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Shuttle Extension 2015, the buzz
PDP8E
post Sep 2 2008, 05:39 PM
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http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

This is instead of 2010 -- still preliminary though.......hmmmmm....


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djellison
post Sep 2 2008, 06:00 PM
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This is a near impossible subject to discuss without mentioning the politics....but forum rules are rules.
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Paolo Amoroso
post Sep 2 2008, 06:10 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 2 2008, 08:00 PM) *
This is a near impossible subject to discuss without mentioning the politics....but forum rules are rules.

Wayne Hale's thoughts on closing the Shuttle program provide some solid organizational and technical background.


Paolo Amoroso


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PDP8E
post Sep 2 2008, 06:43 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 2 2008, 02:00 PM) *
This is a near impossible subject to discuss without mentioning the politics....but forum rules are rules.


I propose we just post the occasional relevant news and links to keep the community informed --- MINUS the politics...

Either the fleet flies after 2010 or they are retired in 2010


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lyford
post Sep 2 2008, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE (PDP8E @ Sep 2 2008, 11:43 AM) *
Either the fleet flies after 2010 or they are retired in 2010

Are these our only options? laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Doug is the judge, but I do enjoy the "clearinghouse" of news and links being in one thread.


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TheChemist
post Sep 2 2008, 10:33 PM
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QUOTE (PDP8E @ Sep 2 2008, 09:43 PM) *
Either the fleet flies after 2010 or they are retired in 2010


I propose the generalization of the above statement in the infinite series:

"Either the fleet flies after x+n or they are retired in x"
where x=2010, 2011,2012,.... and n=0,1,2,3,....

which are all naturally true laugh.gif
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Greg Hullender
post Sep 3 2008, 03:52 AM
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QUOTE (lyford @ Sep 2 2008, 12:54 PM) *
Are these our only options? laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif


Well, maybe NASA could convert them to submarines. :-)

--Greg
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dvandorn
post Sep 3 2008, 06:14 AM
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Leaving politics and funding issues aside, I think it's worth discussing the safety aspect of any decision to extend the Shuttle fleet's operational lifetime past 2010.

The 2010 date was not set for political or even budgetary reasons. It was one of those very strong recommendations-cum-orders that came out of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) report.

The CAIB set the bar very, very high in terms of safety -- essentially, to reduce the possibility of another loss of crew and vehicle (LOCV) accident to such a remote level that one could confidently predict that we would never lose another Shuttle crew. In this regard, they studied not only the sequence of events leading up to the loss of Columbia, they also studied the engineering history of the orbiter fleet.

The general trend of the observations was that the fleet was flying fewer total flights per vehicle than it was designed for, but over a longer period of time. So while the process of refurbishing between flights was doing a decent job of catching and fixing flight damage, there were far fewer processes in place to catch and fix issues of senescence -- of aging components and wiring that could be developing fatal flaws.

This was reinforced by the late 1999 launch of the first Shuttle flight commanded by Eileen Collins, during which deteriorating wiring harnesses throughout the orbiter caused several short circuits which brought the Shuttle stack one electrical failure away from losing from one to all three SSMEs during the first few seconds of climb-out.

The CAIB studied this and other incidents, looked at all of the (at least partially) applicable data from the aircraft industry, and concluded that one of two things needed to happen:

1) The entire fleet needed to be completely rebuilt, checking and replacing every wiring harness, avionics box, and even high-stress portions of the airframe, if it was to be safe to fly beyond the end of the decade, or

2) The entire fleet needed to be retired by 2010.

Since option 2 is one heck of a lot less expensive than option 1, NASA decided to retire the fleet and redirect post-2010 Shuttle operational funding into CEV development.

Now, you can easily debate the political and funding issues surrounding a decision to abandon the 2010 retirement date. But I find it very difficult to ignore the original driving force behind that date -- the aging condition of the orbiter fleet.

I do understand that we have a corps of astronauts who will take the risk of flying a vehicle that may not be 100% safe. But, solely from a safety standpoint, do we *really* want that to be our national policy?

-the other Doug


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Exploitcorporati...
post Sep 3 2008, 07:58 AM
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Great points from Doug and Wayne Hale's blog...I love his self-description as a "shuttle hugger". I'm admittedly torn on many accounts, have a not-so-closet emotional attachment to this vehicle from childhood, and would love to see it keep flying for a spell...but the safety, component, and technical considerations seem insurmountable for more than a few extra missions beyond the 2010 date. The AMS should fly on the proposed 134 mission if the right parts are available, but beyond that...

As a side note, I hope this often flawed but beautiful partnership can continue irrespective of the current difficulties. The plotline of "2010" suddenly seems prescient again. smile.gif

Sorry to break with PDP8E's excellent suggestion to keep this potential powder keg limited to real news, but I've watched this development with ears perked up, and was excited to find this thread here.

I propose the remaining orbiters be converted to pedicabs. Thirty bicycles on each side of the fuselage should be enough to get one up the hills of Seattle or san Francisco. They can be amphibious like the tourist "Ducks" to meet Greg's suggestion in the middle. biggrin.gif



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lyford
post Sep 3 2008, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Sep 2 2008, 08:52 PM) *
Well, maybe NASA could convert them to submarines. :-)
--Greg

Oh noes! You brought up the NASA/NOAA Inner Space/Outer Space controversy! This makes the manned/unmanned debate pale by comparison smile.gif smile.gif

The Spacecraft and The Submarine
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Timely cross reference though, innit?



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Lyford Rome
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ilbasso
post Sep 3 2008, 04:54 PM
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Is there a definition somewhere of how we are operationally defining "politics" vis-a-vis this forum? I'm having difficulty distinguishing between why it's appropriate to bash ESA but inappropriate to discuss support for funding for a space project in the US. Not trying to be difficult here, but having had my hand slapped before, I am hesitant to participate in a discussion without having the rules defined clearly.


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djellison
post Sep 3 2008, 05:22 PM
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ESA isn't politics (how can you draw an analogy about that?). Talking about politicians or political parties is, however. Given the nature of who has asked for the Shuttle to be retired in 2010 - who is asking for an extension to be investigated - and what's happening in November - it's hard to discuss this without politics getting involved.

However - the Politics rule is here for a reason - and it will never be up for debate.

Basically - if you need a definition of politics - look in a dictionary.

It's impossible to write down forum rules. I've tried - but it's essentially impossible because at any decision process, it's a judgement call. This, however, is a very clear, unambiguous one.
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ElkGroveDan
post Sep 3 2008, 05:26 PM
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If you aren't sure, it's probably best to avoid it.


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climber
post Sep 3 2008, 07:13 PM
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QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ Sep 3 2008, 07:26 PM) *
If you aren't sure, it's probably best to avoid it.

This is, by far, the best definition! smile.gif


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ilbasso
post Sep 3 2008, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 3 2008, 01:22 PM) *
ESA isn't politics (how can you draw an analogy about that?). Talking about politicians or political parties is, however.

Maybe a better example would have been the "Science Eviscerated in NASA Budget" thread. Telling people to influence their Congresspeople about how to vote on an issue, even if it is near and dear to our hearts, sounds pretty political to me.

However, if the understanding is that we avoid names of people and parties, that's a little clearer.

QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 3 2008, 01:22 PM) *
Basically - if you need a definition of politics - look in a dictionary.


I literally just now came from a meeting with a European client who had a document which defined politics as, "Understanding people and their motivations, and using this understanding to influence and move work forward."

Maybe the solution is that if there are subjects which the moderators feel smack of politics, they should be moved to the Policy and Strategy subforum, which people can avoid more easily.


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