APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20)

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APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20)

Postby APOD Robot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:06 am

Image Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle

Explanation: In the final move of its kind, NASA's space shuttle Atlantis was photographed earlier this month slowly advancing toward Launch Pad 39A, where it is currently scheduled for a July launch to the International Space Station. The mission, designated STS-135, is the 135th and last mission for a NASA space shuttle. Atlantis and its four-person crew will be carrying, among other things, the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello to bring key components and supplies to the ISS. Pictured above, the large Shuttle Crawler Transporter rolls the powerful orbiter along the five-kilometer long road at less than two kilometers per hour. Over 15,000 spectators, some visible on the right, were on hand for the historic roll out.

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Beyond » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:48 am

What a nice picture! If the transporter was any bigger, it would be a 'rolling city'. Gads! the 'whole' thing is like a small mountain.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby agulesin » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:45 am

Certainly a sad event...

I love the floodlights... anyone got the spec of them? would be nice to have one handy for exploring on those long winter nights! :-) Come to think of it, if this is the last roll out, they won't need them any more... e-bay here we come! :-)
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby kennethwhittake » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:22 am

And thou shalt build it 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. Lo- how far we have come.
Go forth and multiply our knowledge Oh NASA.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby garry » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:07 am

"The last of its kind" But what will replace it? The cost has been enormous but that is ok for scientific advancement is more important than feeding a starving world. The technology in the shuttle is so old, the Chinese have been using gunpowder for thousands of years! Well NASA can always pay a visit to Area 51. They might find something useful. (That's if they get past the military, another black hole of funding...)
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Indigo_Sunrise » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:34 am

Nice image - and I'm with you, agulesin: I'm wondering about those uber-powerful spotlights, also. Pretty impressive!


*P.S. Attention unregistered user 'garry': Please take your rather irrelevant and nonsensical posts elsewhere. We already have one resident "clutter-er of the boards", and definitely don't need another.

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby BMAONE23 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:17 pm

Indigo_Sunrise wrote:Nice image - and I'm with you, agulesin: I'm wondering about those uber-powerful spotlights, also. Pretty impressive!


*P.S. Attention unregistered user 'garry': Please take your rather irrelevant and nonsensical posts elsewhere. We already have one resident "clutter-er of the boards", and definitely don't need another.

TIA!

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Psnarf » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:47 pm

End of an era. *sniff*
From Project Mercury (when a First Class Postage stamp cost four cents) with Sam the Rhesus macaque, Project Gemini, Project Apollo with men on the moon, to Atlantis STS-135 the final Space Shuttle flight, at least the ISS remains. So, too, the footprints on the Moon.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby biddie67 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:51 pm

The spotlights, shuttle assemblage and the Crawler Transporter are all mind-blowers when you can see them in comparison to the size of the individuals in the crowd.

Will the Crawler Transporter be kept intact for other missions? If not, what a fascinating moving tourist attraction and/or bed-n-breakfast it would make!

Also, Psnarf's comment above says it better than I can.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby islader2 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:03 pm

How can an unregistered contributor--such as "garry"--get on this site? Let us clean up this mess. This is a science site, posters such as "garry" are often just looking for innane controversy. Thanx.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Case » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:23 pm

Will NASA keep at least one orbiter in 'ready' state for emergencies? What if, say two years from now, some unforeseen need arises for which the Shuttle would be the perfect vehicle or the only option? Is that really inconceivable? It is not like the U.S. have a similar spacecraft now.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby orin stepanek » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:52 pm

With some modifications could the shuttle be used to make the trip around the moon? To go back to the moon; wouldn't we be starting from scratch again? Pipe dream; I know. :mrgreen: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/sho ... p?t=328586
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby BMAONE23 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:19 pm

It is a proven technology, ... Just think of the money NASA could make by retrofitting the cargo bay with passenger seats.
If they placed 100 seats in the cargo bay and charged $10M per seat, they could net $550M per launch for a 3 hour tour around the world. (twice around and down) The ultimate thrill ride....
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Beyond » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:28 pm

BMAONE23 wrote:It is a proven technology, ... Just think of the money NASA could make by retrofitting the cargo bay with passenger seats.
If they placed 100 seats in the cargo bay and charged $10M per seat, they could net $550M per launch for a 3 hour tour around the world. (twice around and down) The ultimate thrill ride....

I seem to remember a TV show about a 3-hour tour. I don't think that i would want to take it :!: :lol:
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Greyhawk » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:44 pm

Sad day. Cant the US even spare one aircraft carrier to keep a single shuttle going? I'm not going to follow this flight as its just too sad to see one of the most amazing machines ever built become a museum piece - especially when its not even being replaced.

Hopefully NASA will bounce back from being the whipping boy of the US spending cuts. Or maybe NASA should direct all its effort into pushing for a global space agency...with the resources of the the entire planet to draw on surely we can finally get things done! Forget private space ventures...they wont last two minutes.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:27 pm

Greyhawk wrote:Hopefully NASA will bounce back from being the whipping boy of the US spending cuts. Or maybe NASA should direct all its effort into pushing for a global space agency...with the resources of the the entire planet to draw on surely we can finally get things done!

If you even casually follow the APOD site, it should be apparent that NASA is getting more done than ever. The volume of exploration missions and the volume of data returned in the last 10 or 20 years is beyond amazing. NASA is vastly more productive (through its affiliations with JPL, JHU/APL and others) than it was at any time in its first decades of existence. And this was managed despite the shuttle and ISS programs
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby johnandlinda » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:44 am

Sure hate to see these beautiful birds have their wings clipped.
This has been a truly wonderful fleet of crafts that I have been in awe of from the very beginning.
I wish I could make it down to Florida for the lift-off.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby alnortham » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:07 am

If this is the last launch of the STS vehicle system, what is going to happen to the massive equipment infrastructure? There are the assembly buildings, the shuttle transporter, a railroad system, a purpose-built barge and canal system as well as specialized rolling stock. It all cannot be "museumised". Has another use/tasking been worked out? Is it the big pink slip for the skilled and special employees such as transporter operators, the assembly technicians etc???
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:19 am

alnortham wrote:If this is the last launch of the STS vehicle system, what is going to happen to the massive equipment infrastructure? There are the assembly buildings, the shuttle transporter, a railroad system, a purpose-built barge and canal system as well as specialized rolling stock. It all cannot be "museumised". Has another use/tasking been worked out? Is it the big pink slip for the skilled and special employees such as transporter operators, the assembly technicians etc???

KSC is littered with mothballed facilities. Some of the shuttle components may end up that way. But this is hardly the end of the space program, which still continues strong. New heavy lifters are under development, and I'm sure much of the shuttle infrastructure will find new uses.

This is hardly the first launch vehicle that reached its end-of-life. At least 95% of the technology that has been developed by NASA must currently be obsolete. That is the nature of any dynamic, evolving organization.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Greyhawk » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:46 pm

NASA as an organisation is still productive but its manned program seems to be either defunct or no longer a priority. Probes are good but its manned missions that we need to fire up the imagination. Thats the technical/biological/psychological/chemical challenge - at least to me.

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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:58 pm

Greyhawk wrote:NASA as an organisation is still productive but its manned program seems to be either defunct or no longer a priority. Probes are good but its manned missions that we need to fire up the imagination. Thats the technical/biological/psychological/chemical challenge - at least to me.

I believe you are correct that the focus will necessarily shift away from manned space flight. I think that's a good thing, but everybody has their own opinion on that matter.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby garry » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:00 am

islader2 wrote:How can an unregistered contributor--such as "garry"--get on this site? Let us clean up this mess. This is a science site, posters such as "garry" are often just looking for innane controversy. Thanx.

I will register if people want but what about the other non scientific comments that appear?
My points still stand; Archaic technology that is not cost effective. What other means of propulsion is NASA looking at? For the shuttles to go into retirement with nothing to replace them is a concern.
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby rstevenson » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:11 am

garry wrote:My points still stand; Archaic technology that is not cost effective. What other means of propulsion is NASA looking at? For the shuttles to go into retirement with nothing to replace them is a concern.

At the moment -- by which I mean at our current state of technology and our current societal state of fear of anything nuclear -- we're stuck with chemical rockets. They've been refined to a fine level and are quite efficient -- for a chemical rocket, that is. :shock:

A nice space elevator would be an extarodinary asset for the planet but we're not ready for that yet. A rail gun will work well off the moon but not from the bottom of our atmosphere.

As for shuttle replacements, they're being developed (not necessarily in a shuttle format, of course) by both NASA and private industry. Yeah, it's frustrating waiting, but we'll get there.

Rob
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby bystander » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:16 am

garry wrote: What other means of propulsion is NASA looking at?

NASA is still involved with Orion and is pushing commercial development (C3PO). Right now, I would say SpaceX is the front-runner in commercial development.

How SpaceX's Dragon Space Capsule Works (Infographic)
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Re: APOD: Last Roll Out of a NASA Space Shuttle (2011 Jun 20

Postby BMAONE23 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:01 pm

rstevenson wrote:
garry wrote:My points still stand; Archaic technology that is not cost effective. What other means of propulsion is NASA looking at? For the shuttles to go into retirement with nothing to replace them is a concern.

At the moment -- by which I mean at our current state of technology and our current societal state of fear of anything nuclear -- we're stuck with chemical rockets. They've been refined to a fine level and are quite efficient -- for a chemical rocket, that is. :shock:

A nice space elevator would be an extarodinary asset for the planet but we're not ready for that yet. A rail gun will work well off the moon but not from the bottom of our atmosphere.

As for shuttle replacements, they're being developed (not necessarily in a shuttle format, of course) by both NASA and private industry. Yeah, it's frustrating waiting, but we'll get there.

Rob

As you stated, the problem with a rail gun is "From the bottom of our atmosphere". The trick is to get the outlet of the Rail Gun system above 18,000' then, atmospheric thickness wise, it is already 1/2 way there.
The potential solution could be to bore through and insert the rail gun launch system into Mt Kilimanjaro. With the top at 19,000+ feet, you are already 1/2 way through the atmospheric thickness (drag) by the time you reach the outlet. The Mtn. is also conveniently located near the equator for directional launch to most any orbital plane.
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