DailyDirt: The Space Shuttle Era Ends Soon...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The last space shuttle mission will take place pretty soon, and after that mission, the shuttles are all destined to be stored in museums (and not sent to destroy asteroids headed for Earth). Here are a few more programs for continuing to explore space. By the way, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:41pm

    So, The ISS Docking Module Specifications ...

    ... are going to become the S-100 bus of the Space Age.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 8:55pm

    Farewell Shuttles you will be missed.

    One thing I don't get is why they didn't construct something in space that would create more internal space like a cube.

    Even a rectangular shape could be used to create more space, with the modules as a skeleton for support.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 10:42pm


    Re your question, for the same reason that spheres are used for deep sea exploration...avoiding points of great stress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Lost Vision

    The demise of the space shuttle program is one of many sad reflections that the US has lost its vision and continues to be increasingly paralyzed through internal squabbling.

    I believe that we should have a continued "manned" program, but that really isn't the point. We still could pursue an unmanned program. The point is that the US has lost focus and the will to make the space program a national effort.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re: Lost Vision


    I think the sad part of the shuttle program ending is that there is no replacement program ready to go just yet... No one wants to say that an unmanned program will replace manned exploration for the foreseeable future -- but that's the reality.

    I'm not so sure that manned spaceflight has much of a return on its investment until we come up with much better launch vehicles that are capable of supporting astronauts in a self-sustaining way. With self-sustaining spacecraft, it won't matter if it takes several years to get to another planet... However, we're a looong way away from creating a mobile artificial biosphere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    DogBreath, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: So, The ISS Docking Module Specifications ...

    That would be great, but with an upside there is always a downside:

    China has plans for its own space station set for 2020.
    "China has said that its space technology will be compatible with that used in the ISS so that modules from other countries could dock with its station, and it promises that its facility will be able to host experiments from non-Chinese researchers. But the US Congress, fearing industrial espionage, has long opposed any role for China in the ISS. As a result, the Chinese space programme has had no alternative but to "go it alone", says Joan Johnson-Freese, an expert on national security and on China at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island."

    The future is finally here. Now we really do need to worry about "Space Pirates (of intellectual property)"!

    If the Intellectual Property Police (IPP) accuse China of stealing IP from other countries docked modules more than five times, does that mean China gets banned from outer space?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    DogBreath, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Lost Vision

    At least we've got a good start on the recycling of waste water which would be an absolute necessity for a mission to Mars.

    How NASA is recycling urine into drinking water

    Used on the ISS for quite some time now:
    Raw Video: First 'Recycled' Water on ISS

    And today's launch of Atlantis just took this tech with them:
    NASA’s Pee Recycling Bag Turns Urine Into a Sports Drink

    But like you said it will take time to develop a functional and workable biosphere for longer missions in space, as this video clearly demonstrates:
    NASA Urine Test

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 10:56pm

    Re:Lost Vision

    The reality is, it takes too much energy and complicated, expensive support and backup systems to transport a living human body into space and bring it safely back again.

    Really, all we need in space is our brains. Also I suspect a well-cushioned human brain could withstand much greater g-forces without a body.

    Remember all the science-fiction predictions from half a century or more ago? What didn’t come true were the ones that required large amounts of (possibly nuclear) power. What we got instead (computers, the Internet, and digital technology generally) were ones that can be run off a household power socket or even just batteries.

    I think the future of manned space travel also has to lie in lowering the power requirements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re:Lost Vision

    I think the future of manned space travel also has to lie in lowering the power requirements.

    Just wait until it's feasible to build a space elevator...?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Space Elevator

    I was wondering about that. How feasible would it be to “bootstrap” your way up from a “small” space elevator (i.e. one capable of carrying only small loads) to a bigger one?

    Imagine a thin thread stretching up into the sky, with little bug-like robots scuttling up and down it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: Space Elevator

    Considering the fact that a "small" space elevator isn't quite feasible, I'd have to say building a bigger one on top of something that isn't possible must be even more impossible.. :P

    In any case, I think a "small" space elevator would suffice -- we'd just have to be patient and send small things up, one at a time, that could be assembled once they broke free from the top... but maybe there's still feasibility problems with that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.