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Author Topic: MECO: Space Shuttle Discovery now in space.  (Read 9185 times)
WarHorse
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« Topic Start: February 24, 2011, 09:44:15 pm »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzi1XohLlEc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzi1XohLlEc</a>

Confused feelings: nostalgia that Discovery, NASA's work-horse (not warhorse, though there is little difference to a horse), is about to be retired.  Relief that the launch went well.

The world is changing before our eyes, on many fronts.  Don't let it escape you.

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« Reply #1: February 24, 2011, 10:39:39 pm »

Confused feelings: nostalgia that Discovery, NASA's work-horse (not warhorse, though there is little difference to a horse), is about to be retired.  Relief that the launch went well.

I share that relief, but I'll be more happy when the Discovery are crew are safely back on the ground. As much as the idea of a reusable spacecraft is a good one, the technology of the time the shuttle was designed and built (over 30 years ago) has proven not to be quite up to the job. The shuttles flew far less often than planned and proved to be far more dangerous than expected. I wish we were much closer to a replacement vehicle, but it's gotten to the point where I worry too much about each mission to want to see many more of them. It's sad, really.
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« Reply #2: February 24, 2011, 11:19:51 pm »


I read an article about it earlier. What I want to know... what are they going to use to get to Mars/asteroids?
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« Reply #3: February 25, 2011, 08:05:12 am »

Confused feelings: nostalgia that Discovery, NASA's work-horse (not warhorse, though there is little difference to a horse), is about to be retired.  Relief that the launch went well.

The world is changing before our eyes, on many fronts.  Don't let it escape you.

We watched it, live, on Nasa TV yesterday and I teared up.  It is the end of an era.
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« Reply #4: February 25, 2011, 08:05:54 am »

I read an article about it earlier. What I want to know... what are they going to use to get to Mars/asteroids?

I have no idea, unfortunately. However, the shuttle would not have been much help in either of those tasks. Sad
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« Reply #5: February 25, 2011, 12:35:55 pm »

I read an article about it earlier. What I want to know... what are they going to use to get to Mars/asteroids?

I would guess a Moon-orbit assembly.

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« Reply #6: February 25, 2011, 11:49:57 pm »

I would guess a Moon-orbit assembly.

?
I am space dumb.
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« Reply #7: February 26, 2011, 08:06:58 am »

?
I am space dumb.

Warhorse is guessing that whatever first spacecraft is used to get people to Mars will be assembled in lunar orbit instead of launched directly from Earth or assembled in Earth orbit. That's certainly a viable option with some major advantages in reducing the size of the Mars ship as the energy to leave for Mars from lunar orbit is a lot less than from Earth orbit. You'd use more fuel getting the pieces to lunar orbit than to Earth orbit, but the resulting spacecraft would not need to carry as much fuel with it so could be smaller (meaning it would save even more fuel).
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« Reply #8: February 26, 2011, 08:39:25 am »

Confused feelings: nostalgia that Discovery, NASA's work-horse (not warhorse, though there is little difference to a horse), is about to be retired.  Relief that the launch went well.
Here, Horsey, have a gallery.  Of launch pics, that is - in the process of looking at which, I learned that even looking at an already successful launch makes my stomach tighten up apprehensively.  (I haven't been able to watch them live for a quarter century - I so badly wish I could, especially these very last ones, but I can't Cry.)

And Discovery is indeed a work-horse.  Quite accidentally, while looking up something related to the Hubble, I learned (I may have known this once, but if so I'd forgotten) that she was the shuttle that took that venerable telescope up.

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« Reply #9: February 26, 2011, 10:23:10 am »

Warhorse is guessing that whatever first spacecraft is used to get people to Mars will be assembled in lunar orbit instead of launched directly from Earth or assembled in Earth orbit. That's certainly a viable option with some major advantages in reducing the size of the Mars ship as the energy to leave for Mars from lunar orbit is a lot less than from Earth orbit. You'd use more fuel getting the pieces to lunar orbit than to Earth orbit, but the resulting spacecraft would not need to carry as much fuel with it so could be smaller (meaning it would save even more fuel).

Thanks, Randall!

If we start building this machine in lunar orbit, does that mean that other countries have to leave us alone because the moon is neutral territories?  Huh I am so confused about space/space politics. Or, wait. Will other countries be a part of this whole getting to Mars project? That could be interesting...

Honestly, all I keep thinking is of the book The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike. The Russians got to Mars before the Americans, but there were alien vampiric ghosts living on Mars, so it was a lose-lose anyway.
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« Reply #10: February 26, 2011, 05:38:46 pm »

If we start building this machine in lunar orbit, does that mean that other countries have to leave us alone because the moon is neutral territories?  Huh I am so confused about space/space politics. Or, wait. Will other countries be a part of this whole getting to Mars project? That could be interesting...

I expect a Mars trip would involve a lot of countries as it would be too expensive to do right otherwise. I'd expect the US, Russia, the EU, and Japan -- at a very minimum. China could be in that minimum as well -- if they want to work with everyone else.
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« Reply #11: February 26, 2011, 08:01:14 pm »

Here, Horsey, have a gallery.

<snip>

Quite accidentally, while looking up something related to the Hubble, I learned (I may have known this once, but if so I'd forgotten) that she was the shuttle that took that venerable telescope up.

Sunflower

Ooo, I'm looking forward to those.  Thank you!

Fair exchange - some other trivia about Discovery: Discovery by the Numbers.

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« Reply #12: February 26, 2011, 08:11:19 pm »

I expect a Mars trip would involve a lot of countries as it would be too expensive to do right otherwise. I'd expect the US, Russia, the EU, and Japan -- at a very minimum. China could be in that minimum as well -- if they want to work with everyone else.

And I wouldn't rule out South Korea, India and some South American countries.  Maybe Australia would like to get in the game.  The ISS is teaching us to work together, so why not take advantage of it?

Back to the video of the launch - at 5:48 you can see the insulating foam pieces breaking off the EFT.  One of them smacked into the shuttle but I think it was too small to do any damage.

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« Reply #13: February 26, 2011, 10:50:06 pm »

And I wouldn't rule out South Korea, India and some South American countries.  Maybe Australia would like to get in the game. 

I would not rule any of them out.
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« Reply #14: February 27, 2011, 07:55:40 am »

Fair exchange - some other trivia about Discovery: Discovery by the Numbers.
Oo, I like.

Especially that Discovery had the "Return to Space" missions subsequent to both Challenger and Columbia.  This is the shuttle that represents our will to face the inevitable risks of new frontiers.  (I'd call her "courageous" but that's too anthropomorphic for me even though - or, really, because; I have to know projection when I see it - I'm an animist.  But she stands for courage.)

Still more pics, accompanying UT's item on the docking - the ones taken from the ISS in particular made me think "must link on TC for Warhorse."

Sunflower
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