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NASA Problems Persist

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by HeinekenMan, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Ya, hear ya.

    Ring, ring, ring

    Voice: Hello, this is the Russian Space Program. If you are experiencing problems with your space station, please restart your modem. If this does not work, check to see that you have plugged in your computer. Are the lights blinking? If so, you might have a more serious problem. If this is Vladimir, please call back when the vodka has worn off. If this is not Vladimir, now is the time to panic. It sounds like a hardware issue. Your hardware was manufactured by a third-party company that no longer exists. You're shit out of luck. There's nothing we can do. If I were you, I'd eat powdered applesauce until you go into sugar shock. And be sure to wear your black Nikes. The Hale-Bopp Comet has an exclusive contract and will not accept passengers who prefer Adidas.
  2. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I don't want to pretend I'm an expert on anything, but...

    ... these things break. A lot. They are incredibly fragile machines in an incredibly hostile environment. Also, the Russians keep the lights off to save money and have cats catching mice in their Mission Control. They are not throwing Mercedes up there. It's Yugo City.

    Mir, the ISS's precursor, had more than 1,500 breakdowns of some sort or another over its 15-year existence -- from antifreeze leaks to red-hot temperatures to fires to computer flameouts (many, many computer flameouts) and even a good-sized hole punched into it by the nose of a rocket.

    I'll be the first to agree that NASA messes up more often than it should, particularly on a public relations front.

    But this is tough stuff they're doing. We might think of it as routine, but remember: They're trying to learn how to keep people in space for a long, long time. That's pretty crazy, when you think about it. And along the way, they'll make mistakes.

    You'll note there's still a long lineup at the Astronaut Office to go up, though.
  3. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    The million dollar question, at least for me, is WHY are they doing it? What big breakthrough is the ISS providing that it's worth sinking all this money in, except lessons in how not to build an space station?
  4. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    The real problem is with the thrusters, right? I read a story yesterday that said if the shuttle leaves before the thrusters are fixed, the space station will be uncontrollable and, thus, uninhabitable.
  5. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    The computers are back up and running, or at least two of them are. "Just another day in the life of a space station," one of the NASA wonks said, and it's true.

    amraeder -- the rationale behind the space station is that it's a stepping stone -- that if we want to have moon colonies someday, or if we want to visit Mars, we'll have to learn how to live in space for years at a time. The space station is essentially a giant classroom for these guys, as well as a lab, dedicated to making a light in the sky inhabitable for the longterm. Something as simple as how to do laundry in space -- that's what these guys are figuring out.

    There are also a series of on-going experiments, materials science and weightlessness physics mostly. It all seems pretty stupid when you read about it -- growing protein crystals, say -- but there are real life uses for these things, believe it or not.

    Of course, if you don't want us to go to the moon or to Mars, or you don't care -- and that's a perfectly valid argument (although I think a short-sighted one) -- then you're not going to find a lot to like in the space station, either. It's some expensive hardware.*

    *Although NASA's budget is only 1.6 percent of the federal budget, for comparison's sake.
  6. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    Sorry, boys and girls. Your computer won't be fixed until Monday.

    What? You people are staying in space over the weekend? Sorry, our tech people leave at noon on Fridays to play golf. Good luck.
  7. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Jones, I love the concept of space exploration and living in space. But a few things to note here:

    1. I don't need to know how to do laundry in space. Frankly, I would go buck naked if I lived on the moon. I'd walk out to get the paper from the driveway and probably stop to scratch myself and then write my name in the sky in much the same way that I write my name in the snow on Earth.

    2. The thing that probably bothers me most about the space program is the way in which contracts are awarded. I remember studying this in college and finding that the system is full of holes that allow private companies to fleece the government and the public and various other issues.

    3. What was once a cutting-edge concept, the space shuttle, seems more peculiar every year. Essentially, it's a giant gas can blasted with an fancy airplane glued to the side, and all of that is sent racing through the atmosphere by two rockets. I keep thinking of it as two giant bottle rockets tied to an Edsel with wings. I know there's a lot of shit going on out there to improve space flight, but I'm not knowledgeable of what's on the horizon. I vaguely recall that the shuttle is going to be replaced at some point in the near future. Hopefully, the concepts to be introduced in the next 25 years far surpass the current shuttle program.

    By the way, how's that pinball machine?
  8. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the answer. Well put. I DO want us to go far some day -- Mars and beyond. That's why I get frustrated that we're spending so much money to stay so close to home. But, yeah, I can see why living in space for a long time would be crucial to do that, so thanks for the answer.
    Wasn't trying to be a dick with my original post, just seriously didn't know what we were getting out of it.
  9. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    The problem with the space shuttle stems from its days snaking its way through the budgetary process 30 years ago. It went from being a moving van to take stuff to space to becoming a Subaru Brat. It's lift capabilities are pretty laughable and it's not capable of going any farther than low-earth orbit, and I'm not sure the economics of reuseability (is that a word?) have panned out anywhere close to what they'd hoped.
  10. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    They are working on a new shuttle and I believe that the contract was already awarded.

    I'm looking forward to that.
  11. If "Buck Naked On The Moon" isn't an album title by this time next year, I'm going to be very disappointed.
    Or maybe, a series of sci-fi porn: "Buck Naked On The Moon," "Buck Naked In The 23rd Century," "Buck Naked And The Amazon Queens Of Deimos."
  12. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    The replacement for the shuttle, the Orion/Constellation vehicle family, expected to be operational by 2012-14, is actually more of an upgrade of Apollo (designed in the early 1960s).


    The shuttle, originally, was to have two completely reusable stages, the bottom stage a large supersonic transport/bomber plane similar to the XB-70 Valkyrie, the second stage a stub-winged space plane adapted from the X-15.

    Budget cuts mandated by the Nixon administration (facing a huge financial drain from carrying on the Vietnam war) forced the shuttle to become a cobbled-together compromise design-by-committee, with the inherently unsafe lateral design (making any escape whatsoever during powered boost virtually impossible, also rendering the shuttle heat tiles directly vulnerable to strikes from ice and other debris from the main external tank) the fatal result, ultimately costing 14 lives (at least up until now).
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
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