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Posts Tagged ‘Space Shuttle’

updated: April 1st, 2016

Now that the Space Shuttle Program has concluded; ‘safeing‘ of the three remaining operational craft, Endeavour, Discovery, and Atlantis, (Columbia and Challenger suffered loss of vehicle and crew) (shuttle Enterprise, never flew into space) dismantling of the orbiters OMS pods, and storage of the vehicles occupies what’s left of the NASA shuttle workforce, and astronaut corps.

Also, in this photo: Mobile Launcher Platform, Crawler-transporter can be see. (upper left)

Questions.

Major questions remain; e.g., what is to become of the manned space program, Constellation, and the Ares I rocket?  Decommissioning and demolition of Launch Complex 39B, is already underway.

NASA is going ahead with plans to bring down the fixed and rotating service structures at pad 39B, even though the Ares I rocket and the entire Constellation program are being axed.

see also:  Kennedy Space Center – Google Maps

Uncertainty and criticism.

A combination of engineering obstacles and a trillion dollar budget short-fall, conspired to doom NASA’s Constellation program, including the Ares V, all effectively canceled, in October 2010, by the passage of the 2010 NASA authorization bill.

“It’s a very dynamic time, and a lot of folks aren’t real comfortable with all the uncertainties… None of us are.” –Peggy Whitson, Chief Astronaut, Johnson Space Center

Obama’s 2011 budget request eliminated the Constellation’s rocket, crew capsule, and the Ares I man-rated and Ares V heavy-lift vehicles. In their place it; funnels billions of dollars to ‘new spaceflight technologies‘, and outsources to commercial firms, the task of ferrying astronauts to low-Earth orbit.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) says that under Obama’s strategy “America’s decades-long dominance of space will finally come to an end.”

The Lab, wonders about what NASA has already spent developing these new systems.

  • $9 billion into the development of a new rocket, Ares I, and a new spacecraft, the Orion.
  • Terminating the program and closing out contracts will cost $2.5 billion more.

Will the R&D transfer to private sector contractors or be shelved?

Elon Musk, an American engineer, and entrepreneur, is best known for co-founding PayPal, and SpaceX, and is the original investor in Tesla Motors.

“The problem with Constellation was that success was not one of the possible outcomes…”

Of course, he would say that. Musk, who funded the first viable production electric car–the Tesla Roadster–is designing a private successor to the Space Shuttle, designated the F9/Dragon.

Absent the shuttle, and budgetary realities aside, what if anything, has really changed? NASA will still oversee the astronaut corps, all-be-it with significantly reduced numbers of active duty astronauts. The space agency will still be in charge of outsourcing; something they’re all ready quite familiar with. True, the names of the spacecraft have certainly changed, but except for a slip in the time-line, the mission goals remain the same, i.e., regular trips to LEO, the ISS, developing new craft and technology, a manned mission to an asteroid, and then–on to Mars.

What have we learned?

Anxious astronauts and Washington politicos not withstanding; The Lab concludes; the US will remain a space-faring nation, but not before some much needed house keeping, and prioritizing.

Keep watching the skies!

[developing story… stay tuned]

see also: Last Existing Shuttle-Centaur Rocket Stage Moving to Cleveland for Display, NASA Announces New Homes for Space Shuttle Orbiters After Retirement2 NASA Space Shuttles Meet Nose-to-NoseLaunch pad demolition paves way for uncertain transitionAstronaut Corps Shrink as Shuttles Stop

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The space shuttle prototype Enterprise glides toward a landing on the bed of Rogers Dry Lake after being released from NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft during the third free flight in the Approach and Landing Tests in September 1977. (NASA photo)

see also:  The Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests

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When you hear a thunderous roar coming from directly overhead it’s only natural to look up, isn’t it? Well, anyway, that’s what I did. At first all you could see was a gray-colored cloud all boiling like–churning in the sky. Thunder? The roaring just got louder and louder. An approaching Summer storm, perhaps? No, wait! What the…what is that? Something was beginning to emerge from within the cloud. Out loud I said, looks like an aircraft carrier, but [it] was inverted, and massive. I think I held my hands over my ears, or maybe just raised them over my head in astonishment–unbelievable–my eyes must be deceiving me. How does something that big just hang there? I’d seen big planes before–the Space Shuttle on it’s 747 transport–even seen the Antonov 225–it’s a big-bad-boy, but this–this was 10 times that size. They’re here! The hair on my arms was standing straight up, and my ears popped. That’s no typical airplane–it’s–must be a-l-i-e-n, Alien, I reasoned! Ya don’t see that every day.*

The aliens had gone public (we would later learn just how long they’d secretly been here), and in the days following the first landings, the World had gone ‘ape-shit’ with fear over the uncertainty of what might be coming next. The doomsday cultists ranted and raved; churches filled to overflowing, the militaries of the World were mobilized–poised ready to defend the Earth, but the bombs never fell, nor did death-rays burn the flesh from the bones of Mankind; instead, the lights stayed on, there was plenty of food and gas; they had, after all, come in peace, and with one simple message to the people of Earth. The Universe, the aliens would tell us; was teaming with life of all kinds; sentient, living breathing biological life; impossibilities of unimaginable strangeness, some nothing more than what you would call smoke, some large as planets, some were what you might call robots–yet alive just the same.

As the weeks following the alien revelation of their presence ticked by; the ant pile of frantic people quickly calmed down, and a media feeding frenzy of sorts settled in on the Aliens. At first, they were referred to as Invaders–later–Space Brothers by the press–and their amazing technology. WOW! Did they have tech; like we never dreamed of.  It was along about that time that they became known as “Them.” Not that They were gonna share everything they knew with us–we still had some growing up ta do–given our penchant for wars and callus disregard for the Earth and all–oh, no! All, in due time.

First thing They did, was… {redacted} {see security directive 1947.2-Mj-12:<0}

Special representatives of the Human Race where invited to function as liaisons between Them and us. Selected by lottery, 144,000 women and men, representing all nations and races, joined the Alien Introduction Liaison And Education Program. I agreed to interact with (even travel to their planets (they had more than one)) with Them. Yeah, I saw that episode of the Twilight Zone, “To Serve Mankind” where the foolish trusting humans fall for the alien propaganda, only ta be duped into traveling back to their planet to be eaten. I know, I know–all my friends said don’t do it–it’s a trick. Never in my life had I ever won anything–all those Lotto tickets–and not a cent ta show for it. I figured–sometimes you just gotta say “what the heck.” The next thing I knew, I was in training to go…when we lifted off…the last time I’ll ever see my home star…time travel or was it inter-dimensional? Maybe both. I don’t know. Shit I’m just  guy from…what do I know…mind-blowing…Feynman was right, all along…and the answer was: 4.2…All that Summer, the fires in the Gulf, burned…sort of like the holodeck on…Looking down I started to laugh ’cause I had realized this was the first time I had taken a leak on another planet…wait till they get a-lotta this…on the return journey…it’s true, they did wear a lot of black… You don’t say! …Who knew? …Something wonderful!

I had just had an all-expense-paid vacation to the most beautiful planetary system anyone could ever imagine; even learned ta speak Their language. Saw wondrous thing I’d never dreamt of, all that, and lived ta tell about it. Not bad I thought, for a guy with just a high school education. I felt mighty proud talking into one of those gizmos they gave me to record my reflections on Them. Heck, maybe I could even write a book some day–be on that radio show. With that guy–what’s his name? George Bell?

Mankind had grown up, maybe even been saved from self-destruction, by the knowledge that other creatures had survived their own technological developments; over came their urge towards violent behavior, and then come here; with love and peace in their hearts (actually, They have two of ’em–hearts, that is), to the little ol’ Earth; to tell us that if They could do it, so could we. I considered it a great privilege and honor to have been lucky enough to participate in the Evolution of Humanity. We had become, Us.

*Inspired by a recent dream.

see also: National Dream Center Database, An Approaching Summer Storm, Long-Term Government Covert Educational Program on Alien Visitors

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These days, everybody and their dog is getting into the space race. Something is afoot. Great Britain, Mexico, China and India are all funneling large sums of capital, into their respective emerging space agencies.

With regard to one of NASA’s newest Astronauts José Moreno Hernández; oddly enough, the greatest criticism has come from the ranks of the ethnic Hispanics–lo Mexicanos de Mexico–if you will, instead of the ‘Norte Americanos or Chicanos.’

…an American engineer of Mexican descent and a NASA astronaut. He is currently assigned to the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-128.

Mission Specialist Hernandez, earned his astronaut wings, in August of 2009.  STS-128 (ISS assembly flight 17A) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Mr Hernandez is the US-born son of Mexican migrant farm workers. …Hernandez wanted to fly in space ever since he heard that the first Hispanic-American had been chosen to travel into space.

The first Mexican in space was Rodolfo Neri Vela. There seems to be some rivalry between the two astronauts–not on a personal level–so for as I know, but between the Mexicans and North American Hispanics. The Mexicans don’t really claim Hernandez as one of their own, favoring Neri Vela, instead. A Mexican National, Neri Vela, flew on the US Space Shuttle (STS-61-B) in 1985, and served as Hernandez’s inspiration to become an astronaut.

Incidentally, STS-128 also marked the first time two Hispanic Americans flew on the same Space Shuttle crew. John “Danny” Olivas of El Paso, Texas, made his second trip up into space, on STS-128, along with Hernández.

Always read the comments, please.

One commenter referred to him as: “…the second latino-american astronaut.” Another commenter, again referring to Hernandez as: ” no un chicano que habla espanol con acento gringo.” Translation. …not [really] a Chicano, but [a] Spanish speaker with a North American accent.

Either way, I think you’ll agree with Dr. F., when I say; the story of NASA engineer / astronaut José Moreno Hernández, is quiet an inspiration, regardless of which side of the river you grew up on.

see also:  Mexico Enters The Space RaceJose M. Hernandez – NASA’s Mexican Astronaut, John D. Olivas, Rodolfo Neri Vela

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