Friday, February 25, 2011

Discovery Away

And so she's off! Discovery launched yesterday, but not without a bit of excitement as Range Safety had some glitches that caused the launch to hold at T-5 minutes. Given such a small launch window, the clock was restarted with basically less than 10 seconds of cushion. WHEW! Talk about a James Bond moment! lol.

What's Discovery doing this time? ISS visit, dropping of droids (R2...and yes, I love the Star Wars linkage here), resupplying some things, basically keeping ISS happy for a little while longer while the shuttles still exist. Ugh...while they still exist. Every time I think about how all this is unfolding, I get so annoyed that we don't have shuttle 2.0 tested and ready to pick up where shuttle 1.0 left off. We upgrade everything these days, but not one of the most successful and amazing accomplishments in the history of mankind? Stupid Congress.

Bright side? Well, Boeing et al have proposed making the three shuttles into commercial spacecraft. After all, Boeing owns them, not NASA. Most people don't know that. They think "Space Shuttle" and they instantly think NASA, which is how it's always been promoted of course, but little thought is given to who actually owns the shuttle, and the hundreds of contracted companies that provide the real support for ensuring that vehicle remains functional, like mine, GeoControls.

Anyway, the launch was nominal, which is always good. A few pieces of this and that flew off and struck the Orbiter, but nothing beyond tolerance limits. Reports and analysis will come soon verifying all that, which is what science and engineering is all about...analyze the data and issue a finding (report). Hooray science! :)

So now we have 2 flights left, my baby (Endeavour) for STS-134 sometime in April and Atlantis (STS-135) who knows when. lol. The delay of Discovery put everything else in a nice state of flux. I've seen launch dates change about 10 times in the past few months, so I give guesses. I'll know what the official launch date will be when NASA makes it public. lol. Well, I'll know several days before that because of the CR mods that make the changes, but eh, that's all behind the scenes mumbo-jumbo. :)

Safe mission Discovery, we look forward to your safe return, and revel in your past accomplishments.

Ad Astra!


Anonymous said...

I agree. Why no next-generation shuttle to replace these? Why aren't we applying all that we learned in operating our five 'experimental spacecraft' into the development of a 'production' successor?

Nothing else has the capability of the shuttles.

It would be neat if Boeing kept them flying.

What's this about keeping Endeavor in flight-ready status to evaluate it in long-term storage? I guess I don't see the point, unless its to see how well the newest one fares in the event someone wants to launch a shuttle years from now?

Douglas Mallette said...

1. Congress sucks.

2. Congress Sucks.

3. Congress SUCKS! lol

I don't understand the reasoning behind the flight-ready storage either, unless that is part of the privatization aspect Boeing is looking into. Sadly, I'm not up to speed on all those details as they haven' really been told to us.

Codie Vickers said...

You'll be out of a job once the shuttles are scuttled.

Douglas Mallette said...

Codie - Yeah, I've talked about that before.

Gary said...

I built many Shuttle pieces during my years at Rockwell. I also worked on ISS. It saddens me to see this once great country nuetered by political agencies like the EPA and other unaccountable regualtory agencies that don't have to answer to the people for "why we no longer manufacture or lead in any industry". 'Tiz true, congress does suck. So do social programs, which is where our space dollars dissappeared to... People are just all to willing to dismiss it with "well, things have just changed" and watch our nation swirl down the toilet. I'm glad to have been a small part of it, and am disgusted we have squandered all of our advancements for mankind.

Douglas Mallette said...

Gary - I respect your opinion, but I find your blame to be misplaced. If you look at the budgets of the EPA and all the social programs put together, they are dwarfed by the military industrial complex that this nation possesses and uses to enforce its economic will around the world.

And make no mistake, if we can't screw a nation out of resources using business dealings and economic pressure, we'll just take it by military force via some trumped up "reason" generated to swell an irrational emotional response. History proves it, but people hate looking at a mirror that makes them look unbecoming.

It is a simple construct...we are more interested in blowing things up than we are in building into the future. Missiles, bombs and guns are the signs of a "Neanderthalic" nation with broken values, prone to knee jerk reactions that in most cases serve as the very fuel that spawns future contempt by those globally affected by it.

Actions have consequences. The money we burn on inventing better ways to kill people and destroy things (as if we don't have enough already) would be much better served if it was used in conjunction with global partners to explore the stars, build Lunar bases and more. Building bridges connects people, building bombs destroys them.

I'm all for self defense. I myself served in the Navy during a time when it seemed this nation was more interested in education and technological advancement that didn't revolve around war (from 1994 to 1998 during the internet and telecom boom).

Sadly, I find those days are gone, replaced by fear mongering and propaganda designed to keep the sheep in line, causing us to forget a golden rule that could be so easily applied by a nation as wealthy and powerful as us:

Do onto others as you would have done onto you.