Shuttle News: April 2011 Archives

Endeavour Is Good to Go

It's a Unanimous "Go" for Endeavour

"The Space Shuttle Program Mission Management Team voted unanimously to proceed toward Endeavour's scheduled liftoff at 3:47 p.m. EDT Friday. Mike Moses, chair of the Prelaunch Mission Management team, reported that it was a very short meeting and everything is in great shape and ready to go."

NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Endeavour Launch

"NASA invited 150 lucky people to a behind-the-scenes perspective from the press site at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final launch of space shuttle Endeavour on Friday, April 29. The launch is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. EDT."

Making Do With a Plywood Spaceship, New York Times

"Q. What was your response when NASA announced its decision?

A. A shuttle would have been our first choice. I won't pretend we're not disappointed, but we're moving forward.

Q. What are the plans for the Space Gallery?

A. We will have a full-size mockup of the space shuttle -- a full fuselage shuttle trainer. It looks exactly like the shuttle except that it doesn't have wings. One advantage is that because it is not a priceless artifact like the shuttle, we'll be able to use it for educational purposes. Some people, but not everyone, will be able to go inside. They won't be able to do that with the shuttles. The trainer is about the size of a 747. The tail is 56 feet high. From the outside it will look exactly like the shuttle except for the wings."

Keith's note: I predict that the Seattle folks will create an experience for visitors that will eclipse all others - even those that use real orbiters. Imagination can often trump reality. Seattle has that. Houston: take note.

NASA Pre-Countdown Update only has Weather as a Potential IssueNASA Pre-Countdown Update only has Weather as a Potential Issue, SpaceRef

"At today's NASA pre-countdown briefing NASA Test Director Jeremy Graeber said that there currently is no technical issues while a potential severe thunder storm coming through Thursday is the only issue at this time that could delay the shuttle launch."

Wings In Orbit: An Inside Look at the Shuttle, Aviation Week

"Published by the Johnson Space Center and the Government Printing Office, Wings In Orbit is scheduled for an April 8 release through major book stores, including and Barnes & Noble, as well as at"

Keith's 26 April note: This book is finally online. No one at PAO bothered to tell me despite repeated email inquiries and a FOIA request. Instead, a NASA Watch reader came across this link. As such, one would expect that PAO will not tell anyone about this link - and no one will know about it since you still cannot actually buy physical copies of this book. Another chance to inform/serve the public is going to be wasted.

The Shuttle Party Is Over

Transcendence Splashes Down, New York Magazine

"It is objectively no small feat, slipping the surly bonds of Earth. But somehow, over its 30 years of existence, NASA's Space Shuttle program has become roughly as thrilling as the Delta Shuttle. Still, there's something sad about the end of the program, which will officially shut down after Endeavour's 25th and final mission, on April 29, and one last there-and-back by Space Shuttle Atlantis in June. It's not so much that the program's increasingly prosaic missions--they have amounted, in recent years, to something like space carpooling--will be missed. The sadness instead comes from the petering out of space travel's promised transcendence."

With 'Coolest Job Ever' Ending, Astronauts Seek Next Frontier, New York Times

"What happens when you have the right stuff at the wrong time? Members of NASA's astronaut corps have been asking just that, now that the space shuttle program is ending and their odds of flying anywhere good anytime soon are getting smaller. The Endeavour is scheduled to launch this week, and the Atlantis is supposed to fly the last shuttle mission in June -- and all the seats are spoken for. "Morale is pretty low," said Leroy Chiao, a former astronaut who now works for a company that wants to offer space flights for tourists. "This is a time of great uncertainty."

First Family at STS-134

Keith's note: According to a knowledegable government source the entire First Family will probably be attending the launch of STS-134 next week.

Obama to reporter: 'Let me finish my answers' next time, The Oval (with video)

"Obama also bristled at claims that is administration skipped Houston in the award of space shuttle orbiters and favored states that could help his re-election. "That's wrong," the president stated. "That had nothing to do with it; the White House had nothing to do with it." When Watson persisted, Obama said, "I just said that was wrong," and, later, "I just said that wasn't true."

Adding up the final tab for the space shuttle program: $1.5 billion per launch, Houston Chronicle

"For Houston the benefits have been enormous, from basic economic development in the southeast part of the city, to the benefits of a large and talented workforce on our communities, to the cachet of housing and training the world's astronauts. With all that being said, nearly $200 billion is a lot of coin for science and technology. Was it money well spent?"

Shuttle programme lifetime cost, Nature

"The US Congress and NASA spent more than US$192 billion (in 2010 dollars) on the shuttle from 1971 to 2010. The agency launched 131 flights; two ended in tragedy with the loss of Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003. During the operational years from 1982 to 2010, the average cost per launch was about $1.2 billion. Over the life of the programme, this increases to about $1.5 billion per launch."

Letter from Texas House Delegation to NASA Administrator Bolden About Shuttle Decision

"It is our hope that politics did not play a role in this historic decision. If there is no rational explanation based on definable factors for the choice of the Intrepid museum in New York City, and that the transfer of the Enterprise to that location will cost significantly more than a transfer to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, we will do everything in our power in Congress, including legislation to prevent funding of the transfer, to stop this wasteful decision."

NASA Space Shuttle Contractor Announces Layoffs for 2,800 Workers,

"The NASA contractor responsible for most of the work of maintaining the space shuttles announced Friday (April 15) that it will have to lay off almost 50 percent of its employees - up to 2,800 workers - after the shuttle program shuts down this year."

Shuttle prime contractor details major layoffs, SpaceflightNow

"Through earlier layoffs and attrition, USA's workforce in Florida, Texas and Alabama has dropped from around 10,500 in October 2009 to a current level of around 5,600. In late July or early August, the company will implement another major workforce reduction, affecting between 2,600 and 2,800 employees across the company. Of that total, 1,850 to 1,950 job losses are expected in Florida, 750 to 800 in Texas and 30 to 40 in Alabama."

USA Announces End-of-Program Workforce Reduction, USA

"USA currently employs approximately 5,600 employees at its Florida, Texas and Alabama sites. The reduction in force will affect multiple disciplines and multiple organizations across the company. The reduction is expected to impact between 2600-2800 company-wide, including 1850-1950 employees in Florida, 750-800 employees in Texas, and 30-40 in Alabama."

Texas lawmakers introduce bill to bring space shuttle to Houston, CNN

"Two Texas lawmakers, upset that Houston was not picked as one of the retirement homes for NASA's space shuttles, introduced legislation [H.R. 1590] Friday that would bring the Discovery shuttle to the city for 15 years."

No retired shuttle for Houston? Not without a fight, Florida Today

"U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he heard an outcry -- "Earth to NASA" -- from congressional colleagues who thought the home of Mission Control and the Astronaut Corps was snubbed in its failed bid to land an orbiter. So Chaffetz introduced a bill [H.R. 1536] that seeks "to restore common sense and fairness to the space shuttle retirement home debate.""

Houston says NY shouldn't get shuttle; NY says it isn't, Seattle Post Intelligencer

"When the United States won the race to the moon in 1969, the first word on the moon was, 'Houston,' not 'New York City,'" [Rep.] Poe ranted on the House floor after Tuesday's NASA announcement, referring to the fact that mission control is in Houston, which is also where astronauts train."

New York deserves better than fake Enterprise shuttle prototype while L.A., VA get the real thing, NY Daily News

"The Enterprise didn't have an engine and never went on a space mission. After all those months of press conferences, photo ops and lobbying, the best Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand could get us was a prototype. What's worse is that L.A. is getting a real one: The Endeavour. Where are they gonna put it, Disneyland? And someplace called Chantilly, Va., gets the Discovery."

War Of Words Erupts Between NYC And Houston Over Shuttle Enterprise, CBS

"But to use another Texas phase, "that dog won't hunt," Poe's efforts to derail the shuttle wont work according to New York Sen. Schumer. "I would say to Congressman Poe what we say in Brooklyn, 'fuhgettaboutit,'" Schumer told Kramer."

Why Houston Did Not Get A Shuttle, Wayne Hale

"Immediate reaction from many people in the Houston area was that the Orbiter disposition decision was politically tainted. For example, this was the explanation of my old Rice classmate Annise Parker, her honor the Mayor of Houston. Maybe there is some truth to that. It's hard to say what goes on inside the Washington beltway with any certainty. But my suspicions lie closer to home. Houston didn't get an orbiter because Houston didn't deserve it."

NASA Announces New Homes For Shuttle Orbiters After Retirement

"After 30 years of spaceflight, more than 130 missions, and numerous science and technology firsts, NASA's space shuttle fleet will retire and be on display at institutions across the country to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers."

Space Shuttle to Land in Manhattan, NY Times

"A space shuttle is coming to Manhattan, but not one of the three that have carried astronauts into orbit. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is getting the fourth shuttle, the Enterprise, according to a person who had been briefed on the decision."

Seattle's Museum of Flight won't get a space shuttle

"Seattle's Museum of Flight won't be home to a space shuttle orbiter, according to a person briefed on the decision but not authorized to discuss it publicly. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is set to announce the winners at 10 a.m., Pacific Time.

City officials: Houston will not get one of the retired space shuttles, KHOU

"City officials on Tuesday confirmed to KHOU 11 News that Houston will not receive one of NASA's retired space shuttles. The official announcement was set to be made by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at noon at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts NASA denial of Dayton's space shuttle bid,

"NASA ignored the intent of Congress and the interests of taxpayers," Brown said in a press statement. "NASA was directed to consider regional diversity when determining shuttle locations. Unfortunately, it looks like regional diversity amounts to which coast you are on, or which exit you use on I-95. Even more insulting to taxpayers is that having paid to build the shuttles, they will now be charged to see them at some sites."

Abort mission: Adler, lakefront won't be home to retired shuttle, Chicago Sun Times

"Adler will get a space-flight simulator used to train astronauts that's currently in Houston. It will become a new centerpiece for the planetarium, said Adler President Paul Knappenberger. The simulator is three-stories high and features a "full-scale mock-up of the crew compartment'' of a space shuttle, he said."

Houston Gets No Space Shuttle: See What Happens When You Don't Have a Texan in the White House?, Houston Press

"This is certainly disappointing, but not entirely unexpected as the Administration has been hinting that Houston would not be a winner in this political competition," Mayor Annise Parker said in an issued statement. "I am disappointed for Houston, the JSC family and the survivors of the Columbia and Challenger missions who paid the ultimate price for the advancement of space exploration. There was no other city with our history of human space flight or more deserving of a retiring orbiter. It is unfortunate that political calculations have prevailed in the final decision."

NASA to Hold 30th Anniversary Ceremony at Kennedy Space Center and Announce Permanent Space Shuttle Locations

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will participate in a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Tuesday, April 12 on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch. At 3 p.m. on April 12, NASA will hold a media teleconference to discuss the placement of the orbiters. Senior NASA officials will be available to answer questions."

Letter to NASA's Bolden requests equity on shuttle (Texas delegation), editorial, , Houston Chronicle

"Houston is the rightful place for a space shuttle to be put on permanent display. It will continue Houston's legacy in human space flight, it will enrich the learning experience of the children and adults alike who visit and will inspire future generations. We hope that you will recognize both Houston's unique contribution to human space flight and its eligibility under the NASA Authorization Act by deciding to place one of the last orbiters at Johnson Space Center."

Washington delegation lobbies for space shuttle

"Seattle's Museum of Flight should get a retiring space shuttle orbiter, members of Washington's Congressional delegation write to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Wednesday."

Public can watch shuttle announcement live at museum, Dayton Daily News

"The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will offer the public a chance to watch NASA's announcement of its plans for three retired space shuttles on Tuesday. The museum located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of 21 facilities nationwide vying to receive a shuttle."

3-2-1-blastoff to space shuttles' last destination, AP

"Twenty-one museums and science and visitor centers around the country are vying for one of NASA's three retiring spaceships. They'll find out Tuesday on the 30th anniversary of Columbia's maiden voyage. Snagging Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour for display doesn't come cheap. NASA puts the tab at $28.8 million. Consider that a bargain. Early last year, NASA dropped the price from $42 million."

U.S. Space and Rocket Center will learn today if it gets a retired shuttle from NASA, Huntsville Times

"It's not likely one is coming to Huntsville. The starting price to get one of the shuttles was more than $28 million, plus the costs of meeting NASA's conditions, such as displaying the orbiter in a climate-controlled indoor space."

Space shuttle Discovery coming to Smithsonian, Washngton post

"The process for prepping the shuttle will take months before it likely goes on display at the National Air and Space Museum, reports. The Discovery is the most prolific traveler of the trio of NASA spaceships."

"Andrew Chaikin explains why humans need to follow in the footsteps of their robotic emissaries and travel to Mars."

Space Station Crew Launches from Birthplace of Human Spaceflight

"One week shy of the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev launched to the International Space Station at 6:18 p.m. EDT Monday (4:18 a.m. local time, April 5) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan."

Expedition 27 Prepares to Launch From Yuri Gagarin's Launch Pad (Photo)

"The Soyuz, which has been dubbed 'Gagarin,' is launching one week shy of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Yuri Gagarin from the same launch pad in Baikonur on April 12, 1961 to become the first human to fly in space. The first stage of the Soyuz booster is emblazoned with the name Gagarin and the cosmonaut's likeness."

NASA Retargets Space Shuttle Endeavour's Launch For April 29

"Following discussions among the International Space Station partners on Sunday, NASA has targeted the launch of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission for 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29. The delay removes a scheduling conflict with a Russian Progress supply vehicle scheduled to launch April 27 and arrive at the station April 29."



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

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