Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1 Down, 3 To Go

This pic is shamelessly borrowed stolen from Old NFO over at Nobody Asked Me. I find it beautiful, breathtaking and so damn American.
I LOVE it.
Space Shuttle Discovery over Walt Disney World April 5th, 2010.

In case you didn't know, the Shuttle program is being scrapped. Only 3 more missions are scheduled unless some political maneuvering keeps them going for another year or two. I keep hearing the current administration is to blame for this. I'm all for finding any reason to blame the current administration for anything. BUT my research shows the scrapping of the shuttle program was put in motion long ago. If I'm right, back in GWB's day. But aha! There was a reason...

The reason: We need a new transportation system into space. The current shuttle(s) are (and I'm simplifying this) 29 years old and not as efficient as the new proposed system.

Anyway now I get to blame the current administration for something. The POTUS has decided we DON'T NEED a National space program. He killed NASA’s Constellation Program last year refusing to fund it as a successor to the shuttle which NASA had hoped would ferry astronauts to both the International Space Station and the Moon. The Constellation Craft would have been capable of making turnaround trips to the moon and back. Did this little announcement even make the news?? How the hell did I miss this?

Instead he wants to help fund private aerospace efforts. I don't know that I want the private sector involved as the only ones in "our" space game. I think we should keep our National Space Program, well, NATIONAL. If private sector wants to help for the good of their country.....have at it! And we are talking YEARS before these private companies are ready to send anything, much less a manned anything into space. We are dependant on the Russians for rides now. Really?? The Russians? EW. And just an FYI their shuttles aren't nearly as "good" as our old shuttles. I just cant see them having the same safety guidelines. But then again ours are only as good as they are due to two tragic shuttle losses (Challenger and Columbia).

POTUS claims he would rather have NASA focus on deep space exploration. C'mon dude. Star Trek was fiction...yes it's what dreams are made of and the little kids of today may have grandchildren who travel like that, but I don't think its happening in our lifetime.

Central Florida or "The Space Coast" as us Floridians call it has an economy that's somewhat dependent on the existing Space Shuttle Program. How many "Rocket Scientist" jobs are there out there?? Where do these guys go?? McDonalds?? Wendys?? No, I got it...they can work the customer service phones at Comcast. Because we all know those people are rocket scientist.

Here are the last three shuttle missions according to NASA:

Date: May 14 +
Mission: STS-132
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Launch Time: 2:28 p.m. EDT
Description: Space shuttle Atlantis mission will carry an integrated cargo carrier to deliver maintenance and assembly hardware, including spare parts for space station systems. In addition, the second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, a Mini Research Module, will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the Zarya module.

Date: July 29 +
Mission: STS-134
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Launch Time: 7:51 a.m. EDT
STS-134 Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver an EXPRESS Logistics Carrier-3 (ELC-3) and an Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station.

Date: Sept. 16 +
Mission: STS-133
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Launch Time: 11:57 a.m. EDT
STS-133 Description: Space shuttle Discovery will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4), a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MLPM) and critical spare components to the International Space Station.

I've seen a few launches, but from a distance. In Tampa they look like a roman candle. Very cool. And from down here in Fort Laudy depending on the launch...you may get lucky and see the smoke trail.

I'm going to one of them. A plan is being put in place to be at the May 14th launch. That way if there are delays...I have a couple more chances.

I've got to see this up close. At least once in my lifetime.

*If I'm wrong on anything I wrote as far as facts go, please by all means, correct me. I did a quick bit of research so.....


USA_Admiral said...

It is so hard to believe that it has come to this in the space program.

We have fallen so far in about 18 months.

Ann T. said...

Dear peedee,
This is abso stupid for defense reasons. That's all I need to know to agree with you.

I do think there will be private co's continuing to work toward space efforts, but the gov'ts of the world are not going to police them down the road?

This is insane.

I did not know any of this. Thank you for pointing it out.

Ann T.

peedee said...

AGREED Admiral.

Ann, Outrageous is a great word for whats happening, with the Space program and many other programs. I just feel like EVERYTHING in this country is being drastically changed. Forced thru as quickly as possible and damned the consequences.
Hearing/reading all this about the Space program is like my breaking point if you will. I'm not broken by any means, but I'm dismayed. I'm truly starting to believe the Conservative screaming going on is not in vane.

peedee said...

::Phone rings::
"Hello Russia... yeah its USA. Hey, wanted to know if we could hitch a ride up to the ISS next month on your shuttle. Oh, ok, yeah, we understand. Sure, maybe next time. No worries, we'll find another ride. =/ "