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Accident Prone
May 3, 2007 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I hope STS-117 isn't delayed by this train wreck like it was from that hailstorm last March.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (24 comments total)

 
The rocket boosters, which take a week to reach Cape Canaveral by train, were to be used on shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission in October and shuttle Atlantis's STS-122 mission in December.

Unless STS-117 was planning to rob its spacemates, I'd guess the answer is no.
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on May 3, 2007


Did someone say train wreck?
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:20 AM on May 3, 2007


On behalf of my state and our rail bridges, I apologize to all you space geeks.
posted by Clay201 at 9:22 AM on May 3, 2007


DU: STS-117 and STS-122 are both for Atlantis, so separate missions but not separate shuttle.

Regarding STS-117: It does not appear that this train wreck has caused any more damage to the foam insulation on Atlantis' external fuel tank.
posted by spock at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2007


Also, when is NASA going to get with the program and start using biodiesel instead of that nasty aluminum perchlorate?
posted by spock at 9:27 AM on May 3, 2007


This reminds me of the urban legend about the Space Shuttle SRBs, train tunnels, and a horse's ass. It's a good story, even if it's not really all that true.
posted by Plutor at 9:32 AM on May 3, 2007


On behalf of my state and our rail bridges, I apologize to all you space geeks.

Keep up the good work Clay201. Some of us geeks would like nothing better than to see the Shuttle - and all manned space flight - go into a very long term early retirement.
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 AM on May 3, 2007


STS-117 already has its SRBs, and it had them during the hailstorm. These were intended for a future flight.
posted by chimaera at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2007


Looks like you should mark chimaera's answer as bes--wait, where are we?
posted by knave at 10:00 AM on May 3, 2007


Has anyone found a photo with a derailed train car with an actual SRB on it?
posted by smackfu at 10:08 AM on May 3, 2007


Completely different space program, but this photo is awesome.
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


To derail (sorry) the thread a bit - I don't have neither enough info nor time to put together a worthwhile fpp for it, but Walter Schirra has died today, and if you're someone who is reading this thread, you may be as sad at this news as I am, and hopefully someone out there can put together a thread that is more than just obitfilter in which we can discuss him -- and the fact that our original astronauts are dying of old age, and we've made almost no valuable progress in manned space exploration since their days.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


"... I don't have neither" ... Feel free to correct that so I look like less of an idiot.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:15 AM on May 3, 2007


That leaves two: John Glenn (85) and Scott Carpenter (81).
posted by smackfu at 10:25 AM on May 3, 2007


So, was anything interestign planed for these shuttle missions? Or were they just going to go up, float around a bit, and come down again?
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on May 3, 2007


Nearly every mission now is an ISS construction one. These two are even better than usual, since they're not just adding another truss: 121 is going to add the Harmony module and 122 is going to add Columbus.
posted by smackfu at 11:05 AM on May 3, 2007


So the "manned space flight is a waste of precious resources and talent that would magically be reallocated towards alleviating social justice if we pulled the plug on NASA" argument is still thought to be vaild?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 AM on May 3, 2007


I see it as more of a resource hog preventing cooler un-manned missions.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on May 3, 2007


I'd prefer to move all the Iraq money to NASA.
posted by smackfu at 11:35 AM on May 3, 2007


So the "manned space flight is a waste of precious resources and talent that would magically be reallocated towards alleviating social justice if we pulled the plug on NASA" argument is still thought to be vaild?

I prefer the "NASA is a supernova of waste, incompetence and irrelevance whose only real purpse is to serve as corporate welfare for large sections of the US aerospace industry".
posted by docgonzo at 12:23 PM on May 3, 2007


The remaining shuttle flights through 2010 are ISS construction/service missions.

And yes, sadly, the shuttle program sucked up resources that the other, useful parts of NASA could have used: aerospace, unmanned research, etc.

Having said that, it has been one of the greatest engineering experiments in history and the wealth of knowledge learned from the shuttle program has been invaluable across multiple spectrums from management lessons to aerospace uses. The mere fact that we were audacious enough to try building and flying "the brick" and that we've done so relatively successfully considering all of its faults, amazes me to this day.

I still believe that had NASA taken the slow-road approach to the STS program and evolved it as originally had been planned (unmanned variants, heavy-life variants, smaller crew-only variants, etc.) then we would have been pretty happy with the end result. As it turns out, Shuttle ended up being all things to everyone and a nightmare to support and maintain due to its complexity. The engineering lessons from the STS program will live on for centuries.
posted by tgrundke at 12:41 PM on May 3, 2007


Yeah, NASA is no longer risking its three remaining shuttles on non-essential missions, so they're all ISS. Consolidated Launch Manifest. With one exception: Hubble Servicing Mission 4, which for the present is on the schedule.

tgrundke, it wasn't NASA's fault that they had to build Shuttle to incorporate USAF needs. That may not have been the only thing that crippled it, but it ended up being a big part of many of the worst compromises.

Anyway, the shuttles are not assembled "Just In Time", so while this may delay some of the prep for STS-120, it won't really throw off the schedule any. I just hope that Thiokol exercises its due diligence with regard to the safety implications of these booster segments getting knocked off the tracks. They're in some kind of protective cowl, but still. We all know what a small gap at the segment connection can do.

Great shots of an SRB train here.
posted by dhartung at 2:23 PM on May 3, 2007


I didn't see this linked in the thread yet.
posted by Eideteker at 8:18 PM on May 4, 2007


Ooo, pretty photos.

I never realized the payload was added at the launch pad. Wonder why.
posted by smackfu at 9:18 PM on May 4, 2007


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