Shuttle News: January 2011 Archives

Giffords husband to decide on space trip in mid-Feb, Reuters

"The astronaut husband of a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded when she was shot in head will decide by mid-February whether to join the last NASA shuttle launch as scheduled, the space agency said on Sunday."

Giffords's Husband Faces Decision on Shuttle Flight

"Mark is still the commander," said Peggy A. Whitson, the chief astronaut, but she said that having a backup commander would allow the crew to continue training and Captain Kelly to "focus on his wife's care."

NASA gives go-ahead for additional shuttle flight, AP

"NASA doesn't know yet where it will get the money, but on Thursday the space agency officially added another space shuttle launch to its schedule -- the final one for the fleet. The space agency set a target launch date of June 28 for the shuttle Atlantis and started preparations for the 135th and last shuttle flight. The four-member crew will take up supplies to the International Space Station, make one spacewalk, and return a faulty pump that has bedeviled engineers."

Keith's note: Amazing. NASA has now learned how to prepare for a shuttle flight - something that used to cost money - with money it does not have. I hope the MSL and Webb folks stop by for a copy of the secret recipe SOMD is using.

NASA Presses Ahead With STS-135 Preparations Despite Budget Uncertainty, earlier post

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, co-founder of Challenger Center for Space Science Education, talking to Students on 25th Anniversary of Challenger.

Astronaut Steve Bowen Named to STS-133 Shuttle Crew

"NASA selected astronaut Steve Bowen as a mission specialist on STS-133, the next space shuttle mission planned for launch on Feb. 24. Bowen replaces astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident over the weekend. The agency will hold a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to discuss the change in crew personnel."

Shuttle Discovery's lead spacewalker hurt in accident, Spaceflight Now

"Space station veteran Timothy Kopra, scheduled for launch Feb. 24 aboard the shuttle Discovery, was injured in a bicycle accident Saturday, a NASA official said. The injury was not life threatening and the NASA official, citing medical privacy issues, provided no additional details. But multiple sources said Kopra may have broken his hip, raising the prospect of a significant impact to the already-delayed mission."

Preliminary Report Regarding NASA's Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Pursuant to Section 309 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267)

"To date, trade studies performed by the Agency have yet to identify heavy-lift and capsule architectures that would both meet all SLS requirements and these goals. For example, a 2016 first flight of the SLS does not appear to be possible within projected FY 2011 and out year funding levels. ... However, to be clear, neither Reference Vehicle Design currently fits the projected budget profiles nor the schedule goals outlined in the Authorization Act. .... none of the design options studied thus far appeared to be affordable in our present fiscal conditions, based upon existing cost models, historical data, and traditional acquisition approaches. ..."

Senate Commerce Committee Members Respond to NASA Report

"We appreciate NASA's report and look forward to the additional material that was required but not submitted. In the meantime, the production of a heavy-lift rocket and capsule is not optional. It's the law. NASA must use its decades of space know-how and billions of dollars in previous investments to come up with a concept that works. We believe it can be done affordably and efficiently - and, it must be a priority."

Senator: NASA May Have To Consider Having Only 2 Launches

"NASA is getting a stern reality check from one of its biggest supporters. Senator Bill Nelson admitted Monday there may only be two more shuttle missions instead of three. WFTV learned NASA will announce another delay for Discovery on Tuesday and, Nelson says, if engineers can't fix Discovery's external tank they must cancel the Atlantis mission and use that tank, because they aren't making tanks anymore. The plant that makes the tanks in Louisiana has already been shut down, so NASA is really faced with two options: fly with a tank that has had more repair work done than any other tank or scrap an entire shuttle mission."

Comment by Wayne Hale (actual rocket scientist) on an earlier post

"Let me review the situation: until root cause is understood, all the remaining tanks are suspect; going to the next tank in line would likely have the same condition. Understanding the cause and fixing all the remaining tanks is required. Second, this is hardly a hurry up launch fever situation. The shuttle team is methodically working through the problem. They have delayed the launch from early November repeatedly because the solution is not in hand. They are exercising very good judgment and not rushing. Working through difficult engineering problems can be painful to watch, but my observation is that they are doing what is prudent and proper."

CertifyingSoyuz, Wayne Hale

"So as new human certification ratings are proposed, they rely heavily on new standards and specifications, requirements for analysis, engineering calculation, computer simulation, piece-part testing and just a little bit on flight demonstration. Of course, the Shuttle and the Soyuz don't comply with those standards; they were built in different times with more primitive standards. But they demonstrate a level of reliability or safety that is apparently acceptable. If someone were to build their own spacecraft and/or launch vehicle; fly it successfully many times, demonstrate its capabilities in actual flight; then I suspect the new human rating requirements would be tossed aside in favor of demonstrated actual flight performance."

- Soyuz Procurement That Falls Short of NASA's Own Commercial Crew Requirements, earlier post
- NASA Releases LEO Commercial Crew Certification Requirements, earlier post

STS-133 Delayed Again

Discovery's Early February Launch Opportunity Delayed as Work Continues on External Tank

"The Space Shuttle Program held its weekly Program Requirements Control Board (PRCB) meeting today to review progress on the continuing engineering investigation, testing and analysis regarding shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank stringer crack issue. With the work remaining, the potential for additional modifications yet to be defined, and further reviews pending, the decision was made today to allow the teams additional time and delay the next launch opportunity out of the early February launch window, which opened Feb. 3. New potential launch dates for Discovery's STS-133 mission and shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission will be discussed at next Thursday's PRCB meeting."

More Delays for STS-133?

Shuttle engineers consider beefing up all tank 'stringers', Spaceflight Now

"If that decision is made, it is unlikely NASA could complete the work, repair the tank's foam insulation and get Discovery back out to the launch pad in time to support a launch attempt during the next available window, which opens Feb. 3 and closes Feb. 10. Work to beef up all 108 stringers at the top of the intertank almost certainly would delay Discovery's launch on a space station resupply mission to the next available window, which opens Feb. 27 and closes in early March."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from January 2011.

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