Shuttle News: August 2010 Archives

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NASA and ATK Successfully Test Five-Segment Solid Rocket Motor (with Video)

"With a loud roar and mighty column of flame, NASA and ATK Aerospace Systems successfully completed a two-minute, full-scale test of the largest and most powerful solid rocket motor designed for flight. The motor is potentially transferable to future heavy-lift launch vehicle designs. The stationary firing of the first-stage development solid rocket motor, dubbed DM-2, was the most heavily instrumented solid rocket motor test in NASA history. More than 760 instruments measured 53 test objectives."

NASA Tests Engine With an Uncertain Future, NY Times

"The shuttle solids, Dr. [Doug] Stanley said, "have a very high demonstrated reliability." The five-segment motors would also take advantage of the existing factory that builds the shuttle boosters. For James Muncy, a space policy consultant who has been an ardent critic of Constellation, that is exactly the reason he would like the solids to go away. "They work," he said. But he added: "They're expensive. Nobody else needs them."

Our economy needs a robust space program, editorial, Houston Chronicle

"It would be prudent to keep the space shuttles flying with new missions to maintain a vital back-up contingency, until replacement spacecraft and commercial space transportation achieve reliable operations. The space shuttle's unique capability to launch heavy payloads into space, or return hardware from orbit, is the only means available of flying critical replacement components to support the $100 billion International Space Station. If the 300-ton space station is ever taken out of service, the space shuttle is the only vehicle in existence that could safely deorbit the massive structure."

Keith's note: Hmm ... "deorbit" implies that you are going to drop the ISS into the ocean. Mir, which was somewhat comparable in size - with things pointing out in all directions. Mir was deorbited with several Progress flights. Why couldn't a series of Progress, HTV, ATV missions do the same for the ISS? Or are you going to use Shuttle propulsion to deorbit the ISS? Or are you talking about taking the ISS apart and returning the pieces to Earth in a shuttle cargo bay? Given how many flights it took to assemble the ISS, that would be a rather time consuming and expensive undertaking. And then what about the Russian segment? That would have to come back too - just like Mir did.

- NASA's 1999 Plan To Splash ISS, earlier post
- Mir deorbit simulation, earlier post
- The Deorbit of Skylab, earlier post

NASA Asks Public For FInal Shuttle Missions' Wakeup Songs

"If you like music, the space program and are a little nostalgic, NASA has the perfect opportunity for you. For the first time, the public can help choose songs to wake up the astronauts during the last two scheduled space shuttle missions."

Keith's note: Here's my nomination "Rocket Man" as performed by NASA Edge

Fighting For Shuttles

Shuttle Diplomacy: Museums Launch Bids for Retiring Space Planes, WS Journal

"The space shuttle fleet's looming retirement ends an era--and launches a new space race. This one is on the ground, among museums scrambling to land one of the three orbiters. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says it has received expressions of interest from 21 institutions. The competition has sparked intensive lobbying campaigns, massive fund-raising drives and a sprint for letters of support from astronauts, politicians and the public."

Frank Sietzen, Jr: "As the final flights of the Space Shuttle draw near, already some of us are awash in nostalgia for the winged beast, not withstanding its ruinous cost. For nearly a majority of Americans now living, there has never been an American spacecraft other than the Shuttle. Generation after generation have been born and grown to adulthood with the Shuttle missions flying, in many respects, transparently in the background, part of routine life. For millions all over the world, for some who love and for many who hate America, the Space Shuttle and its astronaut crews flying daring missions have become symbols of the American nation-an iconic self-image of who Americans like to think they still are: adventurers, risk takers, explorers. In times of triumph as well as moments of darkness."

Cape Canaveral reverberated with the effects of politics this week. One of the Republican candidates for Florida governor stumped around the area as space contractor giant United Space Alliance (USA) laid off another 900 employees.

This however did not dissuade Kennedy Space Center Director from predicting a bright future for the space center.


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

Shuttle News: July 2010 is the previous archive.

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