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Prediction time.

Posted by: TerraMrs - Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:33 pm
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Prediction time. 

What will happen to the Shuttle?
Poll ended at Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:33 pm
Another bug will be found and the launch will be delayed until Sept. 23%  23%  [ 5 ]
The shuttle will be destroyed on launch. 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
The launch will be successful, but a glitch will be found at the ISS, forcing the astronauts to be rescued by Atlantis. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
The launch and mission will be successful, but the shuttle will either be destroyed or damaged on reentry. 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
The launch and mission will be successful, and the shuttle safely lands. 45%  45%  [ 10 ]
While docked at the ISS, aliens steal the shuttle. 9%  9%  [ 2 ]
All NASA employees are aliens, and therefore they already own the shuttle. 14%  14%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 22

Prediction time. 
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Post Prediction time.   Posted on: Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:33 pm
OK folks prediction time. I'll try to put all the possible options here.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:00 am
Hi there terramrs, you forgot one option - nasa gets cold feet and decides to retire the shuttle altogether.
Hi also to everyone 8) although I've been reading the threads for quite a few months now this is my first post, come to think of it my first post anywhere so please forgive any errors in syntax or post etiquette :?
I really like the diversity of thought expressed here and thought that it was about time I got involved rather than sitting on the sidelines.
As a general comment it seems to me that nasa has too many spokes in the wheel. They seem to have lost sight of what they should be doing - research, space exploration, keeping the us economy running and so on. Without clearly defined goals, objectives, call it what you like, and the political support to make those happen (internal and external) no organisation is going to be able to achieve anything in an efficient and / or effective way. NASA might achieve many worthwhile things but it always seems to require at least six or more zeros after the dollar sign and leading number.
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Beancounter from Downunder.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:20 am
Welcome aboard Beancounter, I see your just across the ditch from me!!!

The Shuttle has got to launch this time round no matter what I reakon, prob be a few glitches etc. but all round it will be a safe "Return to Flight", fingers crossed!

Imagine being one of the astronauts, training for the last 2 odd years and then its first all go and then no, and now all go again! Nerves must be high.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:44 am
It's interesting that NASA has decided to change policy (in that they are prepared to ignore an error registering in a particular sensor) to ensure this launch is more likely to go ahead.

It's clear that the pressure to launch is enormous. They were unable to determine the problem with the sensor in question and yet they are still going to go for launch. On the face of it this is more in-line with the whole pioneering spirit thing and the willingness to accept calculated risk. Which is good and it highlights that the people directly involved are genuinely brave.

But eroding existing saftey protocols sounds like the thin edge of the wedge to me.

Keep your fingers crossed that two things happen.

1) Everything goes very well!

2) They figure out what the hell went wrong with that sensor soon!

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:27 am
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
But eroding existing saftey protocols sounds like the thin edge of the wedge to me.


To be fair NASA are only returning to the pre-Columbia rules regarding fuel sensors, having 4 sensors tell you that a fuel tank is empty seems a bit excessive IMO anyway. Its almost like deciding by committee whether there is any fuel, wire up a dozen fuel gauges in your car and see which reading you believe or maybe you would take an average of them or only rely on one that you know to be the most correct.

If you fill the tank up and know how much fuel you are burning, you should be able to work out how long the rocket engines will fire for. Afterall where can the fuel go? If you have a big leak somewhere being able to shut the engines off is not going to make much difference.

Cant see NASA being able to work the problem out once they throw the tank away in orbit, future launches might not have exactly the same problem or combination of problems. If the mission goes off alright they will allow the use of 3 fuel sensors on future flights and there will not be the impetus to track the problem down although some bright spark might come up with the answer or accidently find out what has been going on.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:14 am
Andy Hill wrote:
To be fair NASA are only returning to the pre-Columbia rules regarding fuel sensors, having 4 sensors tell you that a fuel tank is empty seems a bit excessive IMO anyway. Its almost like deciding by committee whether there is any fuel, wire up a dozen fuel gauges in your car and see which reading you believe or maybe you would take an average of them or only rely on one that you know to be the most correct.

I agree, just one question - are you talking pre-Columbia (2003) rules or pre-Columbia (1981) rules ... or pre-Columbian (1492) rules?

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Cant see NASA being able to work the problem out once they throw the tank away in orbit, future launches might not have exactly the same problem or combination of problems.

I would imagine they will work with simulated conditions on an earth-bound test-bed until they DO figure out what went wrong. Or until they can model a scenario which results in the same symptoms. So, eventually, they will come up with a "best guess" answer at the very least.

It is worrying that they are accepting two consecutive changes (go with 3 of 4 and not knowing why they are at 3 of 4 in the first place). Pre-2003 they would have scrubbed until they worked it out ... but now they have sufficient extraneous impulse to ignore it. As you say future launches will be less likely to be scrubbed, but this opens the way for an increased acceptance of previously unacceptable risks.

I think the timing is the problem, not necessarily the equipment or the people. It's just bad luck they have this on top of existing and significant pressures. Is it symptomatic?

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:18 am
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
I agree, just one question - are you talking pre-Columbia (2003) rules or pre-Columbia (1981) rules ... or pre-Columbian (1492) rules?


NASA changed the rules concerning fuel sensors after the 2003 disaster. I read an article a while back saying the Russians thought that NASA were being over cautious and they dont normally comment on safety aspects of a launch.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
I would imagine they will work with simulated conditions on an earth-bound test-bed until they DO figure out what went wrong. Or until they can model a scenario which results in the same symptoms. So, eventually, they will come up with a "best guess" answer at the very least.


You're probably right they will continue to work the problem until they have a feasible answer, whether it will be correct is anyone's guess.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
It is worrying that they are accepting two consecutive changes (go with 3 of 4 and not knowing why they are at 3 of 4 in the first place). Pre-2003 they would have scrubbed until they worked it out ... but now they have sufficient extraneous impulse to ignore it. As you say future launches will be less likely to be scrubbed, but this opens the way for an increased acceptance of previously unacceptable risks.


I think it unlikely that NASA will take a view that safety will be compromised when losing another shuttle will probably result in the US giving manned space travel to the private sector or the creation of a separate agency to specifically deal with it. The consequencies for NASA would be dire, they have to avoid another accident with the shuttle or they will be seen as being not competant enough to continue running the manned space program. The erosion of their street-cred would be huge and there would be serious knock on effects everytime they sought money for a project.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
I think the timing is the problem, not necessarily the equipment or the people. It's just bad luck they have this on top of existing and significant pressures. Is it symptomatic?


I agree that they could have done without this but things will improve after the first 2 launches, possibly a Hubble mission might improve their image as well. These problems might be a result of all this equipmet sitting around for 2 1/2 years and being pulled about by technicians occationally. The trouble with investigation work and maintenance is that there is always the possibility of introducing a new problem. Also remember the shuttle's age things are likely to go wrong on such an old vehicle anyway, no matter how well maintained an old car that isn't used regularly has problems when its taken for a drive after sitting in a garage for a long time.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:22 pm
beancounter, Welcome to the forum;)

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 26, 2005 7:06 pm
let me be the first one to say..... i was wrong. with a successful launch nasa has taken the first step towards redeeming themselves. obviously no matter how many shuttle flights they do that can't redeem them, but still it's a step. congratulations to everyone at nasa who worked on the problem, and got discovery into orbit.

now time to let out what we're all thinking: YAY!!!!!!

:D

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:38 am
Indeed a very sucessfull Launch, I bet there will be alot of relieved people at NASA! But us our news couverage of it said, its not over until they land safely.....


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:56 pm
It's in orbit--and in the first second of flight generated more thrust than all the private rockets fielded combined. Alt.space has a long way to go.

This was as clean a launch as I've seen. A lot better than that towering inferno Delta IV.

The shuttle looks good--and will take care of itself.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:52 am
Oh dear :( another glitch so not quite as clean as I'm sure we'd all have liked even if not all of us are NASA fans.
Looks like the debri issue is still around but it also seems to have been a bit of the old culture still around as they appear to have identified a potential issue and not done anything about it.

Shuttle Program Manager Bill Parsons, speaking at a post-MMT press briefing this afternoon said:
"We had a debris event on the PAL ramp along the LOX field line - below the point where the LH2 ramp begins. Our expectation is that we would not have an unexpected debris event. The PAL ramp is one area we should have reviewed. We knew we would have to remove the PAL ramp. We did not have enough data to be safe and remove it. We had very few problems with it so we decided that it was safe to fly it as is.Clearly, with the event we had, we were wrong."

And so the shuttle program is grounded again!! Except they've still got to get one back down safely. Here's sincerely hoping nothing else has been ignored!!

There used to be a series on TV here many moons ago run by a physicist Prof. J Miller entitled 'Why is it so?' Indeed??????

Beancounter from Downunder.[/quote]


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:49 pm
I saw that. They hammered them pretty hard--but the relative velocity of that piece was no big deal--and was likely blown off during SRB sep.

I write a bit about that here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Buran-mod ... essage/180
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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 29, 2005 2:52 am
Looks like the debris issue is of real concern and now the CAIB Return to Flight crowd are saying that NASA shouldn't have flown the bird. :shock:

I think I'll have to go back to my oringinal prediction and and say that the odds that NASA will get cold feet and retire the shuttle prematurely are shortening. I dont' know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing - think I'll opt for bad :( as the message that this would send to the world at large is that NASA is just not up to the job. If you can't fix a problem after US$B1.2, I'd say you never will - and that's what some of the reports coming out of NASA appear to be saying. I think this is actually really really bad news.
On second thoughts, this reinforces the message that the large contractors have FAILED to come up with the goods - perhaps NASA and the politicians will now be open to smaller concerns with different :idea:s. One can only hope :roll:

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:40 am
It could be possible that such debris events are normal and that we are only aware of it because of the extra cameras fitted. It is a bit dissapointing that foam debis was generated from areas of the ET that were specifically targeted by NASA and supposedly fixed such as the orbiter connection points to it. Why didn't they embed straps in the foam to provide more support?

I think that beancounter is right about the money and that it shows that either the shuttle is flawed beyond repair or NASA and the big aerospace companies are not up to the task. Perhaps NASA should have spent the money on a new smaller crew vehicle which could have been top mounted to avoid the problem altogether. I think its time for NASA to cut its loses, a 2 1/2 year grounding followed by a single flight with the prospect of another lengthy suspension is clearly unacceptable.

EIther T-space's CXV or possibly a NASA developed craft is needed, a basic get your crew to LEO vehicle. The CEV is to complicated and will take years to get into service, I have no confidence that either of the competing teams will make an orbital flight within 5 or 6 years. NASA needs to be able to prove it can deliver astonauts to LEO safely before it can send them to the moon or mars, apparently the shuttle is not capable of this feat.

The shuttle is soaking up huge amounts of cash and delivering very little it is time for it to go. I think it has become a symbol of NASA's failure rather than an example of its finest work. A side mounted cargo pod could have been developed in the last 2 1/2 years with the money spent on the shuttle, granted this would not have been the best lift option but with the amount of data already on shuttle-C and no requirement for a completely new upper stage it would have allowed modules to be lifted to the ISS.

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