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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Space shuttle update by canaveralgumby on 20 September 2006 6:45am
"Mystery Object Prompts Third Heat Shield Inspection for Atlantis Crew
By Tariq Malik
Senior Space Writer
posted: 19 September 2006 8:49 pm ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, – The six astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis will conduct an unprecedented third inspection of their orbiter’s heat shield before landing this week to ensure its integrity after an unidentified object appeared to shake free of the spacecraft this morning, NASA’s shuttle chief said late Tuesday.

NASA space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said Atlantis’ STS-115 astronaut crew will use their orbiter’s 50-foot robotic arm to scan sensitive heat shield areas Wednesday and remains on track for a planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center here Thursday at 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT)...

...NASA postponed the landing attempt earlier today after spotting the mystery object, which appeared to have shaken loose from the orbiter during a series of standard pre-landing flight systems and thruster checks...

...Mystery objects redux

A flight controller at NASA’s shuttle Mission Control room spotted the debris at about 2:45 a.m. EDT (0645 GMT) Tuesday while using one of the orbiter’s payload bay cameras during routine Earth observations, shuttle officials said.

Image analysts were unable to identify what the mystery object was, and likely will not be able to, shuttle officials said, though some engineers think it could still be a small piece of plastic inadvertently left between tiles along Atlantis’ underbelly...

...“We do see things come off space vehicles from time to time that are really of no consequence other than we really would not like to leave litter lying around,” Hale said."

Well, that's nice!

Detailed article:
Re: Space shuttle update by sighthound on 20 September 2006 7:58am
Could it be one of the bolts they lost?
Re: Space shuttle update by Blairhoyle on 20 September 2006 2:16pm
think about the money they spend on these trips "to understadn different planets"

the one we are on is going to rat shit and millions are getting spent flying into outer space :angry:
Re: Space shuttle update by canaveralgumby on 20 September 2006 5:48pm
Okay, let's address this OFTEN-made comment.

1. NASA receives a fraction of a percent of the US national budget. Compared to anything, ANYTING which people would like to see more $ go to, from national security and defense, to public assistance and services for the poor, to the public school system, to the Centers for Disease Control, etc., etc., etc., NASA gets a pittance. If you took ALL of NASA's money away and shut the space program down, it would not add enough to the coffers of the other agencies to make a dent.

2. There is a mentality which says, "We must only use our resourses for emergency situations and crises." This mentality is responsible for eliminating art, music, phys. ed., culture and even RECESS from our schools. It's responsible for people not getting preventative healthcare so that they don't fall into crisis medical situations later. Etc., etc.

So, are you willing to sell or give away or donate ALL of your luxury, or UNNECESSARY possessions, and every spare "dime" you have, to poor people, or your local school or library, or your local Salvation Army? Are you willing to close your credit card accounts, forego vacations, get rid of your internet service and your cable tv and your clothing budget, and instead put all that monthly income into, say, Oxfam or CARE or UNICEF, Christian Childrens' Fund, Boys' and Girls' Town, Environmental Defense Fund, Cancer Society, etc., etc., etc. ALL of the money and resources you can spare?

No? Why? Because you have a life outside of crisis situations, and you're allowed to. Surely there is life to go on with, even while crises are going on.

3. We are humans. When has the human race EVER not explored? When have we EVER not tried to figure out the universe around us? Even when that universe was a 2-square-mile radius around the earliest hominids, they roamed it, tried the berries, figured out how to make a fire...

Exploring space, or Antarctica, or the bottom of the ocean, these acts are part of WHAT we ARE.

4. Do you believe that if there was no space program, the state of the world would be different? Would AIDS be cured? Would there be no wars in the Middle East? No Kim Jung Il's? No Enrons? Do you believe that any problems like those could be solved by throwing the money from the Space Program at them? Do you think that would happen?
Re: Space shuttle update by George on 20 September 2006 10:08pm
Cori, I couldn't agree with you more.

Some people will never understand how just how much of a return our country, and civilization as a whole, profits from the space program, and not just inventions like Teflon.
Re: Space shuttle update by sighthound on 20 September 2006 10:37pm
I once did some docs on the space program. That was some time ago but research at the time showed that $7 was added to the economy for every taxpayer dollar spent on the space program - one of the best buys ever for government spending. I don't have current figures but I'd imagine that the return is comparable today.

Also, we owe so much to the early days of the space program for the development of computer technology that I'd doubt that we'd be communicating here right now without it.
Re: Space shuttle update by intrepid on 21 September 2006 10:54am
Yeah, I get irritated with people who use the "money down the drain" argument against the space program. I mean, it's not like somebody in Congress stood up and said "Folks, we have to make a choice: we only have enough money to fund one of the following bills: there's the "Comprehensive Feed Hungry People" bill; or the 'Space Program Allocation' bill. What will it be?"

There isn't, and there's never been a "Comprehensive Feed Hungry People" bill, and if there was, it wouldn't have a snowball's chance of being made into law in the US. How low can you set the "what is worthwhile" bar? If the space program is considered to be too frivolous, then how can you justify the National Parks program, for example?
Re: Space shuttle update by George on 22 September 2006 4:40am
Every so often, I delve into one fo NASA's links to find out what is being planned 20-30 years from now. One of the great challenges facing the future of space travel is the whole concept of propulsion, that is, finding the power to go really, really fast, like several times faster than the speed of light. Of course, right now, all science has to work with comes under the heading of theoretical physics.

History teaches us that sooner or later, and probably sooner, the means to provide such power will be found. When it is, the gasoline engine and fossil fuels will be totally obsolete. And who will take advantage of all these new technologies and provide it for us? Exxon, probably, and we will all be extremely grateful in the end.
Re: Space shuttle update by canaveralgumby on 22 September 2006 5:37am
Shuttle Atlantis Lands Safely After Successful Flight
By Tariq Malik
space.com Staff Writer
posted: 21 September 2006 06:22 am ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Six astronauts and their shuttle Atlantis are safely back on Earth after returning NASA and its partners on a path to complete the International Space Station (ISS).

Atlantis touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) before dawn at about 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT) after 187 orbits and a 12-day mission that kick started ISS construction.

The STS-115 crew delivered the first new additions to the ISS since late 2002: a new set of wing-like solar arrays and two massive trusses that weighed in at 17.5 tons before the flight’s Sept. 9 launch.

"We are back in the assembly business,” Wayne Hale, NASA’s space shuttle program manager said of Atlantis’ STS-115 flight. “This is one of the most complex missions that has even been flown in space.”

Atlantis fired its engines to plunge Earthward at about 5:14 a.m. EDT (0914 GMT), loosening two resounding sonic booms that pierced the early morning sky before its wheels touched down on Runway 33 here while the orbiter traveled at a speed of about 225 miles per hour (360 kilometers per hour).

Their safe landing concluded NASA’s 116th shuttle flight – and the 27th mission for the Atlantis orbiter – after 11 days, 19 hours and six minutes. It also marked NASA’s 15th night landing at KSC and the 21st unlit return of an orbiter overall.

Atlantis’ STS-115 mission was the second in three months to visit the space station’s Expedition 13 crew – commanded by Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, with NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams and German spaceflyer Thomas Reiter – and left the orbital laboratory a bit off-kilter with its left-leaning slant.

“For the first time in four years, the shape of the space station changed and it was really dramatic,” said Paul Dye, NASA’s lead shuttle flight director for STS-115, adding that even the little ISS icon on NASA’s orbital tracking screen changed to match the outpost’s new look. “We can see that we’ve really done something big for the space station.”


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