How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide
October 5, 2012 2:19 PM   Subscribe

How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide
posted by Egg Shen (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The fatal flaw? Once Switzerland purchases spare parts from US government contractors at retail, they will be bankrupted.
posted by zippy at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd sneak it out of there in the lunchbox in my hand, one piece at a time.

I might end up with a space shuttle that's got five Rocketdyne F-1 motors and Little Joe solid rocket boosters, but I'll have the only one there is around.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:37 PM on October 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Plus, the Swiss have a national airline, which we'll need, and the resources to buy the 20 heavy-lift helicopters (each can lift over 30,000 lbs, so ten could lift the shuttle orbiter) and a surplus, abandoned Soviet Buran Shuttle.

Buran looks different from the Shuttle. Plus it was destroyed back in 2002, when the hangar it was sitting in collapsed.

And do you really want to deal with the ice striking the Shuttle problem? Never mind the fact that Switzerland is far from the equator which means the ship will require more fuel and thrust to launch the same weight.

Finally, James Bond villains are fictional, duh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just feeling uncharitable today, but as an attempt at humor this falls flat.

More seriously, the Smithsonian was taken aback by the degree to which NASA stripped the shit out of Discovery, the shuttle they took delivery of a few months back. They went out of their way to remove components with even the slimmest possibility of reuse, leaving the shuttles nonfunctioning shells. Archivally speaking, NASA's behavior feels a little short-sighted to me.
posted by killdevil at 2:39 PM on October 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sounds like it would be cheaper and easier to build your own space shuttle. The US Shuttle isn't made of Unobtanium, is it? You could save a lot of weight in improved computer systems alone.
posted by zompus at 2:55 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fatal flaw in this plan is that they took all the guts out of the space shuttle prior to shipping it to LA. I think Dr. Maybe needs to spend more time scooping his Persian cat's litter box.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:05 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my day, we dreamed about how to Hijack the Starship ("Ought to be ready about 1990").
posted by beagle at 3:07 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I were a resident of South LA, I would feel a bit peeved that this venture is resulting in dozens and dozens of large street trees removed, but "significantly reduced public access to the shuttle route. The Los Angeles Police Department announced this week it would close off most sidewalks along the way, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the public to see the shuttle go by.”

So you are dragging this thing through our neighborhood and preventing me from watching it go by? Serve you right if it IS stolen.
posted by Danf at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Lupin did this at least three times.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:24 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's one teeny tiny flaw in this: of all space hardware available in the world, why the hell would you want a Space Shuttle? Unless you've financially and morally over-invested in it (hi NASA!), I don't think you would look at it twice.
posted by Jehan at 3:36 PM on October 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Brandon, you're right that "Switzerland is far from the equator [45 N] which means the ship will require more fuel and thrust to launch the same weight", although the Shuttle was designed for operation from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 6 at 35 N and has sufficient delta-V for the operation.

For certain orbits, such as the polar orbit of the planned (but not flown) STS-62A, the higher latitude is not an issue since the launch direction is due south rather than east using the rotation of the earth as a boost. In that case the higher elevation of Geneva might be beneficial since there is less sea-level dense atmosphere to climb through.
posted by autopilot at 3:57 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems like a lot of effort when you can get to the moon with a well stocked junkyard and rented computer time
posted by ckape at 3:57 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The answer is no. I am therefore going anyway. One quarter impulse power."

(nothing happens)

"Shit, where do we get liquid hydrogen?"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:05 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm almost certain you could just take steal shuttle with a handful of fake badges, a truck, and some dudes in hardhats. Just look like you know what you're doing, nobody is going to call in someone stealing a shuttle.
posted by hellojed at 4:33 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


People get paid to write this stuff?
posted by entropicamericana at 4:47 PM on October 5, 2012


although the Shuttle was designed for operation from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 6 at 35 N and has sufficient delta-V for the operation.

Oh please, don't tell you believe the Shuttle actually sent people into space?! Everyone knows that Americans haven't been into space since Apollo. Skylab was a hoax too!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:56 PM on October 5, 2012


The most important thing when stealing a spacecraft is to ensure that it has not-quite-adequate cosmic ray shielding. Otherwise, what's the point?

...oh. And to not be the pilot. It won't turn out quite as well for him.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:11 PM on October 5, 2012


I know this guy!

The author, Jason Torchinsky, is a very talented, hilarious dude, who I came to know through the Van Gogh-Goghs, a comedy group that relocated to LA and was behind the internet-famous furnitureporn.com site (NSFW if you are likely to get busted for looking at a fake porn site featuring "hot, triple XXX chair-on-chair action!").

Nice to see him getting widespread exposure on this.
posted by retronic at 5:21 PM on October 5, 2012


I agree that the idea/plan as a whole fell flat but any opening paragraph that ends with:

Which, of course, got me thinking. Could someone steal the Space Shuttle?

is pretty boneriffic, Gawker Media be dammed.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:25 PM on October 5, 2012


More seriously, the Smithsonian was taken aback by the degree to which NASA stripped the shit out of Discovery, the shuttle they took delivery of a few months back.

Do you have a link or citation for this?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:25 PM on October 5, 2012


Shit, I was gonna steal it by impersonating the ghost of Neal Armstrong and convincing everyone that God needed me to save the planet by running one last mission. Glad I read this first.
posted by orme at 6:02 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


By God, it's just crazy enough to...be crazy.
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 PM on October 5, 2012


*This* is how you steal a space shuttle.
posted by mazola at 7:08 PM on October 5, 2012


I think I took an Arduino class from this guy.
posted by univac at 8:44 PM on October 5, 2012


I'm almost certain you could just take steal shuttle with a handful of fake badges, a truck, and some dudes in hardhats.

That is exactly how Harvey Mudd students stole Cal Tech's cannon.
posted by flaterik at 9:42 PM on October 5, 2012


Ad Will Show Toyota Truck Hauling Endeavour, Will Shoot During Transport
posted by homunculus at 10:27 PM on October 5, 2012


Archivally speaking, NASA's behavior feels a little short-sighted to me.

NASA's budget, as a percentage of federal spending, is lower than it's been since 1960. They can't afford to lose money by giving away equipment that can otherwise be reused or sold. Every dollar lost is one that's not being used to fund active projects or maintain valuable staff. I agree it's unfortunate, but I also don't blame them.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:33 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shit, I was gonna steal it by impersonating the ghost of Neal Armstrong and convincing everyone that God needed me to save the planet by running one last mission. Glad I read this first.

Excuse me. What does God need with a starship space shuttle?
posted by dry white toast at 5:56 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just a couple basic things to consifder:
*So what, as you fly the shuttle hooked up to all those helicopters, nobody is gonna notice?!? Sheesh. Giant smoke-bomb or not, there's no way you won't be seen and heard --- and tracked.
*You've got to design, test and build a specialized, extra-humongeous submarine, 'cause have you seen how big a shuttle is? Consider not just the lenght of the thing, but also the wingspan and the tail height, as well as the dead weight of it! Plus when you open the sub's cargo bay to insert the shuttle, you're letting in a mass and tonnage of seawater that, all by itself, is probably enough to sink that sub. (Yeah, subs pump water in or out to increase/decrease their bouyancy, but not that much water.)
*747 pilots, helicopter pilots, ground crew, sub crew, fabricators, painters and mechanics, just for a start: where will you get them? Minions-R-Us?
posted by easily confused at 7:29 AM on October 6, 2012


Plus it was destroyed back in 2002, when the hangar it was sitting in collapsed.

There is however a replica in Samara.
posted by hypersloth at 12:24 PM on October 6, 2012


That's what they want you to believe!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 PM on October 6, 2012


Maybe I'm just feeling uncharitable today, but as an attempt at humor this falls flat.

Don't feel bad. That's every day at Jalopnik.
posted by hwyengr at 6:12 PM on October 6, 2012


You'll have to get close enough first.

ABC-7 TV:
The LAPD says most of the shuttle's street route will be closed to the public for safety reasons
In an interview I saw last week one police officer said, "We are actively discouraging people from coming out to see the Space Shuttle." Riiiiight.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:49 PM on October 6, 2012


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