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Last space shuttle launch...An era ends

Discussion in 'Politics and Current Affairs' started by A.Nonymous, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Android Expert
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    The last space shuttle launch just happened an hour or so ago. Sad to see the manned era of space exploration end for the US. They say it'll be 10-15 years before we see another manned space launch in the US. Sadder still at the complete lack of foresight from anyone in Washington. It's hard to argue that we should continue to use 30 year old orbiters, but I'm shocked that in 30 years no one planned for a replacement orbiter that could go into service almost immediately after the retirement of the shuttle. Typical of our government though.
     

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  2. Isthmus

    Isthmus Android Expert
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    I don't know, if the folks at virgin Galactic and the New Mexico Space port (AKA, Spaceport America) have anything to say about it, private manned flights should start sometime in the next year or so. Not the same as a shuttle I know, but at least it is a start. That and scaled composites is already working to expand this project into vehicles capable of ferrying crews to the space station. Who knows, it might be 10 to 15 years, but I doubt it is the end. I do think you will see a big rise in cooperative ventures made up of different countries and private and public companies though. the days of a single country doing it all alone might be at an end.
     
  3. Dark Jedi

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    I guess renting space is a lot more cost effeftive from the Russians. Than having and maintaining your own space vehicle. JFK would be rolling in his grave now if he knew.
     
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  4. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Android Expert
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    It's just sad. The future of humanity is in the stars. But no one in Washington seems to care. They are more worried about what is happening right this very second so they're bailing out businesses and trying to figure out ways to prop up Social Security for another 5-10 years or so. It's beyond sad. If you let someone like GM fail it's going to have huge repercussions in the short term, but we may well be better off in the long term. The feds won't even look at that possibility. It's all about the short term.
     
  5. noah way

    noah way Android Enthusiast
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    Don't worry, the US is maintaining a manned space program, just not with civilians.
     
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  6. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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  7. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time...
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    Sadly I somehow find the fir paragraph of the article rather amusing given that it comes from within the House of Representatives...

    'A House panel recommends killing the Northrop Grumman-built James Webb Space Telescope, calling the Hubble successor
     
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  8. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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    The shuttle program was a huge cost. They were amazing devices, but so complicated.
    Remember Nixon predicted it would be $7m a launch, a launch a week.
    More like $400m a launch, every few months.

    The Soviets made a more reliable and cheaper transporter, and its much cheaper for the US.

    There were things only the shuttle could do - I guess Hubble was the best example. But they were few. If deep space had been persude instead of the military idea of the Shuttle, we would be a lot further now.

    Alas, NASA seems to be somewhat failing, I guess its a government agency gone.. stale. The original pressures of the Cold War are gone, what now?

    I don't think private industry will get us into deep space. I do think they will make a good ferry. You look at some of the things they are doing, its impressive.
    I don't think they'll get into deep space simply because of the immense amount of money required.

    One thing I'll say, I think a generation of kids will grow up without the dream of space. How many scientitsts will this cost us? Not that the voting public care much for them...
     
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  9. Homan13PSU

    Homan13PSU Android Enthusiast
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    It is, but with one HUGE caviat. Lance Bass paid $20 million to fly into space with the Russians. We're paying $50 million per astronaut.

    We'll be back in space a lot closer than 10-15 years. Space-X will be launching their first Falcon Heavy sometime early next year and if all goes well they should be able to move along pretty quickly hopefully. As for the shuttle, its sad to see them go, but its needed. The cost to fly them is just too much.
     
  10. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Android Expert
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  11. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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  12. Homan13PSU

    Homan13PSU Android Enthusiast
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    I was thinking about this a little more last night. I think using several contractors to design and build launch capabilities is actually a very good thing for NASA here; I think it somewhat takes us back to the USA-Soviet space race of the 60's. Competition breeds good results IMO.
     
  13. noah way

    noah way Android Enthusiast
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    Except when the competition is based on price.

    ‪Armageddon - Lowest bidder‬‏ - YouTube
     
  14. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Android Expert
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    It upsets me because NASA should be exploring space not focusing on making a particular culture feel good about their accomplishments.
     
  15. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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    The space program played a big part in improving relations with the Soviet Union and Russia. The ISS is providing a common goal for Europe, the US, Russia, Japan, Canada and a few others. I would say its very important with regards to international relations. Yes they should focus on space but not for one little country, but for the betterment of humanity.
     
  16. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Android Expert
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    I'm skeptical about the privatization of space. Private companies will be interested in space exploration as long as there is money in it. The minute there isn't money in it, it's going to stagnate. The US made no money off the shuttle program. To a private company that would mean that the shuttle program was an epic fail.
     
  17. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Android Expert
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    But NASA did not allow people to pay to go into space. People that have the money are willing to pay A LOT to go into space. Privatize it and it will make money.
     
  18. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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    NASA wasnt supposed to be a glorified investment property, but was for the public benefit.
    It's not something you privatize, sensitive stuff too
     
  19. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Android Expert
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    And that's all it will be. Orbital/sub orbital flights. No exploration.
     
  20. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time...
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    I suspect that in the long term there will be space exploration! It'll just take some time. One of the challenges with serious space exploration is that it's extremely expensive just getting the ship and it's cargo into outer space. Once it's there it's somewhat more economical to operate and travel.

    One of the cool concepts being explored right now if the feasibility of a "Space Elavator" to carry cargo's into orbit. Once the cargo (fuel, for example) is outside of gravity it could easily be loaded on a ship and transported elsewhere...

    Audacious & Outrageous: Space Elevators - NASA Science

    ‪Using a Space Elevator‬‏ - YouTube
     
  21. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Android Expert
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    I am honestly not sure why people are so upset about not exploring space more. Let's figure out how to take care of this rock that we live on better. So far, outside of some cool things we learned about space, I am not sure we got a whole lot useful out of it as a country. At least not as much as we could get figuring out alternative energies, conserving our planet, etc. JMO of course.
     
  22. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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    Well there are things like Helium3 on the moon for example...
     
  23. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Android Expert
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    That's cool. How is this significant? (not being a wise-ass here, this is a serious question). After that is answered, is said helium3 somehow worth tens of millions a year to acquire/learn about?

    My point is, I can understand how/why people are not wanting space exploration to be a priority. We have plenty of monetary issues as a nation.
     
  24. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert
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    Helium-3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It has a lot of potential as a fuel source for nuclear fusion reactors.
    I would also reckon a lot of space objects (meteors and w/e) would be quite valuable resource wise while not causing any environmental damage
     
  25. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Android Expert
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    Ok. So those are potential benefits. That's fair.

    The skeptic in me still has me asking; TODAY, what have we gained from the millions (billions?) spent on the space program? How soon would we be able to harvest said products from these asteroids?

    Again, my point that we have dumped a ton of money into this and really gotten little in return, all the while sinking deeper into debt still stands, I think.
     

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