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Space Shuttle Flight Extension Until 2015

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:00 pm
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Space Shuttle Flight Extension Until 2015 
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Post Space Shuttle Flight Extension Until 2015   Posted on: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:00 pm
The Orlando Sentinel (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/spa ... 5309.story) reports that Congressmen are planning bills to extend the Space Shuttle operations until 2015 and increase funding of the Constellation program.

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At the same time, U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Indialantic -- anxious about preserving shuttle jobs at KSC -- wants the agency to keep flying the shuttle until the next-generation spacecraft is ready to take its place.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:46 pm
Why? Not that the shuttle-replacement is likely to be any better or cheaper, but come on. Are they that afraid of the Russians or any other country? Why not buy rocketrides? Are they gonna doom the COTS programm before they have even tried it?


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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:38 pm
Id be happy to see it run on later but just imagine what would happen if there was an accident in the new time frame! heads would be rolling in every direction!

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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:43 pm
An extension is a "no-go" for me. The idea behind this bill is that "you can't trust the Russians".

I would find it better to take an additional $1 billion and give out 2 more COTS contracts.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:53 pm
There is the problem of the Soyuz not being able to carry enough people and supplies to support the full crew of 3. Remember when the Shuttle was grounded after the Columbia accident that they had to scale back to 2 crew members. Also I would think there are ITAR issues as well as just a desire not to "outsource" yet another component of our economy to a foreign country.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:25 am
The real issue is costs.
Ares program has been pushed back and back because NASA doesn't have the money and won't till the Shuttle stops flying.
Besides it's too late to extend the life of the shuttle as the Space Shuttle Main Engine program has already begun winding down. Vote any funds to extend the shuttle and someone's going to be out there on the launch pad winding up this really big rubber band. :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:07 am
The one how has the last laugh, was the one with the best contingency plan...

Right now, for lifting heavy objects and large crews, the shuttle is the best option. Even though things might change quickly, at the moment, having the shuttle as backup doesn't sound like a bad idea if things change for the worse.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:20 pm
Florida Today (http://www.floridatoday.com/floridatoda ... -keep.html) brings more details about Weldon's plan:

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U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon is seeking to inject an extra $10 billion into NASA's budget over the next five years to eliminate the gap between the space shuttle and its proposed replacement.

Weldon today is introducing a legislative plan that would add two space shuttle missions per year in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:57 am
10 billion for 6 missions. Is it my imagination, or is the pricetag rising? Plus it killed more people then any other US rocket they ever built, so yes, it's perfectly logical to keep the shuttle.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:29 am
This is really a bad idea and has much more to do with safeguarding jobs and funneling money into various US states than maintaining manned space access.

I agree that it is not unreasonable to extend the shuttle's lifetime slightly (12-18 months) using the shuttle parts and spares currently on order or awaiting delivery, if NASA has not managed to complete all the flights it has scheduled by 2010. Extending its life by an additional 5 years is madness.

If this were to go ahead it would undermine the entire COTS initiative and make it almost impossible for those companies competing to get any private funding. The $10bn would be better spent creating another 20 COTS prizes.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:00 am
I'm just wondering what people would say in 2013, if all (ok, I'm being negative right now, but we need to look at worst case scenario too) options fails, and no new people carrier has been launched, and the politic climate between "east and west" has changed for the worse, and the shuttles have been rusting in a hangar for 3 years...

I just want to say that I'm all for the new vehicles coming, but NASA, as a government agency, cannot ignore this possibility, and they need to adjust their plans accordingly. If we get a cheaper sollution launched by 2010, great! If not, keeping the shuttles on stand-by might not be such a bad idea. And if the launch happens, and is successful, then I'd think NASA would be quick to cut the backup-shuttles to divert the money for other things.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:11 am
IrquiM wrote:
I'm just wondering what people would say in 2013, if all (ok, I'm being negative right now, but we need to look at worst case scenario too) options fails, and no new people carrier has been launched, and the politic climate between "east and west" has changed for the worse, and the shuttles have been rusting in a hangar for 3 years...

I just want to say that I'm all for the new vehicles coming, but NASA, as a government agency, cannot ignore this possibility, and they need to adjust their plans accordingly. If we get a cheaper sollution launched by 2010, great! If not, keeping the shuttles on stand-by might not be such a bad idea. And if the launch happens, and is successful, then I'd think NASA would be quick to cut the backup-shuttles to divert the money for other things.


If they can't pay for it, they shouldn't have it. That is a fact for every person on this planet. Not that the replacement will be any cheaper, but it can hopefully solve at least the safety issue.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:49 pm
IrquiM wrote:
I'm just wondering what people would say in 2013...


Or perhaps by 2013, SpaceX and Armadillo and perhaps others will be able to provide the sort of launch services NASA will require......rather than NASA having to DIY it.

James


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:42 pm
JamesHughes wrote:
Or perhaps by 2013, SpaceX and Armadillo and perhaps others will be able to provide the sort of launch services NASA will require......rather than NASA having to DIY it.


I'm all for that, just look at the 2nd paragraph.

However, "perhaps" is not good enough for a government agency. If they'd been left with no alternatives, that would be a larger set back for them, than having wasted a few bn. dollars on a backup plan that wasn't needed.


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