Space the Final Frontier

Amos Stevens

New Member
With a lot of people glued to the news of the latest Discovery mission about to LAND correctly :) Thought we might discuss our views about our space program....You think it should continue? What do you think is being done incorrectly?

Before NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) - NASA Incentive
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), had beginnings based in both scientific pursuit and the military. Let's start from the early days and see how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began.
After World War II, the DOD began a serious research push into the fields of rocketry and upper atmosphere sciences to ensure American leadership in technology. As part of this push, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a plan to orbit a scientific satellite as part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) for the period, July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958, a cooperative effort to gather scientific data about the Earth. Quickly, the Soviet Union jumped in, announcing plans to orbit its own satellite. (See Sputnik 1.)

The Naval Research Laboratory's Project Vanguard was chosen on 9 September 1955 to support the IGY effort, but while it enjoyed exceptional publicity throughout the second half of 1955, and all of 1956, the technological demands upon the program were too great and the funding levels too small to ensure success.

The launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 shoved the US satellite program into crisis mode. Playing technological catch-up, the United States launched its first Earth satellite on January 31, 1958, when Explorer 1 documented the existence of radiation zones encircling the Earth.

An Act to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and for other purposes." With this simple preamble, the Congress and the President of the United States created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on October 1, 1958, a direct result of the Sputnik crisis. The fledgling National Aeronautics and Space Administration agency absorbed the earlier National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics intact: its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of $100 million, three major research laboratories-Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory-and two smaller test facilities. Soon afterwards, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) incorporated other organizations, including the space science group of the Naval Research Laboratory in Maryland, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed by the California Institute of Technology for the Army, and the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama, the laboratory where Wernher von Braun's team of engineers were engaged in the development of large rockets.

As it grew, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) created other Centers and today it has ten located around the country.
Early in its history, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was already looking at putting a human in space. Once again, the Soviet Union beat the US to the punch when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961. However, the gap was closing as on May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American to fly into space, when he rode his Mercury capsule on a 15-minute suborbital mission. Project Mercury was the first high-profile program of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), which had as its goal placing humans in space. The following year, on February 20, John H. Glenn Jr. became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth.

Following on the heels of Project Mercury, Project Gemini continued NASA's human spaceflight program to and expanded its capabilities with spacecraft built for two astronauts. Gemini's 10 flights also provided NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) scientists and engineers with more data on weightlessness, perfected reentry and splashdown procedures, and demonstrated rendezvous and docking in space. One of the highlights of the program occurred during Gemini 4, on June 3, 1965, when Edward H. White, Jr., became the first U.S. astronaut to conduct a spacewalk.

The crowning achievement of NASA’s early years was Project Apollo. When President John F. Kennedy announced "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth," NASA, itself was committed to placing a man on the moon.
The Apollo moon project was a massive effort that required significant expenditures, costing $25.4 billion, 11 years, and 3 lives to accomplish.

On July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong made his now famous remarks, "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," as he stepped onto the Lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission. After taking soil samples, photographs, and doing other tasks on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin rendezvoused with their colleague Michael Collins in lunar orbit for a safe voyage back to Earth.

There were five more successful Apollo lunar landing missions, but only a failed one rivaled the first for excitement. All totaled, 12 astronauts walked on the Moon during the Apollo years.
Thanks to the NASA History Office for much of this information on the early days of NASA.
©2005 About, Inc.


Yes i think it should continue it would be great for N.A.S.A. to explore further into the great unknown..There should not be any short cuts in any shape or form everything should be spick and span..But when you sign up for this job you know there are always going to be risks...thanks for the info Amos.


Happy go Lucky
I agree,it should continue, but everything should be in tip top shape.We don't need any more disaster's.Even so,there is always a risk,that something might go wrong.



Staff member
Well, the shuttle got down safetly - thank goodness!

Shuttle Discovery touches down in California News Staff

Space shuttle Discovery and its seven crew members touched down safely in California Tuesday, marking a successful end to NASA's first mission since the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

The aging shuttle survived a fiery re-entry into the atmosphere, hurtling across the Pacific at more than 27,000 km/h before gliding to a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert.

"We've had a fantastic mission," said shuttle Cmdr. Eileen Collins, hours after guiding Discovery and her crew back to Earth.

After being given a clean bill of health by doctors, Collins and her team emerged on the runway. They took a walk around the shuttle to see how it held up during the 14-day mission before the commander spoke to reporters.

"We're so glad to be able to come back and say it was successful, and we resupplied the international space station and we met the objectives of the space shuttle program."

Mission Control reported no problems during the shuttle's dangerous re-entry into the atmosphere.

After getting the green light from Houston, Collins fired Discovery's twin engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds, slowing the ship down to prepare it for its hour-long glide back to Earth.

Shuttle pilot Jim Kelly manoeuvered Discovery 30,000 feet above Runway 22 at Edwards in a wide circle to slow the 100-tonne ship down.

Collins then took over the controls, gently easing Discovery onto the landing strip at 8:11 a.m. ET.

Earlier Tuesday, rain showers and thunderstorms forced NASA to cancel both landing opportunities at Florida's Kennedy Space Center -- it's preferred landing spot. Low clouds over Cape Canaveral scratched two landing attempts Monday.

But the weather was perfect for touchdown at the backup landing site at Edwards Tuesday morning,

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, now NASA's chief of robotics, described the Discovery mission as a success. On CTV's Canada AM, Hadfield said NASA achieved two of its main goals of:

* Resupplying the International Space Station with 15 tonnes of badly-needed new equipment including laser scanners, as well as taking out their trash.
* Proving the changes NASA has made to its safety culture since the Columbia tragedy have made travel to space safer.

On the latter point, Hadfield said NASA still has work to do. He pointed to the loss of a chunk of insulating foam from Discovery's external fuel tank during takeoff -- a problem that doomed Columbia when the piece pierced the shuttle's wing.

But he added: "We had 80 per cent less problem with foam than we've ever had before … so we've made big improvements."

"And we won't fly again until we make sure that we have those problems solved to the best of our ability."

NASA has grounded the shuttle fleet until they fix the foam problem. The space agency has set Sept. 22 as a target for the next shuttle launch.

End of a long road

Canadian Space Agency President Marc Garneau called the mission the end of a "very long and painful road" for NASA.

"In a sense, it's like falling off your horse, as was the case when Columbia broke up two and a half years ago. And now, finally, NASA is back up on it," he said in an interview on CTV Newsnet.

"NASA gets hit pretty hard when something goes wrong, and we forget that the great majority of what they do is totally awesome in terms of technical accomplishments. But when people lose their lives, there is no question about it, the hammer comes down very, very hard in terms of public criticism.

"So today they must, and they should, feel proud of what they have done."

York University astronomy professor Paul Delaney said NASA "has proven the viability again of the shuttles" with its latest flight.

He said NASA likely learned more about the shuttle during this mission than in the previous hundred, thanks to the 107 cameras watching the shuttle during the ascent into space.

"This spacecraft has been photographed, imaged, scrutinized, far more than anything else has ever been," Delaney said on CTV's Canada AM. "It makes the shuttle safer for the future."

Mission a boost to Canada

Garneau told CTV a less than perfect Discovery landing would not only have spelled an end to NASA's shuttle program, but also to Canada's important contribution to space travel technology.

Much of NASA's accomplishments in this mission could not have been accomplished without the Canadarm -- a Canadian-built movable arm equipped with new lasers and a camera to inspect the shuttle's wings and nose for damage.

"I'm overjoyed with Canada's role in this mission," said Garneau. "Canadian industry came up with some great hardware that was used on orbit. The mission could not have been done without that
Canadian hardware and they did it perfectly. So Canada, I think was shining during this mission."

Other mission highlights:

* After Discovery launched July 26, it became the first shuttle to visit the international space station since 2002. The crew accomplished several milestones in and out of the ISS:
* Cmdr. Collins performed an unprecedented back flip of the shuttle, turning it upside down near the ISS while the spacecraft's belly was photographed for possible damage.
* Spacewalkers Soichi Noguchi and Stephen Robinson applied an experimental goo to shuttle heat shield samples, which NASA hopes can be used in the future to repair cracks in the delicate carbon panels on the shuttle's wings, or holes in the thermal tiles on the belly.
* Robinson also made the first in-orbit repair of a shuttle with the aid of the Canadarm. He pulled out two pieces of protruding tile filler on the spacecraft's underside, which NASA worried might threaten the shuttle's safe return home.


Staff member
So, I'm wondering - if the shuttle touches down in Edwards, I'm assuming they then have to tow it all the way back to Florida. If so, has anyone here seen it go by? Or do they empty it out and attach it to a 747 the way they did the prototype Enterprise (I missed seeing it when it came to Toronto - wah!) and fly it back?


Above The Law
Discovery Is Home!!

(Post edited by TDWoj - reason - it's not necessary to fully quote one article and then post another, almost identical article right after it.)

Another article about the event:

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- The space shuttle Discovery touched down Tuesday morning, completing NASA's first shuttle mission since Columbia broke apart during re-entry in February 2003.

The shuttle landed at 5:11 a.m. PT at NASA's secondary landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

As commander Eileen Collins brought the orbiter to a stop on runway 22, NASA spokesman James Hartsfield stated, "Discovery is home."

"Congratulations on a truly spectacular test flight," mission control radioed the crew. "Welcome home friends."

"We're happy to be back," Collins said.

"We brought Discovery back in great shape," she said later after getting a look around the spacecraft.

She thanked all the people who worked on the mission calling it "fantastic."

It was the 50th shuttle landing at Edwards.

With Discovery safely back on Earth, NASA officials breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"It's a good day to be us," program manager Bill Parsons said at a Kennedy Space Center news conference.

"There isn't any of this that is easy ... Eileen made it look like a cake walk," associate administrator Mike Readdy said.

Bad weather
Earlier Tuesday NASA waved off its two opportunities for Discovery to land at its primary site at Kennedy Space Center because of stormy weather off the Florida coast.

Weather conditions at Edwards included clear skies and light winds, "excellent conditions for a space shuttle landing," NASA said.

"How do you feel about a beautiful clear night with a breeze down the runway in the high desert of California?" mission control radioed Collins.

"We are ready for whatever we need to do," Collins said.

Discovery's path to Edwards began with the spacecraft firing its engines over the Indian Ocean to slow it enough to re-enter Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific.

Shuttle pilot James Kelly steered Discovery on a trajectory leading it near Los Angeles and Oxnard, California, before touch down.

NASA officials vowed to land the orbiter Tuesday at one of three locations after weather conditions forced them to scrub the shuttle's scheduled return a day earlier. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida was NASA's first choice. Edwards their second and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico their third.

Officials would have preferred to land at Kennedy Space Center to avoid the cost and inconvenience of flying the shuttle back to its launch site from the alternative landing strips.

Discovery will stay in California for nine or 10 days before being ferried back to Florida on the back of a specially designed aircraft, a NASA official said Tuesday.

Return to flight
Tuesday's landing caps a 14-day mission largely designed to improve safety on future shuttle journeys, although the program has been suspended while NASA investigates its failure to solve the problem of foam falling from the shuttle's external liquid fuel tank during launch.

Video from the July 26 launch showed debris falling from the fuel tank, but NASA said it did not appear to have struck the orbiter.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin said Tuesday he didn't want to guess on when the next shuttle, Atlantis, would launch but said the agency would try hard to get back into space by the end of the year.

"We have a construction project (international space station) we are working on and we need the shuttle to do it ... but we are not going to go until we are ready to go," Griffin said.

Once in space, Discovery's crew used cameras to scrutinize the craft's exterior for possible damage that might pose a threat during re-entry.

The shuttle spent most of the mission docked to the space station, delivering much-needed supplies and performing maintenance on the outpost.

Astronaut Steve Robinson performed an unprecedented shuttle repair mission by plucking two pieces of filler material protruding between tiles on Discovery's underside. NASA wanted them removed to ensure they wouldn't overheat, damaging Discovery's belly during re-entry.


Staff member
Why are you posting another article about the same event that has essentially the same information in it? And why are you wasting space on the forum by quoting the entire previous article in your post, when it is so completely unnecessary? Which, by the way, I've edited out because it WAS completely unnecessary.


Above The Law
TDWoj said:
Why are you posting another article about the same event that has essentially the same information in it? And why are you wasting space on the forum by quoting the entire previous article in your post, when it is so completely unnecessary? Which, by the way, I've edited out because it WAS completely unnecessary.

Damn TD you like out to get me today or what??


Staff member
I'm not out to "get" you, Littledragon. Just trying to curb your predeliction for unnecessary posts.


Above The Law
TDWoj said:
I'm not out to "get" you, Littledragon. Just trying to curb your predeliction for unnecessary posts.

And who are you to judge what an unnecessary post is?

If it was bashing Seagal or just making all these spamming posts then i understand, but I haven't done any of that. :rolleyes:


Above The Law
So What's Next For The Shuttle?

(CNN) -- -- With Discovery and its crew safely back on Earth, NASA turned its attention Tuesday to the next space shuttle mission and a threat to the orbiter that has put future flights on hold.

The "only thing that went wrong" during Discovery's mission, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said, was falling insulating foam during its launch. Griffin has ordered that no shuttle mission will fly until engineers determine how to fix the problem.

Shuttle Atlantis had been scheduled to lift off during a launch window in September, but officials acknowledge that is now unlikely.

But pressure is on NASA to meet its obligations to finish construction on the orbiting international space station.

"We're going to try as hard as we can to get back in space this year, because we have a big construction project we're working on and we need the shuttle to do it," Griffin said at a Florida news conference Tuesday. "So we're going to try as hard as we can, but we're not going to go until we're ready to go."

NASA engineers have been working on the foam problem after shedding was videotaped during Discovery's July 26 launch.

None of the debris appeared to damage the orbiter.

The insulating foam prevents ice from forming on the shuttle's exterior fuel tank, which gets very cold from its contents of low-temperature liquid hydrogen and oxygen.

Shedding -- which was blamed for the Columbia disaster in 2003 -- was supposed to have been resolved for Discovery's mission.

Columbia investigators determined that foam struck the shuttle during launch, dooming the orbiter to break apart when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

In the wake of the tragedy, NASA spent millions of dollars to redesign the liquid fuel tank.

NASA said it would never be able to eliminate shedding completely, but engineers thought they had eliminated the shedding of large pieces of debris.

They had hoped that any debris shed would be no heavier than three-hundredths of a pound.

A piece that broke loose from Discovery is thought to have weighed nine-tenths of a pound.

The piece of foam that doomed Columbia weighed 1.6 pounds.

Discovery has brought back new data that engineers may be able to use to minimize foam shedding from future fuel tanks.

"We always knew this was a test flight that was going to give us a lot of information," said Bill Parsons, shuttle program manager. "We have some things that we learned and that we have to go to work on."

Griffin has said that the shuttle program will end in 2010, to make way for a new vehicle -- dubbed the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), designed to take astronauts back to the moon and perhaps beyond to Mars.