NASA and missing spacecraft
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  1. #1
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    NASA and missing spacecraft

    Do you think NASA has lost the plot nowadays?

    There have been several space related endevours of late. Most have failed miserably. It seems that with all our high-technology we have no reliable method of radio-control. How many times lately have 'we' sent things up only to lose contact immediately? Then the spacecraft becomes expensive space-junk.

    I'm an advocate for all things space but it is beginning to **** me off the amount of screwups happening. Of course, most notibly is NASA and the their poor attempts to lauch a large firecracker....oh we are good to go...no wait a piece of window cover fell off........ok....we are good again....no wait the fuel sensor is faulty. Seemingly so simple. Yet.

    I've lost faith in NASA. Lets fund the Russian space effort. At least their metal buckets last.



    On a tangent: I think the method of reentry is the problem. Falling to earth at terminal velocity is a pathetic and proven fatal way for reentry. Fly back, not fall back and burn up. Of course this requires more fuel. Or perhaps a nuclear fuel source (which I think is the only way real space missions will occur).



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  2. #2
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    Remember how several Hollywood movies mocked Russian space endeavor, especially SS Mir.

    Well not just that Ruskies were able to have their station running over the time period it was designed for, but they are currently the only one supplying the current "international" space station. Not much problems in their space program either. The last problem they had was the attempt of satellite launch from the platform in the sea, but that was rather experimental anyway.

    ATST as you say Shuttle program is falling apart and more or less everything Nasa sends toward Mars and beyond is doomed half way there allready.

    I do think however thats part of the plan. Why spend money on space program when you can have wars and new hospitals for people to get sick in and oh yeah that all important 6 lane highway.

    There was some talk lately that NASA is genuinely affraid of loosing this shuttle, bc supposedly if they do, thats it, no more manned space trips for the forseable future.

    Quote Originally Posted by SexyMF
    On a tangent: I think the method of reentry is the problem. Falling to earth at terminal velocity is a pathetic and proven fatal way for reentry. Fly back, not fall back and burn up. Of course this requires more fuel. Or perhaps a nuclear fuel source (which I think is the only way real space missions will occur).
    Here is where it gets sinister, I think the only way this is even possible is for military to take over the space program entirely. According to late Von Braun, that was always the intention anyway, idea being the weaponization of space.
    That is, if this is not fait accompli allready.
    Last edited by F_A_L_C_O_N; July 21st, 2005 at 06:12 AM.

  3. #3
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    I thnk it's important to remember some of the successes too.

    The Galileo mission to Jupiter far exceeded all expectations in terms of the science (and stunning images) it returned. This was despite some technical problems which required almost superhuman effort and ingenuity from Nasa's engineers to fix from millions of miles away. There's a fascinating book on it called 'The Worlds of Galileo' by a British journalist called Michael Hanlon.

    Next was the Cassini mission to Saturn, which has been equally successful and is still returning data now.

    The Mars Rovers have also wildly exceeded their planned mission durations and are still doing experiments after 18 months (I think) in the hostile Martian environment.

    And most recently, the Deep Impact probe has just had its rendezvous with the tempel 1 comet. This was an amazing achievement considering the accuracy and timing required for these two objects to meet in the vastness of the solar system.

    I would agree, though, that the Shuttle is becoming a bit of an embarrassment. The problem is that, after Columbia, safety is everything.
    If an engineer so much as thinks the US flag on the orbiter's wing is two inches too far to the left, then the shuttle ain't gonna launch.....

    The other problem is that the shuttle is due for retirement in ten years' time but, as far as I know, there are no real advanced plans for a successor. Bearing in mind how long it took to design something as complex as the STS, I assume it will take even longer to create its successor.

    It would be wonderful to have something which could carry enough fuel to leave Earth's orbit, but the extra weight would presumably mean it would have to be built in space as we'd never get it off the ground with our current propulsion technologies.
    Last edited by dannyboy27; July 21st, 2005 at 02:28 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Meant to also say, regarding the military thing, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Shuttle wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the military incentives such as spy satellites, etc.

    There's no way Nasa would spend a billion dollars on every shuttle launch just to do experiments like seeing whether frogs have sex in zero-gravity
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