NASA Compares The Space Shuttle To That Old Truck I Own

from the that's-encouraging... dept

It’s no secret that the space shuttle is old. The revolutionary spaceship was designed in the 70s and hasn’t received much of an update since. In the past, we’ve noted that NASA has needed to shop on eBay to find replacement parts for certain support gear, since many are not being made any more. In the wake of the latest delays, however, the folks at NASA have been working hard to drive home just how old the space shuttle is, with the NASA administrator comparing the recent problems with an old truck he owns, which apparently has similar sensor issues. He also wondered “whether I could find a single electronics box in my house that’s 25 years old and still works, and I don’t think I can.” Is that supposed to be encouraging?

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Comments on “NASA Compares The Space Shuttle To That Old Truck I Own”

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rocket squirrel says:

what about B-52's and such which are maintained

The fact is that the three orbiters which are flying are not the ones that were designed and built 25 years ago. They have been rebuilt and such systems as could be replaced with newer systems were along the way.

The Columbia had just come off a rebuild program, and was flying as up to date as any orbiter, and had only a minor design difference with the other three in the payload bay, which limited its capacity in both lift mass and size.

The flaw that brought down the Columbia will not be absent in a new design. We will just be faced with an untested and unflown design, (or by the time it is manned, hopefully flown and proven a few flight) which may have similar problems. Fact is in human designs or any system flaws will be found and consequences will happen.

It seems silly still to me to be having any discussion about retiring the shuttle fleet until a replacement is designed.

The current one is an artifical one to create the sense that something has to be done to get the mass of politics, popular opinion, and buracracy behind replacing it. It is totally artifical in my opinion, and silly.

There have just been stabs at making a new CEV in the past, and no leadership on getting an effort to create a usable vehicle designed and flying. It is this lack of leadership that is still present in the current scene that is making this current attempt go the way it is.

There is no President Kennedy making an empassioned statment to go to the moon, or a clear reason why to do it now. It is a consensus that somehow we should go to Mars that is taking the front stage, when there is not a good reason why there is a real need for Manned expeditions there any time soon.

Another single shot run and grab specimens, and walk around on Mars will not result in much more if any more science or knowledge any time soon. Developing systems to allow such an expedition in the future is unglamorous, but is what is really needed now, with more robotic and remote control research, and even some sample return missions being much better.

And keeping the Shuttle capability flying until it can be replace with a replacement, rather than setting an arbitrary deadline makes more sense as well.

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