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Things to do while the Space Shuttle is grounded.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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  2. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Things to do while the space shuttle is grounded? How about a nice cut and polish; shine up those rims and add some pimpin' fluorescent lights to the undercarriage for some Friday night cruising down the boulevard?

    In all seriousness, hearing about the decline of the space programme is very depressing. NASA obviously needs more funding to prevent the programme totally collapsing, and a little entrepreneurial spirit to attract investment. Without change I have no doubt the programme will continue its downward spiral into oblivion. If that were to occur I doubt many would realise the seriousness of their loss until well past the point of no return.

    Adam
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Can you imagine being in the space station with no operational way home? It's not exactly like they can jump out with a parachute.
     
  4. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

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  5. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Ummm, the Russians have a vehicle that can go up to the ISS and pull people out, so the people in the space station are safe.

    As to the space program in general? It's pathetic, and I agree with the above sentiments, we need to find a way to get a major influx of cash into the program and jumpstart it, the problem is how do we do that?

    I saw one idea which was interesting, and that was to partially privatise NASA, kind of like how the Post Office runs (it recieve little funding, and runs almost in the black basically from the sale of stamps), although I don't know what NASA could sell that will help fund it (the cost of shooting up a sat could go way up then).

    Andrew
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Privitizing space exploration/exploitation could potentially be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, The Outer Space Treaty, and, more specifically, the UN's Liability Convention make it very difficult for this to happen. Certainly, a semi-privitized NASA might be workable under these circumstances, but it makes it very difficult for, say, Lockheed-Martin to attempt to build its own private delivery system.
    Of course, for a private-sector delivery system to be profitable, we'd probably need nuclear rockets, and we all know how rationally most people react when they hear the n-word.
     
  7. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    There is a Soyuz space craft docked at the ISS at all times. It is the "Lifeboat" for the ISS if anything goes wrongthe crew piles into the Soyuz and goes home. They would never leave humans in space without a way to get back to Earth.

    The problem is that the Soyuz only holds three people. NASA was working on a (IIRC) 7 person emergency return vehicle, but that program was cut by the current administration. Unfortunately the ISS takes 2 1/2 crew people just do the basic opertions & maintenance, leaving very little time left over for science...
     
  8. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure I agree with this guy's tone. His theme seems to be that we should just pony up some extra money and build some new ways to fly up into orbit. He says our "multi-billion-dollar space [program] is held hostage to the whims of microscopic slivers of metal". Come on now ... this is rocket science, not wood shop. There's a reason the program costs so much. Granted, there are ways that budget could be trimmed, but that's another topic of argument. Remember, those astronauts are travelling 17,500 mph. I think it's a good thing we're pulling back to make sure everything's "tuned up" for the next flight. After all, it's only going to take a few weeks to fix this problem (and I guarantee the metal slivers aren't the only thing they're checking while the fleet is grounded).

    He also talks about "'the' Shuttle replacement" and how we need to diversify our solutions. Let's come back to reality. We can hardly afford one type of spacecraft. How are we supposed to replace the shuttle fleet with several systems, each with their own support requirements?

    Another problem I have with his article is the logic after the report on the first rocket-powered touch-and-go. How does this directly correspond to affordable trips to orbit? I'll concede that this milestone shows an improvement in controlled rocket-powered flight, but it really can't be directly translated into the affordability of flights into orbit.

    A little quote from the Daily Show to put things into perspective:

     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Sell lottery tickets for a trip into space. $100 a pop. That could raise a billion dollars.

    I remember reading about some of the ideas for ramjet craft, whatever happened to that concept?
     
  10. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    Now that would be an interesting way to do it. I'd like to see the demographics of the people who actually bought lottery tickets if the prize was a trip on the Shuttle. I'll bet you'd get some of the math-savvy people who normally wouldn't "waste" money on lottery tickets just because of the prize. I know I would buy a ticket [​IMG]
     
  11. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    The lottery idea is good in theory, but what happens if someone wins who doesn't meet the physical requirements? I'd buy a ticket for sure, but I think I'm probably a little too, uh, "hefty" to make the cut. [​IMG]
    Hey Daren! Good to see another USA FSW person/League City resident on HTF!
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    There would be a provision that in order to go to space you would have to meet the criteria. If not, a great auxiliary prize would be awarded, such as playing in the simulators, or hanging out in the control room during a shuttle launch. Perhaps not as fun (for those who can't handle 0 gee I doubt a trip to sace would be fun anyway), but it would be a unique experience inside the space program.

    If one lottery was held for each mission, I'm sure that a decent source of funding could open up, as long as they didn't bog it down with administrative expenses.
     
  13. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    *chuckle*

    I'm imagining someone at JSC reading this right now and having a heart-attack. Just mentioning letting some Joe-Blow in to play in the simulators or hang out in the MCC would probably get the eyes rolling on any engineer over there. I'm not saying it's a horrible idea, I actually think the lottery is pretty clever, but security is such an issue for NASA ... especially after last fall.

    Craig -- USA FSW in tha house!!
     

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