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Shuttle Launch Delayed Again, Possibly Until December

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the catch-you-next-month dept.

NASA 111

An anonymous reader writes "NASA engineers worked overnight trying to fix the electrical problem that forced the launch of space shuttle Discovery to be delayed again. Mission managers will meet later Wednesday to figure out if a launch on Thursday is even possible. The tentative plan is to have Discovery lift off Thursday at 3:29pm. If that does not happen it would be rescheduled for Sunday. If it cannot launch Sunday then it will have to wait until December. NASA engineers have a lot of work on their hands Wednesday morning. Discovery has an electrical issue that forced officials to postpone its liftoff, which had been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon."

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electrical issue??? (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit132 (1934228) | more than 2 years ago | (#34115946)

are you sure it wasn't just a "space shuttle issue"? thanks for being specific, NASA... i'm confident my tax dollars are in good hands.

Tea Party Tard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116030)

Angry - check
Dumb - check

Definite Tea Party Tard

Re:Tea Party Tard (-1, Offtopic)

MichaelKristopeit132 (1934228) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116080)

anonymous - check

wrong - check

definitely pathetic.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

Re:Tea Party Tard (1)

dgower2 (1487929) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116318)

I know this is going to sound blasphemous, but /. should have a "Like" button for posts that you like, but are just lazy enough to not feel like typing anything.

Great post!

a history of trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116598)

MK SOCKPUPPET is a known CIA^W serial troll.

Help. Please help. The Cloning went wrong... (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit134 (1934322) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117246)

Don't you call me a troll, you snivelling nonentity. You are a fool, I do not COWER, I do not respect cows at all.

Is Michael Kristopeit 126, 127, 132, 134... even my real name? Perhaps I chose it to make the real Michael Kristopeit look stupid.

Ha ha, I am so clever, I can register multiple accounts. Muwahahahahaha!!

I will go now, but I *will* be back because I am being called to dinner. I like barm cakes, me.

Re:Tea Party Tard (0, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116780)

Parent poster has several "MichaelKristopeit" accounts that get negative karma instantly. He is a troll. Please mod him back to oblivion so he can open his next account.

Re:Tea Party Tard (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit129 (1934224) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116814)

you can't fight your own battles? you wish to deny others their opinion?

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

the truth threatens you. you're completely pathetic.

Re:Tea Party Tard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116926)

you can't fight your own battles? you wish to deny others their opinion?

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

the truth threatens you. you're completely pathetic.

Pathetic is when you need all those sockpuppet accounts because you can't just maintain a single account in good standing. you are NOTHING. bitch. A single account with a single karma rating threatens you. You're completely pathetic. Keep running away from the down-mods you soundly earn, you coward fuck.

I'd ask you what you are afraid of but we already know. You are afraid of being judged on the merits of what you post. That is why you have to keep creating new accounts.

Re:Tea Party Tard (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit129 (1934224) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117020)

pathetic is cowering.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

i don't NEED any accounts. i HAVE accounts. if ANY account can be dismissed as a puppet, THEN ALL ACCOUNTS ARE PUPPETS.

perhaps you cower because you're retarded.

you are NOTHING.

Re:Tea Party Tard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34118128)

pathetic is cowering.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

i don't NEED any accounts. i HAVE accounts. if ANY account can be dismissed as a puppet, THEN ALL ACCOUNTS ARE PUPPETS.

perhaps you cower because you're retarded.

you are NOTHING.

One person having one account is an ordinary account. NOT a sockpuppet.

Second, third, etc. accounts belonging to one person are sockpuppet accounts.

That is why all accounts are NOT puppets. It's so simple any idiot can understand it. Except you. Denial -- it ain't just a river in Egypt you psychotic fuck.

Keep running away from the bad reputation (karma) by creating more accounts. I order you to continue doing it, you obedient coward.

Re:Tea Party Tard (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit129 (1934224) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118276)

so says the coward.

so which of my accounts is the "ordinary account", coward?

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're not only completely wrong, you're completely pathetic.

Re:Tea Party Tard (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118366)

Please don't feed the trolls.

I made this mistake with him too, just let the mods keep killing his accounts and him keep wasting his life creating new ones.
If you feel you must do something register a bunch of names in the form he would use to kill them off.

Re:Tea Party Tard (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116756)

U Mad U Lost?

Re:Tea Party Tard (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit134 (1934322) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117306)

Definite Tea Party Tard

U Mad U Lost?

You tell them, girl! Mmm, mmm.

I'm annoyed as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. I can register multiple accounts, so pay attention to me!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111

Re:electrical issue??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116850)

how many people care that much that NASA's special space cup holder isn't working right vs. "something" not working right? If you really care, look it up on nasa.gov:

"The Mission Management Team, which is meeting today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is discussing one of the main engine controllers on space shuttle Discovery. The controller showed a one-time, irregular power drop. The issue was isolated to Discovery's Number 3 engine and all the connectors were attached and retested. After reviewing the issue, the team is discussing possible causes. You can follow developments in the MMT meeting at www.twitter.com/NASA"

took about a minute to find.

Re:electrical issue??? (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit129 (1934224) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116872)

took the same minute to read the summary which was longer than the linked-to article.

what was the expected start up time? what was the actual start up time? what was the expected voltage? what was the actual voltage? is this a site for scientists or marketeers?

slashdot = stagnated.

Re:electrical issue??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34119262)

Further, what is a capital letter and just how weak a troll are you?

It must be nearly bed time for 8 year olds so just be a good little person and go to bed and leave the adults to have a real conversation.

Troubleshooting (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34115964)

Did they check if it's plugged in?

Have they tried turning it off and on?

Re:Troubleshooting (2, Funny)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116298)

Take the batteries out and try them in something else to check they're not flat.

Re:Troubleshooting (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116720)

If they can't get it working, I recommend Cradle of Filth to get them through their difficult times. It really helped me.

Re:Troubleshooting (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116848)

NASA uses highly trained field service professionals, so I'm certain they're currently busy changing each tire to find out which one is flat.

The shuttle is getting to old and stuff like this (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117728)

The shuttle is getting to old and stuff like this just gets harder and harder to fix.

Why bother? (2, Interesting)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116062)

The shuttle was an misconceived expensive piece of junk designed to make the Russians go broke copying it. (Read Buran). We should have never given up on the Saturn V as out heavy lift platform.

Why not just move the remaining Shuttles to museums like the Smithonian and Wright/Pat and display them as the costly mistakes they are.

We also could build a modern Saturn V with better metallurgy, and computers very easily. I think the reason we don't is that the design is public domain and the usual contractors can't charge 10 times what it is worth.

So there!

Re:Why bother? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116206)

Thus speaks someone who as never seen a launch and believes things like the Hubble telescope shouldn't be serviced.

As for Russia, they'd hardly go broken when they could put satellites in orbit for under $1m. Materials are cheap, labor more so under the Soviets.

Re:Why bother? (2, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116274)

Thus speaks someone who as never seen a launch and believes things like the Hubble telescope shouldn't be serviced.

But no telescope since Hubble has been designed for manned servicing because it's proven cheaper to launch a new one than to send astronauts there.

Servicing Hubble made sense when a shuttle flight was supposed to cost $10,000,000 (maybe $50,000,000 in today's money), but not now it's proven to cost over $1,000,000,000.

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116528)

And how would they know that if they haven't tried it? Paper pushers made numbers look good. Reality made numbers look bad. Reality is where space shuttle flies.

There is nothing comparable to the Hubble. People like you, doing nothing but paper pushing, can't even grasp the numbers never mind the science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_telescope

"From its original total cost estimate of about US$400 million, the telescope had by now cost over $2.5 billion to construct. Hubble's cumulative costs up to this day are estimated to be several times higher still, with US expenditure estimated at between $4.5 and $6 billion, and Europe's financial contribution at €593 million (1999 estimate)." - reason? fuckups.

The mirror was not correct shape too. Reason? Another human fuckup. "The Allen Commission found that the main null corrector, a device used to measure the exact shape of the mirror, had been incorrectly assembled—one lens was wrongly spaced by 1.3 mm.[54] During the polishing of the mirror, Perkin-Elmer had analyzed its surface with two other null correctors, both of which correctly indicated that the mirror was suffering from spherical aberration. The company ignored these test results as it believed that the two null correctors were less accurate than the primary device that was reporting that the mirror was perfectly figured.[55]"

So, thanks to the Shuttle, it was fixed. No shuttle, Hubble is not very useful.

result: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Improvement_in_Hubble_images_after_SMM1.jpg

And Hubble is productive since 1990 to 2010+ - 20 year life!

The service missions and ISS assembly are themselves important to understand how to do work in space. Prior to ISS and Hubble, no long space walks were necessary.

But then why bother arguing with someone like yourself. Someone that is against knowledge, but all for spending $1,000,000,000 per day in Iraq during height of the invasion..

http://www.costofwar.com/

Re:Why bother? (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117018)

Will you just stop? You are either deliberately misleading or didn't quite get the post. Hubble was designed to be serviced by the shuttle. The ulterior purpose was to justify the shuttle program and, more specifically, the budgetary outlays for it. Had the Hubble been designed to be machine-serviceable, it would have been much cheaper overall. That's the point the parent was making. Nobody is criticizing the Hubble. It was and is certainly a great piece of hardware that, unlike most NASA boondoggles (e.g.ISS), actually produced both an enormous amount of scientifically useful data and a grand collection of beautiful and inspiring images.

The corrupt military-congressional-industrial complex of which NASA is but a part is determined to spend as much money as is humanly possible in order to maximize the amount they manage to skim off.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116556)

But no telescope since Hubble has been designed for manned servicing because it's proven cheaper to launch a new one than to send astronauts there.

If that were true, Hubble would never ever have been serviced, as it would be "cheaper to launch a new one". And yet it has been, repeatedly. Not only to fix the original mirror defect, but to install whole new equipment (like the ACS).

Re:Why bother? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116624)

If that were true, Hubble would never ever have been serviced, as it would be "cheaper to launch a new one". And yet it has been, repeatedly.

How does the governent doing something prove that it's cost-effective?

Re:Why bother? (2, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116992)

Or, more to the point: it would cost about the same to launch a whole new Hubble, with ACS on board, that it cost to service the one on orbit. The latter carried less risk, I guess.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117270)

it would cost about the same to launch a whole new Hubble, with ACS on board, that it cost to service the one on orbit

Again, if that were true, *they would have*.

The latter carried less risk, I guess.

Ah, I see, so in your world, risk has no cost?

Re:Why bother? (0, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117362)

Again, if that were true, *they would have*.

Why?

Re:Why bother? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117376)

Why?

Now you're going to invoke a conspiracy theory about how the government is all about inefficiency, pork, etc, etc... please... piss off. I reject your claim, so quit trying to make it.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118176)

You reject the notion that the US Geovernment is all about pork? That it's all just conspiracy theory? Dude!!
[slap slap slap]

Re:Why bother? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34119692)

With projects like that, you won't know the risk until you try. A couple times. So even though the risk has a cost, there's no way to tell what cost it has. There are highly paid IMHO clowns who pretend to be able to put a price to such risk, but it's a mere pretense. They are very poor predictors of any individual project's risk, they can only gauge risk in bulk, across several unrelated projects. IOW, they know a lot about everything, but nothing about something in particular. So whatever risk they come up with has only to do with a nonexistent aggregate. It's like with curving grades: individual students get efd up even though on average things look peachy; said average usually is unrealized, too.

As for the cost of relaunching Hubble with ACS: last time I checked, it could have even been cheaper than a Shuttle service mission if you take into account indirect costs. Politics at work. If Hubble somehow got serviced using other means (say Soyuz spacewalk, or a replacement mission), people would scream bloody murder that it wasn't the Shuttle that was used to service it. Even so the last service mission almost didn't happen.

There's no conspiracy theory to that, just plain good old politics at work. Daily Washington life, if you will.

Re:Why bother? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117048)

It should never have been. It only cost ~$400 million, which is less than a shuttle launch costs.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117292)

It should never have been. It only cost ~$400 million, which is less than a shuttle launch costs.

Uh, if you launched a whole new telescope, you'd have to launch it in *something*.

So are you saying the $400M for a whole new platform, plus launch costs, is less than a servicing mission? If so, you might want to tell NASA. Given the shoestring budget they run on, you'd think they'd want to save their pennies wherever they could.

Re:Why bother? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118336)

No they want the media coverage manned space flight offers. I am saying launching a new hubble would have been cheaper after all the service missions. Hell, killing the shuttle at challenger would have saved us all a lot of money and heartache.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34118402)

It should never have been. It only cost ~$400 million, which is less than a shuttle launch costs.

History would disagree,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_telescope

From its original total cost estimate of about US$400 million, the telescope had by now cost over $2.5 billion to construct. Hubble's cumulative costs up to this day (launch) are estimated to be several times higher still, with US expenditure estimated at between $4.5 and $6 billion, and Europe's financial contribution at €593 million (1999 estimate).[46]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Webb_Space_Telescope

Replacement, is already close to $5 billion. These aren't some mass-produced crapware from China. These are one-of-the-kind, experimental designs. And they cost lots and may even fail before they reach orbit.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116286)

Yes and no!
The Russians was more intelligent.
If NASA used the BURAN design im everything can be more useful .
The main thing about Buran. HE DONT HAVE main ENGINES like nasa ones.
This make sense. When NASA use the main angines just because do a project from something can go up and back alone for a kind of FRANKSTEIN that need rockets to help go up.
The Buran have a single Rocket do it. Since NASA and Buran ones when come back, do it same way, like a PLANE. The nasa view point become what we have today. A BRICK that go to space. Spend a lot of money just to put in orbit a BIG MAIN ENGINE.
Another concept Buran is more smart from nasa, are the way they used the carbon shields, In nasa they are side y side, with gaps. The buran one are like FISH SCAMS. Doing more chepo to maintain.
Is a pity Russia broke. Or today we can have the Buran still doing the work by a fraction of NASA Shutle.
Sometimes to copy a design can be good to, not bad.

Re:Why bother? (1)

lp_bugman (623152) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116386)

Have problems understanding you. Did you prof read?

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116620)

No post since bulletin boards has been designed for manned servicing because it's proven cheaper to launch a new one than to send profs there.

Re:Why bother? (1)

kav2k (1545689) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116442)

Don't forget the fact that Buran also had a working autonomous guidance system and was able to perform an entire mission unmanned.

Re:Why bother? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116540)

Don't forget the fact that Buran also had a working autonomous guidance system and was able to perform an entire mission unmanned.

To be fair, the shuttle could do that with some rewiring (e.g. the landing gear isn't connected to the computers) and reprogramming (e.g. to lower the landing gear before landing). It already flies the majority of the trajectory on most flights by itself.

That said, if they'd tried that on the first shuttle flight it would probably have burned up due to incorrect assumptions in the aerodynamic model that required John Young to fly manually for part of the reentry.

Re:Why bother? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116802)

"...was able to fly the only mission unmanned."

Re:Why bother? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116460)

To be fair, if the Buran design is superior it's likely because they started with the shuttle design and improved on it, whereas the shuttle was designed from the ground up. The Russians were (and are) clearly very good at designing space vehicles, but it's a lot easier to come up with a better design if you start with the design your opponent already came up with.

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34118898)

NASA Shutle is incredible, besides they kill the original project.
Buran, same being a AERODYNAMIC copy, and a lot of other systems copy is amazing to.
But besides be a copy. Buran do have more in original concepts of shutle than the own nasa shutle.
and they develop some techonology that already still ahead for nasa today.
Maybe if and AFTER the Buran, the new Shutles do copy some ideas from Buran ( like buran copy nasa).
Today we still do have a shutle.
The most important from all. The russian, do have a ROCKET capable of put BURAN, PAYLOAD, and the own rocket in space.
This was one of most important point about all thing of CONSTALATION, NEW ROCKET.
Its what russians already do.
Both NASA and Russia, do a good job, When the politics/military come one.
The lost here. IS.
There 2 technology forks, from the same basic design ( The buran and the nasa shutle), Copy or not and both one doing another better in some way, are lost. ( of course we learn a lot and use this learn in lot of things).
Today we are coming back to old idea of big managed capsules ( the nasa one will never be done, the X project heavy cargo, the esa/russian ones, the japanese one and china). all are the same.

Everything come to basic concept about what was suppose to be the shutle.
In this point.
Technology, cost, manageability and usability. Buran was more closed to this original project. BEING or not a COPY.
About the SHUTLE PROJECT by all.
The most important here are the launchers. There is the point. Buran by own is just a reusable big container well donne.
Shutle do have engines and all kind of sensible technology inside that put more to trouble and be more expensive.
Buran was to be sold for anyone want to pay, and was cheap. no one buy. Just because THE AERODYNAMICS by itself, today is well know. the afterwards inside are almost nothing.
Same the Shutle. Anyone can buy one ( nasa put to sold, all shutles, already, and is cheap). But can do nothing because of level of complexity.

Same time we lose we win with shutles/buran.
The pity is an era end. And not a news one in horizon.
Im the dreaming generation of Shutles, Mine dad was from dreaming generation of Apollo, mine grand-dad was the dreaming generation of SCI-FI crazy book. Mine son will be the dreaming generation of lawyers/government trying to discover what we are thinking.

Re:Why bother? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116330)

Why even send people at all? Floating about in space is something that's pretty easy to automate.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116372)

Oh, not the whole "Start Building the Saturn V Again!" argument.

I understand it. I do. On the surface, it makes perfect sense.

But it doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint. All the parts that went into it are out of production. You might find some screws or maybe even some tubing that have lingered on to fill the need of some obscure sub-market, but other than that, it's all gone. You'd have to create production lines for every last part. And production lines for every part that goes into every larger part. Certify all of the components and the facilities where they are made.

On top of that you'd be rejecting any and all advances made in rocketry in the last 40 years. Sure, we haven't made massive leaps like we did from the V2 to the Saturn V in half the time, but things have progressed.

The Saturn V is dead. It will remain so. The time to reactivate the program was during the Nixon administration, and it was probably going to be a challenge as early as the Gerald Ford years.

SDLV (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116842)

Not sure if it made it to Slashdot or not, but the Constellation program (which was prohibitively expensive) has been scrapped in favour of a more affordable SDLV similar to DIRECT's Jupiter. [directlauncher.com]

Re:SDLV (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34119768)

I wonder if this is the same guy that claimed his company was going to the moon, and posted an Ask Slashdot asking for web design and 3d modeling advice.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34117796)

you'd be rejecting any and all advances made in rocketry in the last 40 years.
Due to ridiculous budget cuts ever since we first landed on the moon, hasn't there been like... virtually zero advances since then?

Sure, there's been vast technological advances, and sure said advances could be put towards space travel after the fact. But specific advances actively designed to sending a rocket into space? Not so much.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34118202)

Anyone have a good 3d scanner? If you can print a car [slashdot.org] , why not go for something truly ambitious? .torrent please when you have the printer file ;-)

Re:Why bother? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34119684)

If you can print a car [slashdot.org]
You can't print a car in any meaningful sense, you can print the bodywork but the important parts of the car still have to be made by more traditional methods.

Let's Make a Whole New Saturn VI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34119370)

and leave it on the 39-A to let it rust and break into pieces till the end of this century, as a tombstone of U.S. space programs.

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116464)

>We also could build a modern Saturn V with better metallurgy, and computers very easily.

You could also create a modern rocket with the same costs. There's no reason to revive 60s technology and the cost savings of doing so are borderline non-existent and you have the liability and cost of using 50 year old tech.

Not to mention that LEO is yesterday's problem and is solved using technology being built by private companies like SpaceX. Why spend 100 billion dollars on some new system just to hop to the ISS? Use SpaceX and be done with it.

NASA will probably use the DeltaIV or the Atlas V heavies for their next rocket, instead of building a new costly rocket anyway. Unless Congressmen who want to bring the pork home get their way and force NASA to build a new rocket, which seems likely especially after GOP gains.

Re:Why bother? (1)

atrain728 (1835698) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116886)

Isn't that approximately NASA's plan going forward? Am I missing something?

Re:Why bother? (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34119730)

I always like to imagine how big the ISS would be if we launched the modules SkyLab style, and put the people on little rockets, like SkyLab.

Rand Paul Promised : (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116106)

to reduce Big Government and the Space Shuttle was his first pick. Next on the list: 22,000 federal employees IN Kentucky !

What's next Rando? A filibuster on the Senate vote to extend the U.S. debt ceiling, and, in doing so, a declaration that the U.S.A is in technical
default on its debt?

LOL !!!!!

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116242)

I prefer syence-fyction and wrestling.

Signed,
the non-existing target demographic of the new Sci-Fi channel.

Hey! (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116276)

Didn't they promise us 50 launches a year with this thing? What ever became of that?

Re:Hey! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116336)

Lunches. 50 lunches.

Re:Hey! (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116660)

There ain't 50 such things.

Re:Hey! (1)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118700)

Well there are, but they aren't free.

In fact I imagine, given NASA's way of paying for stuff, a single meal on the shuttle is probably on the order of $1000.

P.S. Do you still call it lunch if you are in orbit? I mean the concept of day/night and breakfast/lunch/dinner don't really work the same up there.

Cowardly? (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116292)

Whoever tagged this "cowardly", I'd like to see you shoot into space when conditions aren't optimal, where conditions not being optimal can mean a horrible death by being vaporized.

Re:Cowardly? (1, Funny)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116592)

It'd really let the Shuttle program end on a 'Bang!'

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

Re:Cowardly? (0, Offtopic)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116904)

Troll? Oh come on mods! That was a disturbingly morbid and beautifully corny pun. In other words, it's comedy gold by Slashdot's standards. Mod him up.

Re:Cowardly? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117116)

Since the launch hasn't happened yet, it is definite "Too Soon." [fountainofgenius.com]

The Problem Casuing the Delay (5, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116302)

This article [spaceflightnow.com] contains some more specifics regarding the problem. Apparently one of the main engine controller computers (the computers that regulate main engine gimbaling and throttle control) failed to power up properly. There was a short time period where a low-voltage occurred which flagged a boot-up sequence issue. Engineers are trying to figure out what caused the voltage drop and, thus, triggered the error in the processor initialization. More information regarding the SSME controllers can be found here [wikipedia.org] .

Apparently the breaker that controls the processor was cycled five times over night. Engineers are guessing that the cycling caused some funny transient anomalies in the circuit which caused the fault. Despite the fault, the main events controller for the shuttle system was brought to full power and is operating nominally, so it's not like the whole computer is crap. NASA just wants to be sure that, a) the fault was actually caused by the breaker cycling and b) the fault won't cause further glitches in any of the other controller systems on the shuttle.

Interesting stuff indeed. It's probably a good thing that NASA is demanding certainty from it's engineers before clearing Discovery for launch.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116364)

Interesting stuff indeed. It's probably a good thing that NASA is demanding certainty from it's engineers before clearing Discovery for launch.

And part of the reason I don't trust private sector space exploration at this stage of space exploration..

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116412)

And part of the reason I don't trust private sector space exploration at this stage of space exploration..

Any private launch company who killed its passengers one time in fifty would be out of business very fast. As far as I remember Branson is planning over a hundred test flights before putting passengers on SS2.

And the main reason this is an issue is because a failure which caused an engine shutdown early in the flight would require an RTLS abort which is probably unsurvivable, and a failure later in the launch would require an ATO abort which would prevent them from getting to ISS.

Private Launch Companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116440)

can't even get INTO orbit.

So your comment is out of order.

Re: Private Launch Companies (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116552)

can't even get INTO orbit.

So your comment is out of order.

Boeing, Arianespace and various other companies launch things into orbit on a regular basis. Putting a capsule on top is easy, finding people willing to pay for it is the hard part.

Re: Private Launch Companies (1)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117832)

can't even get INTO orbit.

So your comment is out of order.

Boeing, Arianespace and various other companies launch things into orbit on a regular basis. Putting a capsule on top is easy, finding people willing to pay for it is the hard part.

Last I checked they are putting payloads into orbit, not humans. And what is the success rate with these less complex payloads?

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117102)

require an RTLS abort which is probably unsurvivable

It's certainly untried. There's never been a successful post-launch Shuttle abort. On three occasions, there have been shutdowns on the pad after engine start. STS-51F did an abort to orbit after an unexpected shutdown of one main engine. But that's a near-normal flight diverted to a lower orbit. The Challenger disaster was the closest to a situation when an RTLS might have been attempted, but the vehicle damage was too great to even try.

Of course it hasn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34119632)

I think it's even safe to say that the Shuttle have no abort system. A Shuttle must be safely flyable to perform any of those abort sequence, which means there's no critical problems in the first place to continue a flight. There's also time-consuming post landing safety procedure even if it could safely land to ground. Any other manned spacecraft(save for Buran) require just capsule and ejection rocket, maybe less than 10% of the entire vehicle to be sane for a safe abort.

Imagine how an RTLS will go like. 180 half-loop in upper atmosphere on a half-broken aircraft? No, thanks.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34117420)

Not true at all, keep in mind astronauts are NOT "passengers". They are employees. You can't build large tunnel projects, skyscrapers, mines, or bridges without having some accidents that cause loss of life. Space exploration would probably be considered even more deadly than all these fields and the employees would understand this risk (and sign contracts/waivers that say they understand).

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118050)

And part of the reason I don't trust private sector space exploration at this stage of space exploration..

Any private launch company who killed its passengers one time in fifty would be out of business very fast. As far as I remember Branson is planning over a hundred test flights before putting passengers on SS2.

This seems to imply that NASA did little to no testing of the Shuttle before putting humans aboard. This is simply not true. I once saw a list of all the pre flight testing that was done and it was quite substantial.

I'd also like to know how a private company can get the MTBF up so high in such a dangerous environment without either killing customers or burning through an obscene amount of cash.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (3, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116804)

Well, believe it or not, the type of data that reflects this particular fault would need to be gathered just to allow the engine controllers to function properly. In other words, the redundancy that is built into such a two channel system is in-built so that both processors can check one another in order to have one more reference input to their feedback loop. If I have controller 1's best estimate of the current system state, and I have controller 2's best estimate of the system state, and I have a third estimate of the system state uploaded to the launch vehicle through telemetry resources based on observed flight characteristics, then then I have three system states that I can compare against one another in order to develop and process a command set for the next clock cycle. This type of three-state estimation is pretty much necessary just to damp your transient responses in any highly dynamic system within a reasonable amount of time. Without such a system, your controller often cannot damp out the transient responses for any given state variable and your system decays into an unstable (exploding) mode. In other words, no steady state is achieved.

That said, in order to achieve stable flight (something already demonstrated by the space tourism industry with SS2, Falcon 1 and Falcon 9), the space tourism industry is going to have to have these checks inbuilt on their systems. They wouldn't be able to fly without them (in fact, considering the complicated geometry for SS2, I would be extraordinarily shocked if they could achieve any stable flight without at least 4 redundant state readings). Ergo, this type of pedantry is a necessity in order to have a functioning vehicle. Thus, the likelihood of the space tourism industry killing customers by skimping on these kinds of checks seems highly unlikely, if not entirely impossible, by the very nature of designing a controllable, complicated launch vehicle. Now, don't get me wrong, the space tourism industry (and NASA) very well could kill customers by various other means. I just don't think a problem like this would be the likely cause based on little more than my own experience in designing flight controller systems (as well as an undergraduate degree focused on that subject).

Of course, you might just be trying to say that, while NASA is willing to slip a launch and miss a launch window in the name of certainty, the space tourism industry might not. Many 'dotters probably feel that an industrial launch industry would say, "Waiting a day will cost us X many dollars in profits, launch anyways!" (kind of like NASA did with Challenger). Personally, I also find this highly unlikely as dead customers don't tend to be able to spend more money on your company. If Branson blows somebody up, he can't count on them to fly a second time. Combining that with the fact that any engineers involved in such a company would promptly quit (because no engineer wants a customer's death on their conscience, trust me on that), and the company would then undergo a brutal brain drain and a period of stagnation, leads me to conclude that no entrepreneur (especially one that intends to fly on his own hardware) would be willing to take that chance. As you seem to imply, companies want, more than anything else, to protect their profit. Anyone getting involved in the commercial space industry that is flying hardware would not be so dull as to think that killing their customers will increase their profits.

Saying, "Hey look, my company is flying people into space every week!" is awesome and generates a sense of pride.

Saying, "Hey look, my company has only killed five people in the last five years!" brings on epic levels of shame and thoughts of suicide.

That is just my $0.02 on the matter though.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117686)

Yeah, but if the "dead passengers are bad for business" motif was true, we wouldn't have an NTSB and an FAA. And, car manufacturers like Toyota wouldn't be getting caught playing cost analysis games when their products are found to be defective.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118310)

Toyota found to be playing cost analysis games when their products are defective? Hmmm, last I heard, the unintended acceleration cases were primarily overblown: see here [wired.com] . Also, I am not entirely sure what your point is with regards to the FAA and NTSB. Both agencies are setup to help regulate both the logistics and safety concerns regarding modern transportation, which, incidentally, also includes regulating space tourism: see here. [faa.gov] The reason some regulation is needed is not because every company that has access to a particular technology will abuse it at the expense of its customers. The reason regulation is needed is because in any industry there will be a lot of quackery products right alongside viable products. So, while Virgin or SpaceX might establish a safe and healthy space tourism industry because they need continued revenue from customers, another company might come along, make some, "too good to be true," claims about cheap access to space, charge it's first set of customers for a ride, kill them, and run off with their money. Regulation helps establish a barrier of entry at a particular point that balances the need to prevent a monopoly with the need to prevent fraud. This is a good and necessary thing.

If you are under the impression that any and all companies will hurt their customers simply to make a buck, you are quite mistaken. While there is no shortage of examples of this happening, there are also quite a few companies that genuinely do attempt to provide good, safe products. Some that come to mind are Trader Joe's groceries, Maytag appliances, Cessna, and Bobrick [bobrick.com] . It's easy to think that companies and corporations are out to do nothing more than screw their customers because that's all we see in the news about companies and corporations. But what a lot of us fail to realize is that for every scandal story involving a single company, there are probably a dozen other small, medium, and even large companies that don't make the nightly report because they don't screw their customers. Thus, we get inundated with a very single-sided view of business.

So I guess what I am getting at is that, while there are companies that have killed people in the past (due, more often, to accident rather than negligence), there are also a lot of companies that haven't. Thus, immediately jumping to the conclusion that a new industry, filled with new players, is going to skimp on safety in order to save a buck is nothing more than bias. As it stands now, we don't have enough data to determine whether or not Virgin, SpaceX, Bigelow, Masten, or anyone else is going to kill their customers. My default assumption as an engineer is that they won't because, well, their engineers get paid not to. Supposing someone does die in a crash eventually (and eventually someone will, I have no doubt about that), I will wager that occurs due to some unforeseeable accident (which does happen because even the most intelligent engineers and scientists are not precognitive) rather than some terrible negligence or intentional flaunting of safety regulations on a company's part. As the space tourism industry stands right now, it is employing some of the most talented engineers in the field, and it is under extreme scrutiny by existing players (NASA and the FAA, not to mention various congressional financing committees), thus, I think jumping to the conclusion that any players in the industry will skimp on safety is fairly unfounded cynicism.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

TheStatsMan (1763322) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118288)

It's pretty easy to rationalize something as low as 5 deaths per year. Many corporations are responsible for many more deaths than that. Granted they are not obvious "zomg-died-in-space" deaths.
Solution: outsource space exploration to Mars.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116840)

Private sector is already sending almost every thing we launch into orbit.

Take the United Launch Alliance (Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture) with, I believe 4 Atlas launches and 4 Delta launches just this year. Take Orbital Sciences Corporation with Taurus II (I believe). Orbital spinned off a company called ORBIMAGE, now GeoEye, that provides a significant part of the beautiful imagery you see in Google Earth. Arianespace has part of its capital in the hand of private investors too, I believe (if EADS is a private company - I'm not certain of that).

Private space companies are not going to happen. It already happened a couple of years ago.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

voidptr (609) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117090)

Not to mention Boeing and Lockheed Martin's other joint venture, United Space Alliance took over almost all of the logistics of the Shuttle program about 4 years ago. NASA provides the crew and vehicles, USA does most of the rest.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117140)

And part of the reason I don't trust private sector space exploration at this stage of space exploration.

You do realize that all robotic space exploration missions for many years now, such as the Mars rovers and the multi-billion dollar Cassini-Huygens mission, are launched on private launch vehicles, right?

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116688)

Technically correct, most computer problems are at one level, electrical problems.

I'll have to remember that one for the excuse list...

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116968)

During my spacecraft design class, my team used to complain that we should just higher a bunch of electrical engineers to design our satellites since that's what it seemed like everything boiled down to. When we came back from Christmas break after our first quarter together, the administration had tried to re-image all of our workstation computers, rendering 90% of them unusable. When the IT maintenance guy was in our lab one day, my team lead asked him why it was taking so long to get the computers working again. When he mumbled something about the wrong image being used for the wrong systems, I irreverently shouted out, "Find an electrical engineer to fix it!" which brought a chuckle from the class.

Three days later an EE student was in the lab to talk something over with one of his aero friends and he sat down at one of the non-working computer consoles without anyone noticing. Three hours later, I walked by and realized he had the system up and running. I couldn't help but snicker.

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34119192)

we should just higher a bunch of electrical engineers

It scares me to think that our rockets might be designed by someone who can't spell "hire". Attention to detail....

Re:The Problem Casuing the Delay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34117150)

It's probably a good thing that NASA is demanding certainty from it's engineers before clearing Discovery for launch.

It's not such a good thing that Slashdot isn't demanding correctness from its pronouns before clearing posts for display.

A baguette? (2, Funny)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116334)

Did a baguette from the future fall into the wiring again?

Re:A baguette? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34118364)

Wrong agency, we're talking about the folks that launched a bat into space [slashdot.org] this time. Personally, I think Brian's [universetoday.com] family is sabotaging the launch.

Time to look at it positively, gents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34116542)

The space exploration program has been extended. Don't let the naysayers, rumor mongerers, and negative spin doctors get to you.

summaries (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116754)

Holy shit man, what's with the summaries lately?? Redundancy all around, everywhere.

Please, no winter launches... (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#34116918)

... ISTR that each time there has been a shuttle disaster, it was during winter.

These fuckin things are old and rickety, and I don't think they should be permitted to launch when ambient overnight temperatures are lower than, say, 45 degrees. Not hard most of the year in south Florida.

NASA needs truckloads of Viagra (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 2 years ago | (#34117660)

NASA should just buy truckloads of Viagra. It will help them get it up.

Re:NASA needs truckloads of Viagra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34118540)

Ha ha, thank you, I enjoyed a hearty chuckle at your witty words.

Retire now! (1)

UK Boz (755972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34120040)

Scrap it now and put it out of its misery, its already put the space program back 30 years
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