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Space Shuttle Discovery Powers Down

Postby sunnyd » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:29 pm

Story :

Friday morning marked a sad and permanent milestone in the ongoing decommissioning of the space shuttles at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the closing of the payload bay doors and the final power-down of Discovery.

Earlier this week Walter “Buddy” McKenzie, an Orbiter Operations Manager with United Space Alliance, took us on a tour of Discovery and Atlantis in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF). He considers today to be Discovery’s final day, saying, “It’s like a eulogy. Once we power her down, you’ve drained the life out of her.” Then he became quiet for a moment, overcome with the emotion of that statement.

Every employee we encountered at Kennedy Space Center throughout the week became overwhelmed with emotion and pride when discussing the end of the shuttle program and their role in making history as part of this team. It was not about the all-too-present reality of possibly losing their jobs, but rather sheer sadness at seeing these amazing ships, each with their own personalities, no longer having life left in them.

One employee servicing a crane above the then open cargo bay of Discovery said, “Astronauts crawled through that airlock and into this bay, and this was their work area in space. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.” He paused for a moment and added quietly, “These are our babies, it’s been an honor to work on them.”

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Re: Space Shuttle Discovery Powers Down

Postby ejonesss » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:33 pm

actually it is good thing because of Columbia and Challenger both caused by haste.

Challenger i think they wanted to keep on schedule and launched when it was too cold and the seal ring failed.

Columbia i think the hea=t shield tiles came off and they did not instead abort (turn around and come back down)
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Re: Space Shuttle Discovery Powers Down

Postby Mcdon2401 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:15 pm

You do know that the preferred method for aborting a launch is to blow it up?

The Shuttle is an amazing achievement, but what a lot of people (both the public, and others within NASA) have forgotten is that space travel is dangerous. Every mission is a learning process.

This IS the passing of an era. With no replacement vehicle, the US is screwed if Russia takes the hump. Should it have been retired? After 30 years, there's no shame to it. Should they have been planning a replacement? Absolutely, and shame on NASA for dropping that particular ball.
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Re: Space Shuttle Discovery Powers Down

Postby MythicalMe » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:43 pm

It's established that the Challenger disaster could have been avoided, however I disagree that Columbia could have been avoided. NASA wasn't aware that the foam insulation dislodging from the fuel tanks were even any kind of threat. Also, how are you going to abort a mission when your nearest safety point, the ISS, is in a different orbit.

NASA is not to blame for the lack of a replacement vehicle. The plans were cancelled because the mission objective was changed by George W. Bush who thought resources would be best used to go to Mars. If you're going to Mars a reusable vehicle is not needed. The US does have rockets that can lift a crew to the ISS, but it's less expensive to tag along with Russians.
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