and her six man crew descended through the atmosphere and were greeted by absolutely clear blue skies for what is likely to be her final touchdown on Earth."

Letter from Sen. Nelson to President Obama Regarding An Additional Space Shuttle Mission, (PDF)

"As we begin work on the NASA reauthorization bill for fiscal year 2011, I write to inform you of my intention to include language authorizing an additional space shuttle flight... this new mission. STS-135, would be flown with a minimum crew of four astronauts and would provide critical spare parts and logistics for long-term ISS operations"

NASA Solicitation: Commercial Crew Transportation Request For Information

"NASA is currently in the conceptual phase of developing requirements for a Commercial Crew Transportation (CCT) capability that would be able to transport NASA astronauts and spaceflight participants safely to and from LEO and the ISS. The purpose of this RFI is to collect information from industry to help NASA plan the overall strategy for the development and demonstration of a CCT capability and to receive comments on NASA human-rating technical requirements that have been drafted as part of this initiative."

Go For Launch!, Air and Space

"In this unique time-lapse video created from thousands of individual frames, photographers Scott Andrews, Stan Jirman and Philip Scott Andrews condense six weeks of painstaking work into three minutes, 52 seconds. The action starts in the hangar-like Orbiter Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where Discovery has been outfitted for its STS-131 mission."

Atlantis and ISS Transit The Sun

Image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Atlantis 50 minutes before docking, taken from the area of Madrid (Spain) on May 16th 2010 at 13h 28min 55s UT. Image courtesy of Thierry Legault.

This Is No Time to Retire Shuttle, OpEd, Mike Snyder, Space News

"I am not a government employee, the CEO of an aerospace company or even senior management. I am an engineer, one of the tens of thousands of people around this nation who work daily on our efforts in space. In six months, the United States will retire the space shuttle, the most robust and capable space vehicle the world has ever seen, simply because our government has decided to do that. We have no vehicle to replace the space shuttle, and we will have no replacement for an unspecified amount of time."

Bolden at odds with Nelson on Ares I tests , Orlando Sentinel

"I can't pay for an Ares I today. It's too expensive," said Bolden, speaking after a meeting of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. "That's an easy decision for me because it wipes out everything. My friend Sen. Nelson, and he is my friend to be quite honest, we respectfully agree to disagree on this. It is incredibly costly for me to go off and try a series of Ares I tests to support a heavy-lift at the present cost of solid rocket motors. Now, there is an answer. Get the cost down. And ATK (prime contractor for the Ares I) says they can do that. But we're not there right now."

Keith's note: There is another wrinkle to the whole issue of SRBs, Ares, and Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicles - one that has not gotten much attention - yet: OSTP and others in the White House are concerned that these solid rockets are heavy polluters (1.1 million pounds of propellant each) and that it is time to move to something far less dirty to launch things into space.

When we send things into space, does it affect our atmosphere? ozone layer?, Yahoo ANswers

"... 23 tons of harmful particulate matter settle around the launch area each liftoff, and nearly 13 tons of hydrochloric acid kill fish and plants within half a mile of the site ... the environmental cost per launch is the same as that of New York City over a weekend."

Atlantis and ISS On Orbit One Last Time

"This image features the space shuttle Atlantis's cabin and forward cargo bay and part of the International Space Station while the two spacecraft remain docked, during STS-132's flight day four extravehicular activity of astronauts Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen (both out of frame). Though three sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) will involve only three astronauts (two on each occasion) who actually leave the shirt leave environments of the two docked spacecraft, all twelve astronauts and cosmonauts on the two combined crews have roles in supporting the EVA work."

The Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) area was a hive of activity this week. The space shuttle Atlantis roared off the launch pad on its final mission, STS-132. Over at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex it was announced that the final frontier will beam down in the form of a live stage show. It was also revealed this week that come this September, Brevard County in general and KSC in particular will be playing host to robots in disguise!

Mainstream Media Websites Failing to Adequately Cover end of Shuttle Era, Jason Rhian

"Reviewing where yesterday's launch of space shuttle Atlantis and the crew of STS-132 'placed' in regards to importance on the assorted media outlets websites provides a startling insight as to how we as a nation view manned spaceflight."

Atlantis' Last Blast Into Space, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Atlantis thundered to space today, May 14, for her last blast to the High Frontier. The STS 132 flight is Atlantis 32nd and final planned mission. Her journey with a lucky crew of six eager and experienced male astronauts began with a ground shaking rumble at 2:20 PM EDT from Launch Pad 39 A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off to Put Finishing Touches on the International Space Station

"One of the final space shuttle visits to the International Space Station began at 2:20 p.m. Friday with the launch of Atlantis and six astronauts from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

Gorgeous Atlantis Set to Soar, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Atlantis was unveiled for blast off to the heavens above on a sunny late Thursday afternoon (May 13) as the countdown clocks tick down for launch on Friday at 2:20 PM EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

Atlantis GO for Launch as Soyuz Clears Path, Ken Kremer

"NASA Shuttle managers met early this morning and then announced a unanimous "GO" for launch of Atlantis on her last planned flight to space at today's (May 12) press briefing at the Kennedy Space Center. There are no technical issues standing in the way of a launch from pad 39 A on Friday, May 14. "Everything is looking great. The vehicle is in great shape out at the pad," said Mike Moses, chair of the Mission Management Team."

Counting Down to Atlantis' Last Blast Off

"The Historic Countdown has officially begun for the last planned blast off of Space Shuttle Atlantis. The clocks at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) began ticking down at 4 PM EDT today (Tuesday) from the T minus 43 hour mark towards a launch at 2:20 PM on Friday May 14. KSC launch controllers reported to their consoles at 3:30 PM for the formal "call-to-stations" at the Launch Control Center to initiate preparations for liftoff of the STS 132 mission on Atlantis 32rd journey to the high frontier."

Altantis' Final flight to loft Russian Science Beauty, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Atlantis is slated to blast off on her final scheduled mission to space on Friday, May 14 at 2:20 PM EDT from Launch Pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Atlantis is bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on a complex assembly mission to put the "finishing touches" on the massive orbiting outpost. The principal payload nested inside her cargo bay is a stunning Russian Science Beauty named 'Rassvet'. The primary goal of STS 132 is to deliver the Russian built 'Rassvet' module to the ISS. Although 'Rassvet' was constructed entirely in Russia, the module is hitching a ride to space on the American Shuttle Atlantis according to a complex barter agreement to share costs between partner nations of the ISS."

This past week at Cape Canaveral saw the passing of a space legend, the build up to one of the final shuttle launches and efforts to stem the flow of highly-technical space jobs away from the area.

It also saw private space company SpaceX striving to meet the launch criteria for its Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA Heavy Lift Launch System and Propulsion Technology Request for Information

"On May 3, 2010, NASA will issue a Request for Information (RFI) seeking general information regarding potential launch or space transportation architectures (expendable, reusable, or a hybrid system) that could be utilized by multiple customers (e.g. NASA, commercial and other Government agencies). The RFI also will solicit information regarding propulsion system characteristics; technology challenges related to liquid chemical propulsion systems; as well as innovative methods to manage a heavy-lift development program to include effective and affordable business practices. The RFI will be open to the broad space community, including commercial, other Government agencies and academia. Information obtained from the RFI will be used for planning and acquisition-strategy development for current heavylift planning activities, as outlined in the Conference Report to FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117)."

Pitching for NASA, Hutchison back in the game, Houston Chronicle

"Legislation crafted by Hutchison in the Senate and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Florida Democrat in the House, would require NASA to identify and make specific delivery arrangements for supplies and equipment needed by the orbiting space laboratory before steps are taken to end shuttle operations this year."

Keith's note: According to comments made by Jeff Bingham, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Science and Space Subcommittee staffer, posting as "51D Mascot": "Under a CR with everything at FY 2010 levels, shuttle funding would be retained at a level sufficient to enable continuing operations. There is nothing anywhere in statute requiring shuttle termination (anything written in recent statutes has pushed AGAINST that termination, actually, while not actually requiring continuation). The issue would be whether the agency could "reprogram" those funds to other uses consistent with the FY 2011 request as an administrative action. That's technically "possible" but it will depend on whether the appropriators would find that acceptable. (no reason right now to think they wouldn't but the debate on these major issues is really just beginning to gather steam within the Congress, so who knows?)"

and here

"Since NASA appears to be taking actions this year that are, or may be, in violation of the clause in the Omnibus bill, don't be surprised to learn of legislative action in days and weeks to come to "fine tune" that language in some "appropriate" piece of legislation moving through the process at any time."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from May 2010.

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