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Posted: 3/14/2006 5:13:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 5:13:33 PM EDT by Penguin_101]
I am usually a big NASA fan, but this is getting on my nerves. Maybe there is something I don't know, but it would seem that it would not take 2 months extra to replace 4 sensors in a fuel tank. This isn't rocket science you know, everything nowadays is plug-n-play.



Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?

Fox News Link




NASA Delays Shuttle Launch Until At Least July

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA on Tuesday pushed back the launch of space shuttle Discovery from May until at least July because of a faulty fuel tank sensor.

A similar problem briefly delayed last summer's launch of Discovery on the first shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster in 2003.

NASA said it needs the time to open up the spacecraft's hydrogen fuel tank and replace the sensor, which gave an electrical current reading that was slightly off. The space agency plans to replace the three other sensors in the tank, too, to be safe.

The fuel gauges are designed to prevent the main engines from running too long or not long enough, during the climb to space. An engine shutdown at the wrong time could prove catastrophic, forcing the astronauts to attempt a risky emergency landing overseas, or leading to a ruptured engine.

"We wish it had worked out differently, but it's first and foremost that we fly safely," said Wayne Hale, NASA's shuttle program manager. "It was prudent to change these sensors out."

An investigation after last summer's sensor trouble showed that there may be a manufacturing problem that causes a loose connection between the 10-year-old sensors and wires, Hale said.

Replacing the sensors will take three weeks and require a worker to enter through the bottom of the 153-foot tank while it is upright.

The space agency had been working a tight schedule to meet the May launch date and had little room for any technical problems that might crop up.

In recent months, NASA has concentrated heavily on modifying the shuttle's big external fuel tank to prevent large pieces of foam insulation from breaking off during liftoff — the problem that doomed Columbia and its seven astronauts.

Last summer, despite 2 1/2 years of safety modifications and other steps to make the shuttle safer, large chunks of foam fell off Discovery at launch, to NASA's alarm.

The fuel tank sensor was not the only problem facing the space agency. Discovery's robotic arm was removed on Monday after a small crack was found in it over the weekend.

NASA managers had been debating whether to replace or repair the robotic arm, and the launch delay now gives them time to ship the robotic arm back to Canada for repairs.

Technicians discovered the crack over the weekend using a visual magnifier and ultrasound equipment. The inspections were ordered after a work platform bumped the robotic arm more than a week ago while the workers were trying to clean up glass in the shuttle's payload bay.

The robotic arm has been used to inspect the outside of the shuttle with a camera, construct the international space station and release and retrieve satellites.

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Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:26:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?



Should have been done before they were ever built.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:28:56 PM EDT
It's not the replacement time, they're missing a launch window as well.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:30:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?



Should have been done before they were ever built.







Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:34:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 5:36:11 PM EDT by Ardenner]

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?



Should have been done before they were ever built.



WHAT?

For two decades American astronauts have explored space in the shuttles. No doubt, a reusable craft will be the next step in space exploration. Our experience with the shuttle places the US in a great position for developing the next phase of space vehicles. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives, but I think their sacrifice was worth it.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:46:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ardenner:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?



Should have been done before they were ever built.



WHAT?

For two decades American astronauts have explored space in the shuttles. No doubt, a reusable craft will be the next step in space exploration. Our experience with the shuttle places the US in a great position for developing the next phase of space vehicles. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives, but I think their sacrifice was worth it.



I will agree with that, but now it takes so much effort for them to just launch while they could be building something better that they would not go nuts over when there is a scratch on the space shuttle door gunner's chair.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:51:17 PM EDT
Yeah, you just walk into the Liquid Hydrogen fuel tank (while it's verticle) and snatch the offending sensor out, reach into your pocket and pull out the replacement and stick it on with some paste.



This Space Shuttle stuff is cake!

Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:55:55 PM EDT
You can't just shoot the shutle into space any ol time like you can shoot a bottle rocket....you have to take into account the orbital mechanics (present & future) of whatever you plan to do. If you plan to launch a sattelite or catch one to repair it, you have to lanch in sync with the orbital path.

The repairs on the sensors won't take that long, but that is the next time the 'launch window' to meet the orbital requirements of the mission will be right.

No, I'm not a rocket scientist, but I play one on tv!
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:56:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Pangea:
Yeah, you just walk into the Liquid Hydrogen fuel tank (while it's verticle) and snatch the offending sensor out, reach into your pocket and pull out the replacement and stick it on with some paste.



This Space Shuttle stuff is cake!



I was under the understanding that they would not fill it until about a week before lift off. Anyway, they knew it was a problem on the last one, why did they not fill it then?
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:57:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pcsutton:
You can't just shoot the shutle into space any ol time like you can shoot a bottle rocket....you have to take into account the orbital mechanics (present & future) of whatever you plan to do. If you plan to launch a sattelite or catch one to repair it, you have to lanch in sync with the orbital path.

The repairs on the sensors won't take that long, but that is the next time the 'launch window' to meet the orbital requirements of the mission will be right.

No, I'm not a rocket scientist, but I play one on tv!



They have the whole month of April and probably a little of May to fix it. That would meet the launch window that was already set.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:06:20 PM EDT
The cleanliness procedures on manned flight are horrendous; as they should be! Going into a confined space that held Liquid Hydrogen in a -0- FO tollerence setting is not a minor inconvienence. These tanks can't flouresce at all. Unless you've done any of this stuff you can't begin to imagine the difficulty.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:06:44 PM EDT
Last 40 years... invented some kind of unique foam matress and a pen that can write upside down.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:06:50 PM EDT
You should read the book Deception Point by Dan Brown for an interesting take on Nasa (same guy who wrote DaVinci Code.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:13:18 PM EDT
The Space Shuttle is an idiotic design, it’s a wonder the thing flies at all.

In a rocket the crew is in front of the fuel, in the shuttle they are beside it. If something goes wrong in a rocket the capsule can be ejected from the rest of the rocket and stays clear of the blast. In the Shuttle you have a dead crew.

In a rocket all of the stresses are vertical, in the Shuttle they are all over the place. You have to seriously reinforce the structure of the fuel tank to take the stress of having the shuttle strapped on.

There’s a lot of drag in the design of the Shuttle, meaning more fuel is burned during launch.

Solid rocket boosters are incredibly dangerous. One spark and they will incinerate anything within a couple hundred yards. And they can’t be deactivated the way a liquid fueled rocket can.

Boosters of any kind just add drag. It’s better to use slightly larger engines and extra fuel.

The glider concept guarantees that the Shuttle will be heavy, complicated, and expensive. A parachute recovery system makes far more sense.

So, lets redesign the Space Shuttle by removing all of the bad ideas…

Move the orbiter to the top of the main fuel tank.
Do away with the wings and add a parachute.
Move the main engines to beneath the fuel tank.
Ditch the boosters in favor of more fuel and bigger engines.

Now you have a problem in that we’ve just designed a single stage to orbit vehicle. It’s possible to do that but 90% of the liftoff weight would have to be fuel.

So we can split the fuel and engine section into two stacked stages. The first stage would get the rocket moving good and above most of the atmosphere and the second would finish the job and get the rocket up to orbiting speed.

It would look a lot like the good old Saturn V rockets.

Engines could be designed to eject and parachute down when they are expended so that they can be refurbished. The capsule could be designed to be modular with most components being reused.

Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:18:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ardenner:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Does anyone else here think that NASA should just scrap the shuttles and get the $2000 worth of metal and move on?



Should have been done before they were ever built.



WHAT?

For two decades American astronauts have explored space in the shuttles. No doubt, a reusable craft will be the next step in space exploration. Our experience with the shuttle places the US in a great position for developing the next phase of space vehicles. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives, but I think their sacrifice was worth it.




Sorry, but the Space Shuttles have been an abysmal failure.

An honest look at the science done on shuttle missions will show you that the shuttle hasn't really facilitated any new science, and what it did do, it did in it's first three years of opperations, most noteable is the Long Exposure Test Facility, a giant school bus sized container that exposed various materials to the orbital environment for over a year. Other then that the microgravity research done by the Russians on the Saluts and Mir and by us on Skylab pretty much covered it. As for the space station, long story short the ISS was designed as make work to justify the shuttle. (and, thank you mr. clinton, a hand out for the Russians)

As per launch cost per pound, the shuttle is actually more expensive then the completely expendable Saturn V series and the Titans and Deltas. The thing is the space shuttle isn't really reusable, it's recycleable
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 7:25:34 PM EDT
They certainly know how to spend money...
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